Not One, But Many

Friday, July 17, 2015 10 Comments A+ a-


Happy Friday! I'm pretty chipper today, which is usually the case when I wake super-early and get to enjoy a quiet, productive morning. It also helps that the sun is out. We've had an incredible amount of rainfall this summer. Great for the corn, but not so awesome for those of us who like to get our Vitamin D the old-fashioned way. Seeing the sun this week has been wonderful...like chatting with old friend.

Plus, I got to zinc up my Gambit tattoo:

Keeping the butterfly bright and shiny!

You know, I surprised quite a few people by getting a tattoo. They remember me claiming that it was something I'd never do. Yet the way I feel about tattoos has evolved over the years, and by the time I went for it, I was ready. I'd just been so quiet about the evolution that no one else was ready.

And that's something I'd like to talk about today...the evolving needs of the INFJ.

This topic has been on my mind for a while. But over the last couple of weeks, I've seen several comments come through about it--mostly on posts from the Relationship series--and that was the signal I needed to get started.

Holy Intuition, Robin! Time to write
about the evolving needs of the INFJ! (via)

Every INFJ has something I like to call a "bedrock core" of values. It's the solid support for our belief systems, and we use it to anchor ourselves as we navigate the world. Actually, most people have something like this, so the concept is not exclusive to the INFJ.

But the way we build it might be. We're intuition-dominant. We rely heavily on our Ni, which is supported by a powerful Fe, fed by an incredibly sensitive Se, and processed by a system-building Ti. No other MBTI type is built like this. So while our bedrock is probably influenced by our upbringing and culture, it tends to strongly reflect what we personally intuit as right and acceptable truth.

Can this core change over time? Absolutely. INFJs are big thinkers. We daydream, we theorize, we wonder. We're constantly seeking new ideas and concepts, weighing them against our core values, and making changes when necessary.

via

Now, here's where things get interesting.

An INFJ doesn't always outwardly convey her bedrock values. When she's interacting with someone, her Fe lets her know how that person is feeling and what he needs. Even if there's a discrepancy between what she believes and what he believes, she will still do her best to validate his opinion. Depending on the situation, she might not even get the chance to express how she truly feels. When the conversation is over, he might walk away without ever knowing the depths of her heart.

Let's make it even more interesting.

The same INFJ is a multifaceted personality. She is and has more than one perspective on things and, deep inside this woman, lies the entire cast of Firefly. Not kidding, folks. On any given day she could be a snarky captain, a warrior woman, a smart-ass pilot, an optimistic mechanic, a muscle-bound assassin, a shepherd of faith, a gifted physician, a sensual companion, or an intuitive teenager that cannot be stopped by any power in the 'verse.


We are all of this. And more.
(via)

And there are, unfortunately, days when she's a little too much like Saffron. I mean Bridget, er, Yolanda...whatever that devil woman's name is...

Con artist and direct path to The Special Hell.
(via)

So. Here we have a woman with a highly personal, evolving bedrock core that she doesn't always share. Outwardly, she might present herself one way, only to fool you later with another. She will also completely throw you off...after her core has evolved to the point that she's making her decisions based on new (and privately acquired) information. She can be social and chatty or fathoms deep. And she never, ever stops thinking or moving forward.

Hmm. People wonder why a relationship with an INFJ is so hard. And fascinating, and mysterious. And complex. And hard. It's like we're not one, but many.

Guys, here's something that I'm starting to learn about myself. This may not be true for all INFJs, but it is for me, and I wonder how many of you feel the same way. In a nutshell, it's this: being an INFJ means relying on more than one personality type for long-term fulfillment and satisfaction.

It's true. In order to feel fulfilled, I need exposure to different types of people, thinking, conversation, culture, and affection. There's not a personality type out there that is built to deliver all of these.

Case in point: a comment came through today from an INFJ woman with an ESFJ partner (this is the same combo I'm in). She said everything between them is perfect, except that he doesn't seek out or show interest in her deeper thoughts. They have great chemistry and share wonderful passion and humor, but she sort of feels like he's Spock and she's Troi.

via

Why, thank you. I will. :)

Okay, so the sci-fi geek in me loved the Spock/Troi example. And I can relate to it. Many extraverted personality types are outwardly focused. They're designed to show their love and interact with the world in an extraverted manner. They're quick-witted, charming, resourceful. INFJs need that kind of love.

And yet we also need that deep connection that comes from sharing our innermost thoughts with someone who not only understands and validates them, but seeks them out. Go ahead and ask us about our faith, or the reason we're here, or global warming and world hunger. You'll probably be listening for hours. We need that kind of love, too.

When I did my Relationship series, there were some MBTI types that were supposed to come pretty close to being the "ideal" for an INFJ. But honestly, I don't think just one will work for us. No matter how ideal our mate is, we're still going to be multifaceted. We're still going to see patterns, make connections, and tweak our bedrock core. We're still going to fluctuate and evolve, and I believe we need a combination of awesome extraverted love...and intuitive introverted understanding...to be truly satisfied on life's journey.

via
Am I advocating multiple spouses here? Nope. But I do feel strongly that multifaceted people need a variety of friends to survive. Expecting one personality type to meet all our needs is, as Spock might say, highly illogical.

What do you guys think? Don't be afraid to voice your opinion, because I'm open for debate. This is just me putting my "evolving" thoughts into the Cafe.

And now I'm going to head out for a little bit of Vitamin D. May your day be full of sun and smiles and blessings! :)



10 comments

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Colin Machan
AUTHOR
July 17, 2015 at 12:32 PM delete

Yep, was nodding my way all the way through this. My internal moral compass has been crafted from many sources. A bit of Spidey's 'great responsibility', the Vulcan IDIC , a disbelief in the no-win scenario, the life-changing teachings of Jesus, my own self discovery as an INFJ. And I only just discovered Firefly, two months ago!

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Meridian
AUTHOR
July 18, 2015 at 7:53 AM delete

I admire everything that makes up your bedrock core, Colin. And how awesome that you found Firefly! Do you like it? I think Joss Whedon is brilliant. And I went to college with one of the actors in Episode 3. :)

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David
AUTHOR
July 20, 2015 at 2:17 PM delete

First of all, 10 points for any solid reference to Firefly. Such an amazing show!
Second, this post reminded me of how Chameleon like I am. Around one friend I'm chatty and (seemingly) extroverted, and then five minutes later when I'm with another friend with a completely different personality, I'm quiet and introspective, or sarcastic and humorous, or serious and melancholy. I honestly can't explain the switch to anyone, or why it comes so naturally. I can even get confused as to what part I should express when there are multiple such people in the same room (usually sit back and listen). Its just that I feel so different around different people, like their are 10 sides of me that no one person has ever seen (except my wife...kudos to her for figuring out me myself and I).

I have a question for you -- it's off topic but what the hey. When you daydream, is it a conscious decision of yours to go and disappear into your room and then slip away into your own thoughts, or are you someone like me who doesn't even realize they are doing it until after the fact? Just how often do you zone out and does this ever negatively affect your life and your relationships?
The reason why I ask is that when I was in school studying (I'm a dentist), I would catch myself daydreaming frequently. After these reveries of thought, I usually found myself with a deep understanding of whatever it was I had been studying -- almost like the logical and the intuitive parts of my brain shook hands for a few minutes and let me understand the concept at a uniquely intimate level. I absolutely ROCKED at Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry because of this...ironically I sucked at Gen Chem. But even to this day I don't ever intend to disappear into my mental neverland and then come out with some gem that makes my friends think I'm brilliant. It's totally subconscious.. What about you?

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Meridian
AUTHOR
July 21, 2015 at 8:46 AM delete

Hi, David! Yes, Firefly...the best, right? I keep waiting for someone to reboot that series. Watching that show is like spending time with a best friend. Effortless. :)

I know exactly what you mean regarding the multiple perspective issue. In some ways, it's perfect for fostering relationships. In other ways, it makes life really difficult. I'd like to post about it again and get more specific with real-life examples.

I love off-topic questions! Ask away, any time. And I'm like you...I daydream frequently without realizing it. It's completely subconscious and so much a part of me that I can't imagine life any other way. Yes, I will sometimes slip into it during a conversation or lecture...triggered by a phrase, maybe a random thought...and will "visualize" the concept without realizing it. Then I come back to reality and my Ti starts mapping that vision into a "system" that better helps me understand the topic/person/issue. I don't invite this process--it just comes naturally. And it does make people think I'm smarter than I am (lol). It can also upset folks when I zone out on them, until they get to know me and realize why I'm doing it. But there are at least 3-4 daydreams going on inside my head at any given time, and while that's great for writing, it's distracting in real life. I think it would be fun to write a post about that, too.

See how inspiring you are? Awesome! Thanks for reaching out and stay tuned for a daydreaming post sometime soon! :)


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July 22, 2015 at 10:14 AM delete

As I continue in this "dark night of the soul" experience since my marriage failed, I am left pondering whether I will ever really find love again. I don't even know if I want to any more, or whether that is just a temporary indifference to relationships. Sometimes (all the time?) it is hard being an INFJ, in my insomnia I can be watching a you tube clip about deep issues facing the world one minute, and researching coconut palms the next! In my quest for spiritual and emotional equilibrium I often can't tell whether I am slowly beating my way through the storm, or the one creating it. I sometimes resent feeling things so deeply, sometimes wish I could be in indifferent like so many people I have encountered, then suddenly snap out of it and realize that I just have to keep going and continue to allow God to lead me into the unknown. Faith is all I have, but I'm slowly learning that it is all I need.

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Meridian
AUTHOR
July 23, 2015 at 8:17 AM delete

Hi, Shunda - I'm sorry you're going through such a rough time. It is definitely hard being an INFJ and finding that 'spiritual and emotional equilibrium' that others seem to come by so easily. The way you phrased it--not being able to tell whether you're beating your way through the storm or creating it--resonates with me, because I struggle with that same problem. Faith is like a compass during these times, guiding us through. I'll try to post more about this in the future, and I will keep you in my prayers. Take care...

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Jordan Kyte
AUTHOR
October 20, 2016 at 10:04 PM delete

I loved your article. I'd say 7 out of the 8 people inside me give it two thumbs up. The remaining one is just being a whiny jealous child.

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Meridian
AUTHOR
October 21, 2016 at 9:54 AM delete

Haha...7 out of 8. Love it! I'm super glad you enjoyed the article. There are times when I write something and I never know if it's going to resonate with other INFJs. So I really appreciate your comment. THANKS! :)

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Aundrea
AUTHOR
November 1, 2016 at 1:00 PM delete

Okay, now I have to watch Firefly! :) I related to this so much!!! I am one of those girls who got a tattoo (2 now) that no one thought would ever get one, based on the knowledge that I am this quiet, shy, good girl. Hahaha. It's interesting that you brought up the different things that we need from a relationship, that most of the time can not be filled by just one person. It has taken me a long time, but I have come to realize that I can't expect just one person to be able to fill it all. There's a lot of joy in focusing on what you CAN share with your partner and the other things that you can share in your friendships. Now I'm off to watch Firefly. :)

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Meridian
AUTHOR
November 1, 2016 at 4:02 PM delete

I'm so glad you could relate! And if you enjoy sci-fi, you're in for a treat. Firefly is one of my all-time favorites (I actually went to college with one of the actors who played a small role in Episode 3). Have fun!! :)

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