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  1. #11
    ~dangerous curves ahead~
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    *peeks into an INFJ thread*

    *raises hand*

    Actually, I've a related question to wedekit's OP. To broaden it more. What's a(are) defining trait(s) of an INFJ?

    I've collected a "basket" of you, but I'm still having trouble figuring out the commonalities from the posts? You're sort of like a loophole among the spectrum to me; if I can't identify a type, I take it to be INFJ, but that's not the best method. Perhaps the difficulty in analysis is also because I do not know any IRL.

    Thus far these sound rather true:

    Indeed, these types often find that their sympathy and perceptive listening have been mistaken for an overture of friendship, which they didn't intend.

    - there's a certain dispassionate sympathy? Yes, or no? The warmth of an INFJ is not overt / immediate; rather like a shy flame that licks you and waits?

    The truth is that Ni inclines them to keep a part of themselves in reserve

    - how is this different from the reserve of an INTP, ISFJ or an INFP - I can spot the difference with the INTJ?

  2. #12
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    Thus far these sound rather true:

    Indeed, these types often find that their sympathy and perceptive listening have been mistaken for an overture of friendship, which they didn't intend.

    - there's a certain dispassionate sympathy?
    In my case, I wouldn't say dispassionate so much as circumstancial, temporary. I can be all yours for several hours or even days if I feel that you "need" me, but that doesn't mean I want to maintain that level of closeness for the rest of our life, or that I even want to become one of your regular friends. I'll be there if you NEED me as a "counselor" or something, but please don't count on me to share your social life!

    The warmth of an INFJ is not overt / immediate; rather like a shy flame that licks you and waits?
    Again, for me, it's not a matter of time or anything like that: it's a matter of NEED. If you need my warmth, you're going to get massive amounts of it right away, freely given, no problem. But don't ask for anything else, except small talk. Casual friendship exhausts me, quite simply. Come and see me if you need me, by all means, or let's have some happy funny small talk if we happen to meet, but please don't ask me to start scheduling stuff with you, or to call you every other day, or anything like that. I just can't do that.

    The truth is that Ni inclines them to keep a part of themselves in reserve

    - how is this different from the reserve of an INTP, ISFJ or an INFP - I can spot the difference with the INTJ?
    I don't really know about that one. I guess the difference with the IPs is that maybe it is more obvious somehow that the IPs are mainly living in their heads? They Extravert their Perceiving function, while we Extravert our Judging function, so I guess it's possible we might look more like we live in the outside world than they do? Which is highly deceptive because we are just as Introverted as they are.

  3. #13
    Member ferrisbueller's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Wandering;116896]I'll be there if you NEED me as a "counselor" or something, but please don't count on me to share your social life!
    This really reminds me of my girlfriend. She is always finding people that need support and counseling them. As a result there are like ten girls who want to be her best friend because of the incredible emotional support she provides and she's a little overwhelmed by their response. She very much seems to have a radar for unhappy people and a genuine desire to make them feel better, but to her that sympathy does not necessarily represent an overture of friendship.

  4. #14
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering View Post
    In my case, I wouldn't say dispassionate so much as circumstancial, temporary. I can be all yours for several hours or even days if I feel that you "need" me, but that doesn't mean I want to maintain that level of closeness for the rest of our life, or that I even want to become one of your regular friends. I'll be there if you NEED me as a "counselor" or something, but please don't count on me to share your social life!


    Again, for me, it's not a matter of time or anything like that: it's a matter of NEED. If you need my warmth, you're going to get massive amounts of it right away, freely given, no problem. But don't ask for anything else, except small talk. Casual friendship exhausts me, quite simply. Come and see me if you need me, by all means, or let's have some happy funny small talk if we happen to meet, but please don't ask me to start scheduling stuff with you, or to call you every other day, or anything like that. I just can't do that.
    I can relate to much of this. It really can be hard for me when people start contacting me on a regular basis when they have nothing to talk about, or depending on me too much. It's almost like part of my mind is going "It's okay, I'm here. What do you need?" and the other is going "Leave me alone already, and quit being so clingy/needy!" I usually express the first part only, unless I get incredibly frustrated. Sadly, I can start to feel like this just from the demands of a normal friendship like being expected to contact someone two or three times a week, simply to keep the friendship going. It's weird because I can handle spurts of interaction that involve long conversations everyday for a while (sometimes even a couple months), but it's consistent contact for no particular reason that drains me, because I feel forced to keep thinking of something to talk about.

  5. #15
    Senior Member tovlo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    I was reading this in an MBTI book called Personality Type, and I thought this actually shed some light on my situation as an INFJ:

    "Thus, it should be recognized that INFJs are more like INTJs than they appear. Their primary relationship is to their inner world, and they are receptive to others only up to a point. Indeed, these types often find that their sympathy and perceptive listening have been mistaken for an overture of friendship, which they didn't intend.
    The truth is that Ni inclines them to keep a part of themselves in reserve--to locate their true identity outside of the expectations and definitions of others. Unlike INTJs, however, their sense of the unexpressed is not impersonal and causal; it is intensely personal and oriented by emotional awareness. Their intuition takes them into psychological areas that other types are likely to keep at bay."
    Well, I may be yet another interpretation of this section, but it did resonate--the part you bolded especially.

    I am very sensitive to the expectations of others and try to understand and meet them, but I do ultimately keep close to myself my own sense of identity and protect it from being damaged by engagement with external expectation. If I find that external expectation is beginning to threaten my own sense of self I will disengage to protect it.

    I don't hide my experience from anyone who expresses an interest in receiving it. I didn't have much resonance with the section about people mistaking my behavior for overtures of friendship. I enjoy engagement with those who engage with me. I might grow tired sometimes of the demands of engagement, yet I respect my boundaries. If I evaluate my desire for engagement in some arena has waned, I make choices to honor that. Though usually no one who asks for my attention would go without.

    (off topic edit...I'm also very sensitive to the unspoken and I strongly suspect there are many times when people expected things from me that I didn't deliver on, but they were unspoken. If someone doesn't specifically speak a need to me then I have worked hard to not consider it my responsibility. I probably have dissappointed people who wished more engagement from me, but in an effort to solidify my boundaries, I decided some time ago to allow it be their responsibility to speak their need to me clearly if they want me to meet it. Sometimes I can't meet their expectation and still honor my own needs, but at least I can address it directly if they speak it.)
    Last edited by tovlo; 01-25-2008 at 06:57 AM. Reason: continued revision of expression
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  6. #16
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    The truth is that Ni inclines them to keep a part of themselves in reserve--to locate their true identity outside of the expectations and definitions of others. Unlike INTJs, however, their sense of the unexpressed is not impersonal and causal; it is intensely personal and oriented by emotional awareness. Their intuition takes them into psychological areas that other types are likely to keep at bay."
    I didn't actually comment on the OP, so here goes.

    Unsurprisingly, I too resonate with this I don't usually notice it, but it becomes crystal-clear when I try to *completely* submit to the "expectations and definitions of others". It just won't work. I just can't do it. It's like there's this little black box at the very center of my being that just won't let itself be re-programmed. Even if I manage to focus all the rest of my being, body, soul and mind on reprogramming myself, even if I manage to make it look both emotionally desirable and rationally logical, this little black box just sits there and defies me. I argue, I plead, I storm, I cry... Nothing doing. And when finally I break down and give up, the black box opens and my core personality comes out and says: "you can't change me, you can't change you, you are what you are, you are what I am, and we are in this together forever".

    Nobody can touch this black box, not me, not others, no matter what method they may use. I am ME in that black box, and I'll *always* be me. The rest of my person is subject to reprogramming, whether forced or desired, whether outside-imposed or self-made. But the black box will never change.

  7. #17
    Senior Member tovlo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    - there's a certain dispassionate sympathy? Yes, or no? The warmth of an INFJ is not overt / immediate; rather like a shy flame that licks you and waits?
    Thinking about this, it might be true of me. Certainly the shy flame that licks you and waits. I will reach out with overtures tentatively, but then I primarily am receptive, waiting for others to show me that they are interested in receiving me.

    As far as dispassionate sympathy...kind of. At first I thought no, because my actual internal experience feels anything but dispassionate. It feels intensely passionate. However, my expression might appear dispassionate for two reasons. The first is the reticence to express myself to those who have not yet given me the signal they want to receive. The second is my learned tendency to keep strong boundaries in place to protect myself. If I abandoned myself to the intensity of my caring for others I would very quickly lose complete touch with my own needs and eventually starve myself of anything I might need. So I've learned to view things with some sense of dispassion that has a framework I can live with morally. However, you get into my heart and there is practically nothing I wouldn't sacrifice of in service of that caring. The passion overwhelms and the carefully constructed dispassion disolves. This has limits though. The natural self-protection kicks in when I sense my own health is in danger and that is when I move to create enough space again to keep my sense of self healthy. I am careful in relationships where I have a strong emotional stake and where there has been trust established to be as open as possible about my experience so any confusion that might damage the relationship will be diminished.
    "We don't see things as they are,
    we see things as we are."
    ...Anais Nin

  8. #18
    ~dangerous curves ahead~
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    Thanks for that, tovlo, Wandering. That walls thing and selective few into the inner circle was something that came across in the INFJs handwritings too actually, now that I think of it. Of all the samples I'd seen, the INFJs were the most guarded, for want of a better word. Would I be right to say that it is a self-protection / evaluating if others are worth giving to, and constantly reassessing that, before giving?

    I'd like to understand what creates/motivates holding on to those walls, simply. I can understand an amount of guardedness for protection as being wise, but is this the only reason?

  9. #19
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    Would I be right to say that it is a self-protection / evaluating if others are worth giving to, and constantly reassessing that, before giving?
    For myself, I think that's probably true.

    I'd like to understand what creates/motivates holding on to those walls, simply. I can understand an amount of guardedness for protection as being wise, but is this the only reason?
    Ooh...a toughie. Let me think.

    *25 minutes later*

    Fear of ultimate rejection is part of it - but that would be the 'guardedness for protection' piece. Just thinking that I have many aspects of my personality, some of which might not shine through more than once every 6 months, and thinking at some point any one person is going to find something quite unappealing about me, and throw me away. This has happened on more than one occasion, but I suppose this happens to everyone.

    Beyond that, part of it might be that I derive much of my sense of self from others, and my interactions with them. On some level I do not like this, and want a sense of self that is distinct from other peoples' views/judgements. So I might hold stuff back to keep it real and unique to me, because the minute I bring it out into the open and discuss it with someone, I then am really susceptible to changing my perceptions/views, based on the input (positive or negative) of the other person. So I want to keep some things to myself so that it stays solid without any outside influences. A few times in the past I have changed some rather substantial beliefs based on my interaction with others, and I don't like that I can sometimes be 'easily influenced'. It seems like I then don't have much solidity myself. So my potential ability to see many perspectives can make my own sense of self diminish and then I might feel less solid. So I might 'keep the walls up' because it makes me feel more like a separate entity with my own solid beliefs. Putting myself more 'out there' causes my inner world to because less solid, because I'm then vulnerable to new data/criticisms/reactions that might cause me to have to re-build my inner world - which can be exhaustive and take some time.

    I think this is what I'm really doing when I'm needing to 're-center' myself and 're-find' myself again -- it's when I need to reconstruct my inner world so that I feel 'solid' again. I WANT to have fewer walls and be more open to others, but the downside is this phenomenon. It's unsettling, and it would be psychologically 'easier' just to keep the walls up.

    I think.
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  10. #20
    Member Shinzon's Avatar
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    Last edited by Shinzon; 01-30-2008 at 11:41 AM.

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