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One of my good friends is an INFP and a while back I was at a party with some old friends talking about wayyyyy back when we were in church confirmation together in high school. My INFP friend is Catholic, we were all Lutheran, and my INFP friend for whatever reason hates Lutherans (mainly facetiously) and I don't care about that because I'm an Atheist now. However, I was in a rare nostalgic place feeling good sharing stories and every 4 words he's over there drunk bashing Lutherans. So eventually I said, "Hey, can we reminisce without the commentary. You're starting to offend me." because he was chiding everything we were talking about as "Lutheran nonsense," and he was trying to be funny but it was bothering me not on religious grounds but just that he was making fun of a bond we shared when we were much younger.

Suddenly he explodes saying that I have no right to be offended ranting about how me, the person who doesn't give a damn or care about anything is suddenly offended and is asking for asylum after lampooning every holy bastion out there. I contended that I did have a right to feel however the hell I wanted and that I had the right to ask him to shut up just like he's asked me to shut up numerous times in the past when I get going lampooning Catholicism. He then ordered me to leave and called me a hypocrite so I told him to go fuck himself and it went on like that, as this weird standoff, until I decided to just let the shear number of Lutherans around me overwhelm him until he had to go take like an hour long walk to cool off.

Things like this have happened before. What should I do to avoid him exploding and after he's blow up is there anything I can do to just make him stop? I'd say I'd normally be happy to ignore him but he always demands that I leave for some reason and won't get out of my face, he just keeps pressing it. It quite literally frustrates me to no end cuz he can't be reasoned with and he's normally one of more reasonable people I know.
 

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I'm thinking this guy has some deep seated racism. To him, it may be like... Imagine living back in the day when slavery was still in the states. It may feel like you are the slave to him, and telling him to shut up comes across as almost laughable nonsense.

I dunno. Honestly, he's in the wrong, and not you.
 

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I'm thinking this guy has some deep seated racism. To him, it may be like... Imagine living back in the day when slavery was still in the states. It may feel like you are the slave to him, and telling him to shut up comes across as almost laughable nonsense.

I dunno. Honestly, he's in the wrong, and not you.
Haha, well, he's usually the 'submissive' one in our group of guy friends. It's not like we make fun of him, he just doesn't assert himself ever unless he's completely snapped. He's normally just this kinda passive, funny, goofy, almost fluffy (not in a gay way) kind of person. But every once in a while he'll just go completely berserk.
 

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MOTM Dec 2011
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He may very well just be having an unwarranted hissy fit, which has nothing to do with him being INFP & everything to do with maturity level.

But just to explain some common IxFP behavior in general...

Fi-doms generally will seem calm, but then may blow up unexpectedly when something important to them has been violated. This can escalate as those around hem fail to understand what it is & why it's important. The first issue is that INFPs in particular tend to place much importance on the symbolic, the conceptual, ideas, fundamental beliefs - non-tangible things which are not immediately apparent, or even directly connected to the INFP himself (it does not have to be a personal affront, just an affront to a personally held feeling). This makes it hard for people to detect what could have offended them, as it is often not directly related to whatever appeared to set them off, but rather it's an underlying concept. Often times, a situation is merely symbolic for or symptomatic of a much LARGER issue. Occasionally, it's also just the straw that broke the camel's back - the INFP has been stewing for awhile.

While INFPs can be very articulate when they have had time to compose their thoughts (particularly in writing), in an emotional moment, they may be at a loss to adequately describe the reasons for their outburst. When they try, they may use a lot of metaphorical, symbolic language that confuses people & sounds like it has no foundations in reality. It is DIFFICULT to connect feelings to real world "facts", which is often what people ask for, and why INFPs often find their feelings dismissed.

When the INFP finds their perspective invalidated & misunderstood, then the INFP gets even more frustrated. Often times, when people miss the point, they dismiss the INFP on what they believe to be reasonable grounds (ie. "you do this to me also"), but the INFP wants to tear his/her hair out because that's not even the issue. It goes much deeper than whatever petty thing people think the INFP is upset about.

There is a chance this is what happens with your friend. He gets upset. You assume it's because of XYZ. He tries to explain otherwise. You dismiss it, convinced it's just XYZ, which you see as petty. He gets even more mad & won't budge - because it's not XYZ, and to add insult to injury, his feelings have now been trivialized. Then he must be alone to sort out the emotional reaction & find the meaning in it, so that someday he may be able to articulate the feeling clearly. In the future, avoid, avoid, avoid assuming you know why the INFP is blowing up. Put aside your preconceptions, and then make a real effort to grasp the concept the INFP is describing. Think in terms of broad, core morals & values, not specifics. Then you may grasp the real reason the INFP is upset. Simply understanding goes a LONG way.

In this situation, it could have been diffused if you asked him to back off in a more private way (I get the impression you said that in front of a group of people?). Part of his over-reaction could be that the comment embarrassed him in front of other people; it's clear that was not the core of the issue though, but it could have prevented it from arising in that moment. This is especially true as he particularly saw you as a hypocrite in the situation, and for you to call his behavior out as inappropriate probably made his blood boil.

So you could have taken him aside, and also not ascribed bad motive. Example: "I know you're just joking around, but some people are becoming offended, and this is more about reminiscing than discussing our personal belief systems. You know these are not my beliefs anymore, but these are my childhood memories".

As for the hypocrisy thing, I can imagine where he is coming from, but then I also imagine there is another side to the story (as there always is). From the way you describe it, it almost seems like he was passively-aggressively trying to get a reaction from you, so as to expose your hypocrisy in front of these people. INFPs hate the elephant in the room, hate when people put on an act, etc. It can eat at us and make us say rude things in appropriate moments, just to get the "truth" out there. He possibly viewed your reminiscing session as some sort of act in front of these people. That's just speculation on my part, as I have nothing more than a few paragraphs to go off :tongue:.

Anyway, hope that helps....
 

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MOTM Dec 2012
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also, INFP's tend to treat their ideas/ideals as they would their best friends. in other words, if you violate their ideas, it's like violating a close friend. this concept has helped me to deal with my own issues of being so defensive all the time. i've learned to disassociate ideas/ideals from my internal self, my identity.

try treating his ideas with more respect, and maybe, just maybe he will reciprocate.
 
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