If you’re an INFJ and you’ve been part of the personality community for long, you’ve probably heard of the infamous INFJ “door slam”. According to popular belief, “Door slamming” occurs when an INFJ cuts someone completely out of their life without warning. They “purge” the person from their existence and avoid them at all costs. According to some writers, the INFJ does this with more frequency and severity than other types. I’ve seen self-professed INFJs brag about door-slamming, question if they’re an INFJ if they don’t door slam, or simply begin door slamming after they read about it in an article somewhere.
My opinion on the INFJ door slam will likely be unpopular to some. In my time as an MBTI® practitioner, I haven’t seen this practice be any more specific to INFJs than breathing air or hating the sound of people chewing. I myself am an INFJ and have only “door-slammed” someone once. In that situation, the individual was literally stalking me and was psychologically unwell. I don’t even know if you’d call that “door slamming” as much as avoiding.
Disclaimer: “Door-slamming” can be a good or bad thing. In some cases, it is similar to ghosting, which can be very hurtful. In other cases, it’s a form of self-protection when someone is abusive, hurtful, or perpetually dishonest. This article isn’t meant to place judgment on people who door-slam, it’s merely my opinion (along with data I’ve collected) on whether or not this is truly an INFJ thing.
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What is the INFJ “Door Slam”? The Rumors and the Truth
“Door Slamming” Doesn’t Appear to be Specific to INFJs
I surveyed over 20,000 individuals on my email list and asked them if they “door-slammed” and, if so, what it meant to them. Turns out INFJs are no more likely to door-slam than ENTJs or ISFPs. INTPs actually ranked as the type most likely to door-slam, but even that was by a very small margin.
Here are quotes about door-slamming from some of the people I surveyed:
“I don’t really get the whole “door slamming” thing. If someone is toxic or abusive, then sure. I might avoid them. But if it’s a friend or a partner then I’ll give plenty of warnings first. I’m not just going to suddenly disappear.”
– Eric, an INFJ
“I have “door slammed” once or twice. I only do it in emotionally abusive situations, though, when my well-being is on the line.”
– Gloria, an INFP
“I don’t know if you’d call it door-slamming, but I’ve “ghosted” before. It’s not something I’m proud of, but sometimes I just can’t handle the emotional demands that someone puts on me. I have social anxiety and I think that’s a part of it.”
– Trevor, an INTP
“I will withdraw and detach if things aren’t going well, but I almost never cut people off completely. That seems rude and childish in most cases, and is reserved for people who absolutely refuse to respect my boundaries.”
– @MsWired, INFJ Twitter User
“I try to (door slam), I really do, but I can’t. I see door slamming as just being up to a certain point fed up with someone’s behavior and essentially cutting them off completely without them even knowing you did so.”
– Denzel Mensah, ENFJ Life coach
“I do, often enough to where I wonder how much is too much. Usually, it’s when I’ve consistently put in effort to the relationship that’s been unreciprocated. Ironically, the only person who has ever taken a step to make amends is my INFJ best friend.”
– Monique, an ENTP
“I door slam in cases of betrayal or dishonesty. Also if someone tries to limit my activities and thoughts to their own standards.”
– @Kyasaaat, ENTJ
“I’ll door slam on occasion, but only if someone is making me feel unsafe or especially uncomfortable. I had an old boyfriend who seemed to stalk me at and just gave me the creeps. I changed my number and avoided him as much as possible. I think that’s self-protection more than “door-slamming” though.”
– Angelina, an ISFJ
“Door-slamming is efficient sometimes. If I don’t like someone or they’re selfish or dishonest then I don’t want to waste my time. Some people deserve it, and maybe if it happens enough they’ll realize they need to change the way they’re behaving. I don’t think I intentionally door slam. I’m just busy and if somebody’s going to act foolishly I may not waste my time trying to explain why they’re wasting my time with their needless drama.”
– Merlin, an ESTP
No Official MBTI® Literature Mentions the Door Slam
If you ask about the INFJ door slam at an MBTI® certification course, the teacher is likely going to laugh and shake their head (as mine did when it was brought up). If you sort through the pages of the MBTI® Manual there will be no mention of door-slamming. In fact, if anything, most books will say that INFJs have a hard time letting go of negative relationships and it can take them a long time to put an end to them.
Does this mean INFJs don’t door slam? No. Some do, and some have good reasons to do it. But nothing in the data shows that they do this with more frequency or intensity than other types.
But You’re Invalidating My Experience!
As I’ve said before, I’m not saying that INFJs never door slam – I’m only saying that it is not an exclusively INFJ habit. Many people I’ve spoken with have very good reasons for shutting people out of their lives. Some people shut people out for bad reasons (they don’t want to be accountable for a mistake they’ve made, or they’re just too anxious to be direct about their feelings).
How DO INFJs Deal with Negative People?
Negativity, conflict, and frequent criticism can create a lot of stress for INFJs. These personality types find themselves feeling anxious, hurt, or even physically sick in conflict-ridden environments. They tend to take on the perspectives of the people around them, imagining where they’re coming from and seeing many different sides to a situation. Because of this, it can be difficult for them to tune into their own feelings about what’s happening around them. They may get caught up in trying to please people or diffuse conflict and, in the process, lose sight of what they need. INFJs also tend to absorb the moods and emotions of people around them, which means that negative or angry people can be exhausting for them to be around. This doesn’t mean that INFJs will drop their friends at the first sign of negativity. In fact, INFJs tend to enjoy counseling and listening to people who need advice. However, if people are directing that negativity outward in combative, hurtful ways, INFJs have a low tolerance for this.
In friendships, INFJs tend to have a small circle of deep, long-standing relationships. They are fiercely protective of their loved ones and can have a hard time letting a relationship go because of how much they value loyalty. They are unlikely to cut someone out of their lives unless that person has repeatedly offended them or has betrayed their values in some way. That said, there are both mature and immature INFJs. Some may be loyal and compassionate friends, while others may be manipulative and self-serving.
Here are some of the ways that INFJs deal with negative people:
- If a person is consistently negative or draining, INFJs may space out interactions so that they don’t get too overwhelmed.
- They may tactfully address their concerns with the friend directly.
- They may seek relationship or friendship advice from a therapist or friend
- They may take some time away from the individual to sort out how they feel.
- They may door-slam if they feel that they won’t be listened to or their boundaries won’t be respected.
- They may write an email or letter to the negative person so that they can speak their mind without getting flustered by the other person’s feelings or arguments.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you agree or disagree with this article? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments! You can also explore more about the INFJ personality type in my eBook, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic.
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