Like most introverts, INFJs hate small talk. One question in particular makes us cringe more than any other superficial query. Unfortunately for us, this loaded question is inescapable. It’s asked at nearly every opportunity:
“How are you.”
Being an INFJ myself, I thought it would be fun to express on Introvert Spring’s INFJ forum what goes on inside my head when I get asked how I am. I imagine all people struggle with this question to some extent, but for overthinking INFJs it can feel even more intense.
Here are 6 thoughts that can happen in a fraction of a second when an INFJ is asked “how are you?’
1.Do you want the truth or a cliché?
The truth is that I’m probably overwhelmed with emotion because of the goings on and imaginings inside my head. But I’ll likely answer with the clichéd “good” and a smile.
2. Can you handle my intense emotions?
Sometimes I feel an intense sense of loneliness, call it existential despair, or chronic sadness that comes from a deep sense of not knowing where I belong. I often feel out of place, so I get lost in life and lose the answer. It’s not just sadness I feel intensely.
Sometimes my heart is giddy with joy. I feel like a simple answer won’t do justice to that emotion either. Sometimes I may not answer with the clichéd “good” and a smile. Why must I smile when I don’t feel like it? Why is that not okay by societal standards and codes of conduct?
3. That’s a complicated question.
It’s not that I’m confused or unbalanced when it comes to my feelings. It’s just that for me, it’s a complicated question to explore. Yes, I could be deliriously happy and existentially sad at the same time, but how can I express such big emotions under the constraints of small talk?
4. Where’s my invisibility cloak when I need it?
I could also be having an inconspicuous day. A day that cannot be met with bubbling enthusiasm. A day, which needs no “try harder” lectures from perpetually perky extroverted personality types. Yes, I can have a day filled with quiet happy moments and the susurrus sounds of silence. I may not be loud. Or have one exciting experience after another. I’m serenely happy on those quiet days, in my own INFJ way.
5. Do I really have to answer that question?
Can’t it be okay for me not to answer that question if I don’t feel like it? Maybe I can simply nod and smile instead.
6. There are too many ways to answer that question!
At my core, I’m an over thinker, so when you ask me that question, many things come to me all at once. For instance, I feel great you cared enough to ask me that question. But when you don’t that’s all okay by me too.
It’s not that I don’t see the snowflakes, feel the sun burning my skin or see the oranges, blues and purples. I observe, feel and experience and also spend a lot of time inside my head.
I can have a conversation but are you willing to listen to how I truly feel? I can listen to you but are you willing to tell me your deepest secrets? Are you willing to tell me how you truly feel?
Why must we trust each other? As a herd animal, our primary instinct is to be suspicious of each other’s motives but as an evolving species must we not blindly trust every stranger and be who we are in that moment instead of just saying “fine”?
What I wish people knew before asking “how are you?”
As an INFJ, I tend to experience things intensely. I don’t know why, but I am wired this way. Just because I express a great interest in self, doesn’t make me uncaring. However, I also realize that spending more time inside my head than outside, and not being able to answer this question honestly at all times, does not equal apathy. I also truly, deeply, madly care about other human beings.
So, now it’s my turn.
How are you?
Feel free to answer in your own honest INFJ way. 😉
If you’re interested in connecting with other INFJs from around the world, join Introvert Spring’s private INFJ forum. We are truly a buzzing community! You’ll gain access to unique and 100% private discussions, INFJ blog posts, member events, and videos.