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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default INFJs: way too subtle, way too blunt?

    Eclare mentioned in another thread that INFJs tend to be either extremely subtle, or extremely blunt. Perhaps even too subtle, or too blunt.

    I thought this was really interesting and it does jive with my own experience of myself in many cases. And, I think, with my experience of other friends who are probably INFJ.

    Most of the time I'd err on the "too subtle" side of things - again, probably like many/most INFJs. I tiptoe around people because I want to avoid the pain and conflict, and keep everyone happy. They tread on my sense of well-being in one way or another and I smile and say it's no big deal. Quite likely it is no big deal the first few times. Then when it keeps happening, it gets to be a big deal...a bigger and bigger one. Something along the lines of "surely they must have seen that this pains me. How can they be so inconsiderate and oblivious of my feelings?" But actually, most people are not mind readers. They are not THAT discerning. Whatever I'm trying to get across is just too subtle. Then eventually it all mounts up - and out comes the "too blunt" sledgehammer and I spell things out in unpleasant detail.

    I would really like to know what others (INFJ or other types) think about this and how you might try to work on this.
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  2. #2
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    This is not a phenomena limited to type. All of humanity sits on a sliding scale with Blunt and subtle at each extreme.

  3. #3
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I'm sure some types are more or less inclined to be this way, though...
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    It's Possible Silk.. Some types might be more inclined towards one or the other.

    But I myself walk around eggshells and then out of nowhere will swing the hammer when I have had enough.

    I also make judgment calls with each person.. Some people subtlety doesn't work, Some people being blunt is about the worst approach you can take.

    Some days it gets all twisted and the subtle person needs blunt.. and the blunt person needs subtlety.

    Maybe I will just shut up now.

  5. #5
    That's my name biotch! JoSunshine's Avatar
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    I briefly dated an INFJ who I felt was hesitent to express himself. I encouraged him to be more expressive of what he was thinking/feeling with me. So one day I was telling him a story and he interrupted me to say something to this effect, "I'm not interested in this story. You're rambling on and on. You could have told it in half the time and it's not even that funny." Then he told me that he was trying to do a better job of letting me know what he was thinking...

    It wasn't exactly what I had in mind but he was trying.
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. " - Dr. Seuss
    I can't spell...get over it

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Tabula's Avatar
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    I definitely relate.

    I feel like a broken record on this, but for the sake of clarity, I'll reiterate. I have no friends or relationships, and haven't in many years; I spend almost all of my time entirely alone. When in social situations, it is very easy to see how many different ways something someone says/does can be interpreted, and coupled with a lack of social experience (to discern which is the most probable) but still having a seemingly inborn desire to avoid conflict, it creates a problem. I was watching the TV show "Bones" the other night, and something Dr. Brennan said really resonated with me (I don't recall verbatim, but this was the gist) "There are so many ways to interpret what is said, so I find it safer [I don't think that was the exact word she used] to respond literally."

    This is what I do. I respond literally IRL, so as to avoid making assumptions [but that definitely is not a reflection of what I'm thinking.] It comes off as "blunt."

    Now, having said that, I can easily be just as subtle. I want to express what I'm thinking somehow, but want also to avoid jumping to conclusions and give the other the benefit of the doubt. How else could I do this but subtly? Of course, this is counter to what I intended, [avoiding misinterpretation] but, IME, it's so much more awkward to keep having to ask for clarification when you're having a light, social conversation with someone. They tend to think you're either stupid, or don't speak the language very well. Perhaps when I'm less insecure, I won't have a problem with others thinking I'm retarded.

    This is probably a rather extreme example, but I think it fits.

  7. #7
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    Arclight wrote:
    It's Possible Silk.. Some types might be more inclined towards one or the other.

    But I myself walk around eggshells and then out of nowhere will swing the hammer when I have had enough.

    I also make judgment calls with each person.. Some people subtlety doesn't work, Some people being blunt is about the worst approach you can take.

    Some days it gets all twisted and the subtle person needs blunt.. and the blunt person needs subtlety.
    All of your points are well taken, and certainly all people will exhibit a spectrum of behaviors at any given point in time. But I believe Silk Road's point, if I may be so bold as to put words into her mouth, is that for INFJs it is a pattern so predictable that is almost pathological at times. It is only with a great deal of practice and self-awareness that an INFJ is likely to break this pattern.

    Ironically, in my experience we are great mediators and can help two arguing people work things out by helping them communicate their thoughts in a way that is both frank and tactful. It is only when it comes to our own emotions that we have such a hard to communicating our true feelings, and it has little to do with our actual powers of communication and everything to do with our fear of coming across as too demanding or bad natured. At least that's the way it is in my case.

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    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?
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  9. #9
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    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?

    Hmmm....good question. I think you can always ask, and I think it will most likely be appreciated. It shows that you have an understanding of their needs, which most INFJs crave more than anything.

    I guess it really is situational, but I don't know how someone looking at it from the other side would be able to tell without knowing a whole host of other details. I would say from my own point of view that if you have to ask, it's not a doorslam. Doorslams usually involve the words "please don't contact me again," or some variation. If they've just disapeared for awhile, they'll most likely find their way back in time. If they've done anything that seems out of character and even remotely hurtful, they've slammed the door.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    eclare But I believe Silk Road's point, if I may be so bold as to put words into her mouth, is that for INFJs it is a pattern so predictable that is almost pathological at times. It is only with a great deal of practice and self-awareness that an INFJ is likely to break this pattern.
    Exactly. INFJs dwell on the ends of this spectrum. We can tell what's going on with other people and how they're doing, so we expect the same to apply to us. It doesn't (I know this and I hate it).

    eclare Ironically, in my experience we are great mediators and can help two arguing people work things out by helping them communicate their thoughts in a way that is both frank and tactful. It is only when it comes to our own emotions that we have such a hard to communicating our true feelings, and it has little to do with our actual powers of communication and everything to do with our fear of coming across as too demanding or bad natured. At least that's the way it is in my case.
    This is ridiculously ON. Thank you, eclare!

    TheEmeraldCanopy 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?
    By all means, ask! Maybe do it via writing so that they can think about it and write back to you, but please please please ask! It shows you understand/care, and isn't that what we all really want from our friends? (INFJs, everyone, me, whatever -- not sure how generalizeable that statement is)

    eclare agrees, see:
    I think you can always ask, and I think it will most likely be appreciated. It shows that you have an understanding of their needs, which most INFJs crave more than anything.
    Silk -- you always start such great threads! I think we have a lot of similarities IRL...due to type or beyond, I don't know. But thank you
    Last edited by mochajava; 10-13-2010 at 03:29 PM. Reason: typoooos

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