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So, I'll keep this relatively short, but basically I was wondering what gets you people to open up to somebody. I have an INFP friend who's friendship I enjoy very much, but I feel sometimes like our conversation is superficial and I'd really like to be able to talk to her about things that are important to her. She's on of those wall types who have been hurt a lot, and she doesn't usually share her emotions with people, so it's not like this is surprising, but I'd really like to be able to talk to her about something more than work and plans for the day.

We had one such conversation a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed hearing what she had to say, but I had to bring up the topic and kind of push it. Do you guys have any hints for breaking down that wall and getting her to feel comfortable sharing things with me?
 

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So, I'll keep this relatively short, but basically I was wondering what gets you people to open up to somebody. I have an INFP friend who's friendship I enjoy very much, but I feel sometimes like our conversation is superficial and I'd really like to be able to talk to her about things that are important to her. She's on of those wall types who have been hurt a lot, and she doesn't usually share her emotions with people, so it's not like this is surprising, but I'd really like to be able to talk to her about something more than work and plans for the day.

We had one such conversation a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed hearing what she had to say, but I had to bring up the topic and kind of push it. Do you guys have any hints for breaking down that wall and getting her to feel comfortable sharing things with me?
I mean I guess you could always reveal something about yourself... doesn't really have to be vulnerable really.... just something that you think or care about. That will help us figure out... "oh he thinks about these sorts of things.". Do you guys spend much time one on one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ya our time is almost always 1 on 1. She knows very few people in this city, and most of them are her sister's friends. I've tried the opening up thing, and it worked to some degree, but I'd really like to get to the point where I'm not initiating it all the time. Does that make make sense? I dunno, maybe it's not so much a type thing, but I thought I'd see if any of you could relate. She's very closed when it comes to sharing emotions, particularly if they're negative. As I'm writing, I'm kind of thinking I just need to be patient. We have made strides, but I tend to want to take the wrecking ball approach to these things rather than standing there and knocking until I'm let in lol.
 

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Ya our time is almost always 1 on 1. She knows very few people in this city, and most of them are her sister's friends. I've tried the opening up thing, and it worked to some degree, but I'd really like to get to the point where I'm not initiating it all the time. Does that make make sense? I dunno, maybe it's not so much a type thing, but I thought I'd see if any of you could relate. She's very closed when it comes to sharing emotions, particularly if they're negative. As I'm writing, I'm kind of thinking I just need to be patient. We have made strides, but I tend to want to take the wrecking ball approach to these things rather than standing there and knocking until I'm let in lol.
The first thought that popped in my mind when I read the first sentence in your original post was 'time.' So, being impatient and continually forcing things might start to irritate this INFP because they will feel you are trying to invade their personal space.

As you open up more and more, over time she'll build confidence enough to talk to you more and more too. It probably will just takes some time to build up the feeling of security and trust. Even then, feelings and emotions are a very personal thing to INFPs. I have been driven away by people who try to pry too much into my own feelings before.

This isn't to say you have no options. You can just be honest with the person and tell them what you think of them, but phrase it in such a way where they are not obligated to do anything back. They shouldn't feel guilt-tripped into needing to share. I'd say something like "Hey, you know I think you're really great and I am enjoying getting to know you. If you aren't totally secure opening up more right now that's cool with me, but I just wanted to let you know I'm here for you and hanging out with you makes me happy."

For me, hearing this would be reassuring that this person is interested in knowing me but isn't trying to invade my personal sanctuary of thoughts and feelings. That affirmation that you are interested in getting to know them is kind of important. I can't speak for other INFPs, but I know I often am pretty acute at figuring out other people until I myself become involved in the situation. At that point I start second and triple guessing myself unless it is clearly said. So by plainly stating it, that person can know where they stand with you instead of constantly trying to guess your feelings.

Beyond that though, until the INFP is more comfortable opening up to you, you're just going to have to grin and bear it for awhile. There is no magic wand to make someone trust you.
 

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You have to make her feel safe with you, so much, to the point where she'd open up to you not because she thinks you'll listen, but because you're the one she feels safe with.

Don't know if that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ic. Well thanks for your opinions, guys. I guess I'm on the right track, but I need to just have some more patience. I've gotta say, it's nice to have a place where you can talk to people you know should be able to relate to a particular issue.
 

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It's about trust. She'll have to feel like she can trust you to share such things. One of the ways you can show her that is by first sharing those kinds of thoughts with her.

You can then ask her how she feels about "said" topic. She may not do it the first time, but she probably will eventually.
 

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I usually have no problem connecting to people who are 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple. But that's just me.
 

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So, I'll keep this relatively short, but basically I was wondering what gets you people to open up to somebody. I have an INFP friend who's friendship I enjoy very much, but I feel sometimes like our conversation is superficial and I'd really like to be able to talk to her about things that are important to her. She's on of those wall types who have been hurt a lot, and she doesn't usually share her emotions with people, so it's not like this is surprising, but I'd really like to be able to talk to her about something more than work and plans for the day.

We had one such conversation a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed hearing what she had to say, but I had to bring up the topic and kind of push it. Do you guys have any hints for breaking down that wall and getting her to feel comfortable sharing things with me?
The first thing that came to my mind when I read this was have you hurt her with insensitivity in the past? With me if someone has hurt me even if it is by accident I will close up to them and only interact if I am forced to interact. Then if they see any emotions is it anger or irritation toward the person. Even if they have stopped hurting me I know they have hurt me in the past will still stay cold as I possibly can be. If that has happend in the past then it may take time to build up trust again.

I would encourage anyone that wants to get close to an INFP to build the relationship up slowly. Show that you care about her EMOTIONS by asking questions such as "How do you FEEL about ____" then really listen and do not give advice unless she ask. I hate people giving advice. What I love is when people ask me a question and just listens and accepts what I have to say even if they don't agree. And NEVER debate a FEELING. As an INFP I know what I am feeling and it is often different than what others feel. If someone debates on FEELINGS I just view then as forcing their illogical logic and then tune them out and eventually will cut them out of my life.

I could go on and on about this subject but this should give a good starting point with her. I hope you can get her to open up. We love it when people take interest and they truly care and are not just using us for something.
 

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What I would've said....has already been said. Share things about yourself, build trust, and perhaps she will reveal things over time as she begins to feel safe with you. I personally need to feel like somebody is genuinely interested in getting to know me...and that if I open up what I say won't be used against me later.
 

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Well, things that are important to me aren't all emotional. I love when I can talk about my interests with people, as I find few share them (or want to discuss them as I do, namely in that over-analytical Ne way). What do you know about her interests, outside of work? Connecting to someone intellectually can be just as important as an emotional connection to me; so maybe that could be a way to get her to open up without forcing the more delicate emotional topics. Then, once she is comfortable talking about more personal matters, the emotional side may be more forthcoming.

I've had some INTPs friends with whom I've had amazing conversations because we share a lot of interests & even some perspectives, so I think you may have a lot of potential for getting her to open up. I definitely agree with the others about throwing a bit of yourself out there too. That makes someone more comfortable to share, as they are not the only "vulnerable" one.
 

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What I would've said....has already been said. Share things about yourself, build trust, and perhaps she will reveal things over time as she begins to feel safe with you. I personally need to feel like somebody is genuinely interested in getting to know me...and that if I open up what I say won't be used against me later.


yes, especially this.
 

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I would completely agree with that. Once my partner (or anyone) starts using things that I've said against me, it is basically impossible for me to trust them ever again. The only even nominally acceptable excuse would be that they really had no idea they were 'using it against me' or that it was a sore topic, maybe they just see it as 'no big deal' or something like that, and even then I'm pretty sure it would be months before I even let myself try trusting that person again if I even bothered.
 

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I would completely agree with that. Once my partner (or anyone) starts using things that I've said against me, it is basically impossible for me to trust them ever again. The only even nominally acceptable excuse would be that they really had no idea they were 'using it against me' or that it was a sore topic, maybe they just see it as 'no big deal' or something like that, and even then I'm pretty sure it would be months before I even let myself try trusting that person again if I even bothered.

You are way more open to letting go than I am. Once someone crosses me repeatedly and I lose that trust it is gone for good. I have never been able to trust someone after I lose all trust. But fortunately once I build that trust it takes a lot to break it. But if there was no trust build in the first place and they cross me then there is little to no chance if them getting to me.
 

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what makes me personally open up to someone is just knowing that they won't judge me, that they will sit and listen and not shoot me down or something, but what really gets me to open up is time. I need time to know that person and feel safe around them and get to know them and how they do things or see things and stuff. I need to build trust with someone and that takes a long time for me. It depends on the person how long that time is but it always takes time.
 

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So, I'll keep this relatively short, but basically I was wondering what gets you people to open up to somebody. I have an INFP friend who's friendship I enjoy very much, but I feel sometimes like our conversation is superficial and I'd really like to be able to talk to her about things that are important to her. She's on of those wall types who have been hurt a lot, and she doesn't usually share her emotions with people, so it's not like this is surprising, but I'd really like to be able to talk to her about something more than work and plans for the day.

We had one such conversation a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed hearing what she had to say, but I had to bring up the topic and kind of push it. Do you guys have any hints for breaking down that wall and getting her to feel comfortable sharing things with me?
I’m guessing she probably feels like your conversations are superficial as well but doesn’t want to hurt your feelings or sabotage the possibility of a friendship by even implying that she might feel the same.

For me, if I enjoy being around someone I’ll put up with the small talk and superficial banter if it means I think it could develop into a more meaningful friendship. Also I wouldn’t want to suggest that I don’t like small talk because I’m afraid you might interpret that as though I don’t want to talk to you at all. I’ll open up if I get the impression that the other person is interested, but if they only talk about themselves or strictly stick with small talk around me then my guard stays up and my attention drifts.

Unfortunately you’ll probably have to be driver in the friendship for awhile, but if you gain an INFP’s favor you’ll have our undying loyalty – so long as you don’t fuck it up! :tongue: Subconsciously I suppose INFP’s tip-toe around fledgling relationships of any kind to not only spare the other person of potential hurt but to see how they should play their cards or if they should play any at all.

It seems like a lot of people on here say you just need to give her time, but I’m the opposite. If someone takes too much time to open up to me I assume they’re not interested at all – I can only have so many conversations about work and weather. Ever talk to certain people over and over again and ever time it feels like you’ve got to break the ice again like it’s the first time? Frustrating. Sometimes you have to give up on those people.

Best of luck
 

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I can speak from experience. I'm married (sort of -- currently undergoing revision) to an INTP who still happens to be my best friend. Anyway, we mainly connected because she needed help at first. According to her, I was the first person to notice how depressed she was and who cared enough to try to help her. We moved from meeting in a group setting to an one on one setting and things went from there. It took a few years before our relationship moving from me supporting her to her offering me support as well.

So, if I had to give you advice, I'd suggest you open up with your friend. Showing her your vulnerabilities will probably lead her to empathizing and getting to know you and, eventually, she'll let you get to know her. Just remember to be there (and prioritize correctly) when she open up or you might end up with a serious set back.

Cheers.
 

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The biggest factor I think is time... She probably wants to figure you out before she opens up. It's either that or she feels that you cannot truly relate to her problems or what she is going through. There are many friends of mine that I wouldn't open up to about my problems just because I know they wouldn't have much to say about it and if it feels like it could be just a one sided conversation then she might not feel that sharing her feeling on certain subjects is worth it. That's just me ranting though. Just give it some time.
 
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