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Discussion Starter #1
I understand everyone has anxiety issues to a degree but, after getting a better understanding of my MBIT, it makes me curious if it's more common for ISFJs to experience an unusual level of social anxiety?

It is so hard to explain, I will try... When people I don't know see or meet me, I have learned that a majority of them always gets the impression that I'm confident and intimidating (resting bitch face... sigh...). The reality though, is inside, I am an absolute mess who gets urked up and paranoid. The fact that I hate any sort of conflict, I feel the need to think extra carefully before speaking so I don't offend anyone (unless I'm provoked, then my defensive side takes over). Once I know my limit with the person, it gets a little easier to handle. That's only on good days though... sometimes, I fight so hard in my head to "keep it cool" I usually end up feeling like I just did something stupid, stumbling my words or say something without thinking and become paranoid I blew it. Sometimes I obsess over it the next day. Looking at people in the eye is a nightmare of it's own. It's easier on me to watch people for a bit to observe them before I even want them bothering with me. It's weird because I want to be everyone's friend but the fact I have my own issues, I don't want anyone to get the impression I'm some sort of burden. And although I do like to help people when I can, most of the "problems" are usually self inflicted selfish issues (drama) so, that also makes reaching out more difficult.
Pretty much, people exhaust me and I hate the fact it feels like work. I get envious when I see how certain people make socializing look as easy as breathing.
I am at my happy place when I am at home and I do avoid going out unless I absolutely have to. I do have a very small close group of close friends which are all coincidentally fellow introverts, ISTP, INTJ, INFP and INSJ. Not sure if that part is even relevant, lol.

Am I making any sense to anyone?
 

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I take supplements, personally. They take the edge off.

Initially, yes, I hesitate to make eye contact because I don't want to make others feel self-conscious. If they know that I'm looking away, I've noticed that they feel more comfortable looking toward me, and after enough time passes I begin making very brief eye contact. It's very deliberate on my part. It looks like I'm not interested in the other person or people, but honestly I'm just doing my best to not make it obvious that I'm anxious and simultaneously trying to lessen the anxiety of others. Gradually, I talk a bit more and begin to make eye contact more often and I hold it longer.

It's like instead of focusing on my own anxiety, I approach others with a consideration for their comfort, because eye contact can feel intimidating for one or both people. It's even more interesting when family or a friend explains that I have anxiety or call me "shy" because then other people (even the shy ones) then worry less about their own anxiety because they're thinking about lessening mine and are making a conscious effort to not put pressure on me. It's pretty funny, actually... Everyone knowing that each of us has these insecurities is what takes the pressure off all of us.

It seems to work, so... *shrug* If I feel safe or self-confident, and when my estrogen is rising, it's easier- MUCH easier. I can relax. I emote more, I'm more expressive. I worry less about what people will think and I adjust calmly and quickly to how they react.

I also forgive myself faster and overcome embarrassment more readily. People say that first impressions are important, but I'm really not interested in forging relationships with any who are hasty to judge. Character is developed across a lifetime, so I highly doubt that a few seconds, minutes, hours, days are enough time to truly get at the heart of who someone is. Words are just words. Actions have intentions behind them and multiple interpretations. People are multi-layered. How I present myself today could very well shift, my emotional state could change, my stress level could fluctuate, and that's fine. I'm not some static version of myself that a person can expect won't ever change. It's unfair to hold myself to the expectation of always saying "the right thing". If I make mistakes, I learn from them. If I make a fool of myself, then so what?! Dust myself off, pick myself up- and keep making that effort. "Only human after all."

It's easier said than done, yeah, but I need that mantra. I need to tell myself it's not a big deal, and practice, and consciously breathe steadily throughout. I also can't do it without my supplements, they are my support.

Yeah, talking with people can be exhausting. I still don't know exactly how to tell people to leave me alone (especially not extroverts) because they tend to take it personally. It's the protective people who come to my rescue then, heh! They run interference for me.

It's easy for me to talk with other introverts who are eager to talk with someone who does most of the listening, but the especially quiet ones are tricky, because I don't want to be rude or bothersome in any way (I don't want to make them anxious, so even the thought of risking their discomfort creates anxiety for me). I'm alright with silence, but for some people that worsens their sense of inadequacy. It's a delicate balance to try to strike.

It's not weird to me at all that I don't want to be everyone's friend, which is probably because I'm enneagram type 5. Yeah, it's in my nature to observe first, not just as Introverted Sensing dominant but also as a type 5. I also don't want a lot of people to like me, simply because I'm stingy about who and what I pay attention to, who I invest my energy into, which is why it's a double edged sword for me to go out of my way to socialize. The benefits for me are mostly indirect (I make an effort to make others feel better, they feel that they're making me feel better, thus we all win), but there ARE benefits. It's not as if being social is to my detriment or just a hassle. I do think it's worth the effort.

So, even in circumstances where I make a fool of myself, if I convince myself that it helped another person in any way then I know I'll get over the feelings of being awkward, and that it was worth it. It's certainly difficult for me being ISFJ -and- type 5 -and- having social anxiety, but the ISFJ aspects are likely what save me from being a total hermit.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for sharing, with me! You make so much sense it blows me away! I can't recall ever speaking to another ISFJ, to my knowledge, yet. Haha, maybe that's why? I also enjoyed the article from the link you posted.

One thing I want to change my wording on is the whole "I want to be everyone's friend." What I mean by that is I don't like to be on anyone's bad side. I come off grouchy and reserved but, I'm seriously nice and would never wish harm or trouble, for anyone. Natural humanitarian instincts, I guess. I honestly am not interesting in ever going out of my way or seeking friendship, in general. I always had a strong belief that, that is something that will happen on it's own, if it's meant to be.... and it does, whether I like it or not lol.

I've noticed a pattern of me. I have lots of alone time (days to weeks on end), then out of nowhere, I get a tad lonely and start seeking the attention I'm looking for, but, the whole social anxiety thing comes into play if I end up out of my comfort zone, which is pretty much if I go anywhere public. After all said and done, that's when I go back to being alone. It seems the more I do this, the longer I've been staying away which is making it harder and harder to come out of my hole when I'm ready. It has pushed quite a few people away, for good throughout the years because they are under the impression I'm some ahole and explaining myself seems pointless. Everyone thinks I got my act together (because I keep my private life and problems to myself) that I get paranoid nobody believes me or I'm using it as some sort of pity excuse.... Only TWO people in this world I am okay with fully being myself without ever having to explain myself. My long time INTJ best friend and my ISTP husband. Even when I'm in my alone mood and they are around, it's just the company we seek. No words. We have chatty days, too. I can read them like a book and I a nag when I sense something is wrong but, that is off topic, my point is, I wish how naturally confident and free I feel around them is how I can become around anyone and do my own thing.

I used to be depressed but the more I've learned how my mind and personality work, the easier it's been to handle and control, which is also helping me to open up just a smidgen. I believe I'm in a happier place and going the right path. I'm at the point where I know there is no "cure" for who I am, besides acceptance and understanding. This is why I was curious if maybe the whole social thing is more of a personality problem over "mental disability".

My enneagram is 6w5. I am very new to that branch of personality and still haven't read much into it. Planning on it, though.
 

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Ohhhh, I get it. *nodding* I can understand not wanting to get on anyone's bad side. Yeah, that makes sense. How you feel while being outside of your comfort zone does, as well. I would sooner put myself in harm's way than allow others to be hurt, I definitely relate to that.

I've spent waaaay too much time in my life in my comfort zones, however. I make very slow progress, which pretty much irks everyone to some degree who knows me, nonetheless every seemingly small feat is an accomplishment to me.

I really don't know how to break through that um, a kind of a, ...a wall or emotional barrier, to have that same connection I think you've mentioned, connection that feels natural and at ease, it's not something forced or weighed down with apprehension. I just assume that when a particular type of person and I wander into each other, we'll recognize it and share the connection. Which of course makes me lazy. I've a lax attitude of shrugging my shoulders as if such things aren't made or encouraged, they simply innately exist in individuals (or don't) based on where the person is currently at in their life and personal development.

But I can't be certain of that. I mean, do particular people just, well, "click"? and they just get each other? it's just that easy?

Or do we also have the ability to nurture that kind of connection with time and emotional energy with pretty much anyone we choose to, making it something that's always possible to create and experience?

I got carried off on that tangent.

It's great to hear that what you're moving toward is a happier place. I'm proud of you for recognizing where you are, now. Every day is new.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, being noble is a natural instinct. Although, I do avoid problems and other's affairs, as much as possible, there comes times you just have to step in and my reaction is always "sigh... alright."

With my experience, I never really "clicked" with anyone, right away. I'm a skeptic so, I always watched and took things slow. Everyone always gets a clean start and benefit of the doubt but, the trust with me comes much later. In fact, my best friend and I hated each other for a while. She is an INTJ so comes off very cocky which I took the wrong way and would always come off defensive and rude right back. Only reason why we ended up developing a friendship was because we ended up getting stuck with each other, including working together and having the same mutual friends. Once we got a better understanding of each other and our limits is when we started getting along. She can be as nasty as she wants, I'm at the point where I can pick up easily when she's being serious or sarcastic. With my husband (also close friend) it also was a slow process, too but, we got along faster. I guess it really depends on the person we're interacting with, maybe? Your guess is as good as mine.

Thank you for the encouraging words! I'm glad I'm learning more about MBIT. Even if it isn't real, it makes sense to me and has changed my perspective drastically. My whole life everyone was just telling me I had ADHD because of my way of thinking. Was thrown on meds but, all that did was make me lazier and angry.... Although, yes, my mind is active, it has always been clear. I always felt there was nothing seriously wrong with me, I'm just different. I like to view my anxiety more as a personality flaw over mental illness which has made me move forward. Understanding other's personality MBIT has been helping give me a better understanding of others, as well.
 

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A lot of fun things can happen when that Extraverted iNtuition (4th for ISFJ in terms of cognitive function preference: Si, Fe, Ti, Ne) is let out to play. :)

It certainly does sound like you've a busy mind. It's understandable that anxiety could happen and pose quite a challenge. The "head triad" enneagram types (5, 6, 7) all have that challenge of not letting our thoughts, overthinking about our fears, control our life. We do a lot of thinking, and need breaks or escapes that help us to get that mental energy out into action, to bring us out of our minds and into our bodies, to help us be present, to think less and be more physically comfortable in the spaces we're in, and more physically grounded in our body, less distracted by intangible things.
 

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I tell myself in my mind that people are already my friends, or at least my friendly acquaintances. That generates a positive mindset and energy which people usually respond to very well. That response gives me positive feedback, which encourages me to be friendly to more people...it generates a feedback loop of good feelings.

Granted, this wasn't something I could pull of when I was younger, being far more unsure and anxious about myself and my social interactions.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I tell myself in my mind that people are already my friends, or at least my friendly acquaintances. That generates a positive mindset and energy which people usually respond to very well. That response gives me positive feedback, which encourages me to be friendly to more people...it generates a feedback loop of good feelings.

Granted, this wasn't something I could pull of when I was younger, being far more unsure and anxious about myself and my social interactions.
That's a hard one for me to do because I'm guilty of judging. Not the mean judging like "Oh, he's ugly. I won't talk to them." it's more of "Umm not sure if I'm getting the right vibe so I can't trust them" and back off. Although, I really should take your word and give it a shot more. I seriously am getting to the point that I fear I might possibly become agoraphobic someday if I can't get past my awkwardness...
 

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That's a hard one for me to do because I'm guilty of judging. Not the mean judging like "Oh, he's ugly. I won't talk to them." it's more of "Umm not sure if I'm getting the right vibe so I can't trust them" and back off. Although, I really should take your word and give it a shot more. I seriously am getting to the point that I fear I might possibly become agoraphobic someday if I can't get past my awkwardness...
It's funny, but I still feel awkward at times talking to people. Difference between past me and present me is this: I don't dwell on those moments and kick myself. These moments and even entire awkward conversations still happen and will happen. That's just the nature of the conversation game =)

I think we as ISFJ's worry far too much about how we come across to others and not enough about paying attention to the other person, if that makes sense. It takes time, and patience, and a bit of practice to overcome this. Let the awkward moment pass, if and when it happens. Come back again another time, or another day, and try again. Keep trying with different people. You'd be surprised how eager some people are for a friendly exchange of any kind. Be kind to yourself, and to others, focus on them not yourself, and your exchanges will eventually feel more natural and less worrisome.
 

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You make perfect sense. I've struggled with social anxiety most of my life, and it's crippling. It really is. I've often wondered since learning about cognitive functions if Fe is responsible for it, in combination with inferior Ne, as my problem is that I'm too focused (and worried) about how people see me and what they think about me. So much so that I can't be entirely comfortable in social situations. Then I go home and replay every thing I say over and over, cringing, convinced everyone thought a certain negative thing about me. I want people to like me so much. It's obviously not healthy. I think all different personality types struggle with it. But maybe we're especially prone thanks to the lovely inferior Ne.

I've found that with age and life experience my anxiety has gotten better. I still deal with it, but I've come to the point where I feel more comfortable in my own skin, and if people don't like me, I know there are plenty of people who will. I try to just tell myself that people are not judging me so harshly like I think they are. And that I only have one life, and I really don't want to waste it being afraid. I've also learned to give myself a break. Everyone can stumble and make mistakes, not just me.

Thankfully we have aux Fe....I'd probably never leave home if I didn't. But people exhaust me too. Trust me, it's a daily struggle. But hopefully it will get better. Just know you're not alone.
 

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your still lucky though. all of you were born with the natural instinict to make friends. i wasn't. i suffer from borderline symdrome because of that. and even when i knew about my personallity disorders and how to lessen them. i still fail to make friends. thats my reason why i joined the club, because i thought it would help me.
 

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your still lucky though. all of you were born with the natural instinict to make friends. i wasn't. i suffer from borderline symdrome because of that. and even when i knew about my personallity disorders and how to lessen them. i still fail to make friends. thats my reason why i joined the club, because i thought it would help me.

@naminexriku2468 We're a fairly accepting and helpful bunch so you came to the right place. Make yourself at home =)
 
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