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  1. #11
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Hmm, I think this general subject is going to vary from one INFJ to the next, in terms of their own ability to set up boundaries and be OK with those boundaries - i.e. a healthy mix of selflessness and selfishness, and realizing that stating your needs and your own boundaries is in fact not a bad thing. Maybe this ties to enneagram? Surely upbringing too. I just know that while I have a few INFJ friends who I think have substantial difficulties with creating boundaries, I've always been more... stingy and selective with what I give, I guess. (btw, I'm not trying to make myself sound better, or anything, I'm just making an observation)


    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    What if these people are your family? Seriously, teach me -- I am 100% willing to learn, but I don't have the skills yet to figure this one out. Most of the less-close-to-me-people like this I've asked favors from, and then they complain or fail to deliver, and then the relationship ends because it was never mutual in the first place. I'm beginning to think that if I weren't an NF, the relationship would have just naturally fizzled out on its own.
    I guess my initial thought is, do you have expectations in the first place that they will/'should' respond as you would have responded to them?

    Also, I guess to me it seems sort of natural for the relationship to dissolve whenever it's discovered it's not mutual. Sometimes it's not possible to know this right away, just based on the nature of how relationships evolve and how you simply can't know everything from the get-go, but also over time if you're able to figure out your own needs/boundaries right from the beginning, and communicate those, then the 'right' relationships will follow as a result, and the relationships that wouldn't fit your own needs/boundaries wouldn't develop.

    I guess saying "no" and learning how to do so without guilt is probably the advice you'd give me... I have started just avoiding people who ask me for favors. What if the only reason I don't want to do a favor is because I know they'd never do something for me? Is the appropriate response "no, and here's why?" (I always feel like I have to explain). Or is it, "No, too busy". Or just, "I'm sorry, I cannot do that." Maybe I'll try the latter... Is that what you do ceecee?
    I think the inability to say 'No is a result of devaluing your own needs/self, habitually, and not realizing that again, it's OK to take care of yourself!! I mean, really! I guess this is the biggest part I have trouble relating to when it comes to other INFJ's... I've never had a problem saying No when I'm overextended. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'll go to great lengths with those I care for and my good friends, but those lengths are not a burden. I'm happy to do that. It feels natural. But when/if resentment would kick in, or I'm feeling I'm 'obligated' even if I really don't want to, to me that's a sign that I should look at it further, and ask myself WHY I'm feeling that way and WHY in fact I HAVE to do said thing. Because... most of the time, we don't. It's 100% in our power to say no and to build the types of dynamics we want in our life.

    -----------

    To the OP -

    I do hear what you're saying. But I think people for the most part are going to go with whatever we project/communicate to them. And, I'm not sure I can judge/blame them for doing that. So even though it would of course be *nice* for others to reciprocate what we do for them, first of all if it's not in their nature to do so, we probably don't have the 'right' to have that expectation out of them (this is where you ask yourself why you're in the relationship in the first place, or why you and you alone are giving so much). There's that possiblity. But secondly, there's the fact that they only know as much as we convey to them (unless of course you're dealing with another infj or someone who knows you well, etc ), so if we convey to them that we can take whatever's thrown our way, isn't it reasonable for them to think that that is in fact the case, even if it isn't? So as uncomfortable as it can be for us, it does fall on us to express/communicate our emotions/feelings more often, IF we're beginning to feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable, resentful, etc, and just in general to try to start embodying those expressions more regularly from the beginning. Not that it's easy, of course. It's hard to create potential conflict or show our less favorable sides.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    What if these people are your family? Seriously, teach me -- I am 100% willing to learn, but I don't have the skills yet to figure this one out. Most of the less-close-to-me-people like this I've asked favors from, and then they complain or fail to deliver, and then the relationship ends because it was never mutual in the first place. I'm beginning to think that if I weren't an NF, the relationship would have just naturally fizzled out on its own.
    They are your family. So? It makes no difference. Yes the relationship would likely have died on its own but the NF keeps on trying and blames themself to a degree and doesn't let it go, even for their own good.

    I guess saying "no" and learning how to do so without guilt is probably the advice you'd give me... I have started just avoiding people who ask me for favors. What if the only reason I don't want to do a favor is because I know they'd never do something for me? Is the appropriate response "no, and here's why?" (I always feel like I have to explain). Or is it, "No, too busy". Or just, "I'm sorry, I cannot do that." Maybe I'll try the latter... Is that what you do ceecee?
    Me? No I just say no. Hell no. If someone like that asked for a favor I would say....no because you don't return a favor. You're a user and a dickhead now just go away. I never make excuses in cases like this because they just come back again. You want a permanent solution.

    I understand NF's can't really do this. I do. I promise. You just need a asshole that cares about you to give you a push.

    The way you do it with no guilt is like this - In your mind you say, this person is a user. This person doesn't care about me. Would my life really be lacking without this person in it? Or would I be better without that negative vibe? List the pros and the cons in your head. It's likely that this person does more damage than you realize. You need that out of your life.
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  3. #13
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Thanks all, I definitely have comments and responses, but when I have a little more time...!
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  4. #14
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    I understand NF's can't really do this. I do. I promise. You just need a asshole that cares about you to give you a push.
    Thank you for being the asshole. And for clarifying that you can indeed curse on this forum.

    The way you do it with no guilt is like this - In your mind you say, this person is a user. This person doesn't care about me. Would my life really be lacking without this person in it? Or would I be better without that negative vibe? List the pros and the cons in your head. It's likely that this person does more damage than you realize. You need that out of your life.
    What I really like about your response is that it comes 1) at the moment something you dislike is happening and 2) it's clear to the other person what you dislike. "No, I can't help you with that. I've done you a lot of favors in the past..." and... I'm still getting stuck on the need to be diplomatic.

    I was really blunt with a friend the other day, and she just got offended and stopped communicating [she keeps calling me out for not writing her more letters/emails, but the thing is, I've written like 4-5 very thoughtful ones over the last year and she hasn't responded or even acknowledged them. I sent her back something of hers, and she said she wondered why there wasn't a letter in the package. I called her out on her past lack of acknowledgment and told her to have a nice life.]

    At first, I hated that she would drop me that quickly (saying that, in fact, I'd done exactly that). She didn't want to work it out. I thought that anyone who will leave at the first sign of being called out for something isn't worthwhile. Real friends and relationships can stick it out through some minor conflicts, even major. That's reasonable. Yes, it was mean of me to throw in the "have a nice life", particularly in writing where everything comes across very negative... but I've never been assertive before, and if my starting that process is a little faulty, so be it. It's a process.

    A friend like her is probably one that another temperament would have found just fizzled out -- does that ring true?

    <=seemed fitting.

  5. #15
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    Thank you for being the asshole. And for clarifying that you can indeed curse on this forum.
    You're welcome.

    What I really like about your response is that it comes 1) at the moment something you dislike is happening and 2) it's clear to the other person what you dislike. "No, I can't help you with that. I've done you a lot of favors in the past..." and... I'm still getting stuck on the need to be diplomatic.
    I think diplomacy is a good thing and I worked to develop the little bit that I have. Of course for me, it often comes out sounding like something The Godfather would say. At least that's what ENFJ man tells me. Like a cold threat veiled in calm words. I suspect when you learn to lay down the law, it's still going to be polite.

    I was really blunt with a friend the other day, and she just got offended and stopped communicating [she keeps calling me out for not writing her more letters/emails, but the thing is, I've written like 4-5 very thoughtful ones over the last year and she hasn't responded or even acknowledged them. I sent her back something of hers, and she said she wondered why there wasn't a letter in the package. I called her out on her past lack of acknowledgment and told her to have a nice life.]

    At first, I hated that she would drop me that quickly (saying that, in fact, I'd done exactly that). She didn't want to work it out. I thought that anyone who will leave at the first sign of being called out for something isn't worthwhile. Real friends and relationships can stick it out through some minor conflicts, even major. That's reasonable. Yes, it was mean of me to throw in the "have a nice life", particularly in writing where everything comes across very negative... but I've never been assertive before, and if my starting that process is a little faulty, so be it. It's a process.

    A friend like her is probably one that another temperament would have found just fizzled out -- does that ring true?
    I think have a nice life was fine, not mean but do you want someone this nitpicky and needy? No. Is being assertive a process? Yes but I think the more you do it, the easier it gets and you'll see some self-preservation is good for you. If they're hurt it's their problem, not yours. Other temperaments may never have gotten past someone demanding more emails/letters from them. I wouldn't.
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.

  6. #16
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascadeco View Post
    Hmm, I think this general subject is going to vary from one INFJ to the next, in terms of their own ability to set up boundaries and be OK with those boundaries - i.e. a healthy mix of selflessness and selfishness, and realizing that stating your needs and your own boundaries is in fact not a bad thing. Maybe this ties to enneagram? Surely upbringing too. I just know that while I have a few INFJ friends who I think have substantial difficulties with creating boundaries, I've always been more... stingy and selective with what I give, I guess. (btw, I'm not trying to make myself sound better, or anything, I'm just making an observation)
    I’m sure enneagram affects this, since I’m also e5 sp and don’t have as much trouble shutting people out on a personal level, but work relationships have sometimes been difficult for me.

    I think that being INFJ means being wired in such a way that our opinions are kept a distance from the surface, so we don’t immediately have access to them like many other people do. There are many internal filters that opinions need to go through before finally getting articulated. Presenting opinions that are fair and well-thought out seems to be a big part of identity for many INFJs, it’s a common staple among us, and anything presented before it’s been fully cooked doesn’t feel especially representative of who we are. [I’m starting to think this might be a good indicator of whether or not someone is INFJ or INFP, but anyway…] I don’t know how many people have dealt with an INFJ who impulsively jumps to conclusions and sticks to them (perhaps shadow ESTP manifestation), but it’s not pretty. At all. They *think* their judgment is rational, but it’s usually extremely narrow-minded; in conjunction with being PiJe (making us obstinate, less malleable in the moment to change) = . PeJi (or JiPe) might come up with judgments equally as half-baked, but they are more reasonable in the moment, more able to take outside opinion into consideration.

    So anyway, it seems like the rest of the world moves at a much faster pace than we do- presenting their opinions and making decisions about things much faster than we are comfortable with doing. Going at a faster pace makes us feel like we aren’t really ‘being ourselves’, in the sense that we weren’t able to let decisions slowly run their course through all the filters. Stimulus in our environment triggers introverted intuitions that we feel the need to incorporate into our outward projection of ourselves- and we can only make fast decisions if the problem at hand resembles something we’ve processed before (and therefore have a solution ready-at-hand). I’m not certain this is something that applies across the board to all INFJs, I just know I’ve heard enough INFJs express similar sentiments to believe it’s a common problem.

    It’s been the case very often for me, at work, that some element of change- or proposed change- presented in my environment won’t sit right with me. For me, an articulated protest has to go through so many internal filters first that I’m not able to act on it as quickly as most people- this often gets interpreted as me being okay with the change, when I’m not. I still don’t know how to answer “But why didn’t you say anything at the time?” I usually even mask my discontent, because if the person picks up on cues that I’m not satisfied- but I won’t talk about why- it gets perceived as being passive aggressive, which is embarrassing. I do get frustrated when changes are made at a faster pace than I can process, and my compliance seems taken for granted because I’m not sure how to express “I don’t like this, but I can’t explain why yet.” And I’m not sure how much weight I should expect others to give something like that anyway.

    In personal matters, though (probably at the affect of being e5 sp), I tend to write off someone’s judgment rather easily once I suspect it’s questionable. And I don’t really feel obligated to give someone an explanation, especially if they’re impatient with me about how fast I’m able to come up with those kinds of answers. Ties can’t easily be severed like that at work, so long as I work with the same people. But in personal relationships- I just don’t have the patience to deal with it. Family is a bit more tricky, because they can't be written off as easily either: I often come off as obstinate and hard to deal with, because I refuse to put up with things that don't seem fair. For some reason, because I don't 'choose' to have those people around, I can deal with them having whatever opinion of me they need to have- I just refuse to bend when I don't think I should have to. I think being e5 sp leads me to being far more okay with a curmudgeonly stick-in-the-mud label than with being stretched too far in too many directions by other people.
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  7. #17
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    Do these people matter in your life? So someone observed this and think you lack passion? And? Show them something you are passionate about. I know my ENFJ and would never say he lacks passion in the areas he's clearly passionate about, neither would anyone close to him.
    No, honestly, that probably was not something I should take seriously. Anyone who has heard me go on about poetry, Sherlock Holmes or ethics wouldn't say that...or shouldn't. I think that was a case of a couple of people not knowing me as well as I thought they did. Anyone who knows me at all "well" would know that I am very passionate about a lot of things.

    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post

    Clearly he assumed you were a doormat at some point and continued to treat you like one. What did you do to foster this idea in his head? Not saying he isn't a dick, I'm just saying there is a reason he felt he could treat you like nothing and a reason why you allowed it in the first place..
    It was years ago, I was young, and he was younger...not that that's an excuse. But yeah, I guess. I felt the mistake I made there was not getting mad when he started doing the "well, I'm having doubts about this relationship because you don't make me feel as fantastic as my ex did." I was inexperienced and infatuated and thought "oh no! I'm doing something wrong! It's my fault!" To my credit, I guess I did want to work at things but accepting the unacceptable was my fault up to a point at least. It was also interesting that others told me later that the ex who had made him feel so fantastic was constantly miserable and had eventually cheated and dumped him on his head - I guess she didn't feel so fantastic!

    Of course, later after we broke up I wrote him an 8-page letter telling him everything he'd done wrong...I think that was a surprise to him after me being patient and kind and trying to work things through to the point of door-mattery

    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    Oh I loooooove this one. These are not friends. They should be told they are not friends and exactly why. And don't do practical favors, free therapy or allow emotional vampires to suck you dry. This is 100% in your control. .
    Yeah, that's why I put "friends" in quotes...I completely hear you. I think part of my problem is that I tend to wake up and find myself in the middle of situations. I don't actually mind doing favours or a bit of free therapy. I think those can form part of good friendships quite easily. But it is not good if that's all you're doing and they are not reciprocating. Sometimes by the time I realise this is the dynamic, I am in the middle of it. I do tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and be too trusting, often. Perhaps I need to develop a better radar for this, in part.

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    ceecee - I really agree with you here. One of the biggest things I've learned about myself through the years is that you teach people how to treat you by the way that you value your time or by what you accept from them. I've realized that some of the natural ways I have of responding to people can either attract those who are needy or those who won't value the efforts being made for them. I've had to learn to prioritize, rather than only responding to the most demanding person in the lineup, to say no sometimes and realized that you can be quite pleasant while still defending your boundaries. That allows you to have enough resources to take care of your own needs and the needs of those in your care, and even a little bit more for those who genuinely need and will value the help you can give. I believe the NFJs generally sometimes have difficulties with drawing hard and fast lines for others (plus we always see exceptions to the rules we make for ourselves), so it is something that requires a little bit of self-scripting so that when an unreasonable request is made, we have already thought out how we can respond appropriately.
    As shown by some threads I've created about delayed reactions and so forth, one of the problems I experience is that I let people violate my boundaries for a while because I'm not sure how to deal with it, or I'm in the middle of the situation already, or whatever...and then I freak out and establish a bunch of borders very harshly. Establishing boundaries from the outset, more gently, is something else I should work on.
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  8. #18
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    To silk -- in college, I had several younger friends who came to me for reassurance, help, support, etc. When my life basically fell apart 1.5 years ago, they were nowhere to be found (we don't talk anymore since our whole relationship was based on me being giving). People call me "happy all the time" even at some of my worst points. I wonder how they can be that dense, but, apparently, that's what's normal. Seeming "together". My GOODNESS I hear that all the time - I'm kind of enjoying how there's an advantage to that now, at least professionally, but there was a time when I was like... wondering how I could hurt so much, yet be so invisible (this is after the traumatic event/life falling apart bit).
    I swear, I think the "happy all the time" and "so together" stuff is actually attributable to us not inflicting our emotional states on all and sundry willy-nilly. Apparently in some ways it's better to have tantrums, screaming fits and nervous breakdowns in public! It's just not me, I'm afraid.

    Quote Originally Posted by cascadeco View Post
    To the OP -

    I do hear what you're saying. But I think people for the most part are going to go with whatever we project/communicate to them. And, I'm not sure I can judge/blame them for doing that. So even though it would of course be *nice* for others to reciprocate what we do for them, first of all if it's not in their nature to do so, we probably don't have the 'right' to have that expectation out of them (this is where you ask yourself why you're in the relationship in the first place, or why you and you alone are giving so much). There's that possiblity. But secondly, there's the fact that they only know as much as we convey to them (unless of course you're dealing with another infj or someone who knows you well, etc ), so if we convey to them that we can take whatever's thrown our way, isn't it reasonable for them to think that that is in fact the case, even if it isn't? So as uncomfortable as it can be for us, it does fall on us to express/communicate our emotions/feelings more often, IF we're beginning to feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable, resentful, etc, and just in general to try to start embodying those expressions more regularly from the beginning. Not that it's easy, of course. It's hard to create potential conflict or show our less favorable sides.
    Thanks. It's becoming clearer to me that a lot of my problems result from me not conveying my needs/boundaries etc adequately (at an earlier stage where I can still be relatively gentle about it) and having increased resentment because of that. I wonder if as an INFJ I find people relatively transparent, or it's just Fe and I don't believe in burdening people, etc, but I guess I assume that I'm easier to understand than I am, perhaps because I often understand others better than I give myself credit for? Though sometimes I think people just don't treat each other with basic decency. I'm just so used to over-apologising when I inflict my problems to even a minor degree on anyone. A lot of people are quite the opposite, it seems.

    EDIT: I seem to be creating a lot of threads on this theme or this sort of theme lately. I guess it has been a bit of a theme in my life. Though realistically, only a bit of one. Partly through my own efforts and partly through being blessed, I mostly have had good people in my life. It's just that there are times when all the fails - even if their numbers are not legion - home in on you, and it seems to be the story of your entire life. I think that's where I'm at the last while, since early this year. Sometimes one or two things that go wrong just remind you of absolutely everything.
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  9. #19
    Peaced Quay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I swear, I think the "happy all the time" and "so together" stuff is actually attributable to us not inflicting our emotional states on all and sundry willy-nilly. Apparently in some ways it's better to have tantrums, screaming fits and nervous breakdowns in public! It's just not me, I'm afraid.
    oh gawd this is one of my worst fears. I had a meltdown in public before, maybe when i was 19 or so...it was just not pretty at all. People were shrinking back and cringing, fingertips to their lips, lol. I try REALLY hard to not get to this point.

    I also agree with not subjecting people to my highly-charged emotional states. Even when I am extremely happy, I keep it under wraps.

    A lot of it is feeling like...hm...if I consistently show how extreme I can be, will the person be able to handle it? I know this is presumptuous, but the times I have shown this part of me, the results were never good for any of the parties involved. I'm just cautious now.

  10. #20
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quay View Post
    oh gawd this is one of my worst fears. I had a meltdown in public before, maybe when i was 19 or so...it was just not pretty at all. People were shrinking back and cringing, fingertips to their lips, lol. I try REALLY hard to not get to this point.

    I also agree with not subjecting people to my highly-charged emotional states. Even when I am extremely happy, I keep it under wraps.

    A lot of it is feeling like...hm...if I consistently show how extreme I can be, will the person be able to handle it? I know this is presumptuous, but the times I have shown this part of me, the results were never good for any of the parties involved. I'm just cautious now.
    ...but do you ever feel like the people who do behave that way are the ones who get ahead in life? Perhaps because others know that they'll make THEIR lives a misery if they don't assist the drama queen? On my bitter days, I wonder

    I do find it difficult to find a middle ground between being a doormat and being a high-maintenance bitch, I think. Though I was genuinely a doormat when I was a bit younger (like when I was first out on my own) and gradually over the years I have become less so. Still, part of the problem is that there tends to be a part of me that thinks, if I assert myself "oh, I'm just being mean now". And some people, probably the users, are happy to encourage you to feel that way.
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