Talking in Group Conversations | INFJ Forum

Talking in Group Conversations

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by annie23, Oct 2, 2008.

Share This Page

Watchers:
This thread is being watched by 3 users.
More threads by annie23
  1. annie23

    annie23 Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Hey guys, I'm a new INFJ member, and i have a huge problem which I'm hoping you can help me with.

    Does anyone feel like it's really hard to talk in group conversations, even with friends?

    It's something that I've had trouble with ever since I was a kid.
    I find that I am usually the one who is asking questions and directing the conversations, but I always find that I have very little to say...especially in a group of extroverts.. which is a shock to me because if I am talking one on one with someone, I'm usually a bit of a chatterbox.

    I've tried looking at some tips on the net, some of which include "focusing more on what the other person has to say instead of yourself" and "increasing your general knowledge so that you have more to say"... but the problem seems to persist even when I follow these tips.

    I feel that if I don't improve on this skill, I'll have trouble later on in my career when I am expected to contribute to meetings within the workplace (believe me I have enough trouble doing this at college as it is).

    My friends don't seem to mind that I'm quiet in groups, but why does it bother me so much? I think I'm afraid they will think I'm boring... which leads to every INFJ's worst fear... rejection!!

    Does anybody else feel this way? :( And is there anything we can do.. or are we doomed just to be "good listeners" in group situations?
     
  2. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    I don't think I've ever talked to a boring INFJ... A lot of annoying ones, but mostly hilarious and ingenious ones. Tried "Toast Masters"? If you're in queensland I know a few good centers to learn how to do public speaking. Dad went there when he was in his late 20's and it helped him a lot (ISFJ). Now he speaks at all sorts of functions, and has lead a few ANZAC Dawn Parade prayers in Darwin, and Gladstone. Has worked wonders for him, maybe for you too?
     
  3. Silently Honest

    Retired Staff

    Joined:
    May 12, 2008
    Threads:
    97
    Messages:
    5,464
    Likes Received:
    136
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    YANG
    I don't see a problem here, just say what needs to be said and what you feel like saying, you just have less to say then others, but I seriously doubt that this will effect your career in the future. You're an introvert, they'll have to accept that, if they can't accept you for how you are, which is introverted, then they probably aren't the best people for you to be with career wise, and socially anyways. As you shouldn't really have to change part of yourself for the sake of others.

    I often find myself in the same situations as you do socially, but whenever it came to meetings that's oddly where I shine. Business meetings are very different from socializing.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  4. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Threads:
    160
    Messages:
    4,066
    Featured Threads:
    1
    Likes Received:
    316
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    ISFP
    I am very similar, one to one I'm fine but the more people that join the conversation the less I contribute. In some ways I think it's information overload, it's easier to take in what one person is saying, have a good think about it and then respond in a thoughtful way. Whereas in group situations you are getting more information and the oppurtunity to respond is much shorter, so you've only just processed what's being said but by then the conversation has moved on. I like to think things through before responding but that isn't suited to group conversations.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  5. OP
    annie23

    annie23 Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    hmm so I guess there's not much I can do about it but accept it? Toastmasters sounds like a good idea though.. i might just check it out.

    I think a lot of it also comes down to the fact that I think its quite rude to go on about yourself when there are so many other people present... and Stone I couldn't agree with u more, the opportunity to respond is definitely much shorter. Maybe its about reacting quickly and saying the first thing that comes to your mind?
    Although.. I feel that if I do this I'm at greater risk of sounding stupid because I haven't had a chance to process what people have said.

    I've also noticed that it is very rare that others ask me questions unless they are very close friends, I'm usually the one asking them about themselves! So I guess I shouldn't be so hard on myself? I tend to strive for perfection and do well in a lot of areas, it's just this area that gets me down!
     
  6. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Threads:
    160
    Messages:
    4,066
    Featured Threads:
    1
    Likes Received:
    316
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    ISFP
    Yes that's exactly how I feel, so I just hold back.

    No way, asking others questions is a very important part of conversation, if you are doing that then you're doing well. I imagine asking pertinent questions would be a valuable part of most workplace meetings and you'll be appreciated for that.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  7. OP
    annie23

    annie23 Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Do you have a problem with holding back though? As in, do you feel that you would like to contribute more to a conversation? How do you learn to accept this part of yourself when society judges introverts so harshly.. labeling them as "shy" and "reserved"?

    And to what extent is this problem capable of being fixed?

    I know that research on expertise has shown that the amount of deliberate practice one undertakes is closely related to the level of acquired performance. Deliberate practice in this sense refers to engaging in activities that are designed to improve specific aspect's of your performance through repetition and successive refinement. Apparently it takes up to 10 years of deliberate practice for someone to achieve expertise in a particular domain (like chess, music, sports).

    Do you think that if I work hard at this particular problem that I have with groups, I will succeed after a long period of time? OR will I fail...simply because I'm an introvert, a trait that is genetically defined and cannot be changed?

    It's all a bit confusing.. I guess that's why I'm worried about this, I mean if there is something that can be done about it then I should be doing it.
     
  8. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Threads:
    160
    Messages:
    4,066
    Featured Threads:
    1
    Likes Received:
    316
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    ISFP
    Yes I would often like to contribute more in conversations but usually by the time I have thought of something I believe is worthwhile or important the conversation has moved on to something else, so I have learned to just accept that part of myself. I think as a man it is easier, it's possible to give off a "strong, silent type" vibe but only to a point. Also I live in a slightly more reserved country than most so introverted males are probably a bit more accepted (especially out in the country or small towns).

    I'm sure there is a lot you can do but it might not come as easy as it does to others. I'm not sure if i'll ever people to communicate as freely as most extroverts though. It's hard for me to say if it's ingrained because we both seem to be in the same boat at the moment, need to hear from someone who has overcome it.

    I suppose one way to overcome it would be to develop the strengths that do come naturally (by the sounds of it you have an enquiring mind) and use those to contribute in your own way. If everyone else is doing the talking, it probably means you are a good listener which is a valuable skill in it's own right.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    #8 Quinlan, Oct 3, 2008
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2008
  9. OP
    annie23

    annie23 Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I know what you mean, it's harder for an INFJ female, because as females we are generally expected to be chatty! It also does make a difference whether you live in the country or the city, I live in the city... and it's so much more fast paced than the country where I was brought up. I find that there is a lot more pressure to perform.

    It is strange though... there have been times where I have contributed really well in groups, but this hasn't happened in a while. It's like this ability comes and goes, and I have no idea what it is dependent upon.. or how to get it back.

    hmm... has anybody else had this problem and overcome it?
     
  10. SgtBlankee

    SgtBlankee Community Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Threads:
    8
    Messages:
    282
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I can't do group conversations. But I can usually say something simple and it starts an entire conversation.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  11. Rosenrot

    Rosenrot Addicted to Bagels

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Threads:
    9
    Messages:
    1,055
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFP
    I find it kind of annoying when it comes to group conversations. I normally keep quiet, because I don't feel like shouting over everyone or getting interrupted.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  12. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Threads:
    67
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    222
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    infj
    I hadn't given it much thought so I took notice of how I am in group convos the last few days and I guess you might say I suck at it. LOL Well, let's just say I don't join in as much as the others.
    Mainly with me it's the content of the discussion and there are many I'm just not interested in talking about. People might accuse me of 'being above' others or prudish when I don't want to have a conversation about threesomes or gossip. I don't believe in laughing at others or laughing at things I don't approve of. So, my responses are limited at times! I guess it causes them a bit of discomfort at times because I've been accused of 'laying guilt on them!' when I haven't said one word! hehehe
    In group conversations I do meaningful and correct expressions but I mainly ask questions. People love to talk and I'm more than content to listen so it's a good balance. Although the listeners are far outnumbered by the talkers.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  13. OP
    annie23

    annie23 Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I couldnt agree more. A lot of the content bores me at times, or is just distasteful... it doesn't mean I don't listen though, I just choose not to participate in it or divulge very personal information about myself.

    Hmm.. I'm starting to see that self acceptance is the way to go here lol
    Has any one tried to improve on this aspect though.. and achieved a positive result?

    'Sumone', i can't believe that u didn't even notice it or make it a problem! lol that's awesome
     
  14. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Threads:
    67
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    222
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    infj
    annie, when I was in my twenties it bothered me that I didn't fit in and when I would act and talk like everyone else I felt like a fake. Then I would feel bad because everyone seemed to like the fake me better than the real me! Now that I'm in my forties I just don't care about all that and am content to be just me.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  15. ZenCat

    ZenCat Waving Sage

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Threads:
    76
    Messages:
    2,607
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    195
    Location:
    A Hippie Commune
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    Recently 2
    For as long as I can remember, I've experienced a certain degree of distress in group conversations, even with people I love, though moreso with those I don't know well. As my close friendships aged (as we all got older) they began to understand and sympathize with my distances... some could even peg what was going on that made me drift away (something unsettling going on up at the bar while we sat in the dining room, others in the group talking about something I couldn't relate to, gossip etc.) and would steer the conversation back toward something I could participate in, like what films we'd seen lately or how we felt about ourselves within our lives. I feel very fortunate to have good friends, though we all live so far away now, and rarely get together. The very things I thought were a wedge between us when we were teenagers turned out to be the very things they most admired about me as we grew older.

    One friend even said to me once, "God, I wish I could talk like you." It was one of the highest compliments ever paid me. And it was me really being me, at the time.

    I rarely find myself in group situations at this point in my life, but when I do, I have a pretty good short-term coping mechanism built up, and can chat with the people I'm with (not good friends for the most part now, but neighbors, other mothers from my son's school, etc.) on a "safe" level without giving away how out of place I feel. That took practice.

    I only have one local friend I can be myself with here now, and the more true to myself I am with her, the closer we get and the livelier our conversations. I never really worried about seeming boring, though. I was more concerned about seeming bizarre.

    My advice would be to always be yourself. Hold back if you need to, to feel secure, but don't decide that you're doomed to never being able to participate or feel connected... I think you'll find you can be stimulating to a lot of people who never realized how engaging conversation can really be :)
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  16. Cheech

    Cheech Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Threads:
    2
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I have always been (and still very much am) horrible at group conversations. Growing up, I was always the "quiet one" in class. I always excelled at expressing myself on paper, but when it came to expressing myself in front of my classmates I could never do it. This, along with the fact that I didn't bond with others easily, pretty much made me the outcast of my classes in high school. My inability to make friends and be accepted during my crucial teenage years really took a toll on my self esteem.

    I had a turning point, however, when I went to college. During my very first semester, I was required to take a discussion-based philosophy course in which my grade was based on my participation in daily group conversations and a few short papers. I discovered my passion for Philosophy during this course; I absolutely loved it. However, I always kept quiet in class even though I would have loved to participate, assuming that my intelligence (which I was very confident about) would become apparent and shine through my writing. This was not the case. I brought up great arguments & presented convincing evidence in everything I wrote. But my Prof was consistent on giving me Bs and Cs on my papers, leaving just a few vague comments. I was frustrated, infuriated, and discouraged-- I had always been an A student; Bs and Cs just weren't acceptable!

    One day, just when I was about to give up on my 4.0 semester, the class discussion turned to a topic I was very passionate about. The professor was trying to point the discussion in the right direction, but my classmates just didn't see the philosophy behind the story we had read. I just couldn't sit there and not express myself when my classmates were so clueless-- so I raised my hand and waited patiently to express my opinion on the topic. And boy, was everyone surprised-- I think it was the first thing I had said in that class, and the semester was almost over!! My professor got a huge smile on his face, agreed with me, and just moved on to the next subject. It didn't seem like much, but my one comment made all the difference in my professors' and classmates' respect for my ideas. I got an A on every paper after that, and my prof actually wrote me a note on my final, suggesting I consider studying Philosophy as my major! All it took was speaking my mind out loud once in class.

    Wow, sorry that was so long... but the point of my story is that as INFJs, we tend to underestimate our abilities. We are deeply intelligent human beings with profound thoughts and valuable opinions. I think that we are unaware of our abilities and we let the fear of rejection prevent us from speaking our minds. But we are all characterized by great intuition, and if our intuition tells us that our opinions and ideas may add value to a conversation then we should by all means express them! So although it may be difficult, we need to have more confidence in ourselves and speak up in group conversations when we have a desire & urge to do so.

    That being said, it is also understandable that many times we do not participate in group discussions because we don't feel we could add value to the conversation. Like I said before, we are deep thinkers with profound thoughts and valuable opinions. Most people are not! To put it bluntly, so many of our friends' & acquaintances' daily conversations are just not worth our time & attention to get too deeply involved in. We just can't (or don't want to) relate to the topic at hand. On a subconscious level, I think we INFJs realize this, so we direct our attention to things more worthy in lieu of the conversation around us (such as "something unsettling going on at the bar when we are in the dining room"). I think the quality of the content of the discussion is much to blame for our inability or our lack of desire to participate.
     
  17. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Threads:
    67
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    222
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    infj
    Cheech, terrific post! And I wholeheartedly agree about facing a fear - it's the most liberating feeling in the world.
    Excellent post.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  18. Eric86

    Eric86 Community Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Threads:
    12
    Messages:
    724
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    175
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    9w1 sp/so
    meh....I don't really do group conversations. I'll only ever really talk to one or maybe two people at the most at a time, and even then it's pretty hard. I don't have any trouble with doing public speaking or presentations, though, since I'm the only one talking, and I'm great at acting too (cause obviously it's all scripted...).
     
  19. TK*

    TK* Community Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Threads:
    14
    Messages:
    842
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Group conversations don't bother me at all...depending on the subject. If we're talking about something I like or am passionate about, I'm quite talkative in a group discussion. However, I hate talking in a group if the group members are all idiots. Intellectual group conversations are my aim.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  20. Soulful

    Soulful life is good

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Threads:
    249
    Messages:
    5,014
    Likes Received:
    713
    Trophy Points:
    245
    MBTI:
    Wow, Cheech - that was spectacular to read! I'm new to the thread and it is awesome to feel that others can relate!

    I've often wondered how I would done in philosophy, whether I would have enjoyed it.

    Reading this post, I keep recalling a recent social outing in which there were about 15 of us in total but with small sub-groups. At one point there were 4-5 of us (myself included) sitting and talking about something. And while each of them contributed vocally to the conversation, I mostly listened and said very little. The occassional "Hmm", "Oh really?", "I agree" where as far as I went. The entire time, I felt somewhat uncomfortable because I didn't know how to say - even though I had known these people for some time (and because I was meeting one of them for the first time). This is a common experience for me in groups, when I really just have nothing to say. Individual conversation - or conversation about something deep, thought-provoking, meaningful (and especially positive as opposed to negative/judgmental/etc) is where I find my niche more often.

    I'm learning to be understanding of myself about that and not expecting myself to be who I am not. I definitely do want to create/draw more social interactions in which I do feel comfortable and enjoy myself. Away from the group stuff. I just don't know how to - or don't - connect in groups, and connection for me is what it's all about :)
     
Loading...

Share This Page