The World According to Myers-Briggs: More Travails of the INFP
–from Dr. Jim Nolan, Psychotherapist, Life Coach, and Clinical Supervisor
My previous blog on the challenges of being an INFP has become the most heavily read blog on my website. I got dozens of personal messages. It clearly struck a chord with many, and evidently gave voice to a quiet group that needed a voice. (Not that the non-INFPs are listening…LOL!) I thought it might be useful to add some more thoughts about the INFP experience. (The other 15 types are swell, no doubt, but they will have to write their own blogs…).
So here we go. More Confessions of an INFP….
I don’t mind having other people over the house, though “fewer” tends to be better, unless ALL of the few are “movie types”. (Hey, some of my best friends are movie types, but I’m just sayin’….) I still enjoy them a lot, but when they come over, I also have to do the dishes, cook, step outside, pretend I am off to the bathroom, and make space for the expansiveness. They think I am being a good host. Win-Win. I am actually being a good INFP practicing self-care. When the evening is over, I absolutely have to have time alone, after everyone else is gone, to just be alone.
Happened just the other day. I was uncharacteristically dead tired when everybody left at 11:30, but the conscious decompression time was more important than sleep, by a long shot. I stayed up until 2…
Currently, in my life, I have several unreturned phone calls going on. Here is the deal on that, and you INFP’s already know the deal. Some people in my life are hour long calls, nothing less, no matter what. Nothing wrong with that, except that I have maybe two windows a week where I can manage those kinds of marathons. Not time-wise, but psychically. INFPs do not have a lot of hour long calls just hanging round their psychic field. If you want INFPs to be your friend, be sensitive to this one…Seriously…Especially late at night…
Oh, yeah, and it’s hard to supervise STJ therapists. The S’s can get so concrete and rule-bound, and need that “evidence” from the 5 senses (“I’ll believe it when I see it!”). The T’s sometimes can’t catch the empathy thread, which, you know, would be sort of OK if they didn’t then congratulate themselves, as they tend to do, on being a paragon of logic and reason, lacking any awareness that those are only two of a million “ways of knowing”, on a list that is nominal, not ordinal. (Look it up. It’s really an important difference.)
And let’s just say it. A certain political party in a certain western country takes a decidedly TJ stance, and falls in love with its own point of view. Nothing unusual about that. But again, these are differentnesses, not betternesses. Try to remember that, TJ Guy. “Well, we are being logical and linear, and you are being ‘soft and stupid’”, as if those are the true poles of the variables under scrutiny.
I mean, c’mon. Let’s not be dumb here.
In terms of therapists, clinically, Ns value practice-based evidence, and Ss evidence-based practice. S’s value “the literature” over their own experiences. They would follow a research finding by some guy they never met, at SUNY Albany, over the findings of their heart. OK, then. Go figure.
I got no real bone to pick with E’s, if they shut up in movie houses, leave me alone enough, and don’t plan my social life. And don’t call me late at night.
Route 599 in Santa Fe is an “I” highway, as is all of west Texas. Boston is an “E” town. Santa Fe is an “N” town, Cleveland, “S”; Missouri is the classic “Show Me State”—talk about “S” on steroids. Yikes. Beck is “I” and “N”, the Rolling Stones are “E” and “S”. Yes was “N”, as was Pink Floyd; Motown “S”. Actually, now that I think of it, the Beatles were, fundamentally, “INF/TP”, and the Stones flat out “ESTJ”. That is why some people liked one, some the other. The Kinks and The Who mixed it up. The US Marines are “T” and “J”, Trappist Monks are “F”; Rush Limbaugh is “J”. Obama has to pretend to be an “S” and a Power “J”, and when he does, he loses his heart. Al Gore had to act ESTJ”-ish until he did not give a crap about your vote, at which point his closet “INF” manifested and he became a truly good guy (whether you agree with him or not) instead of a politician.
Spirituality is “N” and “P”, religion tends to be N/S” and decidedly “J”. And on and on….
It is an interesting world when you use the Myers-Briggs spectacles. Of course I made most of this up on the fly. But you can kind of feel the truth in it. Gives you something to think about on a Sunday night, anyway…your comments on phenomena in your world that is quintessentially one or another of the MBTI poles will be welcomed!
And if you did not understand a single word of this, I wonder why you got this far!?!?/ And go to http://www.truity.com/test/type-finder-research-edition to get in the conversation !!
Retiringly, Dr. James Michael Nolan