how can you help an infj through their tough times as a close friend?
By and large, INFJs have very few close friends. To be their friend means that they trust you, enjoy sharing experiences with you, and find meaning and direction for themselves through you. While these may be qualities of any friendship, with INFJs it’s more intense, emotional, and exclusive. They are true introverts after all, despite being the most extraverted among them.
Before you can help an INFJ, you first must understand what troubles them. Typically, they will not seek help for themselves until they have exhausted all effort on their own and find themselves at an impasse. If you initiate a conversation to ask what has them down, expect a rebuff or minimalization in your first attempts. Respect their response but be persistent. Remember they are hesitant to share themselves, even to a close friend, until they feel confident that you will not reject them.
Why the fear of rejection? Why the attitude of going it alone rather than seeking help? INFJs at their core believe they are bad people and unworthy of anything good. They are unforgiving of themselves in spite of their ability to forgive others. Many even believe that if anyone gets to know the “real” them, ridicule and abandonment will surely follow. Know that it’s their “special” form of perfectionism, hypocrisy, and pride. Like everyone else, they must come to terms with their imperfections in order to realize their full potential.
As far as the source of their pain, it may be any number of things. It could arise from a need to be understood or listened to. It could be a fear of incompetency, or of failing to live up to certain standards. They may have lost themselves by associating with broken individuals thinking they could help them only to find themselves mirroring them. They may have become emotionally and spiritually linked to a toxic individual or belief system and unable to extricate themselves. Regardless, self-doubt and worry about the impact on others, even in abusive situations, complicates resolution.
Helping them requires that you listen to them, reason with them, reassure them, and above all be truthful with them. They absolutely want and need honest criticism and advice. In fact, if you don’t offer some criticism, they won’t take you seriously. Challenge them intellectually. Confront them with facts. Don’t minimize, sugarcoat, or be overly complimentary. INFJs want to improve, not just feel good.
INFJs want to see the potential in themselves that they so readily see in others, so give them ideas, provide them with choices, and show them opportunities. They are built to help others become better people. Help them find that place now and for the future. Help them aspire to a vision they make their own.