[INFJ] - Do you often feel inarticulate and dumb? | INFJ Forum

[INFJ] Do you often feel inarticulate and dumb?

Discussion in 'The INFJ Typology' started by jeromaye, May 19, 2013.

  1. First post guys, I'll save the introduction for later. This has been a pressing question on my mind for some time and I just had a good insight about it. So happy to finally join a group like this : )

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    As an INFJ I've felt unique, different, etc. at many times in my life. Many of these times the difference I feel is in terms of intelligence. Even though I've been told consistently throughout my life that I am incredibly smart and gifted, I still feel dumb. I mean that I feel dumb in terms of articulation and decision making (mostly when speaking, but sometimes through writing as well). It's the whole problem of seeing every angle of every side to the story, every theory, it's all cohesive - it all fits together. I have to integrate every new piece of information into my greater conceptual whole - and so it takes me like a million years to "understand" certain things or to make what should be an "easy" decision. (I put understand and easy in quotations due to the alternate way by which I assume INFJ's relate to these terms as opposed to other types).

    To be clear, there's no way that I am actually "dumb" or less intelligent than most people. I have a B.A. in Philosophy with honors and I'll be heading to grad school eventually. However, I feel dumb and intellectually inferior to others quite regularly. Especially when I'm talking to someone like an INTP, who easily makes decisions and can stick to the point.

    Do other INFJ's feel the same as I do?
    Nelah likes this.
  2. Your insecurity is what is holding you back. I think what it could be is that you are afraid to make a mistake and appear "dumb." You can't be better at something by avoiding it. You may not know much about yourself and how strongly you feel about your own principals .. or maybe you do and you are insecure about them.

    You have to make the effort to put yourself in the position where you are exposed situations where you need to articulate and make choices. You will make mistakes along the way, as everyone does {that's why "pencils have erasures."} I think often the way people are truly remembered is how they carry themselves in time of great stress.

  3. I understand what you are saying. Try to focus on simplifying your language. Be direct. If you are insecure about being inarticulate then it's something you need to work on. But I can't stress it enough, you need to have confidence. Because once you are confident in your ability to communicate to people effectively you will become that much better at it. Be yourself too. If you are a detailed person, if you place importance on small tangents, then let that be a positive trait of yours. There is nothing wrong with understanding the importance of details when trying to convey a concept or idea to someone.

    Don't focus on what other people are thinking while you are trying to be articulate. Your brain can only do so much at once. It sounds like you may be using brain power on worrying about how you sound and that worrying steals energy from the part of your brain that is trying to communicate effectively. Be yourself. You know how intelligent you are, you just said it in the opening thread.
    Jana likes this.
  4. first of all welcome to the forum [MENTION=8577]jeromaye[/MENTION] !
    you said "It's the whole problem of seeing every angle of every side to the story, every theory, it's all cohesive - it all fits together. I have to integrate every new piece of information into my greater conceptual whole - and so it takes me like a million years to "understand" certain things or to make what should be an "easy" decision. "

    i have the same issue a lot of the time. it doesn't make me feel 'dumb' but it does frustrate the hell out of me. i am hypersensitive. i don't know if that is an infj trait in me or a HSP trait, or if they are one and the same...
    all i know is that i receive tons and tons of information from a single event or picture or statement or action. it's important for me to process all of it.
    my instructor in class calls it over-thinking, but that isn't really accurate. i don't feel i'm over-thinking, the thought processes i go through are natural and immediate when i am faced with new information. i would call it deeper-thinking rather than over-thinking. still, it's not understood or appreciated for what it really is.
  5. The truth is, in one second of thinking about something you have likely thought about it in more depth than many of the people you speak to. Plan out what you want to say, whats most important about it and stick with it. It is difficult for me to have conversations about things but easy for me to have speeches where I had the ability to plan what I would say. Yep, a million relevant things to consider about a topic in a conversation.

    I wonder have you ever found yourself becoming irritated when people talk about the weather? I think, yes it is raining outside, everyone can see its raining. Yes the rain is cold, why would you state the obvious? There are things of much more important to talk about than the weather, why waste time talking about it? American Idol, who gives an f about American Idol, in the grand scheme of things American Idol is completely insignificant to anything...
  6. Yep, it's actually a pretty common phenomena called "poser" where someone considered by most to be very smart and even highly intelligent often feel the opposite, self doubt, questioning themselves, almost feeling as if they are fakes or "posers" and that someone is going to find out that they're not really as smart as they think. Or as you've mentioned, you see so many different possibilities that it takes you longer to process everything, which means you may appear to pick up things slowly while in reality, you're synthesizing large amounts of information. Unfortunately, someone looking on may think the complete opposite, that you're not very smart or capable of picking things up because you're not as quick or responsive to a question or a decision as they'd like. It causes quite a bit of stress and misunderstanding. And often leads some to avoid speaking up or not saying much because you're afraid you won't be able to express yourself as completely and as perfectly as you'd like.

    You are not alone. Don't feel badly about this. It happens to many people. Give yourself a break. Part of the issue is perfectionism. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform well or to exceed expectations, others and our own, and so we are fearful of making mistakes or appearing less than intelligent in what we say so we hold back. First thing is to realize that most people are never really going to understand much less appreciate how your mind works. They're looking for quick responses and our world doesn't have as much patience today for thoughtful communication. I face this all the time. Don't expect many to understand you. It's best to find a balance where you don't prevent yourself from speaking up and sharing your thoughts without feeling they have to perfect or perfectly said, and also realizing that on some level, it helps to adapt our communication to the listener. Some people are never going to be responsive to thoughtful explanations. They just want the simple answer and quick yes or no. They don't necessarily care about the reasoning behind it which you do. So, be fair to yourself. Don't deny yourself the right to speak or have your voice heard, but also consider who you are speaking with when deciding how you want to say it.

    Don't be so hard on yourself. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to that. It's ok to be imperfect. Who says we have to perfect all the time? Cut yourself some slack. First, try to find a general statement that nicely encompasses what you want to say and if someone wants more explanation then try to break down or lay out your reason simply, step by step so they can understand your train of thought. It takes practice. All the best!
    #6 Gist, May 19, 2013
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
    Nelah and Radiantshadow like this.
  7. THIS is one of my biggest pet peeves - when depth of thinking is dismissed and misrepresented as overthinking. Reminds me of when someone reduces the discussion of an issue to black and white terms when there are too many considerations to think about.

    But I digress :D. Sorry.
    JGirl likes this.
  8. [MENTION=1669]Maven[/MENTION]


    That Freudian typo made me think of this video.
    Mainly the first bit but the whole thing is really good - music too!

    In answer to the OP. Yeah...I do. A lot.
    Writing is definitely one of my stronger communication styles.
    I'm okay at speaking but recently I've just embraced my relaxed nature.
    I'll take my time to answer but still, I work on syncing my brevity to the context.

    Also, I don't bring up topics that I can't talk about as much as I'd like to...again, based on the environment.
    How you tell the environment is intuition as well not least because being able to read non-verbal cues from people tells you how to orient yourself.
    I only adjust how in-depth I will go on a topic. My manner of speaking is a part of who I am and I do not rush to have verbal combat with people.
    Or at least, I try not to. It's a process. Alcohol makes bad habits come back, I admit.

    Or...because people are sometimes (often) interesting. Ask them a question as well perhaps?
    If you fear people doing this to you, do it to them.
    It sounds like you'd be okay presenting your ideas but the unexpected questions catch you off guard
    Not in a vindictive way but because it will show them that you need things clarified.
    So when it comes to your turn, over time, there will be a greater understanding of your nature.
    Ask questions in a way you would like to be asked but also just make it clear how you think.

    Still, concision is a worthy skill. If you can be concise and in-depth, people will forgive your need to think.
  9. Not really, since a freudian slip is unconscious. I later used "we" a few other times in the post. I only used "you" initially because I didn't want the emphasis on me since it's someone else's thread. I already know I'm a perfectionist and have overly high expectations of myself, so I'm not bothered to admit it. I also have a habit of changing the pov from which I write in mid writing and often forget to reread what I write and adjust the pronouns to fit the case until after the post has been published.
    Cornerstone likes this.
  10. No, it really did.

    I was coming from the angle that Freudian slips are primarily truth-revealing and that what Mr Hicks says is in the right ballpark.
    I assumed it wasn't deliberate but suggested that you were covertly, unconsciously because it looked like a typo, saying that we are literally all one in that line.
  11. You have to trust yourself. If you wanted you could literally take 1000 years to think about a course of action and still not consider every variable there is regarding it. As time goes on you will start to realize the most important aspects of what you are talking about or making a decision about. You don't have to communicate everything you have thought of to someone else, only that you have thought about it and what your choice is. With time you will also learn what is the most important information to relay to someone should they ask how you came to your decision. AND with time, people will learn to trust you and not ask for explanations as much. Do you trust yourself? If so, in time others will as well.
    Gist likes this.
  12. Yes, and I have an explanation for it. I can be wrong, but... Here we go:

    INFJs are considered one of the highest IQ types. We are smart, we really are.

    But our 2 'intelligent' functions are introverted: Ni and Ti. It means that all our knowledge stays stucked in our minds, and we have difficulty to show it to people. Worst: when we show it in a simple way, people can't understand. In my case, my thoughts exist in a very complex level.

    My suggestion is to write down all your thoughts about everything, and organize it, materialize it, instead of letting all the shit flying in your mind. If we don't do it, we look dumb and we actually turn ourselves dumb, cause all our knowledge stays in this abstract level far away from the concrete world. Other great problem that can be possible is that our strong functions process doesn't involves great memorization, which means that all our fantastic and potentially-genial knowledge can be lost - forever.

    In the end, we become deep dumbs.

    "I think I'm dumb, but I can pretend
    The sun is gone, but I have a light
    The day is done, without having fun
    I think I'm dumb, or maybe I'm just happy...
    Maybe I'm just happy..."
  13. I just some times feel like my brain can't keep up with my mind.
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  14. I remember once when I though of two words at EXACTLY the same time while I was talking. On another note, the other day I was going to hit some golf balls at the driving range. There, they give you the option of hitting off the mats or the grass...grass is extra. The lady asked if I wanted grass or the mats, I said "grats" when I wanted to say mats. I guess you had to be there to know why thats funny.
  15. I know the feeling.

    You should see me at Subway. Inside I'm just like "I don't knoooowwwww what I waaaaant! You have too many choices! It's so confusing! JUST GIVE ME SOME FOOD"
  16. great topic. i can get my point across in an academic setting. my mind goes into hyperdrive and somehow i'm able to articulate my thoughts to my liking... extremely draining... i learned how to do this through my college experience and teaching...trial by fire. i am prone to cutting people off... i'm aware of this and people have brought this up... but if i've got a hot point my brain automatically spits it out/no filter...

    in social situations i feel like a big ol' dummy... i hate small talk... i can do small talk but i feel as though i'm selling my soul to the devil if i engage in this (mostly for work purposes) but it depends on the setting... stick me in party and i'll be the one over-sharing/no filter... once i was at this bridal shower where i just new the bride and before i knew it i had told my entire life story (including the details of my divorce) to a group of ladies who were looking at me like i was an alien... lol... if there are people i know around i can be fun... and if the moon is right i can be the life of the party...

    generally i feel as though i come out of left field for most people... either people like that about me or i weird people out... i'm fine with both... bottom line is that i can't control how people react to me... and weirding people out is kinda fun
  17. I cant talk to people in social settings where opinions matter apparently. Namely other peoples. I try to guide the conversation in the correct direction by asking questions. Should it go on long enough though with indecisive direction I will take control and tell people whats up. Their argument, well you cant prove it. My argument common sense needs no proof other than life experience.
  18. I often feel different, but I have fought to prevent that 'difference' from lowering my self-esteem. Much of that difference has led to people being unable to understand what I say. I have deduced this to having a very complex and misunderstood intuition that is very difficult to articulate in the first place. That said, I have no problem "extraverting" with strangers that MAKE AN EFFORT to communicate with me. I absolutely love speaking to people and don't hold back in doing so with interested people.
  19. Was it a cowbell???
  20. not an infj; yes i feel this way, pretty fucking often to be honest. i think nerves are a part of it, and not feeling totally into the subject matter (let's face it, not everything is interesting enough to warrant an hour long discussion) is also a part of it.

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