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  1. #21
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepink-cloakedninja View Post
    Wait what? I thought you thought I was an ISTJ? :/

    Well ... I genuinely thought I was an INFJ for awhile, but now I'm like 85% sure I'm a Ne/Si and INFP seems the best fit, for now. ESFJ and ENFP are also contenders though.



    Ohhh that makes sense. And I definitely get that it can be hard with people who seem to ignore what we see as obvious. *ahem* My biological dad is obsessed with conspiracy theories ... *gulp* And not wanting to leave people you care about stuck in flawed thinking can definitely be a sign you value them even if the person who is subjected to your caring doesn't feel cared for. xD Perhaps you could help her see the boxes, but in a softer manner than you are doing now? Like, maybe you culd sandwich your arguments against her point of view between things that you both agree on so that way she doesn't feel attacked or anything. Oreo effect for the win!

    As for INFP being a box ... MBTI is definitely a box which is why I don't define myself by my type. I acknowledge that it's there and think MBTI is cool, but I think who I am is much larger than just an INFP.
    And how could an oreo effect go wrong? I updated my original post/question because I felt there was more info to add, though I am still trying not to be terribly specific. With much reflection, reviewing our written communication and stuff on Facebook (yeah were else does crap communication happen) I really don't think I am doing anything terribly wrong or hurtful and that she has some other sort of problem that isn't really about me although she is accusing me. All I ever did was have a conversation and express my perspective. Because it is not the same as hers she tries to shut me down. Perhaps not in this case but for future reference, I will keep your oreo metaphor in mind.

    I think that we are all much larger than our MBTI. I think that boxes are useful but never complete story. I always try to jokingly explain to this probably soon to be non-friend, that I think there are lots of boxes and we sort of hop in and out of them or have one foot in one and a foot in another. This is my attempt to be light about it, to say of course there is more than the box. On the other hand. I might put her in the box labelled Has Issues and tape the lid closed. ;-)

  2. #22
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    What does your friend do when she has to fill out forms, say at the doctor's office? They ask us to choose male or female, single/married/divorced/widowed, employed/student/at home, smoker/drinker/none of the above, etc.

    There is actually nothing wrong about your friend not liking boxes, or feeling they don't describe her, or even not believing in them. These are all her own opinions, to which she is entitled. Now claiming she can't be put into a box is wrong, as all those forms show. All she can claim here is that the box describes her poorly and minimally at best. So, it is fine for her not to like them, as long as she is willing to work with them when the time comes. They constrain her freedom only if she allows them to do so.
    If actually were to ask my friend that question, as a way to lightheartedly have a dialogue about boxes, I would get a public facebook dressing down telling me that I am oppressing her. She has done that three times already. There is no dialoge with her, I am realising. There is no friendship because my existence is offensive to her and she is now only publicly faking any liking for me on Facebook while taking any opportunity she can to write long and ridiculous diatribes about how wrong I am to mention my opinions to her in conversation because she just wants to be light and free and happy. She told me in one three paragraph dressing down, that life is not about information and perfecting things but about exploring and creativity. She does not mean that her life is that. She means life should be that and if I think otherwise I must not say so out loud or on social media because it brings her down and makes her feel like I am trying to fix her. I should just love her and not fix her. The accusation of fixing her comes from my having a different opinion on something, not from my telling her that hers is wrong.

    I don't think this is a valid friendship. I don't think she's emotionally healthy. And I don't think I care enough to stick around for more of her abuse.
    Last edited by Litsnob; 02-10-2017 at 05:41 PM.
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  3. #23
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    I don't care much about the box thing.
    A few anecdotes here and there from people who know supposed INFPs who dislike boxes doesn't really hold up well in the face of typology communities filled to the brim with INFPs who readily embrace the label. We are possibly the most populous type in these communities. Isabel Myers herself was an INFP and she invented this system to categorize people!

    So no, it's not an "INFP thing" to reject all forms of categorizating.

    What I don't like is to have people ascribe me bad motive because they jump to conclusions about what certain behavior or choices must mean. Maybe that is what your friend means by boxes she doesn't like - making negative assumptions about people because you reduced them or their behavior to something overly simplistic and didn't consider alternatives. Not considering alternative interpretations rubs Ne the wrong way. It's not asking you to defy logic....it's saying to widen the scope and perhaps realize you didn't have all the data points to draw an accurate conclusion with your snap judgement.

    The way I see people use boxes is often illogical. Their reasoning looks like this to me:
    "People who wear purple often seem to like pancakes. You wear purple. You must like pancakes."
    Another form is majorly projecting:
    "That purple colors grabs my attention. You must be wearing purple because you're an attention whore!"
    "If I wore purple, then it would be because I am rebelling against what I feel is a more mature choice of grey. That person wearing purple is so inappropriate and immature."

    So to me, it's just a lot of stereotypical BS. I don't think people actually, consciously use crappy reasoning as shown above, but I think they jump to a conclusion about something as if it's an unquestionable reality and not an interpretation which has possible bias in it.

    Obviously your frienemy uses SOME categories or she wouldn't identify as "intuitive" or assign colors to flowers. Language itself defines and categories. But don't point that out to her if she feels like your correct and criticize her a lot.

    I suspect there is far more to this, and sometimes IxFPs give up on explaining their whole view or never attempt to begin with because they don't want to be that vulnerable. In other words, "I don't like boxes" might be some stock phrase she goes to out of frustration, not bothering to detail what value was actually violated and how. Perhaps that seemingly protects the value even more (by keeping your nose miles off its scent) and also saves a lot energy. Getting people to grasp your reason for something (because feeling is reasoning - oh yes it is!) often requires them to majorly shift their perspective at the same time. It asks them to change their premise, which is often a bias about what reality is like, something that can make them feel threatened to question. So instead of going through all that, a flippant response to basically tell someone to STFU seems preferable.

    ------

    Anyhow, I have clashed with an INTJ who is an enneagram 1 and quite a different animal than the enneagram 5 variety (who I usually get along okay with). To me, he has a "my way or the highway" attitude, but then gets all pissed off when people choose the highway. He also jumps to the worst conclusions about people. He gives no benefit of the doubt and has zero empathy. Also, if something annoys him or seems wrong to him, it is addressed as if it is an objective standard and not a particular preference or viewpoint of his. Yet, when it comes to his flaws, well, people should forgive and laugh it off. He doesn't seem aware he even has flaws though. The double standards get to me, and when you have that big of a stick up your butt, you really don't have room for double standards. Confusing preferences for objective standards is another annoyance of mine. It makes people inflexible and unreasonable to me. I don't bother to reason with him because he gets so butthurt. He is so stubborn, that I feel like I end up attacking him personally to get his mind to open a smidgen. He can't handle being wrong ever, and the only way to get him to see another way is to be like, "YOU ARE HURTING PEOPLE" and then he overreacts to the idea that he hurts people... So instead I mostly ignore him.

    I'm sure this INTJ's take on our personality clash is quite different. He might tell you I am rebellious, disruptive and unreliable. He would think this stems from arrogance and carelessness on my part. But that's because he ascribes the worst motive possible for everything. To me, he comes across as a miserable person who wants to make everyone as joyless as he is. Most of this reeks of unhealthy enneagram 1, and my being a 4, that seems more at the heart of our differences than Jungian type. I seriously thought this guy was ESTJ because the e1s I've encountered before who were like this happened to be ESTJ, but he tests and identifies as INTJ, and he does display intuitive preferences at times (ENTJ still seems a possibility).

    I mainly brought this up to illustrate how an issue looks very different from the other side...
    Lots to digest here! Yes, issues will always looks different from different perspectives. I've been through a divorce-the classic example of he said/she said. I don't think everything about a person is always connected to their MBTI and I tried to point out in my original post that this person I am clashing with is quite different in many ways from my son INFP and my close friend ENFP. I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that she is a wounded person and not emotionally healthy so what I may be getting is emotionally unhealthy INFP responses because yes, it's quite clear that she tells me to shut the F up but seriously over really trivial things.

    INFP posts picture of self in colourful outfit
    INTJ wow you look radiant in those colours.
    INFP Thanks, did you notice I am wearing blue. I usually don't wear blue.
    INTJ yes I did and it looks great. Lately you are wearing really rich colours that remind me of the colours in Bright Spring or Deep Autumn from the personal colour analysis palettes.

    INFP You know I don't like boxes.
    INTJ Yes I know, though I think you think that these boxes are smaller than they actually are. Proceeds with summary of the principles of colour theory.
    INFP I am not a simpleton I just don't like categories,
    INTJ I don't think you are simpleton at all. You know me, I tend to over explain things in detail.

    send each other stupid cute gifs

    Two hours later: Long public 3 paragraph rant on how INTJ always tries to fix INFP and should just love her. INTJ thinks life is about information and perfecting things but it's not it's about exploring and creating. INTJ should only talk to people who want to hear what she has to say. INTJ should stop being like Russia where everybody criticises and more like the US where everybody is free to be who they want to be.

    Other incidents that INFP is holding onto include very short conversations of conflicting opinions framed essentially like
    INFP I think X
    INTJ But what aobut Y?
    INFP I think X
    INFJ I think Y is also important.

    My conclusion: She is insecure about herself and her opinions and I represent a challenge to them. She feels threatened so attacks me publicly calling me bad and mean.

  4. #24
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litsnob View Post
    She feels threatened so attacks me publicly calling me bad and mean.
    So what I'm hearing you say is that you feel hurt. What if you said to her, "I feel hurt when you say that about me in public?"
    "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

  5. #25
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    So what I'm hearing you say is that you feel hurt. What if you said to her, "I feel hurt when you say that about me in public?"
    What I am realising is that I do not trust her. That's not really a good state for a friendship to be in. I don't trust that if I told her I feel hurt when she attacks me in public that she wouldn't tell me it is all in my mind. At this point I am prepared to let this slip into a casual acquaintance. I can be kind and friendly when I encounter her but I am not going to go out of my way to encounter her and that is quite doable.

  6. #26
    Marshmallow Heart thepink-cloakedninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litsnob View Post
    And how could an oreo effect go wrong? I updated my original post/question because I felt there was more info to add, though I am still trying not to be terribly specific. With much reflection, reviewing our written communication and stuff on Facebook (yeah were else does crap communication happen) I really don't think I am doing anything terribly wrong or hurtful and that she has some other sort of problem that isn't really about me although she is accusing me. All I ever did was have a conversation and express my perspective. Because it is not the same as hers she tries to shut me down. Perhaps not in this case but for future reference, I will keep your oreo metaphor in mind.

    I think that we are all much larger than our MBTI. I think that boxes are useful but never complete story. I always try to jokingly explain to this probably soon to be non-friend, that I think there are lots of boxes and we sort of hop in and out of them or have one foot in one and a foot in another. This is my attempt to be light about it, to say of course there is more than the box. On the other hand. I might put her in the box labelled Has Issues and tape the lid closed. ;-)
    I'm not sure how the Oreo effect could go wrong. One possibility would be that the person might take advantage of the points you agreed with him/her on and use them as argument leverage. I just read the updated post and it does seem like a good idea to let things be. I like your box explanation.
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  7. #27
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepink-cloakedninja View Post
    I'm not sure how the Oreo effect could go wrong. One possibility would be that the person might take advantage of the points you agreed with him/her on and use them as argument leverage. I just read the updated post and it does seem like a good idea to let things be. I like your box explanation.
    Thanks. Regardless of INFPness I think there are other things going on with this person. My favourite INFP, my much adored son, is of course my perfect example of INFP wonderful awesomeness. Yes, that is what it sounds like when an INTJ gushes awkwardly. Also, he really likes Oreos.
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  8. #28
    Junior Member unconnectedmind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litsnob View Post
    I am very willing to admit that I might just be venting my frustrations here more than anything but I am interested in what anyone can add to my understanding of how my friend thinks.

    I have two INFPs and one ENFP in my life. One INFP is my son and we really get each other. The ENFP is a friend I've had for decades and while we are very different in many ways we tend to get each other too. I have an INFP friend I am not as close to and while I really like her she also drives me nuts. One of her favourite things to say is that she doesn't like boxes, can't be put in a box, doesn't believe in boxes. What I hear is ignorance speaking, refusal to admit that boxes do exist and a challenge to put her in a box and tape the lid shut. I try to explain that for instance if you had a box in which all mathematical equations that equal 4 are to be put or a box for all words that have soft C in them, those are valid boxes. She basically refuses to categorise anything or admit that there might be a best category choice for something and any time I mention something in a sense of categorising it she gives an irritating little smile and says, 'You know I don't like boxes.'

    I don't care if you don't like them, that is like saying you don't like dogs so you refuse to believe dogs exist or have any use. I find this irritatingly blind and stupid and while I am aware that the best thing to do is avoid such conversations with her, the fact that I think in terms of systems and categorising and organising things means it tends to inevitably come up somehow. She seems to live her life defining and categorising nothing. I don't even know how she can function.

    My second admission is that I will probably never actually think she is correct in her thinking, only that she is entitled to her inaccurate opinion.

    I would like to know how typical this is of INFP or is it perhaps some other aspect of her personality such as being dropped on her head as an infant. If you are someone who also thinks in this way, please tell me how this works for you.


    UPDATE: I was trying to keep this generic -ish, and not reveal any specifics which might possibly be interfering with my ability to explain myself or exactly the behaviour I am objecting to in my friend. This friend is repeatedly convinced I have criticised her, tried to fix her, or somehow interfered with her ability to just enjoy life. This is the response to anytime I express my own view, opinion or understanding of reality, in response to her expressing her own. IN other words, unless I just agree and tell her how wonderful she is, I am attacking and undermining her. She has written long and public diatribes at me about all my faults and how horrible I am, all very passive aggressive and addressing me as 'dear friend' while saying that I am wrong and mean and bad. I have attempted twice already to clear up what seemed to be misunderstandings. I have graciously accepted an apology from her once for overreacting. It is now at a point where if she says oh look at that nice blue flower and I say did you know that flower variety also comes in purple? This is somehow offensive to her. She is not emotionally stable and I am done attempting to understand, forgive and sort out.

    This is much more than disagreeing over whether things should be open ended or who is armed with the best list of facts. We have mutual acquaintances and can't quite escape each other online but definitely can in offline life.

    This is completely typical of an INFP. There is nothing wrong with her. She can actually see a reason why all neat categories are categories of predefined objects. In other words, all objects that could be defined as belonging to a specific category are defined to belong, and that's why they are thought to belong. Basically what an INFP does with everything is notice how it's ever so slightly different from everything else.

    That doesn't mean an INFP cannot appreciate the usefulness of categories as tools for understanding the world. However, even if you got an INFP to see that, they're never going to accept a categorical definition of anything as the final definition of that thing. I'll never do it.

    You have to remember that INFPs are extremely inventive with respect to everything they encounter. We appreciate the fact that systems exist, and we have to live in those systems for various reasons, but in our core selves we really see beyond and around and through all systems.

    **Edit**

    I see that she has unfortunately arrived at one of the unhealthy pitfalls of the INFP personality: passive-aggressive behavior. Personally I know how an INFP can get there. What I do not understand is why any INFP wouldn't realize that behavior is wrong and correct it. Maybe she has no reference point in her internal ethics for realizing that rude behavior like this is actually wrong.

    I've met INFPs like that, and they are extremely annoying to me because it evidences a lack of self-awareness of their own behavior with respect to others. That's something all INFPs struggle with for most of their lives, but I'm at least willing to hear criticism of incorrect behavior or self-correct when I notice I've done something hard for someone to endure.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unconnectedmind View Post
    This is completely typical of an INFP. There is nothing wrong with her. She can actually see a reason why all neat categories are categories of predefined objects. In other words, all objects that could be defined as belonging to a specific category are defined to belong, and that's why they are thought to belong. Basically what an INFP does with everything is notice how it's ever so slightly different from everything else.

    That doesn't mean an INFP cannot appreciate the usefulness of categories as tools for understanding the world. However, even if you got an INFP to see that, they're never going to accept a categorical definition of anything as the final definition of that thing. I'll never do it.

    You have to remember that INFPs are extremely inventive with respect to everything they encounter. We appreciate the fact that systems exist, and we have to live in those systems for various reasons, but in our core selves we really see beyond and around and through all systems.

    **Edit**

    I see that she has unfortunately arrived at one of the unhealthy pitfalls of the INFP personality: passive-aggressive behavior. Personally I know how an INFP can get there. What I do not understand is why any INFP wouldn't realize that behavior is wrong and correct it. Maybe she has no reference point in her internal ethics for realizing that rude behavior like this is actually wrong.

    I've met INFPs like that, and they are extremely annoying to me because it evidences a lack of self-awareness of their own behavior with respect to others. That's something all INFPs struggle with for most of their lives, but I'm at least willing to hear criticism of incorrect behavior or self-correct when I notice I've done something hard for someone to endure.
    Thanks for you thoughtful and detailed reply, and for noting my update on the situation. I would be thrilled to have a conversation with this person about where systems are limited, what all the other options are etc, because while systems fascinate me and I see their uses, I also see their limitations. We are going to come up against people who think and see things differently from how we do and that's what makes life interesting. She has made it clear that despite all her declarations of being open minded she actually doesn't want to hear any other perspectives or discuss them. I am sure this is not typical INFP or not healthy INFP. As I mentioned I have an INFP son and an ENFP friend who are much healthier. I think that when people are really hurting, wounded and insecure they are not ready to correct behaviour that is unhealthy because it makes them feel safe so they see it as necessary. She doesn't seem able to see that she does what she accuses me of, which is making hurtful statements. People who are wounded and self-protecting will try to shut others down through aggression or manipulation. I was caught off guard to find her using this but I've seen it in others. A healthy INFP is a delight to converse with. :-)

  10. #30
    Senior Member Lucy_Ricardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litsnob View Post
    Wait...isn't INFP a box?
    INFP is DEFINITELY a box! I'm an INFP, and I don't mind being categorized because a person can fit into more than one category. Also, being categorized by someone else doesn't define who I am--it's just a definition of how someone else sees me. Everything is boxed--just the act of naming someone puts them in a box. I understand not wanting to be seen as a stereotype, but whether or not one is "boxed in" is completely up to the individual.

    Your friend leans toward the unhealthy side of INFP. a healthy INFP can listen to someone else's opinion without feeling threatened. Unhealthy INFPs don't deal with criticism well at all, and once they think you disapprove of them, everything you say can be construed as a slight against them. I used to be this way as a teenager, but life experience has hammered it out of me.

    Furthermore, passive-aggressively blasting you through writing is another manifestation of your friend's unhealthy way of dealing with emotions and relationships. The fact that she can't talk things out in person shows tremendous emotional immaturity.

    Unfortunately, these problems are things you can't fix--you can only attempt to understand them and adjust your interactions with her accordingly. Don't try to bait her or get into conversations that you know will be hot-button for her--it will only bring you frustration, as it has in the past.

    Please don't think your friend's behavior is typical for INFPs--she is an example of a maladjusted person,

    My best friend since junior high school is an INTJ, and I'm an INFP, and our friendship is one of the greatest things in my life. But that's because even though we fit into the INTJ and INFP boxes, we're more than that. Everyone is. So I think your friend really needs to work on her mental and emotional states, and that in the meantime, you will just have to work around it. And if you're confused by her, ask her why she's acting the way she's acting--maybe by giving her the chance to explain herself, it can help her.
    "The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." --J.R.R. Tolkien

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