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  1. #321
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    Great posts, Fineline.
    -----------------

    A man builds. A parasite asks 'Where is my share?'
    A man creates. A parasite says, 'What will the neighbors think?'
    A man invents. A parasite says, 'Watch out, or you might tread on the toes of God... '


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  2. #322
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Bump!

    Hey INFPs I have a question, and it might be too vague to answer, and I apologize for that in advance.

    I have a few INFP friends -- though not many -- and I've never really gotten close with any of them. Here's what has almost always happened: they open up to me (a lot!), I listen patiently and gradually define my friendship with them as more of an older- and younger-sibling relationship (not on equal terms), and then when I finally decide to open up to them (just a little!), they get awkward, so I never open up to them again, and they never bring up the exchange again, and it's as if I never opened up to them in the first place. I'm posting here because I have no idea what that's all about!

    It's happened both irl and on the forum, with INFPs. I'll open up in the typical ESTJ style of making oneself vulnerable (i.e. explaining feelings in a very straightforward and deliberate style, 99% devoid of a sense of humor). I'm guessing that it comes across as intense because they're so used to thinking of me as oh so confident, so together, the level-headed one, the one who is so organized when they're so Ne-style disorganized, etc -- and they don't stop to think that maybe there's more to me than that.

    But what I don't understand is: wouldn't INFPs know better than anyone, what to look for in a slow-but-sure Fi reveal? If the INFPs in my life are Fours (and I know a few of them are), wouldn't they know better than anyone that Everyone Has Their Eccentricities That They Hide From Most People Because Most People Don't Understand? :uni:

    Even the ENFPs I've met have been more understanding when I open up (in general), because at the very least they give the "I've been in a similar situation" Fi-comfort response... whereas what I've mostly gotten from INFPs has been "... oh." or "... ahahaha... um..." or "really??" <-- That one really killed me. That was when I was actually showing Fi to them, i.e. showing them a value of mine that I don't consider to be very rational, but that I hold anyway, against my will.* You'd think of all people, an Fi would know not to do that?

    So, like I said, this question is vague and confusing, because it might not just be with INFPs (and might be with other types too), it might be more to do with ESTJ-ness than INFP-ness, and it could have more to do with maturity than the Myers-Briggs. It could also be the Enneagram? though I'm not sure about that either. I'm confused enough about the issue that I can't narrow it down without input -- and INFP input would be perfect.

    Thoughts?


    *ESTJ fact no. 16745: Ambiguity scares us. Values are inherently ambiguous. No matter how dogmatic an ESTJ is, it is guaranteed that, deep inside, they all share that same fear. But we have to live by our values, even though we know they're full of holes and impossible to argue rationally. So if we show our Fi, it's either in a very controlled environment where we know we'll be beyond criticism, or it's in an Fi explosion as a result of a continuous stress/anger buildup.
    They probably understood what you were talking about and are sympathetic. One thing we aren't good at is saying the right thing, in the right way, at the right time. Sometimes we feel so much and it's impossible to convey it well. If what you said is very revealling (or intense, as you said) it can take a few moments for us to get past the tense awkwardness and/or mental overload. It isn't likely a negative reaction to what you said, but more the difficulty in conveying sympathy, acceptance and understanding.

    Additionally, if you didn't give clear questions or imply you wanted their comments, maybe they thought that patient listening is what you looking for - and we always err on the side of caution with emotional issues. Maybe they wanted to show their complete acceptance of the matter by making it a non-issue (ie. show it's no big deal and it doesn't alter their positive view of you). I also imagine the reason they don't bring it up is because they consider it rude or insensitive to pry and prod you over something so personal. Perhaps they also think, you being an extrovert and a straight forward communicator, that if you wanted to talk about it you simply would, so they are waiting until you bring it up.

    Basically you have to imagine in their squirming silence, them desperately thinking in circles and scrambling to be as accommodating and non-judgemental as they possibly can (and messing up). I bet they've thought a great deal about it since then too - I certainly reflect on moments when my friends open up long afterwards but often don't know how to broach the subject or show my heartfelt sympathy. Maturity does tend to make us better at communicating but even then we can be a bit useless.

    It's sad they didn't give you the support you needed but don't assume they were judging you - assume they're panic-stricken about how to be supportive or simply socially inept, well before you consider venturing down that path.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ribonuke View Post
    In all seriousness, what is the best way to tell an INFP 'no' without hurting their feelings or causing them to push the issue even further?
    A short, courteous but clear-cut explanation is fine. Drawing it out, being ambiguous or getting too personal about why you're rejecting them, are bad ideas.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  3. #323
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy View Post
    Great posts, Fineline.
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    [...]It's sad they didn't give you the support you needed but don't assume they were judging you - assume we're panic-stricken about how to be supportive or simply social inept, well before you consider venturing down that path.
    Good point, well-expressed.

  4. #324
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    @FineLine and @Southern Kross:

    This makes a lot of sense. The (unofficial) rule I had made for myself before then had been: they'll react well if they care, and if they don't care or aren't comfortable with you opening up, then they won't react well. I had been projecting, I guess, since the main reasons why I've ever been uncomfortable with someone opening up, have been if I didn't know then very well and weren't close enough friends with them to really care or invest myself in their problems/issues. (Edit: I guess that isn't entirely true -- but I always do or say something when they open up, even if what I say isn't terribly well-phrased.) So when I know someone really well and they've opened up to me a lot, and then they respond poorly when I open up, my (mental) gut reaction had been: "They must have just wanted to use me as their own personal therapist. Screw them." But based on what you're saying, this was entirely a misunderstanding, and they probably do care? My question is: Since I obviously don't have a natural talent for reading people, how can I tell the difference between an INFP who is responding awkwardly because they're thinking "This person is opening up to me and I don't want them to be, why can't they leave me alone", and an INFP who is responding awkwardly because they're feeling too many feelings to be able to express them in a way that is approved by their picky Fi?
    ~ g e t f e s t i v e ! ~


    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
    Coriolis: "Is that the ESTJ Serenity Prayer?"



    ESTJ - LSE - ESTj (mbti/socionics)
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    want to ask me something? go for it!

  5. #325
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    YAY!!! @EJCC for reopening ze thread!

    I am going to think on the things in your original post and see if I have anything new to add. Both @FineLine and @Southern Kross did an above the board amazing job in replying to you already.

    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    @FineLine and @Southern Kross:

    This makes a lot of sense. The (unofficial) rule I had made for myself before then had been: they'll react well if they care, and if they don't care or aren't comfortable with you opening up, then they won't react well. I had been projecting, I guess, since the main reasons why I've ever been uncomfortable with someone opening up, have been if I didn't know then very well and weren't close enough friends with them to really care or invest myself in their problems/issues. So when I know someone really well and they've opened up to me a lot, and then they respond poorly when I open up, my (mental) gut reaction had been: "They must have just wanted to use me as their own personal therapist. Screw them." But based on what you're saying, this was entirely a misunderstanding, and they probably do care? My question is: Since I obviously don't have a natural talent for reading people, how can I tell the difference between an INFP who is responding awkwardly because they're thinking "This person is opening up to me and I don't want them to be, why can't they leave me alone", and an INFP who is responding awkwardly because they're feeling too many feelings to be able to express them in a way that is approved by their picky Fi?
    @Bold: I definitely think these things myself when I am confiding in others.

    Talking with you is always awesome because it's like seeing myself in a Funhouse Mirror.

    In regards to your question posed in this post.... I think that you are just going to have to take a few leap of faiths here. If you have managed to get to a point with anyone where they are sharing info with you and you feel comfortable enough to share info with them... Then you just have to trust and have faith that they have good intentions towards you. If you actually see actions being done that say otherwise, then those can be pinpointed on a case by case basis. However, I would think that they would be rare.

    From what Southern Kross said:
    They probably understood what you were talking about and are sympathetic. One thing we aren't good at is saying the right thing, in the right way, at the right time. Sometimes we feel so much and it's impossible to convey it well. If what you said is very revealling (or intense, as you said) it can take a few moments for us to get past the tense awkwardness and/or mental overload. It isn't likely a negative reaction to what you said, but more the difficulty in conveying sympathy, acceptance and understanding.
    I can relate to this very very much when I was much younger. Now that I am older, it gets easier knowing what to say.

    Part of my desire is that I want to say the most perfect, exact right thing possible to someone to achieve maximum results. I have easier luck when I can write out my thoughts but I am getting better at saying stuff through sheer will power and practice. And this is where my age and years of experience end up shining through. When I was your age, EJCC, I was pretty clumsy on the spot with confessions. It has never helped that throughout my entire life, I get people who meet me and minutes or hours later, start spilling their guts. I always felt so on the spot and YIKES I DONT KNOW THIS PERSON!!! etc. Strangely enough, learning to become more Te and organized and unafraid to just call a spade a spade has made my Fi-ness much more effective.

    Keep opening up though. It gets easier with practice. And if something bad happens from opening up... you know what? Just get back on that horse and do it again with someone else.

  6. #326
    Riva
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    I skipped the whole thread. So apologies in advance if the question is repeated.

    Dependability?

    INFPs and dependability? An INFP would almost always empathize and emotionally be there for someone. But when it comes to actually helping others INFPs seem to fall short.

    Is this 'my' bad experience? Or do you (INFPs) indeed find yourself 'unable' to help others when needed?

  7. #327
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riva View Post
    I skipped the whole thread. So apologies in advance if the question is repeated.

    Dependability?

    INFPs and dependability? An INFP would almost always empathize and emotionally be there for someone. But when it comes to actually helping others INFPs seem to fall short.

    Is this 'my' bad experience? Or do you (INFPs) indeed find yourself 'unable' to help others when needed?
    Might be just your experience. I certainly don't leave others to their own devices when they're struggling and I can make things easier. I do think empathy and emotional support are also forms of help, which your post doesn't seem to acknowledge, but I'm also capable of giving help in more tangible ways, so ...

  8. #328
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riva View Post
    I skipped the whole thread. So apologies in advance if the question is repeated.

    Dependability?

    INFPs and dependability? An INFP would almost always empathize and emotionally be there for someone. But when it comes to actually helping others INFPs seem to fall short.

    Is this 'my' bad experience? Or do you (INFPs) indeed find yourself 'unable' to help others when needed?
    INFPs love to play the white knight and rescue people, so they have a natural bias toward “being there” for people. You acknowledge this with your comments about empathy and emotional support. But when it comes to the specific quality of "dependability," I have to say as an INFP myself that I’ve seen some INFPs who are extremely dependable; and I’ve seen other INFPs are ferocious flakes when it comes to following up on any kind of obligation or commitment.

    It depends on how and where the individual INFP ranks the quality of “dependability” in his/her internal Fi value rankings. Some INFPs rank it highly, and they go to great extremes to follow up on any commitment they’ve made, no matter how minor; they can feel quite guilty if they aren’t able to deliver 110 percent of what they promised.

    Other INFPs simply don’t find it all that important to be ruled by conventional notions of dependability. They may feel that it’s more important to be a “free spirit.” Ne enthusiasm may make it easy and fun to commit to the pet projects of other people early along; and then Ne flexibility and temporizing may make it easy to procrastinate and then simply not show up when it’s time to deliver on a commitment.

    And even as these latter kinds of INFPs flake out on commitments, they may consider themselves excellent friends. They may feel that they bring much to the relationship in other ways; and the quality of “dependability” is simply so low in their prioritization of values that it’s pretty much just a blind spot for them. They may simply not register how much or how badly they are flaking out on obligations and commitments as measured by conventional outer world expectations. They may insist that you measure their contribution to the friendship by the big-picture totality of what they contribute, and not by counting how many times they broke promises to show up at your parties or whatever.

    If you want someone who is going to be dependable in terms of conventional outer world expectations, then look for an Fe- or Te-user. They are attuned to the expectations of society and they tend to set their personal priorities accordingly. Fi and Ti are more of a crap shoot. They may acknowledge external expectations; or they may take pride in playing the “free spirit” or the “mad scientist” or whatever and being deliberately disdainful of those same expectations. Or any point in between.

    “Dependability” is going to be a toss-up when it comes to users of Fi and Ti. But they can be trained to put more emphasis on that value, at least with respect to particularly important commitments. You can sit them down and say, “Hey look, this commitment is really important to me. I’m counting on you to be there...” At least with INFPs, Ne provides for some flex there. And since INFPs like to be the white knight, upping the stakes may cause even the flakiest INFP to come through for you when you really need them.

  9. #329
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    @FineLine and @Southern Kross:

    This makes a lot of sense. The (unofficial) rule I had made for myself before then had been: they'll react well if they care, and if they don't care or aren't comfortable with you opening up, then they won't react well. I had been projecting, I guess, since the main reasons why I've ever been uncomfortable with someone opening up, have been if I didn't know then very well and weren't close enough friends with them to really care or invest myself in their problems/issues. (Edit: I guess that isn't entirely true -- but I always do or say something when they open up, even if what I say isn't terribly well-phrased.) So when I know someone really well and they've opened up to me a lot, and then they respond poorly when I open up, my (mental) gut reaction had been: "They must have just wanted to use me as their own personal therapist. Screw them." But based on what you're saying, this was entirely a misunderstanding, and they probably do care? My question is: Since I obviously don't have a natural talent for reading people, how can I tell the difference between an INFP who is responding awkwardly because they're thinking "This person is opening up to me and I don't want them to be, why can't they leave me alone", and an INFP who is responding awkwardly because they're feeling too many feelings to be able to express them in a way that is approved by their picky Fi?
    Basically, the broad rule is that you’re not supposed to make assumptions as to the motivations of other people, especially when it comes to one-off events. As you noted, the danger is that you end up projecting your own baggage onto them.

    If someone behaves in an awkward or unexpected manner in a given situation or interaction, then you’re supposed to sit them down and directly ask them why they did what they did. If the transgression was minor, you may choose to wait and repeat the experience a couple times to give them a few opportunities to come through for you, and then have “the talk” with them after they have failed you repeatedly. If the transgression was major, on the other hand, you may want to have “the talk” immediately after the very first transgression.

    Also note my response to Riva concerning the issue of “dependability.” There is often a big disconnect between Fe/Te users and Fi/Ti users on how to prioritize certain “social” qualities like dependability, courtesy, reciprocity, or whatever. Again, this is a big reason to sit down and have “the talk” with them. Did they simply misunderstand what was required of them? Did they freak out and blank out? Or did they honestly feel that what you expected of them wasn’t important (according to their particular ranking of emotional values or logical principles)?

    A good talk may save a lot of time, clear the air, and prompt them to realize that something they consider a minor inconvenience is in fact a very high priority for you.

  10. #330
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saturned View Post
    YAY!!! EJCC for reopening ze thread!
    No problem!
    @Bold: I definitely think these things myself when I am confiding in others.

    Talking with you is always awesome because it's like seeing myself in a Funhouse Mirror.
    I often feel the same way about you -- though not all the time, because you have significantly more Fun And Silly Posts than I do. I feel the same way about this quote of yours:
    Part of my desire is that I want to say the most perfect, exact right thing possible to someone to achieve maximum results. I have easier luck when I can write out my thoughts but I am getting better at saying stuff through sheer will power and practice.
    This is almost exactly why I sometimes feel awkward when people open up to me -- but, like you, I've gotten better. And it helps that I've realized that usually, my Fe friends just want a hug or a "there, there", so I can just hug them and make comforting noises and I don't need to say the perfect thing.

    When I was a kid and I had to apologize to someone, I would always write out a letter and hand it to them silently and walk away because firstly, I didn't think I'd say it as well in person, and secondly, they might try to shut me up if I said it to them, and I wanted to guarantee that all my thoughts got out there.
    When I was your age, EJCC, I was pretty clumsy on the spot with confessions. It has never helped that throughout my entire life, I get people who meet me and minutes or hours later, start spilling their guts. I always felt so on the spot and YIKES I DONT KNOW THIS PERSON!!! etc. Strangely enough, learning to become more Te and organized and unafraid to just call a spade a spade has made my Fi-ness much more effective.
    Yay! This is what I do when my close friends open up to me. I let the firm but comforting hand of Te rest on their shoulder and then lift them up.
    In regards to your question posed in this post.... I think that you are just going to have to take a few leap of faiths here. If you have managed to get to a point with anyone where they are sharing info with you and you feel comfortable enough to share info with them... Then you just have to trust and have faith that they have good intentions towards you. If you actually see actions being done that say otherwise, then those can be pinpointed on a case by case basis. However, I would think that they would be rare.

    Keep opening up though. It gets easier with practice. And if something bad happens from opening up... you know what? Just get back on that horse and do it again with someone else.
    Thanks.

    I must be scarred from my Fe doorslam experiences -- and from being close friends with so freaking many INFJs -- because when friends don't respond when I say something that I'm not terribly secure about, I start trying to figure out what they're thinking because I'm so used to non-confrontational INFJs who will just let that resentment build and build and build. It's hard to know how to avoid that when you aren't an Fe type. :/
    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    ...I’ve seen other INFPs are ferocious flakes when it comes to following up on any kind of obligation or commitment.

    It depends on how and where the individual INFP ranks the quality of “dependability” in his/her internal Fi value rankings. Some INFPs rank it highly, and they go to great extremes to follow up on any commitment they’ve made, no matter how minor; they can feel quite guilty if they aren’t able to deliver 110 percent of what they promised.

    Other INFPs simply don’t find it all that important to be ruled by conventional notions of dependability. They may feel that it’s more important to be a “free spirit.” Ne enthusiasm may make it easy and fun to commit to the pet projects of other people early along; and then Ne flexibility and temporizing may make it easy to procrastinate and then simply not show up when it’s time to deliver on a commitment.

    And even as these latter kinds of INFPs flake out on commitments, they may consider themselves excellent friends. They may feel that they bring much to the relationship in other ways; and the quality of “dependability” is simply so low in their prioritization of values that it’s pretty much just a blind spot for them. They may simply not register how much or how badly they are flaking out on obligations and commitments as measured by conventional outer world expectations. They may insist that you measure their contribution to the friendship by the big-picture totality of what they contribute, and not by counting how many times they broke promises to show up at your parties or whatever.

    If you want someone who is going to be dependable in terms of conventional outer world expectations, then look for an Fe- or Te-user. They are attuned to the expectations of society and they tend to set their personal priorities accordingly. Fi and Ti are more of a crap shoot. They may acknowledge external expectations; or they may take pride in playing the “free spirit” or the “mad scientist” or whatever and being deliberately disdainful of those same expectations. Or any point in between.

    “Dependability” is going to be a toss-up when it comes to users of Fi and Ti. But they can be trained to put more emphasis on that value, at least with respect to particularly important commitments. You can sit them down and say, “Hey look, this commitment is really important to me. I’m counting on you to be there...” At least with INFPs, Ne provides for some flex there. And since INFPs like to be the white knight, upping the stakes may cause even the flakiest INFP to come through for you when you really need them.
    This was very helpful. The posts I've made on this thread in the past several pages have all been about the more "free-spirited" INFPs that you described here. I've tried being non-confrontational with them about it, i.e. not bringing it up, because

    1) The INFPs I know are very sensitive, and I can never predict when their Fi will explode at me... and when their Fi does explode, and then they seem fine the next day, I worry that they aren't actually fine, but will build up resentment about me that will suddenly all explode and lead to an NF doorslam. (This worry comes from having experienced this with a former friend, and from not knowing how to read people well enough to predict that sort of thing in advance.)

    2) When I most want to bring it up, I'm the most angry, so in the times I have brought it up, I've been unable to suppress my anger enough to not be snippy, so I end up saying things like "It's okay, but next time, could you tell me when you're going to stand me up and eat lunch somewhere else?" (It's because dependability is very, very high on my Fi list (i.e. in my top five).)

    So I have a hard time knowing what I should say to them. Your suggestion about what to say in advance of a commitment was very, very good (thank you! I will use it from now on), but I have no idea what I would say if I was having The Talk (as suggested in your other post) with an INFP after they had flaked out on something important.

    Also: I find the bolded very interesting, and maybe not correct for me? Because I've never thought of my priorities/values as being societal. I just feel like, when I put a lot of time and effort into doing something for/with someone because I care about them (e.g. setting aside time in my busy schedule to have lunch with them, or help them with something), it hurts when they seem to disregard that. It makes me wonder if an INFP wouldn't be offended, if they put a lot of time and effort into something only for their close friends to ignore it or flake out with a vague excuse. I guess my feelings on that could be societal, in that I wouldn't have those expectations if they hadn't been enforced in me somewhere. But I dunno.
    ~ g e t f e s t i v e ! ~


    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
    Coriolis: "Is that the ESTJ Serenity Prayer?"



    ESTJ - LSE - ESTj (mbti/socionics)
    1w2/7w6/3w4 so/sx (enneagram)
    want to ask me something? go for it!

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