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  1. #1
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    Default INFPs and Social Masking

    This is a common phenomenon. As far as I know, every human being does it often.

    This thread is specifically in regards to how INFPs do it. I've read in many descriptions, and heard from them directly, that it's a major theme in their lives, and if they don't do it more than most, they at least notice themselves doing it more than most.

    The masks are as much a part of the person as the "real self" (or the face, by this metaphour), it's simply that the "real self" is something the person is more comfortable with, identifies with more, is what they show to themselves (when alone), and is the consistent theme that doesn't change like the masks do. It is their "core", so to speak.

    The various masks I am familiar with:

    Childish
    Unserious/joking
    Apathetic
    Vulgar/Shock value
    Cruel
    Stoic
    Agreeable

    Unlike when actually being those traits, using them as a mask I feel a big internal conflict, but currently find it difficult to stop. Especially if the interaction is rapid (anything aside from email/forum writing). This is aggravated further by, if the "face" starts to show, I retreat fast or regret it later. It leads to isolation, lack of intimacy, much regret, people getting a false impression, being misunderstood and many other negative things. Taking the masks off however, seems worse.

    So what do you think of all this?
    Are INFPs more prone to masking?
    Do they just notice it more/are more concerned with it?
    Or are they nothing special when it comes to this?
    Anything else?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Santosha's Avatar
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    The two INFP's I have known really well didn't appear to mask, to me. Maybe that was because I was a close friend though. But even when we were around other people, they still seemed to be themsevles. Maybe a bit less revealing, or more quiet, or less likely to get silly. So I am curious about this masking you speak of. I will say that my one INFP friend and I met while working foreclosures. It was a tough job, listening to people loosing their homes and not wanting to. I think that there were times that the NF in us wanted to say 'fuck the system' and 'forget' to start foreclosure proceedings on certain people. Maybe misfile certian legal action. (Ofcourse we never did this because we both realized we needed our own jobs).. but I did see the one INFP take on a seriously stern, unbending, uncompromising persona when dealing with people. This was definately a mask, but I believe it was a mask we all had to wear to some degree.
    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun - Watts

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    The two INFP's I have known really well didn't appear to mask, to me.
    What gender were they?

    One of my suspicions is that this phenomenon is related to a specific type of INFP. Males will be hugely overrepresented in it because of differing social expectations.

    I will mention that all my friends don't see the masking. I've been doing it for as long as I can remember, and essentially don't open up, so there's little for them to go on.

  4. #4
    morose bourgeoisie
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    I don't think this is something specific to INFPs. everyone does it.

  5. #5
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    I found it much harder to do masks when I was younger. I so wanted to stay true to myself and my feelings! Regardless of the outcome!!!11111oneone

    Now that I am a little bit older, I find it easier to deal with having to wear masks.

    For instance, one of my biggest problems has been when I feel a negative emotion towards another person. If this person was just an aquaintance or stranger, then I had a VERY hard time not showing my irritation/annoyance/anger/whatever. I had my little INFP "genuine" flag waving whole heartedly. Now that I have grown up a little, gotten a bit wiser on social sitations, I have learned to reevaluate this belief-action system. I realized that I was so fixated on being true to myself, that I was causing conflict and being rude when I didn't need to be. Being genuine is very important to me, but so are peace-keeping, and being polite.

    Since this little epiphany, I have tried to be better about maintaining the peace/politeness in situations that I would prefer not to be. It is still difficult at times. But I have gotten better at it the more I practice.

    The problem I now have is learning when it is ok to say, enough is enough, back off, to people. I am concerned I will go overboard and go to far and be mean.

    This is a situation I am currently experiencing with an old and "good" friend of mine. My mom died last year and it has been very difficult for me to deal with. Her mom just moved to Florida. This is a difficult situation for her. Compared to my situation, it's a walk in the park. And I wouldn't think anything of it, except, every time we hang out together she complains about how hard her life is because of her mom being in Florida. It pisses me off!! However, I put my nonemotional mask on and I shut down my emotions inside and let the moment ride past because I fear what I will say if I don't do this. The satisfying thing would be for me to just go off on her and tell her what a selfish child I think she is at times, and how self-absorbed and stupid she is. But this probably would not be a good thing.

    I rambled a bit longer than perhaps I should have, but I hope this helps with your quest for understanding the weirdness of being INFP.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saturned View Post
    but I hope this helps with your quest for understanding the weirdness of being INFP.
    Ha, it only makes it more confusing, but thanks for sharing.

    My childhood was very different. I started out being myself in isolation (certainly never around others), but eventually even that changed. Masks everywhere, basically. Later on I was very reluctant to be myself at any time, but have slowly been able to come out during prolonged isolation.

    I know others that had a similar experience. Some will likely post here, if they don't choose to mask it ().

    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    I don't think this is something specific to INFPs. everyone does it.
    Yes everyone does it, as I said. How much INFPs do it, and how and why they do it are the things I'm trying to focus on here.

    If you think INFPs are the same as everyone else in this regard, fair enough, but what you've said is ambiguous about that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saturned View Post
    I This is a situation I am currently experiencing with an old and "good" friend of mine. My mom died last year and it has been very difficult for me to deal with. Her mom just moved to Florida. This is a difficult situation for her. Compared to my situation, it's a walk in the park. And I wouldn't think anything of it, except, every time we hang out together she complains about how hard her life is because of her mom being in Florida. It pisses me off!! However, I put my nonemotional mask on and I shut down my emotions inside and let the moment ride past because I fear what I will say if I don't do this. The satisfying thing would be for me to just go off on her and tell her what a selfish child I think she is at times, and how self-absorbed and stupid she is. But this probably would not be a good thing.
    Why not go ahead and take the "satisfying" route - minus calling her "stupid". Tactfully. Not in a way that would burn bridges, but in a very straightforward way. Nothing wrong with calling her out on her overdramatized, out-of-proportion whining. In fact, she probably deserves to hear the truth from a friend about how she's acting - cuz she probably doesn't realize it.

    But, what do I know? Does INFP Te have a way of being too blunt, therefore making the INFP hesitant to give voice to what you really think (in fear of alienating or hurting people)?

    I know for me, in these type situations, I usually let loose with some blunt Ti to show them how idiotic they are acting and then if it becomes evident that they are feeling about 2 inches tall, I'll kind of feel bad and use Fe to "build them back up". Like, "hey, don't sweat it. I needed to tell you how you were acting, but you know we're still BFF's (lol), right? Look, I'll buy your dinner. On me. In fact, go ahead and order the best dessert on the menu - my treat. Indulge yourself."

    Then they know I'm not disowning them or stating that I hate them - but they also know that I will most definitely tell them the truth when they are acting a fool. I wonder how that all plays out in the mind of INFP's.
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

  8. #8
    Glycerine
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    Why not go ahead and take the "satisfying" route - minus calling her "stupid". Tactfully. Not in a way that would burn bridges, but in a very straightforward way. Nothing wrong with calling her out on her overdramatized, out-of-proportion whining. In fact, she probably deserves to hear the truth from a friend about how she's acting - cuz she probably doesn't realize it.

    But, what do I know? Does INFP Te have a way of being too blunt, therefore making the INFP hesitant to give voice to what you really think (in fear of alienating or hurting people)?

    I know for me, in these type situations, I usually let loose with some blunt Ti to show them how idiotic they are acting and then if it becomes evident that they are feeling about 2 inches tall, I'll kind of feel bad and use Fe to "build them back up". Like, "hey, don't sweat it. I needed to tell you how you were acting, but you know we're still BFF's (lol), right? Look, I'll buy your dinner. On me. In fact, go ahead and order the best dessert on the menu - my treat. Indulge yourself."

    Then they know I'm not disowning them or stating that I hate them - but they also know that I will most definitely tell them the truth when they are acting a fool. I wonder how that all plays out in the mind of INFP's.
    @ Saturned:

    From a purely Fe perspective. You could also hint at another perspective and that can put in her place. I wouldn't say your friend is being "stupid" or "overreacting". Maybe she just hasn't dealt with that type of thing before? Your life does seem to have more struggles but there seems to be a fine balance between comparing one's struggles to those of others and discounting theirs just because one has "bigger" problems. I would say, "hey look, it must be really hard for you that your mom is moving away but at least be glad that your mom is still alive and you guys can visit. I don't have that luxury because my mom passed way." This usually works wonders and people go "oh" and shut up about their lives.

  9. #9
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    The untempered opinion of an annoyed/angry infp is like a sword through the heart....and thats putting it midly =]

  10. #10
    Glycerine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tantive View Post
    The untempered opinion of an annoyed/angry infp is like a sword through the heart....and thats putting it midly =]
    Is it bad that I want to laugh at them when they go into that mode? I find untempered inferior Te to be quite humorous.

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