How to make and keep good friends | INFJ Forum

How to make and keep good friends

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by tovlo, Dec 15, 2018.

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  1. tovlo

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    So, here's my question:

    How do you make and keep good friends?

    Easy, right?

    God, no!

    At least not for me. I know with me there are non-infj factors that get in the way and as that gets unearthed it will probably spawn other posts, but here are the infjish factors that seem to get in my way at this stage of my life:

    1) Introvert! The socializing - it hurts! OK, not really. In the moment of socializing, I am super energized! I am hearing people's story; I am sharing my own. It is exhilarating! It's the long haul that wears me out. People will WANT stuff from you. They will want you to listen when you don't feel exhilarated by the conversation. They will want you to give up precious down time to go places with them that sound tedious to you and you'll want to smile and pretend you enjoy it because they're a person and you want them to be happy, but it's all so exhausting! So, instead of getting tangled in all that crap you distance yourself so you don't feel obligated to give up your time to stuff you don't want to do and to conversations that bore you, frustrate you, or annoy you. But then you're DISTANT! And sometimes you want people who will listen to your boring stories or share activities with you that make you light up with joy. But to get you have to be willing to give...

    2) Perfectionism: There are people out there who will love every activity you love, want to have every conversation you want to have, will always be so in sync with you that they will never bore you or tick you off or make you feel insecure or judged, right?

    In my younger years, I had social circles of people I conformed to and still felt alone. Slowly, I am getting comfortable in my own skin and want to find people I can hang with as me, but I am just finding myself fighting the pro/con. I really want connections. People to go have a beer with, laugh with, explore deep topics with, BUT, you gotta kiss alota frogs to find those people and that's so much energy!! And, let's be honest, no one is always a prince, we all carry a little fish smell with us everywhere always. So, no matter how much energy I spent trying to find people more like me, they're still going to be human in the end and want me to do stuff that isn't that interesting to me, and I will want the same. No one's perfect. So, how much energy does it make sense to spend to find something only marginally better suited to you than the imperfect already sitting with you at your work lunch table?

    So, how do you balance self-care and not giving too much of yourself into relationships that aren't really that rewarding, vs. recognizing that good satisfying friendships take time and sacrifice and despite all that effort will never really be perfect?
     
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  2. Wyote

    Wyote Con Risa Absoluta
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    Relationships don't exist for you to be personally rewarded by them.
    They are built on the premise that you both are in the mud and making the best of it.
    If you are trying to lift others out of it, or stay out yourself then you are doomed to be alone because everything is terrible.
     
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  3. OP
    tovlo

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    I would agree that relationships don't exist for one party to be personally rewarded by them, and I would also suggest that without some sort of reward for the parties involved, relationships probably wouldn't be entered into.

    It makes sense to me to weigh the pros/cons of taking the energy to invest in any particular connection vs using that energy in another way.

    Do you see it otherwise?

    How do you decide where to give your energy? There are innumerable opportunities in any given day to connect with people. Some we keep brief and short-maybe saying hi to the cashier at the grocery store. Some we invest in heavily-maybe listening to your partner talk about troubles at work for several hours. People make choices all the time about how deeply they want to go with any given person. It isn't just about whether you get in the mud, it's more about how deep you want to go each time you have the opportunity to connect, and there are opportunities all the time, every day.

    How do you decide when to get "into the mud" with another person and how deep? What did you gain by taking the energy to reply to this thread? What caused you to write what you did? What caused you to decide that was enough connection and to write no more? What will you weigh in deciding whether to respond to this and in what way?

    These are the types of things I am curious how others weigh and balance in the work of finding and building connections.
     
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  4. Wyote

    Wyote Con Risa Absoluta
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    Too many questions, not enough connecting
     
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  5. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    I honestly never ask myself any of these questions. It sounds scary to submit the possibility of friendship to such an extreme sense of control. For me, friendships kind of just happen spontaneously, by keeping an open mind, not being judgemental of others before I actually have gotten to know them, and I guess in the first place, making the effort to meet new people. Given these conditions, the spark either takes place or doesn't.

    As for keeping good friends, I don't know if there's any rule to that, except being a good and reliable person, who is willing to be available not only when things are going well, but also when the friend is going through a rough patch. Making a conscious effort to maintain contact is also important. But as for seeing one's own interest in being friends with someone, rather than seeing friendship as an end in itself, no, I would say that that's the best way never to make true friends.
     
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  6. OP
    tovlo

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    What does seeing friendship as an end in itself mean to you?
     
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  7. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

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    I would say, finding a connection with another person such that what you care about is the connection itself (as an end), rather than what the connection may bring to you as side benefits (as a means to an end). I honestly think that there's something absolute about true friendship, such that if one takes an approach guided by what it can bring to them, that will be felt, and the true friendship will not happen.

    I honestly cannot put it better than Aristotle:

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Ginny

    Ginny Sister Priestess of BB&C (πάντα ῥεῖ)

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    It's an individual thing. If I decide to get involved, I am all in. I'm not out for gain, because there is gain in itself for me to help someone. It is a measure of how much I trust the other person and how much I trust myself to reveal, because everything depends on experience. And experiences differ from person to person, so it would be selfish to only participate on your terms. Sure, there will be times when you need to recharge and not be among others, but it's the people that count in the end, not the activity. And they must not be used for sheer company and making you feel good. It's a mutual exchange where each must give of themselves.

    I need to get a feel for people before interacting with them on a personal basis. It may take a while, but as I said once I'm in, I'm all in, and that brand of loyalty is not often found, so it needs to be protected. I have to be careful who I trust, and betrayal of that trust does not fare well. I have a very selective group of close friends who I love with all my heart, and another layer of the circle of acquaintances with whom I interact on a daily basis. I don't just choose any stranger to interact with closely, there must be something about them that resonates with me. It just doesn't happen with the faces you pass out in the street. It is people you interact with randomly at a friends party, in class, at work, etc. But when you feel it, the spark, then you can move to the layer of acquaintance, and with time perhaps further. I always make time for them, no matter what I do. And if I do have to take time for myself, it is my responsibility to reinitiate contact when I do have time for them.

    Making friends is easy. It's mutual effort that keeps it going. And if the connection is strong enough, they can even surpass goodness.
     
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  9. Aneirin

    Aneirin wandering aimlessly
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    what she said. . .I am exactly that same way. . if I'm in, I'm all in.
     
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  10. Headstorm

    Headstorm On a mountain path.

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    I don't. We are all walking our own path. Some parts of the path we walk together, but when it is my, or my friends time to take another path, it is okay for me.

    The question I would like to ask you, is how you would define ' friend'. Someone you know for a year? Someone you see at least twice a month?
     
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  11. OP
    tovlo

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    Thank you so much for acknowledging gain.

    I take responsibility for triggering a certain sort of response here based on how I framed my question, but I really appreciate your honesty and self-awareness to acknowledge the truth that there is gain for you in relating.

    The 2nd part of this is more what I was trying, unsuccessfully, to get to. The balance of energy that you give to others and on what basis. Though I focused on types of activities in my original post (due to current circumstances) how much safety/trust I feel is also another factor. It takes a great deal of energy to stay engaged when you don't feel safe, nor should you probably stay engaged in those situations. As always, it is not black/white, but a matter of degree.

    Of course. I have not suggested otherwise which has caused me to wonder what people here are actually responding to as they reply. Again, though, I applaud you for a thoughtful even response that seemed to really attempt to respectfully engage here.

    Yes. I relate to this experience. The "spark" has been mentioned a couple times here. I do get this and I realize that is what I wanted to dig into more because I think I am noticing that "spark" isn't clicking for me lately and I was entertaining the possibility that my standards are too high right now (perfectionism) to successfully get that spark. Perhaps that is occurring because I am a self-centered bitch, and as is my nature, I am reflecting on that possibility given the feedback here; however, I think it is actually something else. I suspect that it is the stage of life I am at, the type of connection I am currently looking for (somewhat new to me), and a level of burnout that makes everything feel hard.

    Agreed.

    Thank you again for making a thoughtful and respectful response.
     
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  12. OP
    tovlo

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    I operate somewhat similarly. I would say no one has actually really left my circle of friends, but as life circumstances have shifted for me or them they have moved closer or more distant for a time.

    That is a really good question and until you asked it I hadn't realized how much it plays into this question for me. Previously in my life, "friend" was reserved for the closest inner circle. I think here, I may actually be asking about acquaintances that could potentially turn into friends, but don't need to. I have a few people so close they are family; I have a few people who float around the edge of that growing closer or more distant as life circumstances dictate, but I now realize I am currently trying to find more casual acquaintances to share specific interests. Maybe that's why this feels weird to me, because I don't really know how to manage the energy going out to a more acquaintance level connection.

    That might be the question I needed to understand my question. Thanks.
     
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  13. Ginny

    Ginny Sister Priestess of BB&C (πάντα ῥεῖ)

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    I didn't think you did, but I consider it better to point it out, given recent trends that I have been noticing over the past (half) year.
     
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  14. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    Be accepting, be forgiving, recognize and accept differences, don't press yourself on others, don't take friendship for granted, be helpful, be supportive, be grateful.

    It isn't really more complicated than that. The more judgmental you are, the lonelier you will get. The more you insist your friends be just like you, the lonelier you will get. Trying to understand others for who they are goes a long way.
     
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  15. Wyote

    Wyote Con Risa Absoluta
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    This is why I said what I said, originally.
    You can't be afraid of connecting with people messily, haphazardly. Not unsafely, but maybe in ways that are uncomfortable. Friendship is a dance. A good one is mostly like a romantic relationship but without the sex. Friendships become stale when one or both people are no longer able to dance properly for whatever reason. If you're both adaptable to changes, you'll learn new steps, or a new tempo together. Otherwise you'll just step on each other's toes until one person exits the floor.
     
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  16. Jonah Caan

    Jonah Caan Regular Poster

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    I completely understand your frustration here. I've found in myself as an INFJ that I'm either all in on most things in life, or all out; there's no middle of the road. So I'll either be the best friend in the world, or no-one at all. Go to the gym 6 days a week, or spend a week junking out in-front of the tv etc.

    For me, the term friend is reserved for only 3 (well 2.5 at the moment) people. I currently have an INFP soulmate/ex who wants to remain friends like we always wanted to but after 6 months of no deep intimacy from their end (among other more pressing reasons), I feel like I'm beginning to 'nothing' them.

    Because I had my heart broken, I too am looking to make more acquaintance style relationships but at the moment, I'm getting to deep in them.

    I hope you find your balance.
     
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  17. OP
    tovlo

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    Thank you. I wish you the same.

    And, welcome! :)
     
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  18. Pin

    Pin Commander-in Chief / Ren's Counterpart

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    Friendship, like all relationships needs maintenance. It's the giving of your time and words. Making friends is usually the outcome of serving others.

    There's always someone who needs help. I'd go volunteer somewhere. I'm not really a person for passive-entertainment unless I'm tired and burned out, maybe you're the same way.

    Go out, serve somebody.
     
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  19. ClevelandINTP

    ClevelandINTP Community Member

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    Sleep with them and or keep the tension high
     
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