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  1. #1
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Default Help an INTJ understand an INFP friend.

    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.
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  2. #2
    Marshmallow Heart thepink-cloakedninja's Avatar
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    Hi, Litsnob!

    Please ignore my ESFJ typing as it's a joke Forever and I are doing. I'm actually fairly certain I'm an INFP.

    And yeah, I hate being put in boxes. It makes me feel like the person isn't seeing /me/ but is simply seeing the surface-level stuff, like that I'm a college student who was home schooled and works at a coffee shop. I do think that the boxes are real, and I do fall into some stereotypes (like a lot of other home schoolers, I am a nerd who likes Doctor Who yaaaay and I can be a bit awkward) but those things aren't who I really am down inside. Fi is very focused on evaluating one's self, and I feel like the inner me is very fluid and kaleidoscopic, and so putting me in a box makes me feel unseen and isolated. Perhaps you could try making your friend feel like you see the real her? Complimenting her on her ideals would really help. Like, if she really values kindness, go out of your way to point out when she's being kind. Or if she really wants to change the world, tell her that you make her life better. It will probably give her a huge rush of joy like endorphins being released like crazy, because she'll feel like you're seeing the twisting muddle of who she is and what she values that's buried beneath her surface.
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  3. #3
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    *pulls off mask for a second*

    Wait what? You as an INFP, I thought you were an INFJ trying on different types? Huh. Cool beans. @thepink-cloakedninja

    *puts it back on*

    Pinkie darling is such a sweetie.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepink-cloakedninja View Post
    Hi, Litsnob!

    Please ignore my ESFJ typing as it's a joke Forever and I are doing. I'm actually fairly certain I'm an INFP.

    And yeah, I hate being put in boxes. It makes me feel like the person isn't seeing /me/ but is simply seeing the surface-level stuff, like that I'm a college student who was home schooled and works at a coffee shop. I do think that the boxes are real, and I do fall into some stereotypes (like a lot of other home schoolers, I am a nerd who likes Doctor Who yaaaay and I can be a bit awkward) but those things aren't who I really am down inside. Fi is very focused on evaluating one's self, and I feel like the inner me is very fluid and kaleidoscopic, and so putting me in a box makes me feel unseen and isolated. Perhaps you could try making your friend feel like you see the real her? Complimenting her on her ideals would really help. Like, if she really values kindness, go out of your way to point out when she's being kind. Or if she really wants to change the world, tell her that you make her life better. It will probably give her a huge rush of joy like endorphins being released like crazy, because she'll feel like you're seeing the twisting muddle of who she is and what she values that's buried beneath her surface.
    Thanks those are great suggestions. I do think that I do those things but I will try to do them more. It's kind of that we have an interest in a similar topic but approach it differently only she insists she is winging it and free to choose anything and I keep pointing out that she is actually fitting quite well into a particular system. This irritates her and then I get irritated because her defense is to imply that the systems are flawed and that she needs to be free. I suppose perhaps I am essentially pointing out to her that she's not as free as she thinks she is and of course she wouldn't like that. That is undermining everything she believes in. My problem is that I think she is wrong and I have a hard time leaving people alone to be wrong. I know that is entirely my problem. LOL

    Your avatar scares me!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepink-cloakedninja View Post
    Hi, Litsnob!

    Please ignore my ESFJ typing as it's a joke Forever and I are doing. I'm actually fairly certain I'm an INFP.

    And yeah, I hate being put in boxes. It makes me feel like the person isn't seeing /me/ but is simply seeing the surface-level stuff, like that I'm a college student who was home schooled and works at a coffee shop. I do think that the boxes are real, and I do fall into some stereotypes (like a lot of other home schoolers, I am a nerd who likes Doctor Who yaaaay and I can be a bit awkward) but those things aren't who I really am down inside. Fi is very focused on evaluating one's self, and I feel like the inner me is very fluid and kaleidoscopic, and so putting me in a box makes me feel unseen and isolated. Perhaps you could try making your friend feel like you see the real her? Complimenting her on her ideals would really help. Like, if she really values kindness, go out of your way to point out when she's being kind. Or if she really wants to change the world, tell her that you make her life better. It will probably give her a huge rush of joy like endorphins being released like crazy, because she'll feel like you're seeing the twisting muddle of who she is and what she values that's buried beneath her surface.
    Wait...isn't INFP a box?

  6. #6
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litsnob View Post
    I have an INFP friend I am not as close to and while I really like her she also drives me nuts.
    Have you asked her why she doesn't like categorization?
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
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    "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

  7. #7
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    Have you asked her why she doesn't like categorization?
    Yes, She says she is an intuitive ( so am I actually ) who likes to be free and wild with no restrictions and only she gets to decided who and what she is. I am paraphrasing but she does use the words free and wild. To me this is like a blonde insisting she is a redhead.
    Last edited by Litsnob; 02-09-2017 at 06:27 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litsnob View Post
    Yes, She says she is an intuitive ( so am I actually ) who likes to be free and wild with no restrictions and only she gets to decided who and what she is. I am paraphrasing but she does use the words free and wild. To me this is alike a blonde insisting she is a redhead.
    Have you asked her what she means by free and wild with no restrictions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsnob View Post
    My problem is that I think she is wrong and I have a hard time leaving people alone to be wrong.
    What about leaving people alone to be wrong bothers you? What does this feel like to you?
    "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

  9. #9
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litsnob View Post
    Yes, She says she is an intuitive ( so am I actually ) who likes to be free and wild with no restrictions and only she gets to decided who and what she is. I am paraphrasing but she does use the words free and wild. To me this is alike a blonde insisting she is a redhead.
    I have two ENFP's. They are both like this, maybe less now that they're older. I don't questions this about them. Let them be what they want to be. Yes I get your irritation but you just need to let them sit there in their wrongness and be wrong. And accept that. Unless it's directly impacting me - such as them taking an hour to order something at a restaurant - I choose my battles with them.
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    I have two ENFP's. They are both like this, maybe less now that they're older. I don't questions this about them. Let them be what they want to be. Yes I get your irritation but you just need to let them sit there in their wrongness and be wrong. And accept that. Unless it's directly impacting me - such as them taking an hour to order something at a restaurant - I choose my battles with them.
    I think you are right. I seem to blunder into conversations where my INFP gets defensive and starts accusing me of using boxes. I then find myself explaining things and then she accuses me of thinking she is stupid. Which might be true. Or perhaps not using the brains she has. You are right though, about picking battles. I seem to end up in battles I was not intending but I am beginning to learn how to get out of them gracefully. Probably my greatest challenge is to learn to stop instinctively explaining and expounding. Thanks for your input.
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