Hadley Ajana on INFJ Friendship

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HADLEY AJANA (infj) ON FRIENDSHIP

As for being a perceptive person, I can only say that it’s a mixed blessing. When I’m driving and my mind is free I often think of John the Baptist wondering through the wilderness prophesying about the messiah to come.  Then I think of his head on a platter. 

Although I have a deep and strong emotional nature, I find it does not lead my relationships.  One of the great parts about growing older for me was realizing that relationships are a choice.  While I enjoy groups often, I think I score as an introvert on the personality tests because my energy is contained.  I do not offer it freely to others.  My nature is to try then trust gradually.  This is a method of relating born out of experience.  It is too costly to expend my resources on someone who does not appreciate my time, money, thoughts, or feelings. 

It takes me less than 5 minutes in most cases to make the decision about whether my energy is valued.  What I learned as a young adult is that most people don’t want or deserve a second chance.  This is an example of what I mean:  if I’m talking to someone and (s)he can’t maintain eye contact or focus on what I’m saying, I politely end the conversation.  There is no point in trying to build a relationship nor extend another opportunity to do so.  Every now and then someone will make an effort to show they’re worthy, apologize, reach out and let me know they can do better, but that’s rare.  I have to respect myself and that means not casting my precious pearls before swine.  I just move on.  I’m fine without them.

For practical reasons I am sometimes forced to make small talk, maintain a contact with someone because (s)he can get me what I want or need.  There’s a place for that.  The trick is to be clear about the reason for the relationship yet still sincere in one’s dealings.  The more I grow, the less often I find myself in this predicament.

There are some cases when it takes me longer than 5 minutes to see that I’m wasting my time or money on a lost cause or someone who doesn’t appreciate me.  I have honed my perception to make these incidents as rare as possible since they’re so costly.  I no longer have the energy I once did to visit people who don’t want to see me or talk about me behind my back, loan my hard-earned pay check to folks who will throw my good money after bad, or spend an evening away from my family nursing the emotional needs of someone who is just using me to avoid doing his/her own hard work.  Once I’ve invested even a small amount of emotion or time or money in someone or something it’s exponentially harder to walk away, but I know now that I have to.  To not do so would be gambling on a long-shot jackpot payoff.  I can’t afford those risks. 

Let me say that I am a strong believer in the intrinsic value of some things.  Why tell the truth, be honest, keep your word, pay your debts, and treat others the way you want to be treated? It’s certainly not the road to fame, wealth, or power.  Those qualities are valuable for their own sake. We strive to maintain those standards because we can live with ourselves, not so that others can live with us.  There are some cases where I give my love and support to someone because the experience of loving and supporting them is valuable to me.  It’s not really about me and them; it’s about me and me, or me and God.   In those cases it’s especially important to be clear that I am giving freely because I choose to give.  When you choose to give nothing is taken from you and no outcome is a disappointment.  I was once given a kitten who was very sick.  I carried her around like a rag doll for a week, nursing her limp body, talking about her with the vet, running energy through her soul. Nothing prevented her inevitable death in my arms, but my efforts were not a waste of time or money.

Of course I falter sometimes.  I give out of guilt, find that I’ve misjudged someone, relate out of obligation.  But the older you get, the more you know yourself, and the easier it is to say no and to know when you have to say no.  Once it’s clear that I have to say no, I do. That’s because I couldn’t live with myself otherwise. I hate a coward more than anything.

As for being a perceptive person, I can only say that it’s a mixed blessing. When I’m driving and my mind is free I often think of John the Baptist wondering through the wilderness prophesying about the messiah to come.  Then I think of his head on a platter.  Seeing the future, looking through people, being able to predict the logical outcome of most events is not a favored talent (skill?) in our society.  There’s no American Idol for psychics, no Apprentice for psychologists.  I thought a graduate degree might give me more credibility and literally force people to take my opinions seriously. It doesn’t.  It seems silly to me now that I thought it would.  I know the truth. Most people don’t listen. I’ve learned to live with that.

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~ by nancyfenn on July 19, 2007.

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