NF Types Managing Conflict: Part V

Everything went well at the Capitol. We got into a meeting, took our notes for our corresponding assignment, saw some friends and professors, and then headed back to the hotel to leave the city and head home.

When we got back to the hotel our friend was still not feeling well and blaming the new med. I had my own human reaction to that as well, why would you start a new antipsychotic med while you are our of town?? The truth is I was struggling with compassion because my frustration over violated boundaries was so intense. I am not proud of this but it is my truth and although I had trouble finding my compassion for the friend in that moment I can still try to show myself compassion when I have human reactions and struggle showing up as my best self.

So in order to make her comfortable for the car ride home we agreed to flip the third row of my SUV up so she could lounge back there alone and rest during the ling ride home. The agreement we all made when this decision was made is that everyone would have to take some of the luggage from the back up in their seat/row with them for the ride home because when the third row is up I lose almost all trunk space. We were able to fit one suitcase and a few small items in the trunk and the rest was displaced around the car.

I went to the lobby to check out while the girls solved the puzzle of where everything would now fit in the car and when I came back I was shocked to find that the second row had been filled to the brim with luggage and bags. The friend in the back took NO LUGGAGE. Um, excuse me princess, we had an agreement. Some of this shit is yours, you need to hold it back there with you.

Of course my sweet ENFJ friend had ended up with all the luggage next to her while the other two (who were both nursing hangovers but trying their best to disguise it) took nothing. NOTHING! I was pissed. This was just one more inconsiderate move from these two and I was over it.

For the sake of time I let it go and we got on the road. I was driving for roughly 45 minutes when my navigator/hung over friend up front decided to inform me that I was on my own in terms of navigating the GPS because she needed to take a nap. NOPE.

I immediately pulled over and made her get in the second row crammed into next to all the luggage and brought my ENFJ friend up front to navigate for me. We were both well rested as we got a solid 9 hours of sleep the nigh before, I was not playing games with the other two. It is a good thing too because we encountered bad weather the entire ride home and my ENFJ friend was not only navigating for me she was keeping updated on the weather radar and accident reports so we knew what was happening ahead of us. At one point we drove through a weather system with tornado warnings, I was thankful to have an attentive friend up front helping me navigate us safely home.

The last bit of nonsense from this trip actually occurred when we arrived at my home. The trip was over, everyone unpacked and left except for my friend from the third row on the pysch meds. She is not allowed to drive right now because of all the meds she is taking but she did not bother to arrange a ride home for herself. Apparently she was planning to either squat at my house until someone could come for her after work sometime or she was planning to put me on the spot and ask for a ride home. If she had discussed any of this with me at any point over the three days we were away or even before the trip I would have been more understanding but she never said a word. We got home and suddenly she didn’t have a plan and I was stuck with her.

I was exhausted. I had been dealing with her nonsense for days, I had just had a packed day, and driven four hours! I wanted to let my dog out, take a hot shower, start making dinner, and flop on the couch for a much deserved nap. I told her I had things I had to do and that it would not be convenient for me if she stayed. I told her she was welcome to call a cab or an Uber.

I left her in my drive way for a moment to figure it out while I went inside to let Lu out of her crate and take her potty, when I came back she had a plan. She said her boyfriend works 5 minutes from my house and he was on his way to get her. Great. I told her she was welcome to wait in my garage until he arrived. I know that seems cold, I didn’t even invite her in but after all that had happened I was not willing to take chances. She had taken advantage and tried to take advantage in so many ways with her behavior. I was not going to let her in my home so she could squat. It was easier to not invite her in than to invite her in and have to ask her to leave after she over stayed her welcome. She had already overstayed her welcome as far as I was concerned.

25 minutes later her boyfriend was no where to be found. I asked her what happened and she acted shocked that he still wasn’t there. She started texting and then said how he had gotten caught up and it would still be a while. I offered again the idea of the Uber, I really have to get on to these things I have to do, this is a bit of an inconvenience, no offense.

A few minutes later her boyfriend arrived and she got in the van leaving me with all her luggage. She literally left her luggage in my car for me to load for her into the van. That is IT! I showed her boyfriend where her stuff was and he loaded it for her. That was that.

I need sometime to get over the downs of this trip. Feelings were hurt, I personally felt disrespected and I know I am not the only one. I do think a few relationships were damaged beyond repair in terms of maintaining a friendship but I know professionally it will be okay. I don’t feel good about how I showed up at times but that is my NF piece that hates dealing with conflict. All this boundary setting that had to happen and use of assertive communication, it was so uncomfortable. I am not usually very rigid but when I feel violated I absolutely go into self-preservation mode. I know my friends are dealing with a lot in terms of personal issues but I do wish they would have practiced better self-care for everyone’s sake.

Of course there is room for bright spots in this and a big one for me was the level of bonding that came between myself and my ENFJ friend. We were both so uncomfortable and I think we both did a good job of being kind but firm and supporting each other in this as it was hard for both of us. I also feel proud of how I stood up for myself. I was not a doormat but I was not overly harsh either. Although I did not like being put in a position where I had to set boundaries and use assertive communication I think I did well overall. I was drained emotionally when she finally left yesterday though and did end up going to bed early after plenty of family cuddles as a way to take care of myself.

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NF Types Managing Conflict: Part III

While on this trip one of the topics that came up was MBTI. My one friend, the one who had never been in crisis, just recently took the test for the first time and discovered she was an ENFJ. We all talked about our different types together. I am INFP, another is INFJ, this friend is ENFJ, and the last friend said she has never taken the test but I am pegging her as an INTJ.

My ENFJ talked about our similarities at length regarding our two types since we are both NFs. One similarity is that we both abhor conflict and avoid it all costs. We are both peace keepers. One of the things she was processing with me over breakfast when it was just the two of us one morning was how she has trouble boundary sometimes because she is very self-sacrificing and does not want to hurt others. I get that. I have struggled with that as well and I have other ENFJ friends who I know have sacrificed their own emotional well being at times for others. Some of my best friends over the years have been ENFJs, including a few of my current soul friends. I think NFs are naturally drawn to each other because we process the world similarly.

These talks we had helped both of us support each other over the trip as we did have to start setting some pretty rigid boundaries with our friends on the trip.

The first boundary came when they were buying alcohol. My ENFJ friend and I knew we would not be drinking. We had to be up early, look professional, we would be in front of our professors and colleagues from the program not to mention elected officials, and then we would be in the car for four hours. It was going to be a long day. My ENFJ was not willing to risk the hang over. For me this was a no brainer because I stopped drinking all together last year.

We made it clear to our friends that they could do what they want but the plans were what they were for the next day and we would not be changing plans if someone was not feeling good.

We then decided to move my ENFJ friend into my room for the night so she would be able to rest and not get caught up in any possible alcohol induced shenanigans. We did not mean to assume the worst about our friends but they way they were talking at the store was not encouraging.

That night after I had called hubs and checked in for a while I invited my ENFJ friend into my room. We took turns in the shower, talked for a while, watched the amazing light show put on by a lightning storm out our window, and then read our books in bed together until bed time. We were asleep by 9:30.

It was a nice evening. I felt as comfortable with her as I do with any of my people that I am close with (family, soul friends, my husband). I know it is because of our similar personalities. Even our E and I are similar. While yes, she is an extrovert, she is an extrovert that needs quiet alone time because she gives so much of herself when she is out in the world. And while yes, I am an introvert, I am a social introvert because I spend so much time lost in deep thought that it is necessary for me to come to the surface and be social in my own way in order to maintain balance.

The one area we realized we differ is when it comes to our J and P parts. She talked at length about her need for control. Not in an overbearing, manipulative way. It is more of just needing to have a plan and be prepared for possible outcomes. She is very on top of things (hence her arriving 15 minutes early to my home on the day of departure). Where she struggles is when things do not go as planned or she does not have options in situations meaning that control is lost.

I related to her when she was talking to me about this. I think everyone has this piece. My control piece may function differently than hers and may not be as prominent but it is there.

The next day our concerns were confirmed and I have to say I think the two of us did well in supporting one another while we both tried to maintain control over the situation, be flexible when needed, and deal with conflict through boundary setting.

 

What may look like hypocrisy is just a different kind of authenticity

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You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

 

I pride myself on being self-aware and deeply empathetic. I had an epiphany today though that made me realize maybe sometimes I get too lost inside myself and I do not try hard enough to understand others.

Case in point:

One of my friends from my old job is an ENFJ. She took the test not long after I did, years ago. I never looked into the details of her personality type, I understand it on a basic level because I understand the test and the results. Also, she and I had a discussion years ago about our two personality types after we both took the test so I gained a little knowledge there as well. An area where she and I relate well, especially in terms of work, is that we are both concerned with keeping the peace. Neither of us like conflict and are both interested in a harmonious work environment. I always appreciated this about her, there was usually very little conflict in the office since we both made this such a high priority.

Recently we got together outside of the office setting to catch up. We were talking about what is going on in both of our personal lives right now as well as her filling me in on what is happening at the office. She told me a story about an issue that came up and how she handled it. I have to say I was a bit surprised with the way she chose to handle the issue. She had to compromise herself and what she stands for to a degree in order to reach a resolution. I was perplexed. How could she do that? Why didn’t she stand her ground? It’s not that I was judging her for the compromise she made, I just had trouble understanding it. I can absolutely be flexible especially in the name of conflict resolution but I wont compromise one of my values for it. If this is my only option my gut reaction would be to push back and stand my ground. The resolution is secondary to my value system.

We finished our time together and said our goodbyes but I found that even days later I was still thinking about her story. I felt bad for her, imagining how I would feel in her same situation but at the same time I had trouble empathizing because every time I tried I would think, “But I would never let this happen!” How are you not a hypocrite to some degree if you stand for something and then fold back on it in times of conflict? I do not mean to call my friend a hypocrite or shame her for her decision, it is just my thought process, it’s me trying to understand.

After some time I decided to look up the details of her personality type. I read something that really helped me better understand my friend and myself for  that matter.

When faced with a conflict between a strongly-held value and serving another person’s need, they are highly likely to value the other person’s need.

Well shit, I get it now. The ENFJ is apparently considered The Giver. This makes total sense now. This is my friend to a T, and I see now where her motivations lie and why she chooses to handle things the way she does. It isn’t that her personal values are not important and worth fighting for but, true to form, she puts others first. This is not to say she is a martyr that does not know her own self worth either, she is a very strong woman. She does things for the greater good though. What may look like hypocrisy on the outside is really just her being completely authentic to her way of being. Here is the thing I have to understand, her way of being is different than mine.

I am a humanist and I measure my success by the positive impact I am able to have on the lives of others BUT there are areas where I will not compromise and I am stubborn to a fault on this matter. My personality type leans this way to begin with, I think my particular disposition further comes from the fact that when I was younger, and not at all self-aware, I did compromise my values and for a while I carried some regret.

It was a like a light was turned on when I read this though. I need to remember that everyone’s motivations come from different places and just because people handle situations differently than I would it does not make them wrong, or hypocritical or in any other way inauthentic. It is just different, that is all. I was a little disappointed in my gut reaction to her story but thankful for my introspection and that I took the time to reflect and try to better understand her.

It gave me even more appreciation for her when I thought about it after. Sher cares enough about the greater good and well being of others that she is willing to make that compromise. That is really something.