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Question from an INFJ...

Do INFP's hide their "true selves" from the world, in an attempt to be more "normal" or fit societal norms?? Be "the cool kid"? :ninja:

I always felt like my INFP man was only giving me pieces of the real him. Just the pieces that he was certain I would accept, typically those that were "cool" or "normal". I knew there was more to him then what I was getting, but I waited it out and just loved on him.

*Almost* to the point where he was giving me half-truths, where the truth part would have made him appear less "cool".

And it dawned on my yesterday, that at some point in the last couple of months, I "broke in" to his real self. Which is NOTHING like the him he presents to the world on a day-to-day basis.

I'd say 98% of people out there see him one way, as this cool, extroverted, party-loving, punky, hardrock loving, horror movie watching, slur using badboy, and then I come home to this affectionate, introverted, homebody, family-oriented, caring, selfless, deep thinking, soft-hearted man, who is the POLAR opposite of that other him.

And it's the same way when we're together in public. Drinking, swearing, trouble making, and then sneaking an affectionate hand caress, kiss atop the head, long hug, when no one is watching.

Why does the INFP not let the world see who they really are? When the real them is so incredible?! I actually thought we were horribly matched at first because of how different we are, until I slowly got to really know him (and it was this "feeling" that there was something more, something better hidden that kept me around).

Weirder yet, I'm finding that his ex's all dated this "other" him then the one I'm dating...that he'd date in this facade and use the half-truths to continue his "geeky" life...only to break up after a year when he got tired of being who they wanted him to be and wanted his real life back. He told me once that he never imagined he'd find someone who loved his geeky self. Funny, because all those ex's were society's version of "cool": gorgeous non-intellects who always had perfect hair and makeup and designer dogs while living in trendy apartments and club hopping their Friday nights while sipping pink martinis.

...which always makes me feel inadequate, as this "cool" boy is dating a geeky, quiet, introverted, shy tomgirl who shows up without makeup, forgets to comb her hair and snuggles her stuffed animals in her puppy-filled apartment.

I'm not "cool" enough for the him he shows the world, but I'm perfect for the him he hides. :blushed:

How is it not exhausting? And why can't you be you, all the time??

And how long does it take to get 100% of the real you? Even after a year, I *know* there's pieces of him he won't let me access. His deepest dreams, his hopes for the future, his fears, things he *really* worries about...just little snippets here and there that remind me that I only have 90% of him.

...I kinda want it all. Can't imagine being more in love or loved by anyone as I am by my INFP. :sad: And then I worry that maybe *I'm* the one with the facade version??
 

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Do INFP's hide their "true selves" from the world, in an attempt to be more "normal" or fit societal norms?? Be "the cool kid"? :ninja:
Isn't that what Fe users do all the time? :tongue:

But anyway, there's been some recent discussion about what the INFP chooses to show because Fi only shows what it wants to show and Fe is like the other way round so it may be that your Fe expectations are not being met. There's also been discussion here about the duality that many INFP's have experienced, it's not fake, it's just that when we are in that positive mode then we become that and then when we turn to the darkness, we also embody that too, for example, it's not often that im in both places at the same time.

The best thing I can say right now is to allow your INFP to have room to be himself rather than project your feelings onto them, it doesn't work and will probably leave him feeling disrespected, accept these 2 opposing sides as a part of him, neither is necessarily false(I say that because I don't know him and all INFP's are still individuals), it's just him expressing his complexity.
 

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Maybe he just plain doesn't feel safe or does want to fit in, or hasn't found people he can really be himself with (you aside)?

I mean, I know I hide lots of parts of myself - appearing aloof, curious, withdrawn, and quiet in public, but not showing other portions that might case trouble or worsen my situation, and even then it's walking a tightrope with the shown persona. It takes time and other things to just feel comfortable enough to show those other parts to people, and like you say, it's a matter of safety. If the people he's hanging around are using slurs, etc, what would they say if he showed that soft-hearted side? I'm guessing they'd probably drift away slowly or think he's different and dislike it for him. Maybe he doesn't feel confident enough to let that side of him show?

I mean, look at what you said:

He told me once that he never imagined he'd find someone who loved his geeky self.
If he doesn't believe he'll find someone that accepts that, then why show it on the off-chance someone will? For example, if he has a negative Weltanschauung (world-view), it'd make sense for him to think he'd be hurt if he did show the real him, so would hide it. I'd be willing to bet that since you've let that side show, and not run away from it he'd be really happy and appreciative of it and will find some way of letting you know that...

As for exhaustion, no it's not exhausting, really. Most of it is automatic, tbh. As @mushr00m said - it's not necessarily false, just 2 sides of a spectrum trying to find an equilibrium. As far as how long, goes, really you'd have to ask him that - that answer really will be unique to him...

Note also that in this response I don't treat it as being literally 2-faced in the cruel, insidious sense.
 

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I'm a little distracted right now so I don't have a long and well-thought-out reply for you but INFPs are famous for hiding themselves. I thought all NFs did this. You can know an INFP for years and know them better than when you started but still not know them; you can peel off 100 layers and still have a pretty big onion left. We don't show people the centre because INFPs are reserved, shy, scared of loud noises, and most of all are scared of hurt. That true inner self is as delicate as a butterfly in a hurricane; would you, as said metaphorical butterfly, throw yourself into the centre of a tornado? That's why we hide ourselves.

Your INFP seems a little extreme and unhealthy in those tendencies, perhaps. He seems insecure in himself, particularly scared of rejection (we're insecure as fuck, remember, even most of the healthy ones aren't great with this) and so seeks to present only what he's somewhat sure you'll react positively to. He sounds particularly worried about what others think of him compared to many of the INFPs here; I doubt he's entirely at peace with his outer self (not to judge) but his behaviour isn't exactly unusual or atypical.

That's what he showed everyone else: congratulations, you've peeled off a pretty big layer. You're probably closer to him than possibly any other human being before, or at least very few others. The outer him may have totally different societal wants and reactions than inner him, but guess which matters more? You said it yourself. It's a facade. If he's let you in and shows you his inside love, then hell, make him yours forever.

Yeah, layers is what we do. Often people in relationships with INFPs speak of having 'broken through' or something of that meaning. You still have more layers, the fun is sitting up late at night with a potato peeler.
(Don't take that too literally, most types react badly to being actually peeled)
Go give him a hug or something.
 

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Wait what?

Isn't the outer self the "real" him too?

I mean, if I behave outwardly like that for so long, I'd so much get into the habit of it that it would come pretty naturally to me.

Well I can see if what you mean by the "real" him is the different side of him that not many other people know about, but I think most people are like that. The deeper your relationship is with someone, the more you know about them, so good for you!

Sorry if I'm totally missing your point, and if he really was consciously pretending. I just don't really understand this. I don't know if many other INFPs are like this too, but I'm not two-faced, but more like ten-faced or something. I behave differently depending on circumstance/the person I'm with. I also don't talk about things when I feel that it's just not going to flow nicely with the person I'm talking to. But I don't think it's "inauthentic". It's just natural to adapt to situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I should probably say, that the "two face" title was to draw attention :blushed: Not meant in the negative way it can be misconstrued.

Reading the responses, I think it's helping to see the notion that he's more multifaceted then he acts, and I guess to me it's strange to think as Fcisci says, that you behave as is appropriate to the group...probably because INFJ me just vacates or says nothing in these scenarios!

It's interesting to perceive that he's not not being himself in these scenarios, just a different side of himself. My personality is not so multifaceted, so it's a strange view to see.

Love him for it though. Don't doubt that for a second.
 

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It's interesting to perceive that he's not not being himself in these scenarios, just a different side of himself. My personality is not so multifaceted, so it's a strange view to see.

Love him for it though. Don't doubt that for a second.
At least it will be full of surprises :wink:
 

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We are onions. We have many layers but we can also make you cry. :laughing:

Sorry thats just my twisted humor. But you will have to accept both sides. The thing about INFP's is that most of them are forced to develop another side of themselves to fit in. This doesn't necessarily mean its not his real self just another aspect and is in many ways a part of his personality as a whole.

Both sides are as real as they get, my outer shell for example is that of cold indifference like an icecube that does not melt basically, and my inner self is more squishy pulp of love and affection. Two halves of the same whole in a way. And both sides are very much interchangeable in that regard. That being said I really don't like looking at it in a way of only two sides because I can be quite a lot of things at once as well.

As far as wanting to get to know a 100% of him. Never try and force it out, let him be the one to always open up.

Personally I think you have nothing to worry about. He clearly trusts you a lot as evident from him showing you his other side.
Which is me basically saying go have fun with it :wink:
 

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OP doesn't sound like an INFP to me. ESFP perhaps? That's how I'd type the person you've described. ESFPs can be surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) "deep". It's the Fi. And it's not any more the authentic than the Se side, it's just another side.

People are layered, complex, multi-facted, and these different aspects come out in different contexts. I don't think it's hiding anything necessarily so much as shifting into a side that feels most natural in that context. I know, this is likely Pe stuff that will blow a Pi-dom's mind. It's the flexibility and adaptability of the Pe mindset. I guess what is surprising is the internal consistency of Fi. If you know the inner standard, then you see the consistency in the outer behavior also (as much as can be expected from any flawed human).
 
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That's not INFP behavior at all.

That's every human on this planet.
I'm on board with this.

I don't know many people who care so little about other's opinion that they feel no shame in being vulnerable enough to be their complete selves in public settings.
Those who do appeal more to themselves than the group tend to endure a kind of marginalization. Think of the things that you only share with your best of friends or lover. Would you share all of these to any person whom you meet on the street. Of course you wouldn't as they're not invested in you and you don't know how they'll react. Not everyone deserves every aspect of an individual as they don't prove themselves respectful nor caring enough to be allowed to experience it.

But I can imagine this with men where around friends there is a set standard of behaviour. It's why for some girls at high school they'd get close with a boy and he'd be a real charmer but around his friends he was just as silly as them perhaps even disregarding the girl's presence. He's sharing a sweet side of himself reserved for you.
 

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I wouldn't say that I hide my true self, it's more than I reveal and conceal aspects and observations of myself and others depending on who or how I'm interacting with them. In some respects, it's finding a consistent presentation of my self to people. For the most part, it's revealing parts of myself as necessary to maintain a stable relationship. I don't normally make any active attempts at concealing parts of myself, but when I do usually it's only if there's been a negative reaction to whatever aspect I happen to be concealing. Even still there are times when I'm uncertain if I should reveal something about myself unprompted often times because I'm uncertain if it'd be misconstrued (the irony of it is that I don't mind when someone shares unprompted).

I pretty much have one face per social group I'm in, and there are some subgroups see more of me than the larger group (e.g. people I work closely with vs people I occasionally work with vs people I rarely work with). In the extremely rare occasions they do mix, I tend to only reveal the intersection of the two groups. Probably numerous more for people I've just had to interact with once.

It's exhausting, the only time stress enters into it is when I'm deciding whether or not to reveal something unprompted. There are times when I can have fun with only showing parts of myself... I (probably wrongly) tend to assume that people are aware that I'm not showing everything there is about me, so when people put me in a box and assume that what I've revealed about myself is all there is about me, I may very well take their limitations as a challenge and play in the sandbox they've give me. The sandbox, though, is just limit on the aspects that I manifest, it doesn't limit who truly I am. Of course I can also just as well take their box and bounce around the fringes ever so slowly increasing the size of it.

I've spent a lot of time considering this behavior and how it impacts relationships and also the tendency towards "half-truths". I hesitate to call them half-truths, because it's the complete information based on what I've chosen to reveal, it's also true that there might be information that's left unstated when I chose to conceal, but often when I've left something unstated it's because that aspect of myself has never been relevant in my interactions with that person so it was never on my mind. There are times when I do realize after the fact that I left out some relevant information and may go back and notify them of it, but most of the time it remains irrelevant.

To some extent the half-truths ties into how it impacts relationships, in the end they'll never fully know me, I understand that and I can accept it. However, there's one relationship where I wish for it not to be the case, that is with a spouse. I'd want to her to know everything there is about me to join me at the center of my universe and see the world from my perspective (it's lonely at the center of the universe), but the more I've thought about it, the more I realize that I'm not sure I'd even begin to be able to tell everything about myself, what I'd be able to express would be limited to what happens to be drifting across my mind (typically in response to what's going on around me). So while I might be able to explain everything related to me about one topic (e.g. computers), if some other topic never happens to cross my mind, I'd fail to mention it unless something happens to bring it to my attention.

This viewpoint on half-truths probably is a difference between introverted and extraverted perception. Introverted perception knows what it knows (it knows everything, or an abstraction of everything at least) and therefore is capable of explaining everything about it. Extraverted perception knows only what it's already perceived (which it knows isn't everything) and therefore is only capable of explaining what it does know. Or something to that effect.

When it comes to getting to know me, means that to spend time with me in all areas of my life (I suspect only a spouse would be able to come close to accomplishing that). It's possible to grasp a broader understanding of who I am by observing how I interact in different areas of my life, it's also not something that can be short term because even day-to-day or week-to-week I won't find need to reveal something. Finally to fully get to know me requires that I'm unconditionally accepted that there's no rejection of any aspect of who I am (I'll conceal things that others react to negatively, even if the negative reaction is not directed at me) and that I wouldn't ever have to fear expressing things about me (it's easiest one-on-one when I only have to trust a single person... and that trust is not given easily).
 

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Through experience and social expectation, I have lost hope of "revealing" myself to the people around me. I have no faith in the "true" side of me functioning in our world so I live off an amorphous persona.
 

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I only present my 'true self' to those I trust (which is very limited), depends on my mood that day and because I want to "fit in" to avoid having to listen to shit or explain myself.


Blah~
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I wouldn't say that I hide my true self, it's more than I reveal and conceal aspects and observations of myself and others depending on who or how I'm interacting with them.

I (probably wrongly) tend to assume that people are aware that I'm not showing everything there is about me, so when people put me in a box and assume that what I've revealed about myself is all there is about me, I may very well take their limitations as a challenge and play in the sandbox they've give me.

I hesitate to call them half-truths, because it's the complete information based on what I've chosen to reveal. To some extent the half-truths ties into how it impacts relationships, in the end they'll never fully know me, I understand that and I can accept it. However, there's one relationship where I wish for it not to be the case, that is with a spouse. I'd want to her to know everything there is about me to join me at the center of my universe and see the world from my perspective (it's lonely at the center of the universe), but the more I've thought about it, the more I realize that I'm not sure I'd even begin to be able to tell everything about myself, what I'd be able to express would be limited to what happens to be drifting across my mind (typically in response to what's going on around me). So while I might be able to explain everything related to me about one topic (e.g. computers), if some other topic never happens to cross my mind, I'd fail to mention it unless something happens to bring it to my attention.

When it comes to getting to know me, means that to spend time with me in all areas of my life (I suspect only a spouse would be able to come close to accomplishing that). It's possible to grasp a broader understanding of who I am by observing how I interact in different areas of my life, it's also not something that can be short term because even day-to-day or week-to-week I won't find need to reveal something. Finally to fully get to know me requires that I'm unconditionally accepted that there's no rejection of any aspect of who I am (I'll conceal things that others react to negatively, even if the negative reaction is not directed at me) and that I wouldn't ever have to fear expressing things about me (it's easiest one-on-one when I only have to trust a single person... and that trust is not given easily).
Wow. Vivid Sunset, I actually stopped for a second and wondered if my bf had found my thread online!! :blushed: It was like actually having this conversation about layer with him (which I haven't had because I don't want him to feel like I'm judging him...I'm not, just trying to understand so I can do my best to peel back the layers however one peels back an INFP).

Your descriptions match his behaviors so perfectly, and even the depth of response is similar. Totally creepy (in a good way!). I've been giving this whole thing a lot of thought since reading yesterday's responses, and am working on understanding the fluidity of the INFP being. And how it is affected by those around them. He's INCREDIBLE perceptive, to moods and behaviors. One of those people that can integrate into almost any group. Gives me this "unstable" (not in the negative sense, but in a fluidity sense) feeling that I can't pinpoint him.

Which is probably a horrible INFJ trait, where we like things defined. Bit of control freaks in our own rights ; )

"Requires that I'm unconditionally accept that there's no rejection of any aspect of who I am"
How does one ensure that? I almost can't help but try to learn every faucet of his life, because of those layers. I'm not sure if it's that horrible INFJ personality of mine again, but I just want to squirm my way between them into his core, where some instinctive part of me feels like if I can get there, it'll be all warm and cozy with his random thoughts (that I won't understand but don't need to) just fluttering about.

There's some weird "stability" to the INFPs that is insanely appealing to an INFJ. Almost like you're so well controlled in your complexity of thoughts and emotions that it's settling for someone who has no control over theirs.

Huh. Gives me a lot to think about. Any more insights into the INFP head (and how they relate to the people they let in) Vivid Sunset, I'd love to hear them.
 

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Maybe it's just one side of him. I feel like I can be a chameleon sometimes. It's because I don't really have a strong definition of myself and I get caught up in playing someone else... who is also a part of me in a way :/
Anyway, it's why I don't like my different groups of friends to get together.. because they each know different parts of me.

But I know the feeling of knowing that there's more to someone and you'd wish they'd just open up and show you. I was/still am in love with a very introverted guy who took over 5 years to show me an important and private part of his persona. Be patient. Have you ever read the children's book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery? Your guy is like the fox from that story :)
 

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I'm sure I've been seen as "two-faced" or "fake" but only because I allow my intuition to bond and relate to those that I am interacting with, meaning "taking on a different appearance" (if needed). I know plenty of people that are the same way. If anything, I see nothing but envy because some people just aren't capable of such features! :ninja:
 

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I've always thought of myself as a sort of jigsaw puzzle. I will give pieces to people I meet, but they are not necessarily connected to each other, and each person gets different pieces. In a sense, this is a defense mechanism for me in order to prevent others from knowing me too well.
 

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As in Yin Yang'

One side with a small hint of the other, and the other with equal hint of the former. Togheter they combined.
Difficult as it sounds, there are rarely just two. And around - a layer of defense mechanisms. For some it is almost combined perfectly, for others it is utter chaos.

This complex phenomenon are not given freely, but earned.
As mentioned, everyone has it. The complexity depends on the person.


(I like to sum things up :) )
 

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"Requires that I'm unconditionally accept that there's no rejection of any aspect of who I am"
How does one ensure that?
I was mostly looking at it as a perfect world ideal, but in reality it's something that may exist for some moments in life but it's transient. It could be that I perceive a rejection based on missing information, but the way it was expressed made it seem like an intractable decision that they’ll fight heaven and hell to maintain and woe to anyone who dares cross their path. It could be something as simple as “I hate popsicles”, and I’ll avoid discussions of popsicles around that person, even if I happen to like popsicles, to avoid an argument. Though, it could be that I’m just missing information and what they’ll really go to war over is using popsicles as a pizza topping, but for other popsicle purposes they don’t mind at all. Since using popsicles as a pizza topping isn’t me (so I can easily avoid talking about pizza popsicle toppings), I’d be ok with discussing popsicles with them.

Why I’m avoiding a conflict is something I’ve been mulling over, and I’ve determined that it stems from avoiding arguments and the difficulty I have when constructing arguments. It’s not that I can’t formulate arguments (I can in writing when I can also research), but that it’s difficult for me to formulate an argument on the fly. Even preparing an argument ahead of time for use in speech often doesn’t help because I'll end up forgetting most of what I’ve prepared resulting in a weak argument. This makes it easy for people to run their point all over me because I’m basically defenseless. It’s incredibly frustrating when I know that there’s something wrong with their point, but I just can’t seem to be able to express it, so I simply avoid getting into arguments completely (I do listen to people when they are making an argument, but I often won’t respond to it).

I almost can't help but try to learn every faucet of his life, because of those layers. I'm not sure if it's that horrible INFJ personality of mine again, but I just want to squirm my way between them into his core, where some instinctive part of me feels like if I can get there, it'll be all warm and cozy with his random thoughts (that I won't understand but don't need to) just fluttering about.
This may only be me, but trust is the only way to access more aspects of my life. In part because I’m aware of how easily I could be manipulated when someone knows a great deal about me, and also in part because it gives me something to do alone without having to worry about interference from other people and the stress that comes with it. And a refuge from the world is something I can’t live without.
 
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