XIII. The INFJ Door Slam

Hey, dearest reader! Great to see you!

You guys asked for it, so I am delivering. Here is my take on the infamous INFJ door slam. What is the door slam, why do we do it, and is there a way to avoid it?

First off, I’ll provide my definition of what the door slam is. It is when an INFJ suddenly “closes the door” on someone, completely shutting them out of their lives.

Next, I will mention that I have been on both sides of the door closing. I have slammed the door on people as an INFJ, and I have had an INFJ slam the door on me (that one was very disappointing because I was so happy to have found another INFJ in my life– we are a rare bunch after all!). I say this because I want to point out that I can see this topic from both sides and hopefully provide a relatively unbiased viewpoint on the topic.

I also should point out that there is a difference between when I exit a friendship gradually and when I slam the door. The gradual exit comes from when I believe a person doesn’t want my friendship anymore, and the door slam comes when I want to be friends with someone, but they repeatedly treat me in a way that I don’t like.

Okay, with that all out of the way, let’s get to it. Why have I slammed the door on people before? Essentially, when I have a friend that does not treat me well, it affects my emotions very intensely. When I become emotionally overloaded, I need to withdraw for a while. When I come back out and get the same treatment again, it’s even worse. I can only take so many rounds of emotional overload before I get fed up. However, slamming the door is NOT something that I take lightly. If I like a person, I do everything in our power to try to mentally make it work, until I realize that it won’t. Once I make that realization, though, my demeanor changes drastically. Here’s where the usually warm and caring INFJ goes stone cold. At this point, my introverted thinking function takes the wheel, and I am in pure logic mode. This is kind of like an emergency stop valve for my emotions. Usually, once a person makes me get to this point, there is no going back. I do not hate the people that take me to this point. I do not curse at them or insult them. I actually am quick to forgive them for what they’ve done to me. But I move on, and I feel nothing about them from then on out. In a very real way, it is like they are dead to me. The final strands of the emotional tether that connected us have frayed and snapped. The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is apathy.

So, on to the story of having the door slammed in my face by a fellow INFJ.

She is so beautiful.

I do not fall in love with people easily. Because being in a romantic relationship is a massive commitment of time and emotional resources, my standards for a potential partner are very high. Before I met her, I had only been in love with one person previously (An INFJ again– go figure! That’s a completely different story, though.). This girl, she just took every one of my high expectations and completely surpassed them. She is soft-spoken, but when she does speak up about one of her opinions, her elocution is mesmerizing. She is very well-read and cultured. Some might call her a nerd or a bookworm for that, but I greatly admire people that actively seek out knowledge. We have many interests and hobbies in common. She is thoughtful, warm and caring. Her inner world is so rich that I could lose myself in it over and over again. And she looks amazing in glasses.

She passed my compatibility as soon as I heard her speak one sentence. My intuition was screaming to me, “This person is something special, don’t miss your opportunity to get to know her”. I just knew. And that might not make any sense to other types how I could get a read on someone so quickly, but I trust my intuition completely. It did not let me down. So I talked to her, we exchanged contact information, and we went on our way. Not much happened after that for a while until we met again by chance a month later. After that meeting, we started talking a little bit more. I was amazed at how much we had in common. We listened to the same bands, liked the same books, did the same sports. The way we thought was very similar too. Our conversation flowed like water. I didn’t have to ask her if what I was saying made sense every two minutes; she was able to pick up on my abstract concepts and build on them in the conversation. Here I was starting to see what my intuition was telling me about. It was almost like I was speaking to someone exactly like me but just in a girl’s body– almost uncanny in a way. I had her take the MBTI test even though I knew what the results would be. Our cognitive functions simply matched up too well. As I expected, she was an INFJ. When I told her I was the same, she was surprised– she thought I was an extrovert because of how talkative I was! I was just so driven by my intuition to get to know her that I was able to come out of my shell a little bit.

So over the summer, we would go on for weeks having these conversations that went on and off all day as we had the time to reply. As I started to learn more and more about her inner world, I thought something that I had never thought about any other girl before: If given the chance, I think I would spend the rest of my life with her. I was truly, deeply, madly in love. Then, college started. At this point we both took on a heavy work load compared to most students, and I think she started to realize my feelings for her at the same time. She changed the way she interacted with me, and I picked up that change immediately. It was now only me initiating things first, when that was shared equally over the summer. When I did get a response, it was a one-sentence, dead end answer instead of a free-flowing conversation like before. When I asked her what the problem was, she said she was busy. I told her that I understood that, I would just like to catch up when she has a little bit of time. She essentially told me she was always going to be busy like she was, and that I shouldn’t let her hold me back.

And that was it. She was done with me.

I don’t think that she is truly busy every waking moment, because I hear her making plans to hang out with her other friends in class quite often. That was (is) very difficult for me, because I liked her so much as a person too. I would have been more than happy to have been just friends with her. Maybe she thought the friendship that we had over the summer was unsustainable with her schedule, maybe she just wanted to let me down easy because she knew I had feelings for her.

The point is, I’m still not completely sure why she did what she did.

And now, after looking at my personal experiences from both sides, I can start to come to my conclusion about it. It’s a tricky subject. I can see from an INFJ viewpoint how it can be necessary, and I can see from an outside viewpoint how confusing and sudden it can be. The things that a friend can do can hurt an INFJ, but I think that many times that friend doesn’t even know that they’re doing anything wrong. I think INFJs are very afraid of conflict, especially if they are the ones causing it. The fact that INFJs are so private with their true feelings to try to make their relationships work can sometimes cause them to not even tell others about their feelings in the first place.

That leads me to my final question: How can the door slam be avoided? I think at the very end stages, when an INFJ says “enough is enough”, the door slam is unavoidable. Once we are at that point where we cut someone off, we have tried very hard to make it work– it is not a decision we take lightly. However, I do not think that INFJs are completely faultless for getting themselves into a situation like that. I feel like we really do need to work on setting boundaries and telling people what is and isn’t acceptable in a friendship or a relationship, or else we end up hurting ourselves and others. If we set up boundaries and a friend crosses them, we have legitimate reason to terminate the friendship. I would think that most of the time, our friends don’t know what we want or need though. I think that many people would be willing to adjust once the expectations are clear, and we save ourselves and others a lot of pain.

I know this post was a long one, but I really wanted to make sure I went deep into detail about what can be an otherwise mysterious phenomenon. Hopefully this sheds some light for other personality types and INFJs alike.

What are your experiences with the door slam? Have you been on the giving or receiving end? How do you think setting boundaries would have helped? I would love to hear what you all have to say in the comment section. Talk to you all soon!

Seize the day!
Ryan
22 October 2016 11:33 AM

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8 thoughts on “XIII. The INFJ Door Slam

  1. Thank you for sharing! I wrote something months ago and didn’t realize until now i was talking about the door slam. I had no idea at the time what it was. I said something to the effect of…(instead of keeping the door open I’ve now closed it. It doesn’t mean I won’t open it again, but “said person” would have to choose to knock first).

    The relationship I was talking about in this case was complicated. I sent him running in the end because my messages “freaked him out”. I actually felt “creepy” for awhile until I realized I was only wanting to know why his actions contradicted his words and why his behavior was so passive aggressive. Everything he promised he’d never do, he did. I just wanted to understand and at least come out as friends. I think he was paranoid and of course didn’t understand me. I was honest from the beginning about what I wanted and I don’t think he was…with me or himself. Maybe if I was a “go with the flow” person the outcome would have been different, but we both know that’s not an option. I closed the door because I knew that’s what he wanted. He came “knocking” recently. Messaged me that he wanted to talk in person to apologize and explain himself. He went so far as to say when he’d come by. I gave one word responses to everything. (Didn’t want to scare him again) guess what happened? Nothing. I want to know what he had to say, but I’ll never contact him to ask. I’d still open the door if he knocked again, but I’m able to control the emotional reactions to him that I originally couldn’t. Please go read some of my posts when you have time…you’ll know which ones they are.
    You may be one of the few who understands and can read between the lines. I’ll even give you my email address so we can discuss it privately if it interests you.

    I recently sorta closed the door on a friend I’ve know for over 20 years. Not on her, but a certain situation she’s dealing with in her life. Her husband isn’t being honest with her about several things. I know it! He makes my skin crawl when I’m around him. I told her how I felt because she asked. She didn’t want to hear it and attacked my character and intentions. I closed the door to her regarding that part of her life in order to maintain the friendship. She still comes to me and I hide what I really what to say and smile and nod. I never agree with her tho and my tongue hurts some days from biting it so hard. I’m baffled by the lies she tells herself to maintain the life she wants, but doesn’t really have.

    Sorry for so much personal info…it’s your post after all. I don’t really know if I can say I’ve slammed the door on anyone forever. I tend to think I’d always open it again if they knocked, but they’ve taught me how to respond to them and I’m able to keep my emotions in check. I guess it all boils down to…if I care about you, I always will. I’ll open the door again, but they have to choose to knock.

    Thanks again for writing the door slam post and I’m sorry for making the comment section about me!

    Like

    • I’m glad you liked the post, and please don’t be sorry about sharing your experiences! I think as INFJs we are are conditioned to apologize every time we discuss something we are passionate about, because most people just don’t understand. I want this to be a place where people are free and comfortable to share their experiences. 🙂

      I completely agree that once I care about someone, I always will. I just learn to adjust the way I feel about the situation. The issue is that I tend to hope and hope that I will get that message one day… and I never do. I hold on for so long to people who legitimately don’t care about the way I feel. Because of that, I have recently been learning to try to let go. Deep down though, if those people somehow found a way to own up to their actions and truly be better, I would take them back in a heartbeat. For some reason they just never do.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article and could connect it to your past encounters! 🙂

      Seize the day!
      Ryan

      Liked by 2 people

      • I understand that so well. Continuing to hope for something that may never happen while at the same time knowing you have to move forward for your own emotional health.

        Maybe we don’t really “let go” in the traditional sense and yet we don’t get “stuck” in those moments either.

        We move forward…we move on…and yet we continue to hope that one day we’ll hear that knock on our door. I’m okay with that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hii Ryan. I was waiting specially for this post. Now, I am actually sure that I am an INFJ too. Earlier this month, I did exactly what you mentioned above, it’s just that I didn’t know there’s a term ‘Doorslam’ for it. I could relate to every line. This one relates a lot, ‘The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is apathy.’

    I understand my behaviour, it’s very justifiable now. Thankyou very much for writing this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hii Ryan! Thankyou for writing all this down. This cleared out a lot if things for me. I loved this: “The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is apathy.” This is so correct. Thankyou. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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