Most INFJs are all about people, so it’s no surprise that at least half of my pet peeves are going to be about the behavior of others. When it comes to some people, we may find that setting boundaries is necessary to keep the peace, and to improve, or save, the relationship. In other cases, our pet peeves are just minor irritations that quickly pass without incident, and are just a normal stress of everyday life.
INFJ Pet Peeves
Pet peeves are things that are especially annoying to people. Things that go against our grain, so to speak. I’m an INFJ and these pet peeves are my own, and won’t be true for all INFJs, because we live outside the lines of our personality types, to some degree. We may find some common threads, though.
- Disorganization. Organization in everything I do lends to an uncluttered and better organized mind, in my opinion. It also minimizes a messy and chaotic home, and for me, that eliminates unnecessary overwhelm and stress.
- Chaos. Chaos can refer to anything that feels out of control…kids, excessive noise, constant interruptions, crowds, etc. I try to avoid chaos because I thrive in a calm and serene environment, but I understand that I can’t always avoid it. Stress is sometimes just part of life.
- Gossip. This is something I’ve been guilty of in the past, and have since curbed, but I do find it very annoying when I’m in the same room with people tearing down others. Gossip only serves to breed judgment, jealousy, and meanness, and it’s not something I want to be around.
- Egotism. This covers a lot of ground – the “know-it-all”, “drama queens” (or kings), and attention seekers. INFJs naturally put their loved ones first, so I have little tolerance for people who are too caught up in themselves to consider the needs of others.
- Surprises. The only type of surprise I like is an unexpected gift or kiss. I don’t want a surprise party, to be surprised in the hallway, or surprise visitors. I like to plan and be prepared, so please do us both a favor and call first.
- Façades. Insincere, disingenuous, fake people get under my skin. It’s one thing to be polite or nice, but it’s another to pretend to be something or someone you’re not. The easiest way to get an INFJ to like you is to just be yourself, and talk about matters of the heart.
- Manipulation. This may not actually belong in this list because it’s much more than a pet peeve for me. The level of manipulation and dishonesty in a self-serving person is hard to stomach. Don’t try that crap on me. I’ll see right through it.
- Small talk. Obviously, as a introvert (many INFJs lean towards introversion), I don’t enjoy small talk and try to avoid it. For me, it’s just filler, and I prefer discussing something deeper. Tell me your dreams, memories, or favorite fantasy fiction.
- Inconsideration. I am thoughtful and considerate of others. I respect their time. I say “thank you”. I give you plenty of notice for an event. I keep my promises. If I say I’ll be there at 11, I’ll likely be 10 minutes early. I would like the same consideration in return.
- Interruptions. I don’t like to be interrupted when I’m reading, working, or talking. It’s especially rude when I’m talking. As an INFJ, it’s hard for me to come up with exactly what I want to say, so please allow me to finish my thought.
Some of the INFJ pet peeves above, like chaos and gossip, will be nothing more than minor annoyances. I can deal with something or someone being a little annoying, but what I can’t deal with, or dismiss, is people who are repeatedly hurtful, manipulative or condescending towards me. When this happens, it’s best to have a back-up plan.
I acknowledge that everyone is inherently different from me, and can accept most people at face value. However, it is ultimately my life, and I want to be surrounded by people I feel good being around. If I find that being with someone is continuously hurtful, draining, or is some way an assault to my very nature, then I may need to limit interaction with that person, or set some boundaries.
“You get what you tolerate.” – Henry Cloud
Like other INFJs, setting boundaries is not my strong suit. I find it to be a daunting task for several reasons, but mostly because I will have to directly request the boundary, and explain why I feel the need to set one, without hurting anyone’s feelings. Setting boundaries will not come naturally for the INFJ, for three reasons.
- We avoid confrontation in lieu of keeping things as harmonious as possible.
- We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or burden them with our own problems.
- We tend to be very accommodating, so struggle with asking someone else to accommodate us.
Own Your Flaws
The thought of confrontation is both scary and exhausting for me. I don’t want to say anything I will regret or hurt anyone’s feelings, which might be why I tend to turn to the silent treatment. By doing this, I am able to calm down, decipher my feelings, and give myself time to figure out how best to approach the situation. I do realize, however, that when things build up, confrontation is sometimes necessary for everyone to get their feelings out in the open to be dealt with.
I also struggle hard with the idea that I’m essentially asking someone to accommodate me and my needs. As an INFJ, this is difficult because I don’t want to burden anyone or make them feel bad. It feels so selfish to even consider asking someone to change their behavior to suit me. From a more rational position, though, don’t we all deserve to be treated the way we want?
Being honest with myself is the best way to pinpoint my own faults in this area, so I can focus on how best to overcome them to create a better life for myself. Setting these boundaries successfully will not only make me more comfortable, but will help my currently “teetering” relationships to progress in a more open and positive direction. It’s really a win-win for everyone.
I have just recently realized that I need to start setting some emotional (and even some physical) boundaries. I am starting to recognize signs in the way I feel around certain people, how I become passive aggressive when I feel like someone is stepping on my toes, or anxiety unexpectedly kicks in. These signs are important because they identify my limits – where my boundaries should be.
Here are some of the signs I notice when I feel like my boundaries are being crossed, or grossly violated, in some cases.
- I find myself going against the morals and values I hold dear.
- I feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable, or anxious when one-on-one.
- I find that my time is being consumed by things I never wanted to do in the first place.
- I begin to feel down, like I’m in a state of chronic fatigue from emotional drainage.
- When I actually consider “door slamming” someone (sign of resentment and/or toxicity).
How to Set a Boundary
When creating any type of boundary, it’s important to look at it in a clear and simple way.
Understand that emotional boundaries can only be set for ourselves. I cannot control what another person says to me, but I can control how I allow people to treat me. I choose whether I engage in a screaming match. I decide whether to walk away, say no, or argue.
Melinda, at the INFJ Coach blog, suggests creating a short list to help you organize what you’re ok with and what you’re not when it comes to setting boundaries. You may have to create more than one boundary list, depending on who the boundaries are meant for (family, friends, acquaintances, etc).
I will show a basic example of how I might go about setting boundaries with my own family. This is probably the most important and most difficult list to start with because the lines can blur very easily between family members.
|I'm okay with:||I'm NOT okay with:|
|Saying no.||Saying "yes" when I want to say "no".|
|Accepting we're all different.||Saying what they want to hear.|
|Participating in family celebrations.||Feeling guilty for saying "no".|
|Being direct, but kind.||Making snap judgments.|
|Responding to phone calls.||Giving unsolicited advice.|
|Being respectful of their boundaries.||Engaging in disrespectful discussions.|
When setting boundaries with someone, there are two main things that should be clearly communicated to that person:
- You need to set a boundary with them.
- You’d like them to respect the boundary.
When you ask this of someone, it’s important to be kind and help them understand how important it is for your relationship. They probably didn’t know they were hurting you or crossing a boundary. INFJs are naturally empathetic, so that same sense of empathy should be used with a friend or loved one when you explain why you need to set the boundary without making them feel like they’re under attack.
“If being nice tells people what they WANT to hear, being kind tells people what they NEED to hear wrapped in love and good intent.” – Personality Hacker
If someone were to cross a personal space boundary with me by standing too close or getting too close to my face, I would ask them politely to step back. Then, I would explain that it makes me uncomfortable when someone enters my personal space, and I would appreciate it if they don’t do that again.
Be assertive. You are setting this boundary for a reason, and that is to protect yourself against any emotional harm. Don’t doubt yourself or over-explain, as it may lead to an exhaustive confrontation, and that’s not something any INFJ wants to get in to.
Keep it simple, kind, and direct and everything will be ok. Better than ok.
Have you had any experience setting boundaries with loved ones? Did it help?