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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default INFJ complexity...

    Most type descriptions of INFJs say that they are complex individuals. I think that most people who are INFJs relate to this on some level, either with despair, or with pride, or some mixture of the two.

    Do you think others perceive us as complex, or is it more that we perceive ourselves as complex?

    For myself, I think others perceive me as highly intelligent (not saying that to boast, it's just I've been told that enough times!!) and with a wide and somewhat eclectic variety of interests and pursuits...but that they also perceive me as fairly straightforward, in the way that I interact with others. I think (partly from my own observation of myself, and partly from others' comments) that I usually come across as quite engaging and adaptable with others. I also get comments like "sensible but fun."

    However, I think others start to perceive me as complex when I have dark moods and strong emotions which I sometimes (not always) have difficulty hiding; when I speak passionately about things which others see just as light pastimes or abstract moral concepts; when I have what seem to be disproportionate emotional reactions which I can speak about logically but can't really control otherwise; or when I behave in a way that seems quite inconsistent with my usually consistent approach to life and people (ie. I'm seen as a caring friend but if I get to a point where I just can't emotionally handle being around someone, I drop them/disappear. Very infrequently, but it does happen.) I think people can also be confused by the fact that I seem to bear some setbacks/challenges with equanimity and resilience, when they would knock a lot of people over...but then I get knocked over and have great difficulty recovering from things which many/most others see as being no big deal.

    I guess I do think of myself as complex but I wish I wasn't. I am finding it very exhausting and I find it difficult when I can't predict how I'm going to feel, especially in that realm of disproportionate emotional reactions. Probably I am getting better at predicting those reactions as I get a bit older and develop more self-knowledge and coping skills. But just as in life there are experiences which are always even better than you remember or think they're going to be, there are experiences which are always worse than you recall them being the last time, and that's hard to cope with.

    Lately I feel as though I am standing on the parapet, seriously considering throwing down the boiling oil. Or I'm running through a maze, further hampered by sticky threads entangling me, or masses of cotton wool.
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  2. #2
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Like the old saying about garbage/treasure: one man's "complex" is another man's "painfully high maintenance". I think I run the gamut, as far as whether other people find me complex [edit: meaning that some people don't perceive it as 'complex' so much as 'too much high maintenance']. And I sort of vacillate between the two, as far as my own opinion is concerned.
    Last edited by Z Buck McFate; 04-16-2011 at 09:18 AM.
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  3. #3
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    Like the old saying about garbage/treasure: one man's "complex" is another man's "painfully high maintenance". I think I run the gamut, as far as whether other people find me complex. And I sort of vacillate between the two, as far as my own opinion is concerned.
    Yes... A lot depends on what side of you people get to see. Different people see different aspects of you in life, unless you're very very close to them. Even then I'm not sure anyone gets to see the whole picture.

    I think others occasionally describe me as complex, but it's interesting that I NEVER get called high-maintenance. In fact, people have often told me specifically that I am the opposite. Unfortunately, that can also lead to them underestimating my emotional reactions, which leads to me feeling unappreciated and like I'm being taken advantage of...etc etc. That's the generally calm exterior with the roiling cauldron of interlaced emotions underneath.
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  4. #4
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    It's possible we have different associations for "complexity". I have a positive association with it, as if it means a good thing. And nothing is a good thing to all people.

    I've had many people feel that I make things 'more complicated than they need to be'. Whereas it seems to me like I happen to notice how things are more complicated than they initially seem. Anyone who generally doesn't want things to get more complicated than they initially seem is going to find me a pain in the ass. I do what I can to keep it out of other people's way, but not everyone can be avoided and sometimes it gets on other's nerves (and really, they get on mine- so no biggie).
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  5. #5
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    It's possible we have different associations for "complexity". I have a positive association with it, as if it means a good thing. And nothing is a good thing to all people.

    I've had many people feel that I make things 'more complicated than they need to be'. Whereas it seems to me like I happen to notice how things are more complicated than they initially seem. Anyone who generally doesn't want things to get more complicated than they initially seem is going to find me a pain in the ass. I do what I can to keep it out of other people's way, but not everyone can be avoided and sometimes it gets on other's nerves (and really, they get on mine- so no biggie).
    I think whether I feel that "complex" is positive or negative is very dependent on my emotional state generally. There are certainly times when I feel that being "complex" allows me to see below the surface of things, that it makes me more interesting, that it makes life richer and more interesting for me, etc. However, if I'm feeling tired and overwhelmed, I'm probably just going to feel that my complexity makes me prone to being misunderstood. I guess that's more where I'm at currently. It's very context-dependent...

    As for the second part of your comment, I hear you. Well, sometimes I feel about myself that I may be making things more complicated than they actually are. But then again, I basically think that things ARE complicated.
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  6. #6
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    People tend to claim I'm complex one way or another.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    I'm not sure the word "complex" is an appropriate description, since that implies that some types are "simpler" than others, or have less "substance"... Maybe the term "nonlinear" is closer to the gist of it?

  8. #8
    Badoom~ Skyward's Avatar
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    I'm seen as odd rather than complex thanks to a lack of rigid mental processes due to the Ni/Se combination is less about weaving facts together than naturally seeing how they all do/might connect. It's instinctive. Sometimes I have profound insight into other people, and other times I'm dumber than a box of hammers.

    I envy Si users (NPs, SJs) and their stable intellectual structure. Consciously remember facts, connect them together. I have to hope facts stick to the gelatinous substance that is my Ni-based psyche and then I can use them naturally, without consciously thinking.

    I'm not sure the word "complex" is an appropriate description, since that implies that some types are "simpler" than others, or have less "substance"... Maybe the term "nonlinear" is closer to the gist of it?
    Nonlinear is a good term. There are definitely other types that are 'simpler' because they are more straightforward. INFJs, in general, aren't straightforward.
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  9. #9
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    "Nonlinear" probably is good. "Complex" does seem to get thrown around in a lot of INFJ type descriptions though. They may just be copying each other.

    I remember reading a great comment in another thread some time back, re INFJs and this question. I think it may have been Fidelia (very likely!). It was something to the effect that the essence of who an INFJ is tends to be buried rather deep or there are many layers - their essence isn't close to the surface. In some other types it is closer to the surface, which just basically means that it's easier to get a handle on who people of those types are, easier to get something close to the whole picture. With an INFJ you may be more likely to just get glimpses of their essence/soul and those may or may not add up to a coherent picture. Or the "coherent picture" may not be terribly accurate.

    I certainly feel very exposed if I think I'm showing a lot of myself to someone and I don't have full trust in them. There is also the ever-present danger that I think I can trust them fully but in the end I can't so it will turn out to be another big mistake... I daresay in my case this may also have to do with being e6.

    I think Ni is really doing my head in these days. I feel really overloaded very easily and stuck in various exhausting loops which are terribly difficult to break/break out of.

    However, I also think that I have pretty strong Fe and that this probably makes me seem more stable and straightforward than I actually am...I suspect...

    Oh, and I relate to sometimes being fantastically intuitive and perceiving things that virtually no one else can, and other times being painfully stupid and not seeing what is screamingly obvious to everyone else.
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  10. #10
    Senor Membrane
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    I don't think you are complex. The things that can be seen as complexity come from the fact that an INFJ is more likely to not adapt well to the world. I don't mean it to sound like you should, by the way... It's just that the inner compass you guys seem to have is something that isn't easily explained. I know a couple of INFJs and it is quite obvious to me that there are strict ethical guidelines in what they do with their lives, but it's not like I've ever seen them make a bulletpoint presentation of them. I can see the direction they are going, and when they make a decision I can understand that it is something that fits the person, but I can't necessarily see the logic. So, maybe you are complex to people who value bulletpoints...?

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