When an INFJ personality type slams the door

INFJ door slam

The INFJ personality type is known for being patient and understanding. But INFJs are also sensitive. When you hurt us too much, we may “slam the door” and completely cut you out of our life.


As an INFJ, I’ve slammed the door only a handful of times, but I did it to people I cared a lot about — friends, former boyfriends, and even my ex-husband. I’m not proud of what I did.

I didn’t think about my actions in terms of cutting those people out of my life. I just felt extremely violated and hurt by them. My patience was exhausted, and there seemed to be no other way to stop the intense emotional pain they were causing me. I slammed the door, and essentially those people became dead to me.


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Other INFJs describe similar experiences. One INFJ blogger writes, “The INFJ door slam is not some abusive act of anger. It is not an act of revenge. It is an act of self-preservation.”

Another blogger writes, “My door slam may seem to come out of nowhere with no explanation. One day we were doing fine, the next I seem more closed off.”

My own experiences with the door slam made me wonder: why do INFJs slam the door? And is there a better way to deal with the very real emotional pain we feel?

Why INFJs slam the door

Antonia Dodge, co-owner of Personality Hacker, explained that the door slam is related to INFJs using a cognitive function called extroverted feeling.

Simply put, extroverted feeling is in touch with interpersonal dynamics. It allows INFJs to instinctively understand things like which partner is giving more in a relationship and if a relationship is unbalanced.

This isn’t to say INFJs are utilitarian about relationships. Rather, we understand that in order for relationships to be long-term and sustainable, each person needs to be contributing value. Both parties must keep the emotional bank “in the black.”

Dodge told me, “If an INFJ reads that the other person is taking more than they’re giving — forcing the bank balance into the red — the relationship becomes untenable and the INFJ will simply end it without warning.”

When the pain becomes unbearable

It’s understandable why INFJs slam the door. Remember, INFJs are reacting to extreme emotional pain. At the time, they feel like they have no other options.

When I slammed the door, I felt completely justified. To this day, even though I regret how I handled those situations, I have not made amends with the people I cut out of my life.


Dodge explained that when INFJs slam the door, it means they’ve allowed offenses to stack up until a “straw breaks the camel’s back.” On its own, each offense may have been small enough for the INFJ to shrug off. But since the INFJ didn’t handle their true feelings about the situation, the emotional impact on them didn’t go away.

When the offenses reach an intolerable level, the INFJ breaks.

For the person who is committing the offenses, the INFJ’s behavior is baffling. The other 99 times they did the same thing, there were no consequences they were aware of. Suddenly, something that was fine one moment has now ended the relationship.

An INFJ blogger admits her problem stems from a lack of communication: “The problem is that some people don’t realize that they’ve crossed a line. I don’t openly say, Hey, that was offensive, please don’t say/do that again. Instead I internalize what was said or done and I let it fester.”

Using introverted thinking to do our dirty work

Extroverted feeling can actually be great at conflict resolution. Yet for many INFJs, conflict resolution is hard work, so we do what seems to be the next best thing — conflict avoidance.

When we avoid conflict, we procrastinate. Inevitably, we become overwhelmed. Then we call on another cognitive process called introverted thinking to do our dirty work.

Introverted thinking is the opposite of extroverted feeling, and it is by definition cold and analytical. Dodge said, “It’s the emotionally distant yin to extroverted feeling’s socially plugged-in yang.”

The door slam happens when the INFJ calls on introverted thinking. It’s a move that protects extroverted feeling from being overwhelmed by conflict. But it’s a move that is defensive and unsophisticated.

How to prevent the door slam

After my most recent door slam, I thought, there has to be a better way. I can’t just keep running from people when I get hurt. Otherwise I’ll be running my whole life.




According to Dodge, the key to preventing the door slam is to strengthen extroverted feeling and use it in a mature way to resolve conflict. This means setting boundaries and communicating about grievances as they happen instead of letting them pile up.

Dodge explained, “We teach people how to treat us. If we’re slamming the door on people, it’s because we’ve taught them to behave in a way that is intolerable. If we’ve set healthy boundaries, communicated those boundaries, and communicated grievances, and the other person still treats us in a way that is unacceptable, then there’s no need to slam the door. There’s plenty of ground laid to be radically honest or simply acknowledge a lack of compatibility and move on.”

I’m not perfect at this. Sometimes I let offenses pile up, thinking they aren’t worth mentioning. Then one more little hurt breaks me and I explode (my poor INTJ boyfriend!).

But since I started setting better boundaries, I’ve noticed I’m getting more joy out of my relationships. My heart isn’t torn to shreds every day. Socializing is a little less exhausting, because I’m no longer at the mercy of everyone else.

INFJs, what are your experiences with the door slam? Do you think the door slam is ever justified? Let me know in the comments below or chat with me on the community forumretina_favicon1

Read this: An open letter to single INFJs


Intuitives see the world differently. They aren’t interested in the mundane or day-to-day. They ask, “What if?” They want to create, heal, inspire, or invent. They want to change the world. Only one in four people are intuitive. Are you one of them? Learn more about our partner Personality Hacker’s course just for intuitives.




35 Comments

  • Chris W says:

    I found this sentence

    “Intuitives are the ones who push the human race forward, but they often have to pretend to be someone they’re not.”

    really hitting home. To avoid conflict it’s easier for me to change than for me to wait on the other person. I think this does train other people to do things repeatedly wrong. It builds up in you and one day you explode. I had to do the door slam with a girl I had really liked. She had a tendency to only think about herself sometimes. It annoyed me but I overlooked it to keep the relationship going. Then my father had a stroke that eventually killed him after 7 months. I cut her loose when she still was acting selfish. I figured that if she couldn’t understand at this point in time it wasn’t ‘about her’ then she never would. Hated doing it but my family needed me.

    • Random INFJ says:

      Yes, this is more likely a reason we would doorslam right here^^^and it doesn’t even sound like a “doorslam” really, just needing time to cope with a loss, and be there for your family. I can see myself doing something like this.

  • suresh0807 says:

    Hi Jenn,

    Your definition for intuitive is spot on. Good work.
    I have door slammed several people in my life, most of them are friends who hurt me. I never bothered to let them know why as I knew it wouldn’t make sense to them. I remember the nitty-gritty details of every one of those incidents even today. Some times I even regret why I even let them inside my inner world. I am totally fine being my self in my own universe of thoughts. No one can hurt me in there!!

  • Susan says:

    To be fair, the only folks I’ve door slammed are narcissists and it took a long time to get to that point.

  • Violet says:

    I agree that the door slam can be used very immaturely. However, there are some instances where it is very appropriate and necessary. When you are dealing with an individual who does not respect any of your boundaries and willfully breaches them after multiple warnings putting your own mental health and stability at stake, they deserve no part of your life.

  • dmgolive says:

    One reason we let things fester until the big door slam is because we’ve learned from past experiences that if we speak up, we are accused of being too sensitive, and that we should just get over it, or they even deny something was said or done. The biggest passive/aggressive manipulators use a tone in their voice that speaks louder than the actual words, and makes it easier for them to deny later.

    • Mary says:

      Exactly! I door slammed my selfish sister recently because dice childhood she has repeatedly hung on to the I’m too sensitive remarks and I’ve had to just get along for peace sake. Last straw happened and I just withdrew a bit just to regain my emotional wellbeing and then she deliberately didn’t acknowledge my birthday! Just to hurt me as this is a no no in my house! Didn’t bother after then. I feel hurt but feel I’m better off knowing exactly where I stand in people’s lives.

    • RG says:

      This is true. Confronting someone or expressing your grievances when the event happens doesn’t always work . Some people won’t accept responsibility or can’t empathize, when you tell them how you feel. If someone doesn’t respect you, then it’s time to move on.

  • joann says:

    I definitely have the door slam inclination. This has only happened after it is completely obvious that the persons behavior is extreme, repetative, malicious and definitely on purpose. It’s past the point of trust being reestablished or it being reestablished on a “safe” basis. I have gotten better at not letting it get to that point bt it usually means the person has been more gently left behind. It’s connected with not automatically crediting people goodness before they’ve exposed whether or not they really have it.

  • Helen says:

    Wow this article spoke to me in my current situation. I have used the door slam many times, with relatives and in laws, I have taken so much, in my opinion, I finally had enough, I don’t want or need their negativity and lies in my life and I don’t want to keep discussing the ‘he said, she said’ it’s exhausting and my self preservation is to move on. Door slam, the end, I have tried enough and am moving on. I don’t need to keep analysing it and feel that as an adult I am entitled to make this decision, no big arguments, just a choice to not be involved anymore.
    But, on the other hand, I have used it on my husband of 8 years too, very recently, I feel it’s like a survival instinct ‘flight or fight’ and just recently I chose flight, it was a bad decision but at the time it felt like the right decision and my only choice. In retrospect, I was not thinking straight, it really did feel like I had no choice. Thankfully I (we) have managed to go beyond this and are trying to work it out and I realised our love is too precious not to try and work through our issues.
    I did a similar thing with my first husband almost 20 years ago and sincerely regret not trying to work through what was happening and it has impacted my whole life since then.
    Thanks for this article xox

  • Melissa says:

    I appreciate this article so much. As a “door-slammer” who has always found it be an acceptable choice when the offenses piled up, I needed this personality check. I’m not sure I’m ready to actually tell people they are offensive to me – yikes, telling family members their behavior is offensive! – but it’s a lot to ponder.

  • Jules says:

    Honestly this article has essentially just described my whole life. Recently I had just had a fight with one of my oldest and closest friends and I gave her the door slam. I didn’t even realize that this was a habitual thing until I read this article. It had just felt like an unbalanced friendship for the last half a year and things just kept pilling up until I couldn’t take it anymore. I know it seems immature but I don’t trust her anymore and it just doesn’t make sense to maintain such a relationship when I know the trust isn’t going to grow back.

  • I agree with Joann and Susan. The times when I have used the doorslam, I had not avoided the messy situation of stating my boundaries and feelings. In both cases, once I had cut the person out of my life I began to realize how I had been giving them the benefit of the doubt for too long. All the abuses I had overlooked became startlingly clear. These are people with whom I had communicated very clearly with about how I felt when they had crossed my boundaries; I had never previously known how malicious and deliberate (and subtle!) people can be. While many INFJ do struggle to set clear boundaries, I think it’s important that we acknowledge and encourage our intuitive abilities so we can trust ourselves to cut ties with toxic people sooner than later.

  • Krystal says:

    I almost cried because this is so accurate. I’m trying to avoid doing this again.

  • Th8rgoddess says:

    I’ve slammed doors a couple of times, but have had a stightly different experience. For the most recent times I’ve set boundries, told the other person that I found their behavior unacceptable and they stopped, for a while. After a time where I think they get the message they did it again in either a grander fashion than before, or it just felt worse because they didn’t do it in a while and it felt like a betrayal.

  • Random INFJ says:

    I *really** don’t like the bank account description. I feel that is pretty inaccurate of me, and of Fe, to be honest. We don’t doorslam people because we did something for them, so they have to do something back, that just isn’t how an INFJ operates….. 😛

  • Linda says:

    Thank you for this article! I’m an INFJ but I’ve never heard this expression “door slamming” but it describes me so accurately! I’ve always been puzzled about my own behavior because I’ve just stopped talking to people I’ve been friends with but no longer see, i.e.: former co-workers, on a regular basis. It’s almost like I can’t make the call, or return the call, and kind of allow & even hope for the person to vanish from my life. The worst part is, they haven’t really done anything terrible to me! I’m not proud of this & don’t really understand it, but I have noticed this pattern.

  • Brenda says:

    I am definitely a Door Slammer. I don’t explain, the minute the door is closed the person no longer exists. Reading this article it brought me to another question. Can INFJ’s forgive? I have found that I simply DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FORGIVE. I have read books, I have talked with people, I have tried exercises, but I just don’t know how. Now I am wondering if it is not that I am incapable, but my personality type doesn’t comprehend how to. And when I say forgive, it is large offenses. Not small things. Its usually something that causes a door slam.

  • chryselis says:

    I’ve door slammed someone recently. He was a very close friend. One of the reasons for the door slams was that I couldn’t cope with how he treated me (though the primary reason was a very personal one). I’m a nurse by profession, so I was trained how to be patient with my clients. I tried to apply it with him, but I guess the years of receiving tantrums and being told I was the trigger these broke the camel’s back.

    I politely told the person I wasn’t going to communicate with him to have myself counselled and to think about things. This made him frustrated and he bombarded me with emails. Eventually, I made the painful decision to cut him off and I explained to him my reasons, which he didn’t take lightly (I also understood why). I’ve been shut off from someone’s life, so I understand how it feels to be shut off with no explanation.

    So when he realized I was fixed, he asked me if it really was final, or whether I cared the actions he would take after. I guess my intuition read it as an emotional blackmail to manipulate me to give in. I didn’t. I haven’t talked to him since. though he tries to send me messages, I blocked him from all accounts (except for my blog. You really can’t blog someone from accessing your blog).Recently, he messaged me about being friends again because “we need each other for ideas”, and to put whatever happened in the past. I already did. I forgave him. I forgave myself. But I don’t want to go back.

    I’ve already found my groove (I have this ritual I practice) to generate ideas as much as I can (thanks to James Altucher), so I don’t really need him. I have no problems with idea generation, in fact, I have an abundance of it! This person abhors any guideline/ritual on the approach with creativity and I heard he shot me down in his blog for my ritual. It’s ironic because he’s shooting me down for something I truly value (no-no for an INFJs), and he wants to benefit from the ideas this practice produces.

    But right now, I feel nothing for him after the door slam. Like one post I read, everything becomes frighteningly clear. You become rational. Then it’s gone. You’ve moved on. It was just like a chapter in your life that you appreciated and moved on.

  • Anon says:

    I’ve door slammed life, other people, society in general. I completely do not try to have those things that I’ve wanted my whole life. Growing up all I ever wanted was a friend. A real friend who eventually wouldn’t hurt me. I have a couple really close friends in my life and I am blessed to have them, but it’s not enough especially when they live so far away. All I ever wanted was to feel loved. Not make love. There is a difference. Today all people seem to want to do is make love. Think about it. I wanted to have a family. I know I would have been good at it. It’s funny I look around and I see so many people screwing it up. Screwing up their marriage and their kids and it’s all I ever wanted. Think about. The pursuit of those dreams, those things that come so easy to all but me has been too painful and I have been let down too much. Now I basically do the minimum. I’ve closed the door. Slammed it. It’s not healthy I know, but after going right to the edge and it almost killing me what choice did I have? I battled back from severe depression and still struggle with it. By myself despite asking for help in my own ways. Nobody listens. The signs are there people if you just look. Step out of your world for a minute. I battled suicide. Nobody cared. I even recovered from self harm. Nobody noticed. It’s the worst to be an INFJ and feel no connection with the world, to have no friends, to feel no love. Everyone is really good at saying don’t do it, but nobody is good at saying let me help you live. That’s my message to anyone reading this. Stop thinking about only yourself. Think of others. Ask why this person is saying this, doing this, etc. It’s not always about you and just maybe you taking a minute out of your life could be enough to save someone else’s.

    • Sandra says:

      I used to feel like this, until I realised that we all have different ways of communicating love and that simply because another is unable to meet my needs doesn’t mean they don’t love me or don’t care about me. Recognising my differences as an INFJ and how few of us there are helped me realise why I felt so alone all my life and helped me let go of the expectation that everyone should be like me, they shouldn’t and my challenge is to learn not to judge them for it but to see the value each person adds to life in their own unique way… Recognition that sometimes, as an INFJ, I am completely missing the love by focusing on everyone else’s shortcomings came a shock but what I found is that for the most part, those people I was being so negative towards were simply loving me for who I am without expectation… Food for thought!

  • INFJ Door Slammer says:

    I have door slammed many times in my life. It comes down to the fact that if you want to be around me, you need to be pleasant to be around. I usually give warning well in advance that I’m reaching the end of my tether and I always say I will only be raising it with them once so they need to listen. If nothing is done about it, I follow through. I have been told a number of times they didn’t believe I was serious because the warning was given so calmly and after that things seemed fine. A lot of people behave themselves because they don’t want to face confrontation – with INFJ’s there are seemingly no consequences. I am learning to be a bit overly dramatic (fake it) to be taken seriously! FWIW I think the door slam is a healthy thing!

  • Jane says:

    I’m guilty of the door slam. I wasn’t even aware that it was a thing. I just really couldn’t bear to feel the pain I was feeling and it seemed like the best option to prevent any more hurt and anxiety that this person was causing me. I don’t regret it, because at the time I didn’t have the coping skills to go about it differently. I feel like this is something that I’m going to have to learn to live with. Besides, I don’t think it’s that bad. If a relationship isn’t working, then the logical thing is to end it. No matter how painful. And for me never seeing or speaking to that person again is the only way I can do it.

  • Niyor Medhi says:

    I am INFJ and chanced upon concept of the ‘door slam’ today! But it is something I have done.

    And usually when I have indulged others ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ and for them to then have abused me.( It might be their way of testing how much I can take, or why at all, can I take so much)

    I have also door slammed when I find that someone’s core values are incompatible with mine, as they seem too negative for me.

    There is a lot of deliberation, maybe subconscious, in the Infj’s act so I don’t think the door slam should be written off or looked at as a bad thing, necessarily.

  • Steve McKinnon says:

    As a recipient of an INFJ door slam I want to say that I am very hurt! My wife whom I still love had an affair in my face for 3 years. I was locked out of her life and I was completely unaware of what I had done. My 3 children are in pain as their family has been shredded. I am in a granny flat out the back of my house lonely, grieving and waiting for my wife to open the door again to me. What can I do?

  • Sue says:

    I use the door slam as an absolute last resort. After years and years of constant forgiving, constantly trying to set boundaries, constantly trying to resolve conflict and constantly being treated badly, because the other person knows I will forgive and assumes I will get over it, I finally, after much grieving, give up, slam the door and walk away.

    I am long suffering, maybe too long suffering but there comes a point when enough is enough. I know the other person is not going to change and I feel it’s unrealistic to expect them to.

    Personally, I see nothing wrong with it. What’s the difference between slamming the door and walking away or worse, having yet another argument or discussion over the same thing, time and again.

    Sometimes the loudest thing we can say is silence and slamming that door is the ultimate silence. With some people, words just do not work.

    And what is so wrong about wanting to end a relationship which is not working? I don’t want to talk about it anymore, I am D.O.N.E. Slams door! It’s not a hair trigger reaction. For me it is something I agonize over until I realize that it’s what best for me. I get to choose who I will allow in my world and who I will no longer tolerate.

    When a relationship gets to the point of a door slam, I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all. It’s better than allowing myself to be further abused.

  • Yup, I’ve door-slammed a few times, but I do think it was necessary and justified. You see, I *did* express my feelings and let the other person know there was a problem that needed dealing with – often over an extended period of time. They refused to deal with it, hoped to ignore it out of existence until one day I just stop being the doormat they’ve been used to and become ‘pleasant and polite’ only. I know when I’ve reached the end of my tether as I will find myself feeling thoroughly disgusted with the person (or even a group of people!) and that’s it, I’m done! As another article on the subject said, I may let them back in my life on a very limited scale later on – if I have reason to believe it safe to do so, but when I kick someone out of my life, I do so after a LOT of effort to resolve the situation.

  • TheWarWithin says:

    I have always described these small offenses as an internal, unconscious barometer. I only become conscious of the unconscious ‘barometer of offenses’ once I find myself beginning to resent the individual harming me with their abusive behaviors, resulting in the door slam.

    Now I am working on communicating my internal boundaries as soon as someone does anything I find offensive or disrespectful to me, no matter how small it may seem at the time.

    I believe that the only two choices we have are:

    1) Set limits/boundaries on any disrespectful behavior which could result in hostility/conflict = we will experience short term pain.

    or

    2) Continue to allow any small offenses to build up so that we can avoid any short term conflict, that is until we become so enraged we end up slamming the door on the person who has hurt us with continued disrespect = we will experience long term pain by not asserting ourselves & loss of potentially good relationships.

    After a very painful recent experience I have had with a loved one who I had to ‘slam the door’ on to protect myself from being completely emotionally destroyed by them, I have vowed to myself that no matter what the cost is, I will be doing the best I can to follow the first option.

  • Ariz7677 says:

    I have door slammed a couple of times and don’t regret those instances at all. I did communicate boundaries and spent years investing in those relationships to give the other person an opportunity to demonstrate by their actions that what they were saying was true. I also did self work to overcome my strong aversion to conflict and examine any areas where I might have been selfish. At the conclusion of those relationships, I determined that I was the only one putting effort in to rectify the situation and no longer was willing to deal with the emotional roller coaster of having my trust and love violated. I felt guilty about ending things prior to making the decision, but once I did make the decision and communicated it, I felt enormous relief and still do. My last door slam was 10 years ago and it was one of the best decisions in my life!

  • Ishmael says:

    It’s funny because INFJs think they are communicating what they don’t like effectively but i know for me it amounts to whispering about my hair being on fire…could you be a little more demonstrative if it’s really that serious lol and i may be door slammed over it. They way you INFJs act I’d think it was a very mild slight annoyance you were complaining over and in reality it’s basically life and death to you. I think that’s why people say you guys are not fair.

  • Kristin says:

    I’m so glad you made this comment. Two days ago, I door slammed one of my very best friends, a narcissist. I am so sad, but feel strangely at peace. He was completely shocked at what I did and tried to turn everything around back on me. He will never understand it truly was a culmination of years of little offenses and the fact I finally realized our friendship was not a two-way street. This article is SPOT ON.

  • David says:

    Wow, this hit me right on the feels because it is exactly how I’ve felt all my life, even now.

  • […] When an INFJ personality type slams the door […]

  • Alie says:

    Yes, exactly! 🙁

  • Infj says:

    i door slam people whom i know won’t change. 1) selfish 2) uncompromising 3) overly defensive 4) poor values. Aside from being patient and idealistic, INFJs are pattern seekers. If i’ve seen your behavior and can predict a negative outcome, that’s enough for me to excuse myself. No more investment in that relationship.

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