The Care and Feeding of INFPs, part 2
INFPs can be great communicators when they want to be. That’s the big catch: when they want to be.
By default, INFPs do two things that cause great frustration to other types.
1. Moving from point A to D while skipping points B and C.
Conversations with INFPs at times seems like a string of completely unrelated topics. I know I do that. I could be talking about Ethan Hawke and the next second, I could be talking about locus of control theory. The connecting thoughts are: Ethan Hawke was in Hamlet –> famous Hamlet quote “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” –> your thoughts are one of the few things you can control –> amount of happiness is proportional to how much control you feel you have in your life –> locus of control theory.
INFPs don’t vocalize those connecting thoughts. Conversations may seem like random jumps from topic to topic but those topics are related in the INFP’s head.
Most of the time, those connecting thoughts aren’t important in general conversation with friends. However, INFPs get so use to not vocalizing connecting thoughts that it’s a cause of problems in relationships. You could be discussing how the toilet isn’t fixed yet and then your INFP could end up mad at you about their birthday dinner next week.
The connecting points could be: The toilet is broken –> you promised to fix it –> you promised a lot of things but forgot about it because you’re too busy –> you promised to take your significant other to a fancy restaurant for their birthday –> now your INFP is mad at you because that dinner might not happen.
It’s at times like these you have to slow your INFP down and make them go through Points B and Point C with you.
2. Not realizing that sometimes Point D isn’t really the point.
Let’s break down the previous broken toilet to mad about dinner plans scenario.
a. toilet is broken
b. you promised to fix it
c. you promised a lot of things but forgot about it because you’re too busy
d. you promised to take your significant other to a fancy restaurant for their birthday
e. now your INFP is mad at you because that dinner might not happen
So here you are assuring your INFP that you’re not going to forget out their birthday dinner, and your INFP is still mad at you. Even worse, they don’t know why they’re still mad. Maybe the birthday dinner isn’t the issue.
Perhaps the issue is really Point C: you’re too busy. Being mad at you about dinner was only a symptom of a deeper issue. So why doesn’t your INFP come right out and say, you need to spend more time with me? Mostly likely, the INFP might not understand that’s the real issue. INFPs are great at understanding themselves, but not so great at understanding themselves in relation to another person.
That’s where the slow things down approach helps. Getting your INFP to slow down and go through their thought process not only clarifies things for you, but it also clarifies things for them.