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  1. #1
    Junior Member janea's Avatar
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    Lightbulb How to be in a relationship with an INFJ

    So, I wrote this out for myself because I wanted to put together a summary of what I've gathered over time and what I've learned. After I wrote it, I thought maybe it would be helpful to others so, I've decided to share it here. I hope that someone out there will find it useful. I know there are many of us out there who adore the INFJs in our lives but realize it may be challenging to understand them and to have relationships with them because they are so complex. I hope this breaks things down a bit in a way that helps others understand INFJs better so that they can cultivate more satisfying relationships with the INFJs in their lives.

    By the way, my knowledge and experience comes from a combination of things. One, I am a borderline INFJ myself (INFJ/ISFJ). My mom is an INFJ. My best friend of 18 years is an INFJ. And the one and only romantic relationship I've ever had was with an INFJ. So, I guess INFJs are my thing!

    Also, I'm really interested in the feedback from other INFJs and from those who have experience in relationships with INFJs. Is there anything I missed? Is anything I have here inaccurate?

    -------------------------

    It's important to understand and accept ALL that INFJs are by nature. INFJs have a tendency to exhibit very specific traits & engage in certain behaviors which can make being in a relationship with them very difficult and challenging if you do not understand & accept their INFJ nature. Those traits and behaviors include:

    1) they have very high expectations for themselves and for those within their inner circle (they tend to be "idealists" and "perfectionists", expecting perfection from themselves and those closest to them)

    2) they are critical of others, especially those within their inner circle because they want to help them reach their potential

    3) they are hurt very easily by those within their inner circle

    4) while they are open to criticism that may help them grow & learn, they are very sensitive to how it is delivered (tone, choice of words, timing, etc...)

    5) they do not trust easily so once you have their trust, it's absolutely imperative that you do not do anything to betray their trust

    6) they do not like conflict however, they are willing to deal with it if it means there will be progress made and result in positive change

    7) conflicts build up in their psyche and it takes them an unusually long time to fully recover so, conflicts should be few and far between

    8) they may appear to put up with bad behavior, relational transgressions, etc... and bounce back quickly but inside they are deeply affected and eventually will get to a point where "enough is enough"

    9) they put up mini-walls and may shut down emotionally, preventing deeper connection, as a way to protect themselves when they feel hurt, shame, anger, fear, or if they feel too vulnerable

    10) they will do anything and everything they can, exhausting all possible options to try and save a relationship but if they reach the point of defeat, they rely on the their last resort which is the classic "INFJ Doorslam"


    So, given the above "challenges", here is how to be in a relationship with an INFJ:

    1) realize that while their intentions are good, their expectations are often times unrealistic so, try not take it personally... if you're in their inner circle, trust that they love you and care about you and hold onto that!

    2) realize that while they're critical of you, they really ARE just trying to "help" and they have your best interests at heart... deep down they really want the best for you! so, try not to get defensive!

    3) be very gentle, sensitive, and thoughtful with them

    4) when delivering criticism, choose your words & tone of voice wisely and be mindful of the timing considering their mood, what they may be feeling or thinking about or dealing with, their stress level, etc...

    5) do not lie or be deceitful in any way! be totally forthright and honest! and do not do anything that will diminish their sense of self-worth (shaming, any form of abuse, belittling, talking to them condescendingly, etc...)

    6) engage in conflict sparingly! they will not tolerate constant arguing or fighting! they need peace and harmony! it's absolutely vital to them! if conflict is necessary, approach the issue in a mature & solution oriented manner

    7) remember that the last several conflicts are still fresh in their memory! they need a lot of time to recover so, don't assume that just because they're not talking about it, they're not still affected by it

    8) do not take them for granted and do not treat them like doormats! do not get into a habit of behaving badly or engaging in relational transgressions just because they seem to "put up with it"

    9) be aware of when there is a "disconnect" in the relationship and make the effort to re-connect....do what you can to try and help them bring the wall down, but be gentle and patient!

    10) realize that they have a tendency to use the "INFJ Doorslam" as a last resort so, be careful to not push them to that point! do not test their boundaries or limits! set boundaries on your own behavior!

    * note that obviously no one is perfect and anyone, no matter how close to perfect they may be, is bound to make mistakes and mess up every now and then! it may seem necessary to be perfect because the INFJ has perfectionistic standards, but you must remind yourself that the goal is not absolute perfection! having that expectation of yourself would be self-defeating and impossible, and would only lead to shame and a "give up" attitude, which will ultimately destroy the relationship! the only goal should be to try and follow the guidelines above as much as possible while still being human! remember that the INFJ is very forgiving by nature and is not willing to let go of the relationship very easily....so have a sense of security in that! remember that they love you and they truly want the best for you and the relationship! but know that they can only take so much! so, you can't expect to just ignore the guidelines and think they'll put up with it forever! again, just do your best to follow the guidelines above and as long as they see effort and progress on your part and as long as you don't "give up" and say "screw it, nothing I do matters anyway, I may as well not even bother trying to follow these guidelines", then the relationship should work! I can't emphasize this enough though... you really have to make sure that you don't try to be "perfect" and just do your best and learn to be ok with that!!!! they will see you making the effort and that will be enough! know that YOU ARE ENOUGH! and remember that feeling like you aren't enough leads to the "give up" attitude which ultimately leads to a total breakdown in the relationship because it spirals out...then the INFJ doesn't see anymore effort or progress and they eventually see no point in maintaining the relationship, ie. DOORSLAM!!!!!
    Last edited by janea; 06-18-2011 at 10:43 PM.

  2. #2
    Junior Member CurlyJoe's Avatar
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    Thanks for your insight into INFJs. I found it both helpful and scary. Helpful because I am currently dating an INFJ and I welcome all the help that I can get. Scary because your relationship tips seem so difficult that I worry about getting doorslammed.

    A year and a half ago, I was dating a different INFJ. It only lasted three months before she doorslammed me. It was the first time that I dated an INFJ and it was quite a different experience. Everything seemed to be going well: I was very happy with things and wanted to get more serious, she said that she was happy and never complained. And then, Bam! Doorslam. It was quite ironic because she had expressed a worry a one point that I might end the relationship suddenly without having ever brought up any problems. At the time, I thought that it was immature for a 40-year-old woman to behave that way, but reading about the INFJ type helped me to understand her behavior a little better.

    I vowed never to date another INFJ again because they may simply be incompatible with an ISTP. I won't contrast myself with all the points you made, but some differences are:
    - I do have high expectations for myself, but not so much for those around me.
    - I'm not very critical of others and I don't care if they reach their potential.
    - I am not very easily hurt, even by my inner circle.
    - I'm open to criticism and fairly insensitive to how it is delivered.
    - I don't like conflict, but I recover pretty quickly from it.

    Well, so much for my vow. I have been dating my current INFJ girlfriend for six months. Things are going great, but I fear that it could end at any moment and without notice. This woman expresses the same doubts as the last one, that I will get tired of her and move on. That thought couldn't be further from my mind though.

    I feel that I am willing to reconsider and adapt my expectations if she fails to meet them, but that she would not do the same for me. She certainly doesn't expect me to be perfect, yet I still live in fear of the doorslam.

  3. #3
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by janea View Post
    the only goal should be to try and follow the guidelines above as much as possible while still being human! remember that the INFJ is very forgiving by nature and is not willing to let go of the relationship very easily....so have a sense of security in that!
    This is a very important point in my view. As you mentioned, I recognize and acknowledge honest efforts on the part of close friends and colleagues, and as long I see that I'm more than forgiving - you're only human. What I truely can't stand is when people close to me transgress against me then don't make any effort to repair the damage.

  4. #4
    Junior Member janea's Avatar
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    CurlyJoe, I can certainly relate to the fear that you've expressed. I lived in constant fear that my mom would shut me out of her life because I had seen her do it to literally every other person in her life, including her own mom. I shared my concern with her several times and she assured me that it would never happen. Then, sure enough, a couple years ago it happened! And she hasn't spoken to me since. Granted, my mom also has some very serious mental health issues which have played a major role in her shutting me out so it wasn't just an average INFJ doorslam. But I do understand your fear.

    I wish I had some better advice for you. I guess my advice to you in your situation would be to keep the communication lines open and express your fear to her as often as you feel you need to so that you guys stay on the same page. Also, most INFJ doorslams, from my understanding at least, are "warranted" in that you consistently over time violate their "conditions". I think it's rare for an INFJ to just suddenly, without warning slam the door on someone and if they do then that's more of a testament to their maturity level. If someone slams the door on you quickly and suddenly and you have no idea why, either they're using it prematurely due to being unhealthy & immature or, I suppose in some cases they may be filled with fear themselves that you are going to do it to them, so they feel they need to do it first. Either way, if they are mature and healthy then they would communicate enough with you so that you're not completely blindsided with no warning. I'm not sure how helpful what I'm saying is.... but I wish you the best of luck in your relationship!

    Peguy, I know what you mean! And it can be sometimes baffling the way some people do things and seem to have no remorse or even understand why you would be so upset. For a person to really make an effort to "make things right" & repair the damage though, that's really special to me.... I REALLY appreciate it.

    Edit: I meant to add too that sometimes they may need a lot of reassurance that you do love them and want to have a relationship with them. I've noticed this with the INFJs in my life and with myself as well....it's almost as though we start to think we're no longer loved if we don't hear it or if it isn't shown to us often in various ways. That could be basic insecurity but I think a part of it is the sensitivity and vulnerability that goes along with being an INFJ.

  5. #5
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I think the ISTP tendancy to not offer much information about what's going on internally can be very uncomfortable to an INFJ. Ni is a useful but sometimes paranoid function. It just offers so many possibilities in the absence of being given any information to work with that the Ni user will often assume the worst, or be unnecessarily concerned about something that isn't even an issue. They usually can handle quite a lot, as long as they feel like they have an idea of what's going on and how you feel about them. They may need more reassurance than you are really accustomed to giving, which may seem a little like overkill to you. Fe is also a function that requires some mirroring back of how they are doing in your eyes and needing to know what you like/don't like about your interactions with them (preferably before it becomes much of a problem to you). Both of these tendancies may feel a little stifling to an INFJ, but they are really necessary to address if you want to stay together.

    Because ISTPs are pretty live and let live, they may have difficulty foreseeing the INFJs need to be understood as well as their urge to peel back the different layers of what comprises their partner. INFJs tend to view your interest in/involvement with what matters to them as a significant chunk of showing interest in them as a person. They may feel rather alone emotionally and take that lack of connection in that sense to mean that you are not as interested in them as you actually are.

    I think most INFJs actually appreciate constructive criticism, but its delivery is very important as it can feel personally rejecting and they are also easily embarrassed and kind of perfectionistic with themselves.

    Monkeygrass is an INFJ here who is married to an ISTP and I think she would also be a valuable resource, if you are at all worried about being blindsided by your INFJ.

    As someone else said, I think most mature and emotionally healthy INFJs would only use a doorslam as a very last resort after repeatedly trying to solve the perceived relationship problems as well as bring them to your attention. Therefore one of the main factors to watch is whether or not the person you are with is reasonably secure and mature.

  6. #6
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    This thread is a bit frightening. Let's hope that INFJs use their knowledge of MBTI to grow as individuals and become better mates than those described in the OP.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  7. #7
    violaine
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    ^It all comes down to whether an INFJ feels safe in a relationship or not. One who feels safe is low maintenance and would give you the world if they could. One who does not will be extremely difficult to tether.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    This thread is a bit frightening. Let's hope that INFJs use their knowledge of MBTI to grow as individuals and become better mates than those described in the OP.
    This is why I prefer ISFJ men.

  9. #9
    violaine
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    I actually think an INFJs' difficulty in settling is a sleek self-protection mechanism. You can't really hack the system, ime. It stops an INFJ (well, this INFJ) from committing to relationships that would make us/me sad and conversely ensures a higher chance of being in a good and fulfilling relationship.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ICUP's Avatar
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    You istp's are real troopers. I wouldn't even attempt an intimate relationship with an F-type, although I find some interesting and attractive. I think it would last about an hour lol......
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