I’m Dani Kelley,

and I do lots of things.

I will scare you with my love.

Has anyone ever taken the Myers Briggs personality test? It’s a test that tells you which of the 16 personality types you are. There are four categories of two traits, and every person has a dominant trait:  Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I), Sensing (S) or iNtuition (N), Thinking (T) or Feeling (F), and Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). It’s immensely helpful to me to see what personality I am – it really helps me to understand myself better.

I’ve spent the past two years thinking that I was an INTJ. I remembered tying in one category, and that the INTJ profile didn’t fit me 100%, but I took that as my badge of honor anyway. Until a friend recently brought up the topic again, piquing my interest and having me take the test again. I am, in fact, an INFJ – I am dead even tied for Feeling and Thinking, but Feeling often wins out. And the INFJ profile describes me absolutely to a T.

This makes sense to me, actually, since I have always had two “modes” — programming mode, where I will hand-code websites for hours on end and am deeply analytical and logical, and design mode, where I will draw or write or sing or play piano or tap deeply into my ADD/multi-tasking abilities and pour myself out emotionally.

Looking back over my life, I have more consistently been INFJ than INTJ — I revert to thinking when I am deeply emotionally scarred and do not wish to feel the pain. Otherwise, I operate from my intuitive feelings. Which brings me to the title of this post.

INFJs have uncanny insight into people and situations. They get “feelings” about things and intuitively understand them. As an extreme example, some INFJs report experiences of a psychic nature, such as getting strong feelings about there being a problem with a loved one, and discovering later that they were in a car accident. This is the sort of thing that other types may scorn and scoff at, and the INFJ themself does not really understand their intuition at a level which can be verbalized. Consequently, most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJs hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.

This is me, my friends. My husband and several of my friends comment regularly on my clairvoyancy (we say it jokingly, of course). I have made people very uneasy by instinctively knowing something about them. I’m a student of body language and of people in general. And beyond that, I have a deep innate understanding of people that oftentimes scares me — and certainly scares them. So I am very picky about what I share with people — what I know of them, what I feel about them, what I think about them. And I am sometimes even more secretive about what I think and feel about myself — lest they hear me condemn myself for something that they do as well and fear that I am condemning them. (Rest assured, if you’ve ever felt attacked by me when I am attacking myself…I am deeply empathetic to all around me, but hold myself to an unattainable standard of perfection that I hold no one else to).

My friends, I will scare you with my love if I am honest with you.

When I tell you to come to me at a moment’s notice if you need anything at all — I am not kidding. I’m not just being nice, or just saying words. I mean that if you can’t sleep and it’s 3am — call me, and I’ll sit on the phone with you so you won’t be alone. If I say that I’m willing to talk and not say anything if you need that, I’m serious. I’m an amazing listener, and I will validate every feeling you are having. If you’re afraid that your rage or pain or happiness is too much to share with someone — come to me and share with me, and I will rage, cry, or rejoice with you as if your anger, pain, or joy are my own — because many times, they are. I care so much about you that I would drop everything and drive a few hours just to hug you and cry with you or laugh with you (though at this point that’s constrained by bills and work schedules).

I will do everything I physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally can to be the best friend you have ever had. And, not to brag, but I am a really great friend…though I often lack light-heartedness. Sorry about that. Small talk and I don’t get along.

And I won’t push you for information. Chances are that I suspect something is going on, and I may ask you if you want to talk. And if you don’t, I won’t force it. But I’ll make sure you know that I’m here for you.

And yet I’ll probably hold out on you. Because I’m terrified of driving you away. I’ve been told that I often throw myself entirely at a person — the bad with the good — and sit there and wait to see what they’ll do with it. And I do. But because I know I do that, I often keep my pain and fears and anxieties to myself — because I don’t want to burden you. I want to be nothing but an encouragement to you.

I always see the good in you. I see potential everywhere I look. I look at you, even in your weakness and failures and hurts, and see nothing but amazing things for you. And I look at you in your successes and happiness and beam with pride — not because I think I have anything to do with it, but MAN — look at you! You’re awesome! Look at what you can do! Look how amazing you are! And I’m probably a little jealous, even.

I will shower you with affection if you’ll let me. I will lay in the pit of despair with you if you want me to, just so you’re not alone. I’ll pretend everything’s okay if you need to pretend that. I’ll brag to everyone I know about your accomplishments like they were my own. I will hug you for hours if you need to be held. I will find a playground and play with you if you need to be a child again. I will make you cookies and hot chocolate and veg out in front of the TV if you need comfort and security. I’ll wait as long as you need me to.

Do you see it yet? Are you utterly and completely freaked out yet? Because chances are, if you’re reading this and thinking, “Is she talking about me?” the answer is yes.

I don’t know how to love any other way.

My love is overwhelming and powerful and frightening, even to me. It’s hard to contain.

But it’s yours.

  • meerkat

    I tested as an INTJ as a child but I am an INFJ now. My explanation is that as a child, I assumed compassion was default, but now I know better so I place more emphasis on it.

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