This is a guest post by John Lindholm, a writer for the Introvert Spring INFJ forum.
INFJs like to look in. Sometimes this habit works against us. Our mind is a busy freeway of thoughts that steer our car off the happy highway. Certain circumstances are particularly disorienting. Our mind twists, turns, and reverses these situations so much that they no longer match up to reality. Here are a few you might recognize:
Small Talk, Big Mistake
It is no secret that introverts would rather eat a brick sideways than engage in small talk. But I’ve only been offered that choice twice in my life, so the chit chat is unavoidable even to the ghostyist INFJ.
It’s even worse when we think our conversation partner is more successful, better looking, or more interesting than we are. When this happens, the chatter milk can sour in an instant.
It starts with rotten self-talk like, “why am I such a loser compared to him?” Or, “why can’t I just relax and talk like she can?” Or even, “why do I suck at life?” Then the pulverized mind of the INFJ has to throw a few words together to continue the conversation. Not good.
One time, I ran into somebody I hadn’t seen for well over a year. He started with, “I haven’t seen you for a while, so I just wanted to say hi.”
I volleyed, “Yeah, so how have you been?” Not a bad start, but the meter on my coherence tank plummeted as the palaver continued.
When he tried to end things with, “Ok so, I just wanted to say hi,” I again replied, “Yeah, so how have you been?”
Realizing I had repeated myself, I answered my own question. “Good, good, yes right?” It was ridiculous, so I excused myself and retreated to the restroom.
It Will Be All Better When…
For the INFJ, successes that should be celebrated and lead to happiness and further growth can actually lead to frustration, sadness, and even depression. This has a lot to do with “I’ll start my diet on Monday” self-promising. We tell ourselves,
“Once I get through this social-event-stuffed weekend, everything will be perfect.”
“As soon as school ends, I’ll get back to writing my book.”
“I’ll be so happy after I lose these ten pounds.”
This kind of thinking ensures that we’re never where we are. We’re not here, we’re in our head. We’re so busy thinking about what would make us happy that we miss out on the present moment. Since no amount of achievement will evict us from our brain, we’re better off focusing on how to make our head a happier place.
There’s Only One Side: Mine
We INFJs will brood, contemplate, deliberate and ruminate the DNA right out of an idea. Other folks might have an opinion, a passing notion, or even a half-baked solution. But if they don’t agree with us, they’re wrong.
Or so we think.
We’re awesome at dissecting an issue, but have a hard time accepting opposing points of view. It’s hard for us to trust that others have as much going on between the ears as we do (they probably don’t, but that’s beside the point).
And heaven forbid that people want to speak about a problem without also brainstorming for a solution. I mean, what’s the point in highlighting a fault if we don’t want to fix it, right?
I’d like to hear from the rest of you INFJs, and from those who love them. What other ways do INFJs overthink or misunderstand social situations? Please share below.
Author Bio: John Lindholm is a middle school math teacher and a writer for the Introvert Spring INFJ Forum (which you are welcome to join). He enjoys writing fiction as well as articles and other pieces about introversion. Check him out at InwardFacingWriters.com.
If you’d like to know more about the INFJ personality type, check out my book The INFJ Handbook. I just updated it with a ton of new information and resources. You can purchase it in ebook or paperback by clicking this link.