Have you ever been stuck in a social situation that’s just absolute agony?
Yeah, me too. We INFJs tend to be fairly social for introverts, but there are some social situations that we just don’t like. “Hate” is not too strong a word for how we feel about certain things that can happen when you get a group of people together.
That said, not every INFJ will hate the exact same situations. We’re all shaped by our personal experiences and preferences as much as we are by our personality types. Something I find agonizing might be something you see as an opportunity to step in and make peace. As a general rule, though, the 10 situations I’m talking about in this post are things that INFJs do not like.
Is there anything worse for a type that’s invested in social harmony than situations where harmony falls apart?
I like using Personality Hacker’s nicknames for cognitive functions. They call Extroverted Feeling (which is what INFJs tend to use when interacting with the outer world) Harmony because it’s a function that makes decisions based on what’s meeting everyone’s needs. If two people are at odds, then it’s hard for you to make everyone happy, especially if they’re pressuring you to pick a side. Cue INFJ running for the nearest exit.
P.S. This doesn’t mean INFJs don’t have strong opinions. We’ll argue if an important value is on the line, but we can often see where two opposing sides can agree and when they are arguing without empathy.
There’s a time and place for small talk. Most people aren’t comfortable diving deep into conversations with strangers and small talk is a way to fill those spaces. It also fills the silence when people need to interact but don’t want to get too close to each other.
But just because we understand why people do small talk doesn’t mean we like it. Trying to fill awkward silences and come up with small talk-level things to say is something most INFJs (and indeed most introverts) hate.
INFJs typically don’t enjoy parties all that much (though it depends on the INFJ and the type of party). If there’s one thing worse than being at a party, though, it’s being at a party where you don’t know anyone or the people you came with have abandoned you.
I’ve spent far too many parties, dances, etc. standing awkwardly in a corner or along a wall trying to look like I’m not panicking or miserable. It’s just hard to relax in a setting where you don’t know what role you’re supposed to play and you don’t have anyone to help you feel included and safe.
We don’t like it when there’s an argument or confrontation happening around us. But having to initiate a confrontation with someone else is even worse. Not only are you directly involved, but you have to create the conflict.
There are some things that we can’t just let go. Maintaining our boundaries, addressing problems in relationships — those are the sorts of confrontations that need to happen. They’re also the sorts of things INFJs hate dealing with.
It’s usually considered common knowledge that you don’t talk about money, politics, or religion in casual conversation. INFJs rarely mind talking about topics that are generally considered “off the table,” since such topics have the potential to lead to interesting discussions. But if someone brings up these topics in a way that makes other people uncomfortable, then the INFJ is going to be uncomfortable too.
I’m sure we’ve all been in situations where someone starts running their mouth off on something like their political views or their ideas for how others should handle their money. We start to pick up on how uncomfortable it makes the people around them. Then on top of that, we may feel second-hand embarrassment for the person who’s talking even if they don’t realize they should be embarrassed. It all comes together to make for a social situation INFJs hate.
Is there anyone who’s actually happy when you’re in some kind of a meeting and the facilitator says, “Let’s all go around the room and introduce ourselves”? If there are, I’m betting they’re not INFJs.
Even when all I have to say is my name and where I’m from this social situation makes my stomach churn with anxiety. If they decide to add something extra like “share a unique interest you have” or “tell us one fun fact about yourself” that just makes it even more agonizing.
It’s happened to all of us. Someone comes up with a big smile and greets you by name, but you can’t for the life of you remember who they are. You might not even recognize their face, which is even worse.
Not only do you have the awkwardness of an unexpected conversation, but you also have the added panic of trying to figure out what their name is and why they think you should know them. Of course, the easy way out would be to ask them their name, but then you risk hurting their feelings and that’s something INFJs hate doing.
As an INFJ, there’s a good chance you’ve had random people you’ve never met pour out their life stories to you. We just seem to attract people who need counsel or a friendly, listening ear.
Most INFJs don’t mind listening to people, especially people we care about. But it’s a very awkward social situation when someone you’ve never met suddenly starts talking about why she’s living with her mother, whether or not she should break up with her son’s father, and why she’s going back to school. And even though you didn’t start the conversation, it’s hard to extricate yourself without seeming rude for cutting them off.
Most introverts I know don’t like unexpected social situations. One such situation is when you spot someone you know when you’re outside of your home. Maybe you’re in a hurry and you can’t afford a long chat. Or perhaps you haven’t seen them in a while and you wouldn’t know what to say. Or maybe you’re just not mentally prepared for a conversation.
I’ve definitely been guilty of ducking down another aisle or hiding behind shelves in the store to avoid someone I know well enough that they’d probably want to say “Hi.” The weird thing is, usually when I do end up chatting with someone I run into it’s not all that awkward. But I still don’t like the idea of it.
It’s unrealistic to expect that we would know or remember everything. But that doesn’t stop perfectionistic INFJs from feeling as if we should be able to avoid saying anything stupid.
Called someone by the wrong name? Used a word in conversation only to realize it had a dirty alternate meaning you weren’t aware of? Stated something as a fact only to have a more knowledgeable person publicly correct you? Awkward. While all people hate the feeling of realizing they said something stupid, we INFJs tend to mull over it long afterward (far longer than we should!).
Are there any other social situations you hate as an INFJ? Do you have any tips for making these situations less hateful? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, and The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist.
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About the Author:
Marissa Baker is the author of The INFJ Handbook (available in the Amazon Kindle Store). You can find her online at LikeAnAnchor.com where she blogs about personal growth and development from a Christian perspective.