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I have had a lot of trouble since about 9th grade with making friends. The only friends I have now are those whom I knew before high school. I went through a series of rejections and whatnot and I've never been the same... I think these rejections accentuated my tendency towards introversion.

Now, I met my husband on the internet. I don't think I could have done the dating game b.s. I would not have survived. I doubt I would even be seeing anyone if I wasn't married.

I'm only myself around my husband, which sort of fuels a mild dependency I have on him. We socialize with people he associates with, but I have never been able to really connect with any of these people more due to the fact that I can't open up... or something. I can't really connect with anyone at all, and I don't know anymore what it means to be really close to someone of my own gender. As strange as it sounds, a lot of my male associates in high school were people who were sexually attracted to me, and I fueled the attraction by flirting. I don't think I've had a genuine friendship in a long time.

Every time I've felt comfortable around people or a group of people, I've said something or a few things that were just kind of "foot-in-mouth" things to say... I sort of blow it with that stuff.

Obviously, I'm having a hard time articulating my exact problem. I feel like maybe some fellow INFPs could offer some advice or at least commiserate. I feel like maybe I'm socially retarded.

HELP.
 
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MOTM Dec 2011
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I'm posting this from personalitypage.com (growth section) as it has some good tips that relate indirectly to this problem.

Living Happily in our World as an INFP

Some INFPs have difficulty fitting into our society. Their problems are often a result of an unawareness of appropriate social behavior, an unawareness of how they come across to others, or unrealistic expectations of others. Any one of these three issues stem from using Extraverted iNtuition in a diminished manner. An INFP who takes in information for the sake of understanding the world around them, rather than one who takes in information only to support their own ideas, will have a clearer, more objective understanding of how society values social behaviors and attitudes. He or she will also be more aware of how they are perceived by others, and will have more realistic expectations for others' behavior within a relationship. Such well-adjusted INFPs will fit happily into our society.

Unless you really understand Psychological Type and the nuances of the various personality functions, it's a difficult task to suddenly start to use iNtuition in an Extraverted direction. It's difficult to even understand what that means, much less to incorporate that directive into your life. With that in mind, I am providing some specific suggestions that may help you to begin exercising your Extraverted iNtuition more fully:

1. Take care to notice what people look like in different social situations. Look at their hair, their skin, their makeup (or lack thereof), their clothes, the condition of their clothes, their shoes, their facial expressions. Don't compare others to your own appearance, or pass judgment on their appearance, simply take in the information.
2. Think of a situation in your life in which you weren't sure how to behave. Now try to understand how one or two other people would see the situation. Don't compare their behavior to your own, i.e. "she would know better than me what to do", or "why is it so easy for her, but so hard for me". Rather, try to understand how they would see the situation. Would it be seen as a problem, or as an opportunity? Would it be taken seriously or lightly? Try to determine their point of view without passing judgment or comparing it to your own.
3. When having a conversation with a friend or relative, dedicate at least half of your time to talking about the other person. Concentrate on really understanding where that person is coming from with their concerns. Ask questions.
4. Think of the people who are closest to you. As you think of each person, tell yourself "this person has their own life going on, and they are more concerned with their own life than they are with mine." Remember that this doesn't mean that they don't care about you. It's the natural order of things. Try to visualize what that person is doing right now. What things are they encountering, what thoughts are they having? Don't pass judgment, or compare their situation to your own.
5. Try to identify the personality type of everyone that you come into contact with for any length of time.
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To elaborate on 3....social awkwardness can be mitigated by removing the focus from yourself. Focus on the other person, what they are saying, how they look, etc. Don't focus to compare, but to be truly interested in them as a person & what they are saying. This can loosen you up, as all of a sudden, you're less self-conscious. It will also help you learn how other people interact & make you a better listener, which people always like (encourage them to talk about themselves; most people love that!).

Practice on people who are less intimidating. Start with cashiers, people in line, etc; everyday situations where people chit-chat. Since you'll often not see them again, or a good impression is not important, it can ease pressure, which makes it a good way to practice. You basically learn to initiate conversations & show interest in people without being very awkward (an INFP problem can be balancing intensity & aloofness).

And lastly, I can very much relate, and several of the above were tips I had essentially come across in a different context (long before I discovered MBTI), and they really helped with my shyness/social awkwardness. This is probably because they are often used in cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxieties. They help ease up inhibition & nervousness by being less self-conscious, as the focus is not on self. They also make you a better listener and help cultivate a curiosity about people. Then it becomes a positive cycle; you learn more about people, you become better at interacting, and then you feel more comfortable, begin to enjoy it, and then that feeds the desire to continue to learn about people.

I'm by no means smooth socially, still a bit shy, and can be tongue-tied at times, but not nearly so much as when I was younger. I can make friends more easily now, so these tips do work. Just practice & give it time. Keep your expectations realistic also; connections don't happen instantly, but need some nurturing. Learn to lay the groundwork.
 

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My educated guess is that you're unintentionally closing yourself off to new friendships due to your past rejections. And because of that, you're hard on yourself, and as a result, you give up when you feel that you've made a mistake(s).

I can totally relate to this; I had tons of acquaintances in High School, but hardly any friends. I don't let myself become friends that easily with someone, in most cases.

Since you're the most comfortable around your husband, as hard as it might be, I would ask for his input. I'm sure he has at least an inkling about your situation and wants to help. Also, because they're his friends, he can help you to really relate and truly befriend then for who they are.

Also, please don't worry about being perfect when it comes to making friends :( We all make mistakes and screw up when saying things. Try to be yourself more around good people ;____; With mistakes and all, I'd say personality is more important than flaws when it comes to making friends. You can also try putting yourself in more social situactions...like maybe volunteering, or joining a club :) You can meet passionate people that you can relate to...and that helps set the ground for real friendships.
 

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I think OrangeAppled makes some verrrry good points, most of which totally new to me. I hope I can add something from a different angle.

I've personally felt the same way you do. A few years ago I was really lonely. I never got out of my house, except for college and food. For me that became a rut and that became a depression. I was like you, except that I didn't have a wife. My only friends were my old friends I met at school and some of them lived more than a hundred miles away, so I almost never saw them. To get out of this loneliness, I needed to go out. Finally, after two years of postponing it, I joined a club. Previously I had been (ridiculously) affraid of 'what if's', but after even one night they were all gone. Looking back. It has helped me to regain confidence in social settings and gain quite a few acquintances and even a friend.

Basically my advice would be to sit down and think about what you like. This is the time for you to treat yourself! This is the time when you finally get to do that what you always wanted to do in life! Be it drawing, writing, something with music or something completely different, chose one and join something: a course, a club, etc. I know! It will take you out of your comfort-zone the first time. It will take balls to really do it. But it really will be rewarding! And it's much easier to make friends with someone that you have something in common with. Think like OrangeAppled: don't focus on yourself! It's not your goal to make friends, it's to have fun and learn something new or do something you've always wanted to do. In the end it'll come almost by itself, as long as you keep an open mind. Have fun :).
 

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My only two friends are from my high school days. Right now I'm at a beach house with my friend friends and I feel a little out of place. It's just that everybody has something to say and I..I feel like I don't know what to say. Everybody is downstairs but I'm up here till my girl wakes up 'cause I'm a little baby who has to have his mommy around so I can feel safe. It's hard for me to open up to these people cause I feel like they'll just laugh at me. I hate being a sensitive girly girl.
 
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