image credit: BarryThe INFP cherishes meaningful, close relationships, but like most introverts, they can struggle to form and maintain those special, rewarding connections with others. There are certain barriers they impose on themselves that make it not so easy for others to get to know them. On the surface, INFPs are generally kind, easy going and approachable, but they are very selective about who they open up to. Because of their sensitivity, they are keen readers of people’s energy. They respond well to those with good vibes, but sometimes INFPs can also get duped by the charming narcissist who knows all the right buttons to push.
As friends, INFPs are loyal and caring. They offer compassion and will not dismiss your feelings or accuse you of being a snowflake when you open up to them. One of the great things about these types is their capacity to listen and make others feel understood, accepted, cared about. Indeed, because INFPs possess a rich depth of emotion and imagination, they find it relatively easy to identify with and understand what other people go through emotionally.
So why would such a wonderful human being have any difficulty forming friendships? Well, the answer is complicated. Here are 6 reasons why INFPs might struggle to make new friendships and manage the ones they have already.
1. They Find it Hard to Express What They Really Feel.
INFPs can get really uncomfortable opening up and expressing exactly what they feel to others. It takes a level of trust but sometimes it is simply because what they are feeling is complicated and they aren’t sure how to articulate it. Especially if what they feel might cause disagreement or conflict, they may opt to hold their peace and actively steer away from discussing awkward and personal feelings. It can feel like a betrayal of self to expose too much of their inner world to the scrutiny of others.
2. INFPs Occasionally Need to Disconnect and be Alone. This Can put a wedge in Their Friendships.
Although INFPs love and value time with their friends, they also like solitude. They want to be alone sometimes, but not truly alone. INFPs have limited social bandwidth and periodically need time away to think and process what’s going on inside their head. Rather than say so, INFPs are apt to just go MIA and suddenly become hard to reach. They’ll temporarily deprioritize responding to texts or answering the phone. Whether they realize it or not, this behavior can make INFP’s friends and associates feel alienated and undervalued.
3. INFPs Often Feel Misunderstood or Judged by Others.
Even when INFPs try to put themselves out there socially, they may feel that others aren’t always receptive to their style of personality. INFPs may feel they receive negative judgment for their individuality and for not quite conforming to norms embraced by the people around them. Their interests, sense of humor and overall vibe can seem alien or unrelatable. When INFPs are amongst people who don’t seem open to their quirks and style of expression, it can easily drive them back into their shell thinking “why do I even bother?”. INFPs will rarely sacrifice their sense of authenticity for the sake of winning friends or earning other’s approval.
4. INFPs Sometimes Overthink and Sabotage Potentially Good Friendships.
Sensitive and introverted, INFPs naturally spend a lot of time in their head evaluating themselves and others. They can be really hard on themselves, sometimes falling into a loop of negative comparisons and feeling like there might be something wrong with them. Consequently, INFPs may wrongly believe that others are perceiving the same flaws that they perceive about themselves. They may tend to project their own self-criticism onto others thinking they won’t be liked because of it. Sometimes they can be their own worst enemy when they go down the rabbit hole of negative, neurotic thinking. When they believe people judge them as harshly as they do, it can cause them to preemptively sabotage potential friendships before they have a chance to grow and develop.
5. Do INFPs distrust most people? Is this distrust masked by their politeness?
Trust issues can be a thing especially among introverted feeling types. INFPs don’t really forget their early traumas and such experiences can drastically shape their outlook and psychological makeup. How many INFPs have been scarred by the accusation of being “too sensitive” after expressing how they felt? INFPs can sometimes live in their past and wallow in their psychological wounds, especially if they’ve had no one to turn to for emotional support and consolation. Consequently, after getting burned once or twice, they learn to be very careful about who they choose to be vulnerable to. INFPs may guard their feelings behind a wall of benign detachment or indifference. When dealing with others, they may instead try to put the focus on the other person and avoid divulging too much about their own thoughts and feelings.
6. INFPs can Sometimes Look for Friendship (and love) in the Wrong Places.
Despite what trauma they may have experienced, INFPs may foolishly gravitate to the same types of people who cause it. This is partly because the idealist in them views certain toxic or otherwise damaged people as problems they can possibly fix. Reforming such a person could be a rewarding challenge to the INFP and perhaps help them reclaim power over the trauma they lived with. When INFPs form friendships or relationships under this basis and reasoning, the endeavor is almost certainly doomed to fail. Though their intentions may be noble, INFPs can delude themselves with unrealistic yet altruistic aims. It is perhaps a consequence of an inferior Te (extraverted thinking) that thinks it can reprogram/correct the moral deficiencies of the people in its environment (theoretically).
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