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  1. #121
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    ...
    Here's an IRL example. I know a super-cool INFJ female - I worked with her a few years ago now, and we got each other's NF "click" right away. I could tell she liked me, thought I was uber-cool, technically a wizardress and had people skillz to boot. As part of my job, I worked as an additional resource on a couple of her projects, solidifying my status with her, then as time evolved, I came to work directly on an initiative in her department. That was the point where we were attending a lot more of the same meetings. She ran some, and I ran some too as tech resource/POV, and after meetings, we would do a rehash of what we heard. Now, simultaneous to this point in time, I knew she was going through a divorce. Since we were work buds, but not personal buds, I didn't pry into her personal life. I would inquire as to what was polite to ask in the circumstance, naturally, but we had no convos that went into depth on the topic. Now that you know that fact too, dear audience, back to the narrative - so we would rehash these meetings after the fact. I could tell that in some of them, her stress and natural patience was strained. She was tired and sometimes would shut down a meeting IMO a tad prematurely. SO, after a rehash after those situations, I might say privately, "Did that go as well as you hoped?" She would look up at me, puzzled. Oops, I could tell I was off-base - so I would reframe - "You seem a bit tired - I wondered if the meeting dragged you down or went the direction you planned?" That would be met with more puzzlement, and a flash of irritation. I could see in her eyes that our click was starting to be less "clicky" ... I knew she expected me to just "get it" but with her personal issues too, I am not going to presume to just KNOW. It turns out that sometimes at moments like that she WAS carrying personal weight from the stress of her marital breakdown, and I totally get why that would sometimes affect her demeanor in other venues.

    BUT - and here's the big but: But my question was an opening, an opportunity - it wasn't meant to imply I knew exactly WHY she was stressed or unhappy or make any kind of judgement on it. It was an offering, from me, an opening to say what was really the issue. And if I would "guess" right and say, "You are stressed, something going with your ex?" SHE WOULD BE MORTIFIED! ("OMG you can tell??!!??") And if I would comment only on the emotional state, it was just a brush-off for reply, "Yes, I'm just a little tired". Well, that really helps.

    I mean, I want to enhance the bond, but what is the right question to ask to get to why? Should one never ever try to guess? I know that if I guess wrong too many times, it diminishes our friendship. WHAT IS THE RIGHT QUESTION? (In fact, as alluded to in other's posts, the why doesn't matter that much to me either, I just sense the why is important to INFJ's so I try my best in this regard.) Any INFJ's - please do share the answer!
    For me, it would depend on who was asking the question. If it was someone who I have had a good history with and who I trust, I wouldn't get upset. I might not understand exactly what you were trying to get at (Is she asking me about work, or is this an opening to talk about personal things? Yes, I can be that dense sometimes, especially if I am going through personal stresses. My brain is busy churning through my personal crap and thus I'm more inwardly focused and slower on the uptake.), thus you might still get a puzzled look from me, but I would most likely respond somehow and discussion would ensue. If it was someone who's motives I haven't trusted in the past, then I probably would keep the conversation about work while trying to figure out if the question was innocent or baited. Unfortunately, I almost always feel judged by others, but through the years I have come to the conclusion that sometimes that's just me, my inner uncertainty, and has nothing to do with the other person. So, if I have a good history with that person, I assume that if they are judging me, they will tell me so.

    As for what is the right question...even I don't know that. Sorry.

    Like being nice is THE imperative?
    It can be at times.

    Also, I don't know what vibes I give off IRL, but I have noticed that my very close friends seem to "walk on eggshells" when they have something critical to say to me. Perhaps it's more that they know I'm sensitive and are trying to spare my feelings. (My family seems to have no problem telling me all of my faults. ) Admittedly, if you are on my "I don't trust your motives" list, I don't take your criticism well. Usually, I will hear it, mull it over and decide if it is valid, even if I don't like it, but you will see that I'm not happy. But if I feel you are genuinely trying to help me and not just rake me over the coals, then I sincerely want to hear what you have to say. I'm working on taking it in quietly and not immediately trying to defend myself.



    Editing to add: Just to clarify, someone would have to have a long history of game-playing/unacceptable behavior to get on my "I don't trust your motives" list.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga

  2. #122
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Peacebaby, I don't understand why you needed to comment at all, honestly. Like Aphrodite, I find myself really feeling the INFJ in the exchange. I know that look she gave you. *yikes* Because your questions come across to me, putting myself in her position, as disingenuous (pretending that one knows less about something than one really does, for the benefit of anyone who hasn't heard that word). You had all the facts and you came to the right conclusion without her having to say anything. You knew she had stressful personal circumstances + you saw her cut the meeting late + you could see that she was tired. She would not have cut the meeting short if she had the energy to talk.

    At the risk of coming across a total pedant -- have you read any Chomsky on transformational grammar? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformational_grammar
    Statements exist in the deep structure of questions. INFJ kind of lives in the deep structure. I am curious what you would say was in the deep structure of your questions.

    Also I think we're pretty good at initiating conversation when we want conversation. That could just be me, and I'd be interested from other INFJs if they feel they are fine with asking for a talk when they want one, or just talking when they need to.

    I'm saying you don't need to do anything. A silent gesture of support, like, "I'm going to get some coffee, can I get you some?" or just doing it, for example -- I can't think of any others, but maybe you can.

    P.S. I really hate to lose my composure at work. I can imagine in that situation feeling on the verge of tears.
    I do think you should "just know." Because ... she told you.

  3. #123
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    This is my perception of INFJ bad behavior, and this is the sort of thing that has led to some of my criticisms of the type (this by no means being an isolated incident in this individual or my experiences with the type IRL). Interestingly, an INFP thread about "INFJs in their life" on another message board is entirely in line with my perspective. Whatever the truth is, this is how INFJs gone bad appear to INFPs.

    -----

    This story is regarding my INFJ aunt (who has been professionally tested as INFJ, confirmed her type, and even gone to an MBTI seminar).

    Some years ago, my grandma (her mom) got VERY ill & was admitted to the hospital. My aunt lives far away, so my ISFJ mom emails her to tell her what has happened. My aunt's response was to say, "You stupid cow. Stop being so dramatic & guilt-tripping me. What do you expect me to do all the way over here?". I am not exaggerating her phrasing or word choices (I see this as their "inferior ESTP bully language" that comes out when angry).

    However, my mom is waaaaaay too nice, & so she responded by telling my INFJ aunt that she was just informing her of the situation because my mom assumed my aunt would want to know that their mom was ill, & that she (my ISFJ mom) didn't expect anything from my aunt.

    Why did my aunt respond this way? I will tell you why, or how I see it.

    She felt guilt, yes, but she could not & would not accept responsibility for it. She had to pin her negative feelings on someone/something else. Living far away, she has done little for her aging mother, rarely even talking to her, leaving all the responsibility to my mom. There is a history of tension there with her mom as well. So my aunt, upon hearing her mom is ill, feels guilt that her mom could die & that she has not been there for her. The way to ease the guilt is blame my mom for exaggerating the situation. If she reframes it as not being dire, but instead sees my mom as exaggerating the illness, then she doesn't have to feel guilt for not being there because her mom is not really going to die. Now, she can easily pin the source of guilt on my mom's supposed exaggeration.

    -----

    I see many INFJs responding to emotional pain with what appears to be a perspective shift which eases that pain by removing personal responsibility. They create a new context that has nothing to do with reality, but soothes their feelings. This new, distorted perspective explains away any blame they might have to accept otherwise. Now, they don't have to change themselves or their actions; instead, they insist others change for them, & they either cut them off or manipulate them to if they won't adhere to the INFJ's wishes. This makes them impossible to reason with; you either have to let them trample your needs so their wishes are met or you lose your relationship with them.

    For the typically easy-going INFP, the latter becomes unacceptable when it crosses a value boundary; we will not be bullied that far. Essentially we feel we've been given an ultimatum to choose the person or our own values, which is frustrating when we don't see the world in such simple dichotomies. The INFJ will not hear alternate options; it's like they get stuck on the one way something HAS to be. It's extremely self-sabotaging in the long-run, as it hurts them more than others as they box themselves into a corner like that.

    I wonder at what point these people finally take an honest look at themselves & realize they have been a major source of their own problems, that they're not victims whose only flaw is being too perfect & too caring. Do they have to hit rock bottom to open their eyes up?

    In the case of my aunt, it took her husband leaving for her to realize a big part of her marital problems were due to emasculating her husband with her tyrant behavior. She had to acknowledge her role in their problems. They reconciled, and her behavior towards him now is notably better (she doesn't bully him or degrade him as much anymore, the way she did with my mom in the example above).
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

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  4. #124
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    Peacebaby, I don't understand why you needed to comment at all, honestly.
    I commented because that's what we did, every time, after each meeting.

    I noted her actions THAT DAY and I asked because I wanted to help her with what was on her heart, I didn't give a crap about the meeting then.

    Like Aphrodite, I find myself really feeling the INFJ in the exchange. I know that look she gave you. *yikes* Because your questions come across to me, putting myself in her position, as disingenuous (pretending that one knows less about something than one really does, for the benefit of anyone who hasn't heard that word). You had all the facts and you came to the right conclusion without her having to say anything. You knew she had stressful personal circumstances + you saw her cut the meeting late + you could see that she was tired. She would not have cut the meeting short if she had the energy to talk.
    You are adding details into the story I have not shared. I was previously told by her that there was marital breakdown, but that information was shared months prior to this particular example. I didn't have all the facts on that given day, see, that's the point. There was no way for me to know THAT DAY what was going on in her life. I asked an opening question with my loving, caring face (go look at the andy warhol on the profile page, that's "happy me" even if it's an arty thing) and I was met with resistance. I'm not daft of course, I knew in that moment somehow I tread on dangerous ground, but THAT DAY there was no way for me to know the WHY. Except by magic. And I am pretty magical, but not quite that magical.

    At the risk of coming across a total pedant -- have you read any Chomsky on transformational grammar? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformational_grammar
    Statements exist in the deep structure of questions. INFJ kind of lives in the deep structure. I am curious what you would say was in the deep structure of your questions.
    In this instance, I'm not that deep tilty. There's no hidden meaning. I might like to "tread light" because I am scared of offending anyone, and ask in a round-about way, but what I ask is what I ask. There is little to nothing else to it. There never has been. I'm just not wired for it. I feel your pain and I ask you about it. Period.

    I mean, think of ESTJ's - there is a TOTALITY of zero hidden meaning in what they say. Zero.

    (Ooh, actually I had a little joke at Z's expense yesterday, but that was in good fun and I sent him a thousand hugs after.)

    Perhaps it bears noting that Chomsky is an Ni dom.

    Also I think we're pretty good at initiating conversation when we want conversation. That could just be me, and I'd be interested from other INFJs if they feel they are fine with asking for a talk when they want one, or just talking when they need to.
    INFJ's want to be known, but in the knowing, there's this push / pull. It's not all give and it's not all take. In this example, I thought we were close enough friends at that time to go a place where she could share more openly. I was incorrect, and I FREELY open myself to censure here knowing FULL WELL nearly every INFJ would pounce on me offering this "to-INFJ-ears" buffoonish example of a chat that went "wrong."

    Just realize that in my example & the resultant response, you are helping me prove the points of the thread back on themselves - INFJ's can often expect that people are mind-readers, that they assume other details without knowing all the facts and make projections about my character (I was obtuse, I was not trusted, I was insensitive), that there's this expectation that everyone SHOULD just KNOW when to say or not say anything and that INFJ's sometimes begin an examination on an issue from the details allowing these to be the determinant of relevant emotion instead of emotions informing details.

    Goodness, you'll hardly meet a person who more desires to empathize and understand than myself, and I will be summarily chastized here.

    It kind of hurts my feelings because it makes assumptions about my character, but I opened myself up to it, so I'll ride it through.

    Here, I'll share a little more too of THAT DAY. Since I am not a total clown, after getting a couple of funny looks I beat a hasty albeit caring retreat. I sent her a short e-mail of support. "Hope all is OK ..."

    I'm saying you don't need to do anything. A silent gesture of support, like, "I'm going to get some coffee, can I get you some?" or just doing it, for example -- I can't think of any others, but maybe you can.

    P.S. I really hate to lose my composure at work. I can imagine in that situation feeling on the verge of tears.
    I do think you should "just know." Because ... she told you.
    You're saying I should just know. But that's just not fair. To me.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  5. #125
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I so don't get you that I don't know what to say, so this must be important and I will re-read and think on it some more. Your point of view is so foreign to me that I can't grok it, I have to go back and look line by line and try to piece together how you could not know and how it is unfair. This is good stuff, thanks for the feedback.

    Sorry to perpetually go back and edit, but I'm doing it again -- the feeling I get (probably completely wrong, I'm just putting it out there) is that you feel someone else's pain=now you are in pain=now you want to resolve it. Is that true?

    P.P.S. It's not about you being deep -- everyone is that deep. It's the nature of language. Every question is a statement -- there is an assumption behind every question. According to Chomsky. This is the subject of linguistics and it's useful sometimes with misunderstandings to analyze in that way.

  6. #126
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    But "How are things with you?" isn't direct, not at all.

    I can't offer over Te honesty or I'll be shot, "Well, that meeting sucked, why did you cut it short" or Fe honesty, "No offense, but it felt like those people were annoyed wondering why you left the group before listening to them" -- haha, where does that leave me?

    Maybe there's no right question at all. Just walk away slowly ...
    Isn't the above your stating what the statements were behind your questions??

  7. #127
    Happy Dancer uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    There's no hidden meaning.

    ...

    You're saying I should just know. But that's just not fair. To me.
    This summarizes what INFJs don't get about NFPs. Or perhaps it might be more fair to say, "don't believe about NFPs?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    Isn't the above your stating what the statements were behind your questions??
    This summarizes what NFPs don't get about INFJs.

    PB, imagine someone reading every possible inane insult behind everything you say, especially if you are approaching personal matters.

    Tilty, imagine someone meaning the very best, but completely unable to avoid putting one's foot in one's mouth.

    PB, my best advice as INFP/INFJ interlocutor (translating with common Ni with INFJ and Fi with INFP), is to be "emotionally blunt" rather than "factually blunt". Fi/Te tends toward the latter. But every Te-ish statement becomes infused with emotional meaning. So instead of asking why the meeting didn't go well, just ask, "Hey, are you all right? I'm concerned about you. Is there anything I can do to help?" (Tilty, feel free to correct/adjust my suggestion.) Notice the lack of "factual" input, just emotional concern.

    Tilty, my advice to you is that if you have an inkling that you're dealing with an NFP, don't read anything into what they're saying. Give them the benefit of the doubt as you would a good friend (not that you have to otherwise treat them as a good friend). Just accept that some people don't pick up on emotional cues as quickly and efficiently as you do ... just as I have to accept that most other people don't understand quantum physics as adroitly as I do. Once Ni doms realize that other people are just looking at the world very differently than we do, it becomes much easier to give them space and not assume that they're just stupid (the INTJ assumption) or evil (the INFJ assumption).

    When I'm very upset, NFPs and NFJs react very differently to me. The NFP will just hug me, and listen to me if I need listening to. They'll let me be me. The NFJ ... well, let me use an example of an INFJ best friend of mine. My Mom had just died (back in 2000). He said, "This is the only time I've ever seen you fazed by anything." Note the tone and implications, he's not directly offering any sort of sympathy or comfort, but he is offering kind of a back-handed compliment. He could have said something along the lines of, "Dude, you're f-cked up." (Which I kind of was.) Instead, he's both kind of admiring an aspect of my personality (never being fazed), but also implying that he understands the depths of my pain by noting how exceptional it is that I'm not my usual self. Note that he feels compelled to analyze my feelings, however circumspectly, which an NFP would not (or rather, would not talk about to me unless I directly asked).

    NFPs tend to need/give that raw emotional input/output. Fi tends to express things as an emotional state of being. NFJs tend to convey an emotional meaning that is intended to be helpful/supportive/nudging/concerned, but is rarely directly so. Fe tends to express things as an emotional meaning/purpose.
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

    A discussion is two people sharing their understanding, even when they disagree.

  8. #128
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Lol! I would have felt PB's statements as offensively as the others did, putting myself in the aforementioned INFJ's position. However from what I know, PB would not be intending to make anyone feel that way. It's just a difference in what each type finds supportive/offensive. I would find it deeply embarrassing to have someone respond as PB did, and yet it is hard for me then to know how to appropriately comfort an INFP, because to me it just feels wrong (while my way feels uncomfortable to them).

    I think umlauu summarized the differences quite nicely. INFJs honestly don't think they are reading offensive meaning into something. To them, it is literally a statement. That's why PB saw two INFJs immediately say something along the lines of "I honestly don't see how you could see it any other way". I would read the "But I honestly DIDN'T know" response as disengenuous had it not been for multiple other Fe/Fi threads where I have seen the same kinds of exchanges. I would agree with umlauu in how to forumulate a response to us vs a Fi user.

  9. #129
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    ...
    You're saying I should just know. But that's just not fair. To me.
    It took me a long time to come to this realization.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga

  10. #130
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Hmmm... true to type I'm not seeing PB's questions as offensive. It seems like PB's questions leave plenty of room for her coworker to say "I didn't sleep well last night" or "I had a stressful work day" or give any number of technically true but non-informative responses.

    PB's question could be construed to be disingenuous... but only if one was certain she knew the real cause. PB didn't with any certainly. I wouldn't have known in that situation, either. How could another person know for sure?

    Given that, would it have been better not to comment, even though perhaps the other person might need a sympathetic ear? Is pretending obliviousness not a kind of disingenuousness, too?

    I also admit to being terrified of crossing some sort of Fe boundary without realizing it. I'm not the most consistent person in the world (although I'm good at being focused on the current task or situation)... and sometimes that no doubt gets read as lack of caring and/or trustworthiness. I sometimes feel like I'm likely to get judged by a standard I don't even perceive, much less understand.

    Now posts on this forum and reading about Fe have made me a bit more aware, but still I fear mis-stepping. I feel like I'm aware there's a language I don't fully understand, but that's a far cry from being fluent.

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