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I was talking to my friend this morning about how I dislike dating because I find it difficult to relax and be myself because I'm considering all the time what they are thinking/feeling and expecting me to say, what society is expecting me to say.

I have on average about 3-4 different responses that pop into my head and I have to choose which one I will say; this all depends on my mood, their demeanor, my intuition about what they will accept or not accept, like or dislike.

I feel like I have so many sides, one thing that is always running through my mind is: "which side of myself should I show them?" and/or, "is it alright to show them this side of me?"

If I like someone it's really hard for me to relax and not feel as though I'm going to be judged negatively if I reveal a certain thing. I mean, who is totally open? Should we be? Of course not, that would be naive wouldn't it?

I suppose a big part of it is that I want to find out more of what they're like first...

Around people I like a little or don't particularly care for, I am relaxed and say what I like. I am able to feel authentic because I don't have all this analyzing going on in my brain and I don't hide what I'm feeling anywhere near as much.

I guess this whole rant is to ask other INFP's if they feel this way too. Are you able to be yourself? And how much of yourself is yourself?

I really have only moments I catch myself in when I am truly myself: when I laugh even without analyzing the laugh and I can just enjoy it.

F*ck it! I think I'm just too damned focused all the time on what other people are feeling and thinking!!
I wish I could block that out.
 

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Yes, I find I do this a lot with people who don't really know me, and thus I am a blank slate to them. I do this excessively with someone whom I am very interested in or greatly attracted to, or more generally, people I am very impressed by and respect greatly, and thus want to garner the respect of for affirmation purposes. I can work this very well with them and analyze what their "philosophy" (so to speak) is while we're talking, usually letting them take the reigns of the conversation while I analyze what their point is, and extrapolate from this one point what their general views are. I look at how they think and then think up a myriad of responses that they would approve of. I use one of these. I do this if I don't really care about the conversation or topic that much, but if it is something that I care a lot about, I can't just acquiesce to them. Suffice it to say, it won't work out if we disagree on something that I feel that strongly about, so at this point it really doesn't matter.

This behaviour is toxic, though, especially to us, and focused on appeasing people instead of honesty. Identity (and depersonalization) is a thing INFPs struggle with, and this sort of behaviour is one of the reasons why. I don't like when I do this, and I feel extremely dishonest and cowardly when I do it as extensively with one of the guys I am interested in, so I usually try to steer the conversation toward something else.

I feel most like myself when I am alone. Then I am most honest, and I have no external stimuli to change or "colour" my opinion or experiences. I'm never really able to be myself otherwise. Whenever I am with someone, there is a certain set of expectations for my behaviour, and of course it's vastly different for each person I interact with. There are a lot of reasons I don't want to date anymore, and one of the most important is because the one year I was in a relationship with an ISTP, I was losing myself slowly. I lived a lie, did not listen to my intuition, and most importantly, was not myself. This, I believe, greatly stunted my growth as a person, lowered my self-awareness by totally ignoring what I knew to be true, and made me waste half a year playing the role of someone I was not at all. When I look back on it, I feel a wave of massive cognitive dissonance coming on; I can't believe that was me saying those things or acting in such a way contrary to the vague and shadowy outline of who I am. I have even read that there is a time period after a relationship where the two former partners have difficulty being alone because they subconsciously began to form an identity as "us". They began to merge in identity and subconsciously take on traits of their partner -- even if they didn't like those particular traits. They lose themselves. Time I will never get back...
 

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I am always myself, and I am open even with strangers. Usually this freaks people out, so I have become accustomed to being lonely most of the time. It is still better than the alternative.
 

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juuust posted this over in ENFPtopia

"I had a similar experience.
what was actually holding me back, was that i either tried to project a positive persona, or hide negative aspects of myself if i thought people might judge me for it. and the more i tried to force it, the more i realized i have no control over who i am.

and then i thought, whoever i am, i don't want to be someone who spends their time worrying about what people think. and the only way to effectively telegraph that i don't care is to actually not care. to have enough faith in the world to not try to consciously shape what people think of me. to look at the world without laying any judgement on anyone, including myself, and realize that anyone who puts the energy into judging you has their own unresolved issues.

a little revelation i had: all negative aspects of a personality come from people's own insecurities. and the only way to fix it is to let your insecurities go. inside every socially awkward human being is a strong, happy, charismatic, awesome one waiting for you to stop being so vain.

so go out and stop giving a shit :wink:

sorry, that got a little aggressive near the end. it was supposed to be all pump-up motivational."

Edit: another point i should add, in relating to your "what side of me should i convey," is that the people who stick around long enough to realize that my opinions change wildly, that i'm an unbelievably complicated being, tend to continue to find me interesting. so you don't need a point of reference as much as you think. people don't label you as fast as you can judge yourself. which, personally, i find very reassuring.
 

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I think this is extroverted feeling in action. This is the opposite of your dominant function: introverted feeling. My understanding is that when you use introverted feeling, your goal is to make sure your actions match your inner values and you analyze others' behaviour according to those values. But extroverted feeling is more concerned with social norms and trying to figure out the right response for a particular context or interaction. This is not your preference and it may be why you feel so conflicted when you believe you need to act this way.

I think that when extroverted feeling isn't developed much, it can be awkward and stressful for the user. As an INFJ, it is my auxiliary, but I find it difficult to use sometimes. I am in conflict with pleasing my own needs and expectations and meeting those of others. I watch what I say and I usually don't allow me to be myself, as if the "real" me wouldn't be up to the other person's expectations. I think that if my extroverted feeling was more developed, I would have a stronger sense of self and be able to separate it from the function.

I'm not sure whether you were asking this in terms of dating relationships, but I think that this type of behaviour could happen within many contexts and relationships. I don't think this is just in dating relationships. I also think that these feelings aren't exclusive to INFPs.

I know your question wasn't directed at other types, but in terms of "how much of myself is myself", I'd say that in interacting with others, I show a very limited amount of myself. I'm afraid of messing up somehow and rejection. I put up a screen and show only bits and pieces of myself. Even friends and family don't get to see all parts of me and yet I feel as though I am still somewhat "myself" around them. I don't know what it would be like to be fully accepting of myself and though acting appropriately to whomever I'm dealing with, not censoring and limiting myself in expression.
 

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If I like someone it's really hard for me to relax and not feel as though I'm going to be judged negatively if I reveal a certain thing. I mean, who is totally open? Should we be? Of course not, that would be naive wouldn't it?

I suppose a big part of it is that I want to find out more of what they're like first...

Around people I like a little or don't particularly care for, I am relaxed and say what I like. I am able to feel authentic because I don't have all this analyzing going on in my brain and I don't hide what I'm feeling anywhere near as much.

I guess this whole rant is to ask other INFP's if they feel this way too. Are you able to be yourself? And how much of yourself is yourself?

I really have only moments I catch myself in when I am truly myself: when I laugh even without analyzing the laugh and I can just enjoy it.

F*ck it! I think I'm just too damned focused all the time on what other people are feeling and thinking!!
I wish I could block that out.
Oh getting into the swing of dating is so hard, it's always a nerve-wracking thing. I'm attempting it now, and boy is it hell haha. But something that seems good to think on, maybe view it in terms of the friendly connection you can make rather than the ultimate goal. Easier said than done, I suppose. There is a certain level of mystery that is nice to keep in the first few dates but showing that you WILL be open to sharing yourself is probably important too. Just keep telling yourself it's all about the connection!

To answer your question: I most deffinately feel this way. The whole traditional dating set-up is whack in itself..so I feel like I have to trick myself into forgetting I'm on a date to even function properly.

But brilliant about the laughter bit! I feel the same way :). Laughter is that momentary release and makes you feel so free! Important to remember that fact then, and be open to more laughter when you feel things are getting too over-thought. Good luck!
 

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I have the same problem as an E/INTP
Its difficult knowing who to be around people because the me i know best ask who I am exists mainly in my head. If I were to be truly myself around other people i would have the stereotypical INTP cold expressionless face. Because i have no emotional response to the superficial standards and formalities of socializing, its hard for me to continue conversations which are of no consequence to me. Now when I am around people I know, or who I feel are genuine and open, and especially other NT types I turn into the most confident self-assured ENTP, but only for as long as I'm engaged in meaningful or interesting conversation
 
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I absolutely know what you mean. Rusalka describes my feelings on it elegantly, down to the bit about a past relationship--though mine involved an ISTJ.

I've struggled with my shifting personality for years and have found little to resolve the issue. It's come to the point that I think it may, in fact, be a perfectly normal part of who I am. Sure, there are certainly a set of morals I adhere to, but when it comes to subjects such as music and weather, I'm all right with being flexible and toying with the idea that I may or may not actually like something. It's a way I can explore myself while engaging someone else.

At the same time, I've actually met someone I can be my real self around: my dear boyfriend, an INTP. I didn't realize it at first, but after some scattered conversations I saw that I wasn't making an effort to alter myself in the least; quite the contrary, I was being completely honest about what I believe, what I feel, what I love. I take him for granted on occasion, but I try to remind myself every day that I'm extremely fortunate to have him in my life. If he was only a friend, I would be just as thankful.

I hope you find your center with someone, or even better, overcome the need to hide around anyone. Best wishes!
 
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Yes, I find I do this a lot with people who don't really know me, and thus I am a blank slate to them. I do this excessively with someone whom I am very interested in or greatly attracted to, or more generally, people I am very impressed by and respect greatly, and thus want to garner the respect of for affirmation purposes. I can work this very well with them and analyze what their "philosophy" (so to speak) is while we're talking, usually letting them take the reigns of the conversation while I analyze what their point is, and extrapolate from this one point what their general views are. I look at how they think and then think up a myriad of responses that they would approve of. I use one of these. I do this if I don't really care about the conversation or topic that much, but if it is something that I care a lot about, I can't just acquiesce to them. Suffice it to say, it won't work out if we disagree on something that I feel that strongly about, so at this point it really doesn't matter.

This behaviour is toxic, though, especially to us, and focused on appeasing people instead of honesty. Identity (and depersonalization) is a thing INFPs struggle with, and this sort of behaviour is one of the reasons why. I don't like when I do this, and I feel extremely dishonest and cowardly when I do it as extensively with one of the guys I am interested in, so I usually try to steer the conversation toward something else.

I feel most like myself when I am alone. Then I am most honest, and I have no external stimuli to change or "colour" my opinion or experiences. I'm never really able to be myself otherwise. Whenever I am with someone, there is a certain set of expectations for my behaviour, and of course it's vastly different for each person I interact with. There are a lot of reasons I don't want to date anymore, and one of the most important is because the one year I was in a relationship with an ISTP, I was losing myself slowly. I lived a lie, did not listen to my intuition, and most importantly, was not myself. This, I believe, greatly stunted my growth as a person, lowered my self-awareness by totally ignoring what I knew to be true, and made me waste half a year playing the role of someone I was not at all. When I look back on it, I feel a wave of massive cognitive dissonance coming on; I can't believe that was me saying those things or acting in such a way contrary to the vague and shadowy outline of who I am. I have even read that there is a time period after a relationship where the two former partners have difficulty being alone because they subconsciously began to form an identity as "us". They began to merge in identity and subconsciously take on traits of their partner -- even if they didn't like those particular traits. They lose themselves. Time I will never get back...

 

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I think it is mainly an issue with confidence. I mean, if you think of it in terms of dating the reason I think I would feel inclined to acting differently from myself is to -not necessarily impress the person- but... impress the person.

If I were to feel I am the prize in the relationship I wouldn't even consider acting any differently from myself. Basically, it boils down to who is trying to keep who.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, I find I do this a lot with people who don't really know me, and thus I am a blank slate to them. I do this excessively with someone whom I am very interested in or greatly attracted to, or more generally, people I am very impressed by and respect greatly, and thus want to garner the respect of for affirmation purposes.
I also do this with people that I am very impressed by and respect or like as a person a lot. I do this with my closest friends and worry what they will think of me a lot. I am afraid to say or do certain things and be myself. It's annoying and I really just want to relax and be myself. I think I'm afraid of being rejected for being me by the people I care the most about.

I can be very child like and playful and I find that when I am it lessens their respect somehow. When I am guarded, stoic and reserved they seem to respect me more. I hate that. I don't want to be guarded all the time with those who are closest to me. Very frustrating.

Thank you for adding that part about "people I am very impressed with". Normally I am impressed with very few, but when I am impressed with someone, wow. I'm really impressed. They are up on a pedestal. Maybe that is the problem. My opinion of them is too high?


and extrapolate from this one point what their general views are. I look at how they think and then think up a myriad of responses that they would approve of. I use one of these. I do this if I don't really care about the conversation or topic that much, but if it is something that I care a lot about, I can't just acquiesce to them. Suffice it to say, it won't work out if we disagree on something that I feel that strongly about, so at this point it really doesn't matter.
Thank you for putting into words what I had difficulty saying! This is exactly what I meant. It's so nice to have you say this and know I'm not completely crazy.
Yes, I agree. If it's something I care deeply about there will be no giving in. When the blood boils...


This behaviour is toxic, though, especially to us, and focused on appeasing people instead of honesty. Identity (and depersonalization) is a thing INFPs struggle with, and this sort of behaviour is one of the reasons why. I don't like when I do this, and I feel extremely dishonest and cowardly when I do it as extensively with one of the guys I am interested in, so I usually try to steer the conversation toward something else.
Yes, I feel very cowardly too when I don't tell someone my thoughts on something because I know it's at odds with theirs. I hate that I hate conflict. It makes me wish I was one of those people who enjoyed or thrived off conflict, who saw it as a challenge or a game. Bloody hell.



I feel most like myself when I am alone. Then I am most honest, and I have no external stimuli to change or "colour" my opinion or experiences. I'm never really able to be myself otherwise. Whenever I am with someone, there is a certain set of expectations for my behaviour,
Do you ever catch yourself sometimes when you're alone thinking, "this is really me." When you're doing something or dancing and really enjoying that feeling of being completely yourself. Meh, then I realize that's what I'm doing and the moment is over. Grrr...

And yes, yes, yes! on the "certain set of expectations for my behaviour". I've gone off that "set of expectations" before with people and boy did I hear about it!! They were astounded, shocked, sometimes even appalled.

I am always myself, and I am open even with strangers. Usually this freaks people out, so I have become accustomed to being lonely most of the time. It is still better than the alternative.
I've been very open with people before and been ripped open too many times. Learning to guard is important for me, though I "slip" sometimes because I want to share myself with certain people. I feel incredibly lonely if I'm unable to.

I think the desire to connect deeply with someone like that conflicts with the fear of rejection. How to choose who you can reveal yourself to and who you should guard yourself against?? Dammit. Instinct. And my instinct or intuition tells me most people are not up for the exchanging of soulful thoughts and feelings.

juuust posted this over in ENFPtopia

"I had a similar experience.
what was actually holding me back, was that i either tried to project a positive persona, or hide negative aspects of myself if i thought people might judge me for it. and the more i tried to force it, the more i realized i have no control over who i am.

and then i thought, whoever i am, i don't want to be someone who spends their time worrying about what people think. and the only way to effectively telegraph that i don't care is to actually not care.
Funny you say that, I've thought and tried to implement that (and oft times do). Problem is it never really "takes" for very long and still affects me deep down.
I wish there were a "I don't give a F*ck pill" I could take.
It makes me greatly envy INTJ's and INTP's.


Itso go out and stop giving a shit :wink:

sorry, that got a little aggressive near the end. it was supposed to be all pump-up motivational."

Edit: another point i should add, in relating to your "what side of me should i convey," is that the people who stick around long enough to realize that my opinions change wildly, that i'm an unbelievably complicated being, tend to continue to find me interesting. so you don't need a point of reference as much as you think. people don't label you as fast as you can judge yourself. which, personally, i find very reassuring.
Thanks for the motivational pep talk. It's good advice and I know you are right. I'll try to implement it more.

I think this is extroverted feeling in action. This is the opposite of your dominant function: introverted feeling. My understanding is that when you use introverted feeling, your goal is to make sure your actions match your inner values and you analyze others' behaviour according to those values. But extroverted feeling is more concerned with social norms and trying to figure out the right response for a particular context or interaction. This is not your preference and it may be why you feel so conflicted when you believe you need to act this way.[/QUOTE

Very interesting point. Thank you. I never thought of that...

I'm not sure whether you were asking this in terms of dating relationships, but I think that this type of behaviour could happen within many contexts and relationships. I don't think this is just in dating relationships. I also think that these feelings aren't exclusive to INFPs.
Dating but also very much friendships as well. Only certain friends though, those I admire a GREAT deal.


I know your question wasn't directed at other types, but in terms of "how much of myself is myself", I'd say that in interacting with others, I show a very limited amount of myself. I'm afraid of messing up somehow and rejection. I put up a screen and show only bits and pieces of myself. Even friends and family don't get to see all parts of me and yet I feel as though I am still somewhat "myself" around them. I don't know what it would be like to be fully accepting of myself and though acting appropriately to whomever I'm dealing with, not censoring and limiting myself in expression.
I posted in another thread that I behave differently around different people but that it's always genuine and I meant it, so I know what you mean. I just hate that I can't be "whole" around everyone. Why do I have to compartmentalize my behaviour? It make me feel inauthentic and a little lonely that I'm "not allowed" to express myself fully.
Does everyone go through this? Or do we go through it just a little more? Are we just more aware of it because we're so introspective? Or is it the same with everyone? Others don't seem to struggle with this the way that I do. Or maybe they just don't discuss it or it doesn't bother them as much.

Oh getting into the swing of dating is so hard, it's always a nerve-wracking thing. I'm attempting it now, and boy is it hell haha. But something that seems good to think on, maybe view it in terms of the friendly connection you can make rather than the ultimate goal. Easier said than done, I suppose. There is a certain level of mystery that is nice to keep in the first few dates but showing that you WILL be open to sharing yourself is probably important too. Just keep telling yourself it's all about the connection!
Maybe I have a date this weekend, that's where a lot of this is coming from. So I'm already stressing about it, knowing this will be going through my head. That I'll be analyzing all of my actions. Maybe I'll just have a few beers first and relax...teehee.

HATE DATING!


To answer your question: I most deffinately feel this way. The whole traditional dating set-up is whack in itself..so I feel like I have to trick myself into forgetting I'm on a date to even function properly.
Ahahaha! TOTALLY done that!!



But brilliant about the laughter bit! I feel the same way :). Laughter is that momentary release and makes you feel so free! Important to remember that fact then, and be open to more laughter when you feel things are getting too over-thought. Good luck!
I often tell myself, "don't take things so seriously". I need to tell myself that more often. Thanks for the reminder!

I have the same problem as an E/INTP
Its difficult knowing who to be around people because the me i know best ask who I am exists mainly in my head. If I were to be truly myself around other people i would have the stereotypical INTP cold expressionless face. Because i have no emotional response to the superficial standards and formalities of socializing, its hard for me to continue conversations which are of no consequence to me. Now when I am around people I know, or who I feel are genuine and open, and especially other NT types I turn into the most confident self-assured ENTP, but only for as long as I'm engaged in meaningful or interesting conversation
My INFJ friend said to me the other day that I didn't speak to a group of people we met when we were out (who were friends of a friend); I told her, "It's because I didn't think they were interesting. I rarely find people interesting." And that is completely true.

I guess that happens a lot to those types that are so rare. Bummer.
Then again, maybe that's why I get so excited and hold friends so close to my heart when I do find them interesting or when I do admire the hell out of them. And maybe that's a big part of the reason that I won't ever let them go (if I have my way).

I absolutely know what you mean. Rusalka describes my feelings on it elegantly, down to the bit about a past relationship--though mine involved an ISTJ.
Yes, she did a great job. Hit the nail on the head with everything she said. Part of the reason I love this site so much.

I've struggled with my shifting personality for years and have found little to resolve the issue. It's come to the point that I think it may, in fact, be a perfectly normal part of who I am. S
Dammit...:unsure:

At the same time, I've actually met someone I can be my real self around: my dear boyfriend, an INTP. I didn't realize it at first, but after some scattered conversations I saw that I wasn't making an effort to alter myself in the least; quite the contrary, I was being completely honest about what I believe, what I feel, what I love. I take him for granted on occasion, but I try to remind myself every day that I'm extremely fortunate to have him in my life. If he was only a friend, I would be just as thankful.
That's awesome for you!! I'm completely envious. Even though I've begun to settle in here (in a new city) and I'm thinking of beginning to date again (daunting) I've more or less given up on finding what you've described.
Dream come true. Lucky you!! I'm glad it's happening with someone!!

I hope you find your center with someone, or even better, overcome the need to hide around anyone. Best wishes!
xie, xie.

I'm the same way with people most times, I feel like if I were 100% myself I'd scare people away with how intense I am about everything.
Exactly. Perhaps this is the crux of it? And I have scared people away with my intensity before -- on two occasions in particular. Maybe that's why I'm "hiding"?
 

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With most people I always keep myself firmly in check and maintain a rather reserved profile. Only with friends can I show more of myself thought not even then all of it.
I have found that showing too much(its that intensity thing again) tends to even upset my mother who has no idea where all of that is coming from.

I knew I had found the right gf when I found out that everything I want to say is completely safe with her. I never find myself hiding stuff, or worrying that there's a part of me she might not like. It feels great to be free at last.
 

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To original poster: Yes that sounds like me. A bag of opposing, mixed, contradictory qualities. I just go with the flow, I learned that I need to just do that instead of analyzing (and yeah it's hard to not analyze when you're an INFP but with self-mind-control it's easy to Master the mind...using various techniques...I learned a lot from Buddhism about this, which helped)


Yah! :D
 

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I tend to seem completely different to varying people. My close friends have noticed this when others join our group for a conversation, and have referred to me as being "chameleon-like".

At one point, I did legitimately make an effort to act like myself around everyone, but I soon realized that not everyone is going to like me for me. Different people have different standards for what constitutes an enjoyable person, so I have continued to morph and adapt to others' expectations a lot of the time, at least for the beginning.

I don't like being disliked, and I figure that even if I'm acting different, it's still coming from me. At least, that's how I justify it to myself.
 

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Perhaps the fact that we simply do not subscribe to convention causes us to censor ourselves. Vast majority of time I encounter standard thoughts and opinions, a type of collective thought pattern. So when you engage with it you are pretty much at odds with it but you dont want to come across as a disagreable so and so. So...you are doing a few cognative things at the same time - you've chosen an appealing but unique response, then phrase it to suit THEIR interpretation.

The harsh reality is is that if you are going to these efforts to express yourself you are probably in the wrong company which, for me, is a huge chunk of the race.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Upon further reflection, I find that I'm this way when I don't get enough alone time :)
 
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