The INFJ Door Slam

When we hear the words “door slam,” the first thing that comes to mind may be the loud, physical, and disruptive act of actually slamming a door. People slam doors to express anger, frustration, and finality.

Whether in response to a particular event, topic, or conversation, this severe reaction usually means something like, “I’m done with this!”

Equally extreme in nature, the INFJ door slam is a bit different than the example referenced above—primarily because it’s an emotional response, not a physical one. However, it essentially comes down to the same thing.

When directed at a person, the INFJ door slam means, “I’m done with you!” 

Whether you are an INFJ trying to learn more about yourself or you know an INFJ and are hoping to understand them better, awareness of the INFJ door slam can help. We’ve prepared this handy guide to the INFJ door slam.

Read on for a breakdown of everything you know about this INFJ door slam. We’ll also take a closer look at one especially interesting question: Once an INFJ has slammed the door, can it ever be reopened?  

About the INFJ Personality Type

Before we dig into the INFJ door slam, we’ll take a quick look at this fascinating personality type.

Also known as the “Idealist” or the “Advocate,” the INFJ  (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, and Judgment) personality type is known for many distinctive qualities, including compassion, idealism, creativity, organization, and the rare characteristic of being both emotional and logical at the same time.

Believed to be the rarest of the 16 personality types included in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the INFJ lays claim to many famous people, including Mahatma Gandhi, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Maya Angelou, Mr. Rogers, Eleanor Roosevelt, Malala Yousafzai,  and Angela Merkel. 

Notice a theme among the people on this list? If so, it’s not a coincidence. INFJs tend to be people with the unique ability not only to see the world as a better place but also to take action to make that change.

They are visionaries, helpers, and relationship-builders—ready to jump in and do their part to help make the world a better place. 

Understanding the INFJ Door Slam

As are all personality types, INFJs are complicated. For example, they’re introverted, but they love people. They’re idealistic, but they also hold themselves (and others!) to a very high standard. 

Speaking of contrasts, one saying that embodies the INFJ outlook is, “It’s all or nothing.” In fact, all-or-nothing syndrome and the inability to settle for anything less than the ideal are often associated with this personality type.

The gist? “If it can’t be exactly how I want it to be, then I don’t want it at all.” 

To be clear: this doesn’t mean not settling for themselves. It means not settling for less than anything that doesn’t purposefully serve the greater good. 

This brings us to the INFJ door slam. 

As mentioned earlier, INFJs are people-people. They’re very interested in other people. They want to understand them, help them, and make them happy.

They’re also extremely empathetic, insightful, patient, and tolerant, which is one of the reasons they excel in roles like therapy, counseling, and social work. 

On the flip side, because INFJs focus on other people’s needs, they tend to overlook their own. This can result in difficulties with defining, setting, and sticking to boundaries.

This doesn’t mean they’ll put up with anything and everything, however. All INFJs eventually have a breaking point—which leads to the door slam.

All of this begs the question: What is an emotional door slam? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. When an INFJ slams the door on someone, they cut them out of their life. 

While many personality types engage in this behavior, door slamming is especially noteworthy in INFJ due to its level of intensity.

Why Do INFJs Slam the Door?

Door slamming may seem contrary to what we’ve described about the INFJ personality type. After all, they love to help people and are extremely tolerant.

That’s why it’s important to note that this door-slamming is an extreme reaction that happens when INFJs have been pushed to their limits. 

In short: INFJ door slamming is a self-defense mechanism. INFJs do it to protect themselves in the only way they see possible, which is by excising the threat completely.

If you are an INFJ and you recognize this behavior from your own life, you know that the door slamming—and the events leading up to it—were agonizing to you.

Likely, you felt trapped and saw the door slam as your only recourse. In this sense, door slamming is similar to the “flight” in “fight or flight.” 

Conversely, if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an INFJ door slam, it may have felt quite ruthless to you. You may have even been completely blindsided and left with no idea what you did that led to this seemingly abrupt and extreme act.

And it may have been very painful to you, too. But this was never the intent. 

This is why understanding the personality types (and the differences between them) is so valuable to healthy human relationships. 

INFJs are so sensitive and empathetic that what seems normal to a person with a different personality type may be emotionally exhausting for them. And because they don’t like conflict, they may not be willing or able to express this feeling.

Over time and with the ongoing depletion of their inner resources, INFJs simply see no choice but to slam the door. 

This isn’t to say that INFJs don’t bear some responsibility for the situation. Sometimes they react too quickly due to their sensitive nature. Other times, they may let a problem drag on so long that it snowballs into a door slam. 

At the end of the day, communication is key to harmonious relationships between all personality types. If an INFJ doesn’t share that they’re in pain and reflect on their own role in causing or perpetuating the problem, it’s going to be impossible to address in a satisfactory way. 

Similarly, if the non-INFJ refuses to acknowledge that the INFJ isn’t just an endless font of giving (despite how it may appear), an eventual door slam may be inevitable. 

The INFJ Door Slam: Can it Be Reopened?

The INFJ door slam is a “final” act and a last resort. The INFJ doesn’t WANT to slam the door but is pushed to it when their generous boundaries have repeatedly been violated. Because of this, reopening the door is not a quick or easy fix. Nor is it always possible. 

The primary factor in determining whether the door can be reopened is whether doing so would now feel safe to the INFJ.

The INFJ must believe that the other person understands the damage they caused, regret it, and is committed to changing to create a safer space for the INFJ. With these conditions met, the healing process can begin toward the reopening of the door. 

Again, why INFJs may rarely set boundaries, this one is firm. Any attempts by you to reopen the door without these conditions met will only do further harm to your relationship. 

In other cases, reopening the door is out of the question. To get to the “why” of this, let’s backtrack to understand one more thing about INFJs. Because they’re so eager to help people and see the possibilities in everyone, they often attract needy, toxic, and narcissistic people. (This is common among other sensitive introvert types, as well.)

Specifically, the door can (and should!) stay closed if the relationship was physically or emotionally abusive, if it caused extreme distress or fatigue, or if it involved deception, cheating, or another other situation in which the INFJ was taken advantage of.

Preventing an INFJ Door Slam

As mentioned earlier, understanding the different personality types can play a pivotal role in preventing door slams and other conflicts between personality types.

We also touched upon what INFJs can do to reduce door slamming in their own lives, including working on setting boundaries and communicating their own needs.

But loved ones of INFJs can also do their part. You may be asking yourself, “How can I prevent an INFJ door slam if I don’t even know what I’m doing to make my loved one feel threatened?” 

While this question is valid, there are things you can do to vastly reduce the likelihood of putting an INFJ in the position of slamming the door on you, such as understanding that while they may put your emotions first, their emotions also matter.

Acknowledging this and responding with fairness, kindness, and respect is the single-best preventative action against INFJ door slamming.

Because people are complex, so are human relationships. If you’ve ever slammed the INFJ door or had the INFJ door slammed on you, you may have felt confused, hurt, defenseless, or misunderstood—both in that moment and afterward.

And while some doors can’t be reopened, moving forward with awareness and understanding of the INFJ door slam phenomenon can help lay the groundwork to prevent future door slams—and may even help open some previously slammed ones. 

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