Introverts and friendship
Are you an introvert? Congratulations! You’re stunning! But sometimes being an introvert can come with a lot of challenges. When it comes to friendship there’s a whole universe to explore. If you find the right friends that is.
As introverts, we are pretty picky with friends. We love to have friends, but we seek meaningful, deep relationships over shallow acquaintances. We want to connect on a deep level.
That’s why it’s so important for us to get that connection in the start of a relationship. It’s if we ask ourselves if this friendship can measure up to our standards. And oftentimes those standards are freakishly high. The bottom line is that we want to see if this is a relationship that is going to last.
Is your new friend a perfect match?
We don’t easily open up to people, but occasionally we find someone that seems to match our criteria. Occasionally we come across a new acquaintance that seems to be all nice and normal. So we open up. But after a while they turn out to have no boundaries and have no problems with stepping on yours. You’re experiencing a toxic friendship.
Since you seek to deepen the relationship as fast as possible, chances are you invested a lot of time, effort and energy into this person. We tend to invest way too much in the beginning of a relationship because we tend to see the good in people.
And that can sometimes backfire and turn out to be a huge disappointment for us. This is when we know we’ve come across a toxic relationship, and by then it might be too late to back out.
It doesn’t have to be a toxic relationship either. Maybe you like them and all, but you also know that every time you’ve spent time with them, you’re drained of energy and need several hours of solitude to recharge after a session wth them.
Another issue with introverts is loyalty with long term friends. The fact that we want to stick to the friends we have makes it hard for us to even think about splitting apart even if we’ve grown apart and should have ended the relationship years ago. If we’ve been friends with someone since high school it can be a hard decision to make.
Loyalty can stand in the way of letting go of a friendship that no longer serve a purpose for you. We hate to disappoint people, even when they treat us badly. Many of us are natural people pleasers and just the thought of having to confront someone with the message that we don’t want them in our life anymore can build up an anxiety.
The thing you have to remember is that this is a natural part of your life. People will come and go, and naturally seek their way into and out of your life. Some friends stick together for life, but in other cases friends come and go throughout life.
The first thing you will have to identify if you don’t know if you’re ready to let go yet, is to ask yourself some questions:
- Does hanging out with this friend leave you with exhaust?
If the answer is yes, let go.
- Does hanging out with this person add something meaningful to YOU?
If the answer is no, let go.
- Does this person ask me questions about how you are feeling? Is he/she interested in YOU and what you can provide for them?
If not, it’s definitely time to let go.
- Does he/she hint and say things that hurt you (even if they do it is in a playful way)?
If yes, time to think about letting go.
These are examples of what can happen in a toxic friendship, and you shouldn’t have to put up with that. Try to go through the times you were angry with them for some reason. See if you can find a pattern in the situations where you feel anger, because that’s often a good way to identify the pain spots in your relationship. Why did you get angry or hurt?
Study the behaviour of your toxic friends
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you may be over sensitive or lack a sense of humor if they say something that hurts you. Even if they think what they said is funny, it isn’t funny to you if you’re hurt. Don’t buy it. It’s a strategy that energy thieves use to get themselves to feel better about themselves.
Maybe you ask yourself why all of a sudden you find it hard to spend time with your friend. Maybe you’ve been friends since forever. Why is it that you see all these flaws right now all of a sudden? It’s like something is telling you that enough is enough and you’re fed up with. this kind of behavior.
Loyalty and clinginess
Chances are you’re in an outgrowing-your-toxic-friend-phase in your life. If you allow yourself to grow, you will soon see this friend as clingy instead of a loyal friend. There are two sides of the same coin here: when you’re on your personal growth path, what seemed to be loyalty at first becomes clinginess when you see it from another perspective.
Maybe it’s them who don’t want you to grow since they know that this growth will lead to the inevitable situation that you decide to leave them. If they truly know you they know what a good and loyal friend you can be, and that can be a hard punch in the face to realize for them.
You know you’re worth so much more than to allow people to treat you in a bad way. Your growth path should never be darkened by someone who tries to cling on to you even though you’ve outgrown them. If this is the case, you’ve probably already decided to leave. As an introvert and especially an INFJ you have so many beautiful characteristics and natural benefits. You don’t want to waste that on toxic people.
I can almost hear you thinking:
How on earth am I supposed to TELL them that??
It’s not going to be easy. Being an introvert and especially an INFJ you wouldn’t even want to think about what they would say or how they would react if you suddenly brought that up.
Alternative ways to tell them
If you can’t tell it to their face, try one of these methods to work up your courage a bit:
Practice the break up scenario in your head. You’re already good at making up fake conversations in your head. Don’t give me that look. You’re a master at it. Now do it.
If you know someone well (which you do since you’re an introvert) you can probably immediately hear their possible answer and see their reaction before your eyes.
Write a letter to your toxic friend. You can say what’s on your mind with so much more accuracy if you write down what you want to say, edit the draft and write it once more. You will have all the time you need to think everything through, and they won’t even have a chance to interrupt you.
Note: if you’ve been in a toxic relationship for too long, chances are you restrain yourself from speaking your heart’s true feelings. Try to identify if and when this happens during the writing process. You can get a lot of clues on what the real problem is if you find the spots where you censor yourself. That might be the pain points in your relationship.
Take a break from your toxic friends
If you’re not ready to say goodbye to them forever, consider taking a break. Tell them that you need to focus on your job, family, writing or whatever you need to get some space. if you don’t have the courage to tell them the truth just yet this can be a transition period for you. What you can expect to happen is that you will get a chance to breathe and let the empty space they leave behind for a while be filled with someone else’s energy.
With this action you’re telling yourself that you’re serious about serious about leaving this friendship behind, even if you’re not going cold turkey just yet. It’s like you’re saying to your higher self: “Okay, so I’ve learned my lesson. Please send me someone that is more suitable for the one that I’m about to transition into.” It’s almost as if all forces of the universe are conspiring to send you someone that matches where you are on your growth path.
If you take a break from a toxic relationship, you also give yourself a chance to see what life is like without that person. You will get a chance to experience a glimpse of a reality in which they are not a part, and you will be able to build momentum from there.
Soon enough, if you run into them, you will be amazed at what you’ve let yourself put up with for so long. This allows you to grow in peace without the toxic person to ruin the experience for you. Soon enough someone else will take their place in your life.
The door slam
Maybe you’re familiar with the concept of the “INFJ door slam”? I’ve always considered that expression a bit misleading since an INFJ never would slam the door. They would be much more likely to quietly back out of the room never to be seen again.
The door slam is when we’ve had enough. We’ve done everything we can to save the relationship, but we still can’t manage to get the other person to understand that they can’t treat you this way. When we shut the door, the person on the other side of that door can be sure that they have crossed some lines for the last time.
If you’ve tried everything and nothing else works, the door slam might seem like the only option left. It’s not the best solution though. When you slam the door you haven’t really learned how to deal with the situation properly, and there’s a good chance that life will throw another similar person your way just to give you a chance to get the lesson right this time. Another thing is that the person you slammed the door at will hardly get a chance to realize what they did wrong.
If nothing else works, you can see the door slam as the last resort. You shouldn’t have to come this far in a toxic relationship. But if that is your only option, consider it anyway. Nothing should stand in the way of your personal growth.