My mood was set to the silliness of our conversation, so I wasn’t prepared when my friend unknowingly made a comment that hurt me deeply. Anger shocked my body stiff. I stared at my phone for minutes before shutting it off. I was on my couch for much longer before I could unclench my body from itself. I now had a question that demanded an answer — should I slam the door?
If you’re an INFJ like me (one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types), emotions can rock you slow and hard, and you don’t always express your pain for fear of conflict. We’re Extroverted Feelers, which means we have a deep need to create and sustain harmony among everyone, even at the cost of our own comfort. And if that harmony erodes, if the emotions throttle us to the point of shutting down, we might slam the door on the relationship.
A door can take time to close. Continual disrespect, too many mistakes forgiven, it can be the result of buildup over several weeks or months, years even.
It can also be sudden.
But a door can be closed too quickly. There are doors that should be locked — and stay locked — but other relationships can be brought back before they’re lost. And not only can we save our relationships, we can also help ourselves. We can strengthen our bonds with others, understand our boundaries and needs more, and learn to stand more firmly in our truth.
INFJ, before cutting someone out of your life, ask yourself these five questions.
What INFJs Should Consider Before Slamming the Door
1. What do I need?
INFJs are notorious people-pleasers (I’m guilty!), so we often become the doormat in the house we’re building for others. If we can’t make a situation better without inviting tension, we may suffer silently or, of course, reach for the door.
But we need to remember that we, too, are people. We desire to be satisfied, understood, and respected. It may be hard, but before considering the other person, ask yourself what you need. Do you require safety? Supportive family? To express yourself? To be heard? Once you find your answers, take them in like air. They’ll keep you standing.
I kept thinking in terms of what would happen to my friend and, in turn, to our relationship. There lay my frustration, because I couldn’t predict her actions or how I would respond to them, so I could never reach a decision. But when I centered myself in the process and removed her from it, I could focus on what I needed as a person — I needed to be heard and understood.
2. What do I need from others?
Once you know what you want, you can widen your range to include what you need from others. Truly knowing what you need will give you the push to ask of others. I eventually contacted my friend again to explain why her comment was hurtful. I wasn’t hopeful. I definitely wasn’t 100% confident. But I knew I had to speak up for myself. Fortunately, my friend listened.
Realistically, this won’t always be the case. There’s no guarantee your friend, roommate, or relative will listen, or fully understand if they do. It’s dispiriting to build up the nerve only for a lukewarm or negative response to weaken it. It disrupts the harmony we strive to maintain. You may slam the door at this point or keep it open, but consider if your current relationships are serving you well. It can also be a time to build new connections with people who share your values.
It’s tempting to slip back into our habits and shy away from tough conversations altogether, but INFJ, keep speaking up. Whether or not we get the response we want, slamming a door without voicing our honesty can devalue the worth of our needs.
3. Did I give myself time and space?
Even the slightest taste of conflict can drive us into defense mode. We may react within a second to shield ourselves from deeper injury. But a decision made in the moment isn’t always fully formed.
If you’re able, grant yourself clear sight by removing yourself from the situation. Seize the raw emotion and forge it with your strong intuition to determine how you want to proceed. Our strongest tool, our Introverted Intuition, is a pretty good compass for directing us out of harm’s way. Give it space to work its magic. Give yourself time to understand what it’s telling you.
4. Is their apology active?
Consider if they are genuinely sorry in the first place. Then, is their apology an action? “I’m sorry” only counts as much as the behavior that follows it.
People are human. We hurt each other, even us people-oriented INFJs. We don’t always mean to for lack of experience, education, or exposure, but we do. Saying sorry opens the door to healing, but it only does that — opens it. It’s up to the other person to come through with changed behavior and attitudes.
And it’s okay to demand more than a couple of words in return for the pain they caused — what do you need, and what do you need from others? If we’re geared toward maintaining harmony, then we can maintain it in a way that’s sustainable.
INFJ, take stock. If they did or said the same things before, their apology is not active.
5. Did they cross any lines?
Ultimately, some offenses are unforgivable. Threats to our bodies, financial independence, mental health, and personal voice can disrupt our ability to move through our lives with a full range of motion.
It’s up to us to determine what we won’t accept under any circumstances. Once the threshold for what we won’t tolerate is established, it’s okay to bolt the door shut, no matter what our people-pleasing instincts tell us. Our security, safety, and freedom should always be top priorities.
Allowing myself time and space, I turned these questions around in my head for weeks. I discovered what I needed, communicated my needs to my friend, and found her actions spoke louder than her words. I extended forgiveness, but more importantly, I affirmed what I needed for myself.
As INFJs, we value our relationships highly, and we’ll do whatever we can to raise them to the highest standard possible. And as Feeling types, reaching for the door may be a cleaner solution when that standard isn’t achieved.
On the same coin, we’re also Introverted Thinkers — we can employ logical thought processing to decide if a relationship is worth holding on to. By carefully and honestly examining these questions, INFJ, you can reach a conclusion that aligns with your truest desires. It’s a more kind way of fulfilling your need to create harmony for others and within yourself.