I need help processing this INTJ/INFJ interaction... | INFJ Forum

I need help processing this INTJ/INFJ interaction...

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by worthy, Dec 11, 2019.

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  1. worthy

    worthy Community Member

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    Dammit. I was at a party and there was some talk about MBTI. I told my longtime (clearly INTJ) friend that I had figured out his type, and shared some info about why, and how I've found MBTI helpful. I sent him an email that evening with some basic rational information about MBTI & INTJ.

    He emailed me this morning. I was stunned by his response. It stopped me in my tracks. He said he does not want to be analyzed at all, especially not publicly (there was a conversation about MBTI at a public gathering), and that he sees it as an issue of consent.

    It's clear that I made him extremely uncomfortable. It was entirely accidental, and I see that he understands this, but it still feels awful. I apologized, I own it, but I am mortified at myself for not realizing that result could happen. I was so surprised. Clearly I didn't know him as well as I thought.

    The highest way I (an INFJ) show interest in and care for a person is by doing my best to figure them out. I assumed he would be delighted that I'd thought about this and taken the time to get to know him deeply enough to figure out his type, and that sharing the information about it would be taken positively even if he chose not to engage with the info further. It has been such a helpful thing to me in sorting out relationships and understanding myself. I felt I was giving a gift, but I was wrong.

    My INFJ brain is churning on some specifics in the exchange that I won't get into here but think might be the issue. I don't think it's necessarily MBTI that is the problem, but maybe the fact that I have that sort of INFJ x-ray vision and really do have him figured out in a way he didn't realize, and he felt super vulnerable, and we were in a public setting, and that was the problem. This is the best story I can come up with to explain it, but I know that even though I'm often right, I am sometimes wrong. I think maybe for him it was too personal a conversation for a public space. Maybe I got too excited about the opening to finally tell him what I had figured out about him that I didn't think carefully enough about how he would feel about it.

    So...have you ever had this response from someone? I feel like I fell into a trap of my own making. Not sure if I'm stuck there forever now, or if my apology made enough right to just carry on as before. How do I know? I'm flooded with feelings. But trying to keep perspective.

    I guess time will tell, right? Healthy relationships have these moments where someone oversteps and the other person clarifies the boundary, where someone causes inadvertent injury and the other person says, here is how to not hurt me again, and then you know. This part is not INFJ, I assume, but more comes from my personal history of childhood bullying trauma and an anxious attachment style.

    It is hard to trust. Easier to run away emotionally. I am in the deep end and not sure how to swim. How would you move on from this?
     
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  2. OP
    worthy

    worthy Community Member

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    @Hostarius and other friendly INTJs, do you have any insights from the INTJ side?
     
  3. Hostarius

    Hostarius τέλος

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    Hi worthy! :)

    I'll take a look, but I'm sick with cold/flu and haven't been to bed yet, so I'm not 100%
     
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  4. Hostarius

    Hostarius τέλος

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    No I've never had this response from someone, but I'm trying to think if I've ever done something like a 'public personality dissection' of someone before... one-on-one is fine, but I can see how it might've felt invasive if in a group setting, like he was being 'picked out'.

    This just seems like a case of you accidentally overstepping someone's boundaries, which happens from time to time. They key factor is not that you did it (how were you to know - your intentions were obviously just to have a fun discussion), but in how you respond - apologise, explain your reasoning, and respect the boundaries he insists on.

    You will feel shitty for a while, but you need to trust in the words that are spoken openly; trust in the healing process and in the friendship. As long as you've done the work to make it right, do not worry or overthink. Soon enough, both of you will forget about it, but both of you will remember how you dealt with it. An outcome of this might even be improved trust, as he learns even more that you will respect the boundaries he communicates to you.


    Don't sweat this :)
     
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  5. OP
    worthy

    worthy Community Member

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    Thank you @Hostarius. This is exactly EXACTLY exactly what I needed. :kissingheart: Feel better soon!
     
  6. Hostarius

    Hostarius τέλος

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    Thanks, I'll try, lol. Hope it all works out :)
     
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  7. acd

    acd Baba yaga

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    Maybe it's an Fi thing but INTJs seem like really private people. I can see how he'd feel uncomfortable with the discussion, especially being held in front of other people. Also, people usually don't like to be told who they are (unless they ask for that kind of analysis or insight) or that they've been figured out. Even if you meant it in a friendly way. I'm not sure how to explain it but there is something depersonalizing and assuming about it even if the intent was not malicious. I know INFJs tend to think they can really see into the depths of people and maybe they can to an extent but I think it's important to let people figure these things out on their own, or to share information about themselves. Nothing wrong with analysis and trying to understand people but let them confirm or correct your assumptions in their own way.
     
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  8. java

    java Community Member

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    Hello worthy,

    What kind of people were at that gathering? What is his relation with these people? Were they other friends you both share? Friends only of his? Some colleagues?

    I don't want to speak for all INTJs, and I'm not entirely sure I am one, but I know the way I present myself is usually adjusted based on who I'm communicating with. It doesn't go as far as becoming a different person entirely, but the level of closeness will act as a filter, and determine what I'll say and do. At the lowest level of proximity, I am quite careful of what I say and share about myself. It's not done in an attempt to manipulate others, it's more about keeping things simple and efficient, keeping the interaction on a clear path, and not open too many ways in which me and my interlocutor could diverge. Naturally, there are also issues of trust involved, strangers are strangers, and information is power.

    In your case, I think this may be what happened. Your friend was navigating the situation with a given level of formality or privacy, and what you mentionned must have been a breach of that level, a breach he couldn't control or fix by himself. I recall a few instances where something similar happened to me, and while my response may not have been as strong as his, I did feel annoyed.

    Hope this helps!
     
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  9. slant

    slant Fairly Tragic

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    My best friend is an INTJ... I'm INFJ but have tested INTJ when I was really depersonalized.

    I think this isn't an issue of personality type, though.

    I don't really lean on MBTI as much as I used to in the past because I've found that it's not necessarily the best thing. It's fun but it's man made, and though it gives a structure for different people and how they may behave and interact I've found it super important to view MBTI as a tool and fun thing like horoscope.

    A lot of people, usually INFPs btw ;) , do not like being categorized or simplified. Other people have touched on this before me but I wanted to affirm that.

    My problem with MBTI is that it was a "cheat sheet" at life and people and made me able to presume things about people and categorize people. That's natural for the human brain to want to do that. But the reality is, no matter how many systems we invent for understanding people.... They will never capture the true complexity of a human. In that way many people are upset to be forced into a box or for you to talk as if you know them. I'm always super careful when I bring up MBTI and ask casually if they know their result. If they seem interested I talk more about it and sometimes say "I think your this result. If you ever take it let me know if I was right that would be cool to see".

    MY intj best friend was super excited when I told her about the test- it was on the first day we met, and she right away went and took the test.

    I have a friend who hates psychology tests and even will get defensive and upset if you rephrase what he's saying with different words, he'll say, "that's NOT what I said". Story with him is that he was in a very emotionally abusive relationship where his partner would try to control his thoughts and psychoanalyze him.

    I think that for some people behavior like what you described can trigger those who have been controlled psychologically by someone else in their life- whether it be a parent, spouse, friend, people who are abusers will use this gaslighting technique, basically correcting people, telling them they misremembered something, trying to get people to doubt themselves to gain more control.

    It's a real possibility you might have tripped a wire with something that happened in this person's past because his reaction isn't really typical, however, he has the right to set his boundaries and it's super cool he was honest with you.
     
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  10. Bellosome

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    Hello worthy!

    Not an INTJ but I have few close NTJs in my life. Aside from mentioned above, NTJs like to be in control of the situation they're in. Like how java said it, it's more efficient for them that way. And you probably got a bit too personal in a group setting which made him feel being probed and poked at to lose his control and cool/chill demeanour. (As I'm sure other types would've been as well)

    Anyway, I hope it still goes well and will value your friendship more than an issue that can be talked about. Give him space in the mean time. :)
     
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  11. dragulagu

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    Hi worthy,

    as acd mentioned, INTJ's are (very) private and guarded people in regards to their personalities, as INFJ's are as well.
    So it's not about figuring out what type he is, it's about him being analysed as a person that felt uncomfortable.

    He gave you a direct response to the situation coming from how he felt (even if he's being a tad extreme on it :grin:)..
    That's not something INTJ's just do, so there's a compliment in this.

    You already apologised and acknowledged his boundaries. Give it some time and just approach him as-is and don't be afraid to talk it out with him
    in person if you feel the need for it. True feelings are charming to us, so no worries.
     
  12. OP
    worthy

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    Yes, he is very private. I wonder if it is an INFJ thing to crave other people's insights into who we are and assume they also crave that. I would feel SO LOVED if someone showed me that they'd looked deep into my soul and understood what was there. I'm usually pretty socially reserved and not inclined to spill secrets, but I got excited when the topic comes up, and I just got blinded by that, I think.

    I don't understand how it is depersonalizing though. Do you mean that everyone gets to own their own analysis and how they present it, and not have it plucked out of them by someone else? It is just something I do, figuring peopleout, and it never occurred to me that it isn't appropriate unless they ask for it. It feels like silencing some part of myself that is like breathing for me. But of course that is about me, not them. It makes me nervous enough now to consider trying to shut off that part of myself, but I'm not sure I can. Maybe I just need to learn better how/when to share little bits of things. But I can see their inner workings SO CLEARLY much of the time. Another INFJ conundrum, maybe, holding that in to fit in.
     
  13. OP
    worthy

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    Friends that we share, also colleagues, also some strangers who were around but not directly in the conversation. How you describe filtering interactions makes perfect sense to me.

    Yes, this friend is a private person (chooses what he shares) and I think I must have underestimated how deep I was in his inner circle of sharing. I am fairly private in a similar way and I am sort of shocked that I didn't see how this would play out and stop myself. But now, forevermore, I likely will; lesson learned.

    I'm still trying to process how I think and feel about connecting in social situations that led me to not self-censoring.

    I thought the event itself went well, but I normally avoid such events and try to splinter off into 1:1 or 1:2 conversations with deep thinkers instead of "working the room" or whatever. I thought I navigated everything else remarkably well at this party, but as I think about it, it may be that my own inner resources were pretty strained just being there (and in a role of some responsibility) so my capacity for social savvy and awareness of nuance was compromised.

    Thank you.
     
  14. OP
    worthy

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    Yes, it is quite possible and likely that I tripped a wire. Some folks are minefields. There is always more at work than MBTI, of course. This thread is helping me to appreciate that his reaching out with a difficult but honest response is an indication that he values our friendship and is invested in it. I appreciate that insight very much!
     
  15. OP
    worthy

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    Thanks, Bellosome. Riiiight...control. Yes. Now to try to be patient and give him space. Hard but doable.
     
  16. OP
    worthy

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    Oh, yay, I hoped you would respond, @dragulagu . I wasn't sure if I remembered your type right, but I did!

    That is a hugely helpful point. Thank you so much for this reminder. Not long after he got my apology, he responded with a simple, "We're cool." Which was an immense relief to read and saved me from a lot of self-flagellation.

    I see that this was a fork in the road in this friendship. By addressing the issue, he's affirming that he values the friendship enough to engage about this, when he could have easily chosen the silent road, which means it wasn't worth it to him. Right?

    Really? I am always afraid to go there with him with my big, mural-size, technicolor feelings. I mean, I'm not overly dramatic, but sometimes I feel even having feelings and expressing them (messily, of course) is "too big." So I don't want to risk prolonging or adding to either of our discomfort by bringing it up. Easier to avoid and move on. But I also am not sure whether it's the healthy or right thing to not bring it up at all or pretend as if it never happened. There is too much of that in my painful past with others. Would love advice on this if anyone has any... Maybe I just need to take the temperature in our interactions over time and decide if there is anything more to say or if it feels resolved?
     
  17. acd

    acd Baba yaga

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    Yeah that's what I mean by depersonalizing.

    Were you right though in your assessment? Because it upset him and you didn't expect that. But you still claim you are right in understanding his inner workings. Maybe better than him? That's the depersonalization. You may want someone to deep dive into you and figure you out but a lot of others don't want those insights to be shared especially in front of others without asking. And if he is an INTJ, other INTJs here have commented that you took control away. Or his ability to control how he is seen and conducts himself. That's really not fair. The public assessment did not take his feelings into account. It took yours into account. But you acknowledge that.

    You don't have to shut off the part of you that wants to figure people out but I think it'd be a good idea to keep those insights or assessments or assumptions to yourself unless the person asks for that input. There are other ways to apply that information thoughtfully and helpfully.

    Tagging you @worthy so you see the edit here. I was just clarifying what you asked but don't beat yourself up over it. You apologized. You guys will move past it. You asked why he may have responded the way he did and that's my take.
     
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    #17 acd, Dec 13, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
  18. OP
    worthy

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    Circling back again to tell you that your words were my guiding light for the first day after this happened. Every time I started overthinking, I pulled out your post and made myself read it. Very helpful.

    Trusting in friendships is hard.
    Taking simple words at face value is hard.
    Not replaying the mistake on repeat in my mind is hard.
    Being forgiving of myself is hard.
    Having patience as time sorts things out is hard.

    I own all of those issues. I see how this is an opportunity for me to work on these things, and also an opportunity for improved clarity in the friendship.

    And I still feel shitty. But less so than yesterday. And I feel myself growing.
     
  19. Hostarius

    Hostarius τέλος

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    Thanks for taking the time to tell me that, worthy, I really appreciate it :)

    Trust is hard, but it is also beautiful. In moments like these, we build value and meaning into our lives. For having gone through this, you will hold your friend that little bit closer, and he you, because he's seen your earnest attempt to fix this and your sincere respect for his boundaries.

    Good heal, white wizard! ❤️
     
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  20. dragulagu

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    Happy to respond.

    Yup, it's a good response and approach. And good to see that it gave you immense relief, honestly. Strengthens the relationship.

    Well, I don't know the details of your relationship with him, neither how you or him interact, or know you or him personally. But it is much better to be open with it than to crop it all up and imagining scenarios in our heads that do not exist (taken from the session; everyone does this). But yeah, you don't have to talk about the situation if you feel that it isn't needed. Only when it's impacting you negatively I'd suggest to take it up again. Anyway, agreed in other's input/advice as well, more perspectives!


    Interestingly, I can give you a personal experience as well that I had as well, as I followed a group therapy session today in regards to assertiveness given by a professional psychotherapist for my work:

    So, In the beginning of the session I could go along with it, it just felt somewhat anxious, but the further we went into it the more I was locking down emotionally. I was starting to feel a huge pressure during the session as:

    a) I’m already not a fan of doing these kind of group session exercises (with role-play, exercises and such) to begin with as these exercises forced you to put your guard down by sheer group pressure.
    b) We had to open up about our vulnerabilities (in regards to communication), our boundaries, parent’s past (which, to me is a big no no without written consent), difficulties with interpersonal situations, …
    c) It felt really uncomfortable going open like in a room full of people i have never met while
    d) I and the other people were being analysed by her, a professional, during the session in a group setting.

    So even though there was a certain consent by going to that session, having to put my guard down just like that in a group of strangers, let alone towards a professional without the specific expectation of what was going to happen during that day felt extremely uncomfortable to me. And it just became awkward as well as I was starting to react cognitively instead of emotionally during the session. Which made the others (and the psychotherapist) feel more awkward towards me, which in turn put me even more on a defence as I sensed this (I even thought that the therapist was targeting me specifically at the end, while, having read the course material after, she was following the standard exercises as written down in the course). Fun times.

    Having said that, the people there were all cool, lots of feelers, with a couple empathic temperaments and all with their own stories and difficulties. And one really cool woman, introverted as she said herself, who actually had the proper guts to role-play standing up for herself against an aggressive person by just putting it where it stands, kudos. There was also an INTJ woman sitting next to me which went with the same train of thoughts (and approach on life/communication) as I did, was nice to see / talk with.

    Especially on the role-play examples where she pointed out some flaws in a situation, which actually was important information left out of the scenario. (These scenarios came from all the participants as personal situations in which there was a difficulty with other people). It was fun to watch and to go with her in one of the examples. Even though it was interesting to observe that other’s (feelers especially) did not necessarily interpret the situation in the same way.

    This situation (loosely) was in regards to approaching a slacking employee as a teamleader whom already was being said a couple times not to put a box in a certain lane in a warehouse as it was hindering everyone else in their work and which was not according to the procedure. The teamleader approached the employee assertively, explaining the situation to him and setting the relationship boundaries between him and the employee (what is at risk etc.) which for everyone it felt correct, for the psychotherapist it felt correct as well. However for me and her it felt aggressive and we did mention it. I got the impression that Fi plays a role here vs Fe.

    Anyway, this is my personal experience and one which was much more on an impersonal level. So don’t take this example as off-putting, it’s just an extreme version of what I, personally (as INTJ) felt in this situation.

    The point of the whole experience story is that being analysed can feel invasive if it is without specific clearance (for example, in the form of asking whether he knows MBTI, if he would be interested in it, to try together to find out what type he is and to acknowledge your conclusion with him that he is an INTJ).

    INFJ's analyse a lot, INTJ's analyse a lot, everyone does this to a certain degree. It's just that with how Ni works, INxJ's tend to analyse more than other people. And if he's an INTJ, I'm sure he'll take your effort in understanding him as a huge compliment. ;)

    Hope this can give some more clearance on the whole perspective.
     
    #20 dragulagu, Dec 13, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
    Impact Character, worthy and java like this.
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