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  1. #11
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    The reaction people have to me runs the gamut. A lot of people have had adverse reactions- sometimes even visceral- but I don’t think it has as much to do with INFJness as it does a certain brand of crudeness/social ineptitude I haven’t quite been able to shake from my upbringing. On the flip side, there have been others who seem to take an almost immediate shine to me because I do tend to see things in unusual ways and they like the way it stretches their perspective. I can relate to Fid’s pedestal comment above, I seem to inadvertently end up on one sometimes and it’s uncomfortable for me. It’s like being able to reach an itch in people that they can’t quite reach themselves, or that they didn’t even know was there until it was scratched. While it’s always nice to have one’s opinion valued, I’m not comfortable when people give it more weight than I think they should.

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I also find that people end up with wildly different perceptions of who I am and that many of them are quite erroneous. It often is at very different ends of the spectrum too - like seeing me as super-conservative-easily-horrified-goody-two-shoes or as free-spirit-hippy-type-anarchist etc or just blandly nice. I think I don't shock easily and don't tend to speak my mind on issues unless my opinion is solicited or until I know someone fairly well, so sometimes my lack of negative reaction may be taken as agreeing or acceptance of a certain lifestyle or position on an issue. At the same time, I don't smoke, drink, do drugs and many people know I am Christian, so there are a lot of assumptions that go along with that as well. I've heard people say that they thought I was being flirty, when I certainly wasn't - just animated and asking questions out of curiosity. I've also heard people say that they thought I was very shy and easily bossed, which I'm not. I just tend to want to ensure that I'm welcome first before I feel free to really be myself.
    I’ve always had this problem too. My ex speculated the reason (he noticed it too) was because I’m so expressionless/stoic around people I don’t know very well that they tend to fill in the blanks with their own insecurities/ project their own faults, self-criticism or personal demons into what I must be thinking. There might be some of that going on, but I also think- in my case- the additional element of social ineptitude convolutes it and throws some people off.

    I’ve always had a very Edward Scissorhands-y relationship to ‘others’ upon meeting them and getting to know them: more than a few people have told me they found me somewhat menacing at first, while others seem to see through it and have the opposite reaction of liking me almost too much (like Fid said about idealizing, but I get it as much with women as I do men). And really, I think- by and large, for most people- I’m more a wallflower than anything else. The strange variance of reactions in the minority of people I meet is so pronounced it’s distracting to me, but I’m probably neither here nor there to most people.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  2. #12
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I guess you could say I am all of the above to a certain extent at least, but I still believe I have a strong character and a lot of integrity. I'm not (usually) blown about by every wind. At the same time, I can deal courteously and happily with many different types of people, and even have close-ish to very close friendships with different types of people. I guess that is unusual in many ways...
    One analogy I have used for myself is the weeble-wobble. Some of the misunderstandings and experiences can throw me off balance, but it is impossible to tip me over. Social pressure never had much effect on me. One conflict in perception is that I am almost always stronger than people assume.

    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    I’ve always had this problem too. My ex speculated the reason (he noticed it too) was because I’m so expressionless/stoic around people I don’t know very well that they tend to fill in the blanks with their own insecurities/ project their own faults, self-criticism or personal demons into what I must be thinking. There might be some of that going on, but I also think- in my case- the additional element of social ineptitude convolutes it and throws some people off.
    That is very insightful, and quite true. I came to the same conclusion. This could apply to a number of introverted types, but does happen more with particular individuals.
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  3. #13
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyward View Post
    She has a je ne sais quoi that stemmed from a dissonance in how she was and how people perceived her. This made her attractive to a lot of guys, but they wouldn't really express it because they felt a sort of mental vertigo. A kind similar to what a person feels when they meet an actor face to face. You think you know the actor from what they were on the screen, but then their true self comes in and scatters it.
    I don't delude myself that every man I encounter is falling in love with me, thats for sure.

    When I look at my life, starting in high school, it appears as though I have possibly had a larger proportion of male friends (both hetero and homosexual) than what is average especially in relation to my number of female friends. This is not to say I have anything against women or relationships with them. I typically have a very close relationship with one or two female best friends . I almost feel like many women might regard me as different from them and/or hard to understand, and thats slightly off-putting to them. Subsequently it becomes harder for us to connect, in no small part because I am shy. Whereas men, who naturally already regard me as different, are more likely to be captivated by an understanding nature and are drawn to someone who will be kind to them in an emotional exchange; and perhaps they are more likely to be demonstrative about it. Of course there are those people who say that men just want one thing, and that is something that weighs on me.

    Personal exchanges are my preference. Starting as a young adult, I got slapped with the hurtful label of being "stand-offish" by those who simply chose to perceive my introversion and reserved demeanor that way, and who didn't look further. (A few times I've heard the phrase "intimidating" used, but I'm not sure I believe that.) Yet, I often have people who rely intensely on me for my unique emotional nature and bond of friendship. I'm not going to act as if this is just some random phenomenon that has nothing to do with manifestations of my internal psyche - it mostly certainly does. Suffice to say, its a strange duality indeed.
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  4. #14
    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyward View Post
    She has a je ne sais quoi that stemmed from a dissonance in how she was and how people perceived her. This made her attractive to a lot of guys, but they wouldn't really express it because they felt a sort of mental vertigo. A kind similar to what a person feels when they meet an actor face to face. You think you know the actor from what they were on the screen, but then their true self comes in and scatters it.
    This makes sense to me. I don't know if people treat me oddly, but I've always felt that sometimes people think I'm something I'm not - not necessarily in a good or bad way, just that their idea of me is not quite on. I've also been told many times things like, "Just when I think I have you figured out, you go and do something that completely surprises me."
    Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.

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  5. #15
    From the Undertow CuriousFeeling's Avatar
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    1) (This one might be answered in other threads) INFJ females: Do people seem to act odd around you? Not necessarily obviously, but that you can tell that they treat you differently than to other people?

    I find a lot of people open themselves up more around me. Sometimes the toughest of people soften up with me. The thing is, some of my male counterparts think I'm this incredibly serious and studious person, and they ask me questions about what I know (which is very flattering, I love sharing my knowledge with others), and they go out of their way to make a positive impression on me. I mean, I don't want to toot my horn or anything, but people tend to treat me with extra kindness than they normally would. I think they pick up on the fact that I am sensitive... I've got kind of a soft yet intense expression, which I think probably scares some people into thinking that if they don't treat me right, they're in deep trouble (which they would be!).
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  6. #16
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    INFJs are curious to me because i feel like there is a lot of "open space" in their personalities - that there is a lot of distance between the persona people interact with and the core person. not distance in terms of difference or contradiction, but distance in terms of unfilled space. both NFJ types distance their very personal selves from others, INFJs especially, simply because they put themselves out there less, and i think it's in that "space" that others project themselves or their idealizations, as fidelia and z buck wisely pointed out. it's also space for the other person to "fill" with themself - as a result, NFJs with good Fe awareness can create a nuturing "safe space" for others to open up in, and NFJs with good Ni awareness can help lead others to where they need to go. as many profiles point out, INFJs can make amazing counselors and advisors.

    but then it's surprising because, as a J, the INFJ makes quite steady, decisive moves, which can seem to contradict both that space and whatever people have filled it with, be that projections or themselves. it seems incongruous... although if you are attentive to the existence of that space, it is not. INFJ is a more generally "removed" type too - introverted, off in N-land, good at manipulating social distance because of Fe, idealistic because of NF, and less malleable because of J.

    one of my cousins is almost definitely an INFJ, and i feel this with her. i still feel like i do not know her personally very well despite having known her for 20ish years, but i know that she is polite and compassionate, has a quirky N sense of humor and definite Ni-Fe insight into people, is a very good listener, and is good at managing her children. i also had a counseling psych professor who i would bet large sums of money on being INFJ. that "space" was very tangible with him - it was hard to know what he was thinking, and he usually kept a very neutral, professional exterior, but he was very, very compassionate and interested. he actually made me a little on edge because it felt like he was always observing and not really participating - but then, as a counselor and professor, that's his job!


    as for INFJs being "different", i am resistant to the idea of any one type being more special than the rest. i think every type has their individual quirks that set them apart. INFJ's quirks just happen to literally set them apart socially even though INFJs are usually very socially interested. compare that to INTPs, whose quirks also set them apart socially, but who are not usually all that interested in society anyway.

    but, those are just my intuitions and feelings, nothing objective or definitive

  7. #17
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Yeah, I also reject the idea that we're any more special of a type. Strangely enough, despite the space that exists, I welcome knowing people and being known by them. I think there's very little greater compliment than someone wanting to know who I am at my core. I just find that very few people actually end up doing that in practical terms. I tend to be very open once I am comfortable with somebody and trust them and I also am pretty warm and welcoming of people once I am sure that they would not feel I'm invading their space.

    I think it's definitely true that we outwardly appear much more malleable to outsiders than we really are in terms of ideas and beliefs. We often don't speak out until we feel we understand the other person and until we have an idea of what their response would be to us being more open. If it appears that conflict would result, we would only do it if we believed there would be some ultimate purpose in doing so that would outweigh the negatives and emotional drain.

    In another sense, I probably have a lot more rigid boundaries about who I get involved with because I know that once a person is in with me emotionally and I trust them, they have a considerably amount of influence over me.

    I think these two aspects tend to confuse people a little bit about how responsive we really are or how we feel about them.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Forever_Jung's Avatar
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    Wow, this thread rang very true for me.

    I think first of all, this is not just an INFJ thing. I think a lot of people from different types would say similar things, and I find a lot of people tend to feel the way people perceive them is inaccurate.

    However, I do think, INFJs would be especially prone to these varying perceptions, since (A) A blank screen lends itself to projection (as was mentioned by other posters), and (B) even though INFJs are stoic and seem a bit blank, there still seems to be something there, like they're holding it back (usually they are, because they're waiting to see where everyone stands socially/value-wise before jumping in).

    My ENFP friend hates this INFJ we know, because she mistakes her quiet/aloof quality as being disinterested in what she has to say and thinks she's a "stuck-up bitch" (which couldn't be further from the truth from what I have seen). The only evidence she can provide to support this theory is: "she's so quiet!" Mind you, this ENFP is a bit unhealthy.

    In my personal experience I get VERY differing opinions about my personality. I sometimes resent these misconceptions, because I work very hard to cut to the core of other people's being, that when they judge me based on superficial info I feel as though they don't value me enough to make the same effort. But if someone assesses my character accurately, I get very excited. I really appreciate the effort.

    The one thing that people consistently get wrong is how they greatly overestimate my intelligence (I have glasses, and am a bit spacey, so I guess that helps). I think a lot of that has to do with living in the Maritimes haha

    When I played on my high school baseball team, I was known as "Rain Man", and they would speak to me condescendingly and thought that all I do is memorize numbers and facts alone at home, simply because I have a better memory than them and can perform basic arithmetic in my head. I don't mind that misconception too much though, because when you're in a group of jockish men, it's better to be perceived as intelligent than sensitive.

    Conversely, I have attracted a small group of people who basically use me as a free therapist/consultant and think I am some sort of sensitive, ethereal, poet type.

    And also a lot of people see me as a self-loathing stand-up comic type. That is a strangely prevalent notion IRL.

    All these differing perceptions of my personality make me feel a bit fake. But I just so naturally adjust my behaviour to different situations, who's to say that it's not "real"? It's not as though I am consciously trying to not be me.

  9. #19
    From the Undertow CuriousFeeling's Avatar
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    It does surprise people that I am into both the sciences and arts. Those who were science majors thought that I was just a science girl, and it was surprising to them that I would be artistically talented. It's the opposite way when it comes to the artists I hang out with, they get surprised that I am into science. I'm not one or the other... I'm both a scientist and artist.
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  10. #20
    violaine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasilisa View Post
    I don't delude myself that every man I encounter is falling in love with me, thats for sure.

    When I look at my life, starting in high school, it appears as though I have possibly had a larger proportion of male friends (both hetero and homosexual) than what is average especially in relation to my number of female friends. This is not to say I have anything against women or relationships with them. I typically have a very close relationship with one or two female best friends . I almost feel like many women might regard me as different from them and/or hard to understand, and thats slightly off-putting to them. Subsequently it becomes harder for us to connect, in no small part because I am shy. Whereas men, who naturally already regard me as different, are more likely to be captivated by an understanding nature and are drawn to someone who will be kind to them in an emotional exchange; and perhaps they are more likely to be demonstrative about it. Of course there are those people who say that men just want one thing, and that is something that weighs on me.

    Personal exchanges are my preference. Starting as a young adult, I got slapped with the hurtful label of being "stand-offish" by those who simply chose to perceive my introversion and reserved demeanor that way, and who didn't look further. (A few times I've heard the phrase "intimidating" used, but I'm not sure I believe that.) Yet, I often have people who rely intensely on me for my unique emotional nature and bond of friendship. I'm not going to act as if this is just some random phenomenon that has nothing to do with manifestations of my internal psyche - it mostly certainly does. Suffice to say, its a strange duality indeed.
    *slightly tangential to the OP*

    This is just like me. I was pretty reserved growing up and whenever I got to know someone better I would hear, "I used to think you were such a snob but you're nice." :-( If you are quiet or detached people just fill in the blanks. Introversion looks like stand-offishness to those who aren't introverted. (And god help you if you happen to also take care about how you look.)

    I've never had a problem getting along with men. Men are so easy to pal around with. Women are a different story. I think there is a social pecking order amongst women that usually involves a lot of false flattery and taking sides. I don't like it and I don't take part. I think that makes me seem really stand-offish and disapproving sometimes.

    I have a small group of female friends irl and I pretty much stick with them. I have so many stories of being open and nice and sweet just to find out that some woman is stabbing me in the back. It hurts and I am sensitive to it by now. It's usually been because of the person I'm dating. That makes me so mad because then it's like I don't even really exist in my own right. :/ I'm a little mistrustful of other women now and I'm sure that comes across irl, unfortunately.

    I wonder how common this is amongst women? I know that my part in it is that I don't pursue friendship with a woman past a certain point, so I'm having the same bad experiences over and over. (This prob sounds slightly odd but the exceptions are the women on this forum with whom I interact regularly. They have made me interested in befriending other women again for the first time in a really long time).

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