Getting to know people | INFJ Forum

Getting to know people


C'est la vie
Retired Staff
May 11, 2008
Why don't people actually try to get to know their fellow humans?

This quote was from another thread and I found it interesting. One of my professor's today had an unusual activity for the class. He had us get into groups and then he selected one person from each of our groups and told us to talk about them for 5 full minutes. Even though I had seen this person in my class everyday for the whole semester and even worked with her on various projects, I knew nothing about her aside from her name. I was actually embarrassed that I knew nothing about her and I had to point out obvious physical observations to fill up the time.

This professor made a very interesting point with this activity. We don't know our fellow human beings. Why do you suppose that is? How many people do you see everyday that you know virtually nothing about? How is it possible to have any sense of community when nobody really knows anybody?
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Interesting exercise. I would say that society has killed community with all it's laws and values. And that it is harder for people to trust and rely on people. Look at how everyone hordes stuff when times get tough. People don't rely on each other which creates suspicion and distrust in one another. Calling the cops on your neighbor you don't like or even know is easy. And society tells us to call the cops and not get involved and let them handle it. I think we need to start going back to a more country lifestyle where people know support and understand their neighbors I think that was the original intention of America it just never happened. What can I say society=sheep..
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I think that people typically have a more self serving agenda and getting to know people on more than a shallow level is less than satisfying.

There's also the factor of being judged. People front personas, which have basic info like hometown, schooling, job, and maybe some basic interests. This is assuming you even had a conversation with the person. Some of this info can even be lies. These personas are the people we get to know and exposing anything beyond this makes one vulnerable, which no one likes. I found that people don't really like meeting new people all that much because of the vulnerablity and if they do, it's relatively on an aquintance/shallow level.
The worst aspect about this is that it seems like we INF types are ones who are most adversely affected by this. Most of the other types seem to be perfectly content with just that surface level.

There seems to be a cultural aspect to this, though. When I first came to America, one of the first things I noticed is that people hated eye contact, and strangers had a very strong "mind your own business" attitude towards each other. Heck it seems to be considered "common courtesy" to act like that.

My status as an outsider (being both an infp and coming to America from a different country) has allowed me thousands of hours to observe groups of friends (especially extrovert friends). If you study them carefully, you will see that they define their "Friendship" around the activity they do with each other.

But when it comes to actually knowing each other , they don't. Everyone in the group of "Friends" puts on certain "personas" or plays a certain role to enhance the fun of the activity they come together over, but they never dig deeper beyond that surface persona. And they all seem to be perfectly content with this.
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I have been trying to get a best friend. It sounds weird, but I have always wanted one and I am working on it. I have found getting to know someone like that is like entering into a romantic relationship. Trust, common likes and dislikes, cultural differences (hard one for me), and the list goes on. I am finding that the trust is the hardest part of the whole thing. With out it really knowing someone is almost impossible. Also being a very private person allowing myself to trust someone is very difficult. I seem to have a very strong line where I just don't let anyone in. It also makes relationships of the romantic sort very hard.
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That is why forums are so handy.

You have a point. This is what I did tonight:
Got invited out with some people from work...
Was there for about thirty minutes. Got tired of them all screaming: "I love you sexy!" to one another-- then they all proceeded to make out with one another--while this other d-bag screamed SEMPER FI so loud every five minutes I wanted to flip the table over on him...

I sat totally disinterested nursing my beer watching Friends on mute. Thought: This is lame. I'm going home to go on the internet. And signed on here.

I am not interested in getting to know people when they do not want to be known. I didn't perceive these people as wanting to be known.
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Been there.
Damn... Extraverts can be so... well.... EXTRAVERTED some times.
Too many of them flanking me make me restless and frustrated. :llama:
That, and it is all surface stuff and plesentries. Which I find rather pointless and useless after about 5 minutes.
That, and it is all surface stuff and plesentries. Which I find rather pointless and useless after about 5 minutes.
Yes, that is patient. You're kind enough to try. I don't even do that usually. Either I say something totally blunt that kills the groovy-goodtime mood of the room or I don't speak at all.