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  1. #41
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    Evi and Silkroad, I have got to say that you are being hard on yourselves -- Evi, I think you're probably open enough, but it makes sense to close off a few things, just for the sake of balance and sanity. Like a budget or bank account, our energy stores are limited. If you were running a deficit in either of those areas, you'd see what you could stop spending on, right? Same is true here... so distancing from someone you're not friends with but don't want to waste your precious I-for-introverted social energies on (not said sarcastically at all, I promise!) seems perfectly logical and healthy to me. I think other people do this all the time, but without second-guessing themselves like INFJs often do.

    And Silkroad -- I definitely understand how you feel! I was new in town last year (grad program), and I really reached out to several women, but it felt like they weren't returning it. And then I stopped reaching out. And they never reached out. Then something like tension ensued. Now I only hear from them when they want something (favors, job contacts, rides, other information), and it hurts like hell if I think about it. I guess it's important to remember that even with a few "defeats" you, as a full being, can still be a "success". Some of those come just because of ... probability. Randomness. Nothing to do with you. What I'm saying is that even in the case of these women last year, it's not necessarily the case that I caused them some great aversion (combined with giving off a huge doormat vibe). I mean, it MIGHT be, but most likely it's not. I say that judging by the fact that there are many other successful, mutual relationships in my life (though family is not one! ).

    Please forgive me for jumping in and giving advice, but when I see people being extra-tough on themselves, it kind of presses a button and it's hard for me to hold back. So I apologize if this was not useful for you at all, but though I would take the risk of sharing just in case it was.

  2. #42
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    Evi and Silkroad, I have got to say that you are being hard on yourselves -- Evi, I think you're probably open enough, but it makes sense to close off a few things, just for the sake of balance and sanity. Like a budget or bank account, our energy stores are limited. If you were running a deficit in either of those areas, you'd see what you could stop spending on, right? Same is true here... so distancing from someone you're not friends with but don't want to waste your precious I-for-introverted social energies on (not said sarcastically at all, I promise!) seems perfectly logical and healthy to me. I think other people do this all the time, but without second-guessing themselves like INFJs often do.

    And Silkroad -- I definitely understand how you feel! I was new in town last year (grad program), and I really reached out to several women, but it felt like they weren't returning it. And then I stopped reaching out. And they never reached out. Then something like tension ensued. Now I only hear from them when they want something (favors, job contacts, rides, other information), and it hurts like hell if I think about it. I guess it's important to remember that even with a few "defeats" you, as a full being, can still be a "success". Some of those come just because of ... probability. Randomness. Nothing to do with you. What I'm saying is that even in the case of these women last year, it's not necessarily the case that I caused them some great aversion (combined with giving off a huge doormat vibe). I mean, it MIGHT be, but most likely it's not. I say that judging by the fact that there are many other successful, mutual relationships in my life (though family is not one! ).

    Please forgive me for jumping in and giving advice, but when I see people being extra-tough on themselves, it kind of presses a button and it's hard for me to hold back. So I apologize if this was not useful for you at all, but though I would take the risk of sharing just in case it was.
    don't apologise!

    Like I said, I was feeling a bit low yesterday... I do know that I have a bit of a tendency to rely too much for my self-esteem on the health of my friendships and relationships. And the fact is, I have plenty of good and healthy relationships of various kinds in my life. The trouble is...you know how it is...it's so easy to focus in on those "defeats". Some mature people in my life have picked up on this from me and pointed out to me that I'm doing it...that I take those "fails" (when a friendship fails, when I over-invest and someone doesn't respond the way I want, etc) to be sort of symptomatic of my entire life and I start doing this "oh, this always happens to me, why do I get the balance wrong, why do I pick the wrong kind of friends, people who don't really care" etc etc. I guess it's human nature, because I actually know rationally that I've had far more successes than failures in that regard. And with the failures, even if (in some cases anyway) there may be some fault on my part, it's likely that it has everything to do with them and not a lot to do with me.

    Coming back to the "too subtle" thing, though, I think it does happen as an INFJ that because you're being "too subtle" people don't understand how invested you are in them. Then they treat you in a casual or unkind way and you can end up terribly hurt. And they're just never going to understand the depth of it all. Probably even not if you spell it out to them... The thing with me is, not sure if I've said this before here or elsewhere, but I know that there IS a part of me that can be quite needy and obsessive with people. Well, perhaps particularly with men I have a romantic interest in, but even generally. And because I am so afraid of seeming needy and obsessive and stalker-ish, I can go in the opposite direction. Not that I end up seeming aloof or cold with people I really care about, I don't think that's the case at all. But I guess I can seem very...self-sufficient. And if they seem to just want to keep it casual, even if I'm really over-invested at that point, I'm not going to chase them around demanding their time and attention. So then people maybe think I don't really need them that much, or that I view the friendship on the same casual level as perhaps they do. And it can all get really unbalanced, sneaking up on me quietly.

    I remember when I was going through a hard time in my life, post-breakup etc etc, a lot of things not going well, and someone said to me "You seem very self-sufficient." I know it was meant kindly. I know the person actually thought they were probably encouraging me. But unfortunately, it hurt me and I've never forgotten it. Sometimes it comes back to me and I think "this is why I'm single...this is why some friendships fail...people think I'm self-sufficient and I don't need others. They don't even see the tip of the iceberg of how much love I have to give people I care about and how much I need people to care about me."
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  3. #43
    Member Evi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    Please forgive me for jumping in and giving advice, but when I see people being extra-tough on themselves, it kind of presses a button and it's hard for me to hold back. So I apologize if this was not useful for you at all, but though I would take the risk of sharing just in case it was.
    Not at all, I really don't mind. Maybe I'm being hard on myself, I've been told that before, only I've also been told many, many times that it might be a good idea to sometimes share things with people I'm close to like, oh I'm seriously considering studying abroad in the spring or hey I moved out of state and am going to grad school. Telling people even basic things has never been something that occurs to me naturally, I have to remind myself to do it. So imagine how I am with my feelings... This really irritaes my sister, "everything is fine with you and then all of a sudden it's not."

    A lot of what SilkRoad said sounds familiar, I can seem very self sufficient and as though I don't need other people. And up to a point that's true, my independence is something I guard rather closely. But then part of my is very needy and unsure and I'm not always overly fond of people knowing that. I'm not sure if the friends I have now know how much they mean to me, the thought of loosing them is devastating. There have been times where I've thought afterwards if I'd just been less subtle and a little more forthcoming earlier on things may have ended differently.

  4. #44
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    Way too psycho!! I jest. However, they usually do end up wanting to do great bodily harm to me.
    Last edited by Frank; 10-20-2010 at 10:28 PM. Reason: I'm challenged

  5. #45
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank View Post
    Way too psycho!! I jest. However, they usually do end up wanting to do great bodily harm to me.
    What have you done to them to warrant that?
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  6. #46
    Junior Member stellachiara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    Why do you think many of us on this thread end up in one-sided relationships? Is it just something that happens from time to time? Or a consequence of some shared tendency?
    This is a great question. I wonder if it is because we tend to be more serious and to seek more serious things from relationships than the other types, and maybe that doesn't work for a lot of people. I know that over the years I have learned to moderate how many "deep" things I say, because I have learned that it often makes people feel uncomfortable or seems to take away their fun. Also, I think our tendency to strongly feel and "know" things without always being able to explain why (or sometimes exactly what) can be alienating to others. I often get the feeling that my friends love me and like me, but I'm always a bit of a mystery to them and I never really fit in with the rest of their circle. I feel like this keeps me from being as close to them as I would like to be. In a way, I guess, someone who wants to be close to the INFJ has to come to the INFJ's inner world, because that is where we live. Just socializing or talking about everyday life/relationship stuff doesn't cut it for us. And it seems difficult to find people who are interested in that on an extended/regular basis.

    My most successful relationships seem to be with ENFPs - their strong sense of inner enthusiasm and expansiveness seems to make them able to perceive and "absorb" the INFJ intensity without feeling awkward or put out. My husband is an ENFP, and basically when I think of what kind of friend I ideally want, I end up visualizing an ENFP

  7. #47
    Member kccrush's Avatar
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    It's funny, but I was just talking to my friend about this today. Specifically about the issue of relationships and how people don't like it when you come on too intense. They don't appreciate deep conversations. Or they might appreciate them, but not all that often, or not as often as I attempt to have them.

    The same goes for love, he said. You can't come on too strong in relationships, talking, as I like to say, about feelings. Have fun. Have fun. This idea of having fun and staying away from too much though and introspection. (not sure what this has to do with subtle or blunt...)

    As I've gotten older, I've tried to stop thinking, per say, and acting more. Having more fun. Alas, I haven't fallen in love in quite some time, so this new activity focus may be a coping mechanism. As for being subtle vs blunt, I notice that when I'm in a bad mood, I can be very blunt. Mainly because I just don't care. But when I'm feeling healthy and completely at ease with myself, I think being subtle is just a simpler, happier form of communication. I also think that it's a good way to maintain harmony - and this possibly goes to other people's comments about living in a foreign culture. I lived in Japan for 7 years, and you have to maintain harmony because it's essentially a way of life. So subtlety in that culture is also the preferred approach, which is much different from the USA. THe exact opposite in fact.

    I think in general the US is a very activity-oriented, non-thinking environment where the more direct (ie blunt) you are, the more successful you'll be. This is probably true for all aspects of life. In fact, I can't think of one aspect of life in the US where not being focused on the here and now, fun times + direct communication wouldn't be the recommended choice.

    Unfortunately, that just flies in the face of who I am, and in order to adopt those traits, I have to break down barriers in myself, and I'm not too sure if it's a good idea to do that, or when I try to do that (like now, with my grand focus on activities vs thinking) it's just a passing fad?

    I also agree with stellachiara re ENFPs. My best friends are all ENFPs. I know I can be with them and have deep conversations and feel comfortable enough, too, that I can lay down some blunt, direct statements from time to time and know that they'll be completely happy hearing them. I also fully appreciate their energy for life, something I feel deeply, but that doesn't also find a way to the surface all the time. ENFPs make me want to be a better friend, in fact.

  8. #48
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Yes.

    Whether or not INFJs are the desperately complex creatures that many seem to think - I just don't think I'm that hard to understand but maybe I'm wrong about that. In any case I can't expect people to read my mind. Perhaps I need to take that more on board. But then I REALLY don't want to err on the neurotic/demanding side.
    I didn't mean to sound like I was saying I'm so desperately complex, no one gets me. I'm sorry it came off like that. I mean that I make myself unknowable.

    So, if I am following the conversation, others feel hurt by the fact that people are not tending to INFJs emotionally in the way that INFJs tend to them. And some expressed a desire for others to just try or think or listen harder in order to do that. And some even went as far as saying others should let themselves be more emotional. I hope I am depicting this properly. So while I understand this desire, logically I know its no fairer to say that to them than for someone to say to me "be less sensitive, be less emotional". Which they do, in fact (the ones that I trust enough to show) therefore I fully understand the appeal in a fantasy of an NF dominated world. I am in favor of people casting aside fear of showing emotions and/or tenderness and especially listening more, but they will do that in their way, not mine necessarily. So, what if these other people who seem to be stubbornly resisting noticing and reacting to INFJ pain simply cannot, or cannot do it in our way?

    I don't know if I'm really the "come on too strong" type. Forcing intimacy is not my thing. Serving up judgments isn't attractive. Respecting boundaries feels comfortable. But I do believe in reaching out to the hurt because it seems right, I desire that myself, and in experience its appreciated. Yet a desire to not burden others, personal hangups, and a sinister suspicion that no one really cares can keep me from letting the less-adept-at-noticing (but still kind) types around me know when I am in turmoil. And they do want to know. Nobody likes to feel like a chump who can't pay a debt (not that emotional support is debts & credits). They want to feel valuable to me the way I have been valuable to them. In love this isn't an issue, but in friendships it comes up.

    I have no interest in chasing someone who doesn't want to be around me. I will not suffer emotional vampires. In the best cases, a beautiful harmony happens when there exists some natural noticing and understanding talent on their part and a willingness to open up and allow myself to need (rather than only be needed) on my part. My upbringing was nomadic and I grew used to the transience of all things and people, some beloved, just falling away. Going through that made me sort of tragically self-reliant in the way SilkRoad described. The idea of floating off into space cold, lonely and unconnected does scare me, but I truly do not think it has to be that way for any of us.



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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheEmeraldCanopy View Post
    Is it a cardinal sin to just outright ask an INFJ if the reason they are avoiding you is because they need space?

    For the life of me, the INFJ desire for space and the door slam are two things I cannot really distinguish between, especially when that need for space is sometimes for months at a time. How is one to know which of the two are happening?
    No, it is not a 'cardinal sin' to ask... But this INFJ will meet that direct question with a rather puzzled look - and will take a long time trying to answer that to your satisfaction. If you are 'in', this INFJ will try to answer very tactfully 'sorry dear, it's just that I am very busy with work these days' and it will always be true. But I will make an effort, if you're part of the 'in' crowd, to arrange for a get-together with date and time set. If you are not part of the in crowd, you will just get a 'yea, see you around. Or maybe next time'.

    Sometimes though, if the friendship has been 'draining', the withdrawing will be a kind of a 'reset button'... But I shan't go too much into this!... We have to have our secrets, you know...

  10. #50
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasilisa View Post
    I don't know if I'm really the "come on too strong" type. Forcing intimacy is not my thing. Serving up judgments isn't attractive. Respecting boundaries feels comfortable. But I do believe in reaching out to the hurt because it seems right, I desire that myself, and in experience its appreciated. Yet a desire to not burden others, personal hangups, and a sinister suspicion that no one really cares can keep me from letting the less-adept-at-noticing (but still kind) types around me know when I am in turmoil. And they do want to know. Nobody likes to feel like a chump who can't pay a debt (not that emotional support is debts & credits). They want to feel valuable to me the way I have been valuable to them. In love this isn't an issue, but in friendships it comes up.

    I have no interest in chasing someone who doesn't want to be around me. I will not suffer emotional vampires. In the best cases, a beautiful harmony happens when there exists some natural noticing and understanding talent on their part and a willingness to open up and allow myself to need (rather than only be needed) on my part. My upbringing was nomadic and I grew used to the transience of all things and people, some beloved, just falling away. Going through that made me sort of tragically self-reliant in the way SilkRoad described. The idea of floating off into space cold, lonely and unconnected does scare me, but I truly do not think it has to be that way for any of us.

    I wanted to reply to this in more detail as I appreciated it a lot, but I feel a bit brain dead today so I may not have a great deal to add.

    I just...like so many things in life I find it hard to find a balance with such issues. Perhaps I don't give people enough credit. As you say, they may really want to know, more than I give them credit for. I do find myself thinking that I need to make myself available to friends for unburdening, yet I often don't want to burden them myself. (though that may also be partly that I don't want to expose myself, that I am a private person in many ways...not always sure which one it is.) But I guess I tend to concentrate a lot on the negative experiences. There are people I've opened up to and then they have pulled away and gone off to spend their time with people who I think I could be forgiven for thinking are very superficial. So then I assume, well, people find me too negative, too complex, whatever. I just won't try next time.

    You said: "In the best cases, a beautiful harmony happens when there exists some natural noticing and understanding talent on their part and a willingness to open up and allow myself to need (rather than only be needed) on my part." And I totally agree. And you know, the thing that gives me hope - that I'm not some incomprehensible or overly complex freak, that I'm not over-sensitive, that there are people out there who understand - is that I have found them. I do believe very strongly that you find the people in life that you are supposed to. Well, in my case that hasn't happened (so far) romantically, but it has happened with friends. Even, more often than I would ever have expected. Not with loads of people, obviously, but more than two or three. I feel so blessed that way, so fortunate. Though it's not just "fortunate" - I have worked at these friendships too. Sometimes very hard. When people complain to me that they don't have real friends or lasting friendships, I tend to ask gently "do you think you could have worked more at your friendships or invested more?" They tend to agree that they could have...
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