How INFJs Can Get Over Those Pesky Trust Issues
Most Introverts, and especially Intuitive Introverts, find it really hard to trust people. The main reason is that we have a finite energy for people and need those exhausting interactions to be worth it. We are looking for soulmates, not tourists in our lives. This makes us very selective when it comes to our friendships and who we let into our rich inner world.
Throw in the Feeling dimension, and you get a dichotomy: an intuitive observer of people who can spot fakery from a thousand paces, and a people-lover who is so tender-hearted they believe that another person can never betray their trust. Sadly, a lot of people are not sincere. INFJs typically have trust issues because at some point, they've placed their trust in someone and have had that trust broken. This doesn't just make them feel vulnerable. It strikes at the very heart of their value system. When an INFJ is hurt, they have a habit of beating themselves up for not predicting the poor behavior in the first place.
Unfortunately, you can't grow a network, a family or an empire by yourself. It's OK to be selective with your relationships, but it's not OK to be afraid of opening up to other people who can help you to grow and achieve your goals.
So how can INFJ personality types get over those pesky trust issues? Here are some tips.
Define what trust means for each relationship
Remember that performance review when your boss told you the 30 things you did well and the one area for growth, and all you could think about for weeks afterwards was the one room for improvement?
That's how you tend to view the people you meet.
A common INFJ hallmark is an uncanny ability to read people. You are skilled at observing the little quirks of behavior that everyone has, and figuring out who can be trusted based on those observations. The problem is, you can fall into the trap of taking things very personally. You may obsess about the single ambiguity, the one "room for improvement" in someone's behavior and use that to imagine the worst possible outcomes if you choose to trust that person. One violation of expectations or inconsistency in behavior can destroy the relationship completely.
Trust makes a relationship click, but it isn't black and white. There are some instances where absolute trust is absolutely necessary; you may insist, for example, on having the highest level of trust with your spouse. But consider your other relationships. Does a colleague have to hold the same values, hopes, fears and ambitions as you? Or is it enough that they do their job well without playing dirty politics?
Trust is as global or as situation-specific as you need it to be. Recognizing that you don't have to elevate everyone to the highest level of trust can really put those trust issues into perspective and help you make a balanced personal judgment, one relationship at a time.
Trust is a two-way street. You need to give it to get it and vice versa. As an INFJ, it's easy to back away from trust because you recognize that building those foundations requires excruciating vulnerability. You have to be willing to let go of who you think you should be in order to be who you really are, since this will allow those genuine connections to happen.
If you are shuddering at this point, we hear you. INFJs are very protective of their identity. You are super-sensitive to others and will conceal your true nature in order to blend in or be what the other person needs you to be at any point in time.
The problem is, when you hide your true nature, you're creating the kind of censorship that makes it really hard for others to know and trust you. You become the common denominator in your trust issues because who is going to trust someone who is so walled off and distant?
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in relationships. You have to be willing to lean into the discomfort and reciprocate when people reach out to you. Open up more. Trust yourself to be a likeable person, to make the right judgment calls, and to know that if someone lets you down, you will survive that. So you missed the red flags this time. It won't devastate you.
Revealing a little vulnerability shows that you are indeed a fallible human being. And that combination of empathy, credibility and vulnerability makes you seem incredibly trustworthy - an essential platform for building a trust-based relationship.
Stay in the moment
INFJs are future-focused, big picture thinkers. You continually search for the meaning in things. Everything between and beyond the present is just as real as what currently is. And the natural consequence of this style of processing is that an endless number of "what ifs" can seep in. "What if I trust her and she hurts me again?" "What if I let my guard down and the whole relationship fails?"
These "what ifs" can have a stagnating effect on your life and relationships. You can conceptualize the future, but you can't control it. It is impossible for anyone to plan for some theoretical, imagined catastrophe. Whether you trust, embrace or forgive someone, whether you give them a first glance or a second chance - these things are present decisions that can only be based on current realities.
So whenever you find yourself thinking, "What if ..." stop! Tell yourself that you're not going to waste your energy on long shots and maybes. Instead, focus on your actions in the moment. Enjoy the process of building a trusting relationship as it comes rather than allowing yourself to be distracted by the fear of a future, hypothetical betrayal.
Jumping into these points should improve your ability to trust from the get-go. Even if you take it really slowly, they will hopefully help you to understand the meaning of trust and develop deeper and more personalized relationships with those around you. Good luck!