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This is something that I have been thinking about this for the past few days.

- How do you try to relate to others and/or put yourself in their shoes?
- Do you share stories with others as a way of showing that you've been in their situation and can understand where they are coming from?
- Do you use other methods in relating to others?
- What methods do you think INFPs use most often and how do you think these methods compare to those that other types use?

I have made a similar thread in the INFJ forum to see how the two types compare.
 

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I try to predict their personalities and throw psychological lure out there.

Usually you have to probe people for information, but they will hint (sub)consciously. Some people need a small invitation to talk and then they'll never shut up. Personally, I don't want the same story you told all 10 of your friends (clearly that means just rambling about it on a basic level didn't remedy the situation), so I want the deeper intertwines.

I work off being "reactionary" as I call it. I'll be intentionally bold with my thoughts, often illiciting a shock, but also in a way that forces an emotion/opinion from the other party -- this makes me either loved or hated. An example would be in the confession thread, I don't masturbate to my own posts or thoughts, I know how I feel and rarely need to "vent," but when I posted a few things (usually dirty ones) I'd get private messages from closet pervs that were often socially awkward at first, yet compelled to share something about themselves. 1:1 personal convos of any nature, usually interest me.

As for talking about myself, I rarely do it to relate to people. One, the person may not give a shit. Two, generally the person you want to relate to often has a crisis, so you want to focus on them anyways. Three, like I mentioned earlier, I don't -need- to share my thoughts since I usually sort out things on my own.

If someone is particularly difficult though, I'll play the superior card. Most people have low self confidence, so make a few references to degrees, work experience, and just generally be somewhat intimidating. The person will usually bow down and share some deeper thoughts. From there though, it's almost like it's 'confidential' and just between you two.

As I always say, I fly with 1 black wing and 1 white wing. Good intent, but the means can be questionable at times.
 

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I do not probe or poke others and I'm pretty reserved with personal stories... so honestly, I have no idea how I connect with others. It has happened in the past, though -- The Deep Connection -- so something clicked, I guess. I suppose I just listen, then we go from there. My energy level & interest (curiousity) for several *connections* going on at the same is very low so the deep relations are few and far between.
 

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yep, I tell stories. I'm sometimes afraid that some people see this as being self-centered, but that's not what drives it.

I enjoy hearing people tell stories about their experiences and I definately relate to them. Their stories remind me of my own experiences which helps me to immagine being in their shoes. I do like to share those stories because to me, just saying 'I know how you feel' sometimes feels lame, but when they know you actually experienced it too (in a more specific way), then you feel like you're on the same ground. Sharing stories can also help clarify whether you are actually undestanding them or not. And it can lead to interesting discussions, and often a chance to laugh together over things.

One of my favorite forms of humor is in the way you tell a story. I love seeing people's expressions and motions as they get into telling a story.

I feel that hearing other people's stories and sharing your own is an important part of getting to know someone and forming a connection. You are able to get a broader picture of who they are beyond just what they do when you are personally with them. It gives you both a chance to share in eachother's experiences even though you couldn't actually be there.

I think it can also help 'maintain' your memory. If you are constantly reminded of things, and you actually put attention into sharing them in a way others can understand, I think it solidifies the memories more.

There are certainly times when it's most appropriate to just shut up and listen to someone else and keep your story to yourself, and some people may appreciate hearing stories more than others. But at least for me, I love connecting and identifying with others through stories. I'm also not opposed to hearing the same stories over again. Certain situations that recur will remind us of the same stories, and if it's on our mind and relates then I don't see why we shouldn't share the story we're thinking about again. Even if it's familiar, sometimes it's just fun to remmeber, or to hear it told again, and sometimes you see something new in the story. With my mom we kind of developed a story tradition. I knew she'd tell certain stories at certain times, but although I'd heard it a million times before, and sometimes it seemed boring, it also felt rather comfortable, they become like photographs of old times, or cherished posetions that we can look at from time to time and feel connection to the past.

The point of telling a story isn't always mainly to tell about events, more often the point is to relate to someone else's feelings -feelings that were evoked by a similar event- or to share a piece of your life, or to connect with the past. What happened in the story doesn't really matter, it's what the story does by bringing laughter or comfort or nostalgia etc. that counts. Thus I don't have a 'been there done that' attitude towards people telling me the same story again. I have to say it rather offends me when people cut me or someone else off because they've 'heard this already,' because that's not the point here and they've missed it. They aren't trying to connect in the same lanaguage and it's rather disappointing.
 

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Do you share stories with others as a way of showing that you've been in their situation and can understand where they are coming from?
I find that I do this quite a lot and for that reason. Sometimes I worry that others will take it as me being egotistical and trying to turn the focus on to me when that's not the case at all :confused: I'm just all around pretty anecdote-y in general.
 

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- How do you try to relate to others and/or put yourself in their shoes?
I'm interpreting "relate to" to mean making a connection. Sometimes telling a personal anecdote works; but sharing feelings & thoughts about life in general works better for me than simply describing past experience. I guess it is relating over feeling then. I tend to speak more in generalities than specifics.

As far as my friends go, I notice my ESFP friends in particular really relate by sharing stories of their past; ISFJs share details of their present life's going ons; ENFJs relate a lot through common interests and general worldviews & feelings; and INTPs relate through opinions, tastes and knowledge sharing. I'm open to all of those ways (although I admit that lengthy stories told verbatim can try my patience at times - I can be saying "get to the point" in my head), but my preferred way is something a bit less experience focused or exchanging concrete information; more like, show me your guts & I'll show you mine; back story not necessary to justify it.

I suppose I put myself in someone else's shoes by imagining myself as them, not as me in their situation. I generally think of a zillion possibilities in an instant and quickly, instinctively narrow it down by what is most likely for that person. I think it's very much an intuitive-feeling process that bypasses linear reasoning & analytical thinking.

- Do you share stories with others as a way of showing that you've been in their situation and can understand where they are coming from?
Only if it's closely related enough to be helpful (as in, it illustrates a solution or gives comfort in a "you're not alone" way), other wise, I think it can seem almost, eh, self-absorbed or trivializing their experience(?).

To show I understand where someone is coming from, I try and relate back what I think they said in other words; I sort of "clarify" their feelings for them (which a lot of people find useful, as they may not be as good with feelings as an INFP), and I ask questions to get them to elaborate further for more clarity & to see if I'm on the right track.

- Do you use other methods in relating to others?
Yeah...see above :laughing:

- What methods do you think INFPs use most often and how do you think these methods compare to those that other types use?
I have no idea.....I think a lot of INFPs do what I do. The relating a personal story thing just seems "human" & not type specific. Everyone does that.
 

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Yes! It helps people to know where your coming form.
 
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I am a storyteller too. I believe I do that primarily to define the common ground between me and the other.

I think I used the stories to serve as half the explanation for my ability to be empathic to people. Of course two people share common ground if some of their stories and situations are similar even if only remotely so. If the other person has always been a loner, it helps if I am one myself. That is familiar turf.

But for the other half of the explanation it is also a smoke curtain. People do not expect me to be as intuitive as I am. Some people can not get their heads around the fact that I can understand them without 'having been there' myself so I think I subconsciously use my stories to create an artificial sense of having been there too, simply to explain what they could otherwise not understand.
 

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I do find people's reactions to story telling interesting. I'm not sure what types do what, or if it's related to that.

Some people and share one story after another back and forth and love it - they each enter into eachother's stories as they are being told. Some people like to tell their own stories, but seem to have no patience or interest in entering into the stories of others. Some people seem to never want to talk about themselves specifically at all, and you have to really press them (asking many specific questions) to get a story out of them.

Also, it seems to me that some people love to be identified with and look for that. They like people to mirror their emotions and to share similar experiences with them. They are on the alert for similarities and avoid or downplay differences. They love getting into others shoes and having a sense that people understand them deeply. They thrive off the feeiling of being the same with someone.

Others seem to dislike others identifying with them.
- Some seem to view attempts to show that you understand and identify as being self-centered (I don't really understand how). It's almost like if you talk at all while they are sharing they look at you as if you're trying to make them focus on you instead. After they are done you can talk specifically about them and their circumstances, (and obviously you have to have some understanding to do this) but appearing very emotional about it or sharing your similar experiences seems to make them feel ignored - like you're trying to make it all about you. They may feel like they are supposed to comfort you now if you're crying for them rather than seeing it as your way of being comforting to them.

- Some seem to be looking for someone to counterballance whatever they express, feeling more comfortable with people telling them/or implying that they are not that unique, or their story wasn't that impressive, or their feelings aren't that important, or to remind them of the opposite view-point. They tend to get frustrated with people who constantly agree or identify with them, almost with the attitude of "get a life!" They may feel like identifying with them means you are adopting their viewpoints instead of thinking for yourself. They don't necessarily want conflict, but they go for a more understated agreement, like "yeah kinda." as opposed to "TOTALLY!" and they'll often throw in a "but....." just to counterballance what they just expressed if you're not going to do it. Sometimes this feels to me like it comes from a slight half-concious paranoia of being too sure of oneself or being seen as a kind of know-it-all, like they don't want anyone to assume that they think their idea or feeling is all-important and in-contestable. Unfortunately some people can see this Countering tendancy as a need to correct others, initiate conflict, or have the last word (essentially giving the opposite impression, that they really are know-it-alls who don't care about others).

- Some people seem to be looking for people to not understand them and find them mysterious or impressive or somehow different. They seem to take the attitude that there is no possible way anyone else could truely understand them because they are not actually inside their head - and thus tend to rather sneer at attempts to identify with them, or become rather annoyed and frustrated. They will quickly point out all the ways that your experience or feeling isn't exactly the same as theirs, seeming to take no comfort in the similarities. They seem to appreciate more when people just look confused, or when they say that they haven't ever had something like that happen so they can't really immagine it. Somehow, confirming their uniqueness and individuality in that way is more satisfying than feeling like someone else is with them in that place. You can say you're glad for them, or sad for them and that's ok, but trying to get in there and share their shoes makes them uncomfortable. It's almost like the personal space-zone, except with feelings/thoughts/memories - they don't want to feel like they are "joined at the hip" mentally/emotionally. Trying to understand them too deeply is recieved with something to the affect of "my thoughts -no touchy!" or "I will show them to you, but you can't have/play with them." These people also don't seem to like when people attempt to make them feel anything other than what they feel, 'cheer up, it'll be ok' or 'calm down' don't go over well. They tend to resist the idea of getting into other people's perspectives as well. They may look at someone from the outside and understand they have a different viewpoint, and allow them that, but offering examples and explainations of your inner workings seems to them to be a waste of time.

Do you use other methods in relating to others?
I'm definately not great at using methods of connecting other than the ones that I personally appreciate. Probably my main way is mirroring people's emotions and by offering encouraging words, whether that means getting excited about something with them, or comforting them with "aww I'm so sorry, I wish I could make everything better." I really can't seem to hold in my compassionate "aww"s, even when I know someone doesn't like it. Mostly I connect with people through identifying with them, letting them know I understand their reasoning for their oppinions, sharing about similar experiences or similar interests, and entering into their emotions with them. I like to encourage others, and try to tell people things I appreciate about them so that they know someone really sees them. But I feel like some people see this as me just trying to "butter them up."
 

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Do you share stories as a way to relate to others?

Indeed. That's my entire existence basically LOL

How do you try to relate to others and/or put yourself in their shoes?

Go into a trance (aka listen) as they speak, instantly go to that place inside my brain where I imagine "what would I do if I was this person?" and imagine away. I don't know "how", I just do it automatically.

Do you share stories with others as a way of showing that you've been in their situation and can understand where they are coming from?

Indeed. Telling my personal story (and appearing self-absorbed) is my long-winded attempt at saying to them "You are not alone, I am here with you. Here, I'll hold you without actually touching your body".
Even if I haven't been in their exact situation, I somehow relate their story to the closest case in my past history, trying desperately to give them something of myself that will make them feel not-alone.

Do you use other methods in relating to others?

Interject questions as they speak, being careful not to seem like I'm prying or nosy, to further clarify what they're saying so that I know exactly what they mean. And also asking them "therapist"-like questions to prompt their own self-awareness. I throw questions or comments at the person in a casual way, just to prompt them to think in various other ways about what they are saying. Whether they want to think about it or not, it's their choice. I hate prying, I dislike interrogating people, it feels like spying their dresser while they're not home. I can't do that, feels yucky.

What methods do you think INFPs use most often and how do you think these methods compare to those that other types use?

No idea tbh.
I have found, though, that people in my irl are often unashamedly nosey, they ask direct questions, and while that's not a super bad thing, it's definitely not my style, because I would worry that the other person would feel too confronted or forced to share with me an information that they don't want to share. I don't know, it just seems like interrogations are too much. I prefer to speak about myself and then ask open-ended questions, so they can pick and choose what they want to share with me and what not.
 

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I don't share to relate, but share to reveal. Although I may seem secretive or mysterious or whatever the heck they think I am, I really do enjoy sharing some things, but not everything.
 

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I share a bazillion stories. They range from pointless to meaningful, but even the pointless ones are meaningful in some way. I use my stories to go fishing for a connection with someone. I type essays on these online threads rather frequently! If I have a similar story to someone else's, I'll use it to highlight our similarity of experience. I don't try to one-up people. In person especially, I don't come off as a one-upper because I glaze over most details and quickly take my idea into new territory that often integrates with the higher theme of the conversation.

If I'm trying to help somebody, I don't use the "I've been there before" approach. Does anybody really care about my experience? I'm not them. So I want to show this person that I respect their unique experience. Using my own experience in the back of my mind as a starting point, I can help guide this person to a few solutions.

The way I make friends out of strangers is making some smart(both meanings of the word) remark about something we're experiencing together. Humor is vital for me! That may qualify as sharing a story.
 
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