Forcing myself out of the INFJ mould | INFJ Forum

Forcing myself out of the INFJ mould

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by Eniko, May 13, 2009.

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  1. Eniko

    Eniko May snark if provoked
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    So, here's my situation. I basically had a lot of problems when I was younger, which are finally resolving now after 7 years. (I'm 26) During that time I basically lost the usual support network of friends and it was basically me, stuck at home with my mom and people online.

    I made friends but they live reasonably far away, plus they're all busy with their SOs nowadays and the lack of human on human interaction is starting to get to even my hermity INFJ self. But making local friends is hard with my interests, and I'm basically forced to break out of my habits and just get out there and meet people, even if they don't resonate strongly with me at all.

    Just so I have people I can go out and do stuff with occasionally.

    I basically made a rule for myself, that I would be the new, more social, more fun me. That I wouldn't turn down invitations unless I had an actually good reason. That I'd be more fun, and outgoing, and all that other good stuff that seems to come so easily for extroverts.

    So far everyone's quite pleased to see me doing this, except for - of course - me. I feel like I'm outside my own comfort zone nonstop, but I can't stop doing it because I need to be out there meeting people. I even agreed to go to a gay scene party (an invitation was extended and my rule came into play, and yes I'm a lesbian) soon.

    I'm going there with someone I barely know but who does seem like she could fall inside my inner circle if given enough time, and I'll be with a whole group of strangers. There'll be loud music, drinking, group socializing, probably drama, all that fun stuff that terrifies me.

    What I'm wondering though is this; is what I'm trying to do even worthwhile? Can I break out of the INFJ mould? Or am I just hurtling straight toward one of my infamous burnt out periods where I draw inward and shut everyone out for a few months?

    And even if I can change myself, is it really worth going against type - for lack of a better way to put it - and being miserable the whole while?

    On the other hand maybe this has nothing to do with me being INFJ, just with me having poor social skills. So I guess... reality check please?
     
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  2. Dutch Cake

    Dutch Cake Community Member

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    My concern is you are maybe doing too much too soon. I have myself taken myself from very hermit-ish to much more extroverted over the course of three years. But it was careful and planned. Understand that it is okay to not do things especially out of your comfort zone.

    You seem to have jumped into the pool instead of testing it and letting your body get used to the temperature.

    If you keep forcing yourself and not gain pleasure from your efforts then, yes, you will go back and have proven yourself right or wrong and that is a shame. Maybe find what you can enjoy from each new experience and be realistic when you just need some down time.

    I am better with questions, but I am happy to listen or tell you what I've done and gone through. It could be helpful.

    Good luck, sounds like an adventure.
     
  3. Wyote

    Wyote Dad of the Ded
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    You've just got to know your limits. Making yourself go and socialize is a good step, but you need to have balance that you are comfortable with or you will most definitely burn out. You can have both worlds. You need both.
     
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  4. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    Look to your other functions. Ni is just about useless in most social situations. Look to Fe to help you harmonize with people, Ti to detach from your anxiety, and Se to observe what is going on around you. You don't have to break the mould; just learn to manipulate it. It'll require stepping outside the comfort zone of your inner world and using other functions but it is fun once you get the hang of it.
     
  5. just me

    just me GONE

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    ...and your nf to learn.
     
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  6. Lune Froide

    Lune Froide Community Member

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    I love what dutch had to say!

    It sounds like you're sifting through your needs and wants right now and from my limited experience, it takes trial and error to recognize what you're willing to sacrifice in order to organize the ole columns A and B. If the discomfort and misery persists then I could see a burn-out occurring and you'll probably end up frustrated with yourself on top of it but from what you've described, you already have met one acquaintance that you enjoy and I've got high hopes that you'll meet a few more on your journey! Just try to tune into what you truly desire and in those party situations, don't go in with any expectations! Of them or yourself. :)

    Keep us updated, I find this bravery admirable and suspect that you'll end up learning and growing from the experience regardless.
     
  7. IndigoSensor

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    I firmly believe that you should do what feels right. In this case though it might seem counter intuitive, because you feel like you don't want to socialize, but you know it is in your best interest.

    Just keep an eye out that you don't feel drained. If you start to feel tired, exausted, and just zapped of energy, then you need to give yourself a break. It is definitely a good thing to get out of your confort zone. Just keep in mind that you do need to go back to it now and then.

    I beg to differ. I find my Ni to be insturmental in social situations.
     
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  8. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    For me, it tends to speculate too much on what others may be thinking or feeling to the point that I become overly self concision. How does it help you?
     
  9. IndigoSensor

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    It lets me read people which subequently lets me know how to act, what I can and can not say, and if I should move on or not. It just gives me insight into people so I know how to work thing socially.
     
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  10. Dutch Cake

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    Think of yourself on two sides of a scale. Find the balance between the inner you and the outer you. The inner you is where you are able to find that comfort within so you know you are safe and able to cope. The outer you is the one who does the moving around and socializing. Use what you know to do the outer you.

    I find myself analyzing if I am being true to myself or not. Always be true to who you are, it can be hard and as I said this is a balancing act.

    Use your strengths when meeting new people. If you remember faces or names that is a great advantage. I am very bad at remembering names and I at one point found I wasn't talking to people I liked and wanted to. I found asking them their names again helped.

    It might also help to know many people find social situations really difficult. I have a friend who I thought was really outgoing and learned she can't be in a crowded environment for more then an hour. She works around it.

    Find your comfort zones and work slowly.
     
  11. Jana

    Jana Searching...

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    I agree with you very much, I've just had quarrel based on fact that I was sure what other person was thinking. I try not to communicate in that way, but sometimes I react before I think. Not good, not good...
     
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  12. rainrise

    rainrise Community Member

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    i understand where you are coming from. i find that INFJs are torn between needing time alone as well as sustaining deep relationships. i agree with what many others have said on this thread; perhaps you should ease into the social scene at a pace which you find most comfortable.
    it is wonderful that everyone else is pleased to see you doing this, however you also say that it feels out of your comfort zone doing so.
    many a time, i'm come across this dilemma with my own acquaintances as well. in the end, i've realized many INFJs feel the need to accomodate others in society, thereby changing themselves to better fit the social mold. while this gets a good response from society, which is mainly extroverted and S dominated, it is important not to suppress aspects of your personality that define you and give your life the most meaning.
    too many times we become drained by holding superficial relationships and living as an extrovert when we are not. introverts can be very sociable, just in a different pace and with perhaps different people. i don't believe being "fun and outgoing and all that other good stuff that seem to come so easily to extroverts" are the only attributes of a likeable person, though they are very good to have and usually are most noticed in today's society.
    as an INFJ, you may be extremely creative and have a natural ability to understand others on a deeper level. though these qualities may take more time to become visible to others, they are nonetheless good and you'll find that those who take the time to discover them in you will also be more worthy of your effort in sustaining mutually meaningful relationships.
    best of luck!
     
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  13. Koba

    Koba Community Member

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    Going outside your comfort zone is absolutely something you should do, but you shouldn't do something just because it's outside your comfort zone either. Or maybe you should- some people are really big on doing that- but you don't have to and it may not be what's best for you anyway.

    This isn't the only way to interact with people. You could look for something more laid back, like a club or volunteer work. Personally my ideal situation to socialize is something one on one where there's lots of chances to talk, although I don't need constant talking if the other person doesn't need it. This doesn't always work out, and so I sometimes have to look to other things, but I would never try to replace it, and I respect my limits when I need to.
     
  14. alcyone

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    You've fallen prey to a very typical condition.

    Pendulumitis.

    Characterized by rapid shifts between extremes.

    You became very hermitlike.....decided it was too much like isolation to be comfortable (reference Motor Jax's signature block). Then jumped over into the extreme other end....a party girl. And that is definately out of your comfort zone.

    Now, since you've started the pendulum moving, you can't just stop it without going back into some sort of a rut. My suggestion would be to keep flowing with the swing of things; from hermit-like to wild child, until things balance out again.

    It may take some time. This isn't a situation that developed overnight you have to realize. It's going to take some time to level out again.

    Become more in tune to what your body (specifically your stress levels) and intuition start telling you. And although its the hardest thing in the world to get into the habit of, start listening to your intuition!
     
  15. Puck

    Puck Perilous Pixie
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    Hey. :) I just wanted to affirm that you have excellent social skills. Look how well you communicate with all of us! There's everything right with having strengths in different areas to those people you are endeavouring to be compatible with. The thing is, they won't appreciate your strengths - they will only confirm what you fear - that you need to change to be like them, rather than celebrating what's already great about being you. Look to what makes you happy, and be with the people who love you for being you. :)
     
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  16. OP
    Eniko

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    Wow, thanks for the comments everyone. I felt particularly silly after posting this, so I was kind of afraid of negative reactions, but you've all been very helpful and I feel a bit better about it all already. I guess I'm just so used to people not understanding what the big deal is dealing with stuff like this.

    Honestly I don't expect these changes to really stick, but on the other hand I wouldn't really mind if they did either. I think part of it is just that what comes natural to me isn't what is helpful in the situations I'm throwing myself into now, but on the other hand it's also just being new to it and not knowing what to do or how to handle myself.

    And while the former won't change permanently, the latter might. I made a conscious effort over the years to overcome my shyness and become more sociable in a general sense (outside of party context) and while it still requires a mental shift to get into that mode of being (it feels kind of like being on autopilot), it is so much easier now. I guess eventually, once I've met enough people to satisfy my desire for human interaction things will settle down again.

    Now that I'm thinking about it out of all the things I have lined up the only thing I'm particularly nervous about is the party scenario. Realizing that it's only that thing that's currently put me way outside my comfort zone and that the rest really won't be so bad at all helps a bit too. Guess that's Ti for you.

    I suppose I have thrown myself in at the deep end though, and I suppose there will eventually be a swing back to my reclusiveness just like a few of you say. But I really needed that, because after so long of being outside the world basically I needed something radical, a shock to the system or else I'd just let fear and my desire not to deal with complex social situations like that which I find tiring and unfulfilling keep me from getting anywhere.

    And yeah, from now I think I'll think of this as trying to cultivate my other functions rather than changing who I really am. Seems much less distasteful doing it when I think about that.

    Also I have to agree on Ni being pretty much useless in social situations. I find its great for getting a handle on someone else over time or figuring out what they're thinking during down-time, but in the moment it just makes me feel anxious and slows down my socializing. I think I specifically "shut down" that part of me when I'm heavily socializing so I can be more spontaneous.

    That probably explains the autopilot feeling I get, come to think of it.

    Anyway thanks again, I feel so much better already! :D
     
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  17. Wyote

    Wyote Dad of the Ded
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    We are the INFJ army, after all. Killing people with cuddles, one hug at a time.
     
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    #17 Wyote, May 13, 2009
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
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