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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ene's Avatar
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    Default INFP/INFJ Friendship's End

    The following is a somewhat true account. I DO NOT want bashing of either type. That's not why I'm posting this. What I want to know is... what misunderstandings, what functional clashes do you view as the reason behind the ending of this story? I look forward to hearing your input. Also, if you don't like the people descriptions, don't get all mad at me and stuff. They're real descriptions of real people. I didn't make these chracters up. I only do that in my lab over in the Fluff Zone

    .................................................. ..............INFP/INFJ At Friendship's End............................................... ...............

    An INFJ is researcing a particular subject online. She encounters an INFP who seems to have a good understanding of the subject, so she intiates contact. The two exchange several productive letters, discussing it, which leads to other subjects. They exchange letters about many topics and over the course of several months, a friendship develops. Sometimes they talk on the phone.

    However, prior to the beginning of their friendship INFJ has a circle of close-knit friends in real life that are long term friends. She is involved in promotion of a cause that she believes in and is often called upon to be a spokesperson or make appearances on behalf of the group. Her friends are all a part of that group. In addition, she works full time and is part of a large extended family and is in a long-term relationship with an ISTJ.

    INFP is retired and spends most of her days online, other than an occassional trip to the laundromat, grocery store or doctor's office. She putters around doing whatever she feels the need to do. She has never liked people and particularly dislikes ENFJs and ESTJs. She is shy around men and fumbles her conversation when she tries to talk to them.

    INFJ is younger, stylish, admired in her community for her talent, her looks and her charity work. She's in a long-term relationship and has a family depending upon her. She is sought after wherever she goes and literally has to hide to escape the people who want to get to know her.

    INFP's children are grown and she was never close to rest of her family anyway and the few that are left don't really bother to contact her. She has a lot of time on her hands.

    INFJ realizes that INFP is different, yet she values her insight and input. When they first become acquainted INFJ is in a lull of activity and the two of them speak often. Still, she hasn't made INFP the top priority in her life. After all, she's an online friend who lives 6,000 miles away.

    As time goes by, INFJ has little free time for getting online and answering emails or for talking on the phone for that matter and sometimes, she wants to use what little free time she does get, just to recalibrate herself. Still, she stays late at work often just to have a little while alone to really think about INFP's letters and give them a decent answer. Sometimes, she stays up to the wee hours of the night, knowing she has to get up before daybreak. She stays up to answer INFP's letters because she doesn't want to hurt her feelings or disappoint her. She thinks she's going the extra mile, but she can't keep up the pace. She has a lot less time to invest and sometimes, she just doesn't have the energy to answer a five page letter. Sometimes, she does and sometimes, she even writes one herself.

    She starts to get hints from INFP that she doesn't really want to hear about INFJ's real life friends, her hobbies or etc., She doesn't want to hear about the weekend she spent with the real life friends of her inner circle anymore. She starts to believe that INFP only wants to hear about things that focus on her and their relationship.

    Meanwhile, INFP is bothered by INFJ's "busy-ness". At first she tells her that she understands that her life is busy and she knows that she can't respond to "everything." She is, at first, unbelievable tolerant of the talk about the real life friends, about the interests, hobbies, etc. But eventually INFP feels that INFJ has time for everybody but her. She feels she is having to play "second fiddle" to the people in INFJ's immediate world. She doesn't want to hear about INFJ's close friends from the "cause." And thus, she begins to try to determine just "where she fits into INFJ's life." INFP is thinking that she is only an option in INFJ's life, while INFJ is a priority in hers. INFJ feels bad about it, but she can't change it. She had a busy life from the start and to her the fact that she even finds time for INFP at all is a great accomplishment. INFP tells INFJ that she is too "aloof" that she isn't letting her into the "inner circle" but INFJ can't let her into the inner circle. It's not a place she can just grant to people. She isn't sure how people get into the inner circle. They either have that certain "something" or they don't. She can't define it and although she tries to put INFP there. She can't, because INFP doesn't "get" it and she doesn't know how to help her "get it."

    At first, when INFP starts asking "Where am I in your list of priorities? Where do I fit into your free time?"

    INFJ is like "you fit." That's all that matters, but the subject won't go away. It crops up again and again. INFJ begins to feel like INFP is trying to "guilt" her into spending more time answering her emails and talking to her on the phone. She feels like INFP is trying to manipulate her and that she is nit-picking the subject to death and that she has become possessive. She isn't sure what INFP wants. She is giving her all of the tiem she can actually afford to give her, but INFP doesn't feel that way. She feels that INFJ puts too much time in with the group of people in her real life, the people she has spent several years builidng a relationship with, that she can physically touch and eat with and do things with.

    INFP then sends INFJ a letter stating that she won't settle for just "second fiddle" that if she can't be a major part of her free time then she just doesn't want to communicate with her at all. INFJ responds, "Well, if that's the way you feel...okay, but remember, it doesn't have to be all or nothing; the door's always open." For two months INFP doesn't write and INFJ doesn't either because she thinks that's what INFP wants. Then one day INFP sends her a letter and says that she won't get so clingy this time, but within six months they are right back to where they were and INFP starts in again with wanting to know what priority she plays in INFJ's life. INFJ hates that. Why does it matter? She wants to know. "You're a part of my life and that shoudl be all that matters. You're my only online friend that gets more than an occassional private message."But it DOES matter to INFP. It matters a lot. She doen'st want to be second place to those real life people that INFJ hangs out with. She sends INFJ another letter talking about where does she fit in; she says INFJ spends frivoulous time with those unnessecary people, and then INFJ responds. "I do not like it when people try to manipulate, coeherce or control me. You shouldn't always concern yourself so much about where you fit into my life; you fit, so long as you want to, and that should be all that matters."

    To that INFP replies. "You'll never have to worry about it again." And abrubtly ends all contact with INFJ. She unfriends her on facebook and sends her no more letters.

    INFJ let's out a sigh and thinks, "Oh, well." Then she responds with one word. "Okay." She knows that she's killing the relationship, but at this point she doesn't care. She knows that in two months INFP is going to regret "cutting her nose off to spite her face," but again, at this point she doesn't care and she isn't sure she will care then either. If INFP comes back she will let her in again. She hasn't doorslammed her, but if she comes back, she will not even let her imagine that they are closer than online friends with 6,000 miles between them.

    Then she thinks about pursuing and rebuilding the relationship, that maybe she was too hard on INFP but then she realizes that for the first time in a long time she doesn't feel pressured to answer her emails or that she has to worry about hurting her feelings and "Maybe," she thinks, "maybe it is for the best."

    She thinks that INFP, despite her more mature years, is childish and that maybe INFP was right all along. Maybe she doesn't have time for her. Maybe she doesn't fit. She is sad because they had good conversation. She thinks about the lost friendship and feels a little like a failure but decides to just let it ride because if she pursues, if she happens to rekindle or knocks on the proverbial door and gets INFP to open, still, nothing will change. She knows that in time they will be right back there again.

    She wonders how INFP feels and hopes that she is okay, but as for herself, she feels nothing except a need to understand which cognitive misfunctions led them to this place. She thought she would feel something but she doesn't.
    A student said to his master: "You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do you reconcile the two?" The master replied: "It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war." - unknown/Chinese

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...=61024&page=14

  2. #2
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    I don't see functional clashes or misunderstandings as being a part of the reason for the ending of their friendship. I've been/still am on the INFP's side of things: needy, lonely, clingy. I know that I could eventually drive my friends away by being this way, but I can't always find the resolve to be able to stop myself. In my case, I'm not self-isolating like the INFP seems to be doing. If I had the freedom, I would make sure I had enough real life friends and acquaintances, and enough social contact to keep from reaching this level of loneliness because I can see how badly it effects my thinking. The INFP might not be consciously aware of how lonely and needy she actually is, so, to her, her actions seem reasonable and normal. Being introverted doesn't help, because the natural tendency is to only have a few close friends.

    As for the INFJ, I can understand how she ended up feeling the way she feels. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of uncontrolled lonely me right now. Sometimes I feel that I should wear a big sign saying "don't be too nice to me or you'll regret it". And it's easier for me to go overboard online than it is in real life. So, it seems to me that the whole situation with the INFP and the INFJ in your story was a recipe for disaster. The INFP was too lonely and the INFJ bent too far over backwards trying to maintain the connection--both issues of not knowing how to set good boundaries or not being able to set good boundaries. And in the case of the INFP, not being aware of or not knowing how to meet her own needs.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    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

  3. #3
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    I read this last night and it makes my flesh crawl.

    Like many a story that comes through an INFJ lens, it is colored with a perspective that paints most thoughts and actions from the INFJ side as being correct, proper, loving & giving, set with 'appropriate' boundaries that are violated by others (but only because the INFJ is so 'loving & giving' they can't help but bend over ass-backwards for other people), angled from the additional perspective of overworked, under-appreciated martyr.

    And I know that you will very much dislike my post and you will see it as me carrying some kind of continual grudge on INFJs. Yet that is not my reality. I count some real-life INFJ's as my very best friends. I appreciate so many of their fine qualities.

    I share my thoughts because you appear to have no idea how much that lens colors this story.

    To answer this: "what misunderstandings, what functional clashes do you view as the reason behind the ending of this story?" - can't do it from the presentation of a single lens.
    "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

  4. #4
    Member March's Avatar
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    Looks to me like two people with different needs from the relationship. It's okay for 'INFJ' to desire low-maintenance relationships because she doesn't want to make time for (additional) high-maintenance relationships. But it's just as okay for 'INFP' to be looking for a more high-priority spot in someone's life, and to not settle for scraps if she wants a full meal.

    I'd say it's not okay for INFP to tell INFJ she shouldn't hang out with other people if that cuts into INFP-time (even if INFP and INFJ were married I'd consider that a warning sign - it might just be a weirdly worded opening bid of 'dude, I'm lonely and I want to hang out with YOU because I miss you - can you clear your schedule a bit?' but it might be the beginning of a controlling relationship), but that it's also not okay for INFJ to disregard INFP as 'childish, despite being older' (INFP had legitimate needs and the situation, pure and simple, was that INFJ cared more about other things than meeting those needs - it's more intellectually honest to say 'I didn't want to spend the energy giving INFP what she wanted. I wish we could have had a mutually fulfilling relationship, but she needed what she needed and in the end my other commitments were more important to me than not disappointing INFP').

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eilonwy View Post
    I don't see functional clashes or misunderstandings as being a part of the reason for the ending of their friendship. I've been/still am on the INFP's side of things: needy, lonely, clingy. I know that I could eventually drive my friends away by being this way, but I can't always find the resolve to be able to stop myself. In my case, I'm not self-isolating like the INFP seems to be doing. If I had the freedom, I would make sure I had enough real life friends and acquaintances, and enough social contact to keep from reaching this level of loneliness because I can see how badly it effects my thinking. The INFP might not be consciously aware of how lonely and needy she actually is, so, to her, her actions seem reasonable and normal. Being introverted doesn't help, because the natural tendency is to only have a few close friends.

    As for the INFJ, I can understand how she ended up feeling the way she feels. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of uncontrolled lonely me right now. Sometimes I feel that I should wear a big sign saying "don't be too nice to me or you'll regret it". And it's easier for me to go overboard online than it is in real life. So, it seems to me that the whole situation with the INFP and the INFJ in your story was a recipe for disaster. The INFP was too lonely and the INFJ bent too far over backwards trying to maintain the connection--both issues of not knowing how to set good boundaries or not being able to set good boundaries. And in the case of the INFP, not being aware of or not knowing how to meet her own needs.
    Thanks for this reply. It really helps me understand the INFPs viewpoint. Of course, being an INFJ myself, I already understood that perspective to a large degree.

    I think you're right about it having been a recipe for disaster in the first place. Maybe the relationship should not have gone on so long. Maybe it should have been an online brush instead of a two year exchange.

    Hopefully, both parties learned something from the experience that will benefit them in future interactions.
    A student said to his master: "You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do you reconcile the two?" The master replied: "It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war." - unknown/Chinese

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...=61024&page=14

  6. #6
    A Gentle Whisper ~MS*ANGEL~'s Avatar
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    To be honest, I'm upset with the INFP woman, because I see the worst of myself in her. At least I can see it now from another person's point of view, so I'll work on improving my own character based on this.

    Thanks for sharing, @Ene!
    Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible... and then some.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Ene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    I read this last night and it makes my flesh crawl.

    Like many a story that comes through an INFJ lens, it is colored with a perspective that paints most thoughts and actions from the INFJ side as being correct, proper, loving & giving, set with 'appropriate' boundaries that are violated by others (but only because the INFJ is so 'loving & giving' they can't help but bend over ass-backwards for other people), angled from the additional perspective of overworked, under-appreciated martyr.

    And I know that you will very much dislike my post and you will see it as me carrying some kind of continual grudge on INFJs. Yet that is not my reality. I count some real-life INFJ's as my very best friends. I appreciate so many of their fine qualities.

    I share my thoughts because you have no idea how much that lens colors this story.

    To answer this: "what misunderstandings, what functional clashes do you view as the reason behind the ending of this story?" - can't do it from the presentation of a single lens.
    Thank you for sharing these thoughts and thank you for allowing me to see through your particular lens. It actually helps me to gather perspectives and gain understanding, to piece things together and derive meaning from them.
    A student said to his master: "You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do you reconcile the two?" The master replied: "It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war." - unknown/Chinese

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...=61024&page=14

  8. #8
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ene View Post
    Thanks for this reply. It really helps me understand the INFPs viewpoint. Of course, being an INFJ myself, I already understood that perspective to a large degree.

    I think you're right about it having been a recipe for disaster in the first place. Maybe the relationship should not have gone on so long. Maybe it should have been an online brush instead of a two year exchange.

    Hopefully, both parties learned something from the experience that will benefit them in future interactions.
    I haven't really helped you understand the INFP's viewpoint, though. I really can't determine her viewpoint, so all I've done is offer up one explanation based on seeing something in your story that I can relate to in my own life, and that something was loneliness and neediness. Like @PeaceBaby pointed out, the story might look very different from the INFP's pov. But since I can't know what's going on in the heads and lives of either the INFP or the INFJ, I based my reply on what I saw as the results of both of their actions as related by a third party (you). I can't say if it should have been just an online brush instead of a two year exchange. I know in my own case, it just was what it was--which is how life goes.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    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
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Let me entertain you for a sec ...

    "An INFP enjoys a good understanding of a particular subject and likes discussing it. She encounters an INFJ who contacts her out of the blue to learn more about the subject, and is surprised by the pushy request, but reciprocates. The two exchange several productive letters, discussing it, which leads to other subjects. They exchange letters about many topics and over the course of several months, a friendship develops. Sometimes they talk on the phone.

    However, prior to the beginning of their friendship INFP was enjoying her solitude very much. She has a few friends but her focus right now is following a meditative, simple path. Life has not dealt with her kindly and she has been let down by promises made by others many times in the past. With less responsibilities at this time in midlife, she is able to pretty much fill her days with her interests, contemplation and ease, not hindered too much by the demands of needy people. She sometimes misses the relationships that have fallen by the wayside, but her mind is at peace.

    INFJ is younger and her life is full of the many demands that come with that stage of life. She seems to have a large circle of acquaintances and a few select others in the "inner circle". She's trying to do it all, and the INFP muses that she sees much of her younger self in the INFJ as the INFJ continually tries to keep up appearances that she's got everything under control.

    INFP is older but comfortable in her own skin and not looking to impress anyone anymore, just live her life in adherence to her goals of simplicity. Her kids are now grown and have established independent adult lives, something every mother hopes for for their children.

    INFP realizes that INFJ is different, yet she values her insight and input. When they first become acquainted INFP was in a lull of activity and the two of them speak often. Still, she hasn't made INFJ the top priority in her life. After all, she's an online friend who lives 6,000 miles away. "



    ............ do you see how this goes? How another possible lens color the story? This entire story could be switched by type and it would still bother me EXACTLY the same. I'll rename them "solo person vs busy person" to render it more neutral. Why must we paint a picture of a solo person vs a busy person to discover anything here? By implication, judgements are made about these two people all throughout the story based on who is purportedly fallen by the wayside and who is popular and in-demand. Problematically, these judgements color the advice that would thus be rendered to each.

    In the beginning of my rendition, can it be seen that I could repaint the picture to make it seem that the busy person is an intrusive user who only contacts the solo person when they WANT something? This is not a stretch of the imagination, it's very possible using only the bare details in this story.

    That is why, we need more voices. It could be entirely true everything above. But that's not the point. Nothing can be rendered here of use without more voices.
    "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

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by March View Post
    Looks to me like two people with different needs from the relationship. It's okay for 'INFJ' to desire low-maintenance relationships because she doesn't want to make time for (additional) high-maintenance relationships. But it's just as okay for 'INFP' to be looking for a more high-priority spot in someone's life, and to not settle for scraps if she wants a full meal.

    I'd say it's not okay for INFP to tell INFJ she shouldn't hang out with other people if that cuts into INFP-time (even if INFP and INFJ were married I'd consider that a warning sign - it might just be a weirdly worded opening bid of 'dude, I'm lonely and I want to hang out with YOU because I miss you - can you clear your schedule a bit?' but it might be the beginning of a controlling relationship), but that it's also not okay for INFJ to disregard INFP as 'childish, despite being older' (INFP had legitimate needs and the situation, pure and simple, was that INFJ cared more about other things than meeting those needs - it's more intellectually honest to say 'I didn't want to spend the energy giving INFP what she wanted. I wish we could have had a mutually fulfilling relationship, but she needed what she needed and in the end my other commitments were more important to me than not disappointing INFP').

    Thank you, March. Your words are filled with wisdom. There's a lesson in there.
    A student said to his master: "You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do you reconcile the two?" The master replied: "It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war." - unknown/Chinese

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...=61024&page=14

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