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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have this INFP friend, she's pretty much the most amazing, fascinating person I've ever met but she also confuses me so much. I think the biggest flaw in our relationship stems from a lack of communication, If I confront her she becomes defensive and assumes I am 'attacking' her. However in my own mind confrontation is the only way to solve problems or stop things from blowing out of proportion. Whenever I do confront her she immediately starts crying, thinking she's such a bad person, is this perhaps her way to avoid the impending conversation? Is there any way that I can confront her when an issue arises without her becoming defensive and retreating into her 'shell'?
 

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Can you elaborate more on her personality?

Confront her with the issues that might potentially be very stressful for her to face, by also surrounding them with destressing empathetic sounding encouragement that might warm her up.

In other words, attempt to understand what triggers her ''fragility'' (emotionally/ psychologically and socially). If you show her that you are trying to see where she's coming from and that it is okay for her to value her own emotions, she is likely to feel more comfortable. When you confront her with the problematic issues then, be sure not to come off as aggressive, pushy or patronizing as if you know about her more than she herself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice Izzie :) i'll be sure to try that next time.

As for her personality, she's very quiet and reserved. She's very emotional and sensitive. She hates hurting people or even thinking that she may have hurt someone so she avoids saying anything that she perceives to be confrotational or overly critical. She has admitted that she finds me quite intimidating, so I'm trying to find a way to confront her without hurting her. I also hope she can become comfortable with confronting me. Her policy is 'if it's not broken don't fix it' but with me it's 'if it's not perfect, them there's still room for improvement' :p haha typical INTJ/INFP relationship I think.
 

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Thanks for the advice Izzie :) i'll be sure to try that next time.

As for her personality, she's very quiet and reserved. She's very emotional and sensitive. She hates hurting people or even thinking that she may have hurt someone so she avoids saying anything that she perceives to be confrotational or overly critical. She has admitted that she finds me quite intimidating, so I'm trying to find a way to confront her without hurting her. I also hope she can become comfortable with confronting me.
I'm trying to think because my closest friends in real life are INTJ's..And my INTJ female best friend helped me a lot :tongue:

She confronted me with issues, but see she did it in a way that also made me feel understood.

For example.

''I know you're hurting because of your past and you went through a lot, but you can't abandon your responsibility in doing this...''

''I know you've been quite dependent most of your life, because of the experiences you were used to growing up.. But sometimes you have to put yourself in the shoes of other people..''

Etc etc.

It also helps that she tried to formulate small little plans for my well being :crazy: Ah INTJ's and their sense of planning.

Some general INFP guidelines (I think):

  • If you're a friend try not to come off as overly aggressive, patronizing and pushy. Sometimes we might be sensitive to what we subtly detect as slight manipulation.
  • Try to understand from an emotional point of view too, because it will always serve as a strong point for the INFP to let her guard down. Understanding = taking the time to be more empathetic. We can see if you've made enough effort or not.
  • Confrontation from a friend should not equal potential humiliation or violation of our personal values, or we're out.
  • Ask about what constitutes as boundaries in a friendship, and be sure to sound more open minded about it.
  • Be firm with your own voice, but make sure to show that you see her ability to think for herself too when the situation calls for it. Don't drown out her own voice with yours, no matter how valid you think yours is. Many matters to us are of morality and significance, our F helps us detect the potential bad consequences of missing the bigger picture and misplaced personal values. We may like being led, but we do not like being manipulated.
 

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Her policy is 'if it's not broken don't fix it' but with me it's 'if it's not perfect, them there's still room for improvement' :p haha typical INTJ/INFP relationship I think.
You can always show her why it's good to have more room for productivity and improvement, but like I said being an INFP means always wanting to see the bigger picture behind a lot of things. Don't force her, however, to see things your way. And if her policy is,'' if it's not broken don't fix it'' it may be because she sees something of potential personal growth for her in something that you might deem as useless or broken.

It's an interesting dynamic, the INFP/INTJ friendship.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I really think the bond between the INTJ and the INFP is like no other, it's truely amazing how much both types can learn from eachother. I wouldn't be where I am today without my INFP :) I should probably tell her that :p lol.

So I have to show her that I understand her and that it's ok for her to let her guard down around me. She got her heart broken at a very young age and it has led to her being very protective of her heart. So I don't want to be pushy. Thanks for those guidelines, they will certainly help me to understand how she is feeling when I confront her.

Also you said "Ask about what constitutes as boundaries in a friendship, and be sure to sound more open minded about it", could you perhaps elaborate on that please? What boundaries are you referring to?
 

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I really think the bond between the INTJ and the INFP is like no other, it's truely amazing how much both types can learn from eachother. I wouldn't be where I am today without my INFP :) I should probably tell her that :p lol.

So I have to show her that I understand her and that it's ok for her to let her guard down around me. She got her heart broken at a very young age and it has led to her being very protective of her heart. So I don't want to be pushy. Thanks for those guidelines, they will certainly help me to understand how she is feeling when I confront her.

Also you said "Ask about what constitutes as boundaries in a friendship, and be sure to sound more open minded about it", could you perhaps elaborate on that please? What boundaries are you referring to?

Just ask her what does she see as acceptable/not acceptable behavior in a friend. Try to observe (both objectively and intuitively) what triggers her anger when for example she talks bad about someone or more.
INFP's can be indirect, but firm with their values nevertheless.

The one about her past is understandable. She might be an INFP struggling between intuitive understanding of reality and fear of her past reflecting in her present. When an INFP got her heart broken really badly, it can spill out in many other parts of her life and at times she won't care if someone doesn't think it's 'logical.'

So you have to play both the emotional intelligence and practical intelligence cards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes I have noticed that she holds her values very close to her heart, it's not exactly hard for me to say something that ofeends her because she is so emotional and I can be very insensitive to her emotions.
Thanks for all your help Izzie :)
 

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My last relationship was very similar to you're describing, but she wasn't an INFP, more-so a CRZY if you ask me.

She was a bubbly person, but never seemed to know what she was thinking. She never had any real opinion on anything. I'm the type that talks, but I also really enjoy listening too. Much of our relationship just spanned to me throwing my thoughts out there and seeing her either smile and cuddle in agreement or quiet on disagreement.

Naturally, I understand that people take time to open up, and we were virtually perfect on every other aspect, so I let it slide for a bit. I did stress the odd time that communication is really one of the most important things in a relationship, each time I did say this she'd get upset. She'd go onto explain that she was not -capable- of formulating thoughts in her mind, but she'd try her best. In that sense, I couldn't ask for more, I told her countless times it's okay if she shuns the world, but she should never have to be silent with the person she cares about.

This went on for awhile with minimal progress, to the point of where I decided it was probably time to break this off. While I was enjoying myself in the relationship, I wasn't really learning or growing from it either.

Towards the night I intended to break things off, I once again gave her a pep talk about the importance of communication - in hopes of saving things. This time she got a little more rattled about it than usual and said I was trying to "change' her and that she'll never be able to communicate. I said straight up that if I'm not a person that can invoke a strong enough desire to communicate then I'm not the one for her.

Then I started getting a bit colder. I said that I felt like I was dating a mime, but even mimes will give you hand signals to show how they're feeling. I said, generally, I could understand her thoughts just through INFP-esp power, but I shouldn't have to do that all the time. There were times where I'd say say the most profound and deep things about love and life and I would never hear anything back, just a squeeze while she'd cuddle up closer. Real INFPs need affirmation quite often, so I'll admit some fault on this one.

As I was getting the ball rolling on a break up, she broke up with me. That bothered me because I had never been broken up with before and now I lost my perfect break up record, now I'm 6-1. Joking aside (partly), while it was probably my hardest overall breakup, even though it had the weakest communication I've ever experienced with another individual, it was for the best.

Hopefully it will never be the case for you, but just opening her up slowly may be nice. For me, I'm the type that will put someone through all sorts of experiences, fun hikes, boating, hockey games, skating, whatever. All sorts of random things, and then ask them how they feel about it. I just used the standard INFP line of "what are you thinking?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hmm seemingly I'm not the only one who absolutely needs good communication in a relationship of any kind...good to know. And I agree that it is right to end a relationship where you are not learning or growing from it. If the person I am with is not contributing to my personal growth then, (to put it the INTJ way) they have nothing to offer me, and i will have no bother ending it.

See it's a lot more complicated than just what I wrote here...3 months ago she decided to randomly call me and tell me she couldn't be friends with me anymore because she couldn't forgive the things I did in the past....I was completely taken aback because she failed to tell me what those things were. The excuses she gave me were very contradictory and ultimately I knew she was lying to me. She decided to give me 'one last chance', and so here we are.

Then a few weeks ago while we were out clubbing with some friends she took my hand and led me to the seats where she proceeded to tell me that she tried to end our friendship because she loved me as more than a friend. The whole time that was the underlying issue and had been going on for a number of years and only now she tells me. I let it slide because she was quite drunk at the time.

Ever since I have been asking her to talk about it and she has avoided it every single time. She refuses to talk about it but I feel as though there is a lot of tension between us now. I want to know if it is true because I know what happens to her when she falls in love....she falls hard and fast and often times she becomes suicidal if the feelings aren't reciprocated. I don't want to lead her on but I also don't want her to hurt herself or worse.

She gets defensive and uncomfortable when I bring it up but I need to know what's going on in the relationship or it will all go downhill again.... :frustrating: Communication is hard with her.....:confused:
 
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For an INFP, directness in confrontation is a critical element to maturity and success in relationships. But before an INFP develops it, there are a lot of defense mechanisms built in to protect from guilt, from being hurt (distrust), and from facing accountability. Also sometimes when an INFP is in a situation where the other person is at fault and they are afraid to confront them, the INFP will instead place the blame and guilt upon themselves.

Two critical components that you might see there are "Trust" and Self-Value" (in varying degrees depending on the individual). As the partner of this INFP, trust and self-value are the areas you want to help bolster for the INFP to aid her in loosening the power of her unhealthy-type emotions and the defense mechanisms that correspond to them. This requires a combination of gentleness and tough love. An INFP will not mature when only coddled, nor will the INFP mature when only given toughness.

When you are confronting the INFP about a pre-existing issue or something in the moment, it is important for the INFP to know that the conversation and environment will be emotionally safe, so establishing that is paramount, otherwise the internal thought might be, "Oh great, I know where this is going," and defense mechanisms rise. Therefore, before you deliver your thoughts on an issue, tell her in whatever way appropriately matches the issue, that you would like to hear her feelings on the situation. You may encounter an "Are you trying to say that you think I..." response, but even if that happens, you can still establish her trust. You can say, "I have concerns about this situation, but I want to hear how you feel about it, too."

One of two things are likely to happen. Either the defense mechanisms that have risen up will stay engaged due to pride or lack of trust, or she will relax and appreciatively give you her feedback. The latter is preferable, but the former is okay, too. If she is still defensive, that is when you become firm. You tell her that you would like to discuss this, but cannot continue to do so unless she is willing to do so reasonably. What this whole approach accomplishes is to tell her firstly, that you are accepting of her view and emotions, BUT, that she cannot manipulate or make any progress through her defenses. It may take many episodes before this becomes consciously recognized and accepted by her, so it may require you to be patient.

One other thing is that you need to have her understand that if she is successful in delaying a confrontation because of her emotional state, she can't avoid it. You can tell her you plan to talk about it with her later. Avoiding is a tactic many INFPs use, and we are very good at it.

As for yourself, though...use your best judgment to ascertain whether an issue is really critical to bring up or not. You may view any violation or smudge in the relationship as something to confront, but by doing so continually, it may only damage your INFP girlfriend's trust, because she may feel like you see too many problems, and then see herself as the problem. That is why when you ask her for her views and feelings, you shouldn't do so to patronize her, but really hear her out, and you might detect that the situation is different than you had originally seen it.

If her defensiveness and/or avoidance is persistent over time and she seems unwillingness to meet you halfway and exhibit trust, then she may not be ready for a relationship.

Another side note, the "shell" you describe is often a place where manipulation is carried out by INFPs. It is also a place where there is hurt, and understanding and affirmation is needed, but utmost caution should be exercised. It is a self-protection mode, and therefore, whatever self-protective result that is desired, will often be carried out through a form of manipulation...manipulation to find validation, manipulation to avoid, or to get sympathy. So, though validation and affection and sympathy is important, take care that you aren't delivering it in reponse to a manipulation.
 

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People should know that an INFP who had her heart broken at a very young age and is still at a stage of being insecure about confrontation can be a very fragile person with people she cares about.

I should know. I was there before :tongue:
 
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