This morning I started reading about INFJ personality types. Don’t ask me how I got on to it. I have no idea. Rabbit trails. Anyway. As an INFJ I sometimes forget that other people don’t function/process the same way that I do and then I have a really hard time understanding why they don’t arrive at the same conclusions I do. Or if they interpret my silence as something it’s not (i.e. judgment, when really it’s just analysis). It is enlightening and dare I say freeing to read forums and articles about INFJ personality types. Two main things I took away from all of this reading:
1) I’m not that crazy. And,
2) I am a completely typical, text-book INFJ.
I found these two particular comments on different forums funny and also true for me.
“There is also a viscous cycle i have to deal with as an INFJ. My instinct to withdraw and observe socially can be misinterpreted as judging someone, snobbery, or rejection when it is absolutely not any of those things at all. It is more an inquisitive interest in the other person, and analysis of who they are, who i am, how we might interact, what it all means. The thinking is very nuanced and complex and requires concentration, but someone who doesn’t think that way fills in the blank with their own fears of negative thoughts. When this starts to happen i withdraw even more to analyse and understand better. No fun. That’s why someone who is just still and consistent, and doesn’t judge me or pressure me is a big hit. I would suggest approaching an INFJ like you would any other little forest creature. :smooch:”
And, this one:
“I definitely have a wall up–many walls, actually. The onion analogy is a good one. Among other things, I keep my disappointments in myself behind those walls. It’s been discussed how hard INFJs can be on themselves when they don’t live up to their own standards. When that happens to me, I put it behind a wall because I’m naturally ashamed of it.
One of the “auditions” [he] mentions is when I let someone see one of those things in myself that I’m ashamed of. I don’t always make it clear what it is. Sometimes, when I sense that the time is right and the person is very trustworthy, I’ll just open the door in the wall and watch what he does. (This is me offering him a stage, to use [his] metaphor.) If he comes in, good. If he looks around with interest, good. If he begins a conversation about what he sees, good. If he responds with understanding (patience, tenderness, fogiveness, etc.) when I casually bring his attention to that thing I’m ashamed of, he’s just nailed the audition. Sometimes I don’t tell him what it is that I’m ashamed of–I just let him see it so I can get his genuine reaction.
You can call this a test, I suppose… But “test” has a feeling of falseness to it–something constructed specifically to gauge a response. When I open a door in a wall, I’m taking a definite risk and there’s nothing false about it.
edit: If at any time he/she betrays me in some way–if they doesn’t prove trustworthy–they will be summarily evicted from the castle or onion or whatever metaphor you prefer.”
It’s true. About gauging a reaction. Often times I try to read and analyze people to know how to understand them and proceed in a friendship or relationship. Often times I think I offer up insecurities for others’ scrutiny to see how they think of me. And I’m probably overly concerned with what people think of me; though, not in a conceited way. I think to some degree, if I can gauge how a person thinks of me, and if it aligns with what I think I see in myself (if it’s an honest assessment), then I know that I can trust them and risk a closer friendship. But I’m always analyzing, interpreting and letting my intuition run free. I try not to be judgmental in a negative way or hold people’s faults against them, I know none of us are perfect. I think, more or less, that I just want to understand people and how they think. Because let’s face, unless you’re an INFJ too, your thinking is completely foreign to me.
I also really loved what someone said about trying to express emotions. My inner world makes sense, I make sense inside, but it’s all abstract. Trying to find the words to explain the abstract pictures so that someone else can understand sometimes feels impossible. Hence, it usually takes me a sweet forever to explain what I’m thinking/feeling because there really aren’t words. Thank you, Internet, for helping me make sense of me. Again.