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I find one common complaint by INFPs is that they often feel misunderstood by others. That they feel like nobody really knows them. I want to know what that is and why that is? What don't others understand about the INFPs? Why can't the INFPs just explain themselves, especially in real life instead of in an online forum? I feel like reading these online forums have really given me a view into INFPs. I don't find them so mysterious here, so why do that in real life?
It's probably because they have opened to others before and they were judged as being very 'different'.

Also you have to take note that while people are growing up, you learn about the social context, like what to say and what not to say. they probably figured there are a lot of things that they can't say that they have observed.

"I don't find them so mysterious here, so why do that in real life?"

I think they are probably a lot stranger in real life.
 

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I find one common complaint by INFPs is that they often feel misunderstood by others. That they feel like nobody really knows them. I want to know what that is and why that is? What don't others understand about the INFPs? Why can't the INFPs just explain themselves, especially in real life instead of in an online forum? I feel like reading these online forums have really given me a view into INFPs. I don't find them so mysterious here, so why do that in real life?
from my personal experience:

People have assumed I'm stuck up or sad just because I'm quiet in social settings.

Sometimes they also think that I don't have any fun because I don't enjoy the same things that many people find 'fun' but that doesn't mean I'm not totally happy doing other things that they may find uninteresting.

Being 'true to myself', which is usually important to INFPs, often leads me to look or act differently than what is popular or commonly expected which results in people thinking I'm trying to get attention, that I'm trying to spoil other people's fun by not playing along, that I'm lame/boring, etc.

The things that society seems to value often don't line up with my values which can lead to people assuming I'm motivated by values that aren't actually my own, or can lead to them not understanding why I would do/say/choose something.

A personal peeve of mine is people claiming someone is 'passive aggressive' when they are simply passive, assuming attempts to manipulate others when there are none. Often I'm really not bothered or really don't care one way or another and yet people won't believe it if I say that. Also, similarly, I may prefer to write a tactful note rather than start a verbal confrontation, but some people seem to see that as an underhanded tactic (somehow, I don't really get it).

I find people often either belittle my expression when I'm really fervent about something, like 'oh how cute you're upset/excited', or they totally blow out of proportion my mild expressions and accuse me of over-reacting to everything when I'm thinking 'what? I thought that was at about a 1 on the level of volume/animation, how can they possibly be interpreting it so strongly?!?'

I would be glad to expound upon my perspective to people if they cared to ask or actually listen, but much of the time people don't really give me a chance to explain myself and just act on their assumptions. INFPs tend to have a 'weak' presence so that even when we try to speak up we often get talked over, or brushed off, or cut short. We don't like to be pushy or interrupt which can make it hard to interject with people who don't pay attention to cues that someone else might have something to say, or who just don't seem to pause for breath. But if we try to amp it up in order to be heard people tend to take it badly and accuse us of being self-centered for demanding attention, or they call the passion in our expression 'over-reacting', etc. It can feel like a no win situation, people tell you to speak up but when you do they're not happy about that either.

Another facet of the communication issue is that INFPs tend to be better at writing their thoughts than speaking 'on the spot', taking time to form and organize our thoughts while in the midst of conversation tends to end up boring the other person or confusing them (and sometimes it's hard to do it without actually writing the words and having them in front of you), but people often don't want to read our written out thoughts, especially since that's not really how one communicates in person.
 

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I think for me, the feeling of being misunderstood is high, simply because I can't be completely honest or open with those around me. I'm such an unhealthy INFP :')

I've kept a lot of my true inner thoughts and feelings to myself. Not because I don't think someone will understand. But simply because I'm always "testing the waters for sharks." Pretty much meaning, I'll open myself a little bit to someone, and will judge their reaction. Sadly, a lot of the time, especially in my family where you're judged harshly based on what you say/feel/react, the things I say that I truly mean tend to either get rejected or laughed at outright. Or the weird looks. Oh gosh, those are super common. If the person I share that little piece of myself with in turns judge me, and doesn't in the least accept I might differ from the norm, I'll close myself off from them until I can throw away the hurt I felt. Yes, I'm highly sensitive. And unfair. Because it's unfair to not tell someone that this thing you're saying is something important that you don't want judged.

And because I end up not sharing my true thoughts or feelings with people, they tend to think they know me well, but in actuality know very little. Just the other day my mother was commenting on how I'm an extremely confident person when around people I know, but shy around those I don't know.

This struck me and left me in shock simply because I hadn't realized how little she knew me. I'm not confident around anyone, even myself. It's a daily struggle. I just know where I stand with people I know, and this gives me a small sense of security. I know what I can share and can't share. With people I don't know, I'm a little shy, yes, but it's more I feel extremely awkward around them because I don't know them so I can't possibly know where I stand with them.

Self preservation types lol.
 

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Not INFP, but, for myself, I noticed being "misunderstood" as having my motivations and purpose of actions interpreted wrongly.
As many things, it's best seen in professional environment.
For example:
-asking for advice to make the best decision is taken as "shoving responsibility on others" when I really just try to refine decision making process with information that I feel is missing;
-back at call center, long calls taken as inaptitude and not knowing script, when I really strayed from it to get to the core of situation.
-my calmness is usually called "indifference", and my showing emotions is "being dramatic".
Things like that, they all make me feel very isolated and unfitting anywhere - inherently so without any good tangible reason behind it - "misunderstood".
 
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Not an INFP, and I'm not sure if I say it with the same meaning as anyone else. But when I do, I'm usually referring to what I find important in life compared to what everyone around me seems to find important. So what I mean is, I feel my motivation (or sometimes, lack thereof) isn't understood.

Other times, it might be that I think I would be understood if my actions were interpreted the way I meant them. For example, I saw in a movie there was this guy with a briefcase full of money he was giving away. No one took it because they thought he was just trying to fuck with them. I'm not saying I do stuff that generous every day, but I do have a big interest in people in general that I feel like goes over their heads. That ties into the first thing.
 

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it's hard for us to express ourselves verbally in face-to-face communication.
getting interrupted, the other person waiting for our explanation is kinda stressful, having to come up with an ad hoc coherent response as introverts (we like to think a bit before talking) etc. most INFPs sometimes suffer (or at least have before) from social anxiety and awkwardness

the other level, we do have a strange logic of thinking > if it's logical it doesn't mean it's right and vice versa.
sometimes what seems perfectly reasonable to us is hard to explain to the outside world.

and the most deep level,
yes we feel misunderstood because well you see, we do have exquisitely huge worlds inside, and strong emotions, it's like living in two worlds at the same time. i know it sounds like i'm bragging, but it's difficult to convey the situation. endless times have i been in situation where i notice to feel the atmosphere more deeply than others, more intense. for instance when on the top of the mountain people joke and talk about small insignificantthings, but we would be overwhelmed by connection to the nature and horizon. you see, most of our minds are consisted of the feelz and deep thoughts, that most people can bare for a while in conversation. this is happening all the time inside us..
basing our value system on that, oftentimes an INFP feels like their logic and reason and mode of thinking just doesn't fit into this world.
 

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I find one common complaint by INFPs is that they often feel misunderstood by others. That they feel like nobody really knows them. I want to know what that is and why that is? What don't others understand about the INFPs? Why can't the INFPs just explain themselves, especially in real life instead of in an online forum? I feel like reading these online forums have really given me a view into INFPs. I don't find them so mysterious here, so why do that in real life?
I think we expect miracles from human interaction. "I feel so much so it must be easier for others to understand me/I really need for others to understand me (supposition and need often mingle into a hybrid and yes, it's not a bad word, irrational belief).
When we find emotions and thought can't just be decanted from one person to the other, because individuals are fundamentally divided, we don't accept it, and our frustration leads us to blame it either on all humanity or on ourselves.

Also sometimes we don't understand ourselves and project this confusion (and our inability to communicate properly) on others - when we're too lost in feeling something to be able to understand it.

I don't think nobody knows me, I know it. It just scares me less and less, and it reassures me more and more. It's a powerful antidote against the proverbial touchiness of Fi doms, for example.
Which is not the same as thinking "nobody understands me". Everybody you meet thinks something about you. What they actually know is a mixture of who they are and what you've given them. So nobody knows me but everybody understands something of me - less than what they think they understand, but still they do.
 

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From a male INFP's perspective, being misunderstood is about people expecting me to act in a manner similar to my appearance. Visually and "on paper" I'm very masculine and almost hyper-alpha. This is not a compensation, but a true expression of myself as I thoroughly embrace and enjoy my masculinity. People expect men who "look" like me to be extremely assertive, a "player", emotionally shallow, self-centered, and the life of all parties. I desire to be none of these things, and nobody but me and other INFPs understand why.
 

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Because we connect many thoughts together and people often say we're "4 trains away" from what they're talking about when in reality whatever we said IS related even if its a little bit. You mention train, I'll mention something about a train, what happened on train trip, something about someone who built a train etc.
Basically it's like everyone else's conversation has to be in a logical chronological order and ours isn't.
If its relatable in our minds even just a SMIDGEN, then it IS close to what you're talking about.
 

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I've felt misunderstood all my life. I don't know why people find me confusing. Probably because we're not good at formulating a clear explanation on the spot, we have to think it out first. Then the other person gets impatient and then when we say something it comes out wrong or jumbled. Also the people I work with seem to apply a DOUBLE MEANING to everything, but if I'm being honest I'M REALLY BEING HONEST. And I would have no reason to lie, or be dishonest majority of the time. Its like people are so gobsmacked that, "Holy crap this person is actually genuine? No they can't be there's no genuine people! They're either lying or blah blah...", so maybe they come to their own conclusions about something and then everyone's confused and upset.
Yes we ARE genuine.
 

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The question in the thread's title really reaches to the subconscious part of the INFP personality. Read about the shadow functions, or much preferably, socionics.

The order of the conscious functions from strong to weak is Fi, Ne, Si, Te, as you probably know. Now the function strength becomes weaker exponentially. if Fi is 1000, Ne might be 100, Si 10 and Te 1. There are some caveats to this though, but they're of besides the point. The same goes for the subconscious functions of the INFP: Ni - Fe - Ti - Se.

Like Fi, Ni is always on and of full strength as far as cognitive functions go - the id is probably actually more powerful than the dominant in any type. The thing is that it's subconscious, raw and fuzzy and hence very hard to make sense of and talk about, in any type. Inside the subconscious, INFP's Ni is attempting to integrate one big abstract representation of the world that encompasses everything - a mission impossible, but still, this process is going on wether you like it or not - that's what an INFP is. When new information comes in, it can quickly be matched against this big model in order to pull up relevant context - this is where quick and deep understanding and the ability to keenly recognize what is true and a deep intolerance for what is faux comes from. Again, this is all entirely involuntary and completely outside of conscious control. When it comes into the conscious, the fuzzy abstract understandings have probably already been transformed into the spheres of Fi, Ne and such, and an intolerance for untruths is dealt with through the conscious feelings, the ethical Fi framework, Ne intuitions, etc.

When you do manage to experience Ni directly, briefly, it probably looks like nutty imagery of dream like quality that's hard to make sense of, yet somehow you know, you ' feel ' that it's true somehow. For examples, look at some INFP music videos, like bjork youtube.com/watch?v=BBju9Sdh94k or muse youtube.com/watch?v=UqLRqzTp6Rk - caveat; I think they're also kinda trying to show off their weirdness which makes it a little less authentic. Personally speaking, the images in my head don't look that weird.

Now this messy Ni experience is really, really hard to make sense of directly and concretely. It's just something that exists inside you, something you experience and know. But inside of you, that's a different space than the real and concrete world. These ideas can only exist on a plane inside of you, and if they ever come out, they must undergo a change and transform into something else to make them capable of existing in 'the real world' where 'real' things exist - the laws of the universe, of the real world only permit real things to exist.

If you manage to do it, to give birth to your baby (with great labour and pain) and push it into existence from inside of you (XD), that is, to give real form to your understanding, or yet in other words, to explain your understandings to someone, it will look something like verbally painting a picture or a scene of things happening. It's like telling a concrete story that is a metaphore for your understanding, and nowhere do you actually directly express the concept itself. This is easier to do in writing. I suppose i'm doing it right now. And it happens through Fi and Ne.

The frustration of being misunderstood comes from trying to directly push out abstract understandings, bypassing the conscious functions. The trick is to funnel your dark secret powers through your interface to the world: Fi and Ne! Eg you observe someone talking faux. they're presenting their story and you know it's faux and can't stand the bs. Now what? Maybe we shouldn't try to take the shortcut of trying to point out why and how it's not truthful (directly) but, rather, express how this makes us feel and explain why these feelings come to pass (Ne/Te) and through this, you become the agent of truth yourself.


Hopefully this makes sense to some of you. If it doesn't then, well, I will feel so misunderstood XD. And i'd be curious to hear your thoughts if it did make sense.
 

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Also, when in a group discussing a decision I've found that if I speak up at all just to add my preference for consideration people frequently assume I'm being selfish and pushy even though I'm actually willing to compromise and I'm pretty sure I don't sound pushy and I hear others presenting their thoughts, but it's like somehow I'm not allowed to say anything without being criticized. And then in cases where I decide not to go along and instead just say ok you guys go ahead I'm going to do my own thing, some people react as if I'm forcing them to do whatever I want but who says we HAVE to do it together? That's definitely not my intention.
 

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I've been thinking a lot about this lately. I think I literally am misunderstood (not always of course). I've even had people tell me that I'm hard to understand or that they don't really get me. It saddens me deeply and I don't know why that is - why should people understand me? I guess it's human nature to want people to get you though, but when you're an INFP or even an Enneagram 4, you tend to actively and intensely deal with and explore aspects of life that are, in my estimation, rather hidden away from the consciousness of a large portion of the population. For example, we tend to want to explore all the flavours and details of emotion that humans can experience. Also we are very intuitive so have hunches about things that maybe other people don't get. In addition, our general communication style can sometimes be a bit vague or sort of... idk, otherworldly??? That sounds weird to say, but I've also seen other people mention that word about INFPs.

The question in the thread's title really reaches to the subconscious part of the INFP personality. Read about the shadow functions, or much preferably, socionics.

The order of the conscious functions from strong to weak is Fi, Ne, Si, Te, as you probably know. Now the function strength becomes weaker exponentially. if Fi is 1000, Ne might be 100, Si 10 and Te 1. There are some caveats to this though, but they're of besides the point. The same goes for the subconscious functions of the INFP: Ni - Fe - Ti - Se.

Like Fi, Ni is always on and of full strength as far as cognitive functions go - the id is probably actually more powerful than the dominant in any type. The thing is that it's subconscious, raw and fuzzy and hence very hard to make sense of and talk about, in any type. Inside the subconscious, INFP's Ni is attempting to integrate one big abstract representation of the world that encompasses everything - a mission impossible, but still, this process is going on wether you like it or not - that's what an INFP is. When new information comes in, it can quickly be matched against this big model in order to pull up relevant context - this is where quick and deep understanding and the ability to keenly recognize what is true and a deep intolerance for what is faux comes from. Again, this is all entirely involuntary and completely outside of conscious control. When it comes into the conscious, the fuzzy abstract understandings have probably already been transformed into the spheres of Fi, Ne and such, and an intolerance for untruths is dealt with through the conscious feelings, the ethical Fi framework, Ne intuitions, etc.

When you do manage to experience Ni directly, briefly, it probably looks like nutty imagery of dream like quality that's hard to make sense of, yet somehow you know, you ' feel ' that it's true somehow. For examples, look at some INFP music videos, like bjork youtube.com/watch?v=BBju9Sdh94k or muse youtube.com/watch?v=UqLRqzTp6Rk - caveat; I think they're also kinda trying to show off their weirdness which makes it a little less authentic. Personally speaking, the images in my head don't look that weird.

Now this messy Ni experience is really, really hard to make sense of directly and concretely. It's just something that exists inside you, something you experience and know. But inside of you, that's a different space than the real and concrete world. These ideas can only exist on a plane inside of you, and if they ever come out, they must undergo a change and transform into something else to make them capable of existing in 'the real world' where 'real' things exist - the laws of the universe, of the real world only permit real things to exist.

If you manage to do it, to give birth to your baby (with great labour and pain) and push it into existence from inside of you (XD), that is, to give real form to your understanding, or yet in other words, to explain your understandings to someone, it will look something like verbally painting a picture or a scene of things happening. It's like telling a concrete story that is a metaphore for your understanding, and nowhere do you actually directly express the concept itself. This is easier to do in writing. I suppose i'm doing it right now. And it happens through Fi and Ne.

The frustration of being misunderstood comes from trying to directly push out abstract understandings, bypassing the conscious functions. The trick is to funnel your dark secret powers through your interface to the world: Fi and Ne! Eg you observe someone talking faux. they're presenting their story and you know it's faux and can't stand the bs. Now what? Maybe we shouldn't try to take the shortcut of trying to point out why and how it's not truthful (directly) but, rather, express how this makes us feel and explain why these feelings come to pass (Ne/Te) and through this, you become the agent of truth yourself.


Hopefully this makes sense to some of you. If it doesn't then, well, I will feel so misunderstood XD. And i'd be curious to hear your thoughts if it did make sense.
This makes a lot of sense to me! Thank you for writing it, I was going to say similar things actually. Some good advice I got on this forum once was about how people of "my kind" would benefit from trying to bring all that exploration to the surface, so to speak. It's basically about... almost simplifying the words you wanna say, but keep the message you'd like to get across. You know, make your expression more accessible to other people. It sounds a bit fake, but maybe it works.
 

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Personally, what I mean by that statement is that others rarely follow my train of thought, and come to the wrong conclusions about my decisions. Alternatively, my friends will have conversations, and when I interject they say it's completely out of left field, when in reality it was a logical statement. I think it's because how I speak / make decisions / contribute often includes context from past experiences and situations that I don't bother to explain (because I would lose the point of the statement), so it sounds odd.

I would say my INFJ and ENFP friends understand me the best (but there are still a lot of times they just nod unknowingly). All my xxTP friends are highly amused and like pushing my buttons to see what I'll say (so they can laugh some more, rinse and repeat). My xSxJ acquaintances never get it, haha.
 

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I find one common complaint by INFPs is that they often feel misunderstood by others. That they feel like nobody really knows them. I want to know what that is and why that is? What don't others understand about the INFPs? Why can't the INFPs just explain themselves, especially in real life instead of in an online forum? I feel like reading these online forums have really given me a view into INFPs. I don't find them so mysterious here, so why do that in real life?


FiNe’s can find inspiration in almost anything, because their Fi finds meaning in everything. As far as inspiration goes, learning interestings things, reading interesting books, taking a walk, or having a good conversation are all common stimuli. For the ideas that have had some time to percolate, they need to have places for output. Whether it’s writing, speaking, teaching, building, designing, or something else, it’s important to have a space to string together their ideas in a unique way. This can also help them to refine and perfect the expression of their ideas. While they may feel like they understand something fully in their head, and they often make great teachers, they may not be as adept at explaining things to others without previous practice.

and


FiNe’s value vastly different 'traditions' or rituals from most people, and demonstrate them in less obvious ways. To put it another way, their traditions are often not very ‘traditional’.

and

Their internal world is pretty ‘set’ and solid-feeling as they enter adulthood. A lot of their basic values have been decided fairly early on, and they fall back on these until new experiences, ideas, or realizations cause them to reevaluate certain values. They may consider themselves to be pretty open-minded. However, when faced with a new principle that they have no experience with, they will need a lot of time to themselves to evaluate their stance on the subject.

and


While FiNe’s prefer to take their time on decision making, it isn’t always possible or practical. In these situations, it’s useful to have Te so that they can make quick, in-the-moment decisions. Because they are relying on their ‘gut instinct’ Fi internal compass in the background, they can feel comfortable with their decision even if they can’t articulate a solid reason for it at the time. For example, if they have the sense that someone they see walking down the street could be harmful to them in some way, they don’t have time to untangle why they have that feeling. They just know they don’t feel safe next to this person, and the best solution is the cross the street or take a detour in order to avoid them.

Put all of this together... especially with younger, less experienced INFPs and it is apparent why so many feel misunderstood: Sometimes it is because INFPs have a unique way of perceiving reality or expressing idealistic possibilities; sometimes it is because other types don't get where they're coming from, i.e. 'where is the logic' or 'where is the common ground, including (for some types) recognizable traditions and traditional ways or even popular ways of thinking, speaking and behaving.


See this link for more INFP description:

FiNe (INFP) — Type in Mind



As for me, at my age, I don't seek to be understood by most anyone any longer so I don't think in terms of 'being misunderstood.'

Also, I've been taking apart words and what words and phrases and ideas and values mean to different people from a variety of cultures--since I was a kid, so I realize that what I say is not necessarily what another person hears or remembers, or even repeats to others, so again, I've given up on being understood except by my husband, and in specific situations, so being misunderstood isn't on my mind very often.

One exception is my meditation practice.

I don't talk about it with anyone in person but my husband because he knows enough about Buddhism and how sectarian various religions are, and how Buddhism is seen by some as religious, by others as spiritual, and still more as a philosophy, and he's read some Buddhist literature, so we have a bridge on which to meet.

For others, however, in this small, red/Christian town?

I'd be causing myself problems and discord with others if I brought it up, so I don't--and I don't feel the need to do so.

With age, 'sometimes' a little wisdom is sought out and found within.

I've found enough to keep me hunting for more, and part of wisdom is accepting that how each of us was raised, by whom, how open or closed the environment, and much more affects our ability, desire, and skill level with listening as well as talking, e.g. how well two people or more can skillfully communicate the most basic concepts (which I've found, over all, isn't too high in America) differs.

I cannot speak for the rest of the world, or even parts of America outside my personal experience.

ADDITION: When I say I've given up on being understood and that being misunderstood isn't on my mind very often, I am not referring to an exchange of facts or quick banter:

I'm good at communicating and what I say is received well. I once was given the job of Director of Communication by an ENTJ, which he wouldn't have done if I was easily misunderstood--he was the founder of the first Nativity Prep in San Diego: David Rivera--what a go-getter! He respected as well as understood me just fine.
 

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Most of the time it all comes down to asking why and being curious enough to uncover and dig--which most people (from my experience) don't care to do. When I speak to someone I wonder all sorts of things --listening, asking and responding one gets a peak at all different levels of a people's worlds. I've noticed most don't seem to do the same though :/ anyone else connect to this?
 

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Most of the time, it's just that when I express how I feel or my thoughts, they aren't always accepted. I feel most understood when someone takes the time to really listen -- not project, not dismiss, not add or subtract -- just listen and empathize. And even if they don't necessarily understand, they accept me for who I am and the disparate parts of me.

I feel misunderstood when people expect me to be a certain way because of the way I might be in one setting, when really there are multitudes to me (and to everyone!). It always makes me uncomfortable when I am put into a mold, and I do something that breaks it, and people point it out. Unfortunately, that's just how humans operate, we put automatically put others in boxes.
 

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Yes yes yes, we are misunderstood, god damn, holy shit, soooo misunderstood, nobody every gets us.

I swear sometimes we just want to be that way, maybe because it gives us something to constantly complain about, then we get mad at those that call us out on our shit.
We turn ourselves into some special problem born out of unfairness and lament that the world around us doesn't care.

If you collected all the tear drops from the lamentations of INFPs being misunderstood you'd get a second earth.

Being misunderstood isn't unique and special anymore.

People have their own issues, why should they care about yours. Your laments drown in the sea of the cry of others, and you hope some how your voice will be heard. And when it is people realize there are more important things to worry about in life then how you feel about yourself, like people dying and starving and all that.

You may not have CHOSEN to be INFP and esoteric, but you are INFP and probably esoteric to alot of people, and it hurts, if it didn't you wouldn't cry out, but at some point you gotta realize, people really don't care, so what, your still breathing. And it really doesn't go past that even if we would like to think so.
 
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