I used to think that I didn’t need friends. In fact, I made it a thing about me that I’m a loner, too weird for anyone to handle for too long.
The vast majority of my friends have been temporary. I went to 13 different schools in the 12 years I was in grade school. My family wasn’t in the military. In fact we didn’t even move from the same location. We just always had a difficult time with staying with one school. I always went to small church schools that were either new or we’d go to a different church, so new school. It really was a mess. So I learned that my friends were only friends for the year. Then I’d move on to a new place.
This continued into my work as well. I’ve had a few jobs in my working years. And every time I leave a job I leave those friends behind. It’s never really bothered me that much because I don’t like being too close to the people at work. I don’t want them to know the real me. It’s just better to keep them at arm’s length.
But when you have no childhood friends and very few work friends, and you don’t like going out in public or talking to people online, where do you find friends? And do we really even need friends?
Every time my life falls apart
Every time my life falls apart, which happens frequently, I feel the need to move to a new city. It’s like a compulsion. I have this idea that everything will be perfect if I can just start over new somewhere that’s NOT HERE. Because obviously I’ve messed up here too much. So if I go somewhere new, then I can finally be the person that I want to be and have all the things I imagine. It will be perfect.
Moving to Boston
When I moved to Boston that was my feeling. The funny thing is that it actually worked better than any other time i’ve moved. Things just kinda fell into place.
I love the Boston attitude where you can ride the train with 500 other people and it’s understood that no one talks. If someone does, they get nasty looks from everyone until they stop. It made me feel right at home, as I also hate people who talk.
I was waiting for a train one day, along with about 50 other people, and this woman walked up to me and said, “So, how does this work?”
I looked at her with a side eye and said, “You’re not from around here. Are you?” So annoying that she wouldn’t know how the trains work and that you’re not supposed to talk to people. I’d only learned this 3 months prior, but clearly I had accepted it as a part of my being already.
“No. I’m from Pensynvania!”
This was the first time in as long as I can remember that someone had walked up to me and wanted to be my friend. I wasn’t sure what to do. Thankfully I’m polite enough that I explained what she needed to know and we kinda just kept talking. After that day we rode the train together almost every day, to work and back home, for the next 6 months, up until I stopped taking the train to work.
Same song, second verse. Temporary friends.
The job from hell
The first job that I had in Boston, I met 2 wonderful, smart, sarcastic, weird ladies who were weird just like me. I hated that job with a passion and was desperately trying to get out after only being there 3 months. I wanted to leave so much, but I hated the thought of leaving my friends. The worse that our work environment got, the more we bonded over it.
One day one of them declared that we would be friends even after we all got new jobs. I secretly thought she was crazy. I’ve made this promise before and it’s never worked out that way.
Surprisingly, I was the first one to get a new job and leave. On the day I left, one of my friends gave me a hug. It was a huge deal because we had discussed before how neither of us are huggers. I really didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want our friendship to end.
Thankfully, it didn’t. We made a point to get together for dinner several times and have kept in touch via group text messages. It’s so nice to have people to talk to that are weird like me. So very nice.
INFJs need connection
I always thought that I was just a loner. I knew that I was so different from everyone else and I hated having to be nice to them, while holding back my true self. I hated all of the frivolous conversations and endless politeness I had to put on. So I just stopped doing it and all my “friends” would disappear. Good riddens!
As I’ve gotten older though I’ve realized that I really do need connection. Not the typical “friends” that most people have or the work friends that are only surface level conversations. I could do without all of those forever.
What I really need are good friends, good INFJ friends. People who want to talk about the depths of our soul, the meaning of life, the purpose behind our thoughts, the desires that we don’t share with ANYONE. That’s what I need.
I never even imagined there were other people out there like me. Ever.
But then I started my Instagram account in 2018 (@infjwoman) and I realized that there are a lot of people out there just like me. Once I started talking to people and making friends, I realized there was this amazing connection between us. There’s no need for explaining things, there’s no need to hide my excentricities. They get it.
Someone says something like, “I listen to the same song over and over again for weeks and it helps me get into that creative place in my head that I need to write well.” And my first thought is, “OMG I DO THAT TOO!!! I thought it was just me! Do you EVEN KNOW how many people have called me CRAZY for doing that?!?!”
There’s such an amazing power in that “me too” factor. It’s almost indescribable the feeling that you get when you hear someone tell you how they feel or explain something they do that other people would cringe from, but you just get it. It makes sense because you feel the same way and do the same things.
How to make friends
The best way to make friends as an INFJ is to find other INFJs who get you. We need that validation from people who understand us, especially if we’ve never had it. It’s a power like no other.
So… where do you find other INFJs? That’s a good question. I spend most of my time at home, especially now that I work from home. I barely go out except for Starbucks and groceries and an occasional shopping trip for books. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for mingling or meeting new people.
The best way I’ve found to meet other INFJs is online. That’s where we all seem to hang out.
I’ve tried and failed to create a community for INFJs in the past and I want so very much to try again. I really feel like we truly need a community that’s just for us. A place where we can go to make friends who are weird like us. A place where we can be ourselves and find that connection that we’ve all been dreaming of.
It’s out there. I promise you. You’re not the only one.
I’ve created a weekly newsletter that includes access to a community forum, just for INFJs. It’s called the INFJ Post. It’s a website for INFJs to come together, learn about ourselves and connect with other like minded people. I hope you’ll check it out!