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I'm an INFP. I'm working on a huge project with my best friend, who is an ISFJ. We are both very creatively invested in this project and have each been planning and working for months. We're currently in the final stage of it, and tensions are running rather high. At her best, my friend is nurturing, understanding, funny, and a crusader for morality and justice. At her worst, however, she is something of an emotional black hole. She becomes so obsessed with her vision of things and when reality doesn't measure up she sinks into a bottomless pit of self-loathing and insecurity. She and I are both fantastic at what we do creatively, but she's started to shoot down my ideas immediately because they don't fit with hers, and has started to become personally offended whenever I have a different idea.

The stereotypical INFP is over-sensitive, but I'm not-- my emotions are usually rather tame, because I understand myself and I know how to deal with myself. However, my ISFJ best friend can create such a strongly negative pool of stress and self-hatred that it's getting really hard not to get sucked in. I have to be the calm and rational one when she's like this, and it's getting difficult.

To make matters worse, we're also working with an INTJ, and he's getting progressively more confused, hurt, and strained by the whole mess. He doesn't seem to know what he's getting into when he starts to criticize her and plan without her say-so. I'm not sure he'll know the right way to react and deal with the escalating dynamic when the shit really hits the fan, inevitably.

How do I not get sucked into this emotional black hole? How do I deal with the INTJ? How do I help cool her off?
 

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I don’t have much information to give you a valid answer to your problem, but I have an idea of what’s going on. I don’t think your friend is intentionally shooting down your ideas because she doesn’t think they’re good, rather she’s having her doubts about the direction of the project, so she’s trying to take the leadership role so everything turns out “perfectly”, or as in your words, her vision. Although, I would say her trying to fight for this role is stressing her out, and she feels like the whole project is balancing on her shoulders even though it’s a group effort. I know that may sound bad, but I think it has more to do with her own lack of confidence and being scared of this project failing. It’s also a trust thing. I know as an ISFJ, it’s hard for me to trust people when it comes to group projects, because my image, grade, or whatever the group project is depends on other people. I would much rather work alone on most things.

I would sit your friend down and give her some reassurance that the project is turning out great and that her work in the group is valued and appreciated. In other words, give her reassurance that everything is going to be okay and she can relax. Maybe the 3 of you can do something outside of this project and hangout and let loose to get rid of some of her stress.

I hope that helps.
 

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I think I can help you with your INTJ problem a little.

If the INTJ and ISFJ have separate visions for the project, the INTJ will probably assume that his is the best. He isn't opposed to making changes, if it's for the better. But in order for him to make the changes, he needs a sound argument from the ISFJ as to why another way is better. And it sounds like the ISFJ is becoming personally offended, and people aren't giving each other the information needed to have a discussion. I personally hate when I ask people a yes or no question, and they give me a narrative that doesn't answer anything. I also don't really know how to deal with people who are influenced by shifting emotions, rather than controlling them with a clear head. INTJs don't like people who stick to their ideas without solid, explained reasons. To execute/map out a plan, the INTJ expects a logical analysis, which I'm assuming he's not getting from your emotional friend.

INTJs aren't natural leaders, but we don't hesitate to take leadership if we think that whoever is in charge isn't doing something right, or if we could do a better job because we have a great deal of particular expertise. That's probably why he's making plans without her say-so. He probably sees that emotional & high strung = not logical & muddled thinking, and he's doing what he thinks is best for the group while avoiding the drama/conflict.
 

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I'm an INFP. I'm working on a huge project with my best friend, who is an ISFJ. We are both very creatively invested in this project and have each been planning and working for months. We're currently in the final stage of it, and tensions are running rather high. At her best, my friend is nurturing, understanding, funny, and a crusader for morality and justice. At her worst, however, she is something of an emotional black hole. She becomes so obsessed with her vision of things and when reality doesn't measure up she sinks into a bottomless pit of self-loathing and insecurity. She and I are both fantastic at what we do creatively, but she's started to shoot down my ideas immediately because they don't fit with hers, and has started to become personally offended whenever I have a different idea.

The stereotypical INFP is over-sensitive, but I'm not-- my emotions are usually rather tame, because I understand myself and I know how to deal with myself. However, my ISFJ best friend can create such a strongly negative pool of stress and self-hatred that it's getting really hard not to get sucked in. I have to be the calm and rational one when she's like this, and it's getting difficult.

To make matters worse, we're also working with an INTJ, and he's getting progressively more confused, hurt, and strained by the whole mess. He doesn't seem to know what he's getting into when he starts to criticize her and plan without her say-so. I'm not sure he'll know the right way to react and deal with the escalating dynamic when the shit really hits the fan, inevitably.

How do I not get sucked into this emotional black hole? How do I deal with the INTJ? How do I help cool her off?
does the ISFJ know about MBTI and understand how INTJs are? I think that could be helpful. I can imagine it would be hard to have your ideas shot down consistantly by others, i dont take this well and usually bow out of the situation, if i cannot it means i either have to fight for my idea (which means conflict which i hate and the seemingly arrogant INTJ persona allows for no wins but its own) or be completely not involved, giving all power to others. The ISFJ in your scenario must have alot of faith in their own abilities on this project to continue to try for their way. Believe it or not this is difficult for them. Reading this thread may help your understanding of ISFJs using their N: http://personalitycafe.com/isfj-articles/78380-recognizing-inferior-function-isfj.html
 
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It sounds to me like your ISFJ friend is emotionally isolated by all the stress and tension of your project. I don't know about you, but INTJ's tend to be very performance oriented (my mom is one!) and it can be extremely draining to an ISFJ if all they have to do is work, work, work. Work is good, especially if one has passion for it. But work and projects are something outside of the universe of an ISFJ - and we need to regularly return to our "own world" in order to tune ourselves and our emotions back, like stings on a guitar.

So... you guys need a good break! Promises of a "holiday once it's all over" aren't doing much good, because ISFJ's are not naturally visionary and struggle to live beyond what they experience here and now. This is one of the main reasons for our optimism when things go well, and pessimism when we feel crappy. What we feel, we project.

Help her by giving her some space and time to unwind. Take her out for coffee and speak about how you feel, and also let her voice her own feelings and fears about all this. The reason why it is coming out in the middle of your work is because she has nowhere else to voice it - and it is a pressing matter on her heart, no matter how she tries to suppress it. Indirectly it comes out as snappy criticism, but it is in part asking for attention and quality time. Give it to her regularly and you will be surprized at how quickly she will be restored.

Also once she has processed her internal feelings, you should verbalize your own inner experiences and kind of ask for help and support, not in a manipulative way though. In this way you will engage her need to be needed and she, relieved from her own stress, will get on your case with tons of support.

As far as INTJ goes.... hmmm, those guys aren't very comfortable talking about their feelings, don't really know how to do it and generally try to avoid it. So helping him to understand how important the role of feelings in ISFJ's life is might be helpful.
 
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