As an introvert who works from home, I’m used to being socially distant from people for the better part of each week. For most of us, though, the coronavirus quarantine is way outside our normal way of life. Even many introverts are discovering they miss being around people more than they thought they would. Humans are social creatures, and we all need other people to a certain extent.
For me personally, I know from a week spent house-sitting that I don’t do well if I’m completely isolated for more than a couple days. Thankfully I live with family, so I’m not too terribly lonely even with the quarantine. But I know there are many people who live alone, or who are stuck in situations where the people they live with aren’t safe to be around, or who are so extroverted that just having a couple other people in the house isn’t enough to keep them from going stir-crazy.
Thankfully, your introverted friends have been preparing for just this sort of situation. We’re full of good ideas for how to spend your time when you can’t (or don’t want to) be around other people. Since we’re stuck at home anyway we might as well make the most of it, so here are an introvert’s best tips for how to put your time in social isolation to good use.
Keep In Touch
As I’ve said before, introverts need people too. We all (to varying degrees) need a certain amount of human interaction to keep mentally and even physically healthy. Thanks to modern technology, there are plenty of ways to do that without actually being in the same room as the other person.
Phone calls are a great way to keep in touch. I used to hate the phone, but now I’ve changed my mind just enough that I’m happy to spend hours talking with a few close friends. If you really want to communicate with someone calling is a faster way with more immediate feedback than text or email. But if phones aren’t your thing (or, like me, there are only a very few people you feel comfortable calling), then write a letter or send an email or shoot someone a text.
Read A Book
Reading has long been a favorite at-home activity for both introverts and extroverts. If you have not been hoarding books like the apocalypse is coming and you might be the last library left in the world (I have 1,100+ books on my shelves), then you can order some online, download ebooks, or turn to our local library. Read more →
If an introvert says they “don’t think of you as people,” what do they mean? You might think that not being considered people is an insult somewhere along the lines of calling you sub-human. However, that’s far from the case when this phrase is coming from an introvert. We actually mean it as a compliment.
Being an introvert does not mean you hate people. Even so, for many introverts, “people” aren’t a group that they trust or feel particularly comfortable around. To quote Agent K from Men in Black, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.” That pretty much sums-things up. An individual might be okay but as a group people aren’t necessarily all that great.
If you “don’t count as people” for an introvert, that means you’ve gotten past our lines of defense guarding us from the world at large. You’re in the inner circle of human beings who aren’t part of that big, scary mass of people.
Mapped to the Inner World
Introverts are people for whom the inner world is more “real” to them than the outer world. They live life from the inside first, and take that focus into their outer world interactions. As a general rule, people are part of the outer world. But it is possible for introverts to “map” the people they’re closest to into their inner world. Read more →
Have you ever wondered why something you thought wasn’t a big deal annoyed your INFP friend? Or why you, as an INFP, find certain things other people don’t even seem to notice the most irritating part of your day?
The Myers-Briggs® types are a tool for talking about how our minds work. They describe the mental processes that we use most comfortably, and these “functions” come together in unique ways for each personality type. Because of the special way our brains operate, each personality type has different things that they typically find annoying.
Of course, even if a group of people share a personality type there will still be plenty of individual differences. For example, some INFPs might not have a big problem with people who make assumptions about them or others. In general, though, most INFPs are going to find the 10 things on this list extremely irritating.
1) Inauthentic People
This is the first point mentioned in a video made by an INFP from the UK titled “Things That Really Annoy INFPs.” It’d be a good video to watch if you’re interested in the subject of this post. Because INFPs place such a high value on authenticity in themselves they also find a lack of authenticity annoying in others. In fact, Personality Hacker’s nickname for an INFP’s preferred cognitive function of Introverted Feeling is “Authenticity.”
INFPs tend to approach the world from the inside-out (as do introverts in general). One thing I found very interesting about this video is the INFP who made it said that she thinks INFPs are annoyed when they see in other people things that they fear or don’t like in themselves. It’s not just that INFPs are annoyed with people who are inauthentic and hypocritical (though that’s definitely the case). They’re also annoyed when the inauthenticity of others forces them to confront something inside them that doesn’t match-up with the authentic version of themselves that they want to be. Read more →
Have you ever noticed that something you thought wasn’t a big deal annoyed your INTP friend? Or maybe you, as an INTP, have realized that you find certain things that don’t seem to bother other people incredibly irritating?
The Myers-Briggs® personality types are a tool for talking about how peoples’ minds work. They describe the mental processes that we use most comfortably, and these “functions” come together in unique ways for each personality type. Because of the special way our brains operate, each type has different things that they typically find annoying.
Of course, even if a group of people share a personality type there will still be plenty of individual differences between them. Some INTPs might, for example, see social norms as a necessary evil rather than something that really annoys them. In general, though, most INTPs are going to find the 10 things on this list extremely irritating.
1) Beliefs That Don’t Make Sense
INTPs have a deeply rooted desire for things to make sense to them. If they have to spend much time around people who hold beliefs that the INTP thinks are nonsensical it’s going to quickly become annoying. An INTP’s favorite mental function is called Introverted Thinking, and they spend most of their lives honing it to sort new information by what does and doesn’t make sense within their framework for how the world works. While they may delight in pointing out an idea’s logical errors, they’ll still be annoyed by people stubbornly clinging to beliefs that make no logical sense.
2) Rules That Don’t Make Sense
I imagine INTPs are the sort of people who, as children, asked “Why?” often enough to exasperate every adult they knew. Even as adults, INTPs want to know the reason behind rules, traditions, and social expectations. And if there is no reason (or if the reason is something like, “we’ve just always done it this way”) then don’t expect INTPs to be happy about being told they need to follow those rules. Read more →
Most of us tend to oversimplify Myers-Briggs® personality types. Even the types we think of as more complicated and which some writers treat as almost otherworldly (like the INFJ) gets reduced to stereotypes. Some types are painted in broad strokes as boring traditionalist, others as logical geniuses, and still others as innovative daydreamers.
And then there are the SP types. They’re the live-in-the-moment adrenaline junkies and hedonists, who love to make art and party and never commit to anything. But is that really a fair stereotype? Or is it just as overly simplistic and unfair to these four personality types as are the myths surrounding other Myers-Briggs® types?
Roots of the Stereotype
When David Keirsey published his own personal take on the Myers-Briggs® personality types, he paid particular attention to the SP types. He’s the one who decided to categorize them together and labeled them the “Artisans.” He also called them the “hedonist” types and said they are looking for a “playmate” in relationships. Though he didn’t really use function theory to describe type, he mainly focused on the Extroverted Sensing side of their personalities to the exclusion of other factors.
This oversimplification of the SP types is one of the main reasons why I don’t like the way David Keirsey talked about personality types. He skips over their inner motivations (a problem that Lenore Thomson talks about in her book Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual) and leaves us with the hedonistic stereotype that has come to be so much a part of the definitions we use for ESFP, ISFP, ESTP, and ISTP types (especially the extroverts). Read more →
Do you ever feel like your self-expectations are wearing you out? You constantly want to grow and improve but it’s so exhausting that you don’t have the energy to do focused personal growth. Every time you try to improve something, you burn yourself out or get distracted by other things that clamor for your attention.
This is something any personality type can face, not just INFJs. And I’m sure other types (especially the other Extroverted Feeling types like ENFJ, ISFJ, and ESFJ) will relate to the feelings of guilt associated with not being able to do everything for everyone, including yourself. Even so, I’m mostly focusing on INFJs today because those are the most popular posts on my blog so I assume many of you readers will relate to this discussion. Maybe we’ll do a series of self-care and personal growth posts for the other types as well if it seems like there’s interest.
Often when we talk about self-care, it’s things like drink a cup of tea, make time for exercise, or get better sleep. Those are all great, but there are also big-picture things we can do for long term self-care and they’re closely tied to personal growth.
If we’re not working on personal growth in some form we can often feel “stagnant” and dissatisfied with our lives. If we’re not working on self-care, we quickly become burned out by everything going on, including our personal growth work. We need to take care of ourselves and encourage ourselves to keep growing at the same time.It’s my hope that these 5 tips will help you balance those two things as an INFJ.
1) Remember personal growth takes time
Many INFJs are also perfectionists. We want to get things right the first time and we easily get discouraged if something doesn’t work out as well as we hoped. But personal growth is one of those things that takes time. It doesn’t always happen in a straight line, either. Sometimes it may seem like we’re going in circles dealing with the same issues over and over again. We need patience with ourselves so we can stop negative self-talk about how we’re not growing fast enough. Talking to yourself in an encouraging way is an important part of self-care for INFJs.
Like other FJ types, INFJs prefer to make decisions based on what gets everyone’s needs met. Sometimes we forget that “everyone” includes us. One of the best self-care decisions you can make as an INFJ is to give yourself permission to tend to your own needs first. If it helps, think of it this way: you won’t be able to take care of others if you let yourself become worn down, ill, and unmotivated. So take care of yourself! This includes giving yourself permission to take the time to work on personal growth.
3) Ditch the guilt and shame
You’re not too broken to find healing. You haven’t failed so badly that there’s no point in continuing to try. Not everything is your fault. INFJs often live with ridiculous amounts of guilt, and if you’re going to grow you need to address this issue. This is going to be a personal growth goal as well as part of long-term self care. Make sure that while you’re working on taking care of yourself in this way, you also don’t neglect more short-term self care like getting enough sleep, eating well, and getting recharge time by yourself. This isn’t a goal any of us are likely to reach all at once, so you’ll need to be kind with yourself while you work on it.
I feel like a lot of stress in many INFJs’ lives comes from not feeling comfortable letting other people see who they really are. We’re chameleons who try to figure out who we “should” be in each situation and then be that person. Many INFJs believe that being themselves hasn’t worked out so well in the past and so we try to avoid rejection by hiding our authentic selves. But that leads to dissatisfaction, as well as the aforementioned feelings of gilt and shame. Learning to embrace vulnerability and having the courage to be yourself is often a life-long challenge, but it’s one that will help you take care of yourself better and grow as a person.
If you need to take the time for some self-care and meeting your own needs (like having an introvert night once a week), don’t be afraid to tell people this. Learning to enforce healthy boundaries and stand up for yourself is one of the best things you can do as an INFJ. This doesn’t mean you need to do everything on your own, though. It’s okay to reach out and ask friends for help or to seek professional counseling. In fact, I highly recommend counseling if you’re struggling to work through something, need a trusted person to talk to, or want some help achieving your goals.