Apart from the Crowd


Hey there, guys. I have a question for you. How do you feel about being involved in a group or community? Is it something you love? Something you dread? Maybe a little of both? And when you're in one, do you feel like an outsider, or are you strongly connected with others?

The reason I ask is because of a comment that recently popped up on the Cafe. It comes from an INFJ who struggles with feeling connected in a group/community setting:


Something I've been reflecting on recently is the INFJ and civic engagement / community involvement. I find that while I contribute in many different ways to my various communities, which in this phase of my life is mainly my children's schools, I never quite feel fully "part of" the community. I feel like I dance around the outside, mostly feeling like an outsider, but once in a while I will experience a strong feeling of connection and I LOVE that feeling. I feel similarly at my job (and have at most workplaces throughout my life.) Perhaps my introverted self / INFJ self just can't handle the maintenance that it takes to participate in a community deeply and consistently enough to experience that feeling on a more regular basis. Hmmmm, I'm sort of figuring some of this out as I write, but I am curious what you have to say about this, or if others experience similar feelings. 

Does this resonate with you? It did with me. I rarely feel a sense of connection in a group setting, even when I'm heavily involved. So I stopped to ask myself...why? Why do I feel isolated in a purpose-driven group? What is it that keeps me from experiencing strong connection in a community?

Here are a few things I came up with:

Size

Yes, it matters. Large groups are distracting. The sheer amount of sensory/emotional data keeps me at a distance. And bigger groups aren't always cohesive--the common goal can get swallowed up by smaller, more personal goals. As an INFJ, this is distressing, because I can see the big picture and feel the deviations. If I can't reconcile them, the effort loses value, and I start withdrawing emotionally. So there's little chance for feeling connected.

When it comes to groups, I prefer small ones with a narrow focus. Even if I don't experience connection, it's easier to deal with.

Self-Image/Confidence

The way I feel about myself has a lot to do with how connected I feel to others. Last week I attended a meeting to put together annual goals for my special-needs son, and it went beautifully. There were several different personalities/agencies in the room, but I found myself reaching out with humor, friendly gestures, and encouragement to keep us on the same page. I felt connected to everyone in the room.

Afterward, I was thinking about why it went so well, and most of had to do with my confidence. Emotionally, I was in a great place. No anxiety, no fear. I was calm and open and having a good hair day (that actually helps, lol). Mostly, I just felt secure. Secure in myself, my INFJness, and my contributions. If I hadn't, the meeting would still have been successful...but I wouldn't have felt as involved. I'd have felt like an outsider.

Depth

This is probably the biggest one for me. I love to connect with people, but it has to be on a deep level. When I'm involved with a group and can't find anything significant to talk about, I feel disconnected. I might enjoy the humor, the camaraderie, and the chance to share bits and pieces of myself. But unless the entire group steers toward something meaningful, I don't feel a strong sense of connection. I can go back again and again, volunteering my time and energy, and nine times out of time, I'm operating out of personal obligation. Seldom do I have that feeling of oneness--the sense that we're all parts of a whole--which is what I need to feel like I belong. 






So, I'm curious. Have I hit the mark for some of you? Is that feeling of connection rare when you're in a group? Do you feel like it's tied to your self-image and INFJ qualities, or are there other things that set you apart from the crowd?

Please feel free to comment below...and as always, take care and be good. :)

Love you,
M.

Image Credit: Connection not Attention




Still the Same?


Hello there, friends! As many of you know, the Cafe has a fan page. I use it to share images, tweets, and blog posts that resonate with the INFJ way of life. I don't share every image I come across, just the ones that relate to my own personal feelings and experiences.

So when I came across this recent graphic from artist Debbie Tung, I passed it by:




I love Debbie's work. She's talented and understands the introvert life. She makes really good points. This image in particular seemed to get a lot of attention. Just hours after being tweeted, it had been favorited and shared by over a hundred fans.

So why didn't I post it?

Back to Blogging


Hey, guys!

Just popping into the Cafe to let you know that I'm back to blogging again. The break was just what I needed. It's amazing how fast four months can go by! Hubs and I got moved into our new house without too much trouble (unless you count smashing your big toe and losing the nail trouble), and we're mostly settled. We still have a lot of work to do--painting, decorating, landscaping. We're phasing all that in. My first priority, though, was turning the loft into an INFJ cave.

Giveaway Results + Break Time


Hey, guys! Hope you're all happy, healthy, and up to your ears in awesomeness!

First off, thanks to everyone who participated in the One-Million-Hit giveaway. I had sooo much fun coming up with the prizes and putting together the polls/questions. You wouldn't believe some of the responses...they cracked me up! And the polls kind of surprised me. Want me to share? Okay, you talked me into it.

Check 'em out: