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Thread: Cynical INFP's

  1. #61
    Senior Member Joehobo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    As for Te in particular, yes I think I’ve become quite good at it over time. I’ve had to study it from the outside, like learning a foreign language. But in a way that gives me some advantages over people who might use it naturally but not actually know the principles behind it.

    (Just for comparison: I’ve seen INTPs and ISTPs who similarly studied their Inferior (Fe) in depth, and could be quite personable and social in company.)

    I think Te is best broken down into separate disciplines or levels. For example:

    The basics: Filing systems and to-do lists (scheduling). I know INFPs who don’t have even the beginnings of a filing system. All it takes is a cheap file cabinet from Staples or Office Depot, a box of letter-size file folders, and a packet of file folder labels. Don’t fuss about the labeling system; just start shoving paperwork into the file folders and label them however you want. Later, when the existing system gets unwieldy, use the file folder labels to quickly re-label all the folders as needed.

    To-do lists should be pretty familiar to any INFP.

    A little more advanced: Conquering procrastination and becoming more productive. I posted a couple messages on that subject in this thread: http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...1#post1868430T

    Basically the key is to break everything down into smaller and smaller portions until it’s easy to sit down and just get a small start on a project. Attack things in small bites initially.

    A little more advanced yet: Staying productive on long projects (campaigns). I posted a message on that subject in this thread: http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...=1#post1871288

    More advanced: Use of personal mission statements to focus one's life and work. Here is that message on mission statements from the "Common INFP Issues" thread: http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...=1#post1864883

    Even more advanced: Time management and prioritization of tasks. Another old post: http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...=1#post1902097

    Most advanced: Leadership and management skills. Even if one never holds a management position, at a minimum it’s handy to know about the rules of delegation. For example, when calling in a plumber or electrician to work on my house, I review the five rules of delegation to remind myself of the parameters I want to set for the job:

    --Desired results. Not how to do the task, but what is to be done and when; the individual should be given maximum lattitude to achieve results as he sees fit.
    --Guidelines. Parameters (principles, policies) within which the individual has to operate, what not to do, etc.
    --Resources. Resources the individual can draw on to do the work: human, financial, technical, or organizational support
    --Accountability. Performance standards and specific times for reporting and evaluation.
    --Consequences. What will happen (good and bad) as a result of the evaluation of the results.

    The rules for delegation can also serve as the basis for some parenting interactions, for example, how you assign chores and tasks to teenage children and how much freedom vs monitoring you give them while they do those tasks and chores.

    And so on. These are just a sample of possible Te-related subjects.

    Oh yeah, and probably the most important thing to remember about Te: Allot lots of time for Te projects. Te isn’t about pushing a few buttons and getting things done quickly; it’s about tackling new challenges, trying out a variety of solutions, and wearing problems down until they yield their secrets. So don’t fear challenges; just allot them lots of time and resolve to make repeated runs at them from a few different directions.

    I am glad to hear it's something you've refined over the years, I take it you likely have a job which requires a particular standard of organisation? I'm an IT student, so learning stuff like this is pretty damn useful. Project management and organisation skills are key to a career in it. Definitely not a strong point for me haha. So it's important for me to learn.

    To do lists that seldom get done, I'm familiar with that haha! I use alot of post it notes though and actually gets things done with that. Uh, I guess I would be one of those INFP's all my work and documentation, letters, and anything else important literally run around loosely in seperate boxes.. amongst other non related things. Thinking about it, that is an excellent suggestion. A filing system would really tidy things up. Is there a particular reason for me not to worry over a labeling system? I'd love to do one but I can imagine it'd side track me from actually putting things in its place haha.

    Ah yes. I remember the mission statements. I've actually written that down. It's amongst my loose set of papers though now. Man. Now I can't get out of my head how annoying it is, that they could be organised better haha. I never thought to have a filing cabinent you know? Fresh into adulthood, I hadn't realised how much paperwork I'm starting to accumulate that I might want to backdate.
    Back on track though, getting more organised with those mission statements is something I'll need to get on top of. I think I'd feel more comfortable with it as well when I get some more orderliness with that kind of documentation as well.

    The two more advanced parts, I can see how it directly relates to project management skills. The rules of delegation as you pointed out, really seems to stress not to micromanage and let some of it flow. I think I can really see how your linking it to parenting interactions. Throwing out that balance can just yield counter productive results, no?

    This is really good stuff, even if a sample as you put it.

    I'll try to be mindful of that. Challenge myself and repetition till I find a solution.


    I’ll try to do something similar with Fe in a follow-up post when I have more time.
    Sure if you like, If this is too time consuming (as I know it can be) then it's honestly fine. I don't want to be taking up time for something which isn't a benefit to you. Whether or not you see it that way. You know?

    I only have limited time available for posting, and I don't want to spend that time dealing with back-channel communications. I prefer to bypass all that and just post on the open message board.
    Ah well thats more than reasonable. That really does take up alot of time.

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    Senior Member gretch's Avatar
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    Hey, it's a bit late and I already took my sleeping pill so I'll try to make this as coherent as I can love. Grats on your first thread!

    Cynicism. I would think INFP's are cynical, and i say that because my good INFP friend and I seem to share that in common. He, more than I. I think it has to do with the Fi thing with Te somewhere in there haha. I have no idea though. But as for me personally, and if my theory is correct, my Fi is just switched. I have times where I become incredibly cynical which is interesting, and to many unexpected. I think someone said it on here it's pretty life experience based. I agree. I think a lot is learning to have better out look.

    Of course, watch for things like mental illness and your life actually sucking lol.

    Ultimately I think all of us INFP/ENFP's have to go through some metamorphosis where we understand that that discontent is a part of us, but it doesn't mean we aren't happy. And that if our ideals aren't met, it doesn't mean they were wrong or bad to have, and it doesn't mean the world was jaded either. It just means that it's what we are: idealists. It's what we were made for.
    A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labour and there is invisible labour.
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    -Victor Hugo

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    Junior Member Chickadee's Avatar
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    I am absolutely not cynical, although I was told that I was in high school (those were dark days for me, lol so maybe I was a bit). But I have blossomed into a mature adult (I would like to think ) and I am actually quite the opposite. I give people the benefit of the doubt to a point. I'm very guarded with relationships in the sense that I know what I want and if someone is not going to work out, I have absolutely no problem ending it. But in the beginning, I give all my trust and faith completely freely. I don't take breakups terribly hard - I just think they are a fact of life. I am too trusting of people to a fault, but when they break that trust, I accept it as fact and move on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joehobo View Post
    Is there a particular reason for me not to worry over a labeling system? I'd love to do one but I can imagine it'd side track me from actually putting things in its place haha.
    Yeah, the main thing is to just get the thing up and running, and not get caught up on how it looks or what specific kind of labeling system to use. You want to make your file cabinet accessible and comfortable so that you’re in it all the time, like an old, ripped pair of jeans or old sweat pants. Every time I pay a bill or print out something on the computer, I’m in the file cabinet to store or retrieve something. The contents are always changing, so I keep the labeling casual and change it up regularly to reflect new projects or even just a new idea for grouping files. With the gummed file folder labels, it’s no trouble to re-label 50 or 100 files at a sitting. Casual works best for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joehobo View Post
    Sure if you like, If this is too time consuming (as I know it can be) then it's honestly fine. I don't want to be taking up time for something which isn't a benefit to you. Whether or not you see it that way. You know?
    As I read them, your questions pretty much mirror issues that I’ve researched for self-improvement purposes of my own. So I’m grateful for the opportunity to collect up some of these various ideas and material from old posts and bundle it all up under a couple broad rubrics, as long as you don’t mind my using your thread for that purpose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I’ll try to do something similar with Fe in a follow-up post when I have more time.
    Te-users study management and organizational skills, create systems and tools that can be learned by others, and write books about them. Similarly, Fe-users study communication and interaction skills, create systems and tools that can be learned by others, and write books about them. The particular Fe-users who inhabit this message board may or may not embrace externalized, formalized systems like these. If not, that’s fine; I would be curious to hear how Fe-users see such systems. Nonetheless, as a non-Fe-user, I’ve found these tools very useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joehobo View Post
    I'm trying to come up with ways to now better approach people in times of conflict without getting all self righteous on them. The whole stock sayings, and giving feedback on what people are telling me seems to drive everyone nuts.
    I think the starting point for you was dealing with other types in conflict or high-emotion situations. So let’s start there. Empathizing is at the heart of Fe, and that can be done in a variety of settings, including conflict.

    The basic skill is called mirroring. Here is some background:

    They say that everyone’s deepest and most important psychological drive is to be mirrored or reflected in the eyes of the people around them. It dates back to when we were children calling our mother over to look at a picture we just drew. If she came over and complimented the picture, we saw ourselves reflected in her eyes and words as though in a mirror, and we were aggrandized and more alive. If, on the other hand, she replied that she didn’t have time or ignored us altogether, then we tended to feel minimized, sometimes to the point of nonexistence.

    The drive stays with us all our lives. The rich and famous build or amass monuments to themselves, feeling themselves larger than life when the masses admire their work and speak their name. Trolls seek attention in order to be reflected in the reactions of large audiences. People want to be mirrored/reflected by other people. If you can mirror other people, you will be fascinating and interesting to them.

    Basic mirroring for small talk

    There are 2 steps: Empathize; and then ask for further details.
    a) “Glad to hear it! Tell me more!”
    b) “I’m so sorry to hear that. What happened?”
    c) “Wow, that’s interesting. So how is that working out?”

    There isn’t much to basic mirroring in small talk. Don’t mentor people about something; they don’t want to listen to you and mirror you. Mirror them: draw them out. By all means talk about yourself, but then use that talk to draw the other person out about themselves: “I’m a translator at one of the international organizations downtown; what about you? What do you do for a living?”

    Mirroring when people complain or rant about problems

    Very few people listen to others with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They are either speaking or preparing to speak. They are filtering everything through their own paradigms and projecting their own autobiographies into the other person’s story.

    Because we listen to the complaints of others autobiographically (through our own personal paradigm), we tend to do four things: We evaluate (agree or disagree), probe (ask questions from our own frame of reference), advise (give counsel based on our own experience), or interpret (try to figure others out based on our own motives and behavior).

    However, we would do better to skip those four things and engage in empathic listening instead. This is defined as rephrasing the content (to show that you understood, i.e., the left brain side) and reflecting the emotions or feelings (to show your empathy and grasp of the situation, i.e., the right brain side).

    Example: “He yelled at you for being late to work? That must have been awful!”

    When listening to someone complaining, the idea is to put mirroring first and not worry about coming up with solutions. Often people know what the solutions are; they just need to gripe a bit. So let them gripe and be heard. If you properly mirror people, you are fulfilling a deep-seated need of theirs. The solution to their problem is secondary.

    You can offer solutions when they are ready to be left-brained (logical) about the situation and they ask for specific help or instructions on what to do. But often your solution will bring on a new bout of emotional, right-brained anguish, in which case you want to go back to empathic listening until they are ready to be logical again and ask for help again.

    It’s going to be tough to bite your tongue about easy issues, like a child whining about how he hates school and wants to drop out. But you want to build trust by being a good confidante. If you mirror properly, you will also likely dig up some info on the child’s school performance that you wouldn’t have gotten if you jumped right to advice-giving at the start. Besides, advising someone that a high school diploma is useful is almost a waste of breath; everyone knows that already.

    Mirroring when disagreeing with people

    When someone is trying to make a case and convince us of something, the tendency is to want to head that person off at the pass and try to get our reasons out first and derail theirs. But when we cut people off and overwhelm them or refuse to hear them, they feel dismissed. So let them speak and make their pitch in full. Engage in empathic listening by rephrasing the content (to show that you understood, i.e., the logical left-brain side) and reflecting the feelings (to show your empathy and grasp of the situation, i.e., the emotional right-brain side). If you properly mirror them, you are fulfilling a deep-seated need of theirs.

    Next:

    --If someone is trying to “sell” you on making a commitment and is simply trying to get a “yes” out of you (i.e., not interested in a genuine debate), then generate goodwill by hearing them out in full. But be brief in response: “Thanks for your confidence in my abilities to take on that obligation, but my plate is full right now and I don’t have time to put something like that together. (And no, I don’t want to parse my schedule with you.)” Or: “I appreciate your making X’s case, and I’ll consider it. No, I don’t want to re-hash the whole thing with you; I’ve heard what you have to say, and I’ll consider your arguments.”

    OTOH:

    --If it’s a genuine debate where people argue their side and then expect to hear your side, then show that you’ve heard them: describe their side to them, even better than they could describe it themselves. Then explain the logic of your own argument contextually--in the context of a deep understanding of their paradigms and concerns. Break out your own talking points and try to relate them even tangentially to the other person’s concerns. The idea here is to reach some kind of agreement, win/win scenario, and even synergy.

    To “sell” people on a point or obligation of your own

    Don’t just your present your arguments and assume that the other person is going to find them as persuasive as you do. Mirror the other person: Research their position and then describe their side or concerns to them even better than they could describe it themselves. Then explain the logic of your request contextually, that is, in the context of a deep understanding of their paradigms and concerns.

    Finally, and probably the most important thing to remember about Fe:

    Allot lots of time for Fe communications with people. Fe isn’t about barking out orders at people and getting things done quickly. Review the material above, and you’ll see a common thread there: Hear them out in full... draw them out... listen to what what they have to say...

    When done right, personal interactions always take three times longer than you planned. But they are worth the investment. Building relationships is Quadrant II activity (see my post on Te skills and the link on “time management and prioritization of tasks”), and thus should be targeted for priority attention. Networking and relationships represent the infrastructure that underpins and supports all the other things happening in your life. When it comes to the key relationships in your life--at home and at work--allot lots of time to them and do them right.

    *****************

    Again, handling conflict was the starting point for your own inquiry about Fe skills and dealing with people. So I went into mirroring at length. (By the way, the above material comes from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen R. Covey.)

    One more subject kind of goes hand-in-hand with mirroring, and that is the subject of boundaries. If you mirror properly, you pretty much put yourself at the mercy of the other person; you’ll be giving them a full hearing with no certainty that they’ll do the same for you in return. Good boundaries will allow you to engage in that sort of unilateral generosity without fear that others will take advantage of you. Fe is a Judging function; boundaries are very much at the center of how Fe works. So if it’s okay, I’ll follow up with a separate post on that subject.

  6. #66
    Senior Member Joehobo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gretch View Post
    Hey, it's a bit late and I already took my sleeping pill so I'll try to make this as coherent as I can love. Grats on your first thread!

    Cynicism. I would think INFP's are cynical, and i say that because my good INFP friend and I seem to share that in common. He, more than I. I think it has to do with the Fi thing with Te somewhere in there haha. I have no idea though. But as for me personally, and if my theory is correct, my Fi is just switched. I have times where I become incredibly cynical which is interesting, and to many unexpected. I think someone said it on here it's pretty life experience based. I agree. I think a lot is learning to have better out look.

    Of course, watch for things like mental illness and your life actually sucking lol.

    Ultimately I think all of us INFP/ENFP's have to go through some metamorphosis where we understand that that discontent is a part of us, but it doesn't mean we aren't happy. And that if our ideals aren't met, it doesn't mean they were wrong or bad to have, and it doesn't mean the world was jaded either. It just means that it's what we are: idealists. It's what we were made for.
    You seem to pull off coherency inspite of the pill haha. Thank you!

    It's been mentioned that NF's get it across the board. How much would you say it affects you as an ENFP in your everyday life and interactions within close relationships? Ooh, interesting for you to add in Te to the equation. Could you share how you see Te relating to it? Being an ENFP your Te would come more naturally, do you feel that your Te is switched with Fi? If so, why?
    Yeah, I agree also, experiencing then overcoming.

    Metamorphosis, that really does seem like how it comes about! As @Udog put it earlier, it's a bit like a rite of passage.
    You would suggest us to accept ourselves for how we are, I agree with this also. But do you also suggest that we shouldn't try to balance our ideals?

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    Senior Member Joehobo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chickadee View Post
    I am absolutely not cynical, although I was told that I was in high school (those were dark days for me, lol so maybe I was a bit). But I have blossomed into a mature adult (I would like to think ) and I am actually quite the opposite. I give people the benefit of the doubt to a point. I'm very guarded with relationships in the sense that I know what I want and if someone is not going to work out, I have absolutely no problem ending it. But in the beginning, I give all my trust and faith completely freely. I don't take breakups terribly hard - I just think they are a fact of life. I am too trusting of people to a fault, but when they break that trust, I accept it as fact and move on.
    Hey, welcome to the forum! I just noticed you are new here haha. have you been settling in here well?
    So in highschool you where seen as cynical (perhaps to a small a extent actually where.) Any idea why people where seeing this? Haha, I would like to think I am blossoming into a mature adult as well.
    Giving people the benefit of the doubt, you know that is something I heard alot of earlier this year, is this something you've always found yourself doing? From what I'm reading, it seems a little safe to say you learnt pretty quickly how to assert yourself?
    Putting too much trust into a person, and not being able to accept that they broke that trust. Being able to move on from that is something I've only just be learning. I envy you slightly. :P

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    Senior Member Joehobo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    Yeah, the main thing is to just get the thing up and running, and not get caught up on how it looks or what specific kind of labeling system to use. You want to make your file cabinet accessible and comfortable so that you’re in it all the time, like an old, ripped pair of jeans or old sweat pants. Every time I pay a bill or print out something on the computer, I’m in the file cabinet to store or retrieve something. The contents are always changing, so I keep the labeling casual and change it up regularly to reflect new projects or even just a new idea for grouping files. With the gummed file folder labels, it’s no trouble to re-label 50 or 100 files at a sitting. Casual works best for me.
    Ah okay, I can see how that can work out well. If I where to through in a refined and rigid labelling system I'd never use the damn thing haha. I have tons of those! I'll give that a try, that would work better for me as well, if I can just slap it in there without fussing over which category it falls under it would be immensely easier.

    As I read them, your questions pretty much mirror issues that I’ve researched for self-improvement purposes of my own. So I’m grateful for the opportunity to collect up some of these various ideas and material from old posts and bundle it all up under a couple broad rubrics, as long as you don’t mind my using your thread for that purpose.
    Fair enough, I see where you are coming from. You're more than welcome to do so. I just wished not to intrude upon your time unnecessarily, as I feel the beneficiary. The thread did call on for this sort of experience, and you yourself have found something which has worked for you.

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    Senior Member Joehobo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I think the starting point for you was dealing with other types in conflict or high-emotion situations. So let’s start there. Empathizing is at the heart of Fe, and that can be done in a variety of settings, including conflict.
    That is correct. Conflict from a lack of clear understanding and acceptance is where it started for me.

    Because we listen to the complaints of others autobiographically (through our own personal paradigm), we tend to do four things: We evaluate (agree or disagree), probe (ask questions from our own frame of reference), advise (give counsel based on our own experience), or interpret (try to figure others out based on our own motives and behavior).
    I was very empathetic throughout most of my teenager years. At some point I got tired of it and felt like it was easier to just cut through what I saw as side issues and go straight to what I saw as the root issue. This really didn't rub people the right way. I figure doing that is probably the same as you explained here? In your own experience, did you happen to take this kind of step about things also? Or was it never so much of an issue for you?

    When listening to someone complaining, the idea is to put mirroring first and not worry about coming up with solutions. Often people know what the solutions are; they just need to gripe a bit. So let them gripe and be heard. If you properly mirror people, you are fulfilling a deep-seated need of theirs. The solution to their problem is secondary.

    You can offer solutions when they are ready to be left-brained (logical) about the situation and they ask for specific help or instructions on what to do. But often your solution will bring on a new bout of emotional, right-brained anguish, in which case you want to go back to empathic listening until they are ready to be logical again and ask for help again.
    Perhaps it is impatience on my part, but even when I do have being empathetic down, I find myself frustrated with the person when the issue continues to arrive and they fail to find a solution for themselves, and aren't ready to accept a suggestion either. I can generally just ignore it and put it on the back burner but when it comes to people close to me it can sometimes require a need for more tangible results, them needing to sort out the problem. Would you suggest that patience is needed here and that given enough time if I mirror my disagreement carefully they may become more open to a suggestion? Or would you think this would call for another method around things?


    When done right, personal interactions always take three times longer than you planned. But they are worth the investment. Building relationships is Quadrant II activity (see my post on Te skills and the link on “time management and prioritization of tasks”), and thus should be targeted for priority attention. Networking and relationships represent the infrastructure that underpins and supports all the other things happening in your life. When it comes to the key relationships in your life--at home and at work--allot lots of time to them and do them right.
    After reading that link when you posted it, I had it churning in the background throughout the night at a party. I was spending alot of time being involved in anti social activities like emailing (I was discussing something which was important and involving upcoming decisions regarding family life.) because I had no interest or any real knowledge of the people around me. So depending on how I look at it, I was following well with Quadrant II. But given the anti social nature I was also disregarding that haha. :P
    Maybe pointing out was a little pointless but oh well. I felt like I had created a contradiction.



    Again, handling conflict was the starting point for your own inquiry about Fe skills and dealing with people. So I went into mirroring at length. (By the way, the above material comes from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen R. Covey.)

    One more subject kind of goes hand-in-hand with mirroring, and that is the subject of boundaries. If you mirror properly, you pretty much put yourself at the mercy of the other person; you’ll be giving them a full hearing with no certainty that they’ll do the same for you in return. Good boundaries will allow you to engage in that sort of unilateral generosity without fear that others will take advantage of you. Fe is a Judging function; boundaries are very much at the center of how Fe works. So if it’s okay, I’ll follow up with a separate post on that subject.
    The length is good, and it was a good read. As I mentioned earlier alot of this will be churning within my head.
    I'm very curious about any further information you have to offer regarding boundaries, especially at first I felt a little confused, I find it a habit to give out alot of myself when I'm comfortable communicating without much being given in return, and because of this I feel like I have trouble respecting my own boundaries that I wish to set. Yes if you wish to do so I would be delighted to read a post on that subject.

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    On the subject of personal boundaries...

    In my post on mirroring, I said:

    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    Allot lots of time for Fe communications with people. Fe isn’t about barking out orders at people and getting things done quickly. Review the material above, and you’ll see a common thread there: Hear them out in full... draw them out... listen to what what they have to say...
    However, that’s only half the story. The other half of the story is the work of reflecting the other person’s main points back to them to show that you’ve listened and comprehended. To quote: “Engage in empathic listening by rephrasing the content (to show that you understood, i.e., the logical left-brain side) and reflecting the feelings (to show your empathy and grasp of the situation, i.e., the emotional right-brain side).”

    This concept of the “reflection of main points” becomes the marker that determines whether a given interaction is productive or unproductive, and thus how low or high you need to set your personal boundaries while dealing with that person or subject.

    To spell it out in more detail:

    Low-boundary interactions:

    In equal, productive relationships, both parties should be open to hearing each other’s ideas (IOW, drawing each other out and hearing each other out in full), and both parties should be reflecting each other’s main points to demonstrate understanding and incorporation of the other person’s ideas into the joint narrative (the relationship being built between them). Thus:

    Bob: I thought the movie was good, but I thought scene A was weak. I didn’t understand why the director even included it.
    Sally: I agree that scene A seemed out of place, but I figured it was needed in order to provide background for scene B.
    Bob: That’s true; I suppose scene B wouldn’t have made much sense without scene A. What did you think about scene C?

    Bob and Sally aren’t necessarily in agreement, but they are at least hearing each other in full and reflecting each other’s main points. Every time Bob brings up a new “main point,” Sally reflects it in her response in some manner. And vice versa. So there’s no reason to put up personal boundaries.

    High-boundary interactions:

    Let’s say you go to a car lot to test-drive the latest model of your favorite pick-up truck. You don’t intend to buy today; you’re just in information-gathering mode for the moment. OTOH, the salesman definitely wants to make the sale today. During and after the test-drive he gives you a lot of hard-sell tactics. Every time you provide a reason why you’re not prepared to purchase a vehicle today, the salesman brushes that reason aside or ignores it entirely and continues pushing his own points on you.

    At that point you decide that the interaction is unproductive. You’re prepared to listen to his points and reflect them: After all, you fully agree that it’s an excellent product; you’re just not prepared to make the purchase right now. Meantime, there’s no reason to keep trying to get him to acknowledge your needs/desires/arguments for delaying the purchase. If he hasn’t heard/reflected your concerns on your first four responses, then he’s not going to hear/reflect your concerns on your fifth or fifteenth response.

    So it’s time to raise the boundaries and get out of there. “Sorry to interrupt, but I have another appointment. The vehicle is great, and I’ll definitely consider what you’re told me about financing. Give me your business card, and I’ll get back to you within a couple days at the latest.”

    Agendas

    People have agendas. Bob and Sally had differing agendas (different evaluations of the movie); the salesman and the buyer at a car lot have differing agendas (on whether a car gets purchased immediately or later). By themselves, agendas aren’t a cause for concern.

    The main thing is to determine whether you’re able to engage in productive negotiations, i.e., hear each other in full and mirror and incorporate each other’s main points.

    As you get better at mirroring others, you’ll get better at spotting whether others are mirroring you in return. Even under fire and in tense negotiations, you can gauge the level of mirroring taking place, make a decision on whether or not the discussions are productive, and thus continue to engage the other party or raise your boundaries and disengage.

    Here’s an old post of mine where I detail how mirroring operates in negotiations and conflict situations: http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...=1#post1390314

    Also, note that I provided a comparison of a high-boundary interaction and a low-boundary interaction in my previous post:

    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    Next:

    --If someone is trying to “sell” you on making a commitment and is simply trying to get a “yes” out of you (i.e., not interested in a genuine debate), then generate goodwill by hearing them out in full. But be brief in response: “Thanks for your confidence in my abilities to take on that obligation, but my plate is full right now and I don’t have time to put something like that together. (And no, I don’t want to parse my schedule with you.)” Or: “I appreciate your making X’s case, and I’ll consider it. No, I don’t want to re-hash the whole thing with you; I’ve heard what you have to say, and I’ll consider your arguments.”

    OTOH:

    --If it’s a genuine debate where people argue their side and then expect to hear your side, then show that you’ve heard them: describe their side to them, even better than they could describe it themselves. Then explain the logic of your own argument contextually--in the context of a deep understanding of their paradigms and concerns. Break out your own talking points and try to relate them even tangentially to the other person’s concerns. The idea here is to reach some kind of agreement, win/win scenario, and even synergy.
    Note that even in a high-boundary situation you still want to be courteous and give the other party a fair and full hearing. It fulfills a need of theirs, and it provides some consolation when you deny their request: At least you gave them a full and fair hearing, and maybe with time you’ll come around and see their point of view. If you have listened to people in full, then a good way to temporize while you escape is to say something along the line of “I’ll think about it,” “I’ll take it under consideration,” “Let me think about it and get back to you.” If you have heard the person in full, then that’s a perfectly legitimate response.

    Everyone has agendas. There’s no need to fear a person with an agenda. The main point is not to respond to testing and button-pushing by offering elaborate explanations or by getting defensive and aggravated. Just evaluate whether you’re getting mirrored properly (and also whether you’ve mirrored the other person fairly), and raise the boundaries if you determine that the exchange has turned unproductive.

    If someone’s agenda is particularly toxic to you for various reasons, you can even use boundaries to segregate off that agenda and put it out of bounds while continuing to interact comfortably with that person in other areas of mutual concern. Here’s an old post of mine to that effect:

    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    A hypothetical example: Your family lives close by, and they invite you to meals. You want to be social, so you do meals with them for a while. But you’re trying to lose weight and the social eating gets in the way. Also, your family uses food as a weapon, i.e., to guilt and shame, create obligations, etc.. If you try to beg off by saying you’re on a diet, they argue with you about your diet, they tell you you’re insulting them if you don’t accept their invite, etc.

    So draw a line, any old line. Tell them you’re trying to do something healthy for yourself, you’re on a diet, and you’re tired of having to fight them over it. Tell them that henceforth you’re going to refuse all meal invitations, and furthermore you’ll refuse to discuss it with them. Your diet is a personal matter, not a family project to be discussed. You'll come by to visit and socialize as usual, but you won't accept offers of snacks, meals, etc. [...]
    In the above example, you can continue to love and interact with your family while cordoning off certain specific areas of your (or their) life and simply refusing to engage with them in those areas. Just pay attention to whether or not there is mutual mirroring in those areas, and then set your personal boundaries accordingly.

    Talking points as boundaries

    Boundaries themselves consist of any of the following: Creating physical or temporal space between yourself and another party (choosing a seat away from the seat of another person, limiting your exposure to people via scheduling, excluding them from your life entirely); Use of socioeconomic class to create differentiation and social distance; Use of social “masks” to claim a certain space or posture (“I’m a grumpy old man: I can’t be bothered to do all this back-channel social media crap”); Use of considerate little white lies to escape an interaction without commitment: “Let me think about it and get back to you”; And a host of other tactics and strategies.

    You can erect boundaries because you simply don’t have time or the inclination to honor the other person’s request. People don’t get what they want just because they need something; they also have to create a want or need in you to participate in the exchange.

    You can also erect a boundary when you’ve determined that the other party is not mirroring you or negotiating with you properly even after you’ve demonstrated that you’re willing to mirror them. Once you determine that, you’re no longer bound to mirror them in depth. Just give them a fair hearing and institute a boundary (at least until such time that they are willing or able to give you a full and fair hearing in response).

    If someone isn’t mirroring you, then they aren’t hearing you. So they have forfeited the right to expect long explanations or justifications from you. They are not listening to you; they are just encouraging you to talk in order to push your buttons and keep you roped into the exchange. So you raise your boundaries and retreat to a “no hugging, no learning” mode: That is, you don’t try to school people on your point of view or try to set them straight.

    Applying this idea to one’s family and their toxic ideas about food: “No hugging, no learning” means that you don’t point out to them all the things they do wrong with food; you don’t point out to them all the eating disorders they’ve caused across the years in the family. They aren’t going to want to hear it. You have your “talking point”: No more food invites, and no more discussion about it. That’s it. No need for anything else. They’re free to react as they please; meantime, you’ve let them know what your response will be.

    Agendas (2)

    Talking points are a personal boundary, an antidote to the agendas of others. Probably the biggest idea to remember about talking points is that they may require some preparation. If you walk into a room and a friend or family member hits you with a big imposition or request for a commitment out of the blue, you may feel like a deer caught the headlights. Furthermore, if you know from experience that the friend or family member is poor at mirroring/negotiating/hearing your own concerns, then you may not wish to work out your concerns with that person directly, on the spot. So you temporize and buy a little time while you retreat and work out where to set that boundaries with that person.

    An even better approach:

    If you think about it, you can predict the agendas of the people around you 90% of the time. This is especially true of key relationships (family, friends, co-workers), people in official “roles” (salesmen, teachers, bosses, cops, etc.), people playing out familiar roles (a guy chatting up a girl in a bar), etc.

    The trouble is that we get lazy and forget to predict people’s agendas. Perceivers in particular may have a problem with this. With their non-judging function turned outward toward the real world, they may habitually enter into interactions with no particular agenda of their own in mind and without bothering to predict what the agenda of the other person might be. Perceiving functions like to riff off of whatever is happening around them, so in a way the lack of preparation is part of the fun.

    But Perceivers may repeatedly find themselves “like a deer caught the headlights” due to lack of preparation (i.e., being caught with boundaries unprepared), and they may increasingly feel bruised and battered by social interactions (especially introverted perceivers). Such people can learn to benefit from this exercise of predicting agendas and preparing talking points ahead of time. A useful familiar exercise along these lines: Role-play key events ahead of time with a partner; simulate immersion in an agenda-ridden event and then play out various talking points to cover various eventualities.

    Again, agendas aren’t to be feared; everyone has them, even you. They just require a bit of preparation and foresight; and then arm yourself with talking points (or plans to exploit physical space) as your antidote, IOW as a proactive use of personal boundaries.

    Here is an old post of mine on the subject of agendas if you want to read more on how to use them to your advantage socially:

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...=1#post1859560

    (At that link, start reading from the third paragraph, at the passage “These days I tend to figure that everyone comes to the table with an agenda, including me...”)

    At the same time, don’t limit your interactions with people solely to reacting to their agendas. Hear them in full, give them every opportunity to express themselves, and you may find them more three-dimensional or full of good counsel or interesting experience than you initially thought.

    Don’t get too aggressive with your boundaries. If your agenda is too contradictory to the agendas of other people, you end up in a position where you and the other person can’t connect at all. Instead, regard your new-found agenda as a security blanket and try to limit its use to those times when you’re really feeling crowded. Otherwise, try to remain open to their agenda; maybe there’s something new to be learned from them and their approach to the world.

    **************************

    To sum up: Mirroring and use of personal boundaries isn’t supposed to be a definition of Fe; instead, as I said in my earlier post on mirroring, it’s an Fe-based system that has been externalized and formalized for use by anyone: It helps people to be outward-directed and interested in the lives of others but simultaneously practicing boundaries to protect autonomy and separate the productive relationships from the unproductive ones. (Refer back to the Pareto principle in the “Time management” link in the post on Te skills; it can be applied to relationships and personal interactions as well.)

    That should be it for the long posts. I’ll follow up with a few notes on other Fe-based systems (networking, courtesies, small talk, etc.), but it should mostly be links to old posts.

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