INFJs, Raise Your Hands
November 4, 2016 6:35 PM   Subscribe

I have a question for any INFJ's out there (or anyone who's in a close relationship with an INFJ) - Do any of you notice that the more you run out of fuel, and the more you need to be alone, the more talkative you get?

I noticed this tonight as I was talking with my husband. I kept mentioning how much I needed to be alone, and yet I couldn't stop talking. I was talking in circles, with no objective, getting confused and depressed and upset.

My theory is this: since INFJ's tend to have a hard time knowing what they need and taking care of themselves, maybe the more they need to be alone, the less they are aware of it, since their mental processes are getting so exhausted. Can anyone relate?
posted by quiet_musings to Human Relations (24 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
INFJ here. I shut down completely when I'm exhausted or overstimulated. The only thoughts that go through my mind are I need to find a place where I can be alone. I haven't noticed any tendency to be more talkative as I get tired, it's more the opposite: I become very quiet.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 6:59 PM on November 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

I should perhaps clarify that the weird talkative thing is in no way universal - it only happens with my husband (who is my one and only close trusted friend person.) At work, or around anyone other than him, I 100% shut down and I'm unable to talk. Oh, and I also HATE the commute home!
posted by quiet_musings at 7:04 PM on November 4, 2016

Hi yes this is definitely a thing that happens to me. I'm a naturally talkative person but it happens in phases for me where I get chatty friendly when I'm putting on my extrovert mask (you know what I mean), am able to maintain pleasant mutually productive quiet when I'm doing well and with the people I'm comfortable with, and then tip into this rambly babble release thing when I'm all out of fucks to give. It is just how I am.

My significant other just kind of lets me blather for a while and then if I end up getting annoyed that they aren't acknowledging whatever it is I'm talking about they will point out that I'm not really talking about anything. This also only happens in places I can get comfy, like bed or our softly lit living room or settled into the passenger's seat of a car after a social event. Then what happens is I get quiet for a bit, usually make whiny noises, my SO say "I'm sorry you're having trouble right now" and then I either have gotten it out of my system or my calm moment allows me to focus and say what I actually intended in the first place.

I only rarely talk myself into a depression spiral like you're describing - it doesn't make it worse, just wastes time until I can get to the actual self-care portion of my day. When that kind of thing does happen, it's because it's something that has no clear solution that's stymying me, and no amount of research or consultation is going to help. Like, some time last year I needed a new computer and my SO is normally my go-to nerd for this stuff. But they couldn't make a decision for me based on my needs since technology just isn't quite there in my price range right now. This led to many many rambles about pros and cons and which and where and ugh and AAAARGH and it was this dumb thing! And it weighed on me and made everything else so much harder to get past, like, totally unrelated stuff. Finally I sucked it up and chose the lesser of two evils and suddenly my other unrelated stuff became easier and simpler to talk through. So, maybe when you're doing this you can ask your husband to go through other things that are worrying you and see if there's something that's taking up your brain's capacity for other things?

I guess there isn't so much a solution. Talking stuff out doesn't have to be an inherently interactive process though - since I do this only with my closest people, I rarely get introvert burnout from it, but they all know to be visually doing other stuff and not really be actively listening while I do. Maybe for you, it would be helpful for you to tell your husband to be handling a chore or do a hobby while you need to get your rambles out? Also of course there's Internet comments! Hellooo metafilter, my blue and green coping mechanism! :)
posted by Mizu at 7:09 PM on November 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

Pretty sure I'm some near combo of infj- I do find myself babbling sometimes like this. Like if I've been working on a project with a small group for many hours/days I will definitely start to lose it and say whatever silly thing comes to mind. I kind of see it as my brain just trying to rev me up and keep me going. Like doing jumping jacks. Last time this happened though I made an effort to shut my trap and not babble and that was a really good idea - I was more comfy and everyone around me too. Might be a good idea to let hubby know he can gently guide you towards bed (or whatever's appropriate) when he sees this happening.
posted by bleep at 7:15 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I consistently test as INFJ (but am somewhat of an MBTI skeptic). This does happen to me, but I just assume that as I get more and more tired my brain-to-mouth filter gets tired out as well, hence the babbling.
posted by btfreek at 7:18 PM on November 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

The MBTI has pretty low validity and is pretty widely critiqued. It's unlikely to accurately differentiate people on the basis of some true element of personality, at least not to the degree that it would explain very specific personality traits like this. It's totally possible that the theory that you put forth is true for you personally- it doesn't make it any less valid that it's not tied to a personality type from the MBTI!
posted by quiet coyote at 7:25 PM on November 4, 2016 [22 favorites]

INFJ here. The talkative thing doesn't happen for me either. Data point --most of my people find it hard to believe I am an introvert. My husband sees the real me and knows I shut down.
posted by murrey at 7:48 PM on November 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

INFJ here. The talkative thing doesn't happen for me either. Data point --most of my people find it hard to believe I am an introvert. My husband sees the real me and knows I shut down.

Yeah, I'm actually more likely to shut down around people I'm close to when I'm depleted, because I don't feel like I need to keep up the social mask.

Does your husband make you feel like you're not allowed to turn off in front of him? Does some internal programming make you feel like you're not allowed to turn off in front of someone you love? This sounds more like a cognitive distortion than a truism about INFJs.
posted by lazuli at 7:58 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is extremely unlikely to have anything to do with the fact that you are an INFJ. To me it sounds like you might actually be an extrovert who has social anxiety.
posted by a strong female character at 8:05 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm more T than F, but I find I get chatty with my wife when tired and dunzo after a long day. It's likely the mental equivalent of Mr Rodgers taking off his shoes and jacket when he comes home, an unfortunate unloading on the person most likely to carry the load. I try to refrain from this, or at least reframe it in a happy mode by only telling the fun stories. When I am Super Dunzo and Cannot With The Evens, my words help me form a giant sign/wall saying Brain Full - Seek Else Elsewhere.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:05 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

[A few comments deleted. Let's not get into a debate here over the validity of Myers-Briggs. Please just focus on the underlying question even if you need to kind of preface it with "if for the sake of argument there were MBTI types, ..."]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:59 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

To couch this in MBTI terms: My guess is that it's your auxiliary Fe (extraverted feeling) coming out, desperately wanting to relate to someone, maybe to take the focus off how you're feeling and putting that energy towards someone else as you try to wind down - but difficult to tell based on your post because you don't say exactly what kind of things you're talking about to determine if this is the case.
posted by pised at 10:02 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

I tend to do one of two things when I'm super-tired. If I'm in an unfamiliar group, I'll shut down and withdraw. If I'm at home, say, hanging out with family, I mix up my words and everything is suddenly hilarious. My niece knows me well enough that when I get tickled over something, her immediate question is "Are you tired?" I'm an INFJ, too, for what it's worth!
posted by jhope71 at 10:37 PM on November 4, 2016

I believe I'm an INFJ (the IN is very strong, the others weaker). This does not happen to me. Quite the opposite: Like oozy rat, I shut down and become very quiet when I get overwhelmed and need to be alone.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 10:47 PM on November 4, 2016

I'm either in INFJ or an INTJ and this definitely happens to me.

I also shut down when I feel that way. I think for me, it's about how self-aware I'm feeling in the moment.

I also would buy that it's anxiety driven.
posted by guster4lovers at 11:12 PM on November 4, 2016

I have no idea what my Myers-Briggs rating is, I took it once and promptly forgot, other than it was something a little unusual, but I do tend to become more talkative the more tired or excessively over-stimulated with emotion and information (for example traveling somewhere new with someone I'm developing an close relationship to).

I'm normally pretty social avoidant, so quiet around people I don't know, but more talkative around people I'm comfortable with and have a strong inner monologue going most of the time even when I am quiet. So I attribute bouts of excess chatter to the normally held barrier of caution or protection being worn down, allowing the inner monologue to escape more readily, which can lead to long streams of consciousness kind of rambling. It is, I'd guess, somewhat akin to how some people act when drunk, where they let their guard down and become more social, except, for me, it isn't social or connected to drink, but simply more of a release of what is normally processed silently due to being too worn down to keep it in check.

How much of that may seem to fit what you're asking I can't say, but it doesn't seem entirely dissimilar anyway.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:38 AM on November 5, 2016

I don't put a lot of stock in the Meyers-Briggs tests, but I've taken one real one and a couple of not-so-official internet ones, and every time the test tells me I'm an INFJ. I don't talk more when I'm tired. I just shut down.
posted by colfax at 2:55 AM on November 5, 2016

Sometimes yes and sometimes no for me. Very helpful, I realize ;)
posted by bookworm4125 at 5:05 AM on November 5, 2016

It me.

I am very slow to open up to people, so when I do, especially when I am upset, I am a talk-in-circles babbler. There is usually only one person in my life at a time on the receiving end of this.

This isn't my worst trait, but it's definitely up there with the rest of the bad ones. I find myself being unable to disengage and self-soothe - I get myself into a run-down mess while the other person can't really intervene (at least I haven't found anyone who could yet) and that person gets understandably frustrated and upset.

Since I lost the last person who played the talked-at role in my life, I've started really working on my own coping strategies and trying to find ways of bumping myself out of those moods before they get too circular.

I always found this happening more often when I was tired or lonely.
posted by minsies at 5:08 AM on November 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think Myers-Briggs can be an interesting way to describe tendencies/patterns of behaviour without having to be "scientific" and so have done a lot of reading on it. To me, this sounds like the primary INFJ cognitive function of introverted intuition mixed with some anxiety and racing thoughts. (Introverted intuition is basically that thing we do where we get all thinky about abstract concepts and ideas.)

My best guess would be that because you're comfortable with your husband, you're externalizing exactly what's inside your head to him, without a filter -- these are the things you'd be thinking to yourself if you were lying in bed unable to sleep. You wouldn't necessarily say these things to anyone other than yourself or him, so it's not a social connection thing, it's a processing-of-thoughts thing. I test out as an INFJ and my brain tends to go in useless circles when I'm in desperate need of wind-down time, too; sometimes when I most need to be still, I'm too wound-up to do something actually relaxing (meditating, reading, gentle exercise, etc.: all things to perhaps try in this state?) and end up doing something counterproductive.
posted by stellarc at 5:24 AM on November 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

INXJ, and I definitely do this.
posted by joycehealy at 5:38 AM on November 5, 2016

I'm so INFJ it's scary and I agree with those upthread who say that the overtalking is usually limited to the one lucky (unlucky?) person who I trust enough to share the real me with, and it happens when I'm at some extreme. Too much contact, not enough contact, etc.

For me it's often the only way to unload the thoughts that can crash my brain like a mental BSOD. I journal, and that helps a lot, but there's nothing like having a real person to be there when you absolutely need SOMEONE. I reserve my highest appreciation for those who understand this about me and help shepherd my babbling into something useful.

(YMMV of course with regard to MB typing, but all I can say is- the relief I felt when I read the INFJ description and saw myself in such excruciating detail, it was like coming home. I'd felt like the world's biggest freak up til then. So now I have not only a frame of reference for myself, I can refer others to articles that help them understand my crazy.)
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:14 AM on November 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yep. INFJ here who babbles only to trusted persons (usualy only one trusted person at a time in my life). I agree that it feels like brain is outwardly processing thoughts not really trying to connect. I have felt super guilty about doing this, at times wondered if I am a narcissist because I have tendency to just talk at the person I love and trust. Until this question, I hadn't made the connection between being exhausted and mentally drained when it happens. I must try to notice from now on.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 5:42 AM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yep from me too, my husband is the regular lucky audience of one. He lets me burble on about my deep thoughts on random abstract topics until I have talked myself down to quiet, then I read a book. It clearly has to be someone you can trust deeply who knows you well enough that you can stream-of-consciousness at them and not be judged.

I'd never thought of it as a regular, non-typical behaviour until this post, so now I will probably go and self-analyse next time it happens.
posted by tracicle at 6:34 AM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

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