I just realized today that I often say things just to unclog my head. It's the same reason I write lists. It's like there are all these unruly busy thoughts moving around in there and by verbalizing them, I somehow feel like I am nailing them down into one place so that I can see what I have to work with. Without doing that, it is like trying to count a group of kids that are constantly running around. My ENFJ mother is buffaloed by this way of doing things (I think), as she often will then prescribe an action after I say something. When I explain that that's not why I was saying something, then she gets frustrated and says, "Well, don't do that then!". It's not that I'm trying to be difficult or even that I think either decision is a bad one, but I'm not bringing it up because I'm deciding what to do, so much as that it somehow needs to be expressed before I can get on with taking action. It's like things need to be orderly and tidy in my head before I can move along.
I sometimes do say things to check for other people's reactions, again, not because I'm asking them what to do, but because I need more information (or to know if I am missing something) before I can feel like things I have a good handle on things and can complete my decision-making.
I sometimes vent when I am feeling most emotionally distressed or know I feel unreasonable, not because I need help solving the problem right then, but because the excess emotional noise is jumbling things up and making it hard to sort out the stuff I need to in my head. Sometimes expressing the feeling can reveal why I am feeling it, so I don't have to spend more time sorting that out and can get going on what I want to do about it. At that time, I am also paying attention to reactions, but also just need someone to listen and ask questions, because in the process of verbalizing what is going on, it becomes much more clear to me, or the person's questions might touch off a useful chain of thinking.
I'm realizing that
1) This makes me appear stubborn and unwilling to take advice. I've thought it over and I don't think I am unwilling to take more perspectives into account, but I actually need to do some work to declutter or else get some more information to work with before I can take action. I am unlikely to consider prescriptive action from other sources unless that work has been done first, and even then I do find that I am inclined to think that it might be the best solution for them in that particular situation, but it might not match my particular needs (unless I'm very sure they really understand the particulars of the situation and know me well). Is this overly close-minded? In a general way, I am quite open to considering advice and new principles and other's ideas. It's more when it comes to specific situations that that I dig in my heels and don't want to be rushed through the process.
2) I need to find a clearer way of expressing what I need from the other person, if I don't want to feel misunderstood or frustrated with them (which then creates more mental mess to clean up). I'm not sure exactly how to do this.
The main reason I am asking is that I am curious to know is what purpose verbalizing something has for the other three NF types (as well as other INFJs - am I an anomaly, or is this a common experience?). It didn't really occur to me that ENFJs may have a different reason for expressing things aloud, and if so, I am curious as to what that is. Right now, I would like to gather information so that I have some more concrete information with which to understand the situation, so any anecdotes or trends you see in yourself would be useful. Also, I am wondering if enneagram or instinctual stacking plays any role in this.