Socializing Troubles


#1

Wow, I am back after all this time! Sorry…I had to take a break, because all this categorizing stressed me out.

I was wondering, who here has trouble socializing? 'Cause, damn, I know I do.

It’s like over time, I’ve gradually forgotten how to speak and relate to people - or no, maybe I’ve never known how to at all. But the thing is, I don’t think I cared back then, whereas now I do, all thanks to my INTJ father constantly beating the idea of practicing Fe minimums into my puny little head, although (jokes on him) I’m probably INFJ or INTP. Ugh, and because of that, my eyes have opened to this strange realm, and fuck, it’s not cool when you’re an adult and you suddenly realize you’re left out, helpless like a little baby in social gatherings. Someone talks to me, and there I am, suddenly freezing up into an icicle. Everything feels forced, and nothing flows. My every word is super polite but super fake/artificial (and that makes other people feel uncomfortable). And unfortunately, if no one is talking to me about science OR their life, their worries, their philosophy, their troubles, their grand ideas about art, and etc (AKA stuff I care about), I can’t speak (oh, how I selfish of me!). The most I can do is smile. Haha. awkward smile Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. shifty eyes

Any INFJs struggling with the same? Maybe I’m incredibly blocked or something…Or maybe secretly I have already made a judgment on a person and decided not to talk to that person at all. It’s like I send out this crabby vibe that I don’t truly want to talk to the person or even care about them, and of course, normal human beings will pick up on that. They get this feeling that I want to end the conversation immediately, and it’s true, not only do I feel incredibly uncomfortable but also, agh, I’m impatient - just get to the point and enough of all these social nicety fluff-stuff!

Whatever, so looking back at all this, I guess I don’t actually care about people or making a good impression of myself, but then at the same time I feel incredibly guilty about the way I treat others…Hell, I wouldn’t like it if other people treated me the same way.

!!!

But then again, playing the games of the social sphere just causes me too much stress: Hmmm I wonder if I should behave like this so Aunt X or Y will be pleased…Why is he not smiling? Agh, I did something wrong!..How am I supposed to continue this conversation? This is stupid, I’m not going to see the person again. Do I end this topic? Do I just get up and leave? Sigh, I miss the times when I didn’t really care at all about other people and what they think. Sob, sob, sob. And funny thing is, people never found me weird or awkward back then. They liked me whether I was quiet or temporarily histronic…or maybe they didn’t, and young, naive me just didn’t pick up on that.

Sorry, I’m rambling and looping so hard.

Introverted (or extraverted!) intuitives, what say you when it comes to your social life? And those of you who are savvy with these things, H-A-L-P.


#2

I’ve reached a stage in life where I make no effort at all to socialize… if I’m meeting new people, I’m the creep sitting in the corner staring at them while they are interacting with each other and pretending to be extremely fascinated by the interiors or the menu when they try to make eye contact or include me in the conversation :stuck_out_tongue:

Partly, its because, i don’t like drawing attention to myself, because I’m shy and get really anxious about how my words are affecting the other person… also, there is a lot of bias… my radar is always picking up nuances in tone or body language, which immediately tell me whether I am going to find the person interesting (mostly the answer is no), or, whether the person is being genuine/fake (mostly fake), or, that I would find them interesting but the feeling wouldn’t be mutual (some would say I’m afraid to take the chance)… I’m always filtering potential…

And then, there is the problem that I just can’t get myself to talk about inconsequential things… I won’t ask shallow questions… I want to get right to the core, so, the few times I talk, I end up coming across too intense/serious/prying… it scares people off when they are trying their best to put on an impressive show… and… it’s also true what Blake says about being afraid of being a cliché… I want to say something only when it’s meaningful or impactful :stuck_out_tongue:

I get bored by most conversations people of my age group have (I’m 26)… i prefer interacting with older people (who are comfortable in their skin) or teenagers… with my age group, everything is so pretentious… its crazy how little people really say to each other… I do enjoy observing the dynamics in groups though… what people are not saying is way more interesting than what comes out of their mouths… so I go out with a close friend who is meeting other friends and just listen… and then people feel fake bad for me and ask me whether I’m “bored” or “feeling left out”… and I just give them a fake smile and make some shallow conversation to shut them up before I can go back to my mute observer mode… I know all this sounds really bitter… I’m just kinda weary after all these years of I don’t know what… like it never gets better… it only becomes more shallow… this is why I like talking to teenagers… they’re more real… they let you see them… I enjoy talking to my sister’s friends (17/18/19)… I counsel them… and it’s honest and lovely… tender heavy hearts… raw… I like rawness… if you give me permission to touch your real self i am interested as fuck…

Or maybe I’m not weary as much as i am lost… I don’t know what to talk about to people… I don’t know how people get to know each other anymore… it is different when you’re thrown together by fate, like if you ended up sitting together in class or in the school bus or went on a college trip together and you had no option but to get to know each other… how do people make an effort to get to know someone outside of destiny’s contrivances?

I wasn’t always like this… I used to be the soul of the group/party when I was in school/college… I didn’t think so much back then… I was more organic… I used to let Fe take control… get people to loosen up, make them feel comfortable/appreciated and just spread the joy or whatever… those days were nice… in fact… the people I got to know back then are pretty much the only people I consider my “friends” now… maybe this is just a phase… there is too much sadness/disillusionment in me to pretend to be interested/interesting right now… but I might not be like this when I’m 35? Maybe I’ll find happiness in the small things that life offers…

Gosh… I’m sorry… i sound so negative… I do have fun sometimes… yesterday I met some old friends from college and it was light and happy… we laughed at silly things… you know, the kind of people you can have comfortable silences with… silences brimming with affection for the quirky frayed edges of human nature that make each person special… its an alchemical energy shared by sympathetically disparate characters resonating with positive vibrations born of unquestioning acceptance… it’s comforting to breathe in that atmosphere…

It gets harder with age to create such bonds… I know i can’t do that with any of the people i work with… people are afraid of showing themselves… they don’t want to be seen as vulnerable because it reduces their chances of survival… others can use your weaknesses against you to get ahead in life… sigh…

So anyway… yeah… i have trouble socializing… and I get really tongue tied sometimes… not knowing how to answer simple questions like “What kind of music do you like?”… i either want to say too much or nothing at all…


#3

Thank you for sharing Piggie.
It almost sounds like you understand people too well.
I have to get to work right now but I will write more to you.


#4

Have an interesting day lunar :smile:


#5

Thank u. Am kind of stalling…grading ain’t too jazzy.


#6

Yes. This is the story of my life. Lol. When I was younger I would have different types of personalities show up in me depending on the people around me and with time I started to feel fake because of this… like which ones the real me. I know I sound crazy but it’s true. Lol.

I’m starting the process of breaking out of it. Mostly by tricking myself and re inventing my views of socializing. Like telling my self that this process called small talk is a human ritual and by definition I am one of these.

To add color to my personality I use a controlled amount of Ni for light humor. Humor like in the movie Deadpool where the main character breaks the Fourth wall, except I break the walls of reality. (See poorly constructed “human rituals” joke above.) And of course self deprecating humor. (See prior sentence in parentheses*) <----- Ha! Get it! <-------and I never explain the joke. If people don’t get it at least I’ve entertained myself. Too much Ni humor of mirrors within mirrors gets lost even to myself sometimes. (Like this entire paragraph.)

I’ve taken some of the things that @Stewart has mentioned and tried them out to some noticable success. Most notably the idea of creating characters and embodying them to take on a particular situation.

This is a great thread and I relate to it very much. Looking forward to the suggestions of others.


#7

I would say to stop overthinking it and trying too hard to come off perfectly authentic hahah.

People are used to general niceities because they provide a form of stability, so a call-response ritual or hellos, how was your days, etc. They don’t expect really in depth answers unless they are venting about something in particular, then it’s just validation they seek. So an “oh really? wow, yeah.” and mentally move on.

I too am terrible at socializing, but I don’t try so hard about making it happen. If you click and there’s something interesting then you go there, if not, then it ends on a perhaps “pleasant” nothing note. Most people just want to get through their day with nothing terrible happening, right? You don’t have to be amazing for them, just not too rude. lol
I don’t think it’s bad to be “fake” as long as it’s with purpose, like saving the authentic for people who are interested and deserving, or keeping yourself out of reach from boring people you don’t necessarily want to be around anyway haha.

Maybe when INFJ mature further, your Fe strength and “incoming data” from people starts getting nitpicked and overanalyzed by Ti more as it develops itself, and it becomes a back and forth until you hopefully reassemble yourself. Maybe when we’re young, it’s natural to try out everyone and everything because you’re still testing bounds, but as we mature we start recognizing those bounds and get increasingly wary because we’re so AWARE.
Much like developing artist angsts where when they were younger, they were carefreely drawing/creating then grew increasing awareness of their FUNDAMENTAL FLAWS yet they cannot correct them fully, then come the increasingly self-critical and anxious aspect that creates art blocks. But we just have to work through the uneasy alliance between skill and critical eye until we achieve mastery (but even then, critical eye looms haha… one’s development is always a work-in-progress, maybe especially for INFJ).

Anyway, I am not savvy, but I think if you just focus on Fe anyway and let yourself fumble around, it’s okay. Play around with it, frustrate people, delight people, bore people, lie to people, leave them broken-hearted a little lol. Maybe Ti just needs to feed off more Fe data until it’s satisfied and will loosen your chains and not hyperactivate Fi guilt anymore.


#8

@piggie
I get confused by how similar/different infjs and infps can be.
I think they are more different than similar but sometimes what you write is so relatable.


#9

As infp I predict failure of interaction as I won’t have anything to give this person. I benefit more from others than they from me is more the pattern like I have nothing to offer and thereby vacuously Am a vampire. And this gets tiring so I won’t invest (it it actually feels tragic but boohoo). Looks flipped for Infj. Where the infj can sense like a dead end in fulfillment. Like they would have to give more than get back. Be vampired… In the sense that infj will know the other with all that entails but maybe not be known. So why invest.
That is probably crap I wrote I feel pure fog in the head. Point is the reasons are not the same but I related to everything you wrote about coping by just being an observer. And it not getting better and even this feeling of affection in those interactions that happened thanks to fate when younger.


#10

That’s right… winging it with Fe always works when it’s important/necessary to connect… just smiling and looking attentive or having a warm welcoming expression on face is enough to make other person feel good/avoid Fi guilt feelings later… It’s funny how much people talk about themselves if they think you’re paying attention… but danger with INFJ is we can’t cut someone off later… like one time, boss was upset… so I ask what’s up… he tells me sob story about problems with higher management… I nod and look concerned and make the right ohh/hmm sounds… boss feels lighter and thanks me… negative consequence —> now he calls me to his cubicle every time he wants to vent about something/someone… utter waste of my time…

Sometimes it’s fun to experiment though… there’s a chick in my apartment complex who recently joined my company, so we have to wait together for 5-10 minutes at the same pick up point… I thought she was cute (seems like enfp to me), but completely ignored her presence because i didn’t want the headache of having to converse everyday… she would keep trying to make eye contact/ask questions to start conversation… I would just give a brisk reply and turn to stone again… lol… then one day… she was late and almost missed the bus… looked so stressed out that I melted and smiled… and now she talks all the time… so I thought why not make it an experiment… how much can I find out about her by just smiling/making her feel like I’m genuinely listening, but never asking her a question or initiating any topic of conversation… it’s been a month and I know how her childhood was (she has major abandonment issues), what spiritual beliefs she has, how she feels about the work culture in our company, how much she dislikes crowds, her health problems, how much she’s travelled, where she’s studied etc… all that without asking any questions and not offering anything other than some smiles and :ear:(of course, helps that she’s probably enfp and Fe id does whatever it can to minimize awkwardness at the risk of looking like an awkward fool… I’m having fun though :joy: )…

Is there anyone you don’t feel this way with? Strange… because I’ve always felt like infp give me more than I give them…

Yeah that’s pretty accurate :stuck_out_tongue:


#12

There is a little bit of “oh nobody can just _____ (insert dominant functions) as well as I can.” But only to a point. And especially infjs feel this way. Maybe intjs too, but the type that most seems to feel this way is infj.

Beyond that there is something universal people want that only some can give.

So this is why you see infj dreaming of being with an infj but I don’t think you tend to see I don’t know intp dreaming of being with intp. Etc. I have never wished to be with an infp even though every infp I have met seems nice. Infj seems to give that universal thing people yearn. Asymmetry.

It is just weird. And the more I think about it the more I start feeling like friendship and relating is just like fake. Does your software work well on my system vice versa. I can barely believe in friendship. Friendship seems to be can I interact with you without dying off functions-wise?

I end up back at Ni id square one…it is all fake. Start there end up back there.


#13

Hmm… its like reaching the same point via different routes… stack really changes motives and aims… such a strange thing…

This is how it has begun to seem to me too…


#14

@schlopadoo Big Thanks for starting this topic. This is a current struggle of mine. Reading this entire thread all the way through a few times has been like dissecting my own brain. This has helped me rewire some of the biases in my head. Thank you, and I love you all. Some new thoughts and ideas:

There’s a need to filter what you say through Ti which makes you really monotone or scatter brained. This need to jump to your Ti happens when your nervous and try to calm yourself down or you try to read people so excessively that you even want to control how they will react to what you say. But assuming you want to be sociable, avoid Ti in your interaction…Instead filter Ni through Fe. You can let Ti do its CPU thing in the background to avoid the excessive Ti/shut down mode. So don’t calm yourself down or turn humans into math problems. The nervousness is a natural form of adrenaline that you can channel into excitement. If you don’t have any natural adrenaline to feed off of then caffeinate. There are lots of studies on using anxiety as a positive instead of calming yourself down. This is one of the latest I’ve read. http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/how-to-make-performance-anxiety-an-asset-instead-of-a-liability/

There’s also this other thing of trying to look beyond the surface of what people are talking about. Naturally Infj’s want to do this. How about we just socialize and make our hypothesis after the socializing. Or how about we ask questions to dig beneath the surface even more by using our Fe to disguise our intent…it would at least get us interested in the conversation.

And finally…

There’s this fear of cliche. A secret fear that, thanks to Blake, has given me a new way of looking at things. Why do I use metaphors and props to say “I love you” or “thank you”. Why can’t I say “this” without saying “that”? Why can’t I write a full song without giving up on it because it’s too “cheesy” and unoriginal. I’m even afraid of accepting that I have a “fear of cliche” because it sounds cliche. I’m going to take this new awakening and awareness in me to adapt my social skills. I’m going to try to communicate with more Fe cheese and less filter. I have some social events to attend this week, so I’ll see how it goes.

I wish you all luck on this path towards social improvement.


#15

@piggie
It seems like INFJ are best when there’s some crisis or pressure, because it finally funnels Fe into its most potent “juices”. Hahaha! Otherwise, INFJ are prone to explore the person all over without reaching whatever goal it is (to get something from someone, respond in a quick way, or even extract themselves from a situation).

I like your experimenting and datamining! So interesting! And because your neighbour’s maybe ENFP, she doesn’t mind very much. She thinks she is connecting with your sweet nonjudgmental self as she is projecting herself. How nice. This is why INFJ become advisors/confidants for people and make natural counsellors in that way haha.

@lunar
Yeah, I think it’s that Ni-dom that makes INFJ or INTJ really self-focused on these certain “qualia” they want their special connections to also have. Qualia are internal subjective experiences and truths (cf. what Blake says about CGI in movies vs “real effects”, there is some kind of qualia or truth he does not believe a mere simulation can give), so you mostly can’t just transport them onto others via Fe even if you try. Instead, you have to rely on the other person to have had that experience to also really “know” what you “know” if you want to be able to connect on that particular subject or level. So yeah, I guess there’s a special level of self-involvement when it comes to INFJ, but it makes sense (to me anyway lol).

As for your own socializing barriers, I think for INFP (and ISFP probably too), people gravitate to you and “take” what they want (you probably don’t notice so much unless it’s very clingy/obligation-focused, since this “taking” is more like basking), so it isn’t about you actively giving anyway. INFP can get bullied a bit that way, because people will want more than you can or are willing to give, but INFP seem to have their own protective measures to fight against that (usually the ghosting or scampering away haha). ISFP are more aggressive in reaction if they feel impeded on in comparison. These are Fi-dom problems perhaps!

I think it’s okay to disappoint people. People gotta learn not everything or everyone will be what they expect or want lol. INFP teach that kind of unexpected quirk of life maybe (Ne stuff), so socializing with INFP is fun (or disappointing… y’never know haha). How wise!!

Not to say you shouldn’t try to please and make concessions sometimes. I think it is okay to still care and figure out where you want to improve (and probably you can’t help but care so it’s inbuilt! No need to worry too much about “not caring enough”!), but the focus should be on enjoying interactions where you can so others can bask. Like when you’re on StellarMaze and saying random stuff when trying to contribute spontaneously and it loses people, it’s both cringey and delightful, and it’s cool to be met with the absurd. I think everyone eventually sits back and are just “ah, yes… this is infp indeed. beautiful” (You are also very on point other times too! It’s always surprises!)


#16

Thank you Sammy, for that informative article and the pep talk :smile:

Hehe this is so important…

Another thing I have noticed while giving presentations is that Fe should be used primarily in output mode… it’s better to switch off the part that’s cueing in on body language and facial expressions of the audience… because that makes Ti kick in and then I know what they are thinking… I’m more effective when i focus on expressing the essence of what I understand instead of trying to reorganize my words so that the audience understands it on their own terms (there are toooo many people to be able to figure out the “best words” for… and they will all survive even if they don’t get it!)… voice modulation is really useful while trying to get the essence across… the enunciations make the real impression, not the meaning of the words themselves… like when Erika’s voice becomes really clear and powerful I know she’s making a point she cares about and the exact words don’t matter… the tone creates an image in my head…

And I’m going to be cliché and say that no one is really paying as much attention to what we are saying as we are… maybe we expect everyone to be as attentive and judgy as us… but people are probably thinking about their cat or how they are going to get their partner to have sex tonight… lol… I had this teacher who used to randomly say really weird things in class just to check how many people were listening :joy:

All the best for your social thingies… let us know how it goes… :smiley:


#17

Right as always :smile:

The few times I’ve been really PROUD of my abilities was while mediating cat/dog fights between people I really care about… or while counselling, of course… you really can’t be judgemental while you are counselling someone :stuck_out_tongue:


#18

Yes, this is great advice. I get so nervous and so caring about taking up people’s time, that I just want to rush through every thought. I’ve officially inserted this into my mental web of ideas. lol

Welcome…and thank you for sharing your brain with us strangers.

:grinning:


#19

I always think “wait, no, this absolutely never happens to me”. Always my first reaction. Then I realize it sort of does happen, but I can never see it for what it is when it is happening. For example, there are certain things students say to me that they say to no one else among my colleagues. A certain kind of disrespect that when I share with colleagues they react with “never never my students speak to me this way.” Part of me doesn’t want to accept this happens to me, because I do try to do the right things at work and pour a lot of introvert energy into the work, so if I can’t think of my students positively, the barely filled reservoir of energy will run dry. To keep positive, I have to go back to examining what I am doing wrong and try to correct it.


#20

I think INFP are prone to get condescended to or disrespected and used in little ways that they may either not notice or have to try to ignore because they are not effective at actively fighting it anyway. This usually leads to other types feeling protective over them or picking fights for them (maybe much to your anxiety because you don’t want to become a hassle to anyone haha).

This is what I mean when I say INFP seem like litmus tests. Because usually they are to themselves or are trying to do their own thing in the way they know how, but others in the world may try to take advantage as what they see as “free offerings”, and other observers then realize “this is why we can’t have nice things in the world. people are terrible.”

But it’s good to focus on improving yourself and… avoid getting yourself too mired in the depths of people’s lizard brain dubious and selfish motivations (sometimes students are just pushing buttons and boundaries bc they lazy and looking for outlets). You will be happier and more able to socialize for it and you will have others who will willingly destroy your enemies for you without you noticing? ‘-’


#21

Yeah sometimes a student will actually step in and try to destroy another student so class functions better. I find it very embarrassing, because I know it’s my job that they just did. It’s a weird feeling…like trying to punch someone but your arms are made of pillows and there is no effect. So someone comes in and punches and their arms are tasers.