Do people’s eye glaze over when you start to talk about something that interests you? If this happens to you on a regular basis, you know how frustrating it can be. It’s a common INFJ challenge.
You want to have a conversation that’s meaningful and engaging, but the topic tends to cycle back to what’s happening in the news, what so-and-so said, the weather – virtually anything tied to the five senses.
How can you have an exciting, mutually stimulating discussion and talk about something enjoyable?
When I was a 7 or 8, I’d spend forever putting my socks on. Getting caught up in thoughts about reptiles and amphibians, future possibilities, or a deep question was too easy, and before I knew it, 3 to 5 minutes had slipped away. In fact, that still happens to me, only I’m usually thinking about personality psychology, the mind, or an exciting idea.
Needless to say, staying in the moment and enjoying it is anything but my forte. I feel as though I mainly have a mind and my body is just an appendage, to borrow Susan Storm’s analogy. (AJ Drenth also describes this experience here.) And this seems to be the case for many INFJs.
But there are definitely times when it’s important for you and me to be in the moment. We need to be present, for example, when listening to family and friends; they find out all too quickly when we’re lost in our thoughts and not paying attention. We also need to stay present when working with coworkers, clients, and customers because our work depends on it.
So how can an INFJ stay in the moment?
I had the privilege of interviewing Denzel Mensah not too long ago. During our conversation, Denzel pointed out that one of the best ways for an INFJ to grow is to study his or her extroverted counterpart – the ENFJ.
The more I thought about his words, the more I found them to be true. I’ve learned a ton from the ENFJs I know. In fact, if it wasn’t for their positive influence on my life, you wouldn’t be reading this post.
That’s why I’m such a firm believer that you need to consider cultivating relationships with these wonderful people if you haven’t already. Let’s take a look at three reasons why.
Who’s the right significant other for you as an INFJ? What do healthy INFJ relationships look like?
I only ever dated two people. One was an ISFJ I’d met in college. We dated for a few months, but she broke off the relationship because I was “too deep.”
Five years later, I met my now wife through friends at church. While we’re different, we share many of the same values, and our strengths complement one another. I’m incredibly thankful for what she contributes to our family, and I love what we accomplish as a team.
But who’s right for you? And what do you need to know about INFJ relationships?
“How can I be so outgoing one minute and private the next?”
I love being with my closest friends. I need them in my life. I can go for a couple weeks or even a month getting together fairly frequently, as long as I have enough alone time.
But when my schedule starts to fill up with long workdays, church commitments, family gatherings, and other responsibilities, the last thing I want to do on a Friday night is “hang out.”
Feeling overwhelmed, I hole up inside my house with a stack of books, my computer, and a guitar and introvert like it’s my only hope for survival. (And it sort of is…)
Can you relate?
What causes seemingly extroverted INFJs to change in an instant? And how can you balance relationships and downtime?
Do interruptions stress you out, fellow INFJ?
Have you ever been working on something and getting to the point of optimal focus and productivity only to be unexpectedly interrupted by someone or something? Your focus shatters and falls to the ground like shards of glass, while you’re left feeling angry, frustrated, anxious, and a whole slew of other negative feelings.
It’s especially tough for us INFJs because we require quiet to do our best work and to employ our greatest strength, introverted intuition. In The INFJ: Understanding the Mystic, Susan Storm writes:
“When using Introverted Intuition, INFJs enter a nearly meditative state, where they consider how various insights could lead to a future outcome. Noise, bright lights, and any type of interruption can all unsettle the INFJ and make them lose focus and composure.”
Once you’ve been interrupted, it often takes 20 to 30 minutes to get back to a state of flow, assuming you’re able to quickly fight off the emotions. Then, you’ll need to do the work of remembering and piecing together what you were working on before.
The good news is that you can make some minor tweaks that’ll make a big difference for you. Try any one of these 4 strategies, and it’ll almost instantly lead to more quiet, fewer interruptions, and increased happiness for your INFJ brain.
What’s the best way to find a spouse as an INFJ?
When I was single, I got tired of waiting for the love of my life to show up on my doorstep. Looking back, I guess I’d expected to bump into her. I didn’t anticipate any effort on my part, at least when it came to searching.
But then I read a Proverb that changed my perspective: “He who finds a wife finds what is good.” The word that hit me in that statement was “find.” I realized could find a wife like finding a penny on the sidewalk, without any effort. Or I could find her like finding my lost iPhone when I’m intentionally looking for it.
Armed with this new perspective and motivated by a healthy discontentment, I took the first step I could think of.
What do most INFJs long for? Answer: Real, authentic friendships.
They want to be known and appreciated for who they are. They want someone to empathize with and understand them in the way they do other people. The challenge is finding someone who appreciates what you do and the way you think in a world where the vast majority of people operate so differently.
The more I reflect on my own life and relationships, the more I realize how important friendships with other intuitives are. Some of the friendships that I enjoy most are with INTPs, INFPs, ENFPs, and the like. The way we approach life and things we care about are similar.
Today, let’s take a brief look at why relationships with other intuitives can be both refreshing and rewarding for you as an INFJ.
What are the best ways for an INFJ to make and keep great friends?
One of the challenges of being an INFJ is that you love to help others, particularly through nonjudgemental listening, open acceptance, and thoughtful advice, but you seldom open up and allow your true self to be known. Though you long for that very thing and crave the support and encouragement of others, the trust-building process can be slow and difficult.
But you, like every INFJ, need quality friendships. There’s no doubt about it. Still, how do you make and keep awesome friends as an INFJ? Consider the following 21 ideas.
Would you like to improve your small talk skills?
Many introverts don’t enjoy talking with people they don’t know well about topics they’re not interested in. They’d rather spend time with someone familiar talking about their passion.
No matter how much you dislike small talk, there are times you’ll have to engage in it. It’s a social custom and a good one in that it allows you and an acquaintance to build trust.
I’ve discovered that many of my own problems with small talk have to do with my thoughts. They’re often self-critical, or my focus is misdirected. Changing the way I think about my interactions with other people quickly and significantly improves my small talk. Changing the way you think about yours will do the same for you.
Try these quick hacks to improve your small talk in seconds.