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!
22 October 2016 11:33 AM