3 Mistakes INFJs Make in Relationships (and How to Avoid Them!)
Have you ever wondered how your personality type impacts your relationships? Dating and/or marriage can be confusing for anyone. Sometimes it can feel like you’re falling into the same traps over and over again. Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses in relationships. What are yours? How can you avoid repeating the same mistakes from your past? Today we’re going to take a look at the three most common blunders INFJs tend to make in relationships, and we’re going to explore some strategies for avoiding them. Let’s get started!
Mistake #1 – Losing Yourself in the Relationship
INFJs tend to take their relationships very seriously. They feel an urgent need to assess their partner’s needs, both physical and emotional, and tend to them. They are constantly tuning in to their partner and asking themselves questions like, “What does he/she think about this?”, “How will this affect them?”, “What emotional impact will this have on them?”. These are good questions to ask in a relationship, but sometimes INFJs can take it too far and lose sight of their own individual perspectives.
Why does this happen? To find the answer let’s take a look at two of the INFJs mental processes.
Driver Process: Perspectives (Ni)
One of the ways that INFJs experience Ni is as an ability to shift into other people’s perspectives. They can forecast how people will react to things as well as get a sense of where other individuals are coming from.
Co-Pilot Process: Harmony (Fe)
This process is all about prioritizing actions based on the needs of other people. Harmony users have a strong grasp of human dynamics and enjoy creating a sense of morale and kinship with others.
These two processes working in tandem can create a highly empathic, almost clairvoyant type of individual. However, they can also trip up INFJs from time to time. In relationships, INFJs fixate so strongly on their partner’s needs and viewpoints that they may disappear in the process. As an INFJ myself I’ve experienced this feeling of “vanishing” into someone else. It can happen slowly or very quickly, but it seems very natural because it works alongside your mental wiring. You may find yourself losing sight of your own needs, becoming disillusioned, or becoming entangled with someone who takes advantage of this part of you.
How to Avoid This Mistake:
#1 – Give yourself time alone on a regular basis. When you’re around people it’s all too natural to pick up on their moods and needs. Getting regular time away from others is essential. During this time you can sort out your own values, your own priorities, and your own emotional and physical needs. You can also analyze your relationships and evaluate whether or not you’re behaving in a way that goes against your subjective values and perspectives in life.
#2 – Stand up for yourself. Remember that you are an individual who deserves the same respect and recognition that you give to others. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, make requests, or say “No” if the situation calls for it. What advice would you give to yourself if you could see yourself from an outside perspective? What advice would you give yourself 10 years from now? Asking these questions can help you to re-focus your energies and make better choices in your relationship.
Mistake #2 – Making Inaccurate Assumptions
INFJs tend to be very insightful about people and their motivations. They pick up on human patterns quickly and enjoy predicting where things will lead. But they can also become very stubborn and make intuitive “leaps” without accurate data to back it up. One INFJ I spoke with said, “My intuition will pick up that something is off, but then I tend to fill in the blanks with my best guess rather than directly asking the other person.” INFJs can make the mistake of assuming the other person’s perspective too quickly and then gradually collecting lots of little assumptions throughout the relationship without directly clarifying those assumptions with their partner. They can read into other people’s words, behaviors, and motivations too much and gradually develop a false idea of who their partner really is. Sometimes they end up with overly-idealistic perceptions of them, other times their perceptions are cynical and judgmental. Whatever the case, these assumptions can cause a lot of chaos if left unchecked.
How to Avoid This Mistake:
When you find yourself making an assumption or an intuitive leap, take a moment to pause. What facts back up your assumption? Before acting on this assumption, should you ask your partner directly whether your idea is true or false? If you’re not ready to ask them directly, should you present your view to a trusted friend or family member and get their perspective? One of the best ways to move forward is to process the problem in this order:
Sensing – What are the details and facts? What is the history? What evidence do you have of your assumption?
Intuition – What background meaning are you picking up on? What alternate possibilities could exist besides the one you’ve come up with?
Thinking – What is the most logical possibility? What do you know for sure to be true? If you erased your emotions and feelings, what would you see?
Feeling – Is something going against your values? What does your conscience say? Are your emotions giving you a valid warning? Is there a moral or ethical issue on the line?
Don’t take forever analyzing all this information. As an INFJ it can be all too easy to get stuck in over-analysis mode. Give yourself 10-15 minutes to go through the process and see where you stand afterward. You’ll almost certainly have a more thoughtful, clear perspective.
Mistake #3 – Intolerance for Conflict
The happiness and harmony of others is extremely important to INFJs. As we’ve mentioned before, they tend to absorb negative emotions, which makes conflict or even simple arguments stressful for them. INFJs can be so anxious to restore harmony to their surroundings that they rush to “fix” a conflict before everyone can be heard. They may bury their own irritations with other people so as not to create tension around them, resulting in suppressed anger that bubbles up later in an unhealthy way. They may also shut down the arguments and frustrations of other people, trying to hurry up and find a solution, but settling on one that is less than ideal. There are four negative implications that come from a low tolerance for conflict:
- INFJs don’t bring up their offenses or disagreements with others until they’ve reached a “boiling point” and blow up.
- Partners of INFJs may feel rushed into resolving a conflict before they’ve been fully heard. In order to protect the INFJs feelings, they too might hold onto disagreements that would be better dealt with quickly.
- INFJs ignore their intuition or insight into a situation because they are afraid of the negatives involved or possibly causing conflict.
- INFJs don’t get to experience the genuine depth and beauty of a relationship that is steeped in authenticity and honesty. When people avoid conflict like the plague some truths inevitably get hidden in the process.
How to Avoid This Mistake:
If you sense that conflict is near, or you are in the midst of it, take a moment to center yourself. Don’t get caught up in all the negative feelings that you assume other people are experiencing. You are only responsible for your feelings and actions. If you are speaking the truth in a kind way and someone is hurt, that is not your problem. Sometimes that hurt can be a good thing. Being faced with one of your own shortcomings can be a good thing. Keep in mind; we’re not condoning name-calling or emotional or physical abuse. This kind of conflict is NEVER good. But a respectful argument and open discussion of disagreements can be a catalyst for improvement. Here are some things to think about when you’re in a conflict situation:
- Openly discussing important disagreements instead of holding them in creates a deeper sense of trust in the long run. It’s hard to trust someone when you know open communication hasn’t been established.
- Open communication about disagreements helps you to avoid resentment over unspoken hurts.
- Dealing with frustrations and problems right away helps both partners to find strategies or solutions rather than ignoring the problem indefinitely.
- Addressing your deeper hurts and wounds with your partner helps to build closeness and understanding.
Remember to fight fair!
Don’t rush into conflict with heated emotions. You and your partner should take a moment to calm yourselves and enter the argument in hopes of finding solutions, not just hurling insults. When both individuals have calmed down, address the core issues of the conflict. Don’t make assumptions. Ask questions about why your partner is upset. Set aside your pride and resist the temptation to compare or hurl blame back at your partner when they have a problem with your actions. Try to understand your partner’s point of view – this is something you tend to be skilled at as an INFJ, so use it! Avoid unfair criticism, defensiveness, contempt, or the silent treatment.
Summing it Up…
As an INFJ you may or may not struggle with these three mistakes. I know I have struggled with all three at different times and for different reasons! It could be easy to read this article and feel like it’s pointing a finger at all your shortcomings. Take heart. You have SO many wonderful gifts to bring to a relationship, and not all of the problems are your fault. Recognize your skills and abilities and develop those! INFJs who work on development and personal growth are highly empathetic, compassionate, and visionary. You bring a lot of warmth and deep understanding into your relationships, and that’s not something to take lightly! If you’d like to learn more about your personality type (and how to make the most of it) explore the INFJ Owners Manual that Joel and Antonia have created!
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