[INFJ] (New to forum!) Being social, isolating (and which you need), & navigating extroverts

(New to forum!) Being social, isolating (and which you need), & navigating extroverts

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  • 1 Post By PoppaX

This is a discussion on (New to forum!) Being social, isolating (and which you need), & navigating extroverts within the INFJ Forum - The Protectors forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; I'm new to Personality Cafe, and I've never participated in forums really (haha always been more of a lurker), but ...

  1. #1
    INFJ - The Protectors

    (New to forum!) Being social, isolating (and which you need), & navigating extroverts

    I'm new to Personality Cafe, and I've never participated in forums really (haha always been more of a lurker), but I've been getting the push to put something out there and see what happens. So here goes!

    I'm an INFJ and I've spent a lot of time learning about my type, the MBTI, and thinking about how it influences my goals, needs, relationships, etc. I'm very aware that I need alone time to recharge, but lately I've been struggling with how to balance this with my more extroverted friends. I'm very busy, involved with a lot, and I'm not a "shy" person at work (sometimes I've been mistaken as an extrovert initially, before people realize that I "disappear" into hermitude when given the chance). But lately, my busy schedule and extroverted friends have kept me from getting back to that peaceful, transcendental, internal state I experience when spending time alone in nature, playing/listening to music, or writing. As I've gotten emotionally closer with people, they want to express friendship through spending more and more time together. They understand that I am introverted and need to escape from time to time (they've seen my irritability first-hand when I don't get this solitude!), and are typically very understanding... but I know it hurts their feelings when I say I want to spend a weekend alone rather than spending time together. We know that some of us are moving away in the next year, which I think makes them want to be more social than even before, but it is beginning to become overwhelming. Recently, I've found myself being social out of guilt and efforts to manage their feelings, and now I'm even finding it difficult to know (just within myself) whether I truly need to be alone or social. Have others had this experience or struggle? How have you recognized your needs, and balanced them with others' demands?



  2. #2
    INTJ - The Scientists

    My INFJ struggles with this. She has a hard time saying 'no' when people put demands on her time. She worries that she's letting people down by not giving them what they want (which is more of her time).

    I know this part of her will never change completely, but I've pointed out on numerous occasions that she is a better friend to people when she becomes more selfish. So I routinely encourage this in her. The way I see it, there are two possibilities: first, you can spread yourself so thin emotionally that the quality of the time you're giving to people is very poor overall, or second, you can give them high quality, albeit smaller, chunks of your time.

    Neither of those options is ideal, and I think it drives INFJs nuts when they are forced to make a choice that, either way, is going to make someone they care about unhappy.

    If someone has to be miserable, then the best solution is the one that minimizes the misery. You just have to remind yourself that you've done the best you could under the circumstances and there is no perfect solution.

  3. #3
    INFJ - The Protectors

    Thank you PoppaX for your thoughtful response. I think this is an ongoing struggle for me because when I start becoming emotionally/socially drained, it's gets difficult to stay in touch with my own emotional process. It takes me a while to figure out and make sense of my reactions/emotions anyway, because they are usually not in my conscious awareness, and thus difficult to put into explicit thoughts or words. When drained or stressed, "I" get fuzzy and the connection with my feelings gets lost in the bombarded of everyone else's, making it difficult to even know what I am feeling or want to do, and impossible to differentiate whether I am being compliant/passive, actually want to be social, need to be alone, or if I'm isolating to an excessive degree.

    I've come to dread being asked to commit to social plans, even though I know I would enjoy both the activity and the company, because the decision just feels daunting. I get overwhelmed trying to make sense of, and reconcile, my conflicting emotions in addition to others' reactions. I've gotten better, but I agree, neither choice is ideal when both will cause unhappiness. Ultimately, it is my responsibility to set limits, make those choices, and seek out what I need. It's not fair to myself or anyone else, and doesn't make for a positive or authentic relationship. But I accept that I am an imperfect person, and a work in progress! Thank you for sharing your experiences and perspective!

    And BTW, I noticed that you are an INTJ and I'm curious if there are things that have been a struggle to deal with or overcome in navigating the relationship with your INFJ? I am always interested in how others perceive INFJ's, their experience of interacting with them, and what the most positive and negative aspects are, particularly in the context of friend/family/romantic relationships. I am interested in hearing anything you are willing to share.

  4. #4
    INTJ - The Scientists

    The primary function of INTJs and INFJs is introverted intuition. So we sense things that most people will miss. INFJs do this with emotions, which is why they are so good at reading people. I'm sure it frightens people how well you can do this. INTJs do the same thing but with thoughts and ideas. We are great at complex associations and theoretical concepts. Because of this, my wife and I knew we were right for each other. It didn't matter that I'd only dated one person before her. It didn't matter that she'd been left at the altar less than a month before. We knew we were right for each other. It took everyone else a long time to come to the same conclusion we knew almost instantly.

    The F-T difference used to be a bigger hurdle than it is now. We've matured over the years, so we are better able to handle the differences. She understands my emotional limitations, and I understand her logical ones.

    INFJs are like pressure cookers. They build up enough frustration that they have to release the steam. But in the early years I would try to fix her problems by logically finding a solution. But she didn't want a solution. She wanted a sympathetic ear so she could vent. I wouldn't give her that, and she'd end up even more frustrated. And I'd end up wondering what I did wrong. But I've learned to keep my opinions to myself in those situations. Now I encourage her to talk about her feelings. It's really helped her feel like she can trust me.

    That's one thing I've learned about INFJs (and INTJs as well). If you lose their trust, it's hard to get it back. And because they rely on introverted intuition, they usually have stopped trusting a person long before they realize it. Outwardly they will appear the same, because they value harmony. But inside they've cut the person off completely. And the other person will never know about it.
    INFJcupcake thanked this post.


 

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