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I'm an INTJ. I need some insight.

My friend of seven years is an ISFJ. I am quite fond of her, and I know everything from her favorite color to her least favorite Paramore song, but I do not understand her. We've typically reacted to potential conflict by avoiding it altogether.
Academic arguments end in her saying, "I don't want to talk about this any more," and I dodge any sentimental discussion like bullets. She says "I love you" as a farewell almost every time, and I cringe.
It's not that I don't love her. I just don't want to talk about it!

I adore her, but I tend to need breaks. She came to visit me for a couple weeks and I was about ready to strangle her by the time she left. Between shadowing my every move, poking me constantly and a complete disregard for my internal climate, my patience wore thin and I was relieved when she left.
It took me a solid month to recover from that.

This time, I'm going to visit her, and I need advice on communicating with her. She takes everything personally. With most of my family, I can say, "Sometimes, I want to strangle you," and they laugh and throw it right back at me.
My friend, however, gets upset and spends the next several days deeply wounded by my downplayed expression of frustration. If I make an observation or say I need space, you would think I had just rallied off a list of 101 reasons why I thought she was a horrible person.

My need for space aside, I also don't know how to communicate my own desires. She's generous in a lot of ways, but she also has a narcissistic streak that leaves her completely clueless to how she affects other people. Sometimes, I get the feeling that I exist as an emotional crutch for her rather than a partner-in-crime.

How can I communicate with her without offending her? She's incredibly intelligent, and I enjoy our shenanigans, but the dynamic can be frustrating and confusing.
 

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I don't think she sounds like an ISFJ. I can't identify with anything you said except the unwillingness to debate.
 

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I don't think she sounds like an ISFJ. I can't identify with anything you said except the unwillingness to debate.
She's tested ISFJ twice. I've always thought she seemed more ESFJ to me, but she insists that the description is spot-on.
Thanks for the input.
 

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I won't debate unless I know I will win it or perhaps teach someone something about my knowledge. Perhaps there are much fewer subjects to which the ISFJ holds a strong degree of passion vs. the INTJ. The back and forth banter and escalation of the conversation makes me FEEL negative at a certain point, and that is when I stop and back off. Conversations with ISFJs are usually more like exchanges of your experiences. Certain debates, as fun as they are for the INTJ, are unproductive to the ISFJ ... we just don't see the point in it if it doesn't go anywhere or end on some kind of resolve. We would rather be in society making change instead of debating about it.

I've never been a shadow to anyone, even in high school I marched to the beat of my own drum. Perhaps she feels somewhat insecure about how you feel about her and is doing those things to gain acceptance. There is a really good thread on here you should read about and INTJ having trouble with her ISFJ co-worker. It will probably give you more insight. There have actually been a lot of INTJ related threads in this forum recently. I hope you take the time to look and read them.

It's not that I wouldn't want to give you your own attention, but at times I feel like I'm sounding like a broken record (and repeating myself is a pet peeve.) lol Cheers!
 

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I'm gonna have to deviate from Shale and say your friend does sound like an ISFJ in bunch of ways. I wouldn't say I take everything personally, but "I want to strangle you" would definitely be one of those things, no matter how much I'm cogniscent of the fact that it isn't meant in complete seriousness. Even if the person who says it is a close friend, that still feels like a personal attack on me; that I'm being a bother and will end with me distancing myself from that person.

The shadowing is also something I tend to do with one of my best friends; she's an ESFJ and obviously has a far stronger personality than me. So I tend follow her around, look to her for cues, etc. It's not necessarily the healthiest thing in the world, but it's also a way for me to show her that I completely trust her and feel comfortable with her. (But I also try and limit it because I know how needy it comes across as).

(On the flipside, I take charge and generally lead things with my other, INFJ best friend, so go figure).

Anyways. As for ways to communicate with her, maybe try and emphasize how it's nothing personal and you value her friendship/love her (as uncomfortable as that makes you) no matter what? You just need some space sometimes to unwind from everything? As an introvert she should be able to relate to that. Or attempt to maybe get her to recognize the behaviours she has when she's around you? Possibly by introducing her to more info about ISFJs.
 

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what's her least favourite paramore song? Mine has to be any of the new ones
 
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I'm going to have to agree with Shale. I've never been a follower, and I'm not much of a debater unless there is a reason to. Your friend wears me out just reading about how she acts. I'm not saying she's an ISFJ, but rather I can't really relate with your friend. Like I've said in the past, we come in many different colors. :)

Just approach your friend and explain to her you need boundaries. Don't make it look like a personal attack or something she should be scolded for, but rather a mutual understanding where you both can be happy. <-- Don't say that to her, she will flip a lid.
 

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You should be straight forward with her- but tell her that, she'll appreciate your honesty. I would, but I'd also take it to heart. Just keep assuring her that you just need some more space. To be honest, I don't get along so well with my INFJ friends but we can get along... :p
 

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I can relate in the unwillingness to debate (petty theoretical things, more than anything else, and even then, still kind of uncomfortable with the activity in itself) and in the taking things personally (something I've gotten waaaay better at than I was before), also in the bit with the narcissistic streak. Not as much now as it was before, but I have a feeling that ISFJ's get so caught up with their internal world and making everything harmonious that they forget reality sometimes--and that can come off as "narcissistic" to some people. Not so much in the following around thing, as I tend to be pretty independent and dislike clingy people, even within really really close friends.

I would talk to her about it, in a really gentle and open way. Make sure you make yourself clear in that you appreciate her input and that you want to come to a compromise. She might have other issues that she's dealing with that don't necesarily have to do with her "type", per se.
 

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The back and forth banter and escalation of the conversation makes me FEEL negative at a certain point, and that is when I stop and back off. Conversations with ISFJs are usually more like exchanges of your experiences. Certain debates, as fun as they are for the INTJ, are unproductive to the ISFJ ... we just don't see the point in it if it doesn't go anywhere or end on some kind of resolve. We would rather be in society making change instead of debating about it.
I totally agree that this is probably how she feels and I find this to be typical of ISFJs. It's not necessarily that I don't like arguing...it's more of the fact that unproductive arguing is just that, unproductive. And is a waste of my time. Plus it's exhausting.

From the very limited description, it does sound like she could be an ISFJ in my opinion.

Avoiding conflict is an ISFJ quality. Although it is not always healthy, I often resort to avoiding a conflict, ESPECIALLY when it is a completely overwhelming issue for me (i.e. having a conversation about negative feelings with someone). It's not that I can't deal with conflict, but typically figuring out conflict situations can be awkward and uncomfortable (which is the part i dislike and dread).

As for her saying 'I love you'....I do find that somewhat puzzling. However, I am much more reserved with my feelings than some other ISFJs (I sometimes type as an ISTJ in certain situations). That does sound a bit more like an ESFJ (as previously mentioned), but I wouldn't say that makes her an ESFJ. Regardless, my advice would be that if she wants to say I love you, let her say it. It may make you cringe, but it doesn't hurt you and it may be an important sentiment that she feels she needs to express.

On to the shadowing. ISFJs need to be needed. This is our classic trait. I am almost a total introvert and need my alone time too, but find myself being selfish about other's alone time ever now and again. Especially when I feel like I can't understand what someone is thinking...I can get a little nosy. Maybe she just has a hard time understanding you (As you are having a hard time understanding her). She may think something is wrong or she is simply trying to understand, but since she is an introverted she can't directly ask you. She instead uses her Sensing function to try and observe you as best she can. If it's annoying you, tell her. Not in a mean way, as she is probably sensitive to criticism, but just a polite 'I love having you around and appreciate our visits, but please realize that my personal space is a big part of who I am.' But remember, ISFJs like (And some even require) to be needed. She may be shadowing to find an opportunity to be needed.

You mentioned that when you ask for alone time she gets upset. Yes, it sucks for you the friend. But that's how feelers handle that sort of criticism. We unfortunately take criticism on a very personal level. As she goes through life, she will slowly learn not to let this stuff affect her to such an extreme, but, for now, it's part of her process. In her brain, she is scolding herself for disappointing you, not harboring hatred for you. So don't see it that way. Let her time the time to feel through the criticism. It will help build her into a stronger ISFJ and it will also allow her to think through what you said and in turn will probably make her a better friend to you.

I am clueless on her narcissism. This could be your interpretation of a particular ISFJ trait. Sometimes ISFJs can be selfish (and I think that is the root of her following you around, possibly). She needs to be needed.

I guess the main issue you talk about is communicating with her. Unfortunately, you have some negative things to communicate to her, but these things will turn her into a stronger ISFJ (teach her to more rationally think through other people's feeling about her -- strengthen her thinking preference) and she will (I think) undoubtedly strive to be a better friend and fix the issue once she hears (and processes) it.
 
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