I'll Always Be a Social Retard

I think I always will be.  I function really well at work, or with my family. But around others my age in social environments I just don't do well. I can fake it, but I hate faking anything. Unless topics are about something I can really get into, and unless its a small group of people, I get all anxious and feel the need to run to the nearest door and get the hell out. I thought as I got older I'd be able to BS like my dad, but I think I'll always just be shy and reclusive. Not that I don't want friends; I really do. That's why I'm on here, to talk with people that understand me. But I even get paranoid in chatrooms. Especially if I say something dumb, it's up there for good and you can still read it minutes after I said it. I used to drink alot and I had a great time and met alot of friends, but I almost became an alcoholic. (runs in my family) It sucks being an introvert and also having social anxiety disorder; Maybe all introverts are like that? I take meds now and they help, but I'm still not a sociable person, even though I need the companionship of others.  Jesus this sounds sad. I'm not a sad person; I feel good most of the time, but I feel like except for my wife and kids and a few family members, I'll always be on this island and I don't want it to be that way.
chpdsgn chpdsgn
31-35, M
20 Responses Jul 19, 2007

I am also an INFJ. And I have suffered from social anxiety also, but that has gotten better. I don't like that term, "social retard." I once found something that my mom wrote about me a long time ago. It was a letter that she wrote to someone about me but never sent. For some reason, she left it in the envelope she was going to send it in and put it into a box. Then, many years later, she had me go through all the stuff that was in that box, much of which was mine. I'm sure that she had long since forgotten about that letter, but when I came across it and read it, it was as though she had just written it. In the letter, she said that when I was a child, she had been worried about me because I never seemed to have much of a social life, so she took me to someone she thought would be able to help me. She said that that person had labeled me as "socially disabled." I had always known that my mom felt that there was something wrong with me, but I had never known why. For me, finding that letter was like the psychological equivalent of stepping on a land mine. She also said in that letter that she was afraid that if I didn't change drastically, I wouldn't be able to function in the world.

Well, since then I've proven her wrong. I've worked in several jobs and have been very productive. I've also made some good friends, and I now have a serious boyfriend. And I didn't have to fundamentally change my personality to do it.

I see that this is an old post, so I hope that you have since become more comfortable in your own skin, as I have in mine. We INFJs deserve to have friends and be happy just as much as everyone else, and we're just as capable of doing it. We just have to find the right group of people. I wish you all the best.

I can't tell you how much that sounds like me. I am great around those I love like my brothers and my husband; but I long for a friend. I talk about it with my loved ones and they say, "Oh, just go socialize." I don't think that they quite grasp the weight of those words. I want to though. I want to socialize and have fun. I try to have friends but every time I think I find one I soon realize I put more effort into them than they do. Like, 90% of the time. I find myself getting exhausted from it. So I got a dog. It doesn't do the job, but he keeps me busy. I wish there were some way we could have an INFJ convention. Though, getting around to it would be an issue (with the social anxiety and all). Damn, it's all Catch 22.

After having my twin sons a few years ago I was forced to rid my life completely of the takers. Only ones that have the privilege of knowing me and my little family have been hand picked by me. There is no time for ppl who are going to suck u dry. Give that time and energy to the ones that really do value knowing you and you will most likely feel so much better. You won't be letting ur emotional bank account withdrawal anymore. Being INFJ is a gift In my eyes. We are the rarest of the rare and that is something that is chosen for us. Try to embrace ur awesomeness a little more ;) ppl need to know the knowledge that only u posses. Most will be in awe of you and any haters are jealous.

Thank you for your post, I appreciate it. I certainly can relate. I am an INFJ as well, and realizing this has helped me, at least I don't feel like a freak or anything ;) I understand that most people will just not 'get' me, but that can make it lonely at times. I have 'friends' but mostly they feel superficial...they will say they are my friend but don't really show it by their actions(don't call me, don't hang out with me...ect) I usually have to make all the effort...and to me that is not the definition of a friend. I pretty much have no friends to the level I need them. Real deep accepting relationships. Someone posted that INFJ's give to people at such a deep high level, and they might expect others to do the same for them. That really helped me because I do think that is what I expect of others. I do go all out for my friends even cancelling my plans sometimes to be there for them...but I do not believe any of my friends would go to that level for me...and it does hurt. But now I understand that they may never do things to the level I do them, because they are not INFJ's and do not understand what I need....so it does help to cope. But it sure would be nice to have some nice INFJ TLC! ;) Take care

Same here :) .. I'm an INFJ and I hate anything social. It has ruined my life. I do take pride in being an INFJ, 1 percent of the population :)! We aren't like everyone else, and that's a great thing.

Hi I´m like you... INFJ

This is so much the way i am in situations except i have just accepted it as a part of who i am and that sort of 'background' seeking and staying quiet instinct works very well with the rest of the objectification cravings i pursue. Those would be that other side of me that very few get to if they know me from the public side. It is spooky to fit the INFJ so closely and have it validated by two that know the BM test and only say "I was right. I always thought so."

There is no need to feel bad about who you are, and silence is a powerful tool which makes extroverts crazy - just ask my boss . Unfortunately, Americans promote and value qualities which are almost opposite to me. i have my niche, but it just took a long time to stop trying to be chatty and making small talk when it felt forced because it is valued by society. Life is good, and i really enjoy not being just like everyone else.

Well hey dude, you must be doing something right if you're married and have a family; I --- ahem, I mean some of us -- never quite made to that point and are a bit older than you!<br />
I'm sure that if you try, you can meet some other people who, like you, are quiet by nature but that you can relate to in a less superficial way... most importantly I think, you need to work on your self-esteem issues; don't look down on yourself so much! You have a wealth of experience, creativity and ideas that you can offer, but may not realize its value. Please read my story called "I Have Become Two People".

I don't think you should use the term "social retard" because it has such a negative connotation and insinuates that somehow you're "less than" or inferior because of not being more social. I think the term "less social" or more introspective might be a better fit. The bottom line is, love yourself for who you are, no matter what family, friends or anyone else says and surround yourself with people who love you for who you are and set boundaries for those who don't, very concrete boundaries. Let those people know that if they can't accept you for who you are, you will have to limit or completely stop contact with them. I had to learn these lessons the hard way. It's tough, but it will make you a stronger, happier person in the long run.

I just realized this is a response to a pretty old post, but some of you also responded fairly recently, so I'll go for it. :) Your story is very familiar to me as well. I'm also "good at work," which I'm grateful for, cause I'm "not good" in so many other places. I'm fortunate to work in a profession with lots of other NFs (teaching ESL to immigrants), and in a field I'm passionate about, so I think that's part of the reason it works there. For me, social groups are the absolute worst. I almost always end up feeling excluded, inferior, slighted, uncomfortable and resentful. (Wow! That's a log of negative adjectives.) I had some pretty traumatic experiences with social groups as a child, so I think I have some "issues" there, combined with being an infj, so close one-on-one friendships are what work for me. I have a few close female friends, my beloved hubby (isfp), andn I'm very close to my dad as well. My mother had a stroke a few years ago, which has severely debilitated her and drastically changed her personality. Before this, she was my touchstone and one of the closest people in my life. She kept me sane. Since losing the person she was, though I'm very grateful to still have her in my life, I find that I'm more reclusive and mostly just hang out with my husband. I focus a lot on supporting my father emotionally and we visit them as often as we can. Sorry I'm going off a bit here, but this life circumstance has made it even harder for me to cope as an infj. I try to accept myself as I am, and I'm usually successful, but there are definitely times when I think my social life should look a lot different and I think there must be something wrong with me. It's helpful to know I'm not alone. Thanks for this. Best, Eliza

Good post. It all sounds familiar.

that reminds me of me thanks for posting :)

Wow, your not a social retard! That is just how INFJ's are! I laughed when you said you look for the nearest exit because that's what I do. Feel like I need to run like hell. I sit in church at the end of the pew 'just in case'. In the store, if I cannot see the doors, my heart starts to pound and my chest squeezes! Forget small talk in large crowds. Get me outta there!! Yes, I have meds for when I have to be social, so it works out. I love deep conversation, with a person or a small group of people just like me or close to it. You are okay just the way you are. You do need friends, but it is hard to make them. But I bet when you do, your friends are very dear to you. Don't stress to hard, and hang around here. We understand you perfectly. :)

Don't try to be in such a rush for social networking - staying with family and those people you're comfortable with is suffice... as an INFJ myself I'm happy with my own company and spending time alone listening to favourite music, watching videos I enjoy or reading books. My family are not particularly interested in classical music so the only time I play my favourites is when I'm alone at home or with headphones on. I've always thought that if people are interested in me or what I do then they will seek me out, otherwise I prefer to leave them to their own devices. At work I enjoy discussions with colleagues and listen to their stories, sometimes sharing small-talk with them but I don't really have anyone I would actually regard as a 'friend'...probably acquaintances or work colleagues.

This may seem a little harsh but it isn't meant to be that way. You are not the center of their universe. I think that was where I had such a problem for so long when I wasn't capable of being comfortably social. Most of the time people don't really notice the little abnormalities that we see in ourselves. We as INFJ's are SO introspective that sometimes we project that outwards making it feel like everyone is examining everything as closely as we are. It just isn't true. Sure you'll get the few people who feel better by picking apart your little quirks and trying to take you down a peg so they can up their own peg. But overall with my experience with people is that if you just be yourself, weirdness and all, the true friends will find you. Obviously in say a business situation you don't wanna come off as a complete wacko but I'm willing to bet that most of time you won't. Also, if you don't have something to say don't say anything. Learn to be comfortable in your silence. An extrovert will fill it themselves and another introvert may very well appreciate the peace. You'll probably still have awkward moments but just let yourself go a little. Remember nothing in this world is permanent accept death. Even if you make a fool of yourself once what terrible thing is going to come of it? Will you die? I personally find the people with quirks to be the most fascinating of all.

Thanks so much for being honest. I often feel very alone as well and have struggled with social anxiety or social phobia.

I admire you that you can function well at work....I dread the office lunch parties that we have at work, even though it is a small office.

From one infj to another, being introverted isn't necessarily bad. I think as we mature with our personality types it can be a sense of achievement to recognize our traits and reactions as they are happening. Kind of standing outside ourselves and observing. I believe that once we start doing this we are well on our way to the middle ground of balance with that part of our personality. When we can accept ourselves without judgement that will be the highest form of love. (I'm not there yet, but I'm continually working on it)

Most people believe that the soul resides in the body. INFJs at some level know instinctively that the soul contains the body but not limited by it. So in dealing with others its like a 4 dimensional person interacting with a 3 dimension person. You can do it with effort and its possible but it takes a lot of energy.<br />
<br />
If you haven't gotten that think about the possibility of a 2 dimensional being that lives on a sheet of paper. It can interact with your out line when you pass through the (assuming you could)paper but it can never understand the totality of who you are. If you turned different ways in the plan of the paper your outline might change and the two dimensional being might even assume you are a brand new entity and not the same entity as the one it interacted with before because your shape has changed because it cant see the third dimension. Realize this about <br />
the people you interact with and stop worrying so much about what you are doing right or wrong. Be helpful if you can, thats what you are intrinsically, a helper but don't be upset if they either dont' see or acknowledge your help. YOu save a lot of wasted energy! Its like being upset when you always compliment your coworker on her new outfits and then being upset when you finally have the money to get a new outfit and your coworker who happens to be blind never says a word.

Advertise in the paper for jogging partners or tennis partners , or trips of special interest for you. That way you get one on one and it won't stress you out.