Incurable Daydreamer

Friday, July 24, 2015 4 Comments A+ a-

Hot coffee. Quiet house. Cloudless blue sky. What a beautiful way to start out the morning, guys. My pups are curled up beside me on the sofa, napping, and I can hear birds and cicadas greeting the day. I'd love to sit outside and join them, but I have to be within earshot of the chime on my son's bedroom door. If he wakes up and finds me gone, all manner of mischief will ensue.

Of course, that problem would easily be solved if I had a Marauder's Map like the one Harry Potter used. A magic wand, too, so I could tap the parchment and locate my little guy before he does something silly, like scatter pancakes all over his bedroom floor (true story).

I'll take both. Gift-wrapped, please.

Alas, instruments of magic aren't something you can pick up at the nearest Wal-Mart. They exist only in my imagination...which is one reason I spend a lot of time there. Like most INFJs, I'm an incurable daydreamer. And I've been doing it (and getting in trouble for it) as long as I can remember.

Back when I was a kid and attention-deficit wasn't a thing yet, grown-ups expected all children to pay attention. That was never difficult for me when the subject was interesting or challenging. Take those away, however, and reality would soon fade into the background as my mind wandered off to find something more adventurous.


The adults in my life found this incredibly frustrating. Especially when it came to discipline. They could confiscate my books and toys, but never my imagination, so time-outs weren't very effective. And they didn't like that I could shut them out and operate on auto-pilot any time I chose. It bothered them, and they were afraid that daydreaming would hamper my ability to learn.

But what they didn't know was that the visual aspect of daydreaming actually helped me learn. INFJs tend to think in terms of symbolism, and I would sometimes drift off during a lecture or assignment, only to come back to reality with an intuitive grasp on what was being taught. My Ti would then integrate the symbolism into the "system" it was building for that class/topic. I recently had someone post a comment about this on the Cafe:

"...when I was in school studying...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 love that idea. A mental handshake between logic and intuition? Brilliant. And what an awesome learning technique. I remember an English class in high school where we spent weeks reading classic short stories (The Lottery,  A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, etc.). We were scheduled to have a test--and the date slipped my mind. I walked into class one morning and realized with sudden horror that I hadn't studied.

The test is TODAY?!?

Was it a disaster? Nope. I'd spent a lot of time daydreaming about those stories during class, and when I started reading the test questions, the daydreams came right back to me in vivid detail. I recalled ideas, concepts, thoughts, and characters. I ended up acing the test. Why? Because my daydreaming was actually studying in disguise.

(Note: this was English. Had it been a math test, this story would not have had a happy ending.)

Okay, so daydreaming for the INFJ can be a beautiful, productive thing. But does it have a downside?

For me, it does. Not because of the daydreaming itself, though. It's the way people react to it. Most of them don't realize that at any given time, I have three or four visions going on inside my head. They play like movies. Some are entertaining, others are thoughtful. Some of them are my brain's way of processing ideas. When people talk to me, they're competing against those movies for my attention, and they can get upset when I mentally wander off.

I'm usually pretty good at preventing this if I'm chatting with one or two people (in a large crowd, forget it, I'm gone). I'll catch my brain sneaking out the door and will make an extra effort to drag it back in. But it's hard. Just the other day, I was talking to my husband on the phone, and something he said triggered a mini-movie. I followed it for a minute and then came back to silence on the other end. I sheepishly asked him to repeat what he'd been saying. Poor guy--he's used to it, but I know it's frustrating when I check out like that.

The thing is, I really can't help but daydream. It's something I fall into naturally...and I need it to process my thoughts, restore my energy, and keep reality from digging in its depressing fingers. Daydreaming is an effortless and integral part of my character. I wouldn't be who I am without it.


So, are you an incurable daydreamer? How does it impact your thinking and relationships?

Let me know! :)


Write comments
July 25, 2015 at 7:46 AM delete

Daydreaming just happens, without thought or plan. It has not caused me a lot of problems, except when it happens at work! Then, it can be a tad bit unhandy!!

Christy Haupt
July 25, 2015 at 9:34 AM delete

***** good medicine.....

July 25, 2015 at 10:52 AM delete

Been there, done that. :)