As an INFJ, it can be difficult to make friends because we’re already highly selective of who we choose to befriend, and tend to be better listeners than conversationalists. That is, unless you get us talking about something you know we’re passionate about. Of course, you’d have to know us well enough to know our passions. I know. It’s a conundrum.
So, how do you really get to know an INFJ to the point of creating a friendship? And, how can an INFJ get out of their own way to make a new and meaningful friendships?
INFJs Tend to Play it Safe
We are known for being contradicting, which is especially problematic when it comes to making friends. As INFJs, we naturally want to listen and not share. This allows us to maintain our privacy, but still be kind, empathetic and helpful. This, of course, creates a conflict: I like you, but don’t trust you, and I’m scared to put myself out there emotionally.
I know it doesn’t make sense, but that is one of the contradictions of the INFJ. We want to connect with people on a deep, genuine level, but we’re unwilling share the deepest part of ourselves, at least until we feel comfortable enough (which can take some time).
I’m not saying it never happens, as I have two very close friends whom I adore, but I only have them because they were persistent and patient with me. It took forever, so what can the INFJ do to get out of their own way and speed up the friendship process?
Open up to the Possibilities
All of the following options will put most INFJs just outside of their comfort zone temporarily, but that’s the only way to do this. Don’t worry, you will still have a semblance of comfort…like being in a familiar coffee house, or alongside a current friend. You can always plan to make yourself a little more comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
- As hard as it sounds, open up to others when the opportunity arises in a meaningful discussion, especially if you find the other person interesting.
- Don’t always expect others to come to you. Your comfort zone is just that – comfortable. Try, literally, stepping outside of that every now and then, and you might hit friendship gold!
- Attend social gatherings where you’re already surrounded by those with similar interests, like a writing group, art class, book club, or even an introvert meet-up. You will already have tons in common!
- Try saying yes to an invitation you would normally say no to (you can always tag a friend). You might be surprised by who you meet!
- Try to make stronger connections with those you’re already acquainted with, like people from school, work, places you volunteer, or even in your own neighborhood. Cross that “acquaintance line” by asking them out for coffee or to go to see a movie or local band.
- Lower your expectations slightly. INFJs set pretty high standards for who they allow into their lives, which really limits the playing field. Not everyone values friendship in the exact same way, but that doesn’t mean they don’t value it at all. Maybe it’s ok to have a few close friends who aren’t your best friend.
How to Engage an INFJ
Since INFJs are introverts, we can be difficult to engage with. We enjoy our time alone, but we also crave interaction with others who see us and understand us, but those people can be hard to find.
Our tendency is to look busy, even if we’re not, to deflect anyone who might be thinking of approaching us. Yes, we actually try to look unapproachable. Distant stare. A fake distraction in hand.
And, even at parties, we tend to try and make ourselves invisible, or engage with a dog or baby (to also look busy). This is because babies and pets are easy to work with. There’s no awkwardness or small talk. No expectations or judgment. Just weird looks and giggles. It’s easy.
Approaching an INFJ (or one of the other introvert personality types):
- If you want to really talk with me, be genuine. Genuinely kind, genuinely interested, or even genuinely funny. INFJs usually have a great sense of humor once they warm up to you a little bit.
- Be honest when I ask you a question. I’m asking because I truly want to know. We are great listeners, and enjoy hearing what matters to you most. The deeper, the better.
- I know we don’t look approachable, but sometimes we are, so even if I’m reading something, messing with my phone, or just staring into space, I may be approachable. If I’m wearing headphones, though, that’s a definite sign that I don’t want to communicate.
- Have patience. An INFJ is not going to trust you right off the bat. We need time to get to know you first, and consider whether there’s a possibility of any kind of relationship or friendship.
- Be courageous enough to start a meaningful conversation with us. It takes the pressure off of us, and allows honest discussion, but be prepared for some potential awkwardness on our end.
Go with the Flow Already
Sometimes, life just leads you to the right people. Maybe it’s dumb luck, maybe you’re in the right place at the right time, or maybe it’s more than that.
Serendipitous, if you will.
I’ve been having a lot of muscular pain recently, so I went to see a masseuse I was referred to. I felt weirdly at ease with her, and we talked throughout my entire session. I was open and honest when she asked me questions, and quickly discovered she was an INFJ and Libra, just like me!
We had so much in common, it was spooky, but I’m so thrilled to have been open enough to allow the connection to happen naturally! You never know where strong connections might happen.
“Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.” – Oscar Wilde
To both the INFJ trying to make friends and to the person trying to become friends with us…be patient. Friendships take time to build and develop mutual trust.
While you’re waiting for all of that awesomeness to develop, enjoy each others company with weekend lunches, check-in texts, and some interesting activities thrown in for good measure. Might I suggest visiting an art museum, going out for coffee or drinks, or maybe a day of people-watching? 🙂
INFJs, what is your biggest hurdle in making friends? What is your best tip for someone wanting to meet you or get to know you better?