Q&A: How Can I Help a Stressed-Out INFJ?

Thursday, August 25, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

Your Question:

Hi there!

I hope you don't mind too much, but this comment isn't really related to your post, but it is INFJ related. I'm actually an INFP myself, but my best friend in the whole wide world is an INFJ, and I need some help. My friend is going through some family issues, and they're causing her to become extremely negative and...bitter, I think would be the word for it. I've been there for her throughout it all, and she seems to really appreciate that, but the whole ordeal has made her pretty insecure. It seems that the very moment I disagree with her (even on something little), or try to show her another side to an argument she becomes angry and hurt, and says I've betrayed her. This is so confusing, and if I'm being honest, very vexing. I have to choose her "side" in every little thing or she becomes upset, even if it's against my own family. Please give me some advice. I try to calmly explain to her how I feel, but she usually just shuts down and claims I'm trying to push her away.

My Answer:

Hello, and thanks for sharing your situation. I don't mind at all. That's what the Cafe is here for.

First, let me say that you're an angel for supporting and comforting your INFJ friend in her struggles. We're no picnic when we're stressed out, and the fact that you're still by her side and trying to figure out how to help tells me how amazing you are.

Every INFJ is different. We're all at varying levels of maturity and growth, and without knowing exactly where your friend lands on the spectrum, I can't pinpoint a perfect solution. But I went through a very long period of family stress and was in the same boat--negative, insecure, bitter. It's not a fun place to be. INFJs just aren't built to handle long-term stress. We're meant to move forward, to make progress, and when we're stuck in a difficult situation that we can't get away from, it's nothing short of torture. Think of a cat that's been unwillingly backed into a corner...they struggle, spit, scream, claw...all they want is to GET AWAY, and that's kind of what INFJs are like when we're stressed out. Did I mention we're no picnic?

My husband was incredibly supportive through the whole thing (we're talking years here), and what I found most helpful were the little things he did. Bringing me a cup of coffee, rubbing my feet, buying my favorite chocolate, watching the kids so I could take a hot bath. Things that made me feel like I was important to him. He also learned to listen--and I mean, REALLY listen. The kind of listening where I went on and on about my problems, and instead of offering solutions, he just validated everything I said. He made an effort to make me feel understood. He also gave me solitude whenever I needed it. And he went out of his way to handle the extraverted stuff that I didn't have energy for (phone calls, making reservations, dealing with salespeople).

Most of all, he didn't give up on me. He backed off occasionally when my claws came out, but he was always there, always ready to do whatever I needed. He would ask "How can I help you?" and I loved that question--it was the one thing that pierced my protective armor. It meant that he truly wanted to help me in the way I needed. He always tried to do whatever I told him.

Please know that your INFJ friend isn't deliberately trying to be confusing or vexing. She's in survival mode and that just isn't pretty for us. The best thing you can do for her, in my opinion, is be there for her. Not trying to solve her problems, but just being there, willing to listen and help and give space when she's overwhelmed. And if you're a spiritual person, prayer and positive thoughts work wonders. I believe that any good energy you send her way will make her feel better.

I hope some of this will help you. Thank you so much for reaching out. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to use the Contact form and we can visit over e-mail.

Take care! <3


Thank you so much! Your advice makes so much sense. Today, I bought her a book and a cup of hot chocolate, and she seemed so much happier than she's been. I noticed she doesn't want to talk about her troubles (unless she's in full blown rant mode), which isn't something I'm used to since I like some discussion about the things bothering me.
Thanks again for helping. You and your husband sound like incredibly good people, and I know my friend is as well. She just needs some support and understanding, I suppose, though she doesn't like to hear that she's hurting. She can be very stubborn at times, but I just wish she could be in a better state emotionally. As for maturity and growth, we're both still teenagers, so some of the turbulence might be due to that. I do consider myself spiritual, so bless you for the help!

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