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  1. #1

    Default NFs - does your insight into people hinder your relationships?

    I find that my ability to easily and deeply understand people is often off putting to them. Over my lifetime I've noticed that people don't like it that I can see their mental inner workings. I often don't realize that I've seen something they don't want me to until I've said something in passing and suddenly I'm staring at a wall.

    Being an INfJ, it's already difficult for me to find people I can be close to, but it seems like my ability to read others just makes it that much harder. People put up their walls and push me away when they discover I can see, even tho I'm not judging what I see. Seeing alone is enough to put people off.

    I've tried to mitigate this by keeping my observations to myself, but like I said, sometimes I don't realize I've hit on something that deep until it's too late.

    Do any of you other NFs have this problem?

  2. #2
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    I'm not an NF obviously but if people can figure parts of me out and communicate those things one on one, I admire this.

    Edit: Or at the very least, am intrigued.

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmommy View Post
    I find that my ability to understand people better than a large percentage of the population is often off putting to them. Over my lifetime I've noticed that some people don't like it that I can see their mental inner workings. I often don't take the time to test who they really are until I've said something in passing and suddenly I'm staring at a wall.
    ...
    I've tried to mitigate this by hiding my personality and character rather than risk the pain of rejection, but like I said, sometimes I don't realize I've hit on something that deep until it's too late.

    Do any of you other people have this problem?
    I'm wondering if some of the above suggested changes might make it easier for you to express your situation?

    If so, then Yes to your question

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    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I would say it makes it more difficult to interact on the surface with small talk. If I observe a person my mind moves towards deeper aspects of a person, but I do observe people like a river - as dynamic systems with many layers and continually evolving, so I never draw absolute conclusions about people.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Istbkleta View Post
    I'm wondering if some of the above suggested changes might make it easier for you to express your situation?

    If so, then Yes to your question
    It's not about being rejected. It's also not about hiding my character. It's a side effect of how my mind works. It's sometimes challenging to deal with the result when I've accidentally tapped into something that a person was trying to keep hidden. It's awkward, and some people react very strongly.

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    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I have to say that I've never bought into the idea that some people don't like INFJs because we're too insightful. I've heard this quite a bit and it seems like a really arrogant approach. If other people don't like something about you (or me), it's probably worth examining other character flaws.

    I think the only people who have seemed upset or annoyed because I showed insight into some aspect of their character were real asses, who were perhaps two-faced hypocrites and didn't like that being shown up. Someone nice and genuine isn't likely to react that way. It also seems that some INFJs do the sort of "I'm right about you...even if you disagree with me, I'm never wrong" sort of thing and honestly I think most human beings would find that terribly annoying.
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    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    About the closest I could say I relate to that is a good friend of mine feeling that I should say what I disapproved of about him, as he thought that I had opinions on some things, but was keeping them to myself. He tended to act quite differently depending on the company he was in (one of the horndog kind of boys, the absolute gentleman, the ENTJ dominater, the thoughtful kind guy, the philosopher king etc). Several other friends had mentioned it to him and he felt their criticism was invalid.

    I felt like what he puts out there is his decision. He couldn't keep people from making some judgements about how they felt about that and how they were going to relate to him. His behaviour was a little inconsistant, but I also had enough respect for him in other areas (and I wasn't dating him) that it wasn't that big of a deal to me as it didn't really affect me personally. The kind of thing that if he asked for feedback, I was willing to be frank, but if he didn't, I didn't feel it was needful to volunteer it and it probably wouldn't ultimately serve any useful purpose.

    I am often reluctant to put my opinion out there unless it is solicited, which can sometimes result in people feeling judged, when I am really not doing so, even internally. I am interested however in what makes them tick, because I'd like to understand the whole picture (as fia said) and I can see how that could be disconcerting if you aren't then also getting feedback about it.

    In cases where I am tremendously close to the person and they are doing something destructive to the relationship and they won't give any insight into why they are doing what they are, I also have a tendancy to review all the possibilities and go with the most likely I can see (I'd prefer real info, but can't stand dealing with all the nebulous possibilities if I don't have it. I need some concrete way to pick an appropriate course of action and way of understanding the situation). I'm very open to being corrected, but of course have found that I'm often wrong about the motivations I think others have because I'm looking at it from what that behaviour would mean if I did it. If there's one thing I've learned from here, it's that the same behaviours may mean wildly different things depending on personality type. Of course no one likes to be analyzed and analyzed incorrectly! At the same time, I would only do that with people I have a lot invested in and in the absence of needful information which they cannot or will not give so I can either move on or know how to work the situation out productively.

  8. #8

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    Hmm. I've attributed much of my trouble with emotional insight as Being a result of living with thinkers who have difficulty acknowledging, identifying, and dealing with their feelings. it seems my experience is rather dissimilar.

  9. #9
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    Sure, you can read people. But if you actually know people, you'll realize that virtually all of them value their mental privacy.

    A good friend of mine has the tendency to just blurt out what she 'reads' (which is most problematic in the rare cases that she's wrong). Yeah, people close down when that happens.

    When you're first getting to know someone, it's best to ask more questions regarding what you 'read,' lead the conversation based upon your assumptions, and so on, rather than to jump right into it. Otherwise, at its worst, it can come across as a con or a scam.

    That is, if you've got a conclusion about someone else or their situation, explore it with them. If your conclusion is right, then you'll more effectively lead them to it; if not, then you'll actually learn something.
    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    If other people don't like something about you (or me), it's probably worth examining other character flaws.
    This is always great advice for everyone, all the time.
    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I am often reluctant to put my opinion out there unless it is solicited,
    Ooh, I relate to this one. I can have strong opinions, but I'll only barge in when it's obvious that the other person wants feedback--to do otherwise seems extremely pushy to me. Even if I think that I'm 'right' based upon what I know, there's always stuff that I don't know.

    If someone close to me asks a question, for example, I'll take that as permission to provide honest feedback; I adhere to the philosophy that one shouldn't ask questions that he doesn't actually want the answer to. Sometimes, I say, sardonically, "Permisison to speak freely." and take it from there.

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    I usually keep any 'insight' I have about peoples' true motivations, psychae, etc to myself, as I don't usually think it's helpful to point it out to people. However, if a friend is going through a rough period, or it becomes clear to me that they need assistance, I may try to point out various things or possibilities. I guess I don't think it's my place to offer feedback/'insight'/suggestions unless the person genuinely seeks it out or I can sense they would be ok hearing what I have to say.

    So, I don't think how I am hinders my ability to have relationships. But, I DO think how I am means I don't often find people I *want* to have deep relationships with; hence I skirt the surface most of the times, only investing in those I really think I'd click with / there'd be mutual growth. That is very rare. And, admittedly, a lot of that falls in my court - I'm the one usually putting up the walls or deciding/sensing it's not going to go anywhere.
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