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Mar

14

2011

Why We Feel Lonely, Part 2

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Read Part 1 – Intentional Separation (Us-vs-Them Mentality)

The three reasons I think INFPs are lonely are:

1. We separate ourselves.
2. We exclude ourselves.
3. We refuse to be compared to others.

Part One was about how we separate ourselves. Part Two is about exclusion.

In my early 20’s, I was looking for Us people who thought our problems were what made us individuals. What I attracted were depressed, angry and angsty people who blamed society for our woes. I saw myself in them and realized this wasn’t who I wanted to be. I felt more alienated and alone than ever.

My attitude changed when I started dancing. By some fluke, I was good and people would say hi. Over time it became easier to talk to people who I would have avoided before. In talking to Them, I realized that they weren’t that amorphous blob of shallow compromise that I had invented Them to be. They were individuals going through their own problems and dealing the best they knew how.

That’s when I became “accepting” of other people or so I’d thought. I kept my eye out for potential friends. My friendship was an exclusive club and only the like-minded need apply.

Reason 2: Exclusivity (No-Compromise Syndrome)

The Problem with Exclusivity

I’ve never liked gated communities with their nitpicky rules. The Homeowner Association’s covenants are Russian novel thick and single spaced. The grass can only be so high. These are the only approved colors for your house. The rationale is that covenants keeps relationships orderly. Everyone has the same pages.

With the INFP gated community of friendship, we don’t pass out a rule book. Those rules are a set of expectations of how we feel we should be treated by a friend. Some rules are set in stone. Some we make up as we go along because we see that as being “flexible”. Friends have to call us back within X amount of time. Friends can only make plans without us under specific circumstances as defined in Appendix B subsection A of our mental manual of friendship. If anyone breaks the rules, we’ll keep a running tally until they go over some undefined limit and then we’ll stop talking to them without explanation.

When we start letting people into our gated community, we lavish attention on them since they’re one of the few. We go out of our way to make our newly minted friend feel special. But if we notice that they’re not returning our attention with the same amount of care, we feel taken for granted.

Next comes the small conversations like, I know you didn’t mean to do this on purpose, but you hurt my feelings doing these things and not doing these as stipulated in Addendum 1, 3, 4a and 666. Those small conversations become more frequent.

We feel better being so generous in our forgiveness of our friends’ little foibles, but our friends are wondering how many more Addendums there are. Friends start treading lightly so the don’t break another Rule that’s part of our value system. They can only be themselves as long it doesn’t break our rules. Is it any wonder our friends choose to move on to less restrictive relationships?

How Accepting Are We Really?

When INFPs say we’re open-minded and accepting of other peoples values, we’re talking about big ticket items like religion or politics. We hold up examples of how we’re friends with people of different world views. We hold up our live-and-let-live ideals. We say we don’t try to impose our values onto others. However, big tickets items don’t affect relationships in the day-to-day. What if the values of our friends affect us more personally? How easy going and accepting would we really be.

Here are 2 examples:

Example 1. You have Good Friend A who you consider a close friend that you spend much of your time with. You meet New Person B who you think might become a good friend eventually. So you introduce New Person B to Good Friend A, they really connect. Good Friend A and New Person B start spending all their time together. They begin leaving you out of activities.

Would you consider Good Friend A disloyal or would you live and let live? You would never exclude a good friend from activities. But that’s just it, that’s your value not theirs. Maybe with their friendship values, Good Friend A doesn’t feel obligated to include you in everything especially in the getting to know each other period. How easy going and accepting would you be?

Example 2. You are good friends with Friend A. Friend A is good friends with Person B whom you don’t care for. You’ve been having a bad patch and you’ve been a downer lately. You hear through the grapevine that Friend A has been telling person B that you’ve been a real bummer and it’s getting to the point where it’s starting to be a burden being around you.

Friend A’s decision to tell Person B this comes from two of Friend’s A values: 1. You go to good friends when you need support. 2. Don’t crap on someone when they’re down. And that’s why Friend A didn’t go to you about your current behavior.

Would you feel betrayed? Or would you think, what goes on between Friend A and Person B is none of my business? If you feel betrayed, how can you be mad at someone for sticking to their values?

Open-minded and accepting also means accepting of other peoples values on loyalty, friendship and interpersonal relationships.

Our Rules Make Us Lonely

Of course we don’t want to be treated badly, to feel taken for granted or taken advantaged of. However, we have to ask ourselves if those rules are really about protecting ourselves or expecting friendship to be fair. Since INFPs tend towards fewer friendships, we have more expectation on each friend to fill our emotional needs. Our ideals of friendships creates expectations of behavior and reciprocation. We only want what’s fair.

In our mind’s we see ourselves as forgiving of possible wrongs that might occur someday. If someday, our friend crashed our car or ruined our favorite piece of clothing we lent them, we would forgive. At the very least in the present, we should be able to expect that they call us back in a timely matter. That trade off mentality makes us constant watchdogs waiting for the HOA of our friendship to be broken.

Our friends aren’t gifted in reading our minds to know what’s really important to us even if we want them to be. So they tread lightly as not to hurt our feelings. Before they realize it, they’ve quit being themselves and have become this paranoid person who’s ever vigilant in getting on our bad side because they didn’t fuss over some gift that we spent weeks hand-making for their birthday. We feel our friend’s thoughtfulness should equal our efforts. That’s an expectation of fairness.

The quest of fairness always makes one person the rule enforcer and the other person the potential rule breaker. This attitude creates a barrier in relationships that keeps people from letting down their guard. It’s a reason why we feel disconnected and lonely because we can’t cross that barrier without lowering it and risk being hurt.

I think the most important thing that I’ve learned about relationships is that when you enter into them from a place of giving, you receive in return but usually not from the person you’re giving to and not in the form that you expected.

My issue with seeking fairness is that we will only get back what we put in. But being giving and open with no expectation of reciprocation opens up the possibility that universe will give us more then we had hoped.

Simple Guidelines

My friendships have stopped being so exclusive and the guidelines have simplified.

1. Does knowing me help someone I know become a better person?
2. Am I becoming a better person knowing someone?

Here’s how I know a relationship is working. When I’m with that person, I am happy. I look forward to seeing that person. I’m not afraid that that person will hurt me intentionally. I’m not hesitant to speak up if I do feel hurt. Knowing that person, challenges me to grow. Being around that person gives me comfort when I feel sad. That person is someone I want to celebrate with when things are great.

I’ve let go of expecting people to behave a certain way or to treat me a certain way. However, I feel I’m more idealistic about my relationships than I’ve ever been. I want the most difficult thing you can ask a person and that is for them to be themselves, the good and the bad. I want authenticity where many find it hard to be authentic with themselves. It’s from our authentic selves where true connections are made.

It’s from those true connections where I finally feel understood.

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42 Responses to “Why We Feel Lonely, Part 2”

  1. Jay Schryer

    Mar 14, 2011

    2:00 pm

    Wow, this was enlightening! I’ve been treating my friendships like this my whole life, and never realized it. This really opened up my eyes, especially the part about acceptance and expectations. Sure, i have plenty of acceptance on “big ticket” items, but learning to accept the smaller, day-to-day things…I can definitely see where I need to work on that. Thank you for opening my eyes!

    [Reply]

  2. Mike Shur

    Mar 16, 2011

    2:50 am

    Thanks for your courage discussing how your personality type and your friendships have developed. Many people who learn about personality type find themselves defending their perspective, “Of course I do things this way, that’s my type.” It’s clear that you understand that type informs us about ourselves, and about others. Learning about these differences and appreciating them, leads to personal growth and to becoming the person we are hear to become. Your type preferences are the beginning of you, not the end of you.

    Keep up the good fight against writer’s block and procrastination!

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    It’s been very interesting writing this series of articles because most of what I’ve written is self-help advice from Brian Tracy or Anthony Robbins but reworded in a way that INFPs can find meaning in without being put off.

    I like that the MBTI is so general. Because it’s so general, I always say that it tells you what you prefer to do and not who you are. Thank you for writing.

    [Reply]

    Tammy Reply:

    Corin, If we as INFP’s do manage to change or better ourselves in our problem departments then does this mean our personality will change too? Or are we always a certain personality type and will always have to try hard to behave in ways that are natural behaviors to some other types? I just feel that if we are to be proud INFP’s then to some extent we should not be trying to think, feel or act differently to what actually makes us INFP’s… but as you have mentioned some of these behaviors do not always serve us or our lives positively – so are we ultimately trying to change our personality ? and is that even possible ?

    From a newly discovered INFP who has alot to catch up on =)

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    Tammy, it’s not about changing our personality. It’s about getting the results you want in your life.

    To me, being proud of being an INFP is like saying I’m proud of being tall or proud of being blonde or proud of being born into a wealthy family. I think I’m fairly intelligent. I got that from my parents. I’m not proud of it because I didn’t do anything to earn it. I had a minor win in the genetic lottery.

    Because my mind is always racing, I use to hate small talk until I read why it exists and it’s purpose. Now I’m pretty good at it and at leading those conversations to the important stuff. Does this mean that my personality has changed or that I’m dumber because I engage in behavior that’s not my default setting? Or am I the same person with better results–freelance work and lasting business relationships because I started some random conversation.

    Behavior is just a small part of personality. Exercising and eating healthy is behavior. I don’t think that’s changed me. I tend to think I’m still pretty much the same just with better results.

    [Reply]

  3. Caroline

    Mar 21, 2011

    6:00 pm

    I love this post. I like the idea of enjoying peoples’ company without expectations.

    However, I’m going to add that I think sometimes it’s good for INFPs to actively cut off ties, rather than always be open to relationships without expectations. For example, I’m an INFP and often find myself trying not to hurt other people in romantic relationships, at the expense of being too vulnerable when a relationship I didn’t want in the first place drags out and gets unhealthy. If I had just ended a romantic relationship in the beginning, instead of being persuaded to stay in it when I knew it wouldn’t work out, or not remained “friends” at the end of a romantic relationship, I could have saved myself a lot of unnecessary trouble.

    Kind of went on a tangent to your post.. sorry about that. Thanks as always for writing!

    [Reply]

  4. David

    Mar 26, 2011

    4:09 am

    The thing that I love about reading your posts is that… How do I explain it… Well, I’m 25 and recently got to that point where I’m starting to get how to be effective as an INFP in the world and get over all those unhealthy mentalities from when I was younger, and I’ve basically come to the same conclusions as you most of the time, but don’t quite know how to verbalize it yet, so reading your post is like “yep, that was me… oh yeah, that’s it, that’s how to explain it” lol. I am very busy, though, so I usually read them much later because I’m waiting for a good time to really absorb it.

    I think what it comes down to is that we need to accept that others are not going to uphold our ideals, and that’s OK. There’s two things that we do that’s unhealthy when we see others (or the universe as a whole) not living up to our ideals: 1) We sometimes excuse ourselves from doing what’s necessary because we “shouldn’t have to”, and 2) We end up condemning others for not living up to our ideals and, as a result, end up acting hypocritically, and that always ends badly for us… What I needed to do was accept that things are the way they are, however they may be, and take responsibility for myself alone to make sure that I am living up to my ideals and doing what’s necessary to accomplish my goals.

    Basically, our dominant function is Introverted Feeling (Fi). That means we have a strong value system that we live by, and that value system is introverted, meaning that we march to the beat of our own drummer, rather than dancing to the ambient rhythm. The problem lies when we expect others to march to the beat of our drummer; when we do that, it’s our Fi trying to dominate our extraversion. But we extravert most effectively using Extraverted iNutition (Ne), our auxiliary function. Ne doesn’t care about the way things should be; it perceives them for what they are and accepts them as is.

    When Fi dominates, we become blind to what’s really going on around us. We don’t see the opportunites that are staring us in the face. It becomes easy to see our situation as hopeless and wollow in self-pity. Ne frees us! When it balances Fi, we see what’s going on, we’re alert to opportunities, we always see a way out. We can float along the river, going with the flow, seizing the opportunity when it presents itself. What we want to happen begins to happen without even trying. It’s the way INFPs function best.

    That was my experience. I became socially graceful, flexible, quick-witted, and confident. I wasn’t particularly vulnerable or dependent upon others anymore. I began to see each person as a source of opportunity, free from expectations. Whatever opportunity presented itself, if it interested me, I seized it. It works much better than trying to force a person into your idea of an ideal friend. Instead, you provide the circumstances and wait and see if they become a good friend. Some people will, some people won’t, but trying to force it is not the way to go; not for us INFPs at least.

    The MBTI is very general, like you said in your comment. The thing is, it’s a theory–a system for modeling, understanding, and making predictions about what we observe. I like when I find parallels between different explanations regarding the MBTI. An idea or understanding is very abstract, and the angle you use to verbalize it may go different ways. A lot of times, I see explanations parallel the idea of balancing dominant and auxiliary functions, which is why I put stock in it. I tend to put more stock in those models where more than one person separately came to the same conclusion, or where it fits conclusions made by separate individuals. Really, all of us know something about type, but we may not have the vocabulary for it. To me, that’s all the MBTI is–the vocabulary to talk about these concepts.

    [Reply]

  5. ellzrae

    Apr 3, 2011

    5:38 am

    Hi Corin, would just like to say I appreciated this post of yours. I constantly struggle with the expectation of fairness. In my younger days, i would say I expected everybody to fit in with my idea of friendship and fairness. That didn’t work out so well.Being exposed to larger part of society through work has made me more appreciative of the individual effort each person brings to the table. However, while I am still able to let go of expectations with colleagues and acquaintances- it becomes harder to do so in close relationships where Fi can be often overwhelming.

    Its like if I see a beautiful emotive scene in a film, instead of keeping it to myself, I would like to share it with someone close. Because it touches at the core of our Fi-dom, it becomes hard to paint it in other colors like Ne. Understanding of pathos is very individualised Fi thing- its not something we share easily. Close relations bring out the little Fi. Unfortunately for little Fi, the weather outside is not sunshine and rainbows to venture out without defence. At best, you get a smile, at worst, you are teased for being emotional. I would love to know how you handle your Fi. 🙂

    [Reply]

  6. @Ariadnos

    Apr 19, 2011

    8:37 am

    This is timely. Very timely.
    I am in my late 20s and still feeling lost in the topic of friendships. I rather stay away from bring close to anyone. Anyone who can’t fit in to my ideals are put in the category as ‘acquaintances’. I guess it’s not too late to change the mindset and be a more effective INFP.

    [Reply]

  7. Amanda

    May 9, 2011

    10:13 am

    Is it time yet for you to write an owner’s manual to INFP? You KNOW that INFPs will buy it –as much as we enjoy reflecting on ourselves! I’m thinking of the younger INFPs especially–to whom we older ones would love to gift with such a book.

    Corin–I find your willingness to share your observations of yourself–and our type– “warts and all” and without b.s.–such an illuminating and welcome breath of cool clear air. And I really mean it about the book–there’s a ready market.

    Thanks again for verbalizing for a bunch of us “out here”.

    [Reply]

  8. Taylor

    May 15, 2011

    1:09 am

    Thank you so much for this writing. To be honest, I read Part 1 with a bit of detachment since I feel I’ve made positive steps there, but this gave me what I came for. I’ve always tried to be open-minded and understanding of how other people interact with me, but recently, I’ve become more hurt by how little contact people I see make with me. I don’t THINK I’ve imposed rules, but… Well… I need to reflect for a while. Thanks again!

    [Reply]

  9. Nonoy

    Jun 11, 2011

    3:55 am

    Very interesting post. To me I think what separates people from each other is indifference. I remember the movie Patch Adams, wherein Dr. Adams said, “Our job is improving the quality of life, not just delaying death.” 🙂

    [Reply]

  10. Ron

    Jun 22, 2011

    7:47 pm

    This was a great piece. I’ve noticed that as I get older, my circle of friends shrinks, and I wish I had read this 20 years ago. Better late than never.

    [Reply]

  11. Anonymous

    Jun 24, 2011

    4:53 pm

    What if a relative takes the child of someone away due to their values (or that’s their stated reasons), a value which many people would not see as a reason for taking children away? No CPS or anyone of that vein were involved. The child was just taken and the mother and child of 12 years are now separated with little hope of being reunited. No money for court or lawyers.

    I am thinking this is a matter of safety with respect to my own child, to cut those relatives out of my life and not let the same thing happen to my tiny family. I don’t think of that as being exclusive.

    [Reply]

  12. Dennis

    Jul 23, 2011

    8:15 pm

    This blog is a tremendous help for me as I try to figure out what went wrong in a recent friendship meltdown. You’ve given me a lot of food for thought. It’s much appreciated.

    [Reply]

  13. Jerry

    Aug 26, 2011

    10:40 pm

    Hey, Corin, don’t really have anything new to add to the discussion that hasn’t already been said (reading this five months after it was posted might have something to do with that), so I just wanted to throw my thanks and appreciation for this post (and blog) on top of all the other ones that came before it.

    [Reply]

  14. Daniel

    Sep 15, 2011

    9:48 pm

    I’m a 27 year old INFP male who just stumbled across this blog. Excellent stuff- you have a very in depth understanding of the INFP mentality. Like you, I’ve also been obsessed with overcoming our natural INFP sense of hopelessness. I believe your site will help me in that quest. Thank you.

    [Reply]

  15. joyz

    Sep 23, 2011

    1:33 am

    Thanks for having this blog. Am a 30 year old infp who has been experiencing that for the most part of my life. It has been one of my main concern on how to improve on this aspect for a few years now. I do feel lonely sometimes but am able to handle it better or even starting to enjoy some alone time as I get older.

    [Reply]

  16. Lauren

    Dec 23, 2011

    9:38 am

    Like everyone else hear said, thanks for this blog! I recently found out I am an INFP, and in an INFP way, have become obsessed with knowing more about myself. I am 19, and have felt lonely most of my childhood- making and keeping friends was not easy because of my shyness, high expectations for friends I finally made, and also I do think because I truly march to the beat of my own drum. During high school, I tried so hard to fit in and let go of my expectations for friends after a bad experience. Problem was that didn’t work either. I wasn’t happy having a lot of friends who just liked me because I was what they wanted me to be. I thought that being the “stereotypical popular person” would make me feel less lonely. But I realized I am happier doing my own thing, even if no one wants to do it with me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t feel connected to people, I just have my own way of doing things and really am a sort of loner, happy with just a couple of strong ties and many weak ties floating around. I think a lot of people find this odd, but I’ve realized what makes others happy doesn’t alway make me happy.

    What I have now learned is that as an INFP I need to stay true to myself, but can’t hold other people up to the same expectation. I like what you said —

    1. Does knowing me help someone I know become a better person?
    2. Am I becoming a better person knowing someone?

    This is how I am now going to approach my new relationships, and even my current ones! However, I think as an INFP we will never really let go of wanting to have those few close people who really understand us, or at least put in the effort to try. Actually, in college I have met a group of 5 girls who I truly would call “friends.” But what I am learning, and what I think your blog tries to convey, is that instead of adding ideal expectations to these very special relationship, I should just accept how loving these people are towards me, and that is enough. I can’t have 0 expectations (we all expect something from others) I just need to have REALISTIC expectations, and know that I can’t be co-dependent on these people.

    So long story short, your blog is defiantly helping me on my journey to becoming more than I was before (and isn’t that what life is all about?)

    [Reply]

  17. Dash

    Jan 14, 2012

    6:09 pm

    This is so very true. I’m a little upside down because this means I have loads to work on. Being an INFP is not always a walk in the parc…Thank you for a great post!

    [Reply]

  18. geri

    Mar 29, 2012

    8:00 pm

    What about the people who really don’t expect anything in return or at least really try not to but the conlstant shafting you get is really quite unbearable? I understand different value systems but man, it sucks when people hurt you. So, gosh, I’m just supposed to deal with it? The answer is yes…but that makes me want to be alone. What your teaching is almost biblical….turn the other cheek. Which is what I believe in annnd what I have been doing anyway until someone is really unbearable and I am tempted to cut them out of my life.

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    It’s not about turning the other cheek. Does this person I spend time with make me a better person? People will hurt you and often times, it’s inadvertent. Pain is inevitable because no one is perfect. Suffering is option because it’s all about what you choose to focus on after pain happens.

    But what if you’re constantly being hurt by people. There are lots of crappy people. But these people have always been crappy people. People should be allowed to be who they are and it’s not our job to change them. They can only hurt you if you make them part of your life. So somewhere along that line, we made a decision to let these people into our lives. It really comes down to better decision making on our part. How can we tell the crappy people from the nice people so you know which ones you should let into your life? Everybody has their methods. Some work better than others.

    [Reply]

    Christine Reply:

    Corin, thanks for responding to this person’s comment as that was my main complaint after reading this article as well.

    Any advice on HOW to distinguish the good from the bad? How to separate minor offenses that flare up our Fi from actual trends we should be wary of?

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    For me, it’s about detaching wanting a friendship. I’m very intuitive when all I want is to enjoy their company and not their friendship. However, when I start thinking I want this person to be my friend then that’s when I start projecting.

    I project values that I admire onto this person even though that other person has not demonstrated those values in anyway. I also minimize value conflicts. I see something they do that has a serious conflict with my value system but I try to brush it away as a one-off incident. So I’m not seeing or appreciating this other person for who they are. I’m imbuing all these qualities of a potential friend onto this person who has never demonstrated these qualities.

    If I like someone, I have to ask myself all the time if I’m projecting these good qualities onto to them. It’s trying to figure out if you’re seeing someone for who they are and not for you want them to be in order for them to be your friend.

    [Reply]

    Maeve Reply:

    I can’t begin to express how so many of these blog posts are like balm for my soul. This particular post has meaning for me because I believe I just projected big time onto a love interest who, in my mind at least, is turning out to be morally disappointing. I may be reading as much bad intent into him as I was initially reading good intent. Also, as a highly intuitive person, he may be feeling the pressure of my expectations.

    I’ve decided to back off and get back to neutral ground so I can observe him as he really is and relate to him as I really am.

    This is somewhat related, but when I idealize people, especially love interests, it always creates a barrier that frustrates them. I’m nice and sweet and polite, but there is an invisible barrier I put up. I wonder if other INFPs can relate to this. This is my next self project to work on.

    Lauren Reply:

    This is really resonating with me too. Recently I’ve had succession of romantic relationships that have started out really well while I’m feeling relaxed and just enjoying spending time with the person, but as soon as I start to want them to be a bigger part of my life (which often happens quite quickly before I’ve really gotten to know them properly), my high expectations start to get in the way and sabbotage everything. I certainly recognise the role of projection in all of this as well.

    Perhaps the key for me is to try to take things slower and allow myself to get to know the person and evaluate how compatible we are in a more objective way. If that’s something I’m able to do! Thank you for this insight. It has certainly given me a greater understanding of what’s been going wrong.

    Vivid Reply:

    That makes so much sense–detaching “wanting” the friendship. I wish that left me with a smile on my face, but I do tend to try to make people into dream friends who in reality don’t necessarily have time for me.

    Patsy Reply:

    Hi Corin,

    This also sounds like not being codependant. I’m still confused as an INFP not to allow people to be jerks to me. Respect is really important and if that person can’t change, when is it worth letting them go or realize its my personality and I have to adjust?
    Thanks for the blog.

  19. Eileen

    Jun 30, 2012

    12:36 pm

    Hi Corin,
    I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am for your site, and for this post in particular. I had never even heard about INFPs or even the MBTI at all until I searched “embrace the life you have” on google and your site showed up on the first page. I’ve read several of the articles and they have been incredibly helpful! [I then took the MBTI test and discovered I’m an INFJ, but the things you’ve written still seem highly relevant to me nonetheless.]
    Anyway, I read through both parts of this article about two weeks ago, and it really impacted me strongly – I had never considered that I was causing much of my own loneliness by my high expectations and judgments of other people. Since then I’ve been trying to check myself and my habitual ways of thinking (‘Oh, she’s just shallow’ / ‘He just doesn’t understand me’ / ‘Nobody here thinks I’m cool but it’s fine since I’m better than them anyway, so I’ll just leave’) and I’m really starting to see the places where I can change my mindset. In the short time since I’ve been doing this I’ve already seen a huge improvement in my relationships, both with myself and with other people. Thank you so much for your insight!

    [Reply]

  20. Angele

    Aug 26, 2012

    6:55 pm

    I thought I was the only one who kept a checklist in my head with my relationships. I found myself doing it only with each new boyfriend that came along. When going to counseling I was told if I do not tell the other what I am feeling how do they know? My reasoning is if I have to tell the person each time they disappoint me then they are not worth my time. I have not been in a relationship for 100 years so I do not know if I broke that habit or not.

    I do not notice myself doing with my friends but then I only have 3 friends.

    [Reply]

  21. kitty

    Aug 27, 2012

    8:15 pm

    I often feel betrayed and disappointed by friends, but have many times rekindled old friendships after a falling out. The thing is, I’m usually left disappointed again. It seems I keep lowering my standards for friend’s behavior, and their behavior seems to get worse. Sometimes I feel like in order to maintain friendships, I just have to pretend I don’t notice I’m being treated disrespectfully. I recently had a close friend tell me that people lie to me because I’m too attached to the idea of truth. does this mean anything to anyone?

    [Reply]

    Maeve Reply:

    That is the lamest excuse I’ve heard for lying yet. Give me a break! What it means to me, is that most people are not worth the deep connection we wish to have with them.

    These days I have everybody at the acquaintance holding gate. That’s where they stay until they earn a pass forward. And guess what? I’m not disappointed in people anymore and have less expectations. And while I still have a deep caring compassion for them, I just don’t feel compelled to be involved in their baggage or drama. That’s the other advantage…

    [Reply]

  22. Angela

    Sep 12, 2012

    10:32 am

    Wow, this was an amazing post and a real eye-opener for me. I felt like none of this applied to me, until I read this example:

    Example 1. You have Good Friend A who you consider a close friend that you spend much of your time with. You meet New Person B who you think might become a good friend eventually. So you introduce New Person B to Good Friend A, they really connect. Good Friend A and New Person B start spending all their time together. They begin leaving you out of activities.

    Then, I realized, oh, this DOES apply to me completely. I do have very specific ideals that are maybe not even fully conscious, about what relationships will look like. And I do probably assume that other people have those same ideals in their minds, and that they simply don’t wish to have that sort of relationship with me if they break them. I dropped a friend four or five years ago, because I felt they were breaking the rules of friendship by suddenly spending far less time with me and not accepting any of my suggestions to hang out. A year or two later, we re-connected, both having grown and matured. There was really no reason for us to stop being friends, and we were great friends. Now it is much easier for me to accept some of her different friendship values, but I have also learned to express when I am hurt by things she does.

    This is a lesson I can apply to all of my friendships, though. I thought I had learned this lesson, but looking over some recent friendships and dating scenarios, maybe not. I have a ways to go, and realizing and becoming aware of this is the first step. Well, one step down! It is hard, sometimes, to tell the difference between “lowering standards” and accepting other people’s different values and ways of showing friendship. But I think the two points—does knowing this person make me a better person, and do I make them one—gives a good starting place.

    [Reply]

  23. Jennifer

    Sep 13, 2012

    11:15 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. This was really helpful as I’m going through the most intensely lonely period of my life. This helps me rethink why I’ve been lonely and what I can do to make things better.

    [Reply]

  24. Jerry Santa Maria

    Jan 10, 2013

    4:42 am

    This article is incredible. It kinda choked me up when I read it. I almost felt like this is me exactly. Less and less friends as I get older. Friends dropping me, me dropping friends. I was really getting bummed out about that. As an infp myself I’m at a loss as to what to do with my life right now and that’s how I found your blog. I was actually thinking of starting a blog about infp’s myself. We are a rare breed and can help others with ease but often times cannot help ourselves. If we all got together we could really help one another. Maybe an INFP coach of some sort is needed. I learned my personality type 20 years ago but had my doubts it was correct. Now it’s clear. I highly recommend anyone reading this to get that done first when they get out of college. Knowing why something is happening is so important and after this read I know why I feel so alienated. Sometimes the littlest thing can change your life. This blog may be it for some including me. Keep up the great work. I hope I hear from you.

    [Reply]

    Corin Reply:

    If you’re so inclined, please considering participating in the INFP Forum at the Personality Cafe. If anything, INFPs are varied in values and interests. Getting a wider perspective of how other INFPs deal with daily life might help you in finding some answers.

    [Reply]

  25. Ninad

    Nov 3, 2013

    1:24 am

    Man this post is superb!
    I always thought I am open minded but when I read those examples on to what I would do in those situations, I realized how narrow I am!
    It made me laugh at myself and feel happy that I realized those mistakes!
    Now I am very sure I will change these things and actually be what I just thougth I am. Open Minded.
    Thanks for making me realize these things so well.

    [Reply]

  26. cheese

    Nov 25, 2013

    11:08 pm

    Wow, 2013 Nov and this post is very much relevant.
    The content in the site is still a strong reference for a lot of INFPs I think.

    [Reply]

  27. Sarah

    Mar 10, 2015

    2:51 pm

    Hi Corin,
    Blimey what insightful observations you have! I came across this after googling INFPs and friendships after feeling like I was being neglected by a friend who I recently decided was in the ‘closest friends’ category, and couldn’t understand why I felt so resentful and deeply hurt. I felt like I had been such an accepting and generous friend to her and why wasn’t she reciprocating by meeting my needs? How dare she not just intuitively know what all my needs are and exactly when I need someone to talk to!
    You have hit the nail on the head with this and it has humbled me and made me realise I need to change my perspective and not have such exceedingly high expectations of people. It is a good lesson and a great realisation: humble pie is always hard to stomach but is always so infinitely good for us! I need to take time to digest it…:) Thank you for your insight, and for all who have shared and made me feel so much better about this situation and who I am as an INFP 🙂 Hooray 😉

    [Reply]

  28. Shcol

    May 23, 2015

    5:11 pm

    Though my first language is not English, since I can’t find much information on INFPs in my language on the Internet, I appreciate that you made such a informative blog like this.

    I’m also the kind of person who prefers to have only few friends, with whom I can feel really connected. However, I think this is what narrowing my perspective and I kind of want to make more friends with different personalities.

    When you say INFP’s rules, do they also include things like “people shouldn’t say this” or “people should be this intelligent to be my friend”?
    I think I’m very picky when it comes to the smartness of the person or how they are “unique” and “distinct” since those are what I value and the main reason I want to talk to someone.

    [Reply]

  29. blitzkrrieg

    Dec 7, 2015

    5:15 am

    This is so me.. Thank you!! Thank you!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

  30. ray'vonte

    Jan 31, 2017

    8:59 am

    Has anyone looked into the connection between infp’s and covert narcissistic depression,I am an infp that struggles with npd and they seem very linear

    [Reply]

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