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.
1. Don’t settle.
Make sure potential friends agree with, or at least respect, the beliefs and commitments you care about most. You need this common ground in order to build trust.
2. Be realistic.
Keep in mind that you’re an idealist with extremely high standards. Look for people who try to be honest and are growing, but beware of being excessively choosey.
3. Connect with introverts.
Introverts love to talk at length about their passions. If you want to have a deep conversation and establish a long-lasting friendship, befriend an introvert.
4. Befriend extroverts too.
Extroverts will get you out of your house and out on the town. You need this. They’ll also carry the conversation so that you can relax and do the things you do best.
5. Put yourself out there.
Give the gift of going first, and share a bit about your real self. Vulnerability begets vulnerability and takes relationships further faster. Just be wary and cautious as you proceed.
6. Be a friend.
If you want to make friends, go out of your way to be a friend. One of my closest friendships started when I invited a guy who was visiting my church to join my friends and me for lunch. I’m glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone to talk to him.
7. Keep a calendar.
I’m quite happy with books and a computer, but I’ve learned that my friendships fall apart when I don’t connect regularly. That’s why I schedule weekly reminders to keep in touch with friends.
8. Break your schedule.
Every once in a while, break out of your routine and hang out with people at times you normally wouldn’t. Instead of staying home, try going out on a Friday night, if someone invites you.
9. Fight for the friendships that mean a lot to you.
INFJs have a reputation for maintaining a small group of long-lasting friendships. If a friendship is really important to you, push yourself to keep investing in it even when it’s hard and you don’t feel like it.
10. Look for people who share your interests.
One of the best places to make friends is through hobby groups and common interests. Find other people who enjoy astronomy, hiking, writing, music, painting, or whatever you love to do, and get to know them.
11. Connect online.
Try searching for and joining an INFJ social media groups. They can be an awesome place to connect with likeminded INFJs.
12. Meet in the real world.
At the same time you’re cultivating friendships online, make sure to connect with people you enjoy and appreciate at work, at church, in your neighborhood, and wherever you spend your time.
13. Be the biggest giver in every relationship.
Jonathan Milligan has said that one of the best networking strategies is to try to be the biggest giver in every relationship. This is not only a good business networking strategy. It’s also a great friend-making strategy.
14. Get out of your house when you don’t want to.
When you’re stressed and discouraged, your tendency will be to lock yourself away inside. Resist this temptation, fight your feelings, and spend time with other people. When you’re down is when you need them most.
15. Accompany an extrovert.
If you want to meet new people, hang out with an extrovert. Go where he or she goes, and meet the people he or she knows. Extroverts have broad networks and can help you make new friends.
16. Ask thoughtful questions.
This is what you do naturally, so go ahead and ask those meaningful, mutually interesting questions. They’re great for starting a friendship as well as for investing in an existing one.
17. Go easy on yourself.
You’re way more tuned into what other people think of you than the average person. Your intuition paired with your relational focus make you what my interpersonal relationships professor termed a “high sensor.” You’ll always feel more awkward than you appear to others.
18. Make new friends before you need them.
Harvey McKay, in Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, recommends building a network before you need it – when you lose your job. The same logic can be applied to friendship: Always be investing in new relationships, and you’ll have friends when you need them most.
19. Confront others, even when you don’t feel like it.
One of the hardest things to do as an INFJ is to confront. We INFJs love harmony and hate conflict. That said, push yourself to confront when you really need to. It’ll take your friendship deeper.
20. Give it time.
In The Like Switch, Dr. Jack Schaffer explains that to establish and sustain a relationship, you have to spend time with the other person. This is sometimes hard for INFJs to do. Commit to spending time with your friends on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.
21. Hang around people you admire.
We become like the people we spend the most time with, and as Jim Rohn said, “[We] are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”