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5 Ways INFPs Can Improve Their Relationships

Probably everyone wants to improve their relationships in some way. INFPs are no different. But, INFPs often perceive unique relationship challenges based on their particular personality characteristics. If you can think differently about your relationships, you can change them for the better.

Realize that not everyone is scrutinizing you the way you are scrutinizing yourself.

INFPs are introspective. You know a lot about yourself. And, you probably are very aware of yourself when you are in a social situation. But realize that you are probably way more sensitive to what you are doing than other people around you are.

When you understand that the person you’re talking to isn’t fixated on every detail of your behavior, you can relax and actually enjoy their company. Let go of the little things you feel you are doing wrong. I can almost assure you the other person hasn’t noticed.

Know that you have qualities that other people really enjoy.

INFPs are very likeable. This may come as a surprise to you if you generally think that you are “too quiet” or “too sensitive” or “not social enough.”

For one, INFPs tend to really like people in a very genuine way. People like people who like them, and others pick this up about you. Also, there is probably a fair chance that you are a good listener, and this always goes over well. Just remember to do a little talking yourself. Let people in on all the observations you pick up that they probably aren’t very conscious of. Who knows? You may even be funny.

Don’t try to compete with others.

Have you ever wanted to be that person who always has something to say and seems to be surrounded with people everywhere they go? Yeah, don’t try and out-do that person at their own game. Just be yourself.

That may look a lot quieter and reflective than that person described above, but you will be much more attractive to people as you really are. And, you will probably attract people to you who are a good match!

Discover the art of small talk.

This is important. Generally, INFPs want to talk about things they feel have depth and meaning because this is very fulfilling for them. But when meeting people for the first time or interacting with people you don’t know well it’s best to start with some small talk.

The key here is to understand that its not the content of what you are talking about that matters. It’s simply that you are talking and making a connection with someone else. So talk about the most obvious things – the weather, a popular current event, traffic conditions, where you live, etc. There are plenty of things to talk about when you think about what things people most have in common with each other.

Laugh at yourself.

When you think about all the things that make you different from other people (or that make you feel like you’re different) it can be overwhelming to try and relate. But, if you can observe yourself (which you can) and see the humor in the way you do things, you can use those differences to forge a connection with someone else.

For instance, if people constantly find you staring out the window seemingly doing nothing (you know and I know that you are thinking), make a joke out of it. It will diffuse the tension. You have to understand that for many people that seems like a strange thing to do, but to INFPs it’s totally normal! The trick is to understand this, but to still feel comfortable with it. That’s where you can find the humor and share it with other people. They will appreciate it.

Any other ideas to add? Leave them in the Comments below.

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Jay Schryer December 14, 2010, 3:32 pm

    I think the big one for me is small talk. I seem to have a pretty good grasp on the rest of them, but small talk trips me up every single time. I’d much rather say nothing than say something meaningless, but I understand that deep conversations aren’t always appropriate, so I’m usually left with nothing to say.

    As with everything, it’s a work in progress.

  • Pete Summers February 22, 2011, 4:26 am

    Great advise. I suggest any of Leil Lowndes books for any INFP’s looking to improve their relationships (like myself) but especially ‘How to Be a People Magnet’ (ISBN 0-8092-2434-8). It’s fantastic!

  • Jessica March 1, 2011, 5:32 pm

    This is a lovely list, Amanda! I’ve always really liked small talk, actually–it tends to put the other person at ease, and sometimes I learn something that’s completely new to me which is always fun. I do have trouble with the in between, though–what comes between small talk and deep, meaningful talks… Sometimes I skip from one to the other (after I’ve gotten to know someone a bit) and I know the tonal shift can be a bit jarring, especially for people who don’t make intuitive connections between topics as quickly as INFPs do.

  • Bengt Wendel April 10, 2011, 3:26 am

    This is a great post and I really relate to your list. Small talk has been the biggest issue for me, I was rather quiet than talked about “nothing”, but I’m improving.

  • Tara Moyle April 13, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Wow–just discovered this site and know I’ll be coming back here often. Small talk is the hardest for me too, unless it’s sort of in a “street theater” camp sort of way. But then I guess this really isn’t small talk then, is it?

    It’s also shocking to think that I could have qualities that others enjoy. I think of myself as such a gargantuan pain the ***!

    Thanks much for such a wonderful resource.

  • Amanda Linehan April 14, 2011, 8:32 am

    Hi Tara –

    “I think of myself as such a gargantuan pain the ***!”

    That gave me a good laugh. πŸ™‚

  • Greg August 29, 2011, 5:59 pm

    I appreciate your list, too. I probably second or third or fourth the comments about small talk. One of the methods I sometimes use to try to break this tension is storytelling. Since INFPs are often good yarn spinners, I find this an effective way to get a conversation going in a light-hearted way. The flip side to this, though, is that story telling can seem like a one-way interaction, and I’ve wondered if it appears as though I’m trying to dominate the conversation. Ah, but then I’ll just have to re-read your first tip and not scrutinize myself so much. πŸ™‚

  • Amanda Linehan September 2, 2011, 10:32 am

    Hi Greg – That’s an interesting idea about using storytelling. Good way to use your INFP strengths. πŸ™‚

  • Lauren October 1, 2011, 6:55 pm

    I just transferred to a new university, and I am so tired of all the small talk, especially since I am unsure of my career goals and am afraid of unemployment post-college. What if the INFP has nothing she is proud to say about herself?

  • Amanda Linehan October 9, 2011, 2:12 pm

    Hi Lauren – Maybe you should forget the small talk for now, and focus on the last question of your comment. Ask yourself why that is. The answer may give you a starting point for feeling better about yourself, so you can feel more confident in your new social setting. Go forward with what you find and Good Luck!

  • Amy October 10, 2011, 7:50 pm

    <3. Yes been caught starring out the window too. Must laugh at yourself when you know why. (INFP) Great insights.

  • Amanda Linehan October 15, 2011, 10:31 am

    Hi Amy – If there’s a window nearby, you just can’t help it! πŸ™‚

  • Karen December 8, 2011, 9:02 pm

    Hi Amanda. πŸ™‚ This list is great! What a breath of fresh air! I recently met someone, and am getting ready to fly out and meet his in-laws, which I am nervous about. (*Eep!*) I will remember to keep a sense of humor and not worry so much about “getting it right.” πŸ™‚ (It feels like I am flying in from a distant galaxy, attempting to make “first contact,” lol.) I really love your blog and will be checking back often!

  • Amanda Linehan December 9, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Hi Karen – Glad you found this post useful. Good luck with the in-laws!

  • Kenny December 14, 2011, 9:35 pm

    Hello I jus want to say that I completely can relate to all of these!! I a sophomore college student and I found that I was an INFP my freshmen year and it had me pegged. And I jus wanted to say that thanks for the positive insight lol

  • River January 9, 2012, 10:58 pm

    I struggle with social interactions a bit, i find them pretty physically exhausting. It’s really hard to know the middle ground, up to three people I’m peachy, talking my head off, four is too much with people I know. With people I don’t know, I’m great, I actually consider my self the kind of playdough that everyone sticks to at the begging, but dissolves in the water after a bit. I have a leader mom, so I’d say the hardest parts for me, are a. middle ground and b. not competing with extroverts. I know many soft spoken people like me who get over powered by the loud mouths, and I will be standing in the back saying listen, and after another half hour they decide to do what i was going to suggest, it’s frustrating, and there’s a part of me that refuses that that is the way it has to be. Suggestions?

  • Amanda Linehan January 26, 2012, 8:59 pm

    Hi Kenny – Glad you found this helpful! Nice to hear from another INFP. πŸ™‚

  • Amanda Linehan January 26, 2012, 9:11 pm

    Hi River – I think with the “loud mouths” if you try to talk over them, they will just get louder. πŸ™‚ You can still speak up and say your piece, without trying to out do the others. You can’t control whether they hear you or not, but at least you will have said what you need to say

  • Gilbert Sylvain September 28, 2013, 5:10 pm

    Staring out the window is a classic. As an junior high student, I stared out the window thinking for most of the class time. So, I ended up dropping out of grade 9, and getting into the work world with plans to implement those ideas. I later completed grade 12 and following that upgraded to provincial standards and a couple of years university towards a BSW.
    At a wedding function(or perhaps it was class reunion) in our hometown, in conversation with one of my teachers, she made this most resonating comment about me saying, “he was always staring out the window”. Haha.
    So Amada, this being my first search for INFP groups, I am truly delighted with your blog and enjoyed your 5 tips.

  • Amanda Linehan October 3, 2013, 11:07 am

    Hi Gilbert – Glad you liked this. I’ve also had my share of “getting caught” staring out of windows. I just can’t help it! πŸ™‚

  • M H November 15, 2013, 6:31 am

    The truth of life is that love is the most courageous and important thing you can ever do in your lifetime as it is the closest thing we have to magic and divinity. The highest of these challenges is falling in love with a stranger and producing a family.

    What if you were born knowing this truth? What if you were born knowing the philosophical truth in everything? How could you live as a human? How could you transcend the gap to enjoying base physical experience as do 96% of the population rather than pursuing the purity of the philosophical quest for knowledge as do 4% of the population? What would the world look like to such an individual? This is how I as an INFP see the world – in every layer it is a world that transcends the biological physical world but my burden is that I must physically participate in it.

    I was born already knowing, somehow, the truths of the philosophical world behind this physical one and I endlessly search for proof of what I already, somehow, know.

    I have looked far too hard for these truths in Love with no proof to be found. For in this world, it appears that people fall in love only bodily and Love lies purely on the surface. I struggle with relationships because if I don’t want to be alone then I must only fall in love physically, only showing the surface of myself and not who I truly am or how deep I go.

    The ultimate irony and tragedy for an INFP is that I think we will always feel lonely because we fall in love from our hearts and our souls, I know I feel it that deeply. But this love that is pure, incorruptible, stable and true is not even known here, let alone accepted.

  • Nneka January 3, 2014, 1:46 am

    Oh my gosh, thank you so much for posting this! I’ve seen this before, and I’m only just gathering up the courage to comment on this ’cause this is really touching since I’m in a relatively difficult time in my life.
    And I just wanna say, keep doing you Amanda, keep smiling, and being proud and making other people happy, cuz you’re doing a pretty good job! Oooh, but make yourself happy too! πŸ™‚

  • Amanda Linehan January 3, 2014, 11:31 am

    Hi MH – Thanks for your comment. I enjoyed reading it, and I hear what you’re saying. πŸ™‚

    Hi Nneka – Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you got something out of this post. And you’re right – I do need to make myself happy too! πŸ™‚

  • zelah March 28, 2015, 5:34 am

    small talk is hard for me too, I feel like it’s a waste of energy at times, like both people involved are just doing it to fill in uncomfortable space. I prefer to say nothing, I struggle to connect with people unless we can share deep conversation or I feel like they are letting me see their emotions. And haha I’m always staring out of windows or into things, people must think I’m such a space case.

  • Amanda Linehan March 31, 2015, 2:41 pm

    Hi Zelah – πŸ™‚ Glad you relate.

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