When it comes to relationships, INFJs can really struggle. Although some of us may reject the idea that we’re always on the lookout for a long-term, committed relationship, deep down it’s probably the truth. We are prone to long bouts of loneliness since we have difficulty trusting other people with our inner selves, and we find it difficult to initiate relationships because of our introversion. However, we can make fantastic partners for the right person.
If, like me, you are a young INFJ, you may never have experienced a serious relationship. Also, like me, if you have family and friends who fail to comprehend the whole MBTI personality thing, your lack of serious relationships may come under much scrutiny, and said family and friends may insist on giving you unsolicited advice. If, again like me, you are sick of hearing these comments, then please know that you are not alone.
Here are five things single INFJs are tired of hearing:
1. “You should go out more.”
And, by “go out,” they undoubtedly mean go out clubbing.
I understand the logic behind this comment. Young people are expected to go clubbing. It’s normal. But reality check: I’m not “normal.” INFJs are the rarest personality type. But I do understand why people think that saying this makes sense. Going out increases your chances of meeting new people, which therefore increases your chances of finding a significant other.
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However, this theory goes against the INFJ’s nature. We’re introverts, ambiverts at best, so going out often doesn’t appeal to us. And it’s unlikely that we’ll attract our soul mate if it’s clear we’re not having a good time.
But, even more importantly, many of us are unlikely to find a worthwhile partner, let alone a soul mate, amongst the group of fun-loving extroverts we’re likely to come across by rocking up to a club on a Saturday night. An INFJ looking for a soul mate in that sort of environment is like a hunter looking for a whale in the desert. Even if someone caught our eye and we somehow plucked up the courage to say hi, we’re likely to give up when we realize that the music is so loud that our potential lover can’t hear what we’re saying.
Our family and friends might be better off suggesting a trip to a coffee shop or book store.
2. “You should try online dating.”
Again, this suggestion sounds logical. At first, it seems like a great idea. I can talk to people online. I’d have time to think through what I want to say. It could really work out well.
But then my online match would suggest that we meet in person and a whole world of problems would be unleashed. Although I’ve been myself online, it’s not the self that interacts with strangers. That self is shy and awkward and has absolutely nothing interesting to say, if anything at all. As an INFJ, I’m good with words on paper, but, in person, not so much.
3. “You just haven’t met the right person yet.”
The problem with this comment—and I could be alone in this, but I’m pretty sure I’m not—is that I don’t believe there is one right person for anyone. I don’t believe in soul mates or perfect partners. Instead, I believe that some people are simply better for me than others.
Someone once gave me the brilliant idea of taking a personality test from the perspective of my dream partner and, when I did, the result I got was ENFJ. Basically, I want someone who is like myself but with much more confidence and better social skills.
Of course, in the real world, it’s hard to limit yourself to one sort of person, and it’s even harder to find the exact sort of person you’re looking for, unless you want to run up to attractive people and ask them if they’re ENFJ. However, by doing the test, I might find it easier to know if a person I’ve met is right for me in the long term. My time and energy are precious to me and I’d like my frog-kissing experiences to stay at a minimum. If I’m going to spend a lot of time and energy on a relationship, I want to know that my partner is a prince, not just another frog.
4. “Stop looking for Mr. Right and he’ll magically come along.”
A big difficulty for the single INFJ is that we are always craving and looking for love. We are constantly scanning for and eliminating targets, even when we don’t mean to be. This can become exhausting. So, well-meaning family and friends tell us to completely give up on love altogether. Stop looking for a relationship and then, magically, one will fall into your lap.
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In reality, our best chance of finding love is probably allowing it to develop from a close friendship. This way, we’ve already developed the trust and we’re not putting pressure on ourselves or our potential suitor. But this, too, is difficult because the attraction is likely to make us nervous—especially if we’re “just friends.” Plus, INFJs are overthinkers, so we’d have to find a way of tricking our own brains into believing that we don’t actually want to be in a relationship, even when we do.
5. “You’ve never been in a relationship, so don’t pretend to know what it’s like.”
Now, this one is the worst. And there are two ways of saying it.
The first comes from people who love you—your close friends and family. They don’t mean to sound harsh, but it feels very condescending and you might hold a grudge against them for it. And, of course, you’ll never be able to tell them that it has upset you because you can’t find the right words. So they’ll probably never realize they’ve said anything wrong. At best, they might notice that you’re in “one of your moods.”
The second way of saying it is the one that really punches you in the gut. It comes rarely and from people who barely know you and whose opinions shouldn’t matter to you—except that you’re INFJ so of course they do.
The person who said this to me is my younger sister’s boyfriend. Clearly my sister told him about me and my predicament. And, by predicament, I mean my relationship status. The fact that it has absolutely nothing to do with him doesn’t seem to come up in her thought process or, indeed, in his. Yet he decided to bring up my lack of relationships during an argument between my sister and me, to which he was a witness.
My sister is an INTJ personality type. She possesses the INTJ weaknesses of arrogance and passing judgements on others. She downright refuses to take my advice on board if she knows I haven’t experienced the exact same situation myself. She ignores my INFJ ability to put myself in another person’s shoes and instead brushes my opinions off as irrelevant. And that is exactly what was happening when her boyfriend decided to get involved.
Contrary to her opinion, I think that the complete opposite of what people say to me is true. I know all too well what it’s like to be in a relationship. I can feel it every time I watch someone fall in love and every time it all shatters to the ground.
And maybe that’s why I’m a single INFJ. But at least I know who I am and what I’m looking for.
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Read this: An Open Letter to Single INFJs