That’s where you’ve already made a misstep, my child. In life, one does not “obtain” people—it simply doesn’t work like that. No, people are not shoes or clothes we can collect, and accumulate, wrapping ourselves around a secure, social network, where we are cosy, warm and safe—no. Instead, when looking to make friendships as an INFP, the only to truly make good and proper friendships, is the same way other people make lasting friendships: by being honest and true to yourself.
This is harder than it looks because us INFPs, well, let’s just say, we can be quite the little actresses and actors at times, not because we intentionally want to deceive people, but because we’re so afraid other people won’t like our true selves. This is unfortunate. INFPs make wonderful, kind, loving friends, and more often than not, those of us who hide our true selves behind a veneer of almost-fracturing confidence are just kidding ourselves and pretending to be something we’re the complete opposite of. Instead—and this might be hard, considering the fact that we are prone to sticking to these false selves like glue, especially in our younger years—INFPS should shed all false selves and any mannerisms we’ve managed to pick up and wear over the years, and be our true, unadulterated selves at all times.
This can be scary at first. It means letting people see what happens behind the curtain. It means shedding that social anxiety that plagues so many young INFPs, in their teens or twenties, who feel constantly inadequate and on edge. I shed it when I was around 18 or 19, and I’m 21 now, so, let me tell you, it’s one of the liberating and wonderful things you can ever do. You realise you don’t need to keep a mask on in order to make other people feel comfortable around you or like you. If they’re going to be in your life, then they’re going to be in it, and no amount of hair-pulling or coercion or whatever ploys people come up with these days to get others to like them will change things. Either they’re there, or they’re not. Simple as that. And dropping the mask is the first step to finding true friendships: you’ll finally start attracting the right people for you; and if someone doesn’t like you, well, then, that’s their problem, and you’re going to have to grow a thick skin about it. It’ll be hard at first; at the start of things, I felt the need to constantly put the mask back on, or, when someone didn’t like me and rejected me, I felt the urge to curl up into a corner somewhere and cry; but over time, you grow stronger, and stronger, and soon, you’ll be buoyed along by your own self-esteem and your faith in God or whatever foundations you build the bricks of your heart and soul upon.
Only now, in my twenties, have I started to form true and proper relationships with people. They don’t teach you this in school. This is something you have to figure out on your own. Friends, like I said before, like family, like anybody in your life, are going to be there if they’re meant to be, and if they’re not, then they won’t. It’s really that easy, and simple. Don’t try to hang onto people, desperately, when they really don’t want to be in your company, because it never works, people aren’t objects to collect; and likewise, don’t let other people desperately hang onto you when you don’t want to maintain a relationship with them, because that never works and there’s general misery all around. When it comes to relationships, although you do need to prioritise the other person’s needs, you also need to put your needs and desires on an equal level with theirs, and if the relationship just isn’t cutting it for you, then it’s time to cut ties.
Honesty and open communication, and being yourself, is all fine and good, but everyone knows, when it comes to relationships, there’s a secret ingredient, and that’s chemistry. It’s not necessarily romantic chemistry—it could be friendship chemistry, that magical ingredient that makes a couple of people get along for some reason, and makes their conversations flow and their laughter bright and sparkling whenever they meet up. That’s something that cannot be replicated or distilled into any magical potion of wisdom: it’s just something that happens in life, like love and comets and flowers. So, when it comes to maintaining true friendships, the key thing is to relax and do nothing at all, funnily enough: because that’s when you’ll find that special person, right on your doorstep, and you’ll find yourself getting along with them, with no anxiety, no fear, just the pure joy of finding another human whose soul echoes with yours.