I’m an INFJ who has recently been abandoned by an INFP good friend of almost two decades, without an explanation.
After a few of months of analysing my feelings and taking it apart on a rational level, I though I could do far worse than ask this insightful community, in particular INFPs, for opinions and experiences.
My friend and I are both female and both really interested in type theory. She sometimes types as INFJ, though identifies as INFP and I can see why. I can definitely sense the presence of that soft romantic vibe Blake talks about. She is gentler and more easy going than me, as well as insightful and interesting, our conversations have always been fulfilling to me, and make me feel alive. I admire her strong core, her perseverance and steadfastness. She’s so much better than me at sticking to her path and choices (even those she does not enjoy, such as a job) and does not have the self-destructive streak in her. She just seems much more balanced and I envy her the gravitas she somehow has; her centre of gravity is firmly within and keeps her anchored to her beliefs. I, on the other hand, do not have that internal strength and feel much more at the mercy of others with regards to self esteem. I am not sure if this is type-consistent (Fi/Fe) or just an an individual difference, not tied to type.
As far as differences I suspect that in her heart of hearts (surprisingly to me every time) she is not as open minded as me and with much more of a tendency to follow the society’s norms. This would include things like being very open about a desire to live in a “good area” of her city, which to me sounds a bit vanilla, as my preference is for the “grittier” surroundings, a bit more edgy, rather than manicured lawns and rich neighbours. Another example of this is that she can be quite prescriptive linguistically, and quite stubborn in her assertions that only the norms traditionally seen as “correct” should be used. I feel that I am far more allowing when it comes to language, but also on a freedom seeking level I abhor the tendencies of prescriptive grammarians to impose rules which stifle language. I feel like that about any other prescriptive tendencies, too.
I feel that my friend is not as much of a liberal as me, and I find that a shock each time it comes to the fore.
(I can sort of see that she’d be a far better partner for my ESFJ ex boyfriend!). This strong tendency to uphold arbitrary rules takes me by surprise every time, as does the vengeance with which she does it - as she seems so much more “go with the flow” and flexible than I could ever aspire to be, and I find it dissapointing and almost hurtful (that will be my dark INFJ relational negativity). But I accept this difference between us, and it does not detract from the friendship being very valuable. I understand that she is not naturally drawn to the rebellious tendencies and the darker side of existence. Almost like she would rather remain blind to it (Not In My Back Yard) and is not interested in understanding it; she just wants to live her life and enjoy it. I envy her this lack of pull into the darkness, at the same time.
I hope to make it clear that I have great respect for my friend, and value our old friendship. I also look up to her greatly and place a lot of value on her judgements and opinions with regard to others. I find many of the things she says really enlightening and her take on interpersonal dynamics very eye-opening. It’s the meeting of Ne and Ni, I think.
The problem I now have is that this friend has, without a word of explanation, cut off all the ties between us. It is not a vengeful act, but feels more like self-protection on her part. As if, I had upset her greatly, perhaps over a long time, and repeatedly, and she didn’t mention it and then decided to just cut me off. Perhaps she thought or felt that there was not enough good in our relationship to balance out my negative qualities (I think INFPs are good at self-preservation). I have to add that we have never argued, in all the time we have known each other. We live about 2 hours away from each other and would spend a weekend together every couple of months and Skype and phone every weekend. I realise that INFPs dislike intensity, so maybe that was part of the problem, although after a stormy period in my life I have levelled out my emotions by a fair bit, removing the stressors from my life and using my Fe. (I am obviously fairly intense by comparison with her).
However, I can’t help feeling that it was some sort of personal annoyance with something that is the essence of me that my friend could not work with any more, and from which she wanted to shelter herself, so she decided to let me go. She also didn’t think that talking to me about it would make any difference, or so it appears to me, as she has not complained to me even once about anything I did, and given me chance to put it right or be more careful. This leads me to believe that it was something essential she didn’t think I would be able to correct.
In our friendship we have always supported each other. I feel I supported her in more practical ways with my Fe, coming to the rescue and looking after her, offering various types of support etc. typical INFJ (Fe too) behaviour, I am guessing, the saviour complex. She, on the other hand, always helped me in other ways, listening to my outburst when I was going through a lot of darkness in my life, always ready to make me feel better about my choices and really understood and supported. It felt like we covered off each other’s weaker points, at least to me. It felt worthwhile, helpful, useful and just good, right.
Since realising that she has chosen to not be in contact, I have tried to reach out a few times, however without putting pressure on her (or so I think, in any case). I have sent her a couple of thoughtful texts asking how she was doing, and letting her know that I’m thinking of her and hoping that she is ok and everything in her life is in order, and that I’m concerned it might not be. Offering her my help, if she needed it. I forwarded her a couple of articles which I though she would find interesting and recently wrote her a brief letter and a card, being careful not to come across demanding, but more than anything interested in her and in her life. I did mention that I had been wondering what had caused her to withdraw and that if ever she wanted to reconnect, then I would really like that, and that she could explain in her own good time, in person or in writing, if that was easier and less confrontational. I also said how important our friendship was to me and that I am really sorry to have done anything to hurt her or cause her upset, and was fully prepared to apologise. But that I, despite lots of soul searching, could not pinpoint anything recent that would have caused this rift.
Hence my conclusion here, that I may have worn her down with some negative aspect of myself.
So here we have an INFJ grieving over a loss of a friend, and still so self centred in her soul-searching and quite far up her own arse, it would appear! all this happens and I am still Ni-ing away about the theory of why this would have happened… There is also an element of fear - what does her rejection say about me as a person? She is so kind and level in her emotions, and yet she felt she had to leave me behind. Scary stuff.
But most of all it is that Ni inward looking search for a rational explanation and a desire to put it right, even if we cannot be friends, to make amends in any way I can.
I guess my questions to you are how would you want this situation handled, if you were in my friend’s place. How would you like me to behave in order to show you that you are important to me and that I would do a lot to salvage our friendship?
Any insights would be gratefully received.