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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi PerC community!

I have a rather specific question regarding INFJ & “other type” interaction but I’m interested in everyone’s opinion (if willing to share of course)

Who am I looking for?

  • So basically any type that has had a close friendship with an INFJ (at some point in space and time
  • INFJ’s (or other types who feel related &) who’ve had a similar experiences


What’s the situation?
Well a very good (female) friend of mine (whom I suspect is an ENFJ – but not confirmed so this information may be wrong) is going through some difficulties in her life at the moment and even though she tries not to be; she can be very clingy, needy and not knowing what she exactly wants (from me or anyone at the moment). I may be overanalysing this but last Friday I took her out dancing along with another (ESFJ) friend of ours (male).

It was a very fun evening with nice (albeit small-) talks, dancing, drinking and from her part; a lot of physical contact (hugs, etc. – which is something I’m less good with granted but she needs it), etc.

At a certain moment she was persistently asking me “Are you going to be there when I need you?” in an almost desperate tone of voice with this clingy ‘don’t leave me’-connotation in the background. I told her that I’m not her ex-roommate (who has betrayed her trust in various and very awful ways very recently) and that she needed to stop it and snap out of it.

The reaction I got was; “Can’t you just be my friend, have fun with me and stop being my therapist!?”

Now, I totally understand where that came from and I’m sure but I’m sensing a bit of an internal conflict because being the way I am (INFJ) I;

  • Hate small talk and “superficial” relationships
  • Cannot stand to see people around me struggling and not try and provide some sort of support (by listening, analysing their problems and providing solutions, etc.)

What she’s asking of me (in my perception) is:

  • To stop ‘trying’ to ‘help’ her
  • To participate in superficial activities that she considers “fun” to do
  • Being there for her when she needs me
  • And when she doesn’t; just be… what exactly?

The latter being my problem; I could provide what she’s asking of me but then I do not consider it a close friendship anymore (which is something she wants to maintain).

So anyone out there has got some advice/similar situation(s) happening?

I will talk to her about this but I just need some useful input to get going.

Thanks in advance for sharing!

Marla
 

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I think, people define the word "friend" in various ways. I always thought, a true friend is not only someone who you can rely on, but someone who gibes you counseling from time to time. Not only a fun person to hang around with.
She should be happy that she has you.

I've never been called a therapist before, but sometimes my friends didn't appreciate it, when I told them the truth or somhow held up the mirror in front of them. Some pf those friendships broke apart eventually.
 

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I don't know another way to be. I do a similar thing. If my "friends" don't consider me friends for it, then...that answers that, doesn't it?

It's not like I can't go out and have fun with them. However, I will always be trying to help them in whatever way I can, and telling them my thoughts on things, especially if they're digging themselves into holes.
 

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I think her request is valid and INFJs need to learn how to back off sometimes. I know I've over-stepped boundaries with people and have had to back off. Likewise, I have had other INFJs do a bit too much over analysis on me and I didn't appreciate it. There does come a point when you need to learn to let go and I suspect it has to do with maturity.

Being a friend means when she asks you for advice you'll give it. Keep the unsolicited advice to a minimum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think her request is valid and INFJs need to learn how to back off sometimes.
I totally agree! Not that it's obvious from my initial presentation of the situation but I've known her for 4 years now and before she had 'problems' I didn't analyze/give advice except when asked for (directly or indirectly). When she started having difficulties; she naturally came to me for advice and hasn't stopped since. I do try not to over-analyze/give too much advide and keep in mind that sometimes she just needs a break from it all and haveb 'fun' with friends (and whenever possible; I try to give her that as well).

She's just been very 'push/pull' about the whole thing eversince the friendship with her former roommate ended. I know she's scared of losing me too and this has the effect that whenever I'm more withdrawn (like I often am); she thinks that there is a "problem" or something "wrong" where as before; she never did that and understood that I just tick differently than her (there are other examples but I'm trying not to give too much info to the point where it becomes annoying).
 

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Knowledge is power. With power comes responsibility. Ignorance is bliss because they are free of responsibility. By being peoples "therapist", you are giving them power over their situation and therefore a responsibility to better their situation. Though this may lead to a happier life in the long run, the immediate feeling is one of discomfort, fear, anxiety and depression (though usually not extreme).

I've learned that people don't want their problems solved. If they did, they would take action themselves. Most of the time, people are looking to feel good. Usually I find it more benefecial to both parties to just give them what they want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't know another way to be. I do a similar thing. If my "friends" don't consider me friends for it, then...that answers that, doesn't it?

It's not like I can't go out and have fun with them. However, I will always be trying to help them in whatever way I can, and telling them my thoughts on things, especially if they're digging themselves into holes.
I feel the same (I think - according to how I've interpreted your words) & this is exactly the feeling with which I'm struggling; does she really need a friend like me (right now) or someone more like... well... like her actually
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've learned that people don't want their problems solved. If they did, they would take action themselves. Most of the time, people are looking to feel good. Usually I find it more benefecial to both parties to just give them what they want.
Well I disagree about 'all' people (I know a few exceptions) and I personally do not find it more beneficial to both parties to 'just give them what they want'. In the case of superficial relationships; sure thing. But not with people I consider close friends... So I only agree in part with you (but I've pretty much written that before: The Enabler | Where I end and You begin - don't feel obliged).
 

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I remember, really early in the relationship, I went through something similar with my boyfriend (he is an INFJ)
When I first met him I was going through a lot in my life, I was hurt and feeling misserable....


I remember asking him to stop psychoanalyze me and just be my friend. He was kind of confused by this and asked me what I meant by that, so I told him that sometimes I just needed someone to listen to me (I had a lot to vent about back then lol)


I know he was trying to help but I think I was so "emotional" that I took that intent to help as a kind of "I want to fix you" which wasn´t the case at all.
So after a few talks about it we found a middle ground.


I don´t remeber the exact words from that chat but he told me something like "I know you´re hurting and I care about you and as your friend I want to help, so if you ask me to stop wanting to help you´re basically asking me to stop being me"
After that, he understood that there were times when I just needed to talk about things and take them outta my system and he listened to me until, at some point, I asked "so, what do you think?" and then he gave me his opinion, and I learnt that there is a time to talk and vent but there must be a time to listen to too.


I hope you can solve this "issue" with your friend, I am sure if you are open about the way this makes you feel she will understand. Good luck. :happy:
 

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Yep, total ENFJ. My sister has that type and we've always fought for this very reason. She wants to sit and obsess over every possible source of her many problems and all I want to do is emphasize the exact source of her problem to her. It's SO frustrating. She's super afraid I'll abandon her and yet she talks AT me like I'm not even there. wtf?

Ironically we are in one of our getting along phases because she is going through a rough time right now. My Fe means I don't mind letting her pore over every detail of her life because I know it makes her feel better, and she has FINALLY picked up on the fact that if she talks at me like I'm an answering machine, I don't like it and will need a break from her. Sorry if that's harsh, but INFJ needs respite from the ENFJ life-crisis-assault every now and again.

It's funny how some people can get so clingy and yet it has nothing to do with the fact that you're you; you could be anybody at that moment. You could just be a disembodied ear. It's seems so superficial and takes everyone ounce of energy for me not to take that personally, but I am getting better at it.

INFJ: I want to share my deep, intense feelings. Right now. With YOU. Specifically.
ENFJ: I want to share my deep, intense feelings. Right now. Anybody? Anybody? Why's no one picking up?
 

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In therapy, there are ckecks and balances, oversight, ongoing education, and a contract between therapist and client -it is a violation of licensure laws and simple decentcy to preaent as a therapist without meeting conditions to safeguard both client and therapist. Now, an advice column in the newspaper i not therapy -it is opinion written to attract readers. As is this -including anything I may say. I was a therapist - I retired and let my license lapse. I in particular,having beeen a licensed LCSW, would be in serious violation of the law to offer therapy.

That said, I have seen in my career two types of fools:
Fool Type one is the person who believes they can read something, assimilate it, read a paragraph or to that someone has written, and give that person therapy without a proper assessment, without any other input, without a license from a governing board that certifies he or she knows squat about what they are trying to do.
Fool Type two is the person who believes fool Type one.

Advice from a friend is not therapy. Theraputis, sometimes. Harmful, sometimes. Disastrous - oh, yes - i have seen two suicides by people who were told by a friend what to do.
To share, give validation, a friendly hug, saying, you are not alone -that is basically all this site can do. MBTI is not a theraputic indicator - it is a small part, if used at all, in a comprehensive assessment. A treatment plan almost always comes from a multidiscipliary treatment.

People, this is a social networking site for enjoyment. It is not a treatment center. And unsolicited advice is a doo-doo sandwich, which is saying, "Eat my shit.'
 

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I remember, really early in the relationship, I went through something similar with my boyfriend (he is an INFJ)
When I first met him I was going through a lot in my life, I was hurt and feeling misserable....


I remember asking him to stop psychoanalyze me and just be my friend. He was kind of confused by this and asked me what I meant by that, so I told him that sometimes I just needed someone to listen to me (I had a lot to vent about back then lol)


I know he was trying to help but I think I was so "emotional" that I took that intent to help as a kind of "I want to fix you" which wasn´t the case at all.
So after a few talks about it we found a middle ground.


I don´t remeber the exact words from that chat but he told me something like "I know you´re hurting and I care about you and as your friend I want to help, so if you ask me to stop wanting to help you´re basically asking me to stop being me"
After that, he understood that there were times when I just needed to talk about things and take them outta my system and he listened to me until, at some point, I asked "so, what do you think?" and then he gave me his opinion, and I learnt that there is a time to talk and vent but there must be a time to listen to too.


I hope you can solve this "issue" with your friend, I am sure if you are open about the way this makes you feel she will understand. Good luck. :happy:
You are a caring heart, a woman with wisdom, and the salt of the earth.
Thank you, my friend.
 

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I've noticed that I'm the one my friends come to about their troubles when they want to talk about it and have somebody listen. When they do that, I do take on a sort of therapist role. But I don't enter that mode unless they come to me first, so I've had no complaints yet.
 

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I do pretty much the same thing. But one of my best friends is ENFJ, but she's never called me a therapist before. But the thing is if she has problems, I listen. But, I try to avoid giving advice if I'm not asked. :p It's hard not to give advice sometimes, but sometimes it's better you don't. My dad told me once, "Don't give advice unless asked or if it's a life and death situation".... It's a bit hard to follow with the way I am, but I understand it...
 

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She's just been very 'push/pull' about the whole thing ever since the friendship with her former roommate ended. I know she's scared of losing me too and this has the effect that whenever I'm more withdrawn (like I often am); she thinks that there is a "problem" or something "wrong" where as before; she never did that and understood that I just tick differently than her (there are other examples but I'm trying not to give too much info to the point where it becomes annoying).
Abandonment fears expected only from your first paragraph... in this case as the former clingy type, I would advise you to keep reminding her she is accepted unconditionally, socialise at your pace but leave her room to open up herself with tiny questions or asking how she is in her mental life, and remain tactfully honest in your needs too (plus reminding her if she is bottling up issues or hiding problems with gentle concern cues). Trust is the question here and more self empowerment you can offer in giving notice if you need 'me time' and simply checking in occasionally to rebuilt confidence when betrayals can take a long time to recover from.
 

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I could be completely wrong but it sounds like you're repressing some resentment towards her for feeling insecure. If you are not comfortable with the type of friendship she is seeking from you, then maybe you should be more open with her about how you are feeling. She's not the only person in this friendship and it sounds like it is falling apart and she is not completely aware of that fact or she does sense it and that is another reason she is wanting reassurance from you. All you can do is be yourself and be a friend in the way that you know how. You can't be her everything. She needs to realize that. So just sounds like y'all need to sit down and talk or something. Sorry if none of this applies to your situation (I obviously don't know all the details). And I hope everything gets sorted out soon.
 

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I think she treated you like a therapist, then blamed you for responding to what she was doing from inside the role she set for you.

It was a very fun evening with nice (albeit small-) talks, dancing, drinking and from her part; a lot of physical contact (hugs, etc. – which is something I’m less good with granted but she needs it), etc.

At a certain moment she was persistently asking me “Are you going to be there when I need you?” in an almost desperate tone of voice with this clingy ‘don’t leave me’-connotation in the background. I told her that I’m not her ex-roommate (who has betrayed her trust in various and very awful ways very recently) and that she needed to stop it and snap out of it.
That communication from her (bolded) is not consistent with her request after your response:

The reaction I got was; “Can’t you just be my friend, have fun with me and stop being my therapist!?
I think she wants you to serve her emotional needs, but not to do so in a way that's too obvious or that disrupts her self-absorbed comfort zone. It looks like she's been successful in shifting the frame so that you are questioning yourself rather than focusing on what she's doing.

My 2 cents....
 

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Marla_S said:
almost desperate tone of voice with this clingy ‘don’t leave me’-connotation in the background. I told her that I’m not her ex-roommate (who has betrayed her trust in various and very awful ways very recently) and that she needed to stop it and snap out of it.

The reaction I got was; “Can’t you just be my friend, have fun with me and stop being my therapist!?”


Actually there's another thing here. I don't think it's just a desire that you do things for her outside of providing "therapy", and to do other things she thinks constitutes being "friendly."

Remember, people can speak very indirectly, and I think she might be speaking indirectly here. My reading here is she simply found your reaction unacceptable to her, in the sense that to her, a "friend" would just support her when she's complaining, rather than try to advise her (which is kind of what you did, by telling her to snap back to reality). Now who on earth likes to be told to snap back to reality when they are having a tough time (even if it is what needs to be told to them since they really areneeding to snap back)?

If she's an Fe-dom in unhealth, a perfectly common reaction might be to appeal to some rationalization of what would've been "objectively acceptable" according to an attempted statement as to what "common values" deem to be appropriate friendship behavior. When really she's ultimately trying to avoid the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I could be completely wrong but it sounds like you're repressing some resentment towards her for feeling insecure.
No you're not completely wrong but resentment is a bit too strong and it would imply that I have an ‘issue’ with ‘emotional weakness’ which is not the case; I just don't like (understatement) what she's doing to herself by feeding her insecurities. Thank you very much for your input & positive energy regarding the outcome!
 
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