To the people around me, I may appear shy, reserved, and even passive. I tend to be pretty laid back (on the outside). I’m always open to suggestions and I want to make sure others enjoy themselves. This can backfire if people start thinking I’m a pushover. What most don’t realize is how protective I am of others. Its a side of myself that only a few have seen.
I am extremely protective of the people I love and care about, especially my family and close friends. One small example: I was eating lunch with my Mom at a restaurant. When her order came, they brought her the wrong side dish. She didn’t say anything, because like me, she doesn’t like to inconvenience people. I courteously asked the server about the wrong dish and they corrected the problem. The funny thing is, if I had received the wrong order, I wouldn’t have said anything. But because it happened to her, I had to speak up.
The INFJ is typed as “The Protector”. I never really saw myself that way until I thought about how fiercely protective and loyal I am to those I hold dear. Although I’m more protective towards my friends and family, I also feel protective of those who can’t defend themselves. I get very upset when customers ahead of me in line are rude to the cashier. I’ll try to say something kind to them, as if trying to make up for the previous customer’s rudeness. I know too well how a negative comment can colour the rest of your day.
But while I am very protective of others, I don’t usually do the same for myself. Now if something is dangerous or harmful, I will speak up. But if its something more inconsequential like “what restaurant do you want to go to” I’ll usually let someone else decide. For example, one friend always tells me to pick a place to eat. Regardless of my answer, they then come up with a “better” option. Sometimes I’ll dig in my heels and remind them that they gave me the choice and they’ll usually concede. But most of the time we’ll end up going to their choice.
Protecting others is a positive thing to do. But I need to work on protecting myself too. I’ve written a lot about learning to say “no” when I need alone time. I also need to learn to assert myself so people don’t take advantage of me.
How do you protect or care for others?