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Practical Advice for Overcoming Problems in INFP Relationships

Practical Advice for Overcoming Problems in INFP Relationships

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who you felt like was your complete opposite? I have. And it’s frustrating. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about!

Sometimes you just want to bash your head into a wall because you don’t understand why the person does what he/she does. And what happens as a result?

Conflict.

Despite what people think about conflict, it’s not inherently negative. While most people dislike it – and/or try to avoid it – how you deal with it is what will inevitably make or break a relationship.

One of the reasons we have so many problems in relationships is because of our differing personality types. One of the most popular personality tests is called the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Test. If you haven’t heard of it, 16personalities.com is a good reference to read up on it.

One of the sixteen personality types is the INFP. It stands for Introversion – Intuition – Feeling – Perception. As with any other kinds of personalities, people with this type have characteristics that can cause problems in relationships.

So, let’s take a look at some of them, and then figure out how to overcome them.

8 Potentially Problematic Characteristics of the INFP Personality Type

Before we talk about some of these seemingly negative personality traits, let me just say that INFPs also have some very redeeming qualities as well. However, that’s not what we’re here to talk about.

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So, let’s take a look into an INFPs mind and see how we can have successful relationships with them.

1. They can be procrastinators.

Yeah, I know. Most people are procrastinators at some time or another – especially when they don’t want to do something. However, INFPs tend to procrastinate a little more than most people. They don’t tend to be very good at regulating their time, so they tend to put things off longer than they should.

If you are the type of person who hates procrastination, then you just need to accept that it’s a reality for most INFPs. Perhaps you can gently remind them of the things that need to be done ahead of time.

Or, if you are in control of telling them when the “due date” is, you could simply tell them that it is a bit earlier than it really is.

2. They can be lazy.

“Lazy” tends to be a pejorative word. It’s fine when you’re lazy because you’re on vacation and laying on a beach all day long. But when it’s the weekend and some projects need to get done around the house, or you simply want to go out and have some fun, well, the INFP might not be on board with you.

I was married to an INFP for a while, and I used to joke that it was like pulling teeth trying to get him showered, off the couch, and out the door to do anything on the weekends.

But the key is to inspire them, encourage them, and plan things that will naturally interest them. If they feel pressured to do something, they might resist. So, refrain from name-calling or so-called nagging. Because it might get you the opposite result of what you want.

3. They like to isolate themselves.

Introverts tend to need a lot of alone time. That’s because that’s how they re-charge. Being around people for an extended period of time is draining to them. So, you can understand how an extrovert would be confused by this need, since they are the opposite. In fact, a lot of extroverts take it as a person insult if the introvert wants to spend “too much time” alone.

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If you are in introvert yourself, then this won’t be a problem for you. But for us extroverts, it does sometimes hurt our feelings. We think that if someone likes or loves us, then they should want to spend as much time as they can with us.

So, extroverts just need to accept that INFPs need a lot of alone time, but it’s not because of you. It’s simply who they are.

4. They like to be spontaneous.

Spontaneity can be either good or bad, depending on who you are and what someone is being spontaneous about. Some people, like me, hate spontaneity (unless someone surprises me with an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii and already cleared my schedule ahead of time!). To me, if someone won’t plan something with me ahead of time, I find it rude.

But INFPs don’t like to be boxed into a corner. They like to keep their options open. I know several INFPs, and almost none of them even keep a calendar (which blows my mind!).

So, if you are like me, just sit down with them and talk about your need to plan. Tell them that you understand their need to be spontaneous. And then ask that you both meet in the middle sometimes.

5. They can be quiet and reserved.

Not all introverts are quiet and reserved. However, as a whole, they do tend to be more reserved than extroverts. Again, if you are an introvert this might not bother you – you might even prefer it. But for extroverts, it might present some problems.

I know quite a few couples where one is an extrovert and one is an introvert. And they all have the same struggle. For example, the extroverts are usually the ones trying to coax the introverts into some sort of social situation. And usually, the introverts will at least resist going. And even if they do, they tend to be more quiet in these situations, which frustrates the extroverts. They wonder why the introvert just won’t talk more!

What they have to keep in mind is that the introverts aren’t doing it on purpose. That is simply their nature. Once you accept that, then their quiet nature is no longer a “problem.”

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6. They have an extreme dislike of conflict.

As I mentioned above, conflict isn’t always a bad thing. It’s inevitable in any relationship, and sometimes it can help you grow and understand each other better. If handled properly, the two of you can become closer than ever.

However, the INFP has an extreme dislike of conflict. For example, I once dated an INFP guy for two months who completely “ghosted” me. I thought we were having a great time, but one day, I just never heard from him again. Obviously, he didn’t want to face me to break up with me, so he just thought it would be easier to slink away into the night and hope I forget about him.

Being an extrovert, this was a problem for me. I value communication and being up-front about everything. But INFPs don’t. And that’s fine. But not everyone is compatible with an INFP (myself included).

For other personality types who might not be as bothered by this behavior, just keep reminding your INFP that conflict isn’t bad. It can actually be a quite productive way to grow your relationship.

7. They prefer to move at a slow pace.

If you are entering into a romantic relationship with an INFP, you might not know if he/she actually likes you or not.

Many extroverts, like myself, tend to dive head first into a relationship when we finally find someone we like. We throw all caution to the wind and pour our hearts and souls into the other person. And we make it obvious that we like them and want to move the relationship further.

That’s not how INFPs are. They like to take things slowly. They don’t open up very easily to other people, and therefore, it takes some time to get to know them. It has nothing to do with the other person, it’s just who they are.

If you’re like that too, then it won’t be a problem. But if you’re like me, it may be disappointing or confusing to you since that’s not typically how extroverts operate.

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8. They struggle with self-examination.

For some people, self-examination is just natural and normal. For others, like INFPs, it is not.

I have been with a couple of INFPs before, and whenever I asked them, “Why do you feel this way?” or “Why did you do this?” (in a non-accusatory way), I usually got the response, “I don’t know.” And I always thought to myself, “How can he not know?!? If he doesn’t know… then who does?!?”

I used to think they were just being difficult and didn’t want to tell me. And it took me a while to realize that they really didn’t know.

As difficult as it was for me to accept that someone could not know why they think or act the way they do, I just had to realize that’s just how some people are. And that’s okay. Pushing them to figure themselves out won’t work. Some people just aren’t very capable of it, and an INFP is one of them.

The Bottom Line

I don’t like to say that these 8 characteristics are inherently negative, because they aren’t. It’s all a matter of perspective. For every person who despises spontaneity, there’s another person who loves it. Some people love to socialize, and others don’t. It doesn’t make them “bad people.” It just makes them different.

So, the important thing to remember here – whether it’s about INFPs or any other personality type – is that you have two choices. First, either accept and love the person for who they are (because you will never change them). Or second, find someone else that you are more compatible with if these differences bring you that much angst.

We all need to learn to accept people who are different than us, and to work through problems that arise out of those differences. It’s definitely possible. And now you know a little more about the INFP personality and the potential problems that can come along with them, hopefully you can work through your issues a little bit better in the future.

More Resources About Personality Types

Featured photo credit: Jared Sluyter via unsplash.com

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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Poorly-Timed

Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

Being Honest

Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How to Deal With Anger

If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slow Down

From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

2. Focus on the “I”

Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

3. Work out

When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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5. Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

6. Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

7. Be Grateful

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go or motivated. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

More Resources on Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

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