I Hate Introverts. And Highly Sensitive People. And INFJs… (keep reading)

alanwattslabel

I don’t hate introverts or highly sensitive people or INFJs actually.

But, you probably felt one of two things when you read the title:  either deeply offended and defensive because you are an introvert, highly sensitive and/or an INFJ OR you felt elated because you aren’t a highly sensitive introvert or INFJ but you know people who are and you can’t stand them and you’re relieved that someone agrees with you.

It doesn’t matter if you felt offended or elated.  My point is that these labels can be informative and empowering, but they can also cause defensiveness and divisiveness.  These labels can be limiting.

This post was inspired by a great article written by Katrina Kunstmann titled “I Hate Introverts:  A Label Breakdown”.  Like her

I understand the importance of labels, their necessity.  Labels spread awareness and create a point of contact, build a platform for understanding other people and the diversity of our lives.  Their ability to empower us is undeniable, but the party kinda stops there.  I’m not simply referring to the capacity of labels to be used against us, but the ability of labels to limit ourselves and hold us in place.

More than just holding us in place, over-identifying with these labels can hurt and unnecessarily so.  For example, recently I read the title of an article online “23 Signs You’re Secretly A Narcissist Masquerading As A Sensitive Introvert” and immediately felt defensive and tense.  I didn’t like the idea that I, as a sensitive introvert, could be a closeted narcissist!  No way, Jose!  My feelings were hurt even before reading the article (which by the way has nothing to do with authentic highly sensitive introverts). Identifying strongly as a HSP and an introvert has given me one more thing to be upset about even though that identification has helped me understand myself better and accept my natural tendencies.

Some INTJ jerk wrote online: “do you guys know of any ambitious INFJs?  I know a few INFJ girls and I like their personality, but they are just so unambitious career-wise. It’s a turn off. And they’re all so similar too… personality and chosen career/lack thereof.” I called this guy a jerk for suggesting INFJs weren’t ambitious.  Which meant I wasn’t ambitious.  Compared to other personality types, we probably aren’t as ambitious, but who cares!  Me and my INFJ peeps have been besmirched!  I’m partly kidding, but only partly. Finding out that I’m an INFJ is just another label, another thing, another minority group I belong to and feel touchy about.

It’s hard enough to just be a human being and like Katrina, I don’t even feel entirely human all the time.  More like an alien.  Like when people get married on TV and no one else seems to think that’s crazy.  Most of the time I don’t even think I’m an introvert.  I just like being inside my own head.  I’m not highly sensitive.  I’m just feeling stuff.  I’m not a loner.  I just like being alone sometimes. These labels aren’t who I am.

I’m not even a writer.  I just like to write.  A few weeks ago I was so fed up trying to be a “writer”, I gave up on trying to be one.  As soon as I stopped trying to be a “writer”, I suddenly had a lot of writing ideas.

Some might find power in their labels, I find power in my limitlessness.  — Katrina Kunstmann

There is freedom in letting go of these labels once in a while.

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Katrina again:

Labels have the capacity to prevent people from knowing themselves and from knowing each other — they have the potential to open someone to deeper connection or take an individual for granted and walk away.

Labels are keys, that’s all they are.

They are keys to opening the doors to ourselves and to others.  But the doors are all European — they have latches, not locks, and once you turn the key and open the door, they key is stuck in the latch.You have to let go of the key to walk through the door.  You’ll always know and remember that key — it was once part of you — but that key does not define what lies beyond the door.  What lies beyond the door defines the key.

I believe that what lies behind the door is so big and immaculate that no word could ever contain it.  Real power comes from remembering how big and immaculate we truly are.

I’m going to make the same declaration Katrina did.  I’m not an introvert, highly sensitive, a loner, or an INFJ.

I am a Melene.  That’s all.  That’s enough.

MM

Check out “10 Things You Should Never Say To an INFJ” and The Darker/Annoying Aspects of Being INFJ to be Aware of/Laugh at

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32 thoughts on “I Hate Introverts. And Highly Sensitive People. And INFJs… (keep reading)

  1. I hate labels too and think they can be limiting. Although I found personality typing to explain a lot and to be interesting, like my husband said, it’s not “who I am though”. There is a difference. For example, I have found an enjoyment for writing like, it’s like I have reunited with an old friend, but I wondered, am I doing it right? Is there a right way to write? Well, if there is, I am not doing it. I just write, and I love it. Thanks for the post.

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    1. I am sorry– why does anyone need to hate anybody– If you focus on what you like then why does a sensitive person have to be your focus at all– leave them alone.

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      1. I get a lot of people finding my site because of this post. They find it by typing “I hate introverts” or “I hate sensitive people” or “I hate INFJ”. Every time I see it in my search terms I wonder and ask the same question you did: “why are they your focus at all?”
        I don’t get it.
        Thank you for commenting.

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  2. INFP here. Yeah, I can agree labels can be limiting– especially when I seem to fall in between hard dichotomies some people can fight very bitterly over.

    I didn’t like the idea that I, as a sensitive introvert, could be a closeted narcissist!

    I had a psychological expert accuse me of “hyper-viligant” narcissism at my disability hearing some years back. First time it was ever mentioned to me, and she wasn’t there in person– this was over the phone. I thought all my hard work and suffering might be down the drain, but the judge decided to be sympathetic.

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  3. I hate labels, too. And like you, I also inwardly cringed at the hinting that I might indeed be narcissistic! That’s all we need – we already think that people believe we are self-absorbed!

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  4. It’s funny that you mention INFJ. Five years ago I took the MBTI for the first time, and my results: INFJ. I became briefly obsessed with the whole MBTI schema and was amazed at how accurately the INFJ label fit me. The problem with labels is that they become prescriptive instead of descriptive. The beauty of any individual is that they can be described in an infinite number of ways.

    Great post, keep it up!

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    1. That is exactly how I feel. I was obsessed as well when I read detailed and accurate breakdowns of the INFJ personality. And then I was completely creeped out by it. As I wrote to another commenter, at first it was helpful and illuminating then it was confining and corrupting in some way. Thanks for checking out my blog and commenting as well.

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      1. I feel you. I just discovered yesterday that I am like an INFJ (notice my careful choice of words). I was happy to learn more about my personality and spent the whole day googling about it. But then, as you have rightly put, I too found it confining and corrupting in some way. I found INFJs stereotyped on Pinterest, Tumblr et al. I have taken the test 4 more times since yesterday, changing answers to certain questions and all times it’s the same result. It is good to know that I am the way I am but I am not just an INFJ. I would hate to be labeled that for the rest of my life and act that certain way. Learning that I am like an INFJ is just like a beginning to explore more about myself. I believe my possibilities are endless.

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      2. Love that, Shruti. Every time I write about INFJ or HSP or Introverts I try to remember “this is not everything I am”. And these labels aren’t everything other people are either. They are a doorway. Remembering this helps me when I’m feeling defensive or dismissive.
        Thank you for your great comment.

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  5. I’m an INTP myself and what I’ve found is that labels are not only limiting but sadly misunderstood. I know students in my own psychology class who believe that being an introvert is equated to being anti-social so when I say I’m an introvert I get very negative reactions. This was a very well written piece, I found it enlightening so good job!

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    1. turning “sensitives” into now “”narcessists” is really negative– WHY are some people not able to leave “sensitives” alone– WHY do the “sensitives” always have to be on the receiving end of this negativity– BYE and
      THANKS!!

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  6. I think labels can be informative but they shouldn’t be everything in any way shape or form. I identify as an introvert, but try not to OVER-identify as one, you know what I mean? Thanks for sharing.

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  7. To be honest, I’m hell a lot like an INFJ, a student yet dreaming about becoming a successful musician- and actually taking steps towards becoming one. And I bet there are many more like us out there who dream of becoming e.g. famous illustrators despite of being INFJ. Of course our biggest fear is being criticised, but we wouldn’t like to be frustrated with an unsatisfying job either, don’t we?

    Labelling is a really bad thing, but it may say a lot about a person.

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