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  1. #671
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    SK, if it's any comfort, it's kind of a compliment that it will take awhile to adequately address all the great points you bring up. It means that you have set all kinds of wheels in motion and they are going to need to turn for awhile and then we'll come back with more questions or thoughts.

    I think you are doing a tremendous job, and it is very helpful to me for you to explain it all out this way. I was just thinking - you know how Fi users need to almost recreate the feelings someone else is experiencing? - I think that I need to be able to recreate the chain of thought patterns someone is thinking to make sense of how they got there. Perhaps this is also the same thing that Mane was suggesting earlier. I'm used to making leaps that some people don't naturally make, but it isn't obvious to me on how to connect all the dots in a person's thought patterns and I'm sure it must seem sometimes that I am deliberately being obtuse.

    Anyway, please never feel that you are being condescending or judgy sounding by explaining it. You certainly don't come off that way.

    More to come...

  2. #672
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    In OA's case it could totally be both : ie. she is both a victim and someone simply making herself out to be. The NFP thinks, "People get a bit dramatic when they're angry or hurt, so sometimes they might inadvertently misrepresent the situation or talk in hyperbole. That's no reason for me to completely disregard what they're saying" - this comes back to what I was saying about emotions being merely signs and not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We then try to mine what we can from what is said, to find nuggets of truth (ie. search for the essence), without worrying too much about the 'veils' (ie. the anger, pain, and possible misrepresentation). To us finding those nuggets is a sign that there is value in what that person is saying. That is verification to us that she is, at least in part, not making it all up and falsely making herself the victim; that she isn't entirely blinded by a ridiculously bad interpretation of the events involved or by some personal vendetta against INFJs.
    Yes, we already know that posts will contain truths, half-truths, exaggerations, emotions and bias. And that goes back to my earlier posts as well, quoting myself - it's a little out of context, but the gist of it is here:

    "To try to explain a wee bit more about tone or insults, as I mentioned in a post to fidelia, when I look at a person's post I seem to naturally auto-filter out most of the personal bias. Not just INFP bias, but in the posts of others too, as it's everywhere. I feel like I still "get" the main points someone is trying to convey despite being combined with what looks like screed or overblown with rhetoric. I don't know if that's an INFP thing or an e9 thing or a just-me thing or all 3 together. But I think it's an Fi trait to a certain degree. So, the reason why that's important is that such items may not register as an offense for INFP's when seems to for INFJ's."

    It's ok to me that all of these seemingly contradictory things exist in a post. It's kind of what I expect. The "nuggets of truth" seem to pop out anyway. It's enough to allow me to continue and dig deeper, follow along. I don't have to agree with it or anything like that either.

    The added problem to the situation is that OA is also a NFP. When NFPs relax too much (like when we're in the forum, talking to sympathetic ears), we allow ourselves to talk more in 'veils' because we think this group of people will be more adept at mining that underlying Truth; that Truth that perhaps even we cannot get to with all the noise going on inside our head.
    Well, it takes so much time to pre-sort, categorize, itemize and present a post too. I've noticed an interesting pattern in many NFP posts that the first couple of the day are generally very well-crafted, but then as we respond more in real-time, our natural voices / thought processes start to show more and we can start stepping on INFJ toes. (And really, I mostly worry about it in these NFP - NFJ threads, as it seems to make such a huge difference to the type of reception we receive.) I find myself that those 3rd and 4th posts of the day are the posts that sometimes create more contention because I haven't had enough time to ensure the message is delivered in the manner I think it will best be received. Or I introduce a thought that springs into my mind as inspiration but it hasn't really taken full shape in my own mind. And an idea often only takes shape AS I type, the process of taking from the ether to reality generates a connection, but then I am left with the task of making it presentable to the outside world. In what I would consider a "mission-critical" post, this process can take hours.

    Taking all that time can make me feel like I am lagging behind in a huge way. (Plus, like everyone I have a real life where stuff needs to get done!) So in an effort to stay current, I choose to let a little more of the natural flow exist in the post. iow, there's not as much time to ensure the posts are emotion-neutral. It would be helpful to me if INFJ's realized that when we start to respond in real-time, we might not be presenting things in a manner that's quite as helpful to you. It might seem a little more jumbled or a little more mixed-messagey. Can that still be acceptable? Or kept in consideration? @fidelia, @Z Buck McFate - do you think that's reasonable?

    ETA: I know you experience a similar thing (not exactly the same, but needing time for posts to emerge) so will be able to appreciate this! How do you think we can best deal with it?

    I can see now that the INFJs need those parameters set in order to even start analysing what is said - and I think we (both INFJs and INFPs) need to find a way to address this need without slowing down the process too much.
    And it's not just parameters either, it's the whole premise that we start with what's in common, then diverge to individual viewpoints. And that good-will needs to be established up front.

    In a way, I see the forum as a venue to be more informal, yet these "real life" rules matter just as much on the forum to INFJ's as they do IRL. It's good to keep in mind.

    I also want to say as an aside, that NFPs can get pretty tetchy when we don't find nuggets of Truth beneath the 'veils'. I'm thinking back to @Orobas's thread about a conversation she had with her boyfriend's mother or MIL (not sure which). The Fe users (who were mostly INFJs I think) said that the mother was just venting, but the NFPs got pretty annoyed by the logical flaws in the MIL's words and how grossly judgemental and unfair she seemed to be. In such circumstances, we become rather contemptuous and pretty much write-off everything that person has to say on the matter.
    Yes, when one is venting about another person it feels that they elevate themselves by diminishing another. It's challenging to listen through it all to find what's truth in that kind of message.

    I suppose (again, Ne sometimes takes a while to work out what even it's entirely on about) we wanted you to see past the ('veil' of) negativity of OA's post and how she might have some good points regardless, and then that ('veil' of) contempt would disappear and a useful conversation would eventuate.
    Agreed. I tried along the way with my explanations and reps as well to achieve this end, and that echoes my thought process.
    Last edited by PeaceBaby; 01-16-2013 at 09:22 AM.
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  3. #673
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    SK, if it's any comfort, it's kind of a compliment that it will take awhile to adequately address all the great points you bring up. It means that you have set all kinds of wheels in motion and they are going to need to turn for awhile and then we'll come back with more questions or thoughts.
    Point taken. I can hear the wheels turning as we speak.

    Everyone shut the hell up so fidelia and Z buck can think straight for a second!

    Is that better?

    I think you are doing a tremendous job, and it is very helpful to me for you to explain it all out this way. I was just thinking - you know how Fi users need to almost recreate the feelings someone else is experiencing? - I think that I need to be able to recreate the chain of thought patterns someone is thinking to make sense of how they got there. Perhaps this is also the same thing that Mane was suggesting earlier. I'm used to making leaps that some people don't naturally make, but it isn't obvious to me on how to connect all the dots in a person's thought patterns and I'm sure it must seem sometimes that I am deliberately being obtuse.
    Bullseye!

    At the risk of completely ignoring your need to think it through, I'm going to get all essence-y and distill this further:

    INFPs - need to mentally recreate the feelings someone is experiencing. These feelings are unconscious and relate to valid human experience, and must be addressed as such. Consequently, there is no significant judgement attached.
    INFJs - need to mentally recreate the thought-process someone is motivated by. These thoughts are conscious and relate to significant intentions and goals, and must be addressed as such. Consequently judgement must be attached.

    The way to irritate a INFP: use feelings with conscious intentions in mind. The INFP says, "shame on you! You took something so pure and natural as emotions, and used them as means to distort and distract my reasoning. This is manipulative and I can no longer trust what you have to say."

    The way to irritate a INFJ: use a thought process with unconscious intentions in mind. The INFJ says, "shame on you! You took something so pure and natural as logical argument, and distorted and distracted my reasoning with your own personal issues. This is manipulative and I can no longer trust what you have to say."

    Anyway, please never feel that you are being condescending or judgy sounding by explaining it. You certainly don't come off that way.
    I'm glad
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    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  4. #674
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Interesting. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but that makes sense. (By the way, I like it when people can do the distillation part for me).

    Does it seem just as out of nowhere/unnecessary/intrusive to try to recreate your thought patterns as it does to us to recreate someone else's feelings as if you were experiencing them? If so, I can better appreciate just how frustrating our responses must be throughout the thread, as it would appear that we are talking about and attempting to do two completely different things. I remember soon after coming here, telling someone about some experience and even in print feeling their deer in the headlights response of not knowing how to respond in the moment, while they tried to feel exactly how I was feeling. I found the response puzzling as it was totally foreign to me at the time and seemed self-centred somehow. I can see better though if it mirrors my need to understand someone's path of thinking, it is necessary for understanding the situation and trying not to do that is like purposefully becoming blind or deaf and then trying to navigate an unfamiliar situation.

  5. #675
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    Yes, we already know that posts will contain truths, half-truths, exaggerations, emotions and bias. And that goes back to my earlier posts as well, quoting myself - it's a little out of context, but the gist of it is here:

    "To try to explain a wee bit more about tone or insults, as I mentioned in a post to fidelia, when I look at a person's post I seem to naturally auto-filter out most of the personal bias. Not just INFP bias, but in the posts of others too, as it's everywhere. I feel like I still "get" the main points someone is trying to convey despite being combined with what looks like screed or overblown with rhetoric. I don't know if that's an INFP thing or an e9 thing or a just-me thing or all 3 together. But I think it's an Fi trait to a certain degree. So, the reason why that's important is that such items may not register as an offense for INFP's when seems to for INFJ's."

    It's ok to me that all of these seemingly contradictory things exist in a post. It's kind of what I expect. The "nuggets of truth" seem to pop out anyway. It's enough to allow me to continue and dig deeper, follow along. I don't have to agree with it or anything like that either.
    I remember reading that and thought but I don't know if I addressed it. I think we are pretty much getting at the same thing. I think NFPs like to acknowledge human beings are inherently messy things but that this shouldn't dissuade us from trying to learn from them.

    Well, it takes so much time to pre-sort, categorize, itemize and present a post too. I've noticed an interesting pattern in many NFP posts that the first couple of the day are generally very well-crafted, but then as we respond more in real-time, our natural voices / thought processes start to show more and we can start stepping on INFJ toes. (And really, I mostly worry about it in these NFP - NFJ threads, as it seems to make such a huge difference to the type of reception we receive.) I find myself that those 3rd and 4th posts of the day are the posts that sometimes create more contention because I haven't had enough time to ensure the message is delivered in the manner I think it will best be received. Or I introduce a thought that springs into my mind as inspiration but it hasn't really taken full shape in my own mind. And an idea often only takes shape AS I type, the process of taking from the ether to reality generates a connection, but then I am left with the task of making it presentable to the outside world. In what I would consider a "mission-critical" post, this process can take hours.
    Absolutely. If I thought things through properly all the time I would collapse in a heap before I got around to saying anything. I often start posts and then 3/4 of the way through start to go a little mad and then delete the whole thing to spare myself the grief.

    I also agree about the idea revealling itself as you type. I learned this at uni with the differences between assignments and exams. When writing an essay for an assignment I would get a few basic ideas in my head and then just free write for a couple of hours. I then spent hours trying to decipher what on earth I mean, connecting the dots between different thoughts and trying to actually base stuff in Si details so it actually makes sense to others too. All of this requires shifting sentences around, rephrasing things and editing over and over. You can't do this is a hand-written essay - you have to plan ahead and be entirely linear in the way you write (A+B=C), which forces you into thinking in a linear fashion too. This is so completely unnatural for me, and consequently, my exam essays come out like a 10 year old wrote them; they're simplistic in both thought and language (not to mention my handwriting is terrible!). It's very disillusioning.

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Interesting. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but that makes sense. (By the way, I like it when people can do the distillation part for me).
    And I like to do the distilling!

    Does it seem just as out of nowhere/unnecessary/intrusive to try to recreate your thought patterns as it does to us to recreate someone else's feelings as if you were experiencing them?
    Wait. It seems out of nowhere/unnecessary/intrusive to you when we recreate your/others feelings?

    This is very much news to me. Can you give a more detailed example?

    If so, I can better appreciate just how frustrating our responses must be throughout the thread, as it would appear that we are talking about and attempting to do two completely different things. I remember soon after coming here, telling someone about some experience and even in print feeling their deer in the headlights response of not knowing how to respond in the moment, while they tried to feel exactly how I was feeling. I found the response puzzling as it was totally foreign to me at the time and seemed self-centred somehow. I can see better though if it mirrors my need to understand someone's path of thinking, it is necessary for understanding the situation and trying not to do that is like purposefully becoming blind or deaf and then trying to navigate an unfamiliar situation.
    Yes, it can be very deer in the headlights.

    I suppose, in theory it wouldn't seriously bother me unless someone seems to assume negative motivations. There are probably cases where it bothers me when people assume positive or neutral motivations but I can't think of any right now. If they are simply inaccurate (ie. not negatively so) it can be disconcerting but I don't usually mind simply correcting them. It could certainly become a problem if they then didn't believe my correction.

    All of this, however, requires that I know what the hell they are on about. If someone is asking questions in an attempting to recreate my initial thought patterns, it can sound like a out of the blue grilling by a police detective . In such cases I want to explain, but I don't even know what the question is meant to mean. A question along the lines of, "I'm not sure where this is coming from" just makes me go: What?! . My internal monologue would be something like:

    "I don't know! What is that supposed to mean? It's not coming from anywhere. Why does it even matter? Did something I say make her question my (NFP - assumed, positive, until otherwise proven) motives? That's a weird thing to say... Does that imply that she doubts me? It must, because why else would she need to know. Maybe I should re-read what I wrote" *re-reads* "Nope, nothing sinister there. Ugh, why do we need to talk about this crap - it's killing the momentum. Can't we just talk about the topic? I can't even answer this question. Surely, everything was perfectly clear in my post. Anyway, why is she so suspicious?".

    Even now, after this entire thread, I still find that sort of question totally baffling. I can see it's hinting at something, but I don't know what. Worse, I can see I'm meant to know what it means, but I don't. I'm reminded of all the times people gave me cryptic hints and then got angry at me for not understanding them, and it makes me feel stupid and very put upon. It feels like a test, or like it's some sort of technique to unsettle and undermine me in order to gain the upper hand - which, annoyingly, seems to be working.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  6. #676
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    To the latter - that's good to know. I think it's an easier question when stated differently, but I can see that it's still in terms that are foreign to your natural thought processes, so seems a little out of the blue and irrelevant. I have a hard time figuring out how to interpret someone's words without sufficient background information. I think it's one of the reasons that I like learning as much as I can about people. For example, when I was a mod, I made a point of trying to follow a number of blogs, as it gave me a lot more context for figuring out why people interacted and reacted as they did. I also got a chance to see what their usual mode of communication was so that if something came up, I had a better idea of whether it was just their style of communication or whether they were really angry or distressed etc. I found out why they joined the site, why they stayed, who they were friends with, who they didn't really get on with, what other stressors were in their life and so on.

    I think mostly when I ask something like that, I'd like to understand the starting point of what brought the subject up, understand what significance it holds to you, and then figure out what role I should be playing in the discussion. It's like you are talking to me from some room in a house and I need to either find you or have you call out your location before I can decide whether I should move closer (extended conversation), you are just calling me for supper, you want me to join you there or you need privacy (like having a conversation while one person is changing or in the bathroom), whether you are upset and retreating or are just doing work somewhere else in the house, are if you are on your way out the door or just arrived home.

    With the recreating my feelings thing to understand them, yeah, it always kind of takes me by surprise. Maybe it comes back to that all or nothing thing again. I might ask someone for their perspective in a situation. I'm asking them precisely because they are NOT me and have a different perspective, yet they are sympathetic to me and generally are on my team. Therefore trying to feel exactly as I do will get us nowhere. I'm asking because I need a fresh take on things.

    It also seems then like the focus then shifts for the other person to the experience they are trying to recreate, instead of the problem I brought to them to help me with. I feel like the conversation has to stop while they do this. I guess very much the same as you may feel that the conversation is being held back by our orienting ourselves by trying to recreate your line of thought.

    Finally, I've heard a number of NFP describe helping people as holding their hand while they cross through deep waters, carrying them, guiding them and helping them etc. Perhaps this is the all or nothing Fi way, vs the stages of familiarity Fe way. To me, doing that stuff seems like way more than I was requesting and I get uncomfortable about whether I'm really close enough to that person to have signed up for that. If I bring something up casually, it's because I now feel distanced enough from it that I can talk about it. I don't want anyone to make it personal again, as that is somewhere that I don't even like going when it's just me alone, it interferes with the problem solving process and unless you're extremely, extremely close to me, I haven't invited you into my inner world to do that. Similarly, I feel strangely when I tell about some incident that was difficult in the past and someone reacts with more pain than I have felt about it for ages or maybe ever did feel. I wouldn't be talking about it if it still were hurting me. Now I'm at the stage where I can share what I took away from it, use it to illustrate a point, or explain how it is informing my current way of making decisions etc.

    It's odd that I would say it feels intrusive, because in some regards, Fi users are way more respectful about keeping a distance than Fe users are. I think with Fe there is an understanding that if someone throws something out there, it is okay to ask some questions and probe a little. In fact, it is a way of showing interest and a wish to understand. If you don't follow up on it, it is taken as disinterest in or discomfort with getting any closer. If you ask questions, it seems tacitly understood that the person will give you signs if you are getting too personal for comfort.

    This took me awhile to understand with a very dear INFP friend of mine. I referenced something that was devastating to me at the time, tears were slipping out from under my sunglasses (and I NEVER cry in front of people), and she kept talking on about other things. In fact, the more emotional I got, the more she talked about other things and pretended not to notice that I was uncharacteristically emotional. Finally, I kind of exploded and said, "Look, don't you notice that I'm falling apart here?" She said, "Well, yes, but sometimes I know that you just need some time before you talk about it".

    To be fair, I think she had some difficult circumstances earlier in life that made it more likely for her to keep herself at a safe distance, but I think that she was also trying to be respectful to me (kind of like looking away if someone is unintentionally naked in front of you). Her way of showing care for me was more likely to take the form of showing up at school on a weekend event where I didn't feel free to ask for help (it was a big imposition and during a busy time of the school year, but she knew I needed someone desperately to offer practical help giving people rides/cooking pizza/ chaperoning etc). She didn't say a lot of it openly, but was extremely observant and knew what to do to subtly express care in ways that were very practical.

    Now I'm not saying this happens all the time. It's just a different enough way of processing emotions and information and sometimes the differences pop out and surprise me. I think it strikes me as unusual, simply because it is so foreign to the way that I react, so it's difficult to trace the line of thought that results in our rather different reactions. I can totally see why our probing and questioning seems a little abrupt and demanding though.

  7. #677
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    With the recreating my feelings thing to understand them, yeah, it always kind of takes me by surprise. Maybe it comes back to that all or nothing thing again. I might ask someone for their perspective in a situation. I'm asking them precisely because they are NOT me and have a different perspective, yet they are sympathetic to me and generally are on my team. Therefore trying to feel exactly as I do will get us nowhere. I'm asking because I need a fresh take on things.

    It also seems then like the focus then shifts for the other person to the experience they are trying to recreate, instead of the problem I brought to them to help me with. I feel like the conversation has to stop while they do this. I guess very much the same as you may feel that the conversation is being held back by our orienting ourselves by trying to recreate your line of thought.

    Finally, I've heard a number of NFP describe helping people as holding their hand while they cross through deep waters, carrying them, guiding them and helping them etc. Perhaps this is the all or nothing Fi way, vs the stages of familiarity Fe way. To me, doing that stuff seems like way more than I was requesting and I get uncomfortable about whether I'm really close enough to that person to have signed up for that. If I bring something up casually, it's because I now feel distanced enough from it that I can talk about it. I don't want anyone to make it personal again, as that is somewhere that I don't even like going when it's just me alone, it interferes with the problem solving process and unless you're extremely, extremely close to me, I haven't invited you into my inner world to do that. Similarly, I feel strangely when I tell about some incident that was difficult in the past and someone reacts with more pain than I have felt about it for ages or maybe ever did feel. I wouldn't be talking about it if it still were hurting me. Now I'm at the stage where I can share what I took away from it, use it to illustrate a point, or explain how it is informing my current way of making decisions etc.
    Yeah, this is why I usually don't say anything. I might give small hints away that I understand more than I openly let on, but I don't say things outright usually unless people are giving me signs that this is OK, or if I'm very drunk and feeling particularly bonded with you in the moment. I totally realise it seems presumptuous to go around exposing people's inner feelings. I suppose I do inadvertently do it in small ways, but it's nothing compared with the multitude I withhold.

    TBH it typically doesn't make any difference to me if I express it or not. I'm fine with keeping that stuff in, so if you just want answers I can totally do that. The only problem is this is often the only way we know of reassuring people that we mean well or that we are on their side, so if you prefer we skip it, you've got to give us some leeway on our more raw mode of expression - which might end up being rather blunt. And let's face it, many INFPs don't have wonderful social skills at the best of times.

    It's odd that I would say it feels intrusive, because in some regards, Fi users are way more respectful about keeping a distance than Fe users are. I think with Fe there is an understanding that if someone throws something out there, it is okay to ask some questions and probe a little. In fact, it is a way of showing interest and a wish to understand. If you don't follow up on it, it is taken as disinterest in or discomfort with getting any closer. If you ask questions, it seems tacitly understood that the person will give you signs if you are getting too personal for comfort.
    I know. I've got to remember to do this more with Fe-users. I've tried a bit more with my mum and I think she has appreciated it. The thing is, often I have burning questions to ask but I try to suppress them or talk around them in order to give the other person the chance to lead me down that path if they want. It's so hard for me to go ahead and just ask. It feel as if I'm making it all about me and like I'm treating it like a gossip session, which seems really disrespectful to me.

    This took me awhile to understand with a very dear INFP friend of mine. I referenced something that was devastating to me at the time, tears were slipping out from under my sunglasses (and I NEVER cry in front of people), and she kept talking on about other things. In fact, the more emotional I got, the more she talked about other things and pretended not to notice that I was uncharacteristically emotional. Finally, I kind of exploded and said, "Look, don't you notice that I'm falling apart here?" She said, "Well, yes, but sometimes I know that you just need some time before you talk about it".

    To be fair, I think she had some difficult circumstances earlier in life that made it more likely for her to keep herself at a safe distance, but I think that she was also trying to be respectful to me (kind of like looking away if someone is unintentionally naked in front of you). Her way of showing care for me was more likely to take the form of showing up at school on a weekend event where I didn't feel free to ask for help (it was a big imposition and during a busy time of the school year, but she knew I needed someone desperately to offer practical help giving people rides/cooking pizza/ chaperoning etc). She didn't say a lot of it openly, but was extremely observant and knew what to do to subtly express care in ways that were very practical.

    Now I'm not saying this happens all the time. It's just a different enough way of processing emotions and information and sometimes the differences pop out and surprise me. I think it strikes me as unusual, simply because it is so foreign to the way that I react, so it's difficult to trace the line of thought that results in our rather different reactions. I can totally see why our probing and questioning seems a little abrupt and demanding though.
    Your friend sounds a lot like me. I do this a lot. I want to be observant about that person and respect their individual needs without necessarily declaring that openly. Noticing little things and quietly anticipating someone's needs is a way a INFP shows they really care - it's an attempt to be a selfless friend. What your friend did to help you out is almost a grand gesture for a INFP.

    It seems like it would be difficult to know when to intrude and when not to with INFJs, though. You are such private people, which makes an INFP read your needs like their own, and maintain distance unless there is a clear sign that says otherwise. I think it might be hard for a INFP to reconcile someone being both protective of their feelings on one hand and then so open on the other. I don't know many INFJs so I don't know if this is true or not - it's merely supposition.
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    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

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    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    You just made me think of something. I think the way we reassure people or let them know we are on their side is not playing devil's advocate until we are invited to and even then, by degrees checking at each stage to see what they can handle and how they are receiving the information. That doesn't necessarily mean whitewashing for the sake of harmony. It's just that it can't happen unexpectedly or all at once, or the person assumes that you don't like them and are on opposite sides. I think this is why the INFJs were so adament that inquiry has to start from similarities and a friendly perspective, while OA likened it to ripping a bandaid off slowly - both inefficient and unnecessary.

    So when you are reassuring someone, what would that look like? I think there is a certain comfort that all INFJs find in discovering someone who understands them or who notices things that other people don't. That was one thing that my INFP friend was extraordinarily good at. She noticed a lot of the undertones that most people don't and quite intentionally, but quietly did things to help put people at ease or help them. So perhaps it just depends on degrees of relationship at how much of my inner world is openly talked about. Again, throwing the hints out there that you notice something, but not saying anything too directly is a good way to open the conversation, as it then allows the other person to either follow up on them or not as they feel comfortable. It seems to me that many NFPs are already pretty good at this.

    So, do you actually want to ask questions? Is it just that it feels too invasive to do so? What kinds of things would you usually be wishing to ask, but not feel free to? Again, remember that (at least INFJ Fe users) often have difficulties processing in the moment and also figuring out what they are thinking or feeling without actually verbalizing it. Therefore, you are not gossiping or being nosy, but you are doing a great and helpful service. We often forget to verbalize this, I think because we overassume that everyone processes in this way and we underestimate how taxing it can be on some people to go through this process, as we don't find it taxing ourselves. It's interesting (as it helps us understand the person better), it's a compliment to us that someone respects us enough to need our services, and we like to be helpful. So it's confusing to realize that when other people do this, they are doing a whole nother process under the surface as well and it's not as easy as just asking a few questions and showing some support.

    Yeah, I guess it's strange that we are both very private and very open. I mean, there's almost no question that I would feel offended at being asked, provided it was done with decent intentions. If I didn't feel comfortable answering, I'd probably say that directly. Mostly though, anything that's already been processed feels kind of impersonal to me, so it's no big deal to talk about. Anything that I'm working through and have revealed is of concern to me means that I'm open to talking about. It's only the stuff that is still highly emotional and just under the surface that I may not be ready yet to talk about and usually people don't even know about it (I mean, they may sense it's there, but that's about it).

    I agree that INFJs are a little bit difficult. I do sympathize with anyone dealing with me. There are some characteristics that even I feel are frustrating and I've lived in my head for a long time and know what's in there! I can only imagine how exasperating it would be if it's opposite to anything that you are familiar with seeing in the landscape of your own mind.

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    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    It's only the stuff that is still highly emotional and just under the surface that I may not be ready yet to talk about and usually people don't even know about it (I mean, they may sense it's there, but that's about it).
    Absolutely. I think that's key - INFP's feel that something under the surface. As you say, it's either still highly emotional or there's stuff I sense that's not yet processed in an articulation-worthy form. You're still cogitating on it, it's a work in progress, so there's nothing you're ready to say or even can say.

    Sometimes, it's clear why you are doing that. But sometimes, that lack of communication can come across as misdirection or deliberate withholding. And, the stuff you could communicate more readily, the emotion, you choose not to communicate because 1.) that data is not as trustworthy to you and 2.) it would be impolite to state that stuff out loud as it defies an intention to keep things logistical, or free from emotional bias and 3.) society sends messages that expression of emotion is inappropriate. (#3 courtesy of @Eilonwy.)

    Yet that's the stuff that we need the most to satisfy the logic of our Fi function. (Fi isn't different from Ti in this regard.) We want to hear the details, "I feel hurt, I feel angry, I feel ..." although I should mention, if stated in the "you" form, as in "You hurt me" it can make things look like you don't take ownership of your own feelings. Fe folks in general look to the outer world for the source of their emotions, when in reality, the only source is within. Let's leave that tangent though.

    So, if I feel your negative emotions under the surface, but you deny or don't state their existence, this is a mixed message to us. INFP's sense this emotional undertow, but when INFJ's don't say it (and usually you won't say it) your written words contradict what we are picking up from the interior message. In a sense I guess, it feels like a data mis-match. Kind of like your mis-match, but from a different angle.

    Obviously this mis-match is the primary source of our communication failings.

    It would even help if you can simply state that strong emotions are there, not necessarily what they are - they can remain private. (My go-to phrase is "I feel frustrated, and I can't explain why yet.") But the more specific you can be, the better.

    INFP's say that stuff out loud in this kind of discussion, basically declaring massive bias from the get-go. You wonder, "Is this venting or is this discussion or is this an attack?" Truth is, sometimes it can be all three. We say how we feel, we say what we think, and we get frustrated - we kind of open up everything on the matter, total honesty, when we truly aim for understanding. What also happens is we think of that all in a big blob rather than a well-constructed tome so I can appreciate browsing through all of that can seem overwhelming and unnecessarily complicated.

    Although I totally understand why her approach fails, in a way, OA being so unvarnished is a great compliment to INFJ's. She dares to say out loud stuff for her that usually never sees the light of day. For an INFP, it's the riskiest thing because exposing our emotions means someone can come in and hurt us in our most vulnerable area.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    And, the stuff you could communicate more readily, the emotion, you choose not to communicate because 1.) that data is not as trustworthy to you and 2.) it would be impolite to state that stuff out loud as it defies an intention to keep things logistical, or free from emotional bias.
    In my case, I got a clear message in childhood that expressing emotion of any kind was inappropriate and other people did not want to deal with my emotions. Even "I am angry" didn't cut it. I think that this is also a strong message that comes from the culture/society in which I grew up. So, you could add this as a third reason.
    Johari / Nohari

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    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga

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