Introversion in Friendships and Relationships | INFJ Forum

Introversion in Friendships and Relationships

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by jimtaylor, Jan 14, 2016.

Share This Page

Watchers:
This thread is being watched by 1 user.
More threads by jimtaylor
  1. jimtaylor

    On Holiday

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Threads:
    105
    Messages:
    1,805
    Likes Received:
    436
    Trophy Points:
    224
    MBTI:
    No Need
    Enneagram:
    Yup
    I was at the gym tonight listening to, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking” which is a book I have read and listened to before but it brought out some thoughts tonight. Actually, it made me feel guilty. I am not necessarily what the extroverted US would call a good friend. I don’t call to see how people are doing or even text and normally I can go months without seeing any of my friends and be perfectly happy. I care about them and hope their life is going great but I don’t feel alone at all. I am really pretty dang happy, the most happy I can remember being in my life, especially my adult life.

    I am not a recluse, I see people every day at work and I do have a girlfriend who I see 2 to 3 days a week. I go out every weekend to do things with her and whatever else I want to do. I am always working on art projects, playing video games, writing, watching sports, going to the gym, seeing movies, going to museums and just doing whatever I want to do and a lot of it outside of the house. Anyway, the source of my guilt is that I read a lot of psychology books and a lot of them stress that in relationships, it's healthy to maintain other friendships outside the relationship. I realize that I am not doing this but I don’t do this regardless of if I am in a relationship or not and I am not sure if I want to. I maintain my individualism by doing my own things but doing my own things doesn’t normally include other people. If that makes any sense?

    One of the closest friendships is with my younger brother who himself is also introverted. He lives with me and we get along fantastically. We understand each other and our friendship might look weird to outside people but for us it is what we like from a friendship. So when I got back from the gym, I started talking to him about all of this and we realized that in our entire life we can’t remember our dad ever having a male friendship. Our dad would be social enough when we had parties and guests over but he never actively went out and worked on his friendships. He was happy to come home, play solitare, read, write, play flight simulator and do stuff with us. My mom was a little bit more social but not much. She might have a friend over once a month if that. So we were raised by two total introverts as well.

    I am like my dad in that I feel satisfied with my work relationships and my girlfriend as they fulfil whatever social need I have but as I read these books, I do wonder. Should I be a better friend, should I go out and try to make better friendships even though I am very happy with what I have? The other question I ask (as bad as it may sound), if my girlfriend and I were not to workout for whatever reason, would I be doing anything differently? And my answer is not really. Some things would change but nothing drastic. I would go to the gym a little more, spend the time I had spent with her doing more art projects, eat out less, spend less money and maybe go out with friends a few times a month to the bars or club instead of every other month. I used my own questions and story in this post but feel free to talk philosophically or use your own experiences. I am really wondering if some of the psychology books I read even consider how introversion and extroversion might impact these things.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  2. Free

    Free probably just a "like" bot
    Retired Staff

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Threads:
    51
    Messages:
    7,329
    Featured Threads:
    13
    Likes Received:
    31,979
    Trophy Points:
    3,727
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Best Coast :p
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    295ish
    I would say most texts on psychology do not take into account the extroversion and introversion aspects of a person's healthy personality at all. In fact, it is still widely thought in the world of psychology that introversion is a red flag denoting signs of depression and personality disorders. I think it is just too misunderstood by the majority. The fact that you yourself are perfectly happy without heavy maintenance of your friendships is proof that it is normal and healthy for you and more than likely your friends know you well enough to not feel neglected by you. Maintaining friendships outside of a relationship is important to me, but it's not for many people nor even for my friends. We have to do what's best for ourselves, no matter what books say is "normal and healthy".
     
  3. Xroads

    Xroads Community Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2015
    Threads:
    0
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    98
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    1w2
    Though I can respect the OP in that he has found a happy balance but I think it's important for me to maintain friendships outside of a relationship because I need to have that connection with others that has nothing to do with my relationship. I made the mistake once of withdrawing, unknowingly, from my friendships and became solely reliant on my girlfriend for all my social needs. When that relationship ended, I had not a soul left who gave a damn because I didn't give a damn about them. I do think it is unhealthy when people get so absorbed in their relationships that they shut the rest of the world out. It turns into a heavily co-dependant relationship and suddenly you lose sight of who you are as an individual and are left with no one else in the world who cares.
     
  4. Misadventure

    Misadventure butt fros and asian purrs

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    Threads:
    28
    Messages:
    2,676
    Featured Threads:
    6
    Likes Received:
    9,081
    Trophy Points:
    1,166
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    West Coast
    MBTI:
    INFP
    I relate to this. I love my husband but, damn, I need my friends separate from him too.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  5. invisible

    On Holiday

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Threads:
    225
    Messages:
    9,056
    Featured Threads:
    8
    Likes Received:
    9,789
    Trophy Points:
    1,329
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Avalon Archipelago
    MBTI:
    none
    Talking "IRL"... I don't see my friends regularly either. I do maintain those friendships. For one of them I only see her once a year. Another, I see maybe three times a year, but we email from time to time. Another, I see her maybe 6 times a year. Another, I see rarely, maybe once every 3 years. Another I see about 3 times a year and we don't email all that much. They're all very important people in my life. I don't go out on weekends, I like to stay at home and do my own thing. I know a handful of people on the internet who are important to me. I don't really have other "real life" friends... maybe a couple of peripheral acquaintances.

    Work relationships can be pretty close and you know, generally you are collaborating on something that you believe in, so that is genuine social interaction too. Maybe people need an outlet of some kind, but when it comes to friendships or business relationships, it's not like you have to be constantly divulging your deepest darkest emotions in order to be engaging in a mutual, satisfying association with each other.

    I think the idea that external friendships are important to the health of the intimate relationship is maybe a good maxim for some people... if that kind of thing is useful to them, and they are the kind of people who are a bit uncomfortable being alone with their own thoughts... but on the other hand it's maybe a bit like saying that an intimate relationship is important to the health of other friendships. It doesn't really make sense. I think that what is important to the health of the intimate relationship is that you yourself are healthy and happy (how ever you can work out to get yourself there), and that you treat the other person in the relationship with true respect - recognising them as a distinct individual with their own feelings and thoughts and beliefs and goals etc. etc.
     
  6. ThomasJ79

    ThomasJ79 Pondering

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2012
    Threads:
    21
    Messages:
    1,353
    Featured Threads:
    1
    Likes Received:
    705
    Trophy Points:
    682
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    Artiste
    It is healthy to maintain relationships outside of a romantic relationship, but how much is entirely up to you. If you feel fine then there isn't anything to worry about. It is only if you desire to hang out more with friends, but feel that you can't because your romantic relationship consumes too much of your time, that you should be worried.

    Like you, I have a need to regularly do certain things in my life that are largely an individual endeavor. If I had friends that enjoyed at least some of the same things, then I think I would hang out with them more, but things like reading, researching, doing art, are largely individualistic in nature and I don't see how friends could participate anyways. My social life is usually consists of living within my lair and coming out when I feel it is time. If I socialize too much, the things I love to do get neglected and that actually has a negative impact on my mental health. Different people get a fix out of different things. For myself, introversion isn't necessarily about avoiding socialization(although I am still somewhat shy), it is an attraction to activities that do not require socialization.

    I don't see anything wrong with what you are doing, as long as you are content.
     
  7. Scientia

    Scientia A true lady

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2014
    Threads:
    53
    Messages:
    2,977
    Featured Threads:
    2
    Likes Received:
    6,260
    Trophy Points:
    877
    Gender:
    Female
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    [MENTION=2710]jimtaylor[/MENTION], Is it possible that you might think you chose this but you didn't, especially if she is happier and more secure when you have only her and your brother? Some of us have a natural propensity for being alone and that can be exploited by partners at times. If that is not the case, after you really think about it, I do think you need at least one good friend outside your relationship and family.
     
  8. OP
    jimtaylor

    On Holiday

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Threads:
    105
    Messages:
    1,805
    Likes Received:
    436
    Trophy Points:
    224
    MBTI:
    No Need
    Enneagram:
    Yup
    It could be possible but I doubt it. She has never said or held me back when I do want to go do things, like last year when I went to Costa Rica for a week with friends and Country Jam for a week with friends. Neither trip bothered her in the sense that she was mad that I was there or didn't trust me. She missed me and I missed her during those trips but it wasn't a big deal at all. I don't feel any guilt when I do decide to go out with friends or have friends over nor do I feel an insecurity when she goes out with her friends. The guilt I feel is how much effort I put into maintaining friendships which extends beyond the relationship.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  9. OP
    jimtaylor

    On Holiday

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Threads:
    105
    Messages:
    1,805
    Likes Received:
    436
    Trophy Points:
    224
    MBTI:
    No Need
    Enneagram:
    Yup
    I guess we can break this into a few parts.

    I am not shy, I was in my youth but that was quickly squashed in my fraternity years. I've played the part of over the top socialite weekend warrior hitting the bars Thursday through Saturday while working and going to school Monday through Friday. It was fun, don't get me wrong. I had a blast at times but there was always a nagging feeling of wanting more or actually a better way of saying it would be that I wanted something different but I didn't know what. It almost drove my insane. I didn't want more socialization, more parties, more drinking or more work. I wanted more productivity, more stimulation of the mind, more challenge and less socialization but deep socialization. It doesn't take long to master doing beer bongs and that doesn't provide much intellectual challenge. It ate away at me when I was alone so I went out more which made it eat away at me even more until I was stretched so thin socially, that I didn't feel like me anymore. Every day, I was out and about because I couldn't stand being alone with myself.

    At that point, I rediscovered my passion for art, creating things, writing, reading and philosophy. I stopped wanting or needing the distraction of parties and since that point have been slowly removing myself from those old party friends. Not because I see myself as better than them or for any negative reason but because I have realized, that life has its high points but isn't for me. So I started spending my days doing the things I loved with no guilt or remorse and it showed. It's how I attracted my girlfriend. She said my happiness and confidence in doing the things I loved was contagious. It also made me appreciate those old party friends more too and when I do go out with them, I still have a blast. I don't get drunk but I still have fun and I don't walk away feeling guilty, like I've put on a mask to fit in and have friends to avoid being lonely. My mindset changed from wanting to see them because I needed them to fill a void to wanting to see them because I wanted to see them and share in their happiness.

    I don't avoid my friends but I do place a greater emphasis on my own mental and psychological well being which might sometimes call for me spending a night painting versus seeing them and I no longer fear telling them or my girlfriend as much. The good friends among them who have known me for a long time, respect that and treat me like they just saw me yesterday when we do meet (even if it has been 2 months). I got lunch with one of them yesterday and he was actually very supportive of everything I've done because he sees just how genuinely happy I am. It was good to hear. He also told me it has motivated him to change some of his unhealthy habits and get back into shape. So I guess in my own quiet, reserved and sometimes distant way, I've made a positive impact on some of my friends.

    In a way, I stopped fearing being alone and found confidence in being alone. In my continued pursuit of growth and evolution, this is not an end result though. So my questions. I still have good friends and I am now making a concerted effort to reach out to them but I don't want to return to that life.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    #9 jimtaylor, Jan 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
  10. OP
    jimtaylor

    On Holiday

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Threads:
    105
    Messages:
    1,805
    Likes Received:
    436
    Trophy Points:
    224
    MBTI:
    No Need
    Enneagram:
    Yup
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  11. Inside

    Inside Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I'm glad I read this! I usually feel guilty for being the kinda person that is rather to stay at home reading, gaming, watching movies/tv series, than the kinda person that goes out to socialize. Especially when I don't have much friends and I start to feel lonely, then I kinda regret of not being more social, even though that makes me so tired sometimes...So I'm pretty much a paradox in social life.
     
  12. Inside

    Inside Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I'm glad I read this! I usually feel guilty for being the kinda person that is rather to stay at home reading, gaming, watching movies/tv series, than the kinda person that goes out to socialize. Especially when I don't have much friends and I start to feel lonely, then I kinda regret of not being more social, even though that makes me so tired sometimes...So I'm pretty much a paradox in social life.
     
  13. Ryso89

    Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2015
    Threads:
    8
    Messages:
    787
    Featured Threads:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1,521
    Trophy Points:
    285
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I have long-established friendships, probably 8 or 9 ( near and far) whom I would consider to be best friends. Those relationships will stand the test of time because of what we've built together over the years. I am single, so I rely on my family and friends (all guys) for my social needs when I am feeling up to it. I usually have to force myself out of my comfort zone but my boys make that easy. Alcohol helps greatly. Immensely, actually.
     
  14. Gaze

    Gaze My word . . . hmm
    Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    Threads:
    2,365
    Messages:
    28,309
    Featured Threads:
    85
    Likes Received:
    20,214
    Trophy Points:
    1,906
    MBTI:
    .
    I think it's good to understand the difference between introversion, shyness, and antisocial behavior before any of these questions can be answered. Personally, before I knew anything about these concepts, everyone including myself interpreted any solitary behavior as an example of antisocial behavior and shyness. Of course now, I realize the unique traits of introversion while enjoying a desire to interact with people but in small groups. It is ok for an introvert to need their space.

    I love going out on the weekend and seeing one or two people for a book club, dining out, or movie. That's enough for me. The persons I do this with are not close friends, but social friends. They add some variety to my life experience, with their unique personalities that I wouldn't appreciate if I isolated myself from the world. I get most of my social needs met with my small, close knit family.

    For years though, I thought something was wrong with me for enjoying solitary activities. I was also lonely and felt intensely isolated for a long time, and that wasn't healthy. I didn't know how to have relationships with anyone. Fortunately, I had a best friend of 20 years although we were out of contact for a few years. But because I see this person every week or two, and see few others on the weekend for small social events, I feel there is more balance in my life. Since my job in education is public, managing interactions with large groups, I prefer smaller social events in my personal life. I don't like crowds and I'm not a fan of a lot of personal attention, mostly because I can't handle it :D, so I keep my social circles small.

    I don't want to spend most of my social life entertaining others, but I enjoy relating to others through similar interests. I hate forced interactions, which is probably the same for most people. It's usually more fulfilling if relationships are formed and maintained naturally rather than done out of obligation. However, there will likely always be people in our lives, in some cases family, where it's important to maintain some form of contact, even if it isn't a close relationship. These maybe the people who show up to help you if something happens, and you can be of some help to them. When you don't have contact with people outside your circle, it can make it harder to get assistance or support when something happens, especially if the habit is to alienate everyone, sometimes to our own detriment.

    When people isolate themselves too much, makes it easy to develop less tolerance of others, encourages segregation and discomfort in social situations when they do have to interact. In any case, it really depends on why we are limiting our social contact. Motives and attitude often decide whether it's healthy or unhealthy. Some social situations are too toxic or draining, so of course, we're going to stay away. However, sometimes we talk ourselves out of making connections or contacts out of fear. That's probably not beneficial in the long term.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    #14 Gaze, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
Loading...

Share This Page