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Hi. I'm going on a one day adventure with an INFJ. :cool: It's not a roadtrip, but it will have the same feel as one. I've known this INFJ for over a decade on and off, but still, I think there's some kind of disconnect between our brains.

He's super smart, and very specific in his interests. I'd like to see if I can get into his head some more. I want to do this without having 6 degrees in his areas of specialization. I'm just curious to see if it can be done, because I only swore off INFJs after I planned this trip but I figure I've got this one more opportunity to learn something.

The swearing off wasn't INFJ specific, I just recognized that the intersection of our communication styles didn't work so well.

It's hard to reconcile the gap between the superficial conversation and the in depth topics. I don't have the same in depth interests, however he's always talking about how great his friends are in his city and how they talk about {insert a subject that friend has spent 15 years studying in great detail.}


  • Is there anyone who feels like their brain fits with an INTP?
  • Can you give me any clues to bridge this communication gap?
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    I know it's a really general question. I suppose with INFJs it can just seem like an information dump sometimes. There are also many silences.
 

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If you need them to step back and explain something, ask. My best friend is an INTP and I feel like I tend to get too in-depth about things at times. If someone gets lost I am glad to go back and explain. As for getting me to not go deep into something, if that's your preference? I can't help much, I tend to talk surface stuff, or go really deep into my interests or the interests of whomever I am talking with.
 

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Hi. I'm going on a one day adventure with an INFJ. :cool: It's not a roadtrip, but it will have the same feel as one. I've known this INFJ for over a decade on and off, but still, I think there's some kind of disconnect between our brains.

He's super smart, and very specific in his interests. I'd like to see if I can get into his head some more. I want to do this without having 6 degrees in his areas of specialization. I'm just curious to see if it can be done, because I only swore off INFJs after I planned this trip but I figure I've got this one more opportunity to learn something.

The swearing off wasn't INFJ specific, I just recognized that the intersection of our communication styles didn't work so well.

It's hard to reconcile the gap between the superficial conversation and the in depth topics. I don't have the same in depth interests, however he's always talking about how great his friends are in his city and how they talk about {insert a subject that friend has spent 15 years studying in great detail.}


  • Is there anyone who feels like their brain fits with an INTP?
  • Can you give me any clues to bridge this communication gap?
    -
    I know it's a really general question. I suppose with INFJs it can just seem like an information dump sometimes. There are also many silences.
I seem to click well with INTPs, but I think it helps that, in regards to my particular friends, we share so many interests in common. From your post, it sounds like that's not quite the case between the two of you, which makes this harder to answer.

If some of his in-depth interests are at least superficially interesting to you, asking non-adversarial questions related to them would likely get him talking, and if you can come up with questions that he hasn't been asked before, all the better. I love when my INTP friends pose a question that opens up a new perspective for me to explore. From there, we start bouncing ideas off each other; the what-ifs and 'how-about-this-scenario' hypotheticals start flying between us and it not only keeps the conversation going, it gets us unwittingly revealing things to each other about how we think and why we think it.

If you have any kind of quandary with which you're grappling (it doesn't have to be something personal...it could be professional or academic or even just some random idea that has you conflicted or puzzled or whatnot), actively seeking his insight into it, even if it doesn't pertain to one of his specific interests, could also spark an interesting conversation and get him to reveal more of his thought processes to you.

What keeps my conversations with my INTP friends flowing and interesting is that we all like finding new ways of looking at old ideas and extrapolating from there. But we each come from such different directions that I'm often intrigued, even startled, by some of the insights they offer, and they react much the same to the ones I offer up.

It's only when there is any kind of perceived disdain or mockery infecting such a conversation that things go south, which only seems to happen with one of my INTP friends in particular. Luckily, I adore him, so after more than 20 years of close friendship, I've learned to articulate myself more carefully and manage my reactions with more discipline, but it's taken real work and leads me to:

Potential Pitfall Alert!

* INFJs, even healthy and mature ones, tend to be a bit sensitive to their ideas or thoughts being "dismissed"...if he senses from your questions or manner that you're dismissing something he's said out of hand, if he feels like you didn't really consider it before rejecting it, that will probably piss him off. If, on the other hand, he feels like you gave it due consideration before rejecting it, then he'll probably just want to discuss and explore your reasons and the conversation can keep flowing.

* INFJs can sometimes come across very differently than they intend because we sometimes have difficulty formulating our thoughts into words on the spot (which is why we tend to express ourselves much better in writing but can stumble in conversation). This means he could easily come across in a way that's insulting or dismissive to you without even realizing it. If he does, call him on it, but in a way that gives him a chance to clarify without the conversation descending into argument. If he hadn't intended to be insulting, he'll be horrified at the very idea he might have insulted you and will want to make amends and restore harmony between you.

* The INTPs I know tend to be very direct and very concise in their expression of ideas (which I envy), but in the early days of my friendships with them, I sometimes mistook their manner for a lack of interest in exploring an idea further, which wasn't the case. So, in the interests of preserving harmony but feeling kind of "shut down", I'd awkwardly let conversations drop that potentially could have been quite worthwhile, while they found themselves puzzled by my sudden "withdrawal" (which was how they perceived my reaction).

You mentioned you wanted to see if you could "get into his head some more," but there's a very good chance he wants to do the same with you. INFJs being naturally less direct than INTPs (at least in my experience), he'll be more apt to put out "feelers" in the conversation...subtle segues or lightly probing questions or indirect comments, that sort of thing. If and when he does that, he'll be gauging your reactions -- body language, facial expression, tone of voice -- as a kind of a guide through the conversation, but he may not know how to read you, specifically, as well as he thinks he can. There's a chance that, like I described above, he's going to misinterpret a short, unadorned answer to a question as a kind of rejection of that idea or subject, so if it's a conversational line you want to pursue, expounding upon it more than you normally might do will be more encouraging for him.


I don't know if any of this helps, but I hope it does. Good luck to you!
 
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