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  1. #61
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74
    Or, you could be very blunt and say "You know damn well what I meant. I was being polite; stop being nitpicky."
    I have said almost that exact thing to my INTJ roommate, when we've had the interchange from the OP. But I would never ever try it with an NF, unless I knew them well! And even then, I have some very close INFJ friends who would probably be like this
    I bet you could do it with most ENFPs. I like bluntness; it takes the edge off complicated things.

    This is definitely a very interesting Fe/Fi divide. I feel the same about someone asking if they can do anything to help - kind, but sort of odd and almost intrusive. Actually it would feel a little like a burden, like they want me to figure out something they can do to help me. I don't really want help with things, usually. It's my emotions I need help with, not taking care of whatever needs to be taken care of. External things are the easy part, to me... and sort of comforting anyway, because they let me engage in things that I don't need to delve into emotion to do a good job at. The much harder part is dealing with myself.

  2. #62
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Any place I've lived in the U.S. I think it is a culturally normal response to a tragedy. I say it. I'm not sure how it evolved, and I can see how it could be taken literally. I say it in a way that doesn't assume responsibility, but is a way of saying that it is a regrettable event that should not have happened, that it is unfortunate to hear. It might help to say, "I'm so sorry to hear this. Is there anything I can do to help?" I think the word "sorry" is related to "sorrow", which explains how "I'm sorry" is an abbreviation of "I'm sorrowful".

    Is much communication literal in England, or is this just a particular cultural snafu?
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  3. #63
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    "I'm so sorry to hear this. Is there anything I can do to help?" I think the word "sorry" is related to "sorrow", which explains how "I'm sorry" is an abbreviation of "I'm sorrowful".
    ^^This makes a great deal more sense to me. There is a huge world of meaning between "I'm sorry" vs "I'm sorrowful". They mean extremely different things to me.

    @SilkRoad I posted an answer earlier but deleted as it felt flippant. My first instinct is to respond as you found odd. My father died when I was four and I have been on the receiving end of this convo countless times as people ask questions about family and such as a natural part of conversation.

    I think that what you are seeing is a very natural response, until a more fitting social response is learned and memorized.

    As with any communication, It is also in some sense projection of the part of the other person-assuming you think like them.

    For apologies in general: I tend to be overly apologetic, as I note many ENFPs around me are. We often apologize for things we know we did not cause, as a gesture of sorts….I feel your unhappiness and feel if I was truly everything I could be (to the extreme of idealistic Fi), I would have done something more to prevent the other person from feeling this unhappiness. Thus I truly am apologetic for their unhappiness. I have taken responsibility for their unhappiness as a fault in myself, in my actions…

    I know work with a bunch of enfps and much like safe sex, we engage in prophylactic apologies and self-blame, in advance for the slightest of annoyances we inflict upon each other, followed by endless forgiveness from the other..

    (Very interesting to watch these patterns arise in an isolated group)

    When I apologize, the other person can say “no, this wasn’t actually your fault, you did nothing wrong” and then I can forgive myself and no longer bear this responsibility for the ill that was never mine to begin with…but I do feel obligated to try and take on some of the blame?

    Enfp1-“We will be late on this project, likely my fault as I could have been quicker to turn around data analysis”

    Enfp2-“No, you did exactly what you needed to do, I should have had the presentation prepared in advance”

    Enfps3-“well it was actually my fault, as I didn’t compile the data”

    ENFP1-“well you normally work really hard and have been very busy so it is fine, we’ll work together to get things done.”

    (NOTE: EXTPs should be very wary of pointing out the broken person in a people system to an ENFP)

    This seems very stupid written down-but it just seems to be somewhat natural behavior.

    For the particular instance of dealing with death, It would appear to me that the other person is making this gesture in a very bizarre way-trying to take on self-blame by saying “I’m sorry”, thus my natural response will be to take back the blame from them by saying “It isn’t your fault”. Except it feels very odd as I wouldn’t think to apologize or try and take on blame for someone else’s death….

    Thus the response of “I’m sorry” invokes a very distinct sense of cognitive dissonance when addressing death. It isn’t the “right” response, thus it leaves one struggling for an adequate answer in return. In lei of a better answer, the in-the-wings default of “It’s not your fault” will pop out.

    I think that when you hear this, the other people know that the literal meaning isn’t what you mean…but they don’t have a good memorized response in turn that seems to fit correctly, thus you get the awkward “It’s not your fault” and everyone is left at a loss.

    The cognitive dissonance in this convo induced from my perspective feels a bit like this:

    Me: My father died when I was four.
    The other person: I am sure he liked ketchup. *hug*
    Me: Um, well, perhaps he did on hamburgers. Thanks for stopping by, *hug*.
    *awkward silence*


    It’s like I just don’t know what to do with the thread of the convo, as it is too close to a highly emotional issue, so hard to speak to,

    When young I always went with the default of “it’s not your fault”. As I have aged, I modified that to be “Well these things happen sometimes” recognizing the goodwill on the part of the other and the obvious unintended criss-cross of the communication between us.

    (I also admit to being very Fe blind and not being around any FJs until college-at times I can be very ignorant of even simple Fe social rules and tend to learn them the bumpy way, so perhaps this is why I recognize this pattern in myself.)

  4. #64
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Would any of you react like that - or do you think it's an odd reaction? Or do you think it's a cultural thing?
    I say I'm sorry.

    I would never say "It's not your fault" to someone who said "I'm so sorry" to me.

    And yes I do find it odd when people say "It's not your fault" to me. I just heard it yesterday and I was like huh?

    In thinking about it more, I think people just don't want you to feel down/sad/bad like they do. They want you to turn off your empathy or something yet listen to them and console them. I dunno. People are complicated!

  5. #65
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    when someone gives me bad news and i don't know what to say go "I'm sorry"
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

  6. #66
    Member WheresRocket's Avatar
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    I am one of the people who freak out when told "I'm so sorry" in the manner the OP described. To me it is not about the words, but the delivery. "I'm so sorry," in a sincere, understated voice, with eye contact and maybe a squeeze of the hand - that's fine. That tells me you empathize and you care. Perfect. But the big-eyed "I'M SOOO SORRY!" where they look at me kind of desperately and expectantly - whoa, stress. I start feeling like they're drowning in my perceived emotional state and pulling me down with them. It's like "whoa, buddy; I can barely handle my own emotions; don't throw yours on me too."

    I don't know if it even makes sense for an INFP to feel like that, but my ENFJ and I have this exchange all the time. He's SOOOO SORRY and can't understand why I panic and disengage when he says it. I don't fully understand it either, but I think I feel like he (or whoever is saying it) is trying to force me to spill the whole bag of emotions surrounding the situation right then and there. Usually I've worked hard on containing those emotions and don't feel safe spilling my guts on command (even though rationally I get that this is not the goal of "I'm so sorry").
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  7. #67
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    When someone tells me that...they have a serious illness; a good friend just died tragically; their marriage is ending; etc, my tendency is to look at them bug-eyed and say "I'M SO SORRY." (And I mean it, too, especially if I'm close to them.)

    What surprises me is that quite often, the person will look at me slightly surprised and say "It's not your fault!" or even "It's fine!". This always surprises me in return. Almost as though I said something inappropriate, or they just totally weren't expecting that. And to me it's completely the natural thing to say.

    Would any of you react like that - or do you think it's an odd reaction? Or do you think it's a cultural thing? I live in England and I can't remember if anyone in Canada or Ireland reacted like that. Then again, living in England I can think of at least English and South African people who have both reacted like that...

    I wonder if they might react like that because I look sincerely moved when I say it? But it's not like I burst into tears! I know though that some people are a bit uncomfortable about any display of emotion, so maybe they feel uncomfortable either that they might be exposing themselves, or that I feel so sorry about the situation. But my reaction if I told someone bad news and they said "I'm sorry" would just be "thank you."
    I haven't read all the other responses yet, but here's my $0.02.

    I rarely say "I'm sorry" in these situations because oftentimes I don't feel real sorrow. I don't think deaths, divorce, illness, etc. are good, but I just don't muster any real feeling in the moment. "I'm sorry" also seems pretty useless. I try to answer more specifically to the situation, for instance "that sounds like a difficult situation", or "is there anything I can do to help?" or even "I appreciate your telling me". I really do mean each of these, and really will help if I can.

    When I am on the receiving end of "I'm sorry", I usually answer either "I'm sorry, too", or "it's not a big deal", whichever applies. Unless it's my SO, then I'll say "it's not your fault" just to tease.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  8. #68
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Not really an "NF" topic, but I wasn't sure where to put this and figured I'd get good responses here.

    When someone tells me that...they have a serious illness; a good friend just died tragically; their marriage is ending; etc, my tendency is to look at them bug-eyed and say "I'M SO SORRY." (And I mean it, too, especially if I'm close to them.)

    What surprises me is that quite often, the person will look at me slightly surprised and say "It's not your fault!" or even "It's fine!". This always surprises me in return. Almost as though I said something inappropriate, or they just totally weren't expecting that. And to me it's completely the natural thing to say.

    Would any of you react like that - or do you think it's an odd reaction? Or do you think it's a cultural thing? I live in England and I can't remember if anyone in Canada or Ireland reacted like that. Then again, living in England I can think of at least English and South African people who have both reacted like that...

    I wonder if they might react like that because I look sincerely moved when I say it? But it's not like I burst into tears! I know though that some people are a bit uncomfortable about any display of emotion, so maybe they feel uncomfortable either that they might be exposing themselves, or that I feel so sorry about the situation. But my reaction if I told someone bad news and they said "I'm sorry" would just be "thank you."

    Thoughts?
    I'm coming in late to this, but I get this all the time, and I always am surprised by it. I mean, I think I am aware of what inflections I'm using, and the kind of I'm sorry that I'm saying isn't the same kind as I say when I really screw up, or even the kind when I bump into someone by accident. It kind of puzzles me. When I say it, I assume that others know "I'm sorry" is short for "I'm really sorry to hear that you are having a bad go of things", not "I'm sorry and I'm taking full responsibility for every bad thing that's ever happened to you".

    I've concluded that it must be a Fe vs Fi thing, as it tends to be Fi people who get all freaked out and assume that I'm feeling the depth of agony that they are over a bad situation and now are responsible for my emotions as well. It's not that I don't care about other people, as I am genuinely interested and concerned about what is happening with them, but not in a way that necessarily requires me to take action, unless I am in their inner circle. I say "I'm sorry" as a way to express solidarity and as kind of a "I'm rooting for you and if there's something I can do to help, I'd be happy to". I'm not likely to hug someone unless I am already very close to them, or it's clear that they are wishing for that and it is appropriate to the situation. Therefore, it is the verbal equivalent of a hug at a respectful distance.

    For me, I find someone listening to me and sympathizing a bit or asking questions helps me feel on top of the problem and see a clear solution. Therefore, I'm just offering what I would wish for myself. I've realized since that this is often misinterpreted, perhaps because other people don't find being listened to as helpful as I do.

  9. #69
    Uniqueorn William K's Avatar
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    Like a few others earlier in the thread, in these situations I would say "I'm sorry to hear that" if it's general bad news or "I'm sorry for your loss" if it's a death. Maybe it's a cultural issue but I've never had anyone respond "It's not your fault" before.

    Thinking about it..."I'm sorry to hear that" can also be a loaded reply since if you put too much stress on the "sorry" it might be miscontrued as "I wish I can forget that I heard that!" :P
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  10. #70
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    This is definitely a very interesting Fe/Fi divide. I feel the same about someone asking if they can do anything to help - kind, but sort of odd and almost intrusive. Actually it would feel a little like a burden, like they want me to figure out something they can do to help me. I don't really want help with things, usually. It's my emotions I need help with, not taking care of whatever needs to be taken care of. External things are the easy part, to me... and sort of comforting anyway, because they let me engage in things that I don't need to delve into emotion to do a good job at. The much harder part is dealing with myself.
    This is a good point! I hadn't even thought about it that way.

    I haven't had to go through a serious loss yet, but when I'm upset, I find comfort in external tasks in the same way that you do. I imagine that if someone close to me died, I would either take charge of, or actively participate in, the logistics factor -- funeral arrangements, distribution of belongings (inheritance, estate sale), etc. My Te would strengthen itself a hundredfold, to avoid sinking into the lowest, darkest depths of my INFP shadow.
    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    ^^This makes a great deal more sense to me. There is a huge world of meaning between "I'm sorry" vs "I'm sorrowful". They mean extremely different things to me.

    For apologies in general: I tend to be overly apologetic, as I note many ENFPs around me are. We often apologize for things we know we did not cause, as a gesture of sorts….I feel your unhappiness and feel if I was truly everything I could be (to the extreme of idealistic Fi), I would have done something more to prevent the other person from feeling this unhappiness. Thus I truly am apologetic for their unhappiness. I have taken responsibility for their unhappiness as a fault in myself, in my actions…

    I know work with a bunch of enfps and much like safe sex, we engage in prophylactic apologies and self-blame, in advance for the slightest of annoyances we inflict upon each other, followed by endless forgiveness from the other..

    (Very interesting to watch these patterns arise in an isolated group)

    When I apologize, the other person can say “no, this wasn’t actually your fault, you did nothing wrong” and then I can forgive myself and no longer bear this responsibility for the ill that was never mine to begin with…but I do feel obligated to try and take on some of the blame?

    [INDENT][I]Enfp1-“We will be late on this project, likely my fault as I could have been quicker to turn around data analysis”

    Enfp2-“No, you did exactly what you needed to do, I should have had the presentation prepared in advance”

    Enfps3-“well it was actually my fault, as I didn’t compile the data”

    ENFP1-“well you normally work really hard and have been very busy so it is fine, we’ll work together to get things done.”
    Very interesting! Thanks for this post.

    I relate a lot to the interchange you gave -- although I try to avoid apologizing for things that weren't my fault (unless maintaining good relations with someone requires it), I am very willing to give credit where credit is due, and blame where blame is due, which often means taking part in exchanges like what you just described.

    I find the rest of this quote so foreign, though; if it is Fi, then my Fi must be weaker than I thought it was. However, I think your reasoning is a perfect explanation of why people would say "it's not your fault" -- i.e. that some people out there, yourself included, use the phrase "I'm sorry" almost exclusively meaning the literal meaning, i.e. "I'm sorry because I am in part to blame for this".

    Is the issue the same, when the phrase is extended to its full form, i.e. "I'm sorry for your loss"?
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