Have you ever cut someone out of your life because you were 100% done with that relationship? Then you’ve done a door slam. Anyone can door slam someone else, but it’s INFJs who are most “famous” (infamous?) for it in personality type circles. The INFJ Door Slam involves deciding not to invest any more time or emotional energy into another person. It’s also pretty final.
When you’re struggling with a hurtful and/or decaying relationship it’s always hard to know how to handle things. Do I slam the door on them and avoid more hurt? Do I try to address the problem and patch things up? The more self-aware I become, the more I realize that I have the capability to emotionally hurt those close to me and that I don’t want to do that. Sometimes relationships have to end, but perhaps it’s worth taking a little extra time to step back and ask how you can protect yourself while minimizing the damage you do to the other person.
While the door slam can be a healthy defense mechanism (like if you need to get out of a relationship with a narcissistic personality that’s controlling and manipulating you), it can also be a way of avoiding conflict. Much as we hate conflict, it’s sometimes necessary to rebuild a friendship that might actually be valuable if you’d put time and effort into fixing things. But how can you tell the difference between relationships you should fight for and ones you need to let go?
Are You Being Hurt?
That’s the first question. For a type known for their lie-detecting skills, INFJs are surprisingly prone to ending up in relationships with people who are not trustworthy. We can be far too inclined toward initially giving people the benefit of the doubt and then holding on to people who aren’t healthy for us. This might be because we feel that we need to help them, or because we see the person they want to be rather than who they are, or because we don’t feel that we have the energy to get out of the relationship.
If the other person is hurting you, though, you need to do something. Either get out of that relationship or find out if the other person is willing to work with you and change things. I asked some other INFJs how they know when to door slam and one said, “When no matter how hard you try to let go and be the better person you still get hurt by the same person over and over. It’s time to door slam.” Healthy people always set boundaries, and one of those should be that you don’t keep putting yourself in a place where the same person can hurt you again and again.
Is It Worth Fixing?
In a relationship I’m struggling with now, one of my main problems is that I don’t think the other person knows anything is wrong in our friendship. So to patch-up the relationship, I would have to create conflict by confronting them and explaining how they’ve hurt me and why that’s not okay. I hate conflict. It would be so much easier to just quietly limit my interaction with them and let our bridges crumble rather than either burning or repairing them.
Easier doesn’t always mean better, though. There may be some cases when it would be better to open a dialogue with the person instead of door slam them. I’ll bet this is rare, because most INFJs work hard on their relationship and won’t door slam unless they’ve exhausted other options. But if you do examine the relationship and decide you want to try and save it, don’t be scared to try. Just be ready for the possibility that it will be 1) hard work and 2) you might still have to door slam.
Do You “Just Know”?
INFJs are highly intuitive. We often have hunches, gut-instincts, and feelings about people and situations that turn out true. Your intuition is a gift and you should trust it. I mentioned before that I asked other INFJs how they knew when to door slam. Several expressed the sentiment that “you just know.” When you feel the bad things in a relationship outweigh the good, when you know this person is going to keep hurting you, when your feelings toward that person shift to fear or resentment, it’s probably time to door slam. One INFJ said that if you’re even thinking about door slamming someone you probably already know you should.
Another INFJ I talked to suggested there are two different kinds of door slams: one where you consciously end the relationship and one where you feel something “snap” and literally don’t care anymore. I’m thinking of the first as a regretted decision to shut a door and cut off a relationship you partly care about but know isn’t good for you, and the second as slamming the door and walking away hoping never to see them again.
Should You Talk With Them?
No matter how angry you are, try to treat the other person with respect. A door slam will very likely hurt them, especially if they didn’t see it coming. If you’re not particularly close to this person, you can probably cut off contact with them and just let the relationship die from neglect without confronting them. But if you’re close, you probably owe them a discussion about why you’re ending the relationship (unless the relationship is so toxic that you need to get out fast).
One thing that’s been running through my mind lately is the Matthew 18 formula for letting your brother know they have sinned against you. Interestingly, verse 17 basically gives permission for Christians to door slam when the relation ship can’t be restored. But you are expected to first try and resolve things.
Whatever your religious beliefs, going to your friend and letting them know there’s a problem is a good formula before abruptly shutting the door. It’s hard, I hate doing it, but isn’t that what you’d want one of your friends to do if they were thinking of door slamming you? If they listen, you’ve either restored the relationship or exited it with a clear conscience. And if they won’t listen, you won’t have guilt about shutting them out.
Forgiveness In A Door Slam
When I’m struggling with whether or not to door slam, there’s also the struggle between what I want to do and what I feel I should do as someone who places a high value on forgiveness. I firmly believe we ought to forgive others. It’s healthy for everyone, and it’s commanded for those of us trying to follow Jesus Christ.
I also believe forgiveness doesn’t always mean restoration of the relationship. You are under no obligation to keep giving people the chance to hurt you. A door slam and forgiveness can go together. You don’t have to feel guilty about letting the relationship go at the same time you let go of your hurt, anger, and desire for vengeance. When you do door slam, it can be with a sense of relief and a clear conscience.
What about you? Whether you’re been on the receiving end of a door slam or had to close the door on a relationship yourself, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Share your experiences and ideas on when/how to door slam in the comments!