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Hello INFPs. I've never posted on the forum asking for this "personal advice" stuff before, but today I find myself kind of stuck between two options.

I've got a male cousin who is INFP. He's been married now for three years, has a seven month old son and is 30 years old. He has no job except for giving a couple music lessons per week. He lives off his wife's income, who is now mostly still on leave from work due to the baby. He drinks quite a bit, spends a lot of time reading and playing sports. He is one of the most intelligent people I know and is working on finishing his masters degree in theology, which has taken him almost four years to do when it should've taken less than two.

He's my cousin and I love him, but I have progressively seen how his wife has been getting more and more annoyed with his laziness. If he didn't have a son I'd probably just let this situation play out, but no dad should he allowed to be this pathetic. If things keep going like this with him she will eventually leave him and his son will be suffer the damage that divorce does to children. Also, every child deserves to have a father that they respect, and right now that isn't my cousin.

It's not my marriage, so part of me thinks I should just not do anything. But another part of me thinks I need to confront him on it. I really don't care if he gets angry with me and won't to talk to me for a while. He needs to hear this from someone, and quite honestly I can't think of anyone else who is willing to step up to the plate.

What's the most effective way for me to help him would you say?
 

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If you are going to get involved, ease into it. "How's the degree coming?" If he sounds like he is making serious progress, let it be. If he sounds like he's not that into it for one reason or another, then say something like, "Wow-his wife's name-must really be stressed with bills, work and baby." Understandably, this could annoy him. If you're still sounding non-judgmental and not getting far, "DUDE, seriously you need a job. You have a baby now...You've had fun teaching going to school, but it's time..."

While I'm not a man, I have spent nearly a decade and a half teaching music and I am all-too familiar with men whose wives, in-laws and families support the family while they teach p/t. I know he's family, but shame can be a useful tool. I feel kind of harsh for saying it, but like I said, I've seen a lot of this sort of thing and have been amazed that apparently others haven't enabled their immaturity. Hopefully, he's nearly the end of his degree. I'm sure he feels pressure about with the baby now, if he didn't before. With you being family, as long as you're not too 'jerkish' about it, he'll be fine with hearing it.

Hope this made sense...I'm sleepy. If I think of more, I'll write back. Good luck!
 

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I think from the perspective of another lazy INFP here this is a very touchy inward battle. Citicizing him outright will probably just make him defensive and further destroy his self-essteem which will make it even harder to take action. And he's probably already well aware of his laziness and the problems it could potentially be causing for his family. He's probably worried about that too. And worry can be a terrible imobilizer.

Me? I write fanfiction and look at art online all day, I play pixie hollow and organize things on my comptuer desktop. I've been doing this for a couple of years. I know the lazy-haze of life passing me by. I know the anxiety about others thinking I'm lame. I know the worry that my husband may feel overburdoned. I know the overwhelming depression of having to deal with the world out there. I know the hate and fear of having to deal with systems and people at a job that go directly against your values and ideals and the panic of clinging to the determination that you will not succumb to that. I know the inability to just choose a single direction amongst too many interests and just go for it. I know the feeling that it's so pointless to even try to reach one of those goals in this short life-span that's already half-over.

From my experience, what a lazy INFP needs:
- reassurance that they are accepted in spite of their outward failings. feeling like we have to earn people's love leads to stubborn resent, and an underlying fear of abandonment and loss of self-worth. it may be possible to scare us into action, but it will not effectively reform us and will probably just cause a meltdown in the near future because it feels like we are alone against the world.

- a purpose, a vision, a direction. Of course you can't give anyone that, but you can help them to find it, AND even more importantly, you can help encourage them to believe it's actually possible. I think a lot of times we have dreams and things we would like to be goals, but get so used to thinking that those dreams are impossible, completely detached from reality, so we just don't invest in trying to reach them, investing rather in indulging the daydream alone. The nitty-gritty details of how to make those dreams happen often aren't obvious to us, and finding them and getting the ball rolling can be very overwhelming. Helping us get going with our dreams, helping us to see options can give us the empowerment we need to actually act on those inner ideals - and once we've been activated - watch out because we won't take no for an answer! An INFP on a mission makes miricles happen.....but I think so many of us can't figrue out what mission to take up, or feel like they are all impossible.

- someone to talk through their own mental process with. Often for me, simply talking about my issues to smeone will lead to me realising and 'owning' the changes I need to make - they often don't have to say much of anything. It really has to be a 'self-help' process. You can't change anyone, they have to change themselves. Preaching at them isn't going to reform them. I think often INFPs have a lot of insights that people don't THINK they have about themselves, so they tell them which turns out to be counter-productive. Often the 'reality check' other people try to give us is something we are completely aware of internally, but have been afraid to face. Being told just puts us on the defensive, preventing us from honestly facing it for ourselves. We need to talk ourselves into following the wisdom we already know but may be afriad of facing. We need someone to be with us, supportive, listening, as we talk through our inner struggles with what we see about ourselves, what we worry about, what we're afraid of. You can give helpfull suggestions, and empathize. But telling us what to do isn't helpfull, not untill we ASK you to tell us (and generally for me when I ask someone to tell me what to do that means I have shut down personally and am now entering zombie-mode - this is not healthy living even if it makes other people think I am living the way they want to see me live - although sometimes this can help me get though momentary un-enjoyable necessary tasks). Anyways, you have to make youself available to listen, and show that you are 'safe' by being empathetic, in order to allow an INFP to decide to open up and talk through things with you.

- personal confidence. Living up to people's expectations of me is a great motivator - much better than trying not to make them disappointed. If someone praises my work and encourages me I feel a greater desire to keep doing whatever it is, to strive to do my best at it so that they will continue to be impressed. Pointing out what I have done right makes me work even harder. Pointing out where I haven't done as well as you think I could will only make me discouraged and defensive. I think feeling unappreciated and down on ourselves is a HUGE demotivator for INFPs. If we are in a state of lazy-lack-luster, chances are we feel like there's no point in trying because we're not going to be good at anything we might do anyways. When we feel positive about our abilities, when we are anticipating the approval of others, then DOING stuff is much much more attractive.

- finally, I think INFP laziness can also happen from just getting in the habit of letting yourself get side-tracked constantly. Time can really fly when you're doing all these little side-jobs, all these little things like checking your email, and organizing those DVDs, and reading one more article that looks interesting. It's so easy to not have time for the things you really want to do because you let yourself get busy with other less important things first. So from one INFP to another, I'd tell him to take the time to write down things he wants to get done, and actually make note of the most important ones. Then start with those. It's hard. It's very very hard sometimes, but getting started with the most important things, really does seem to be a key in moving forward. Of course someone else telling me to to this, never helped, I had to come to the conclusion myself. But, at least for me I tend to be a little more receptive to what other INFPs have to say.

I get defensive when people imply they are disappointed in me that I'm not persuing my own dreams full throttle - I'm like, it's MY dream I'll follow it however I choose. But, honestly, I really need encouragment - not nagging - genuine encouragement when it comes to my dreams. I need people to tell me they think I'm capable, that my goal is possible, and I need them to prove that they care enough to actually HELP me with it. Nagging is not helping.
 

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Good one.
1st reply I'd say typical and not what's needed. Aka speaking without thinking or empathy. And that's what INFP also men need is empathy instead of shaming.
2nd pretty good but I'd say not organized enough for an ENTP to follow up on.

Ok so I'm doing coaching for a living. And one good thing that I should do during the actual sessions but don't but do when not actually doing 'official' coaching sessions is - wait for it - Asking the other person questions and - wait for it - listen to them and try to get their perspective and understand them.
This however cannot be done in a quick man to man talk but needs time since in one talk you might not get it you'll have to sleep on it and try again. So this is no short mission but can take some time.

Since you seem genuinely caring about the child you also have to come across as caring about the man too. Since that kind of empathy can boost INFPs. However any logical black/white critique like you are a father you should do this and this won't work. So I stress again. Ask questions and let him as questions. And when you answer try not to be to black and white. Because nothing is. There always is something hidden behind it. But that takes time to uncover. Happy sleuthing!
 

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Good one.
1st reply I'd say typical and not what's needed. Aka speaking without thinking or empathy. And that's what INFP also men need is empathy instead of shaming.
Just to clarify, the shame thing was intended as a last resort. I suggested asking questions first to get a better grasp of where things are currently. It's nice to be gentle and caring, but if he thinks he's not getting anywhere and fears the family could fall apart... Even if things don't come out the gentle way, I'm sure he'll get the gist and think about it. If his in-laws are around enough, he probably already has an idea of what others are thinking. Honestly, if just talking about it for a while and still nothing, I'd quit before the shame thing, and just let things play out.

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss logical black and white thinking, but I don't mean telling him what to do, perhaps laying out possibilities, good and bad. We do possess the ability to have and use it. I've used it quite a bit in my life and lately, too. As I said earlier, I'm quite familiar with the music thing. It's hard to give up. I'm not in the same situation, far less financially taxing and I gave the logical talk to myself since others weren't. I made the very difficult decision to put music to the side in order to have an easier time of supporting myself. INFPs aren't all the same, so I guess in the end, it depends on the individual. I sort of get annoyed if one friend in particular seems to think I can't take things and says things so childishly gentle. That's not to say that harshness won't make me mad, but at least I won't feel like a kid. I haven't had the luxury of people being gentle and nice. It may have made me a harsher person, or maybe life did. Mine is just one perspective and I don't mind if others' are different. I hope seeing a few different perspectives helps you narrow it down to what would best benefit your cousin.
 

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I think from the perspective of another lazy INFP here this is a very touchy inward battle. Citicizing him outright will probably just make him defensive and further destroy his self-essteem which will make it even harder to take action. And he's probably already well aware of his laziness and the problems it could potentially be causing for his family. He's probably worried about that too. And worry can be a terrible imobilizer.

Me? I write fanfiction and look at art online all day, I play pixie hollow and organize things on my comptuer desktop. I've been doing this for a couple of years. I know the lazy-haze of life passing me by. I know the anxiety about others thinking I'm lame. I know the worry that my husband may feel overburdoned. I know the overwhelming depression of having to deal with the world out there. I know the hate and fear of having to deal with systems and people at a job that go directly against your values and ideals and the panic of clinging to the determination that you will not succumb to that. I know the inability to just choose a single direction amongst too many interests and just go for it. I know the feeling that it's so pointless to even try to reach one of those goals in this short life-span that's already half-over.

From my experience, what a lazy INFP needs:
- reassurance that they are accepted in spite of their outward failings. feeling like we have to earn people's love leads to stubborn resent, and an underlying fear of abandonment and loss of self-worth. it may be possible to scare us into action, but it will not effectively reform us and will probably just cause a meltdown in the near future because it feels like we are alone against the world.

- a purpose, a vision, a direction. Of course you can't give anyone that, but you can help them to find it, AND even more importantly, you can help encourage them to believe it's actually possible. I think a lot of times we have dreams and things we would like to be goals, but get so used to thinking that those dreams are impossible, completely detached from reality, so we just don't invest in trying to reach them, investing rather in indulging the daydream alone. The nitty-gritty details of how to make those dreams happen often aren't obvious to us, and finding them and getting the ball rolling can be very overwhelming. Helping us get going with our dreams, helping us to see options can give us the empowerment we need to actually act on those inner ideals - and once we've been activated - watch out because we won't take no for an answer! An INFP on a mission makes miricles happen.....but I think so many of us can't figrue out what mission to take up, or feel like they are all impossible.

- someone to talk through their own mental process with. Often for me, simply talking about my issues to smeone will lead to me realising and 'owning' the changes I need to make - they often don't have to say much of anything. It really has to be a 'self-help' process. You can't change anyone, they have to change themselves. Preaching at them isn't going to reform them. I think often INFPs have a lot of insights that people don't THINK they have about themselves, so they tell them which turns out to be counter-productive. Often the 'reality check' other people try to give us is something we are completely aware of internally, but have been afraid to face. Being told just puts us on the defensive, preventing us from honestly facing it for ourselves. We need to talk ourselves into following the wisdom we already know but may be afriad of facing. We need someone to be with us, supportive, listening, as we talk through our inner struggles with what we see about ourselves, what we worry about, what we're afraid of. You can give helpfull suggestions, and empathize. But telling us what to do isn't helpfull, not untill we ASK you to tell us (and generally for me when I ask someone to tell me what to do that means I have shut down personally and am now entering zombie-mode - this is not healthy living even if it makes other people think I am living the way they want to see me live - although sometimes this can help me get though momentary un-enjoyable necessary tasks). Anyways, you have to make youself available to listen, and show that you are 'safe' by being empathetic, in order to allow an INFP to decide to open up and talk through things with you.

- personal confidence. Living up to people's expectations of me is a great motivator - much better than trying not to make them disappointed. If someone praises my work and encourages me I feel a greater desire to keep doing whatever it is, to strive to do my best at it so that they will continue to be impressed. Pointing out what I have done right makes me work even harder. Pointing out where I haven't done as well as you think I could will only make me discouraged and defensive. I think feeling unappreciated and down on ourselves is a HUGE demotivator for INFPs. If we are in a state of lazy-lack-luster, chances are we feel like there's no point in trying because we're not going to be good at anything we might do anyways. When we feel positive about our abilities, when we are anticipating the approval of others, then DOING stuff is much much more attractive.

- finally, I think INFP laziness can also happen from just getting in the habit of letting yourself get side-tracked constantly. Time can really fly when you're doing all these little side-jobs, all these little things like checking your email, and organizing those DVDs, and reading one more article that looks interesting. It's so easy to not have time for the things you really want to do because you let yourself get busy with other less important things first. So from one INFP to another, I'd tell him to take the time to write down things he wants to get done, and actually make note of the most important ones. Then start with those. It's hard. It's very very hard sometimes, but getting started with the most important things, really does seem to be a key in moving forward. Of course someone else telling me to to this, never helped, I had to come to the conclusion myself. But, at least for me I tend to be a little more receptive to what other INFPs have to say.

I get defensive when people imply they are disappointed in me that I'm not persuing my own dreams full throttle - I'm like, it's MY dream I'll follow it however I choose. But, honestly, I really need encouragment - not nagging - genuine encouragement when it comes to my dreams. I need people to tell me they think I'm capable, that my goal is possible, and I need them to prove that they care enough to actually HELP me with it. Nagging is not helping.
Beautifully written!

I've been a very lazy person for about a year, only writing, reading, hanging with my girlfriend, getting by in college and getting sucked into sites like this online.

I think the main reason why us INFP's are so lazy is fear. You worded it very well :)
 

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Is there the possibility that they've just arranged so that he'll be the stay-at-home father? Would the drinking and sports be too in the way for that to be the case? If they can do it off of one income, and the wife has the best chance of earning the most money, I can see why they'd want to have one parent at home. Is his wife's annoyance with him due to at-home laziness like not helping out with chores, baby or from not working full-time? Does she want to stay at home, or just not have to work as many hours? Could her stress be just from having a new baby and things that she was once okay with are now upsetting? Did she have a problem with his laziness prior to the baby? When the time comes for kindergarten and there is still no regular work, I can see it becoming more problematic. I know culturally it's more acceptable for a woman to not work with a baby, if it's financially feasible, but sometimes it's better if it's the father who doesn't work. Things keep coming to me on the subject...
 

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See what happens when he finishes his degree, first! Then ask this question again.

EDIT: I say this because it's probably the main thing on his mind right now; his "to do", his life is that of a student. Once that's done, he'll pick up something else. INFP's are good at starting things, worse at finishing them. That's the nice thing about the financial world; the hard part is the starting; once you've done that, coasting is sufficient as long as the bills are paid and he has a happy child with parents that are together.
 

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I like what @Aelthwyn said, but I feel it is too general to help him out.

Find out what his goals in life are, and why he is taking a theology major. I feel like if we knew more about him and his beliefs, we could find out his problems and address them.
Friggin hell. Sorry I have about half a litre of red wine in me now so excuse any writing abnormalities. Fathers birthday if you have to ask. :p

"We" address his problems? From what planet are you Mr. Blue Rose? Sure we can influence it from afar, in the end however the NIFP father is the one who is living his life. Do you want to spoil the game for him. Have you nothing better to do like sort out your own stuff. =) I know since I have the same impulses and them I'm wondering why I'm stuck.
Anyhow. Honesty helps. Real radical honesty. It's unbelievable what honesty accomplishes. Things just start flowing. I only noticed after it became boring that things flew so beautifully. But still its nice to witness a communication that is fluid. Some tried to block it but I made it unstuck until I was to drunk to care. ;) In that spirit. Dance on!
 

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Heh, INFPs can be quite lazy, especially if there is nothing in their life they feel passionate about. I can be quite the sloth at times, especially if I have to do something mundane. INFPs can be their own worst enemies, their feelings can overpower anything (like being productive). When I feel passionate about something, I'll go about it ruthlessly, it surprises people. Sometimes I don't know if I have ADD or it's just my personality but adderall has helped me personally...but it should be used with caution. Not for an addictive-type personality.
 

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"We" address his problems? From what planet are you Mr. Blue Rose? Sure we can influence it from afar, in the end however the NIFP father is the one who is living his life. Do you want to spoil the game for him. Have you nothing better to do like sort out your own stuff. =) I know since I have the same impulses and them I'm wondering why I'm stuck.
You are right that we can't fix his problems, and we can only influence from afar. However, what I meant to say is if we knew more we could give a better response. I hope you can forgive me for the confusion.

That said have a happy and hopefully safe birthday! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the responses everyone. My main concern is my own perception of the situation. For now I'm not gonna say anything, however I am gonna distance myself a bit from him, and if he asks whatsup I'll tell him he has a family to take car of. If by the end of August he still seems to have no direction then I'll have a sit down and give him my opinion. I first need to be sure that I'm right, or I risk just being a shit disturber.
 

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Do you know what his plans are in terms of what he is going to do after he earns his degree?

If you don't know, that might be a good place to start... basically just inquiring on his future plans and goals. And this might seem like a less confrontational approach to start the conversation and can lead to a greater discussion and get him thinking about the future.

If his answers of what he's working towards are lacking and he is lacking definite goals or plans to better his situation, maybe there is a way that you can encourage him, give him some ideas, or point out some things he needs to think about.

(Personally speaking, sometimes when I'm struggling through something and find myself immobile, its not necessarily stemming from a place of 'laziness' per say, but the real root of the issue seems to be that I honestly don't know what to do or which way to go. I want to move, but I don't always know how to or to where. Having a supportive group of people to help me work through my weaknesses seems to benefit me. As an INFP, it helps having action oriented people around me that can spur me on and encourage me by giving me practical advice and help me to set up tangible goals, because I don't always know 'how' to accomplish what I hope for. Its the how that I struggle with.)

So, to sum it up, these are my recommendations:

1) Ask questions and inquire first to get the conversation started.

2) If his answers about his future goals are lacking, give him some ideas about what he might be able to do.
"Have you considered doing A, B, and C?...." might be a good way to phrase it.

3) Offer your help or assistance in practical matters, if you are willing. This might help more than anything else. (Example: practical, specific ideas about where he might be able to find more work. "Hey, I know that A,B, and C, are hiring." Or "Doing, A,B, and C, might make you more competitive and help your chances of accomplishing your goal")


4) If the conversation gets deep enough, communicate to him that you care about him and his family and want to see all of them succeed. Communicate that you want to be a support and encouragement to him.
Consider encouraging him with telling him what you believe about him being intelligent.

He might feel defensive, but its worth a shot I think. And in the case that he isn't receptive and does become defensive, there is still a chance that if you approach him in the right way, he might consider your words later and that it might have some sort of positive influence on his family in the long run.

I wish you guys the best. :)
 

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I wouldn't necessarily put it on him, however he's the one that has to sort his problems so I agree with you on that one. Having a son gives him no excuses from my point of view. Here's a few ideas of what may be going wrong:

- Maybe the relationship is going wrong and in a relationship it's never anyone's fault.
- Maybe he's just going through a little crisis of what to do with his life after his college.
- Maybe he doesn't have the right friends or people around him.
- Like you said, maybe even though he has some problems you could still be over-analyzing or seeing things too much from your perspective. Try not to get that in the way.
- Maybe by both sitting at home they get tired of each other (that actually seems like a very likely cause to me).
- Maybe it's a mix of more things
- ...

Good luck anyways, I'm glad you care about him.
 

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I'm exactly the same. This year, I'm supposed to graduate from college but it'll take me another year and a half.

I'm really unsystematic when I'm dealing with my goals. I tend to get so excited about an idea and work on it nonstop to the point that I'm completely worn out. I do it all over again. The same thing happens.

When people try to "straighten me out," I'm generally okay with it. I'm open with the idea of working on my goals step-by-step. After a while, I forget again. I'm the type who needs constant reminding.

The only time INFP's get stubborn is when they feel that they are being attacked. So, focus on the positives when you remind him. You've already said that he's one of the most intelligent people you know. Keep telling him that. He'll soon realize that he has important choices to make. Don't make him guilty. It'll only make it worse. If you need to confront him, do so with compassion.

For the past half a year, people have done that for me and I appreciate them for that. Over time, I have gradually learned to remind myself of the things that I'm capable of doing. The people around me have been very patient with me. If necessary, they still step in and guide me with my decision-making or they simply encourage me.
 
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