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  1. #1
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    Default INFJs, Social Masks, and Juvenile Behavior

    So my older brother happens to be an INFJ. For the most part we've had a fantastic relationship throughout childhood and into out adult lives, but I've noticed some peculiar behavior - some of which I'm already aware can be typical of INFJs - and I'm curious to see how many other INFJs (or NFs, in general) share these behaviors, and what your motivation behind them might be.

    The first his tendency to wear social masks, faking traits that aren't really prominent when he's just being himself. Most often, this takes the form of replacing his I with an E, and his F with a T.

    The second is his tendency to resort to petty or juvenile behavior when in an argument, or, occasionally, to assert a form of social dominance (via antagonistic behavior) over others. Often even when proven wrong, he'll attempt to change the subject, and rarely admit actually being in the wrong. Other times, if he's done something that's plainly rude or inconsiderate, he'll refuse to apologize, even if he can't deny that his actions were in the wrong. Similarly to his behavior when losing an argument or debate, he begins to avoid the topic, and will sometimes go so far as to physically leave the room before ever admitting any form of defeat, or regret for past actions.

    I've never really grasped his motivation behind these behaviors, so any insight would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I don't relate to any of this, and as a person who has formed deep friendships with INFJs here and on PercC, as a person who also has an older brother who is an INFJ, I think the behavior you describe is not necessarily normative for the type at all. It is at least not particularly related to Ni-function.

    He could be a borderline type that is actually more extroverted. There are male Te-doms I've encountered who I suspect are actually Fe-doms who behave this way in debate when they are in their teens and twenties.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    I don't relate to any of this, and as a person who has formed deep friendships with INFJs here and on PercC, as a person who also has an older brother who is an INFJ, I think the behavior you describe is not necessarily normative for the type at all. It is at least not particularly related to Ni-function.

    He could be a borderline type that is actually more extroverted. There are male Te-doms I've encountered who I suspect are actually Fe-doms who behave this way in debate when they are in their teens and twenties.
    That's interesting. I hadn't assumed it to be so common that it was a standard trait, but I've heard it that it isn't uncommon for INFJs to put up these types of social masks.

    It could definitely be possible that he just doesn't fit squarely into the INFJ type, but I do know from observation that he's very introverted, and I'm one of the few people that he'll outright admit to acting outgoing for the sake of smoothing over social interactions.

  4. #4
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    Lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    I don't relate to any of this, and as a person who has formed deep friendships with INFJs here and on PercC, as a person who also has an older brother who is an INFJ, I think the behavior you describe is not necessarily normative for the type at all.
    Does this say a lot?

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    Entertaining Cracker five sounds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Cheney View Post
    The second is his tendency to resort to petty or juvenile behavior when in an argument, or, occasionally, to assert a form of social dominance (via antagonistic behavior) over others. Often even when proven wrong, he'll attempt to change the subject, and rarely admit actually being in the wrong. Other times, if he's done something that's plainly rude or inconsiderate, he'll refuse to apologize, even if he can't deny that his actions were in the wrong. Similarly to his behavior when losing an argument or debate, he begins to avoid the topic, and will sometimes go so far as to physically leave the room before ever admitting any form of defeat, or regret for past actions.
    This describes my ENFJ father pretty well. He does apologize sometimes, but the overall feeling of what you said definitely applies. Also, his apologies are often bitter or with a caveat. I could only guess as to his motives, so I feel that would be unfair.

    I also have always been close with my dad, but this kind of behavior has caused some rocky times in our relationship. I'm sure I KNOW I do things that he doesn't understand or like too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by five sounds View Post
    This describes my ENFJ father pretty well. He does apologize sometimes, but the overall feeling of what you said definitely applies. Also, his apologies are often bitter or with a caveat. I could only guess as to his motives, so I feel that would be unfair.

    I also have always been close with my dad, but this kind of behavior has caused some rocky times in our relationship. I'm sure I KNOW I do things that he doesn't understand or like too.
    Occasionally my brother will apologize for his actions as well, but like your father, it's very often bitter and forced. Almost how you'd imagine a small child who was forced to apologize by his mom or dad would do it.

    I should probably mention that my brother is generally a very kind and generous person. While he might put on his social mask pretty often, rarely is he involved in any sort of conflict that would escalate to the more petty behavior I've mentioned. It's definitely not every day stuff - I was just curious about it because it's so noticeably out of his character in comparison to every other aspect of personality. It's like conflict makes him become a whole different person, even if it's fairly small, insignificant conflict.

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    Entertaining Cracker five sounds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Cheney View Post
    Occasionally my brother will apologize for his actions as well, but like your father, it's very often bitter and forced. Almost how you'd imagine a small child who was forced to apologize by his mom or dad would do it.

    I should probably mention that my brother is generally a very kind and generous person. While he might put on his social mask pretty often, rarely is he involved in any sort of conflict that would escalate to the more petty behavior I've mentioned. It's definitely not every day stuff - I was just curious about it because it's so noticeably out of his character in comparison to every other aspect of personality. It's like conflict makes him become a whole different person, even if it's fairly small, insignificant conflict.
    Yep, totally! Same with my dad. He's generally very chill, and has always been a really loving, emotionally available father, which I know isn't super-common in the dad world. We also share our NF-ness, so we've always had a special bond. But yeah, you're completely right when you say it seems out of character. I mean, now it's a pretty integrated part of my perception of him as a whole person, but it's a definite switch-flip. In my experience, the triggers are when 1) he feels disrespected or undermined or when 2) someone is about to do something he doesn't want them to do.
    You hem me in -- behind and before;
    you have laid your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

  8. #8
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Cheney View Post

    The first his tendency to wear social masks, faking traits that aren't really prominent when he's just being himself. Most often, this takes the form of replacing his I with an E, and his F with a T.
    Do you know for sure he's faking? Faking is always a possibility, but it could be natural behavior, too. I can seem pretty extraverted in certain social situations. Sometimes it can be forced because it's expected, but more often I enjoy the people I'm around and become very animated and talkative. The more comfortable I feel, the more animated I can be. Especially in small groups. I tend to be quieter/shyer in one-on-one situations. I also, without really thinking about it, tend to mimic the people I'm around. I take on their mannerisms and speech patterns. Even when I'm aware of doing this, I find it difficult to stop sometimes. As for motivation, I see it as part of my natural way of getting to know people better by trying to share their experience.

    I'll get back to you on the second half of your questions when I have more time.
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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

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eilonwy View Post
    Do you know for sure he's faking? Faking is always a possibility, but it could be natural behavior, too. I can seem pretty extraverted in certain social situations. Sometimes it can be forced because it's expected, but more often I enjoy the people I'm around and become very animated and talkative. The more comfortable I feel, the more animated I can be. Especially in small groups. I tend to be quieter/shyer in one-on-one situations. I also, without really thinking about it, tend to mimic the people I'm around. I take on their mannerisms and speech patterns. Even when I'm aware of doing this, I find it difficult to stop sometimes. As for motivation, I see it as part of my natural way of getting to know people better by trying to share their experience.

    I'll get back to you on the second half of your questions when I have more time.
    I'm certain he fakes it, because he's admitted to me that he fakes it. Granted, there are times when he's more outgoing and friendly and he's being himself, as well. This usually depends on the company present: if it's someone he considers a close friend, he's genuinely more enthusiastic. We've always been pretty close, and also share a good amount of friends, so it isn't difficult to tell when he's putting on a front and when he isn't.

  10. #10
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    I am INFJ and what you describe from your brother is completely foreign to me. I have no problem apologizing or clearing the air because it brings a sense of release for me. I am so hypersensitive to the other person's feelings that if I feel I have said something rude or hurtful I will feel compelled to apologize because I am focused on their needs/feelings, sometimes over my own. If I have made a mistake I will want the other person to know as quickly as possible, sometimes too quickly, as people process words and feelings at different rates.

    I have experienced moments of unease, bordering on panic, if I can't reconnect to the person and make amends. My last relationship was with an ENTP and he would often not acknowledge my apology (he didn't have to accept it, just hear it), which was painful to endure, until I understood he needed more time to process his feelings.
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all

    Joni Mitchell

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