If you’ve spent any time on the Internet reading and learning about the INFJ personality type, you’ve probably heard of the “INFJ door slam.” (Not sure what your personality type is? We recommend this free personality test.) The door slam is when an INFJ suddenly cuts off all contact with someone. It might be a friend, significant other, coworker, or family member. In other words, one day the INFJ is in your life, and the next day, they’re not. It’s been said that when INFJs get hurt or angry, “they don’t hate you, they nothing you.” For the INFJ, removing someone from their life is a self-protective measure to stop the emotional pain.
If you’re an INFJ (or you have an INFJ in your life), here are 7 things you should know about the INFJ door slam. These may not be true of every INFJ, but I believe they are generally true:
1. INFJs usually slam the door only as a last resort. If they’ve cut off contact with someone, it’s because they saw no other way to stop the pain. INFJs tend to be patient and forgiving of others’ shortcomings — but even they have their breaking point.
2. When an INFJ cuts off contact, the other person might not realize it right away. That’s because INFJs tend to slip away quietly. INFJs probably won’t announce their intention to door slam. (“That’s it, we’re no longer friends.”) Rather, they’ll simply find ways to spend less time with the other person; they’ll stop answering their texts or they’ll say no to invitations to hang out. (Obviously, it’s different if the INFJ is breaking up with a significant other; in this case, there will have to be a conversation.) Whenever possible, INFJs prefer to simply disappear, calling as little attention to their departure as possible.
3. In many cases, the INFJ door slam is justified. INFJs tend to be “nice” people who listen with empathy, care deeply about others, and have a strong desire to help. For these reasons, INFJs can attract emotionally needy friends or partners. INFJs may even find themselves drawn to toxic people, wanting to help or heal them. After a while, these unbalanced relationships become draining and damaging, and the INFJ must cut them off to save their sanity.
4. However, sometimes immature INFJs will door slam without trying to resolve the root problem first. Instead of talking to the other person about how they feel, INFJs may bottle up their feelings until they can’t take it anymore, then simply cut off the offending party. The other person is left not knowing what happened or what they did wrong. Mature INFJs have learned that no one is perfect and that they can’t constantly cut people out of their lives — otherwise, there will eventually be no one left. They learn to be more assertive and stand up for themselves; they find ways to resolve the root problem so they can maintain the relationship (if it’s a good one and worth holding onto). They set boundaries and discover how to interact with others in ways that work for them. For example, they might say to themselves, “I’ll go to her toddler’s birthday party, but I’ll only stay for an hour or two, because that’s all I can take.” Or, “I enjoy chatting with this person at work, but they don’t need to become a part of my inner circle, and that’s okay.” Most important, as INFJs mature, they learn to trust their intuition to avoid getting involved with toxic people in the first place.
5. Post-door slam, INFJs may feel compelled to cleanse their life of anything that reminds them of the other person. They may delete photos of the two of them from social media or throw away gifts from the other person. (No joke, when I broke up with my first boyfriend and wanted him out of my life for good, I buried a box in my backyard of trinkets and notes he had given me.) INFJs may feel better after doing some type of ceremony that gives them closure.
6. They say that when an INFJ slams the door, it can never be opened again. This may be true in some situations, especially when the INFJ has been hurt very badly or repeatedly. INFJs are emotional and sensitive, and sometimes the pain is just too much. Also, INFJs may keep the door closed if they recognize that the other person is an unhealthy force to have in their life. But in some situations, the door can be “re-opened.” After some time has passed, the INFJ’s anger may fade, and they may see the situation with fresh eyes. If the INFJ and the other person can talk about what happened, there is a chance that the relationship can be repaired. At this stage, it’s important that the INFJ is able to speak freely about how the other person’s words or actions made them feel; in order for healing to begin, INFJs must first get their feelings out. If the offending person seems to understand the INFJ’s hurt and regrets what they did, they INFJ will likely forgive them.
7. Above all, to avoid an INFJ door slam, be kind. The words you speak and the little things you do matter greatly to an INFJ. Also, INFJs need to feel like their decisions are respected and their emotions are heard. Treat an INFJ with kindness and respect, and the door will never be slammed.
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Read this: 21 Undeniable Signs That You’re an INFJ
You might like: The INFJ Writer: Cracking the Creative Genius of the World’s Rarest Type, by Lauren Sapala
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