The counselling skills course is coming to an end, and I knew the end was coming. People move on, and that's not unexpected either. Then, you start to realise that, even if you stay in touch, you'll never meet in the same way, or under the same circumstances, again.
I felt the same way when a year of studying the Welsh language came to an end. In some ways, that was even harder, because people drifted away during the course, leaving a very small class.
I know it's that whole INFJ thing again. I unintentionally pick up a lot about people, without trying. At the end of a study year, especially in a subject like counselling, I feel that I know my fellow students. I think back to that first class, when few people, if any, knew each other. Friendships develop during the course, and then...
I know the social conventions. I know that people don't understand how I see the world. No one understands. If I told people that I see the beauty in everything and everyone, they might suggest that I seek help. Still, I detect warmth, sensitivity and other great qualities in certain people, and I wish I had a way to tell them that I see those things in them, without breaking the social norms or freaking them out.
What they see is someone who doesn't express these things. Would I say that it might be nice to just hang out with them and chat some time? Could I tell them how much I'd love that? No, definitely not. So, people don't know whether I even see them as a friend. At most, I'll have the courage to say something that's very much an INFJ thing:
"If you ever need to talk, you know where I am."
That's the INFJ way of saying something we know we can't say, for fear of going against what's expected by those who don't see the world in the same way we do:
"I sense that you're a good person. I see that in you. I'd like it if we could get together some time, maybe, as friends, and just talk about things - anything, really. I enjoy your company."
Of course, you can't say any of that. You're aware that most of your behaviour can be wrongly interpreted as flirting anyway, so telling someone that you like spending time with them is tantamount to booking a hotel room for the two of you, in their eyes.
How about saying you consider them to be a friend? Whoa! What if they don't say it back? Or, worse, what if they say it back, and that talent you have, as an INFJ, for picking up what people are really feeling tells you that they don't mean it? That's not just rejection. That's the worst kind of rejection! Besides, social norms dictate that, if you say any of that, they'll think you're a bit weird as well.
Play it cool. That's the way. There's no risk of rejection then. People will walk out of your life, but at least you can believe they could have been friends. No one will understand. Only another INFJ would really understand, and you know how rare those are. We're the loneliest people in the world, and yet we spend so much of our time making sure that others don't feel alone.