^^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.
Originally Posted by fia
@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*.
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.)