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Hello, fellow INFPs.
-----I have always felt like there is a hidden script behind every social interaction. They say something, and then I'm not supposed to actually respond to what was said, but I am supposed to say the next line on the script. The problem is that my copy was never delivered!
-----And so I will be in a conversation and sometimes unintentionally change the whole mood--sometimes negatively--because of something I said. I said the wrong line.
-----Maybe I'm just not a good actor. Reading lines from a script seems like it would offer no comfort to anyone involved (though apparently it does). I'd rather speak from my depths with someone else's depths. Skip the facade, thank you. And if we must read from the social script, please do me two small favors. First, if I yell, "Line!" then please give me my line. Second, please mail me a script, as mine got lost in the mail.
-----How many of you out there can relate?
 

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To be honest I think that in many ways I am quite naive in social situations. I always try to be nice to people and I am honest and straightforward in my interactions. But it seems to me that for most other people, there are many unspoken social games being played and they aren't always nice. I just don't get things like that.
 

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I can relate too.

In my experience, one of the hardest (but also most rewarding) tasks lies in learning to distinguish cases when the script is wrong from cases where you are wrong. Proportions may vary depending on individuals.

Example: my inner dialogue has been shaped quite profoundly by books and music that make extensive use of blunt or harsh language. Think Bret Easton Ellis, Irvine Welsh and similar authors; think heavy metal bands with frequent reference to apocalyptic scenarios; think punk rock with pointed social criticism. I'm not a harsh person in an emotional sense AT ALL, but for some reason I do like that register, and will routinely use it in my mind. Of course this trickles down into social interactions, and it comes out as really off-script. People normally use mild words to describe difficult situations where I go for "disaster" and "atrocity" quite easily; it's meant ironically, just a figure of style really, but it comes across as the language of someone who's intrinsically violent.

Growing up, I started to learn the script by listening to others. So now I say "crisis" instead of "train wreck" whenever the situation requires it. To me it's still weird, but it's so much easier to communicate and interact by putting a little effort into learning other people's language. I wish I didn't have to do this, but I do.

On the other hand, sometimes the script is way off; it can be full of lies, or just too bland, devoid of content. In these cases, you have to recognize you are in the right, and just walk away from the set.
 

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Scripts are too much work. They have to be *written*, then *performed*. Often they are written in someone else's handwriting, the writing can be small & I'll have to squint. Then I get a headache. Then I'll yell at The Director, throw my hands up in the air and walk off the set.

Just pull down your pants and slide on the ice. It's called Improvisational Theater.
 

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Oh yeah, I'm familiar with the social script. In some social settings I'm expected to parrot the moods & verbage of everyone else & be a "team player". But sometimes my head's in a different place so I speak from there instead. And it ruffles their feathers. I used to try to figure out the script & usually couldn't. Now I don't even care. Sometimes I go way off script just to see the funny looks on their faces.
 

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I'm definitely not the star performer in this show. That's why I have a small group of close friends rather than being sorta friends with everybody. I prefer it this way, anyway. If my conversations with friends were nothing but shallow, I'd have to wonder if these people were truly my friends.
Leave it to my INFP-ness to have high standards of what would be considered a friend.
Sometimes I even wonder if my own friends are tired of me and if I should stop hanging around them and then they wonder where I've been.
Meh, I could never figure this stuff out. :frustrating:
 

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Hmph. I think I cannot relate to what you guys are saying.

I can read, talk, think, understand and translate script. :S I scan the situation and see what delivers the best results: script or improv.

Would you guys say it's a blind spot or just something you're not willing to invest in?
 
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There's value in tact. Just because something is 'authentic' doesn't make it better. Saying what you truly feel is social suicide. We can pretend all we want that authenticity is superior to set social rules, but it does not accomplish anything most of the time. Politics is everywhere. Maybe around friends we can be our true selves on occasion, but we still need to watch it. Never trust anyone too much.
 

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How boring life would be with a set script! Be happy you're without one! Improvise! Don't be boring! Just be confident, fun, and pleasant, and I'm sure your social interactions will be as positive as ever!!
-----Thanks. I usually trust my brain to simply produce a good response. I am all right with a little chitchat--as a path to something deeper and larger. But for its own sake, no thanks. Silence is preferable.
-----It's not that my social interaction skills are totally nonexistent--it's more that I can tell by some people's reactions that my response wasn't the one they were trying to elicit. Like so:
El: How're you?
Joe: Fine. How're you?
El: Fine. Weather's been good, hasn't it?
Joe: I wonder whether clouds are the Earth's thoughts.
El: Ummm. Yeaahhhhhhhh.
-----And sometimes things go terribly wrong:
El: How're you?
Joe: Fine. How're you?
El: Fine. You hear that our kids are going to Space Camp?
Joe: Awesome! Maybe they'll meet Buzz Lightyear!
El: Um. Buzz Lightyear is not a real astronaut.
Joe: It was a joke.
El: Space Camp is not a joke. I'll have you know that it is very difficult to get into Space Camp!
To be honest I think that in many ways I am quite naive in social situations. I always try to be nice to people and I am honest and straightforward in my interactions. But it seems to me that for most other people, there are many unspoken social games being played and they aren't always nice. I just don't get things like that.
-----*sighs* Me neither.
Nope, not usually. (Do any INFPs?) But I agree with @dann. Improvise! :)
-----I'll give you an example of what I mean. I actually asked, whether INFPs can relate (to not knowing the social script). Your actual answer is Nope. So I could read that as, "Nope, I don't relate to not knowing the social script." Is that what you meant? But then you ask, "Do any INFPs?" so I assume that you would assume that at least some INFPs could relate to not knowing the social script. So, I then think you might have been responding to the idea of the social script: "Do you relate to the idea that we should follow a social script?" Now, "Nope" and "Do any INFPs?" makes sense. However, I don't want to know the social script so that I can use it more (no!!!!!!!), but instead just enough so I can get through a work event (party) without weird misunderstandings. See how I am here (overanalyzing)? It's difficult to sort it out in a comfortable window of response IRL. And after that overanalyzing, now I am not sure what you really meant. I talked myself out of certainty. And now how do I respond--without certainty as to what I am responding to?
-----But of course, kyliecarefree, you really weren't being unclear--I was just reading into it--novelling into it, really.
I sorta know it, but I usually blow it in one way or another making me seem completely disconnected with the world, when I'm only semi-disconnected with the world. :confused:
-----I can relate (to what you wrote).
I can relate. Of course after you get to know someone, then they should learn to love our awkwardness uniqueness and novelty. [. . .]:tongue:
-----I can't imagine them sticking around me or me sticking around them if they didn't learn to love those awesome qualities (but it's a package deal).
I can relate too.
In my experience, one of the hardest (but also most rewarding) tasks lies in learning to distinguish cases when the script is wrong from cases where you are wrong. Proportions may vary depending on individuals.
-----Wow, so true!
Example: my inner dialogue has been shaped quite profoundly by books and music that make extensive use of blunt or harsh language. Think Bret Easton Ellis, Irvine Welsh and similar authors; think heavy metal bands with frequent reference to apocalyptic scenarios; think punk rock with pointed social criticism. I'm not a harsh person in an emotional sense AT ALL, but for some reason I do like that register, and will routinely use it in my mind. Of course this trickles down into social interactions, and it comes out as really off-script. People normally use mild words to describe difficult situations where I go for "disaster" and "atrocity" quite easily; it's meant ironically, just a figure of style really, but it comes across as the language of someone who's intrinsically violent.
Growing up, I started to learn the script by listening to others. So now I say "crisis" instead of "train wreck" whenever the situation requires it.
-----That's interesting. I wonder if our penchant for metaphor makes us more susceptible to perceived hyperbole. It's almost like we have to "emotionally dumb down" our language.
To me it's still weird, but it's so much easier to communicate and interact by putting a little effort into learning other people's language. I wish I didn't have to do this, but I do.
On the other hand, sometimes the script is way off; it can be full of lies, or just too bland, devoid of content. In these cases, you have to recognize you are in the right, and just walk away from the set.
-----Too right. And nice pitch back to the extended metaphor. Wait! I mean nice . . . commercial break segway . . . back to the show?
Scripts are too much work. They have to be *written*, then *performed*. Often they are written in someone else's handwriting, the writing can be small & I'll have to squint. Then I get a headache. Then I'll yell at The Director, throw my hands up in the air and walk off the set.
Just pull down your pants and slide on the ice. It's called Improvisational Theater.
-----*gives applause* Nice use of the extended metaphor! It's true what you and others have said about improvisation. My good ole' brain hasn't let me down, yet. It's just that walking into that situation without a script is like a stuntperson jumping a car over ten buses without first looking under the hood of the car.
I didn't miss the script, I got sent the wrong one! More often than not I'm reciting Lethal Weapon on Othello.
-----Sweet!
Iago: "But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve For daws to peck at: I am not what I am."
Roger Murtaugh: [slowly rolls his head on his neck, takes aim, and fires - his bullet goes through Iago's heart] It's just been revoked!
-----Family Guy vibe?
Oh yeah, I'm familiar with the social script. In some social settings I'm expected to parrot the moods & verbage of everyone else & be a "team player". But sometimes my head's in a different place so I speak from there instead. And it ruffles their feathers. I used to try to figure out the script & usually couldn't. Now I don't even care. Sometimes I go way off script just to see the funny looks on their faces.
-----That is a very accurate description of what I'm talking about. *laughs snortingly* But I haven't figured out how to enjoy the funny looks, yet.
I'm definitely not the star performer in this show. That's why I have a small group of close friends rather than being sorta friends with everybody. I prefer it this way, anyway. If my conversations with friends were nothing but shallow, I'd have to wonder if these people were truly my friends.
Leave it to my INFP-ness to have high standards of what would be considered a friend.
Sometimes I even wonder if my own friends are tired of me and if I should stop hanging around them and then they wonder where I've been.
Meh, I could never figure this stuff out. :frustrating:
-----I totally agree. I am that way with my close friends. The problem I have is that I've moved four times in the last ten years, so I am perpetually uprooted from my few close friends and have to start over the painstaking slow process. You have the formula correct!
Hmph. I think I cannot relate to what you guys are saying.
I can read, talk, think, understand and translate script. :S I scan the situation and see what delivers the best results: script or improv.
Would you guys say it's a blind spot or just something you're not willing to invest in?
-----Both. The pay-out seems kind of low--the "prize" for learning how to chit-chat is that you end up attracting chit-chatters. What the heck kind of prize is that? LOL. For me, it's more about just keeping the conflict level down/comfort level up long enough to disengage in an inoffensive way.
There's value in tact. Just because something is 'authentic' doesn't make it better. Saying what you truly feel is social suicide. We can pretend all we want that authenticity is superior to set social rules, but it does not accomplish anything most of the time. Politics is everywhere. Maybe around friends we can be our true selves on occasion, but we still need to watch it. Never trust anyone too much.
-----You're right. We dream about completely authentic conversation, but isn't that the surefire way for all of use to find the one thing that we really can't stand about a person who is totally wonderful besides that one thing? I suppose the price of authenticity is silence. Then maybe we're communicating that we authentically don't want to chitchat.
Thank you all for your posts!
 

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@Geoffrey Oops. I was answering the title question, not the Can you relate? thing. Which of course is yes I can relate! Although I've gotten considerably better in the recent past, mostly due to the fact that I'm encouraging the whole self-acceptance/you are fine/be your awesome self, dawg thing in myself. Hey! It turns out people aren't social obstacles to overcome, and I'm actually a pretty cool person. Who knew?
 

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Hello, fellow INFPs.
-----I have always felt like there is a hidden script behind every social interaction. They say something, and then I'm not supposed to actually respond to what was said, but I am supposed to say the next line on the script. The problem is that my copy was never delivered!
Yeah, I get that every day too. People will say "Hey, how's it going?" and I know that they don't actually want to know how it's going so I'll just say "Hello" back to them and disregard the other part of their statement. No one seems to care.

-----And so I will be in a conversation and sometimes unintentionally change the whole mood--sometimes negatively--because of something I said. I said the wrong line.
Yeah, I have made the mistake of honestly answering the questions before too and the other person seemed surprised and just wanted to leave.

-----Maybe I'm just not a good actor. Reading lines from a script seems like it would offer no comfort to anyone involved (though apparently it does). I'd rather speak from my depths with someone else's depths. Skip the facade, thank you. And if we must read from the social script, please do me two small favors. First, if I yell, "Line!" then please give me my line. Second, please mail me a script, as mine got lost in the mail.
-----How many of you out there can relate?
Yeah, I can definitely relate. I don't want a script though, I'd rather not participate in meaningless salutations. Hand shakes are another peeve of mine. The touching is just... I don't like it, and some people seem to think it's a contest of who can break the other persons hand first.

-sigh-
 

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Discussion Starter #18
@Geoffrey Oops. I was answering the title question, not the Can you relate? thing. Which of course is yes I can relate! Although I've gotten considerably better in the recent past, mostly due to the fact that I'm encouraging the whole self-acceptance/you are fine/be your awesome self, dawg thing in myself. Hey! It turns out people aren't social obstacles to overcome, and I'm actually a pretty cool person. Who knew?
-----I knew. And a whole bunch of other people, here, knew, too! And I'm sure a whole bunch of people out "there" knew, too. But I get your meaning. I appreciate your inspiration. Actually, what I am doing now is getting together with other NFs (and NTs, too). There's a depth there unparalleled in my personal history. Last time, I think there were three other INFPs (and other NFs, too!). So, depending on what statistics you buy into (I think 50%, 34%, 8%, 8%), normally there'd have to be 200 people to get 4 INFPs in the same place!
-----So, you're telling me that after all that analysis, I still didn't guess right? LOL. Oh well. I guess that's why conversation is a back-and-forth. But around here, I like the back-and-forth.
 

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I agree with RoyA. Being "authentic" or completely honest all the time is actually not to your benefit. For a long time during my earlier youth (I'm still young...) I tried to "keep it real" by being as honest as possible, and ultimately learned the hard way that I was really hurting myself. But more than that, you inadvertently hurt a lot of people whose intentions you misinterpret. Being tactful is the best way to go about most situations, and occasionally you have to wear a fake grin (like in front of the Boss Man or Boss Lady).

But to answer the question more directly, I do think I know the social script. It's just that once in a while I act stupid and see where it takes me. Most of the time it gets me weird looks. Rarely I get a positive response from a like-minded person, but remember, this is unusual. The only thing I can conclude is that most people really, really love social scripts, the straight and narrow, and will crucify you for stepping off the path.
 

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*nods at the first post* I don't do small talk either. It's like how you're basically expected to say "Fine" when asked how you're doing. People don't ask because they care; it's because they're expected to ask.

It reminds me of the awkward conversations in foreign language classes. They always start with those meaningless pleasantries, no matter how inappropriate it is for the conversation, because no one knows what else to say.

I don't know what the point of it all is. I guess so people always have things to say to each other instead of standing around in an awkward silence. Generally a waste of time in my book.

...I have trouble talking to people outside of "themed" situations, where there's a common subject at hand.
 
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