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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Inspired by some lovely girls in the stream of consciousness/vent thread, I felt like making a thread where we can all jovially share where our attempts to communicate with words just break down completely.

I'm sure you all know the situation. You know or think something, and inside your mind it is as clear as day, but once you try to explain it to someone else with language, what happens is that the parts in a sentence where others would otherwise expect words you have instead substituted them for hand gestures, pauses, darting eyes. eeeehs, and "you know..."s.
It's terribly embarrassing and not at all what you thought was going to come out of you. But you know, here we go again - this is why you like to stay quiet. No one gets you.
How come that we INFPs, who are overrepresented among poets, are so prone to stuttering and seemingly inane attempts of communication? Is it that our insights are just more ineffable than others'? Is Fi-dom just a fancy jargon for having a speech impairment? or is it just an inescapable effect of not leaving your house for two months?

I personally believe that the answer rather lies in how we prefer to communicate. Some of you will have heard of directing language ("Turn down that music") and informing language ("That music is very loud"), of which INFPs unsurprisingly tend to be in the latter category. Adopting this communication strategy has more advantages than being misunderstood as a vague pushover; it also has a friendly, non-enforcing tone to it that expects the receiver to actually think about what you're saying.
There is a richness in the unstated that with proper understanding will say so much more than exact words ever could, and that richness is what we're always seeking to convey.
This ties in with what Jung says about the introverted feeling type; that when communicating we try to create a parallel process in the mind of our confused conversation partner, and informing language is simply the best for the job.
I often preach that Fi is a simulation process that tries to guess how oneself, others or imaginary characters would experience a situation - which is also why we daydream so much - but if our opinion or insight is created through a simulation process, we would naturally try to spur the same in others to make them understand our point of view, and so instead of being straightforward when explaining we like to give clues from which a greater understanding can be induced.
This is why INFPs are often great storytellers; they show, don't tell. No good writer would start a story by saying, "John went by a scary house." Don't say it's scary. Instead say something like, "Late one evening John passed by a large, old house standing alone on a small hill away from the other buildings. No one had lived there for years. It was tall, had broken windows, and in the windy darkness your imagination could make any shape appear out of the shadows from within them."

This is the blessing and curse of how we tell what's inside of us. Its richness and eloquence take time to form and are thus cast away in this fast-paced world we inhabit, and therefore we often retreat to our more slow-paced writing instead.

It should be said that everything I've said can equally be applied to ISFPs. When words are futile they might express themselves through painting, style, music... or more commonly just cute sounds, gestures and facial expressions.

So, do you ever experience this, and do you relate to my thoughts on the matter?
 

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It is an interesting dichotomy, and I wholeheartedly support the thread, but don't have a great deal of my own to add at the moment (or rather don't quite feel like trawling through my memories to find an appropriate example). However, there is one bit that catches my attention:

UnicornRainbowLove said:
Some of you will have heard of directing language ("Turn down that music") and informing language ("That music is very loud"), of which INFPs unsurprisingly tend to be in the latter category.
This bit does have me grinning somewhat I have to admit, because there's something of a contradiction here I find amusing. I think it's best evidenced in the contrast between myself and my mother, who's an ISFJ:

I am far more likely to make observations via informing language (i.e. stating 'the music is loud'), but when I do so I usually am just making observations! I dislike directing others or asking them to do things very often, but when I do so, I ask them directly. To tie this in to the main theme of the thread, though, it's because I'm not always fond of intrusions on my privacy/personal space, so I try to afford others the same respect (they'll act as they best see fit) - but I also prefer people to be direct with me rather than leave an opportunity for misinterpretation.

Whereas my mother on the other hand often seems to use more directing language but she'll phrase it in seemingly innocuous ways or wrap it in subtext (like 'do you want to do this' or 'do you feel like doing that' or even outright saying 'the room's a bit cold' as a means of asking me to shut the door).

It's a little annoying because often I'll make an observation about something, and she'll think that I'm asking her to do something by inference, and thus feel imposed upon or get defensive, when I really am just thinking out loud. (As a result, if she asks me whether I "want" to do something, I'll just reply with - no, not really! ;p)
 

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As an ENTP I think, not feel haha, that the problem you suffer is innate to the fact you are introverted feelers. You have trouble expressing thoughts.

We have the opposite problem. We express all too easily thoughts and fail to be appreciated by other that feel, because they are only thoughts and have no feeling.

Only a thought haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
@krentz I have an ESTJ father whom I have basically stopped trying to communicate with about complicated matters, at least on my own terms. Either I'm offering several ideas and interpretations to expand on a topic, or I give very little information and look sort of sadly at him hoping he'll just intuitively get what I'm feeling/thinking. Neither does anything but confuse him since he's looking with blinkers for a conclusion and gladly skips all the remaining nonsense. I have to be very clear, unambiguous and goal-oriented to get anything across.

It should be mentioned that ISFJs tend to be informing with their language. Keirsey divides the types into four groups of interaction styles:

Initiators: ENTJ, ESTJ, ESTP, ENFJ (Extraverted and Directive)
Coworkers: ENTP, ESFJ, ESFP, ENFP (Extraverted and Informative)
Contenders: INTJ, ISTJ, ISTP, INFJ (Introverted and Directive)
Responders: INTP, ISFJ, ISFP, INFP (Introverted and Informative)

So when your mother says "the room is cold" she means what my dad would probably have phrased as "close that window. Don't you know what heat costs?" Of course your mother might be more directing than than the general ISFJ still, but according to Keirsey she hides her agenda in the spoken word (although her assertiveness might still be obvious from body language, especially towards her son).

As an ENTP I think, not feel haha, that the problem you suffer is innate to the fact you are introverted feelers. You have trouble expressing thoughts.

We have the opposite problem. We express all too easily thoughts and fail to be appreciated by other that feel, because they are only thoughts and have no feeling.

Only a thought haha
Being an IF is generally no aid in getting easily across to others, but here I'm talking about the particular case of INFP and ISFP whom I claim to have this difficulty mainly because they're wired to communicate through parallel processing. But in a sense you're right; trouble emerges from describing feelings. No one can adequately express "how much I love my spouse" or "why I love my country" in precise sentences, so instead we'll use facial expressions, tone of voice, music or poetry to help our feeble language along. This is all done to create an emotional state in the person we're addressing so that he's more susceptible to getting into the same line of thought as us.
In this regard feelers make others simulate how something is experienced emotionally, but this is even harder to do for Fi-doms than Fe-doms since Fe appeals to easily recognizable emotions("being a child molester is wrong!") while Fi often starts from scratch ("Imagine that you were a kid who couldn't defend yourself and someone grabbed you... please get where I'm heading with this").

Anyway, often thoughts/ideas also fail to be expressed concisely. Try explaining four dimensions without using analogies for instance. Most people would have no idea what you were talking about.
 
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Fi doesn't think with words, so when we come to express it we struggle
Ne bounces between thoughts quicker than we can form a sentence so we may forget what we were talking about
Si isn't any use when talking because it's past oriented when we are mostly future oriented
Inferior Te means we don't understand the value of putting your words together structurally before we speak

No Fe means we don't know if the other person understands us or not so we try to see if they do and then forget to talk properly
No Ni means we don't have a good sense of the timing of our words so it becomes jumbled
No Ti means what we think about is illogical and we kind of realise this as we say it
No Se means no one listens to what we say anyway so it doesn't matter :D

Just some ideas lol
 

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Yes, Jung said inspiring a parallel feeling in someone is a more effective alternative for communicatin for an IxFP, as feelings are harder to express in words than thoughts. When we remember this is not necessarily emotion, but rational feeling, is when it becomes interesting. Often, emotion does have to be stirred to motivate someone to examine feeling issues. I think this is why poetry, music, art, literature, etc, is so dominated by IxFPs, especially when we consider the "greats". But I think even just leading via example is an effective method.

The power of informative communication is that it allows people to come to their own conclusion and handle things in their own way. People can respond positively to that, because the decisions and feelings which arise from it are their own. Directive communication can make people rebellious or they may follow it without really supporting it personally.

The downside is when informative communication fails to "inspire", either because it is too subtle or someone simply doesnt like what it suggests.

Anyhow, I think embodying one's values is certainly more powerful than just preaching them.
 

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Parallel processing is probably the best way I've heard it phrased. It's a way to ignite a thought process in someone else so that they will naturally come to the same understanding that you have. We're very skilled at doing this with emotions, as we are intimately familiar with our own and almost use them as a harp with 1,000 strings, and knowing exactly which ones to pluck (usually through writing) in order to evoke the emotional response that we want out of the reader. However, we're not as adept at doing this with other people's thought processes. We employ the same method of plucking different strings to guide the listener to a certain destination, but we are not skilled in the area of other people's minds like we are with emotions.

I think the stuttering and awkward speaking style is attributable to employing a method that isn't designed to do what we're trying to get it to do in that situation.
 

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YES YES YES ALL THE YES

It's a little annoying because often I'll make an observation about something, and she'll think that I'm asking her to do something by inference, and thus feel imposed upon or get defensive, when I really am just thinking out loud. (As a result, if she asks me whether I "want" to do something, I'll just reply with - no, not really! ;p)
My ESFJ mother and ISFP father in a nutshell. Even the wording is perfection.

Inferior Te means we don't understand the value of putting your words together structurally before we speak
I try to plan out conversations in my head exactly because I know how difficult it is to speak coherently once I've started rambling on about something. Somehow, no matter how often I rehearse it inside my head, things always seem to go awry. Either the conversation will take a different turn than expected, or I'll get my words all jumbled, or I'll forget that Super Important Thing I was going to say... honestly it's enough to never make me want to open my mouth again.

(Except when I threaten my boyfriend with that he just gives me an incredulous look. He knows I can't help myself.)
 

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I'm currently too avoidant to be able to show a recent example, but a few old examples are:

Me to random girl at a sci-fi convention: "I love your outfit!"
Her: -snarl hiss growl rawr-
Me: thinking [what could I have possibly done to cause that kind of reaction?!]

-Some NTs and NJs are debating.-
Me: -says my opinion.-
ENTJ [speaking for all of them]: Do you realize you say "umm" too much and pause for a long time in the middle of your sentences? You need to think before you speak!

ENTP: blahblahblahblah for at least an hour. [interesting life adventures, actually pretty cool.!]
ENTP: What have YOU been up to, Rune?
Me: blahblablahbla..... [interesting stuff happened to me too, here, let me tell you! ^____^]
ENTP: -Speaks over me.-

-in philosophy class and people are trying to debate stuff-
Me: -trying to share my insights and opinions and stuff-
ENxJ principle/teacher: "You're not debating correctly!" [rawr rawr rawr] but here's a book that you'll never ever understand.
Me: -understands book and could have [tried to] talked about the book if the class wasn't already over-

I'm beginning to notice a pattern here. I think ENs hate my guts. :p
Specifically ENTJs and ENTPs.. :/

but yeah, NJs don't like it when I try to join their debates. They like my ideas, but they dislike how unstructured they are.

ENTPs are just scary and rude. :p
 

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My wife and I are both INFP. We have different first languages. So when she wants to ask me if I am going to do something, for some reason around how she learned English, she will phrase it in the negative, "You don't want to run the dishwasher tonight?" which sometimes feels accusatory to me even though I realize by now that her intention is not the way a native speaker's intent would be in saying the same words. So we have these additional filters of very different understandings of the language we use most of the time. My Japanese is far more clumsy than her English is.

I often rehearse anticipated conversations in my head and sometimes I mouth or even whisper the words. Sometimes I do this after the fact when I didn't communicate as effectively as I might have. In conversation I rarely stutter, but I employ lengthy pauses as I struggle to compose the right sentence. I hesitate and appear unsure of myself. This is why in my career I prefer writing over speaking. When I am delivering training, if I am not very well rehearsed and comfortable with the content, I become anxious and hesitant. But after I have been through that a few times it smoothes out. I'd much rather be behind the scenes, designing and scripting the course in a methodical way so that everything is crafted to have the precise effect desired. I just don't do that well on the fly.

I can write and edit. I can design compelling experience. But I am not good at winging it and I often just give up in heated arguments when I can't get my thoughts to come out of my mouth in a way that makes sense to anybody else but me.
 

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Inspired by some lovely girls in the stream of consciousness/vent thread, I felt like making a thread where we can all jovially share where our attempts to communicate with words just break down completely.

I'm sure you all know the situation. You know or think something, and inside your mind it is as clear as day, but once you try to explain it to someone else with language, what happens is that the parts in a sentence where others would otherwise expect words you have instead substituted them for hand gestures, pauses, darting eyes. eeeehs, and "you know..."s.
It's terribly embarrassing and not at all what you thought was going to come out of you. But you know, here we go again - this is why you like to stay quiet. No one gets you.
How come that we INFPs, who are overrepresented among poets, are so prone to stuttering and seemingly inane attempts of communication? Is it that our insights are just more ineffable than others'? Is Fi-dom just a fancy jargon for having a speech impairment? or is it just an inescapable effect of not leaving your house for two months?

I personally believe that the answer rather lies in how we prefer to communicate. Some of you will have heard of directing language ("Turn down that music") and informing language ("That music is very loud"), of which INFPs unsurprisingly tend to be in the latter category. Adopting this communication strategy has more advantages than being misunderstood as a vague pushover; it also has a friendly, non-enforcing tone to it that expects the receiver to actually think about what you're saying.
There is a richness in the unstated that with proper understanding will say so much more than exact words ever could, and that richness is what we're always seeking to convey.
This ties in with what Jung says about the introverted feeling type; that when communicating we try to create a parallel process in the mind of our confused conversation partner, and informing language is simply the best for the job.
I often preach that Fi is a simulation process that tries to guess how oneself, others or imaginary characters would experience a situation - which is also why we daydream so much - but if our opinion or insight is created through a simulation process, we would naturally try to spur the same in others to make them understand our point of view, and so instead of being straightforward when explaining we like to give clues from which a greater understanding can be induced.
This is why INFPs are often great storytellers; they show, don't tell. No good writer would start a story by saying, "John went by a scary house." Don't say it's scary. Instead say something like, "Late one evening John passed by a large, old house standing alone on a small hill away from the other buildings. No one had lived there for years. It was tall, had broken windows, and in the windy darkness your imagination could make any shape appear out of the shadows from within them."

This is the blessing and curse of how we tell what's inside of us. Its richness and eloquence take time to form and are thus cast away in this fast-paced world we inhabit, and therefore we often retreat to our more slow-paced writing instead.

It should be said that everything I've said can equally be applied to ISFPs. When words are futile they might express themselves through painting, style, music... or more commonly just cute sounds, gestures and facial expressions.

So, do you ever experience this, and do you relate to my thoughts on the matter?
I never try to explain anything in only words to students (I'm talking about 1st graders here, but it applies to most grades). For example, I don't have the dictionary definition of 'main idea/character' to share. However, I can ask a kid to describe their favorite book/movie/TV show in only one-two sentences, and that's usually the main idea (which I reveal to the group)
 

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Yessss. Ugh. I have this problem all the time, it's so frustrating. I have a lot of imaginary arguments with myself, but in real conversations I just mumble and stutter lol. There's too much pressure. It's satisfying whenever I can get a smart sentence out. But the way I talk seems to inherently sound like I'm making up excuses on the spot. (No, I assure you I've rehearsed this conversation 600 times! Just give me a week to remember and write down everything I wanted to say, then you'll see there are actually coherent thoughts in my head. Sometimes.)
 

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It should be mentioned that ISFJs tend to be informing with their language. Keirsey divides the types into four groups of interaction styles:

Initiators: ENTJ, ESTJ, ESTP, ENFJ (Extraverted and Directive)
Coworkers: ENTP, ESFJ, ESFP, ENFP (Extraverted and Informative)
Contenders: INTJ, ISTJ, ISTP, INFJ (Introverted and Directive)
Responders: INTP, ISFJ, ISFP, INFP (Introverted and Informative)
These are really interesting! I think my mom is an INFJ and she is certainly very directive when she speaks. It would always upset me when I was younger, but now I have pretty much accepted that it's just her way of communicating. My dad is definitely more informing, just today as I was cleaning some items in the bathroom and then spreading them on a towel on the floor to dry, he said "the carpet gets wet" because he didn't notice the towel I had placed underneath them and thought I was just putting them on the bathroom rug. My mom definitely would have said something along the lines of "don't do that on the carpet!" which feel much more accusatory to me. This is probably why I usually get along with my dad better.

Also kind of on the topic of what @krentz and @ElliCat were talking about, my mom reads my "messages" wrong too. For example, when I'm trying to hand her her car keys, but she's still putting her wallet in her bag or something, and I accidentally breathe a little heavier than usual, she thinks I'm trying to tell her that I'm tired of holding the keys and then gets all defencive and irritated, when in reality I just happened to breathe a little louder and was completely happy about waiting. Definitely wasn't trying to send any hidden messages with my breathing. Lol.

Another funny (although at the time very annoying) example was when I was doing a little film project and my mom had agreed to act for me in it, but then when I told her that she needed to play the part of a "bad" mother, she was so sure that it was my sneaky way of telling her that I think she's a bad mother, and I spent a good ten minutes convincing her that it was purely fiction and there were no hidden meanings or subliminal messages.
 

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I think that the reason we find it hard to find words is because the things we think are important enough to communicate about are emotional things and are opinions based upon how they feel to us.

I think that concrete things are self evident and do not really need discussing, but that emotions and feelings about things do need discussion because of their complexity. But of course words are far too limiting to express what we are feeling.

I have an ISFP GF and we're falling in love these days and I've told her many times that words cannot express sufficiently the feelings I have. She likes the way I put things into words that she feels that she could never, BTW, when it comes to emotional feelings being expressed.

But here's the thing. I always believed that INFPs have a stronger subconscious than conscious mind. This is the emotional part of the brain being more dominant. If that's true, we process at the emotional level using the part of the brain that works in symbols rather than words and so in essence we're rather slow and have to translate our symbolic, emotional thinking into words. This takes time and usually a trial and error kind of attempt to communicate.
 
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