Everything made sense. My whole life.

I received this message from a 16 year old reader:

“I cried reading the blogs on this website. I am 16 and I never understood why other people never understood me and I never understood them. I always tried to be friendly towards them, almost over the top nice just so that they will like me. I recently gave up. I was so tired of trying to make one friend, when it should be part of human nature.

I took a test at school to help me figure out what careers I would be successful at – but like that madders, you should do what you enjoy – but I found I was a INFP. It didn’t tell us what that even meant! So I googled it. It came up with every career I ever considered doing! I was blown away. And then I found out we are only 1% of the population. And everything made sense. My whole life.

Knowing that I am a INFP makes me know I am special, yet I still am stuck. How am I supposed to make friends if I don’t feel a connection for them. And also if I am a introvert how can I love performing and singing?”

My response:

“Hi!
I’m so glad you’re understanding yourself more. I can say this: it’s tough being an INFP, especially when you’re young. When I was a teenager I used to come home and cry. I felt so lonely.

Are you in any art/music classes? That’s where you’re likely to find people who are more sensitive and care about deeper things. Though I remember thinking that I didn’t get the artists either lol.

Aside from that, you have to try to be patient. I know that you probably feel like you’ve been patient long enough and have had no friends your whole life, but things will get better. Especially after high school.

In the meantime, start reading on how to make friends and fit in. “Fitting in” feels so fake and uncomfortable, but discomfort shows that we’re growing. If you want to be understood, you need to understand others and what they care about.

Just try to be grateful for what you have right now. Try to be friends with your parents and talk to them. Hopefully they’ll understand. Friendship with others will come.

As for entertaining, I also love entertaining. I haven’t done it in a while and it took me a long time to just let go and put myself in front of people because I was very shy and scared. But there’s an important delineation for you. Introversion doesn’t mean shyness. Being introverted just means you prefer being at home, relaxing with a book instead of out talking to hundreds of people. You feel more energized in your inner world and drained dealing with people.

Arts and music are great for us because we are creative by nature. It helps us bringing our internal creative world out into this crazy chaotic world. And we finally feel understood. I never feel as understood as when I hear an electric guitar play. Weird, I know.

Anyway, things will get better. In fact, check this out: It Gets Better Project. Lots of artists and musicians talking about how life in highschool sucked but got a lot better later on. Mainly geared toward LGBT but still very applicable to us INFPs. Also check out Dream Teachers if you want to be inspired.

Good luck and reach out whenever you’re having trouble!

Mike”

How many of you high school students feel like no one understands you? Let me know in the comments of the blog or by responding to your email.

2 thoughts on “Everything made sense. My whole life.”

  1. Lots of really good advice here.

    It’s no surprise that you enjoy performing arts. Lots of introverts do. They use their F (which is partly empathy) to understand the character or the meaning of the music/images. Then they add their own creativity. Then, by immersing themselves in the work they overcome any shyness they feel. So carry on performing and enjoy it.

    You could do a lot worse than spending the next ten years trying to put into practice all the advice you have been given above.

    Best wishes
    H

    Reply
  2. Thank you both for sharing with us your thoughts.
    The letters that have been shared have been very similar in many ways…
    I am curious… is this the way that most INFPs feel? Is this the experience that most felt in high school as well?
    Believe me, highschool was definitely rough for me… but most of it was my own doing. (Early years were spent daydreaming during class about panthers, dragons, and swordfights…. highschool years were spent living as Percy from the Scarlet Pimpernel. You know, air-headed fop by day, awesome super-me by night- hahah! I would spend the day imagining I was Edmond Dantes from the Count of Monte Cristo, imprisoned. Once my foot reached home soil, Captain Jack Sparrow, watch out!)
    That said…. I have always felt that I was unique and different… and I have always loved that. During my teen years, I had to watch it that I didn’t turn arrogant in my ways of thinking… that my thoughts were deeper, more meaningful, or thoughts that normal people had never even dreamed of. I have had to be super-diligent that I never look down on anyone, or stoop to despising… but sometimes that ugliness emerges.

    Mike, your reply to the author of the letter had a ton of great advice! I think that for most people, and all INFPs of course, that a deep and meaningful relationship with a few people is worth a whole lot more than a ton of friends that you barely know (not to mention… it is waaaay more exhausting this way).
    A deep friendship with your parents can never be underestimated. So, awesome advice!

    One thing I would like to add… don’t despise small beginnings.
    Look at what you have already- nurture it, and let it grow! Reach out to cousins, siblings, and any relatives- you won’t regret investing time in these relationships. These people are already a part of your life, and through their very different and often bizarre tastes in hobbies, music, celebration, and life in general, you are bound to discover things you didn’t even know that you would enjoy, the same thing goes for people. Everyone feels isolated at moments in their life, everyone has felt terribly misunderstood, disconnected.

    If you focus on not fitting in, on being rejected, or feelings of misplacement… these feelings will just keep getting bigger, until it totally takes over you life. What you look for, you will find.
    People will still be people, and some just tend to be nastier than most… but these are usually the ones that focus on their hurts and on what they don’t have. Take courage, and continue reaching out.
    Be kind, take your own feelings that you have experienced, and watch out for those around you. The school is loaded with other kids that feel much the same way that you do- isolated, misunderstood, and just trying to figure out who they are and what is it that they REALLY want? Is there really life after highschool? Look for the good in others, and you will find it…. sometimes, you have to look really REALLY hard…. but you’re an INFP, you’ll find it! It is extremely tough, but try to remember that when people are petty, rude and outright cruel… they are missing something inside. Truly happy people are too busy enjoying their life to go out of their way to inflict pain on others.
    So, that said, face school in the morning as your own personal quest. You’re there to right wrongs, to make a difference, to grow, and to help others to do the same.
    You have a ton on your plate with the schoolwork alone… focus on that, and focus on helping others. Don’t go in focusing on your lack- help others out, and relax. I promise you, if you receive others, help others, TRULY care for others (like listening, instead of appearing to be listening, or just holding your breath to share your geniusness -I am guilty, guilty, guilty!), you will also be received and cared for. But it has to be without the motivation of just wanting others to accept you… Be yourself- the quirkiness, the humour, the manga/videogame/movie-quoting/music-obsessed/Edgar Allen Poe addict/etc. person that you are, but truly have an interest of what others think, feel, and have to say.
    Oh, and don’t exhaust yourself! You are not the sole saviour of the world- take one thing as it comes, and don’t go to bed tossing and turning over the melodrama of the day.
    Be YOU, live in the moment, and be aware of those around you- again, not focusing on what they are or are not thinking about YOU- doing that leads to self-consciousness and awkwardness. (Besides, most people are thinking of themselves, anyway) Be aware of other’s feeling, the core of what they are trying to say, or what they need. It is not up to you to solve all of life’s problems, but you can definitely make a difference one person, and one moment at a time.

    Best of luck! XD

    Reply

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