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Thread: INFJs ask difficult questions

  1. #21
    i love Array skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    It's a tough one, with INFJs. They're good at putting up walls, and keeping their thought-processes from people. My better relationships with INFJs have been the ones when the INFJs understood that they had to speak bluntly with me because I didn't understand Ni language*, instead of getting more and more resentful about my lack of ability to understand them. What I mean is: there are INFJs out there who are more blunt and less passive-aggressive - and those are the best ones for non-Ni types, like you and me.

    i have a good friend who is ENFJ, heavy on the Ni. i still don't always get her but i know i can wait out her explanations until the end and/or ask questions from the get-go that help me understand. she seems to like to tell things in a way that drops clues for me to figure out where she's going, which i think she does because that's how her thought process works, and she wants to see if i come to the same conclusion given the same evidence. i'm just not linear in that way, though - so i often do come to the same conclusion, but she has to get all the way to the end of what she's saying until i can piece it together, whereas she expects me to progress clue-by-clue.

    *And yeah, that can feel a little condescending, but at the same time, they wouldn't be my friend if I didn't have something to offer them, right?
    indeed. i love Ni. it's like someone looking at me through a mirror.

    ENFJ: You should really meet my Polish friend. He's hilarious! He's a complete narcissist - like, DSM clinically diagnosable narcissist - and he pulls it off so poorly. He's like five feet tall. Total Napoleon complex. It's terrible.
    ESTJ: ... That's not really making me want to meet him.
    ENFJ: But he's so funny! Especially when you get him comfortable with you, and get him to trust you - and then he'll dance for you! It's so funny! The way he dances to Lady Gaga is just INSANE.
    ESTJ: You know, ENFJ, this is not a healthy friendship you're talking about.
    ENFJ: Definitely not. But it's fun!
    ! this sounds familiar!

    on one hand, i appreciate odd people too, but sometimes i'm a little creeped out by how NiFe seems like it doesn't have a "heart". which sounds awful, don't get me wrong NFJs, but to Fi it seems cold. where is the love for this odd person? i suppose it's in not doing anything to hurt them. it disturbs Fi to hear referencing a person like this, though - like seeming to only appreciate them for their bizarreness, and not their personhood.

    This makes me wonder about the INFJ dynamic with other types. Honestly, I only really know how they interact with ESTJs, and how ESTJ/INFJ friendships progress, i.e. an initial reversal of usual INFJ friendships, with the INFJ being the first person to open up, and the ESTJ being the INFJ's sounding board and the person the INFJ vents at, until they open up much later, when the relationship equalizes a bit more. How does it work with ENFPs? Do you usually open up to them first, and they don't open up to you?
    oh man. i mentioned it's always awkward with me and INFJs? usually i approach them, bright and bubbly, but then they are kind but neutral with a tangible wall and it confuses me because i can't read them like i can read everyone else. true for ENFJs also, to a lesser extent, but they're easier to engage. and then either i leave because it's awkward or i'll open up, because that's what i do, and they are very sweet and responsive, but then they don't always open up too. i'll try to ask them questions but i don't think i ask them the right ones, because often the convo just ends.

    though, i hit it off really well with an INFJ in a recent class of mine. we discovered we'd both travelled to this obscure place across the globe and it was really fun exchanging stories.

    (*note - i think i meet a lot of INFJs because i am in psychology... this guy i mentioned is self-ID'd... most INFJs i can think of that i know, know the MBTI and have self-ID'd INFJ)

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I agree with what EJCC expressed, although I would say that it is not that INFJs put up walls so much as they are easily wounded and they also don't like to be hasty in saying anything. Therefore, they only reveal stuff bit by bit as they feel they can predict the other person's reaction to it and are okay with that.
    haha, maybe this is part of my problem! INFJ is trying to predict my responses... i am trying to adapt to theirs...

    It's interesting what skylights said about Ni language. It never really occurred to me until last year that Ni language is confusing to some people. I think the reason that many Ni doms appear to be irritated that someone isn't getting what they say is that it seems like they are being very obvious and clear and so it is felt more as a challenge, disagreement, or just not understanding for one's own entertainment at the reaction rather than that the Ni dom thinks they are dumb or is unwilling to restate it. I've finally realized that my natural mode of communication and even how I arrive at certain conclusions isn't nearly as clear and transparent as I believe it is! It's only when you understand where the differences are that you can make adjustments for them!

    i usually have to read kalach's posts like 3 times before i get what he's getting at, if that's any indicator. most people are kind of obvious with what they're communicating... with Ni-based communication it's like... you know there's a thread of cause and effect running through the data, but you have to figure out what it is. but you also have to listen to more incoming information as you're searching for the thread. so it takes me a while sometimes... lol...

    though i mean, if it makes you guys feel any better, most people think of my Ne'ing out loud as stupid babbling. so i usually keep it in my head. it's so typical, i'll "babble" for like 5 minutes then hit a really excellent conclusion, then people are like, what? how did you get to that?! well, were you listening? lol. i have to censor my own communication...

    also fidelia thank you for introducing me to the word "touque". i have never come across it before!

    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    A lot of this rang true in some way, so thanks for that. I think your comment about INFJs seeming "formal but personal" at the same time is spot on. I am sure it is confusing, though I am not sure everyone would articulate it in the same way, but I think you have it pretty accurately.
    it's actually lovely, i think, to be formal and personal, it's very elegant. i just don't know how to respond to it

    Yeah, I do like observing reactions in a way; though I don't think it involves playing games, where I'm concerned, or trying to mess with people's heads - I don't get off on that sort of thing at all. But I tend to have split reactions with people, in a way. I feel their emotions to an extent (often I think I genuinely do, sometimes I think I deceive myself into thinking I do), I feel for them over any pain they may be undergoing, I certainly want to help, but I'm also thinking "they're not at all self-aware - this is an interesting psychological study." That sort of thing. But maybe that's pretty common, I'm not sure.
    that's interesting. yeah, i feel that too. T-F split, i guess.

    Well, one thing I do quite easily is to describe my past emotions and emotional reactions in a clear, straightforward, and revealing way. I'm probably more into self-disclosure that way than a lot of people, especially if I think they will find it useful or interesting. But if it's something difficult that I am currently going through, I am becoming more careful, because I know I can get hurt if I open up to someone and they misunderstand or judge me.
    the thing that gets me about that is that you've already had the opportunity to figure it out. like, it can't hurt you anymore. from an ENFP paradigm, though, that's not really fair, because opening up means being willing to be wrong and hurt and whatnot. but i imagine it seems like, from the other side of the fence, that we're expecting you to open up with things that you're not ready to open up with.

    i hope you don't feel like i'm attacking you or INFJs or anything because i like and respect you and yall a lot, i just figure sharing my "pre-understanding-MBTI-differences" reactions helps with understanding other people and their reactions you might run into IRL.

    By the way, it seems that no one noticed the winky face next to "I don't see why they should be spared."
    lol! but there is some truth to the statement regardless, isn't there?

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    I think there is a difference between Fe/Ti difficult questions and Te/Fi difficult questions. The Fe/Ti paradigm considers feelings and motives valid topics for open analysis (Fe), but actually telling someone what to think is actively rejected by Ti. Te/Fi reverses this: the direct/blunt speech you hear from Te is about what to do, how to do it, and to a degree how to think about things so as to clearly communicate ideas, while Fi actively rejects probing of feelings/motives. [...]

    This is a classic Fe irritation with Fi. Fe tries to discern some kind of purpose from expressions of Fi, but the only purpose is the sharing: no list of action items is intended.

    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    You asked about "think for themselves." Again, sorry if this sounds sanctimonious, but I think [...] it seems almost as though they just want an enabler or someone who will be a dumping ground while they refresh themselves and then they go off and resume their former patterns of behaviour - and if they changed those patterns a bit, things could improve, but they don't seem to want to.
    aha. here's uumlau's Fi-Fe difference, right here. a lot of us Fi users were bothered by "think for themselves" - i'm guessing because it sounds like you think that most people aren't good enough to be able to self-reflect or have deep thoughts or have their own sense of dignity and self-sufficiency. but you're talking about it in the sense of behavior, and changing behavior patterns. whereas Fi doesn't think on a behavioral level - it thinks on a "being" level.

    i agree with you - though i don't think it's as intentional as you make it sound? like i think most people honestly want to solve their problems, but actively taking responsibility is hard. it means sacrifice and restraint and whatnot - that's probably easier for a J, too, than for a P. plus people do get caught in their patterns because of external catch-22s as well as internal issues. it's definitely annoying and disheartening - and it's one of the reasons i shy away from becoming a counselor - but i don't think it's that intentional. Ni doms, especially NiFe, have a much better sense of cause and effect, in particular in social situations, than most of us. sometimes people get caught in binds... for example, i have a friend, some variety of IxFx, who kept talking about how she knew she shouldn't go out with this guy, and kept asking others' opinions, and we all knew it was an obvious trainwreck about to happen, and yet she did it anyway, because she genuinely fell for him and he was nice to her and she's a romantic and wanted to have that .00001% chance that he would be The One. and of course it was a trainwreck and he was not The One. but she's right, sort of. it could have happened. he could have been The One. i think that's part of the problem for Ni doms - you guys have such a heightened sense of what will happen that it's hard to see how others act on possibility that they're seeing because they want something so badly. they'll forgo the 99.9999% chance that it will turn out poorly for that one shot.

    I think what I'm getting at more is that I wonder if people sometimes start to perceive me more as a therapist than either a) a friend or b) a potential romantic partner (if it's someone of the opposite sex and we might be interested in each other.) And I wonder if the questions I ask have something to do with that.

    [...]Honestly, in most cases my questions are more of the "so, you've told me about this. What are you thinking of doing about it?" variety.
    this sounds EXACTLY like my ENFJ friend. i can hear her saying exactly that!

    However, maybe they shouldn't place me in a situation where they act like I should know what's best for them...! I simply can't listen to people go on about a certain problem for months or years without trying to help them solve it.
    well, though you probably often do know, honestly. you know how they should act to go about fixing things.

    funny, sort of. i tend to open up and blather but who am i kidding? i end up feeling like a counselor in a huge amount of my relationships, too.

    I still think that a lot of people don't particularly want to grow.
    by "grow" do you mean in the sense of change? as in change their behavior? if so, i am inclined to agree. it means sacrificing things they like in the short-term.

    By the way, I've realised from this thread (and a few others on different topics) that I don't really understand all. I need to do something about that. I think I'm likely to have major conflicts out of frustration with Fi users, and I'm sure the frustration woudl run in both directions.
    language barrier. i know. fidelia's the one who opened me up to Fe and made me go OHHHHHHHH. it's like Fe through a mirror - same objectives, obtained by going in the exact opposite direction. NF overcomes that though, i think. we both ultimately seek the same things, we just do it in different ways.

    She really wants to help others - badly - she is much more sensitive than she looks, and she can sometimes come across as a bit self-righteous (see how she interacts with her sister, and how her sister reacts to her - I think the sister is probably ESFP.) I also think that she makes a huge effort to approach all kinds of people as equals, but she does have a slight tendency to view herself as more perceptive, on a different plane, etc. It all seems very familiar...
    i haven't seen middlemarch, wish i have.

    maybe i should share a thing about my ENFP-ENFJ friendship here. and of course i know ENFJ and INFJ are not the same, but she is very heavy on the Ni. in a lot of ways she sounds like this middlemarch person too, and like you. that quote before, the question, is still just so funny to me! i wouldn't be surprised if she's even said that before. my friend and i... we both tend to end up being "counselors" to others, very often - herself a mentor, myself a therapist, lol. it's half fulfilling and half frustrating... on one hand you are helping... on the other, they lose their peer status with you... you're no longer equals. and it's definitely their fault, in part! if they choose to see you as an authority, what can you do? it's them who is putting you on a pedestal, not yourself who is. and perhaps it should be our responsibility to knock the pedestal down, but honestly if you're an NF well-versed in psychology, then you probably do have something to offer them...

    but so with my friend... i think it's fairly healthy and we are both equal partners in the exchange, which i think is sort of unusual for both of us. we both act as sounding boards to one another, very often. we're both into psychology and as such are prone to examining everything - ourselves, one another, others. usually i am quick to open up and share something i'm trying to figure out with her, and ask her advice. and she probes a bit via your hard questions, then gives good advice. sometimes she will also come to me with an issue, but more often, i feel like i have to pick up on subtle clues in her language indicating that she wants to talk about something, and i have to follow a line of clues to get to the crux issue. sometimes i get lucky and jump right on it, by virtue of a lucky Ne hop, but usually it takes a while of me digging through the info to find that thread i talked about earlier.

    i see with a lot of people how she does become that counselor, though. in a lot of relationships. one of the things i've realized about our friendship is that we keep on an "equal" level. for a while i was frustrated that she did not seem as warm and helpful to me as she was to others, even though she and i were closer - until i basically had the realization that her doing that for them meant they were on a level "beneath" her. not in a bad way, but in a way that changes the nature of how they can interact. and she'll do that for me if i ask, of course, but she'll also expect something in return. that's fine with me. i want us to stay on equal levels - i don't want to be her superior or inferior. i have enough relationships where people shove me up on a psychiatric pedestal already.

    i've had to learn to be more patient in general in our friendship. like with reading your bit about "think for themselves", i've had to learn to suspend Fi judgment with her, and that's very challenging. i'm sure she has to do the same in the other direction, though - suspend Fe judgment. given, both of our functions also offer one another a second perspective and additional wisdom, but if anything, i've had to learn to trust. Ne and Ni have this tendency to just dig and dig and dig... good most of the time, but it can be harmful in a relationship because it creates a large amount of headspace between ourselves and the other person. it's good to be an observer to a certain extent, definitely, but i think it's also good to have an attitude of "we're equals in this together."

    i don't know if it has anything to do with being e6, silk, but i find that i have a really tangible sense of when i am aligned with someone and "with" them or when i am a very separate entity from them. what can happen with my own relationships that's a problem is when i separate too much and start criticizing and analysing and questioning them and suspecting them. it's easy to fall into that role, too. makes me a better psychoanalyst, i figure, which can be really helpful sometimes, but it also changes things.

    so if this is what you mean about questions... then yeah, i'm there with you.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Array the state i am in's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    haha, maybe this is part of my problem! INFJ is trying to predict my responses... i am trying to adapt to theirs...
    yeah i tend to get the awkward stop-start interaction with nfps at first sometimes. like you're facing each other and both try to go one direction. and then the other. it's difficult to explain but in such maneuvers i'm usually a move or two behind. if i run into someone and they are surprisingly friendly to me, it might be until the next time i run into them that i am prepared to respond to their surprising friendliness. i mean this to a ridiculous degree. we are not communicating through the story as well, so we aren't really thinking about where this could go or how to get it there nearly as much as pragmatic p types. instead we're thinking about what is meant/intended, as if there could be one specific goal and one alone. we basically need a lot more context established to feel comfortable and freed up in the interaction itself. with that said, so/sx infjs are significantly better at this than other subtypes (and enfjs all the more so).

    well, though you probably often do know, honestly. you know how they should act to go about fixing things.
    at a systems level. it's the same shit. we predict and test. we know how to articulate and adjust. it is behavioral i guess, in that it is tied to specific emotional conflicts and their ties to the environment/particular situations. but it is also communicative and analyzing the way the situation is represented in inner dialogue about experience. experiential p types don't tend to notice the same dynamics. it's less about prediction and more about lived experience and previous decisions. for j types, the way you frame experience produces an enormous amount of flexibility in how you orient yourself to the decision-making process. yet for p types, the way you have experienced the consequences of your decisions gives you something more grounded in your own values and the relevancy of your decision for your own story that is constructed out of a sense of past experience and personal change.

    as far as the superior/inferior way of relating, i am very confident in my offerings to others. for this way of thinking, i've got it down pretty well. yet i'm always asking questions too because the stories of p types help me understand experience and subjective navigation and open up more possibilities and more experiential differences and unique trajectories. with my closest friends, they help me tell my story so i feel more like a real person. but it's gotta be balanced enough if the sharing is truly going to work, otherwise impatience creeps in and conflicts seem difficult to communicate when others haven't dealt with them, have simply ignored them, or are at such a different place in their own personal development that meaningful communication isn't really feasible at this time.

  3. #23
    Paragon Gone Wrong Array OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    I think there is a difference between Fe/Ti difficult questions and Te/Fi difficult questions. The Fe/Ti paradigm considers feelings and motives valid topics for open analysis (Fe), but actually telling someone what to think is actively rejected by Ti. Te/Fi reverses this: the direct/blunt speech you hear from Te is about what to do, how to do it, and to a degree how to think about things so as to clearly communicate ideas, while Fi actively rejects probing of feelings/motives.
    This is a similar concept to what I encounter with INFJs, but it's less about Te/Fi & Fe/Ti as a Fi/Ne & Ni/Fe gap. Specifically, my INFJ wants to discuss feelings, as in valuations, estimations, preferences, and even emotions. He's very comfortable stating his feelings. He definitely likes to find a consensus. Conversely, he discusses his ideas & visions for the future a lot less. It's strange how that seems more vulnerable to him. I'll talk about my ideas, concepts, and musings over what could be rather easily. I prefer to discuss these things. Getting me to talk about feelings is difficult though. I don't need consensus or validation or need to influence others with them, but I do need to protect their purity and guard them from vulnerability. I do need to bounce ideas off of someone, explore different avenues of thought, play devil's advocate, etc. My INFJ wants to keep his perceptions to himself, likely because they're hard to put into words accurately. So Fe wants to affect others' feelings & emotions, and Ne wants to affect others ideas & inspire them to act in line with their vision, while Fi & Ni, possibly more than the other introverted functions, are kept hidden, as they're hard to express.

    So both of us prods the other to discuss our inner worlds, which instead of creating conflict can be refreshing. We're both encouraged to be ourselves, and even when we stick to our more comfortable mode, the other can appreciate it even if they're hesitant to respond in kind.

    Te/Ti comes into play a lot less, as does Si/Se, simply because we're not leading with them. My INFJ thinks my occasional bluntness & disorganization are humorous. I see aspects of his inferior Se (the sort of wannabe STP tha NFJs posess) and it's endearing, because it kind of contrasts with his general person.

    Honestly, playing therapist is a familiar role to me also. I ask a lot of questions also, ones which make people think a little harder, seeking to open up an idea that someone may not have considered yet, or gently guide their thinking to a clearer state. I suppose these questions can be difficult also, but the P way is a little less direct. My inferior Te & crappy Fe can make me very blunt in other situations, but in these situations, there's a tendency to suggest things indirectly, to let the other person decide if it's a valid train of thought. Fe can say, "This is important and I want to make you aware of it so you make the right decision", but FiNe will say, "This is a great possibility that should be considered, and I want to make you aware of it so you can decide what is important for yourself & make a good decision." The other person ends up feeling like they stumbled on the concept themselves, instead of having a direct question bring it to mind. As an INFP, sometimes INFJs put me on the spot, sure, but I suppose they want to know what exactly I am insinuating at times when I take the indirect route (which doesn't seem indirect or fuzzy to any Ne thinker...). Ultimately, I always feel like I ask more questions, but the INFJs ask only a few, which probably makes those questions more pointed.
    "Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself. But it's always with love - So much love it looks like everything else. Charlotte Sometimes - So far away, glass sealed and pretty." - The Cure

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx - 451| RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive

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