How Do You Know When To “Door Slam” Someone?

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.

How Do You Know When To "Door Slam" Someone? |
Photo credit: Richard Woollett via Pixabay

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?

How Do You Know When To "Door Slam" Someone? |
Photo credit: Michal Jarmoluk via StockSnap

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!

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Featured image credit: Thomas B via Pixabay

13 thoughts on “How Do You Know When To “Door Slam” Someone?

  • I door-slammed one time only. I get to friendly acquaintance level with people easily, and can even make friends, but it takes a lot for me to get close enough to people to really care when we lose contact. Therefore, up until last July (2015), I allowed most doors to gently drift closed on their own. I wasn’t ever broken up about any of it. The only people I was truly close to were reliable and safe, because I unintentionally kept my distance from others. My husband reports that until he became a Christian and I was convinced of his sincerity, that I apparently didn’t let him in much.

    Anyway, last July I door slammed for the first time. She had borderline personality disorder and I may have mentioned her before in another comment because it took about a year of her making me mentally and spiritually ill before I cut things off. It was largely difficult because I knew she didn’t feel like the relationship was destructive at all, and really tried to be a good friend, but it just never went right. She was manipulative and lacked morals.

    I was too confused by the time I realized things had to end, so I took no action until she went away for a month. Then I think I started getting better, but she came back and she was angry because she could tell I didn’t want her back in my life. So we fought, I door slammed, I felt better, then she apologized, and I should have left the door shut but I don’t think anyone else realized how bad it was for me, so I was convinced to let her try again by other people. Bad idea. Things went sharply downhill for my mental health in the next two months, but I never really let her in again and it was easy to doorslam by July because I didn’t really care about anything at that point.

    I wish I had door slammed that January instead, or at least let things stay ended after her month away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so hard to cut someone out when they’re right there trying to get back in, especially if others don’t realize how bad that person is for you. I’m glad you were finally able to door slam. Sounds like that friendship really needed to end!


  • Yep, I’ve done it.
    Although, due to complicated circumstances, I had to keep these people in my life somewhat; I just decided not to be close to them.
    This whole thing can be rather complex. I agree with you that we should remove ourselves from toxic relationships but forgive the people that hurt us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve had to do that, too — emotionally door slam but still keep the person around. I’ve lost touch with some of them, and for others the relationship has gotten a little better over the years. Still won’t let them get close, but occasionally have conversations with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve had this both done to me and done it to others. I do tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, even when my gut instinct is throwing up red flags, sigh. I’m working on that.

    Then when too many negative things happen and I finally can’t take anymore of the manipulative or controlling or more recently, very vicious verbal abuse, I slam the door.

    And I’m completely done with them, forever. I may be polite in person but I am happily exiting the social situation as soon as possible. Other than a couple close friends, I’ve decided to make sure no one else gets close to me. I’ve been used and tossed aside or worse, too many times. Never again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so hard to find a balance between giving people a chance and not letting them hurt you. I’m so sorry about the hurt you’ve gone through and understand wanting to not let anyone else get close. Staying hopeful is such a challenge! I’ve been trying to let people get close to me gradually (because I don’t want to completely shut out the possibility of making new close friends), but it’s so hard to trust new people when you know so many others who’ve disappointed you 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are very kind. I really appreciate such an understanding perspective. Maybe letting people in slowly, might work…and it’s probably the wisest way. Some day..

        Thank you, and I enjoyed you writings. Best wishes 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • So grateful for your perspective on this! And for finding your blog, first as a infj and second as someone with the same exact juedo Christian beliefs!

    Liked by 2 people

  • Marissa, thank you for this post. I am late to it, but found it very helpful. I am an INFP but only by about 1 percent on the P.
    Recently I door slammed a friend after 11 years and a very steep decline in her mental health. We fought because I finally quit walking on eggshells with her. I then tried to gracefully find closure in a text, but she sent an emotionally manipulative reply and I snapped. I was not inaccurate but was unkind. I regret the way I handled it, but wouldn’t open that door for anything, even to apologize.
    Thank you for the insight as I try to get past a very damaging friendship and the regret I have over how I ended it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry your friendship ended like that 😦 But it does sound like a time when closing the door on the relationship was the best thing to do. I’m glad you found this post helpful and wish you all the best as you continue to work through everything that happened with this door slam


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