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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At times, I’ve found myself as a mediator for friends and family. I’m generally good at listening to people without being judgmental and I like to throw out perspectives that the other side might not be thinking in order for them to understand how the other side might be looking at the situation. I find myself as the sounding board for a lot of my friends for some reason.

I try to take an understanding approach with my ultimate goal being resolution.

I’m generally uncomfortable giving emotional affirmation and even perhaps might come off as cold or calculating. It is also somewhat odd that I volunteer at a place that provides free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence. I’ll probably stop because it’s completely draining on me, but I’ve been told many times from the women I help, whose stories I couldn’t repeat, that they appreciate my approach. Perhaps my calmness and practical questions has a settling effect on them.

Question:

1. When you call people to share your feelings, emotions, or a problem, what kind of response would you prefer? I imagine the answer might change depending on the person you are talking to and the context. So tell me how you would want your significant other to act? Do you have friends you call up to provide a certain type of response? For instance, a friend you would call for advice and a friend you would call so they could sympathize with you?
 

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When I have a problem, I usually call out to my ST friends/family. I feel like they have a way of keeping me grounded. When I reach the point where I actually feel like I need to discuss a problem, I've usually spent so much time with the emotional aspects that their perspective give a welcome change of pace. I guess because we are so different from one another, they have a way of offering entirely new perspectives that I might have not otherwise considered. Plus their task-solving approach to things usually have a way of making the problem shrink back to it's appropriate size. I do have a tendency to fuel the flame with my emotions to the point where it becomes a proper fire. But..I do kind wish they would give me a little bit of emotional reciprocity too. Sometimes, it does kind of feel like they have a way of ignoring that aspect; for better or worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
But..I do kind wish they would give me a little bit of emotional reciprocity too. Sometimes, it does kind of feel like they have a way of ignoring that aspect; for better or worse.
Yeah, I wish I could give the proper emotional reciprocity in many instances. When I try, I just feel awkward and don't know whether I'm giving the proper response. I fear coming off as disingenuous and I'm never sure how much emotional reciprocity I should give. This usually leads to me looking awkward and uncomfortable. It's not that I don't want to react more emotionally; it's just that I think way too much on how I should act, which ultimately leads to a certain type of paralysis when it comes to providing this kind of support. I do try to work on it though.
 

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Yeah, I wish I could give the proper emotional reciprocity in many instances. When I try, I just feel awkward and don't know whether I'm giving the proper response. I fear coming off as disingenuous and I'm never sure how much emotional reciprocity I should give. This usually leads to me looking awkward and uncomfortable. It's not that I don't want to react more emotionally; it's just that I think way too much on how I should act, which ultimately leads to a certain type of paralysis when it comes to providing this kind of support. I do try to work on it though.
Sometimes, I think there might actually be a great deal of value in the lack of a emotional response. It keeps you in that logical troubleshooting mode that is sometimes necessary to really get to grips with a problem. Sometimes, you just have to get out of feeling-mode to really accomplish things. That kind of approach helps in pulling me out of rumination and get things done. I feel like you should think of it like an asset of yours, rather than a lack.

I feel like this may differ entirely from person to person, depending on their cognitive functions tho. My way of looking at it does kind of strike me as very Fi. I'm not really much for emotional displays, but would rather prefer to handle my emotions internally. An Fe would probably have an entirely different way of looking at it. As they're generally looking more for consensus and harmony, rather than what applies specifically to them. They're more group oriented individuals, where as Fi-users are more individualists. To an Fe a lack of emotional reciprocation would represent more of a threat to their inner peace, as in a way it threatens the harmony of the group. Where as an introverted feeler would be less bothered. They're not really looking for external validation in the same way. So depending on if the person you're talking to has extroverted or introverted feeling, you should expect different results (especially if their feeling-function is dominant.)
 
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Personally, I'd prefer my friend to have either:

1. Empathy, for personal or emotional problems that cannot be changed (ex: death, breaking up, etc). Just accept what's going on, relay back to the person how they feel, etc. No solving of problems, no sympathizing, no evaluations. Just listening.

2) Rational advice, if dealing with any problems that have possible solutions. I really respect my friends that can offer genuine constructive criticism. it's a rare quality. I have enough feeling as it is, I don't need any more from anyone else :)
 

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I think I'd much rather have my friends try to help me by providing me with logical, sound advice, in order to keep me grounded in reality. At the same time, if it's an unsolvable problem, or something personal bothering me that doesn't really have a solution, I'd rather they just let me vent. Then get me a cookie or something.

My SO.. I don't know. I feel like I'd want them to be there for me, to hug me, to try to cheer me up. Feeling like they care, and they're there for me is all I need.
 

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I try to mediate in my family but I get sucked in as my mother will take me offering another perspective as a sign of arrogant argumentativeness; she's generally bad at discussion because she takes everything as an attack.

I don't think I neccesarily need a response most of the time, I just need to voice my twisted thoughts and spiralling heart without the usual look of awe and fear.
 

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If and when I manifest "feelings" and emotion...it is bad and too late to respond or fix or whatever. I keep stuff on the inside and it rarely gets on the outside, mostly because I cracked and couldn't handle it.

Emotions are awkward...I don't know how to deal with someone expressing them, they make me feel...lost...and if I manifest in excess (positive or negative)...the same applies. I don't know what to do with them, mostly just try to be alone, maybe let it out (if I can) and then rationalize.

I certainly don't like dealing with others or having someone hug me and comfort me is...odd and I'd rather not have that happen.

Manifesting anger and love is easy thou and comes naturally. Sometimes I wonder if I'm a T, but then I remember that I have empathy and act on feelings.

I think being a guy kinda screws over the general "INFP" stereotype. I also don't vent to anyone outside of the forums....ever. Burdening someone with my problems seems wrong and whining makes me uneasy :\.
 

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I like anecdotes.

I don't know how to talk about feelings- I can have a stab at it, but I usually get fed up with it- and I don't have a one size fits all phrase to use on people who do know how to talk about feelings.
 

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Most of the time I just vent because I need a way of organizing my thoughts and figuring out what I *want* to do. So having somebody offer their opinion, or helping me to understand why I feel a certain way is a huge bonus. I guess that would deal with awful situations.

But when I'm scared, feeling low or like giving up - all I really need is some affirmation. Words aren't always necessary either. Squeeze my hand, give me a hug. I remember being emotional over some health problems I had this year my SO said to me 'I'd be petrified too' and it seemed to be more comforting than all of the hugs I'd received elsewhere. Maybe just affirmation that what I'm feeling is actually okay and nothing to worry about.
 

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At times, I’ve found myself as a mediator for friends and family. I’m generally good at listening to people without being judgmental and I like to throw out perspectives that the other side might not be thinking in order for them to understand how the other side might be looking at the situation. I find myself as the sounding board for a lot of my friends for some reason.

I try to take an understanding approach with my ultimate goal being resolution.

I’m generally uncomfortable giving emotional affirmation and even perhaps might come off as cold or calculating. It is also somewhat odd that I volunteer at a place that provides free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence. I’ll probably stop because it’s completely draining on me, but I’ve been told many times from the women I help, whose stories I couldn’t repeat, that they appreciate my approach. Perhaps my calmness and practical questions has a settling effect on them.

Question:

1. When you call people to share your feelings, emotions, or a problem, what kind of response would you prefer? I imagine the answer might change depending on the person you are talking to and the context. So tell me how you would want your significant other to act? Do you have friends you call up to provide a certain type of response? For instance, a friend you would call for advice and a friend you would call so they could sympathize with you?
When I come to someone about a conflict, I am always anxious and distressed. Mostly, what I need is emotional affirmation, and for the person comforting me to avoid seeming like s/he is even slightly siding with the person who has caused me to feel hurt and defensive. I need for the other person not to make me defend my thoughts or feelings, or to argue about them. I need for my feelings not to be questioned, judged, or considered wrong in any way, because being invalidated while upset is one of the most painful experiences I have ever known. If I have been in a conflict that was so bad I had to go to someone else to talk about it, then that conflict was almost certainly about something I have already very carefully considered from every known angle, about which I still feel very passionately. When the other person starts trying to get me to empathize with the one who is opposed to me, I feel misunderstood and alone. I feel attacked, like I am being kicked while I am already down. I feel abandoned, betrayed, and enraged. I feel like I am being accused or coerced when all I need is support.

The best way to deal with me when I go to you for help about a conflict is to make it very clear that you care about me, that you consider my feelings valid, and that you are not going to try to change my mind about whatever I was passionate enough to fight about. Let me explain to you why I consider the other person dangerous, and take my fear seriously.

I don't need a resolution as much as I need to stop feeling alone, attacked, overwhelmed and defensive. Once I am no longer emotionally drained, anxious, and upset by the conflict, I will be able to resolve the interpersonal aspect of it on my own. Even if it is impossible to reconcile whatever differences have caused the conflict, at the very least, if I can find peace, I will be more likely to forgive the other person. Trying to make me side with my enemy will only make me more resistant, and will not resolve anything. Whatever you do, don't offer practical advice unless I specifically ask for it, because it will always feel like an accusation when I am upset.

You might mean for your advice to sound like, "If you do this, it might help, and I want to help you, because I want you to be okay,"
but to me, it sounds like,
"If you weren't such a fucking retarded dipshit, and if you were doing this thing differently, or if you took this advice I am trying to shame you into taking [that you have already considered and rejected because it would be counterproductive], then maybe you wouldn't be in this state. It's all your fault that you are miserable, you worthless moron."

Seriously, that is how advice sounds to me when I am still defensive from a conflict, so please don't do that.
 

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I like responses (I can't tell you how often I've been given the silent treatment after I let slip some of my feelings). Honest responses. But I tend to dislike it when someone shoves specific advice on me. I get the feeling that they're belittling my intellect; more often than not, the advice they give me is an idea that I have already identified and mulled over.

Honesty is one of the things I highly value. I don't care how nasty a person's true thoughts are. I don't want sugarcoating. If someone thinks I'm complaining too much and that I need to get up and do something about my life, I want them to tell me that without all these social niceties (if anything, it reaffirms my own speculations and facilitates personal progress).

I hate getting typical comments and compliments. They don't do anything beneficial. I instantly become colder, more distant, and critical when someone utters something unhelpful and thoughtless.

Whew. Okay. I need to pause for a bit. If you couldn't tell, I'm quite bitter about how people have reacted when I related my emotions. I don't do it often, but I like to talk to people about their emotions and to try to help them through rough spots. I just wish there was someone who could do the same for me, someone who knew and understood me. I feel like the number of people that fit that description is one: me.

I need to take another breath. This got me unexpectedly riled up.
 

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I have been through what some of you had before. Especially where families are concerned. I do not think that I had a specific way of wanting how others treat me, but I do know that, if I considered someone close and as a friend, then I would expect them to be able to be emotionally supportive of me. If you cannot give me that much, then you won't ever be in my inner circle of friends. Anyone else who is "supportive" in other manners, I would see and class them as aquitances. I am not one of these people who befriend someone who is going through the same thing, though this is a better experience than to talk to a therapist in a clincal manner. It is how those rare ad hoc friendships occur. Someone have had a certain experience in life, and they do not mind telling you exactly how they overcome this problem or issue in a more factual manner. I may not be the best healthiest INFP as I do not water my own spiritual and emotional garden. Which was so much more better before when I was living closeby to families and had all my emotional network setup in a workable manner.

In the scenario that the OP described, I have been there before too with a specific NT friend. Obviously we have fallen out now, cos he goes and blanks me. However, we clashed because he gave a retort that said "I am not a validator", when I was most upset. I should have removed my feelings to him and not shared it. Cos one time he laughed at me when I tried to share feelings regarding intimate personal relationships. I was livid, and remained silent. He does not get it. I also had been babysitting HIS feelings and HIS style of comunication which is very very factual for a very long time. I could do this, and he could not do the same in return, so our friendship broke down. I resent him, cos I broke myself to be his friend and in return he cannot break himself to be supportive of someone else. If we were indeed smarter, then we should have honored each other's strengths in a way, but we did not do this at all. He then criticised and mentioned that I was the one at fault for my life. He has never "asked" questions like "how are you feeling?" "Are you okay?" "You seemed angry, but are you okay?" These kind of questions does not need the other person to empathsize or to sympathsize. I think he was starting to learn slowly but surely and extend that arm into a grey area.

To be honest, I think that it is okay to remain yourself. At the same time though, respect the strength of the other person too. Even if you cannot give them and behave in a way which is 100% like them, you are able as a person to give say 20% of what they are looking for. A lot of people I find when young want others to experience their exact feelings or actions, but as you get older, you realise that everybody is different to our own selves, and living in a more inter-dependent way is okay too. I am also one of those people who tend to pick up other people's emotional things and forget my own.... but now I shall readdress that a little bit more, and shift towards a more inter-dependent way. Each of us have our own duties to handle. Families, and friends who we pick and choose to walk this life with us. I do not entirely buy this "global citizen" concept. Cos it means breaking all ties with those who we loved in our life time.

NT have strengths to give clarity and facts. Though, be weary when the advice is going over a specific area such that it impinge on the decision making of that other person's life? For example, my NT friend displaced HIS way of living his life to me, and I found myself getting angry at him. I did not know why I got angry at him, but upon reflection, he came across as criticising me on how I lived my life, cos it was not how he lived his. To me, finding a soul mate is upmost important, but to him, finding autonomy was important. I never criticised his dream of being a technical pilot, but he went and criticised my decisions in my life. He told me that life is not like a fairy tale blah blah. Maybe I should tell him that he is being an ass-hole and that is why he is still single and that his ex broke up with him?? See? If we respect each other's boundaries and only give specific info related to the issue without forcing someone else to go down a path that does not fit them.... there would be less fighting. Cos he basically manipulated me, and I let him too. Recently, I also found out that a piece of advice that he gave me actually sent me to break up with this other person whom I thought was my soulmate. He make me challenge him and test him. In the end, this guy saw me in a particular way and we never got together in the end, cos I did not follow my intuition. So, with jobs where you deal with ppl's lives, I would seriously seriously be more weary of what you say and how you think things. Cos it is important.

With regards to legal advice and decision on breaking up a relationship, I would always advice the other person to think twice, and to give time for reflections and so forth. Cos mending affairs of the heart is harder than mending a machine, they come back to haunt you in the future, and it affects your life's decisions....
 

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I generally don't go to others with my emotional problems. My traditional means of coping is to keep something to myself and stew over it until I can be rational (i.e., I can get past the emotional aspect of the problem), and then I will be more open. By then, I've generally considered the problem from others' perspectives and have begun to feel guilty for any and all of my own misdeeds, or what have you.

I have really strong ideas against going to others for sympathy; that is, if you have to ask for sympathy, it's probably not real sympathy, and asking for sympathy also makes me feel self-indulgent. Sharing my emotional problems with others can also make me feel really out of control and can make things worse, which is another reason I generally won't go there.

That being said, if I approach someone with a problem of mine, I'm usually looking for outside perspective, honest opinion, and rational advice. I think, sometimes, when you're too emotionally affected or too close to a situation, it's very difficult to see solutions easily or to even interpret the situation clearly and without bias, so I may go to someone I trust or whose judgment I trust to help me sort things out.
 

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I hate to burden others with my problems. It usually makes them feel down too, so if I ever do allow a few drops to seep through the dam holding back my waterfall of emotion, then I will quickly cover the cracks with a light hearted joke or something...

Thing is, I am always more than willing to bathe in everybody else's sorrow, and try and make them feel better. For some reason I never wish to put the same pain on anyone else, when I don't really even mind the reverse happening to myself?

However, if I really do need someone to express my feelings to, then I just want them to understand. Perhaps say a few optimistic words, but mainly, I just long for someone to understand my emotions. That, and a little care and compassion, is far more than I could ever need :')
 
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If I call someone when I am upset or have something on my mind, I simply want to let it out because when my mind is cleared, I know what to do. I don't really like advice, the only person I would expect a little advice from is my bf but even his advice has a lot to do with me rather than what I should do with everyone else. Like "why don't you just have a bath and relax, have some time to yourself to decide what you want to do." etc. How strange hehe.
 
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Oh, and I forgot to mention...

Whatever you do, DON'T YOU DARE tell me to stop feeling. Don't try to make me feel ashamed of sharing my feelings, or treat me as though I ought to feel guilty for needing emotional support. There is nothing wrong with coping in this manner, despite how often people say prejudiced things about those of us who have an extroverted coping style. If you do try to make me feel bad for feeling bad, or for telling you about it, I will go psycho on you, and afterward, I will stop speaking to you permanently. I have no tolerance for being silenced, abandoned or criticized when I need help, and I don't tolerate seeing others treated that way either. It causes great harm, and it is probably secretly one of the leading causes of suicide. I consider it one of the worst evils possible, and it is a dealbreaker in my friendships.

I can't believe I forgot to mention something that important.
 
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