Not everyone seems to understand this concept, and it is annoying although (I suppose) well meant.
I have one friend (probably ISFJ) who I consider one of my gurus and who completely believes in this - allowing yourself the feelings that you're having, not making things worse by making yourself feel you should not have them, etc. She understands the value of working through difficult feelings and eventually being able to gently put them aside (well, that's the hope). Not that she believes in wallowing, but acknowledging that your feelings are valid.
Then there are the others... I guess I'm just a bit annoyed now. I'd told a friend (probably ENFP) about feeling low recently and some frustrations/disappointments: an apparent romantic opportunity with someone I liked a lot which failed to materialize; being a bit drained by trying to help out a troubled teen; etc.
Her responses were just very...well, I'd tried to explain that I can't just leave the teenager in the lurch (although I've been helping her to get help by going to the doctor for depression, getting a couple of other trusted adults on side, etc). Her response: "Well, you've obviously done what you can now so just leave it! You can check in with her later!" I want to say "well, it's not really that type of situation and you don't know much about the situation anyway..."
And as for the romantic disappointment... "Why are you feeling sad about someone who obviously didn't care much anyway? You said he was at least a good friend but obviously he wasn't!! He obviously doesn't want you in his life at all any more! Why have negative feelings about that?" Again, a situation I didn't even give much detail about.
Urgh...just ALLOW ME MY FEELINGS. No, I'm not wallowing, no, I'm not burying myself ever deeper in situations that are just going to make things feel more hard and sad. I'm doing my best with the way things are going and the way I'm feeling.
I dunno, I'm a bit sensitive at the moment. Or maybe I'm just a wimp. But I prefer it if people give my feelings (which are surely not outrageous or laughable or totally unreasonable) some validation and then some gentle suggestions with how to deal/move on. Not suggesting that my feelings aren't even valid.
Is it type related, do you think?
I don't know if it's type related. But for me, I need to feel that my feelings are heard and not judged. I've usually thought through all the various scenerios or possibilities (Ne) and so I need an ear to give me a sense that my scenerios are correct or way off. I dislike when I'm judged or when someone dismisses the situation as, "You think too much..it's obvious." I loved it when a good friend of mine said recently: "Every situation is different." Not everything is predictable based on what the majority of people experience. There's a lot of experiences/variables/ out there. I guess that I basicaly don't like to be judged and someone offer a pat answer (a good friend recently offered "you should be over this...call it what it is." That's just not helpful to me or what I need in the moment. I also don't like my feelings to be disregarded. If someone is kind enough to acknowledge those feelings, then I'm more open to listen to the logic of a situation.
Any Fi users I have been close to tend to deal with their emotions quite internally. Even when a value is stepped on and they speak out, it doesn't seem to be so much to rouse other people into action that is beyond the Fi users personal realm of influence, but rather to express something important, almost for conscience sake or to be true to oneself (I mean, I don't know what it looks like internally, but from my perspective, that's what it is looks like they are doing). This seems really foreign to extroverted feeling which needs more outside input to be able to find resolution. I notice my INFP friend's biggest struggle with her problems is working through them within herself, but once that has been done, nothing in her outward world needs to change for her to feel closure. For me, I need information that helps make things make sense or a chance to resolve something with someone. With that kind of closure, I can quickly get over problems, even if the outcome wasn't ideal. Without it, it takes me a lot longer to work through and I have to let it get so old that the intensity of my feelings have subsided. This is especially true with people I have been close to or dated. Straightforward agreement of the issues and decision to part ways is fine. Unaccounted for or unexplained behaviour with no way to get further perspective or information is crippling to me.
Though I'm an Fi, I relate to all of this, Fidelia. I can find closure on my own but it's unsatisfying in some ways. I may tell myself that I've found closure but I usally have lingering questions or doubts about what I could have done or what the other person was feeling. I would much rather talk about something, even if the outcome isn't ideal. At least then you can ground truth what you have experienced with someone you care for. You actually hear what they say, rather than imagining what is going on. That imagining may be based on firm intuition and a good read of things but it's not the same as actually talking. Talking is more fearful but definitely worth it.
Beyond all this, the subtleties layered on subtlety is just confusing. I mean anything could be read between the lines. Was the purpose of this whole post to get help with that teenager? And that romantic thing? Or are you actually talking about what you are talking about? How could someone know?
True: the OP was directed more toward validating feelings first and moving from there. The second part of my post ("the cycle") was presented to show that I have familiarity and experience with the topic from which I am drawing my opinions. I understand that it is important to direct your comments toward other people in ways they will understand. But the person on the receiving end must adjust to the other person and their comments.
It's frustrating to see useful or productive advice go to waste when the person on the receiving end seemingly refuses to process it because it didn't follow the format that they wanted. It's especially frustrating when there are claims that the person who is giving the advice is cast as preventing the other person from having their emotions - as if that having a different viewpoint means that the other person can't have theirs.
Could this be explained or addressed?
Ok, it's twenty to two in the morning, but I'll try again.
In this particular case my gut reaction was that the ENFP was giving a bunch of pat answers/solutions which in part didn't even have a basis in what I had told her. ie. she told me I should just let other people look after the teenager I've been helping out, and give myself a complete break, but she does not know enough about the situation to understand that this is nearly impossible and would have plenty of negative effects for the teen and those around her.
This thread has helped me to realise that the ENFP wasn't trying to dismiss or invalidate my feelings but was trying to be helpful - at least, that's the hope. I think, as with so many things, that adjustment is needed on both sides. I need to understand that other people will not always express themselves in exactly the "format" which is best suited to me, but they may still have very worthwhile things to say. Other people need to show themselves to be a friend to me (if that is the relationship we have, and it probably is if I'm telling them about my life) not only by offering advice, but by taking my feelings and the fact that I may possibly be more sensitive than usual in that moment (definitely the case currently) due to whatever I'm experiencing.
And no, the original purpose of this thread was not to get help with helping out a troubled teen or with a romantic disappointment. I've had threads about those elsewhere! Mainly it was to vent about what I perceived as an invalidation/dismissal of my feelings by a friend. What I actually enjoyed about the thread was that people took the time to discuss how INFJs and ENFPs (and other types, indeed) can help each other out better in these situations, and how we shouldn't necessarily jump to conclusions about people's motives due to their communication styles.
I'm not sure if you were intending on this (in all honesty, you probably weren't) but the connotation of this thread title kind of bothers me. personally, no one has the authority to "allow" me to feel the way I'm feeling. the notion that someone could even think they have the right to "allow" someone to feel a certain way is sorta troubling to me. anyway, just my 2 cents
I would like to add that, having experienced life with my ENFP sister - my need to process through my feelings at length is not something that is always necessary for her. She seems to reach a balance quickly (most of the time) whereas I seem to reach a balance very very slowly. I notice this in me and in the other NFJs in my close circle. We just can't shake things off - it has to melt off or evaporate in the sun, but one moment too soon and you get resentment or a sense of having been robbed or evaded by something you wished to understand better.
She allows me to feel what I'm feeling and vice versa, but there was a surprise for both her and me over our monumentally different needs in the area of processing time. If we have a fight, I may be angry for an hour while she's angry for 10 minutes.
YESSSS this is such a good point! my NFJ friend and i have VASTLY different emotional processing times. i used to get really freaked out thinking she was very seriously angry at me because of how long she would need after an argument before we could talk again. but that wasn't true, she just needed a longer cooling period than me.
Originally Posted by fidelia
Fi users need to remember that noise from Fe users is a healthy sign and quietness is usually a sign of something less good. That's why Fe-ers get so panicky when they get no information from you guys on what is going on internally and they assume the very worst. Fe tends to hold back, especially on all things negative unless they feel comfortable with the person and welcomed to do so, so they are kind of going out on a limb and showing you that same kind of genuine mask-dropping when they vent. They hope that you will not suddenly view them as a mean or as an incompetent person for doing so because they already feel vulnerable.
this is very helpful to know... Fi quiet is accepting, i assume silence as accepting. will take note that not everyone does.
So, as far as questions to ask. Look for what is different that this person's usual way of operating. [etc]
awesome, thank you
Originally Posted by Tallulah
These are the times when the Fe user needs to hear that emotional support, though. It's a very confusing time, and those emotions and the situation need to be figured out before they can be dismissed. A Fe user might know that a guy is bad for her or not worth her time, but she has to reconcile that with the fact that she does feel something for him; it might not even make sense to her, but she has to work through it. Sometimes several times, IME, just to really get a clear read on the situation. She's working towards a solution, but a solution presented too soon makes her feel like she shouldn't have those feelings to begin with, and is just being silly or foolish. Which delays the process of getting over it. She might have to mourn the idea of his potential, rather than who he actually was, which isn't a straightforward thing to come to terms with. She has to figure out whether she was lying to herself to make it work. Etc., etc. Emotional support helps here, as does helping her to confirm an accurate read of the situation, and confirming to her that she did all she could do to make it work on her end.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I do think it's easiest to do this stuff with folks who process things in a similar way. It's just easier not to have to bridge communication gaps on top of working through the problem at hand.
this is a great explanation, thanks. i think you're right that it's easier to process with those who are similar... though when i get to the end of things, i often find that someone who thinks rather differently is more helpful to me than someone who thinks similarly. and because most of the people i currently hang out with are mainly FJs and couple INTPs, knowing this anyway will definitely be valuable