I’ve noticed MBTI now seems to be a lot like horoscopes when it comes to the idea of compatibility and such nowadays. This post is not assuming that every INFP feels as I do, or that certain types cannot or always are compatible with others. These are just my observances of myself as I careen my way through the world. It is important to keep in mind that any two people can get along regardless of personality type if respect and care is mutual.
I decided I would take two key issues I have dealt with in terms of relationships both romantic and otherwise and dissect them to possibly make sense of them to someone who is close to an INFP.
Cold Front Ahead
I figured I would address this one early on because it is often faced at the beginning of a relationship with an INFP and most of the times the end as well. Cold fronts are somewhat of a defense mechanism for me due to me just not knowing the individual or being uncomfortable in a given situation. It is characterized by a general pulling away from a person or situation with no personal or emotional connection.
If the first is true, I usually just need time to open up to the person in good time. Other introverts usually are understanding of this process whereas extroverts tend to be leery of it. (I usually attract extroverts, especially ENFJs, ENFPs and ENTPs, which for me can feel strange since I am usually very quiet in the beginning yet the extrovert still wants to hang out with me.) It truly is nothing personal to the individual, but rather a way for me to figure out what it is they want and what I want out of this situation. That and the fact that when I do open up people are usually shocked at my preference for deeper conversations combined with a love for goofy humor and Napoleon Dynamite impersonations.
The second situation, however is slightly more complicated. If I am uncomfortable in a situation I find it harder to open up to someone later on even if what I thought was true before turns out to be a figment of my overactive imagination. Why? Because I already went through that cycle of emotion. I already felt it all.
The important thing to know about INFPs is that we feel everything. This can be both a unique blessing or an acute curse. I tie emotion in to everything I do and see. If I am not feeling something about everything, I am probably dead.
This feeling of discomfort can happen at any time in the relationship and usually starts out as a small hunch or aching feeling in my stomach. Why is he mentioning that girl in his Organic Chemistry class so much? Why did he have to criticize me when I said that? Think of an INFP as a deer in an open field. Quiet, gentle and unassuming until she hears a small rustle. She picks her head up to look around. Nothing. But her heart is still racing and those next few moments, regardless of a true threat or not, will now never be the same.
It’s not necessarily that I’m a paranoid jerk, either. (I’m just a regular jerk, if you’re curious…) Usually in a relationship the INFP has an unrealistic view of the person they love. I tend to idealize that person to the point I am almost blind to them slighting me, until I feel that ache. Maybe that’s my subconscious’ way of shaking me out of my love drunk stupor to realize that things aren’t so peachy after all, no matter how many issues I sweep under the rug. He didn’t mean to do that, right? He loves me, right?
The sad thing is once you’ve made an INFP paranoid they tend to be gun shy for a while if not for life. I still have a hard time opening up to new people and trying to coax myself in to getting back out there. I’ve seen people be hurt by the fact I cannot open up to them like they think I should. But I feel like I have to keep my arms wrapped around my ribcage just to make sure my heart won’t fall out. I want to be open, but it hurts. It only took one person saying a few words in a matter of a few seconds to wreck me. I didn’t feel the pain at that moment. I had already lived it for half a year.
Another issue I often have in relationships is my general loathing of conflict. It makes me very uncomfortable to face an argument head on so I usually don’t. And just a word of advice, if you are a forward person never force an INFP to “fight it out” in any given moment. Being put on the spot in a negative situation will result in a catastrophic emotional torrent followed by trauma and deeply hurt feelings. No, I am not fighting you in public in the moment that you hurt me. I have been put in these situations growing up and I still feel those same ripping emotions as if they happened yesterday. I am a private person who half of the time doesn’t know how to put in words how I feel. It’s like a giant ball of twine with different colors mixed in that doesn’t have a discernable beginning or end and you expect me to find those ends within a matter of seconds?
Even if I am in the wrong and I know I am, if I feel that I am being attacked for the way I feel, I will shut down immediately or explode in your face and forever avoid you. There is no in between. So to avoid this, I run away because people usually don’t give me the time that I need to process what exactly is going on and how I need to react to it. Sometimes I need to go off by myself and cry, yell and react as much as I can to let off some emotional stress before I can effectively figure out what the logical issue is. I have to deal with my emotions before I can face the logic. Sometimes I truly hate this about myself. It’s like seeing the solution yet a part of you is willingly forcing you another direction and will not be satisfied until you are pulled down with it.
If I feel I will not be given that time to fall apart, I run away. You can care for me from a distance and I think that is the hang up most people face when dealing with me. And oftentimes, that is all you can do. That distance is usually what causes people to leave.
I may write more on this topic, but currently I am sitting on my back porch waiting for a possible rain shower to start. I can smell the clean scent of rain in the air now and I am thoroughly distracted.
I hope this wasn’t a muddled-up mess of thoughts. I wrote it with the intention of shedding light on a tough topic or a possible haven for the person who feels like they are alone in what they are feeling. Please keep in mind you are never alone.
Have a lovely one wherever you are and stay ever so amazing.