How was this handled? | INFJ Forum

How was this handled?

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by frozen_water, Aug 12, 2008.

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  1. frozen_water

    frozen_water Community Member

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    hmm... ok, so this is only barely related to "friends," but it deals with people and interactions and this is the most related area to "strangers" I could find.

    I was in New York visiting a little while ago (by the way, yuck! Cities suck), walking around a Barnes & Noble (I know I know, hush you) when I saw this young/middle-aged woman, probably about 26 or 27, sitting down, and she looked extremely sad. I think she was, at least, because she had a tissue in one hand, a cell phone in the other, and was looking down towards the ground with her eyes 3/4 shut. My best guess was that maybe a boyfriend broke up with her or she had some major relationship issue (hence the cell phone). Anyway, I walked around a bit more, because I wasn't sure what the "right thing" to do was. At all. After circling around the store and coming back about 5-10 minutes later though, it didn't look like she had moved at all... so I took that to confirm that she was, in fact, upset and hadn't just phased out for a few seconds.

    There was a time (only months ago, in fact) when I wouldn't have even noticed this, or perhaps only noticed it days or weeks later ("hey wait a second... was that girl just crying back there?"), but now the single biggest "sticking point" in helping random people (or even casual acquaintances) out when I see that they're upset is a mix of not being able to tell if they want to talk to someone in the first place, and hardly ever saying the right thing if they decide to talk. I eventually settled on "I'm definitely gonna regret not having offered help later, and wondered what would have happened," knelt down, and as slowly/softly/gently as I could asked if she was alright, and wanted anyone to talk to for a little while. She didn't answer, or move, for 5 or 10 seconds, but then said (still in the half-broken words of someone who was just upset) "oh... oh no, I just got a little something in my eye..." At that point I didn't know what to do/couldn't tell what she was feeling at all, so I just said something along the lines of "ooh ok... nevermind then, I'm sorry..." and left. A minute or two later she had put down the tissue and was dialing some number on her phone.


    So what do you all [natural empathizers] think? Can you tell from just that whether I read the situation well, responded decently, etc? It was in NYC, so I didn't expect her to talk anyway (lotta weirdos there), but do you think that offering to talk helped or harmed the situation? Or what could/should have been done differently to have been more helpful?
     
  2. CokeNut

    CokeNut Community Member

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    I think you did the right thing, no matter what city or po-dunk town you would have found yourself. I am not empathetic, i'm actually quite the opposite, but I can read people pretty well. The fact that she started to dial after you approached her tells me that your kindness gave her the strength she needed to make the call she was dreading. Kudos to you!

    Now .... 26 or 27 IS NOT MIDDLE AGE! And while there may be 'a lotta weirdos' in NYC you will also find the kindest and most generous people there as well. Speaking as a born and raised NYer! Yep the whole shabang ... Yankee fan, Bronx accent when I speak (Kaufy instead of coffee and doah instead of door), and a bad ass 'whatcha lookin at' attitute. But I can also be sweet if not entirely gentle. :)
     
  3. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Damn RIGHT! 31 is middle age.
     
  4. CokeNut

    CokeNut Community Member

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    AGH!!! Bite your tongue ... nothing under 50 is middle age, and even then its questionable!
     
  5. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    Assuming middle-aged means around the middle of the average lifetime, it would be from about 35-42. The truth hurts. :D
     
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  6. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

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    I think you handled it perfectly. A simple thing like that can touch a person deeply. You have to watch body language for signals as well. Someone can be saying, "no, no, I'm ok, thanks .. I'm ok" but their eyes are saying, "please stay." I find there's an overwhelming amount of loneliness in the world these days and people are very grateful for even just a smidgen of random kindness. I'm happy for you that you got to do that!
     
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  7. OP
    frozen_water

    frozen_water Community Member

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    tee hee, I got beat to it... but I was just gonna say "oh that's just old people talk!" Welcome to the arrogance-saturated "I'm the reference point of all things" mind of an NT: "I'm 19. They're out of college. Eh... sounds middle-aged to me."

    Also for the record, my only other interaction with new yorkers while I was there, besides the crying girl, was another one whose bag that she was holding I accidentally bumped into. My had was looking one way while I was walking another, and it wasn't all that crowded (inside the port authority at like 10:30 at night), and she just flipped out, screaming "GET YOUR HANDS OFFA ME!!" Scared the daylights out of me...

    Otherwise thanks for all the responses... *goes to make mental note to learn to read eyes* (no joke... I honestly don't look at people when I'm talking to them, hardly ever. I didn't realize it was that bad until someone got offended and my ESFP peace-keeping friend jumped in to defend me "oh come on... he never looks at anyone's face, you know that.") If the eyes can tell you what's behind someone's words, then its the eyes I'll learn to look at. Maybe I should try to make friends with an INFJ at college, get to know/trust each other, and see if they'd be willing to call up the feelings inside of themselves and show me exactly what different feelings look like, so I have some sort of reference point.
     
  8. CokeNut

    CokeNut Community Member

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    I seriously need an Archie Bunker emoticon!!

    *sticks her tongue out and stomps away pouting ...*
     
  9. CokeNut

    CokeNut Community Member

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    Inside Port Authority at 10:30 at night can be a very scary place for a woman alone ... and maybe she was new to the city and just as scared as you were. :?

    I guess I just dislike hearing my city spoken of so poorly. Please don't take it personally, it was a knee jerk reaction and I apologize.
     
  10. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

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    Because of the media and especially how New Yorkers are portrayed in movies leaves people from the outside with an impression of ill mannered, rude and abrupt gun toting people. Then we see the ultra rich and artsy side and Broadway and buildings and stuff. When people would go to New York they were advised to hold on tightly to their belongings because .... New York is such a dangerous place. After Sept 11 we saw the 'real' people of New York and it corrected a lot of misperceptions.
     
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  11. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    I saw a lot of people willing to bash the crap out of people for looking middle eastern...

    I hope that's not the 'real' people you're talking about.
     
  12. OP
    frozen_water

    frozen_water Community Member

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    Take something personally? Mua!? ESTP? Apologize!?

    Gravity does still point down, right?
     
  13. Lurker

    Lurker Has nothing to destroy
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    Not getting SP confused with NT are you :D
     
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  14. CokeNut

    CokeNut Community Member

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    Maybe I am a bit confused ... :?

    I went to bed late and am up early this morning preparing food for a cookout at work today. I wanted to thank my staff and everyone else at my job for being so great about training me and making me feel welcome, so I agreed to make all of the side dishes for this month's cookout. :roll:
     
  15. OP
    frozen_water

    frozen_water Community Member

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    haha there's hardly a thing that goes on around me that I don't blame myself at least partially (and in all likelihood, mostly) for... so I know it's not an NT trait.

    I think I was thinking of one of the ESTP personality rundowns I read... it says ""If I was any better, I couldn't stand it!" To an ESTP, admission of weakness feels like failure. He admires strength in himself and in others."

    Maybe I just wrongly replaced "admission of weakness" with "apologies in general"... it was probably talking about personal weakness, on a different level from "oops, that may have been taken too personally." In any case you could be right... I can't say I thought much about her, but I just violently hate being yelled at, and I would way more enjoy a vacation in the Adirondacks rather than visiting a massive city (only went to meet friends from college in the fairly central, major location). Cities are just not places for me.
     

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