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Thread: Difficulty being assertive to friends (INFJ)

  1. #11
    Rape Holess Array Starry's Avatar
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    May 2010
    7w6 sx/sp


    Quote Originally Posted by emmapeel View Post
    @Starry Thank you for that mirror. It's very helpful to read how someone who's completely different regarding to 'stuff and space' sees things.

    Hm. I know I used to be rather rigid and with a lot of rules, which was confusing and annoying for others. At some point I simply couldn't keep track of my own rules anymore (let alone others) and became very inconsistent with them. So I made them a lot easier, for myself and for others (this took me a lot of time, but I did it). These days I only have one rule according to my stuff: "My stuff is mine, don't touch it. And if you want to touch it anyway, please just ask and I'll probably say yes. Just ask before you take/do." I don't have 'you can sit in the red chair, but not in the blue chair, unless it's Sunday or full moon' kind of rules.

    In my defence in this particular example: it was above all the many drops that made the ocean. I could have easily chosen to not care about baby spit on my floor if the rest of the visit went smooth, I you understand what I mean. That's what makes being assertive so difficult in this case. When say something, when stay quiet.

    One thing I just realised is that this particular friend is the only person in my inner circle that I've never been assertive to *ever*. I think I simply never dared to... Not even with the weird rules I used to have. (Unlike my very best friend who has suffered under my rules very much and now sometimes sighs 'you've changed so much, you are so much easier these days, yippie!') So maybe she simply doesn't know how I feel about these things. Although I already know that she doesn't do it on purpose to hurt me. She is the kind of person though to do this as a kind of tough love thing, to teach me how to be a 'better person' or something. She is an INxJ after all. Hmmmm... food for thought. you actually haven't asserted yourself with this person. Ummm...I admit I am a little confused merely because higher-up you indicated that she knows how you feel with regards to your home, privacy, stuff, little-humans and little-humans barfing all over the place...

    See now, my sister does not assert herself (and I actually think this is a common e1 trait and perhaps a IXXJ trait? -idk)...because she believes people should already know without her telling them. Like she totally thinks her rules are the 'standard rules of conduct and human decency' and any breech is a purposeful violation. But it sounds like maybe you don't? That you at times question the validity of how you feel? The thing is that is how you feel. If you don't want someone coming over into your space with a baby...that's okay. It is okay for you to express that...and it doesn't need to be 'understood' by others. You can also even say..."I am so happy for you and your new life. And I would like to set aside some time that we can spend alone."

  2. #12
    Senior Member Array JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    Hmm, looks like you'll definitely want to be the visitor rather than the host. And it'll probably only get worse as the offspring becomes mobile. It sounds like you weren't completely ready for the visit and were caught off-guard. If she visits again you can do things like prepare a sleeping area for the baby, play area, designated changing surface etc (I don't really know what babies need myself). This should come across as welcoming rather than damage control. It also makes your boundaries clearer and easier to non-dramatically defend.

    But twice a year doesn't sound too bad to me.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Array Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    468 sx/sp


    I know exactly how you feel. I was cringing and flinching the whole time I read your post. It's definitely a problem. What it comes down to is, you may have lost yourself a friend. Unless you are always the visitor, but that brings its own host of trouble, too. If they come to your house again, YOU say where the baby goes, and YOU say the upstairs is off limits to visitors, etc. In a nice way, you know. "Let's let the baby lie down here -- look, I made a little space just for it," etc. But you can't make people understand how you feel because they just don't. I can think of several experiences I've had like this -- friends were coming over for dinner and one was bringing his mother -- the dinner was for his mother -- I was cooking, it was at my house -- I had everything planned and set to the very last detail to run like clockwork, and the younger woman wanted to come in the kitchen with me, set up her blender, make drinks ... the blender spilled all over the counter and floor, and she was in my way the entire time ... she wanted to help, but she'd cut vegetables for half a second and then stand there talking and waving the knife around, throwing my timing completely off ... I was SO. FUCKING. MISERABLE I can't even describe it. ..... Othe friends, the wife would use the bathroom, later I'd go into the bathroom and find her long black hair in my hair brush and just go off, and she would look shocked and say she wouldn't mind if I used HER hair brush if I came to her house, and I'd be like, I would not touch your things! I don't want to use your hairbrush. I'm asking you not to use mine! and I started to feel like I had to lock everything up before these people came over or else they'd just act like it was theirs and use it ... another friend went around opening things constantly. Little decorative boxes, sometimes drawers ... it made me nuts.

    I don't know what to advise you, but I sympathize mightily.

    P.S. Your friend is in the grip of some very powerful hormones right now. FWIW

  4. #14
    thankful Array PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    937 so/sx


    Quote Originally Posted by emmapeel View Post
    So. Where to begin?
    hmmm, maybe this calls for a change of perspective:

    1.) Your friend has a new baby. Naturally that would be expected to be the predominant theme of your visit.
    2.) With a new baby, she still drove 150 miles to see YOU. You are that special to her.
    3.) She attempted to help you feel comfortable with the baby by interacting in your space and encouraging you to engage and participate.
    4.) It's even possible she saw you were ill-prepared in making a "baby friendly space" and attempted to graciously compensate by declaring little things like, "Oh the baby could sleep here."
    5.) Are you sure she "knows" about your feelings to their full extent ... or that she knows about your rules? Really?

    This has nothing to do with being assertive. It has much more to do with you wanting to exert full control over your environment, and since it's your home, you do have the right to do that. But the expectation that people should know what your unwritten rules are and your unspoken feelings is quite unfair, wouldn't you agree? You expect they should read your body language and facial expressions and even your emotions to pick up your distress. But you KNOW most people are just not wired that way and it's not going to happen; even with this dear friend of yours, who's attention is now hormonally fixated on this new baby - nature even helps create that mini-obsession-love-affair to enhance the maternal bond. In this situation even a dear friend can lose focus on YOU and perhaps even feel justified it's on HER.

    I guess the advice I have to offer is that if you don't want someone touching your stuff, you have to just say it nicely with a smile on your face. 90% of reasonable people will understand this. The best thing is just laying the rules out with cheer rather than consternation. Presenting guidelines without that cheer, with negative energy, will only solicit the negative reactions of others in return. Is it possible for you to have some levity in regards to these types of situations? If you nicely said, "Oh, that's not really the best thing for the baby, I have some great toys downstairs" I can't imagine your guest not happily following you there. Even think of them as DIVERSIONS, distractions, not rules, it might help you feel less strict in their delivery. Think of a dozen diversions. Steer people towards them.

    To add a little extra, it does seem like this visit caught you unprepared to a degree, not fully anticipating what the visit would involve. And I understand this is more to due to your inexperience with kids than any kind of deliberate negligence on your part. I suspect though in the future you will make a better guest than a hostess in this friendship - this baby will only get bigger and rowdier and it won't bode well with you having a home that's not child-friendly.

    Thanks for sharing your story. And good luck. I hope there's some useful info to take away.
    "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. #15
    Senior Member Array cafe's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    INFj None


    I'm a total slob with a husband, four kids, two cats, and a dog, in my 1200 sq ft, 1 bath house so you'd think I'd be totally laid back about other people coming over. It turns out I'm really not. I kind of can't have outside people in my space very long without getting twitchy.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  6. #16
    On a mission Array Usehername's Avatar
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    May 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by emmapeel View Post
    My parents and husband agree that she crossed some boundaries during her visit, so apparently my feelings are valid
    How could she cross boundaries if you didn't construct any boundaries? They don't exist until you invent them.

    I live in the desert but come from winter wonderland, so I get acquaintances, nevermind friends and family, visiting all the time, and it's worked to just name my expectations. (Which are more along the lines of, "you can't drive my car if you've had more than 2 drinks for a male or 1 for a female; no random people you've just met are allowed in my home," rather than baby issues).
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  7. #17
    Senior Member Array Viridian's Avatar
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    Dec 2010


    It's almost eerie how the NFPs and INFJs have their respective views so neatly divided here.

    Maybe that's just a coincidence?
    Tentative typing: ISFJ 6w5 or 9w1 (Sp/S[?]).

  8. #18


    Quote Originally Posted by emmapeel View Post
    My biggest challenge in life right now is learning how to deal with friends/family that cross my boundaries and/or do minor hurtful things. I was wondering how other INFJ's deal with these kinds of situations.

    It's fairly easy for me to handle major conflicts and to be assertive to strangers or casual acquaintances. I can also be quite stern with my husband. But I'm simply not capable to defend my boundaries and feelings against close friends and family. In such situations I get completely stuck in my own web of evasive behaviour: trying to ignore my feelings (turning them into ticking time bombs and forever repeating movies in my head), avoiding/delaying/postponing contact, avoiding situations that might repeat the hurtful situation, an occasional door-slam even... I know it's wrong, but I just don't dare to be assertive to them! I think that I may feel that my feelings are somehow 'invalid' and that they will point that out to me when confronted, adding to the initial hurt... I'd rather lose a friend than be hurt twice I suppose, but that sounds pretty stupid to me. So I'd really love to learn how to deal with such things properly and maturely. Any tips?
    I know an INFJ who behaves the same way. It's very frustrating because I would prefer her to be honest about her feelings, but it's like when she senses my preference for her honesty, she doesn't want to vocalize her feelings because it would somehow be of my influence. Then, she creates excuses and even outright lies to avoid what would make her feel uncomfortable, which, ironically, is instigated by her feeling that her feelings take priority. In the end, the only thing she can be accountable for is dishonesty and evasion regardless of her circumstances; it's as though the only time she's remotely forthcoming about her emotional life is when I'm not paying attention, which of course leads to her being unheard, repeating the cycle of selfish "selflessness". So it's like, why would you ever want to contact a friend who doesn't allow themselves to even exist?

  9. #19


    I call upon @EcK.

  10. #20
    The Memes Justify the End Array EcK's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    ILE None


    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    I call upon @EcK.
    What? Why?
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
    Richard Feynman's last recorded words

    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

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