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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've always hear people asking the same question over and over again: "How come it's so difficult to get to know them?"

Now, here's purely based on my own experience as an INFJ and may not represent the entire tribe of INFJs in particular.

Honestly, I do feel that I find it quite difficult for letting people close. I don't like Facebook because there are certain information which I wouldn't mind to share with a few close individuals, but sometimes when my Fe got carried away I usually regretted about posting/revealing emotional issues. Perhaps that's why I tend to hibernate every once in a while by deactivating my account every now and then on FB.

For me, personally, I often felt that the majority of people often misunderstood me when I reveal a small grain of my most private thought and that turn out the majority of them couldn't handle, nor show adequate amount of wavelength to offer a mutual understanding on the issue (or perhaps just some random thoughts)--which leads me to disappointments. At the same time, I felt it's better not to let someone stepping in to my inner world for the sake of saving them from awkward embarrassment of not knowing what to contribute in the first place.

The reason why I think most INFJs seem to be cold to new comers have to do with the stage of implementation of your character (as it's quite obvious trait for most judgers). Our Ni-dom helps to pick up all the new information which helps to judge your character, even though we tend to pick a few important, but big cues (unlike Ne-dom users who pick up for various smaller cues for central data processing). Though it is true that our Ni-Fe usually try to connect the dots with a few key data as compare to Ne-Fi users, we try not to jump into conclusion (at least in my case) by observing and analyzing with our Ti for a longer period of time--a way for us to double-check with our accuracy on judging/reading people. Just like our NF cousins (particularly ENFPs), we want to check for authenticity of who you are first and then deciding upon if we should invest our time on you emotionally or even platonically.

When it comes to relationship commitment, even in the form of pure friendship, can be quite heavy for us. Most INFJs devoted their time to help those who got a permanent key to our sanctuary has to do with responsibility. I bet it's quite common for most INFJs to realize the frustration of needy friends who constantly need to spat their hearts out whenever they needed to borrow our patience ears, while we ignore our needs by sacrificing our time by putting those who are close to us in top priority. Thus, most INFJs realized how time consuming this can be if we're not careful by screening potential friends in and out. On top of this, since we literally live in our heads most of the time as a form of escapism, or whenever we need our breaks from the physical world, most INFJs realized having too much commitments can really stress us out to no end.

On the contrary, I assume most INFJs do want to be close to people because it only takes a loner to realize how difficult it is for introverted feelers (as compare to introverted thinkers) to compensate our emptiness with alone time. It does seem like a double-edge sword at this point because on one end we are desperate of wanting people who are dearest to us to understand us (once you've been approved to our rich inner-world); yet there is a fear of rejection or disinterest if we let you in to our cosmic world. Perhaps this might have to do with how most INFJs take past failed relationship seriously that have to do with misunderstanding. Letting someone in to our core means a huge risk, if not threat to us. If you ever paid close attention to how easily INFJs might get hurt from hardcore Te consultation, you'll know that there's always a constant fear of trusting someone too soon among INFJs.

When a person rejects an INFJ after being close to them, it's not merely a rejection of a doomed relationship but I think most INFJs would take it as a rejection of their core, which can take an awful lengthy period of time for us to recover. This is why we are often on high-alert of not letting people in too easily and would rather let time to put our faith into test by checking past and present patterns of consistency, as INFJ takes verbal declarations and promises as a sign of trust and respect. This can be quite challenging for Perceivers as they are more capable of changing their thoughts and claims, either intentionally or non-intentionally.

Due to our Fe-Aux, we constantly put on masks for the sake of social harmony. So when an INFJ wants to leave early during a huge gathering, it doesn't necessary mean that s/he is a party-pooper but we often felt exhausted in large gathering settings. It may not be a sign that we didn't want to be around with you, even if we have a special place of you in our hearts. Generally speaking, it takes too much energy for us to observe people, filter and analyze everything we experience all at once. So if you're really genuine about opening up our hearts, you will have to invest more personal and quality time with us one-on-one privately. This way, we'll be able to understand you better as we're often most curious of people who we like best. If you ever experienced a multi-topic conversations with an INFJ within an hour, consider that as a good sign because that shows we are truly comfortable with you.

Another important remark about the whole controversy of doorslam trademark of INFJ: It doesn't necessary mean that we are heartless creatures, but it has more to do with the excessive amount of pains and disappointments that can torture our souls from others. Perhaps it might have to do with we tend to care too much for those who we decided to let them to walk in to our core, but that's really the reason why we don't let people in readily at all by building invisible wall around us.

As a result, if you really want your INFJ to open up to you, it does take an incredible amount of patience and perseverance. You have to take it slowly into investing yourself of breaking the invisible wall barrier because most INFJs tend to be suspicious of people's genuine interests toward them in the beginning. Once when they finally open the doors of acceptance, it is actually a great indication of earning your trustworthiness as our Ni-Ti tend to pick up all the past record of our interactions with you--and trust me, those are hard-earned points.

So when that moment comes, you'll finally enjoy the rich, inner-private world from us. Perhaps that's when we can be a little clingy sometimes--not due to dependency, but because that's the moment when we consider you to play a huge role in our lives. It's basically a sign of successfully peeling off multiple layers and that you have finally pass quite a few tests before we want to tip my hand emotionally to them.

Also, I hope people won't take it too personally when we don't open up because we can only take a handful of super-close intimates. Becoming close friends with an INFJ is certainly hard work, but I can reassure you that it's definitely worth the wait because we pour ourselves heart and soul into committed relationships, and those could be pretty intense experience for better or worse.


Edit: I would like to hear how other INFJs deal with the issue of keeping people guarded for the sake of self-protection. Please share your views on this matter. :)
 

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I agree overall with your assessment.

Ni is a system-building function, which combined with immature Fe, constantly tries to build systems of ethics and values and apply them.

However, Ni-Fe ethics often clash with the norm. To live by a value and have that value clash with or be mocked by mainstream culture causes pain and embarrassment, which teaches the INFJ to hide their values to most people.

I make a conscious effort to share my values and passions with those I love, though admittedly, it takes effort and I often leave my loved ones in the dark.
 

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I absolutely agree with you.

I'm very secretive when it comes to myself even my family basically know nothing about me, but that's mainly because i don't want to be mistreated or insulted for being myself. So i kinda just stay within myself as i would rather be alone than lonely. It's also due to the fact that most of the people I've been friends with have been backstabbers and i have heard them taking the piss out of me and it's hurtful to know what someone you consider to be your friend actually thinks of you.
 

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I am not so great at expressing myself as you did, but if I could, I would have said something similar.
I agree with you
 

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Maybe it's just me.. I am not difficult to get know. As long as I like you.. What's difficult is finding people worth opening for.

I implore all INFJs to stop punishing themselves for the shortcomings of others. You are not the one who doesn't get it. You are not the alien. People can be barbaric. INFJs are The Human Beings.
If you are an INFJ.. You cannot not be civilized. You have to lower yourself to their level sometimes and at first it's horrifying.. But once you relent a little, you should pleasantly discover that people are all charming and intelligent in their own ways and sometimes you might have to rise to their level and that's OK because then you can learn something.... The only problem is the animals who have learned how to talk and dress themselves. They are everywhere.
How is any of that YOUR fault??

Think about this.. Objectively if you can.. If we needed to send someone to make first contact with an alien .. Wouldn't you pick an INFJ?
 

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Edit: I would like to hear how other INFJs deal with the issue of keeping people guarded for the sake of self-protection. Please share your views on this matter. :)
I seem guarded but to any direct questions, even personal, I usually give the best, most honest answer I can. I only filter what I say, if I think it's important that I not hurt someone. I don't really care if people reject my ideas because I base them on the sturdiest principles and logic I can find. If I'm wrong, I'd like to hear why I'm wrong, and then I'll probably come back with why they're wrong.

As for my playful emotional side, I suppose that's the only bit of me that I stash away. I can't bring it out if I want to. It has to be drawn out by other people. I just consider it a bit of fluff on top of what my core personality is. Even when I muster it, it dissappears just as quickly as it arrives. Yet in some ways it's rather amazing because it shocks people when I bring it out... even shocks myself. I'm normally borderline schizoid, but I can instantly morph into this highly social person on the rarest of occassions.

I'd also just like to comment on this idea that we have this really deep side to us. I believe we over-emphasize this and over-think it. Sure it's deeper than a lot of people but it's kind of irrellavent in every-day life because people are only going to interact with what they're presented with. Few people muddle around looking for people to pick apart, so they can figure out their inner workings... and from my experience, beware the people who try such a thing, they're no good.

It's the wrong attitude to have, "If only they slowly earned our trust and got to know us!" That's just a recipe for disaster and will only work if you're attractive.
 

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I'm just at the point in my life where I'm pretty much aware of who my friends are and who's just acquaintances; in terms of acquaintances, I get a sense of who I would like to reel in as closer friends and who I wouldn't. I think of people in those terms and by those terms I gauge out how much I'd want to share with any given person. I also base what I want to share with what interests the other person, but then again, my closest friends are usually people with whom I share enough common interests to keep conversations going.

Sometimes with acquaintances I give off the appearance that I'm really really open, because when I do they don't inquire much further because they believe they know me so well. I find a lot of times people tend to think they know me until they really get to know me, then sometimes, they realize they didn't know me all that much at all. I need a lot of assurance in my closer friends too that they're worthy of my trust because I share just about everything with my closer friends, because I know I need someone to whom I can confide in extrovert all these thoughts feelings, and ideas that run around in my mind or I'll feel too lost within myself, so I'm cautious about who I trust.
 

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I have lost all my close friends and have no one to talk to.
I know this feeling of self guard so much.
Losing trust in those you thought you could share it all with makes this wall the more difficult to penetrate.
Its like every layer you pulled down for them doubles for anyone else who tried to get to know you.

Twitch
 

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I always viewed our sensitivity as a weakness and yet the driving force behind our highly intuitive minds. Our ability to scan people seems to come from our natural defense to protect ourselves from rejection. This could be related to our perfectionism. You only get one chance with people. Failure is not an option. It's quite interesting really.

I implore all INFJs to stop punishing themselves for the shortcomings of others.
I don't think it's the shortcomings of others that bothers most of us. It's our own shortcomings.

Thanks you Misha. Very informative post.
 

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I am a highly guarded person. If I get bad vibes from someone , I won't assume they really are one, I just keep immense distance from them. If I meet someone that I don't feel iffy about I still am very hidden. I will talk about a lot of subjects, but if someone really tried to analyze the relationship they will soon realize not ONCE have I ever revealed any personal information. And when someone tries to get it out of me I get really upset, and then I feel hurt when they consider me a "prude". If you aren't worthy of my true self then you won't hear anything..and there's not much I can do about it. It's a natural defense mechanism . Also, once someone hurts me after they got to see my real self, I feel like I'm being stabbed in the heart over and over again.

Usually people don't like how closed off I am, and once I finally muster up the courage to be closer to them they find it hard to believe that I'm telling the truth. T_T Its very frustrating.
 

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I always viewed our sensitivity as a weakness and yet the driving force behind our highly intuitive minds. Our ability to scan people seems to come from our natural defense to protect ourselves from rejection. This could be related to our perfectionism. You only get one chance with people. Failure is not an option. It's quite interesting really.



I don't think it's the shortcomings of others that bothers most of us. It's our own shortcomings.

Thanks you Misha. Very informative post.
I am glad you can think for yourself. I see a problem with people's self esteems around here. I am offering them an alternative point of view. Not sure what your point is after that.
It's entirely possible I know something about the pitfall of INFJ's feeling sorry for themselves.
Perhaps you think it's better to wallow in self pity?
 

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I have lost all my close friends and have no one to talk to.
I know this feeling of self guard so much.
Losing trust in those you thought you could share it all with makes this wall the more difficult to penetrate.
Its like every layer you pulled down for them doubles for anyone else who tried to get to know you.

Twitch
Unfortunately, I am in the same boat.
 

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I am glad you can think for yourself. I see a problem with people's self esteems around here. I am offering them an alternative point of view. Not sure what your point is after that.
It's entirely possible I know something about the pitfall of INFJ's feeling sorry for themselves.
Perhaps you think it's better to wallow in self pity?
Sure, your alternative point of view is great. Maybe we should stop being so hard on ourselves. Unfortunately saying it does little for me. I cannot just say that the shortcomings of others is why my relationship or friendship failed. I start with myself and sure enough I end up finding over 100 reasons how I contributed to the downfall of my relationships. The process may seem unhealthy but the end result is quite amazing. You learn how to understand and adapt to people as you meet them. You open your mind and you become more aware of your own behavior and learn to fix the issues that you have within yourself.

I don't think its healthy to wallow is self-pity but I don't think its healthy to deny that I may be responsible in some way for my failed relationships. Some people may take it further then I ever have and beat themselves into submission. At some point we just need to learn to forgive ourselves. We all do eventually.

I didn't mean to speak for anyone else in my previous post. I just figured most INFJ's may relate.
 

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Sure, your alternative point of view is great. Maybe we should stop being so hard on ourselves. Unfortunately saying it does little for me. I cannot just say that the shortcomings of others is why my relationship or friendship failed. I start with myself and sure enough I end up finding over 100 reasons how I contributed to the downfall of my relationships. The process may seem unhealthy but the end result is quite amazing. You learn how to understand and adapt to people as you meet them. You open your mind and you become more aware of your own behavior and learn to fix the issues that you have within yourself.

I don't think its healthy to wallow is self-pity but I don't think its healthy to deny that I may be responsible for in some way for my failed relationships. Some people may take it further then I ever have and beat themselves into submission. These people need to learn to forgive themselves and move on.

I didn't mean to speak for anyone else in my previous post. I just figured most INFJ's may relate.
You are preaching to the choir.. :)
I am quite fond of saying "Wear your regrets with pride.. They remind you of you who are not and how not to behave"

The key for EVERY INFJ is forgiveness. This begins by letting go of the concept of perfection. Once you accept that mistakes are just part of the package you will discover true compassion. For others, and more importantly for yourself.

BTW.. I live in Ottawa as well.
 

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You are preaching to the choir.. :)
I am quite fond of saying "Wear your regrets with pride.. They remind you of you who are not and how not to behave"

The key for EVERY INFJ is forgiveness. This begins by letting go of the concept of perfection. Once you accept that mistakes are just part of the package you will discover true compassion. For others, and more importantly for yourself.
Perhaps I am preaching to the choir. If that is the case then you know that simply saying forgive yourself is not an easy concept to grasp. I can forgive myself when I have learned to own up to my mistakes and have taken the time to make them right. Sometimes that may require me to change a part of who I am.

If you can go through life wearing your regrets with pride and being compassionate of others and yourself then know that I find that to be an admirable trait. I just don't know if that kind of mentality will get me where I need to be.

BTW.. I live in Ottawa as well.
Small world we live in...
 

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Perhaps I am preaching to the choir. If that is the case then you know that simply saying forgive yourself is not an easy concept to grasp. I can forgive myself when I have learned to own up to my mistakes and have taken the time to make them right. Sometimes that may require me to change a part of who I am.

If you can go through life wearing your regrets with pride and being compassionate of others and yourself then know that I find that to be an admirable trait. I just don't know if that kind of mentality will get me where I need to be.



Small world we live in...
Life is ultimately what you make of it. Conquering yourself is easy once you stop lying to yourself.
You are right.. It requires a serious shift in perception.. Perhaps once you have more life behind you than ahead of you.
 

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Conquering yourself is easy once you stop lying to yourself.
It would be nice if you could express some of those wise words into ways that could be practiced and clarify the pros of your mentality. Simply saying something insightful does not make it practical nor right. All I can perceive from what you are saying is that you have mastered the ability to put your mistakes and problems behind you. How far does that get you? Do those problems come back to haunt you or have you simply grown immune to giving a **** about them? Or is it that you are content and happy with your life that you do not see a purpose for change?

I do not believe in conquering ones self and if such a notion existed it should not be easy by any standards. The only way I could be perceived as lying to myself is that I am trying to be something I am not. If I am not happy with who I am, am I supposed to just forgive myself and accept this is who I will always be?

Limiting our minds and telling ourselves that we can't change who we are is the ultimate lie.

If I missed any details or misinterpreted anything the wrong way then I am sorry Arclight. This is only my perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
First of all, thank you to all of you who shared your thoughts about this topic. I really appreciate it.

Btmangan said:
Ni is a system-building function, which combined with immature Fe, constantly tries to build systems of ethics and values and apply them.

However, Ni-Fe ethics often clash with the norm. To live by a value and have that value clash with or be mocked by mainstream culture causes pain and embarrassment, which teaches the INFJ to hide their values to most people.
Well-said, @Btmangan. This reminds me of people who thought my views of the world may seem too ideal or even naive--though most people didn't realize that the high ideals within our visions are what set us apart from conventional viewers of the world. I often find my Ni-Fe visions or ethics are the driving force of overcoming most obstacles of helping others to achieve a certain goal. Its power is often undermined by those who have fairly realistic approach of solving problems that requires a much higher complexity of thinking process. And that's the area which I felt I often excel in others when it comes to empowerment or lifting people's spirits.

I make a conscious effort to share my values and passions with those I love, though admittedly, it takes effort and I often leave my loved ones in the dark.
This is exactly why I chose not to share my inner-world with an easy access to those who are unprepared for it. I noticed one common feature among INFJs vision is usually pessimistically-driven. The ideology of perfectionism often derived from the fact that INFJ's intolerance of failure, and to think that guiding those who are dearest to us with a risk of failure can be a painful journey for our own emotions. Perhaps that is why, at least in my case, often try to show the worst-case scenario to others and to unveil the dark side of humanity in the sense from the real world so that they can at least prepare for it--especially when things really didn't work out as the way we wanted.

I'm not sure if I'm too far off here based on my interpretation of your input here, but that's how I operate internally and thus I try to limit myself to form a deeper connection with others--unless I've gained confidence from them after a long observation/intimate interaction with them on a personal and private level.

Cabbie said:
I'm very secretive when it comes to myself even my family basically know nothing about me, but that's mainly because i don't want to be mistreated or insulted for being myself. So i kinda just stay within myself as i would rather be alone than lonely. It's also due to the fact that most of the people I've been friends with have been backstabbers and i have heard them taking the piss out of me and it's hurtful to know what someone you consider to be your friend actually thinks of you.
This is what I meant by the fear of rejection to our core being. INFJs are often mistreated and misunderstood by others because we have a very different pathways of expressing our deep thoughts. In one occassion, one of my best friend commented on how she thought I'm an alien (no exaggeration here) from another planet because she just couldn't understand why I tend to feel so overwhelmed by the most trivial things such as being extremely empathetic of the weak and powerless.

Usually due to our genuine desire to help others, or our great ability to channel ourselves through the act of empathy, we tend to over-extend ourselves even to the point when we can envision all the possible negative outcomes of being selfless contributors. There were many occassions where I felt being manipulated and taking advantage of our generosity, but most of the time I do offer the other person a benefit of doubts and just hoping that it would be another phrase of reading too much informations (aka paranoia). So I can imagine how devastating it must had been for you to put your trust on someone entirely to the end and then found out being backstabbed mercilessly.

Every failed relationship would just make INFJs more guarded and paranoid about people's intent, and we tend to do this by adding a few extra shields of layers to protect us further. It is true that we tend to mature faster from bad consequences, but we also become less optimistic about human nature to begin with. This is why INFJs are very conscious of not revealing too much private informations about themselves which can backfire them when things fall apart in the end.

Even I also thought the issue of trusting others isn't really a big deterrence for most INFJs but it's more of the self-blame of not trusting our own intutions when we're not ready to develop a closer bond with others. It is this fear of sinking in to our Ni-Ti loops when we know exactly well how painful it is for us to fall into a Ni-Ti pit hole. Thus it only further deepen our pledge of guarding ourselves all the time before we put our trusts toward someone once we are convinced that they are worthy enough for us to take a chance on them.

Thanks @Gabby for sharing this.

Arclight said:
Maybe it's just me.. I am not difficult to get to know. As long as I like you.. What's difficult is finding people worth opening for.
I absolutely agree with you here. I always felt that it does require much lengthy amount of time to figure out INTJ and INTP's inner-world. But comparatively speaking, I consider the issue about intimacy with INFJ has to do with our own pickiness of choosing, if not waiting, for the perfect candidate to opening up our sacred heart only to a few special ones.

I also wonder if this is a common trait among INFJs. In my experience, I realized that I'm strongly attracted to the hidden darkness from others, especially when they didn't intend to share those experiences but just happened to explore such sentiments through heart-to-heart discussion or consultation. It almost felt that most INFJs do have a soft spot to those who had gone through a lot in life, and it's easier to bond with them if we can empathize by sharing similar life experierences.



I will come back to respond a few posts shortly after.


 

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It would be nice if you could express some of those wise words into ways that could be practiced and clarify the pros of your mentality. Simply saying something insightful does not make it practical nor right. All I can perceive from what you are saying is that you have mastered the ability to put your mistakes and problems behind you. How far does that get you? Do those problems come back to haunt you or have you simply grown immune to giving a **** about them? Or is it that you are content and happy with your life that you do not see a purpose for change?

I do not believe in conquering ones self and if such a notion existed it should not be easy by any standards. The only way I could be perceived as lying to myself is that I am trying to be something I am not. If I am not happy with who I am, am I supposed to just forgive myself and accept this is who I will always be?

Limiting our minds and telling ourselves that we can't change who we are is the ultimate lie.

If I missed any details or misinterpreted anything the wrong way then I am sorry Arclight. This is only my perspective.
Well I am certainly not suggesting you remain static. I guess removing the obstacles is just more easy for me.
It's not because I stopped giving a ****.. It's because I learned to give a **** about what matters.
An Ni mind never stays stuck for too long. It's nature is to synthesize and see the bigger picture.
Self acceptance is freedom and it nurtures growth.. It does not stunt it.. it just puts things into perspective in regard to the bigger picture. You are not perfect and never will be. Neither is anybody or anything else. The picture can't get any bigger than that.. That doesn't mean stop trying and that is not what I am saying.
I no longer remember how this conversation got started. But it has digressed into something that is maybe best left as is.

I don't know have any "concrete advice" on how to gets one's head out their behind.. sorry. I just nudge.. The rest is up to everyone else.
 
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