Ahh, I see. So I was on the right track. It's interesting to see your thought process and how you read the situation.
Originally Posted by fidelia
It seemed that the initial discussion of OA's points was rather congenial but I wonder now if the INFJs were biting their lips in annoyance and attempting to discuss the issue as best they could. The thread seemed to explode a few pages later, when I imagine, the patience eventually ran out. It's a pity the INFPs didn't spot that at the time, and that the INFJs didn't grasp what the INFPs implied - that way the escalation could have been avoided. Unfortunately, neither are good at picking up each other's esoteric signals.
It's tough to come up with an approach that feels counter intuitive to yourself. I find keeping in mind small clarified points, like the ones @uumlau gives, is useful when communicating - it's like a translation short hand. I've actually used some of the stuff that has come up in discussions on this site in the past. One about FJs has been useful with my mum: the idea that FJs want to affect others and assume others want to affect them - consequently innocent statements can sound like judgements. A common example:
So in approaching that situation over again, what do you see as an effective opener to better understand intent or know what to do? I certainly am not negating that either Mane or OA had abyssmal experiences that have coloured their perceptions of INFJs. They have every right to feel that way. What I need is to understand my role in the discourse that follows. Would it be more useful to say, "Could you tell me more about why you feel that way?" I kind of thought that they had told us why they felt that way though. They had experiences with INFJs that were really negative.
Any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated.
Me: Have you done [insert some chore]?
My Mum: No, I haven't, but I've been very busy lately! I had to do [insert other chore or errand] all morning and then I got tired and went for a lie down after lunch, so I ran out of time! I can't be expect to do everything around here and your father certainly never helps. He's always working late as well as Saturday mornings! I asked him to do [insert task] weeks ago and he hasn't still hasn't done it yet!
The pure and honest truth is that I usually only ask in the first place in order to gain information. If the chore wasn't done, I would do it myself - I just needed to know if she had done it or not. But to her I seemed to be saying, "WHY HAVEN'T YOU DONE THIS CHORE?!". Keeping in mind the "assumption of judgement" in FJs has helped me to phrase things a little better (I sometimes need to explain why I need to know, not just what I need to know) or to placate her when I mess up. Anyway, I digress...
I guess what I'm getting at is to sit back and take a breath first and fore most and remember those little short hand points - eg. "INFPs can sound rude and blunt but don't always realise or intend it", and, "INFPs need their feelings to be validated (or at least to not be invalidated)", and "INFPs don't often pick up subtle Fe signals and need me to be more explicit at times" etc. If it seems like these rules particularly apply to the situation, stop and try to rethink the INFP's responses. TBH you don't need that much help because you're usually pretty good about doing this - the misunderstandings tend to be relatively minor with you.
As for your role in the discourse specifically, that's a tough one. Perhaps if you had said outright, "I'm having trouble understanding where you're coming from. Can you give some examples?" it might have gone down better. If you're confused, say that you are. We can't see the same inconsistencies that you do in what we're saying, so we assume it's clear unless people say otherwise. A little (sensitive) Te style directness can help us to understand what you're feeling. I noticed some of the INFJs did this, but once things got terse, it seemed to stop.
I wouldn't say, "could you tell me more about why you feel that way?" - that could be misinterpreted. It might be easier to appeal to our Si if you need more information - like asking for examples or to clarify a particular point further. That way you effectively ask about the subjective experience while dodging the potential minefield of the Judging functions. If you have to address Fi style impressions it's probably better to avoid "why" questions (eg. why do you feel that way?"). It can sound like implied demand for justification or that there's something wrong with that feeling/belief/impression. "How" or "what" might be more effective - eg. "how did you feel when that happened?" or "what was your reaction?". This suggests that the feeling just "is what it is" - that it simply exists, removed from questions of whether it's right or wrong, because that is secondary to us. And if you feel that emotion or reaction is incongruent in relation to the situation (ie. the cause and effect don't match to you), don't address (or correct/attack/undermine) the emotion. Instead, address the cause from your perspective. Explain or reframe the situation as you see it or have experienced it, and it's quite possible the incongruent effect (ie. the emotional response) will change as a indirect result. INFPs actually believe that the right frame of understanding has the capacity to change an emotion. To quote Lenore Thomson:
Developed Fi naturally leads people to favor mercy or forgiveness for people who have done heinous acts--anything from theft to murder to genocide--acts that, under the ordinary laws that make a society manageable (see Extraverted Thinking), would usually merit their imprisonment or execution. From a developed Fi perspective, the criminal is still a living soul, still unique and precious despite whatever he may have done. If we walked in his moccasins for a while, maybe we could see it his way. Without condoning his crimes, maybe we could see how we ourselves could have done the same things under similar circumstances. This use of empathy as one's ultimate anchor of orientation leads to a resolute non-judgementalness. First empathize--find something in your own heart that lets you see how someone could feel and act the way he did--and then you will probably find that you no longer feel hatred or a desire for retribution.
But I don't want to make it seem like the onus is all on you. I also think many of the INFJs (you included) did a lot of these things in this thread, but perhaps the response you received wasn't put in your language and you were left feeling frustrated and dissatisfied.
I know what you mean. I'm totally questioning whether I sound condescending in my above suggestions.
Originally Posted by fidelia
Makes sense. I've never seen myself as someone who's deliberately evasive but I suppose it can seem like a refusal to explain oneself.
Understanding the why and how is the only way that I can actually see what you are seeing. If you (general kind of you) won't explain the why and how part, I feel like I'm being penalized for being seeing impaired (when it's more just that you don't know that I don't have the same kind of vision as you, so you assume I'm purposefully acting obtuse or avoiding something that is right in front of us). I couldn't explain why it bothered me before, but saying that it's just that INFJs are insisting everyone communicates in their way or they won't play is only partly true. Of course, we all prefer our own communication style, but deeper than that, I can't give the other person what they need if I don't know what it is that they see right in front of them that I don't.
Sorry for the wall of text