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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lily flower's Avatar
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    Default Advice on not being a social idiot

    OK, I am an INFJ and generally people like me, but I find myself making the most idiotic social statements that I don't realize are idiotic until later when I am alone and processing the conversation.

    Here are some examples:

    I was talking to a lady about how my husband and I were so relieved to have normal looking children because we were really afraid that our children would get the worst of both of our characteristics. (Later I remember that she has a daughter who has cranial abnormalities and therefore looks very weird).

    I was talking with a guy who is complaining about the type of women that he can't stand (that have certain personality characteristics) and I say, "Oh, you mean, like your wife?"

    Why do I do this? I have no idea!

    Is this common with other INFJ's or other types to make these types of conversational errors? Is there any way to grow a social brain while I am actually IN a conversation, instead of realizing later and feeling like an idiot?

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie View Post
    I was talking to a lady about how my husband and I were so relieved to have normal looking children because we were really afraid that our children would get the worst of both of our characteristics. (Later I remember that she has a daughter who has cranial abnormalities and therefore looks very weird).

    I was talking with a guy who is complaining about the type of women that he can't stand (that have certain personality characteristics) and I say, "Oh, you mean, like your wife?"

    Why do I do this? I have no idea!
    Probably (1) you're trying to engage and (2) you're more aware of social breaches than others.

    Honestly other people do this sort of thing too, but they either don't care that they have or they aren't even aware of how others might view their words. You're socially aware and you have enough intuition to scan the possibilities of how your comments might come across; so I'm just going to guess in your desire to make a connection, sometimes that desire gets ahead of your ability to avoid the faux pas.

    Is there any way to grow a social brain while I am actually IN a conversation, instead of realizing later and feeling like an idiot?
    Well, I've done this too. I kick myself fairly regularly for things I've said in real life. (on forums, I have more time to scrub/edit.)

    Experience + more time spent between having a thought and letting said thought come out your mouth, or simply preprogramming more of your speech rather than figuring out what you are saying on the fly. But you don't want to ruin the organic nature of how you relate; anything spontaneous involves some level of risk of making a mistake.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3

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    There's an author who has written about this for professionals like nurses and social workers and he describes it as reflection on action and reflection in action, they're pretty different, what you just described is reflection on action, after the fact.

    Lots of people dont even do that and just go through life bewildered as to why others react to them how they do or develop a big chip on their shoulder or deploy a combination of minimising their behaviour, denying its impact, denying it altogether or becoming defensive and combative.

    You pretty much have to be able to reflect on action before you can start to develop reflection in action so you're probably half way there, its just practicing a certain habit of mind, it can involve recalling things, like those details you mentioned and I tend to find a good part of it is about being the listener rather than the talker.

    If you're feeling really bad about it you could perhaps talk to them about it, could be helpful to each of you in the different examples you mentioned, there's lots of books on this topic and lots of theory too but attunement others is a pretty individual, subjective thing and there's lots to do with particular context, what works specifically in one place wont in another, audience and feedback is important too.

    I've known some pretty rude, stupid, narcissicistic types, highly defensive/resistant to any kind of change in their behaviour, they could get consistent feedback from four maybe five people, very clear, specific, understandable and it will not phase them but a single individual, possibly someone not even that mindful of the situation, will provide the sort of feedback they want or need to persist in error and that's sufficient for them to carry on.

    I dont know if you've spent a lot of time in the company of people like that but its possible to begin to integrate behaviourial habits like theirs if you're exposed to it long enough almost without being conscious of it.

  4. #4
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie View Post
    I was talking with a guy who is complaining about the type of women that he can't stand (that have certain personality characteristics) and I say, "Oh, you mean, like your wife?"
    That wasn't a faux pas. That's exactly who he was talking about. He probably felt relieved when you said that.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Vamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Probably (1) you're trying to engage and (2) you're more aware of social breaches than others.

    Honestly other people do this sort of thing too, but they either don't care that they have or they aren't even aware of how others might view their words. You're socially aware and you have enough intuition to scan the possibilities of how your comments might come across; so I'm just going to guess in your desire to make a connection, sometimes that desire gets ahead of your ability to avoid the faux pas.
    Interesting. I've often thought I was too aware/sensitive of it, always aware of the many, many ways what I say can be interpreted. I'm doing it right now, as I type.
    I used to always have these moments and moments of blurting, I basically did what you're prescribing; got more speaking experience and reflected more. I usually generate 10 responses in my head and pick the best. Or I wait and wait and wait to interject and keep my words basic.

    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    That wasn't a faux pas. That's exactly who he was talking about. He probably felt relieved when you said that.
    Just what I was thinking. Combined with what Jennifer said maybe it comes from the ability to know what people really mean by what they say. Reading between the lines, almost. All on a subconscious level. Kinda reminds me of projections; you see in others what you see in yourself(?) Or maybe that's nonsense.
    George Bernard Shaw in cartoon form.

  6. #6
    Magical BlackCat's Avatar
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    Do you know much about the enneagram? This sounds like it could be an sx/sp thing to me.
    () 9w8-3w4-7w6 tritype.

    sCueI (primary Inquisition)

  7. #7
    Pumpernickel
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    That wasn't a faux pas. That's exactly who he was talking about. He probably felt relieved when you said that.
    Yeah that's what I'm thinking.

    Or if not, if I was the guy I would probably think it was a joke and pretty chuckle worthy.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie View Post
    OK, I am an INFJ and generally people like me, but I find myself making the most idiotic social statements that I don't realize are idiotic until later when I am alone and processing the conversation.

    Here are some examples:

    I was talking to a lady about how my husband and I were so relieved to have normal looking children because we were really afraid that our children would get the worst of both of our characteristics. (Later I remember that she has a daughter who has cranial abnormalities and therefore looks very weird).

    I was talking with a guy who is complaining about the type of women that he can't stand (that have certain personality characteristics) and I say, "Oh, you mean, like your wife?"

    Why do I do this? I have no idea!

    Is this common with other INFJ's or other types to make these types of conversational errors? Is there any way to grow a social brain while I am actually IN a conversation, instead of realizing later and feeling like an idiot?
    I think this is very normal, actually. I always say mean or hurtful things and then don't realize how mean or hurtful they are until I've said them.

    You probably just feel terrible because you're a feeler. I mean, you can't say what other people think about what you've said to them, unless they tell you straight up that it upset them. Whenever I say something that I feel was rude and then go to apologize, the person usually says "Ah, don't worry! That didn't offend me." So, you don't know.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    With people I dislike, I'm more rough... like, "I'm going to leave you and your insanity now. I'm so glad I'm not you" said jokingly. I would never say that to someone I respected... but, eh, she's an ENTJ so always says stuff like that... I think, in a backwards way, it probably makes her feel more comfortable around me.

  10. #10
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Yeah, I stick my foot in my mouth all the time. I do wonder if I am just more sensitive to nuances and over-analyzing of meaning than others, but sometimes it's just because I am plain oblivious. You can get better about it, you just have to make an effort to be conscious of it when you speak. The funny thing is, I think INxx types are often "think before you speak" people, and yet I often see these types making social faux pas without realizing it in the moment.
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

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