I’ve written before about how other types can be friends with an INFJ. But there’s another side to that dynamic: what INFJs are like as friends. We can be fantastic friends — fun, engaging, good listeners, intensely loyal. But sometimes we’re not the best sort of friends and often, that’s the INFJ’s fault.
There are some things I love about being an INFJ personality type. And then there are other aspects which aren’t so nice, and some of those can negatively impact our friendships if we’re not careful. Today, I’m speaking of our tendency to drop out of contact with people.
Unique Mental Wiring
INFJs are a curious mix of mental processes. We’re most comfortable using Introverted Intuition (also called “Perspectives”). This is focused on collecting information about how the world works, processing it internally, and making speculative leaps about what it means. Basically, it’s advanced pattern recognition.
That’s paired with Extroverted Feeling (aka “Harmony”). This mental process is in-tune with other people’s feelings and wants to make sure their needs get met. It’s generally the first mental place INFJs go when trying to make a decision, asking, “How will this affect other people and my relationship with them?” When well-developed in an INFJ, they can be so outgoing and social that they seem like extroverts.
But we might also skip this process and spend more time in our tertiary Introverted Thinking (aka “Accuracy”). That one’s more about analyzing of facts, trying to make things “make sense to me.” It’s also impersonal. When INFJs spend more time inside their heads than on developing our extroverted side, we can stay in an introverted Intuition-Thinking loop.
Distracted By The Inner World
Using our Intuitive and Thinking process together isn’t always a bad thing for the INFJ. Our Extroverted Feeling side is important to develop so we can make decisions more easily, maintain friendships, and experience personal growth. But we to also need alone time to re-charge and it can be a good way to process data. It only becomes a problem sometimes when we get “stuck” in our introverted side.
My brother (an ENFJ) put it this way: “If you want to be friends with an INFJ, you have to get used to them disappearing for a while.” INFJs will get distracted by the worlds inside their own heads and may cancel plans, respond very briefly to communication attempts, or ignore you entirely. It’s going to happen at some point.
Some INFJs might do this very rarely, other quite frequently. It depends on the individual’s priorities, maturity and personal growth, how much social energy they have left after dealing with other people in their lives, and other factors.
Let’s Think About Others
As an INFJ, it’s important to realize when you’re doing this sort of thing so you don’t accidentally damage friendships you value. You might be okay with not talking to someone for three months, while they’re wondering what on earth happened to you.
If your friend reaches out to you, make sure you take the time to respond and maybe explain what’s going on with you (and appreciate that they’re following steps #1 and #4 of How to Be Friends With an INFJ). And if you do agree to contact them or hang-out, make sure you follow-up on that in someway. I struggle with this, too, but I think we owe it to the people we care about to try and be a better friend. You know how much it hurts if someone you take the time to contact brushes you off, so don’t do that to other people.