Since the explosion in popularity of Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, pop culture sort of exploded with introvert versus extrovert qualities via memes and the like. It’s safe to say nearly everyone has a good idea which side of the spectrum they fall on.
I am a true introvert, an INFJ — the rarest personality type. I require little social interaction and deeply crave solitude (preferably in a clean house, tbh). My social circle is microscopically small. I’ll always choose an audiobook or documentary at home over whatever is the latest at the box office.
I didn’t know this about myself until midway through college. Had I learned this earlier, I probably could have saved myself a lot of heartache and trial and error. Because I didn’t, I struggled through much of my adulthood with attempting to fit in, feeling misunderstood, then repeat.
These types are highly sensitive individuals with extreme intuition. After learning this about myself, many facets of my life started to make sense slowly. Before this, I believed that I was too sensitive and too much of a bookworm with a talent for very harshly cutting people out of my life. Then I learned about the infamous INFJ door slam. A technique deployed when the highly empathetic, deeply emotionally invested, and fierce protector parts of my personality have been exhausted one too many times. It’s a three strikes and you’re out kinda deal.
I had a friend from college. We bonded instantly. Something about being introverted and hailing from dysfunctional families really brought us together. For 15 years, we remained close friends. Through moves and career changes, marriages, break-ups, and tragedies. If you had asked me, I would have said we were still close friends but “our lives were very different now”.
They were different. I believed they were supposed to be different. Life moves on and people grow and change. Through one hurtful gesture at a time, our relationship chipped away.
I didn’t really notice at first. I truly believed the best in my friend. That he cared about me as much as I cared about him. That even if he said something terrible that it was my responsibility as his close friend to look over it. To a degree, I still believe this. We all have some deep, dark, brash moments. Over time, resentment started to build and I found myself developing an extreme intolerance to even minor interactions with him.
A few weeks ago we had a routine Facetime catchup. I could relay the details here but they don’t matter. What does matter is that the in-depth story he told me on an incredibly sensitive subject for me, was the last straw. So, I silently (and politely) closed the door.
It wasn’t about what my friend said. It was about the lack of emotional aptitude from someone that was afforded the privilege to be in my inner circle for so many years. It was about the extreme effort I put into the relationship and how much I deeply value connection. Eventually, I became exhausted, resentful, and increasingly irritated that my friend was making no effort to engage in any introspection.
The INFJ Door Slam
We have an innate ability to completely close the door on any relationship, never to be opened or walked through again. When it happens, there are often no hurt feelings, feelings of guilt, and no need to revisit the issues. If we have closed the door, there are no second chances, this relationship has ended. While we may still interact with this individual, the emotional depth and sincerity will not be present. We will be cordial and polite but offer little to no personal details or emotional investments. There are 3 stages to this classic, relationship ending door shutting, too.
The Land of 1,000 Chances
Giving the offender a second (and often third, fourth, fifth, or more) chance. During this stage, we will communicate that our feelings have been hurt and why. We may set expectations for how we wish to be treated in this relationship. Often during this stage, the behavior will be viewed as part of personal development.
When we have been made to feel invalidated or unheard, then started down the path of giving a second chance, resentment starts to build. Especially if a friend makes no effort to do any self-introspection or growth. INFJ’s are hyperaware of the motivations of others. Resentment builds during this phase because our tolerance is significantly decreased.
The Door Slam
Often, it happens over what can appear to be a minute gesture or action, making it seem abrupt and cold. It is ruthless but usually silent. By this time, we are emotionally exhausted and will close the door abruptly after deciding that this relationship is no longer worth our investment. Once the door is closed for us, the behavior of the other party will become completely intolerable. Where we once both gave and had a lot of grace we have none.
INFJ’s see both the good and bad in the world and do not view it through rose-colored glasses, though our sense of idealism can make it present as though we do. We believe in the best of humanity. When we close the door, it’s because we have felt invalidated, unheard, and disregarded for a long time, but have given every opportunity for the other party to notice or change direction. Ultimately deciding that it is no longer a situation that is good for us.
In a word, if an INFJ slams the door, you no longer exist to them. That doesn’t mean we wish you any ill-will or hope to see your demise. It simply means that we will no longer invest any energy into a relationship with you. Rest assured though that we are at peace with the situation and wish you the best, from afar.
Have you ever slammed the door or had the door slammed on you?
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