Learning not to avoid things.

How to deal with my feelings and emotions, better.

I say this every year, but how is it almost Christmas already?

Well, okay, saying it’s almost Christmas is questionable, I know. But we’re now less than 50 days away, and those are bound to fly by.

I’ve already got Christmas-related family activities in the diary (and a big family meal, and a trip away), and Channel 5 is showing cheesy, Christmassy movies every afternoon this week. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for those.

This week, I’ve also started writing a new story, and an ‘Intuitive Writing’ group course with my friend (and fellow INF) Lauren Sapala. I’ve not yet watched the 1st class (it happened on Zoom in the early hours, as I’m in the UK, but I’m looking forward to catching up on the recording).

What else has happened this week?

Well, I discovered a new, well-known, self-professed INFJ (you’ll have to read on to find out more)…

Finally, I’ve also been working on something that I’m really excited about. If you’re an INFP or an INFJ, I hope you’ll be as excited about this as I am. I look forward to sharing more details with you in due course.

In the mean, though, here’s this week’s Wednesday piece for you.

As always, feel free to leave a comment on Twitter @inf_club or to drop me a note; jasraj.s.hothi@gmail.com


Learning not to avoid my feelings + emotions

Every time I think that I know myself well and that there’s little more to discover, I then come to learn more about myself. Or, in this case, have a greater understanding of the extent to which I am a certain way.

In recent months and weeks, I have been realising just to what extent I avoid things, and how subtly this shows up.

For example, I recently wrote about my trials and tribulations on the subject of friendships; I described a particular series of events that happened in that piece, but what I didn’t mention was that I had gone to bed feeling kinda sh*tty, because I’d left the WhatsApp group I’d created for the birthday plans in quite a rash manner and on a slightly awkward note. This was after my efforts had been met with “Oh, not another WhatsApp group” message from one of the guys (as if I actually like WhatsApp groups myself…), and then there was a general lack of activity and “I’m not really bothered” attitude that I got from the other guys from their lack of activity. In other words, I’d tried to take the reigns to make plans with a group of guys who (apart from one of them) I didn’t really know too well yet, and it had been met on deaf ears (or, inactive thumbs).

That evening, I dived onto the PlayStation to try and avoid the discomfort of these mixed feelings; of being ignored, of being upset and offended and a bit angry. That was stage 1 of Jas avoids.

The next morning, I woke early. This was probably partly due to me going to bed with this stuff still tumbling around my mind, and my subconscious/psyche was still feeling these emotions whilst I was still asleep. It was definitely on my mind… one of the guys had reached out to me directly when I left the WhatsApp group, last night. On waking early, I went downstairs and sent him a reply. And then I got back into bed, closed my eyes and slept again… again, shutting myself off and dealing with my emotions through more avoidance, this time through sleeping.

I remember when my mental health took a plummet 3 years ago, after I'd left my recruitment job, had finished my Masters and the 'own thing' I had tried to get off of the ground had failed. I found myself spending more and more time up late, on the PlayStation or watching TV, and then more and more time in bed the next day.

Those are two of the things I find myself doing when I’m trying to avoid unpleasant feelings (and thoughts, but it mostly feels like unpleasant feelings). And there's a third, too. Here they are:

1. Sleeping / otherwise staying in bed

2. Watching TV and/or playing on the Playstation

3. Diving onto my phone and mindlessly browsing/scrolling/otherwise procrastinating (before smartphones were a thing, this used to be mindless activity on the computer, for hours and hours. Controlling my online activity, and keeping it healthy, has been a big one for me and something I continue to manage today)

(4. Previously, I would go out with my colleagues and drink)

And, this stuff happens so easily. When I feel icky stuff I don’t want to feel - whether anger, or upset, or distress, or even just confusion/overwhelm (e.g. at times of uncertainty I've experienced since leaving my unfulfilling-yet-safe job in the City (that article was one of the 1st blog pieces I ever wrote, btw, and the first I published on Medium). Much of the last 4 years have felt very unsettling as I've been in limbo and experimented with a number of different paths and projects), what I can easily slip into is this avoidance.

Why? Because I don't like to feel uneasy and unpleasant thoughts and feelings. Nor do I like to sit with them. And, as a sensitive introvert, that's what I do. Try to numb them or make them disappear completely.

Or, I try to bury my head into books or podcasts or the internet, clinging on and hoping to magically find an answer through what I call procrasti-reading; aka, endless reading on a subject or topic (e.g. career change) and hoping to find a magic-bullet answer. That’s what it feels like on the surface, but what I'm really doing is desperately avoiding my thoughts and feelings, to bury the self-doubt and overwhelm and confusion and make them disappear, by pushing them deep down and shovelling information on top of them. 

Surprisingly, this doesn’t work. Ironically, it can lead to even more self-doubt and overwhelm and confusion.

The good thing is that this is something that I have been realising more and more in the present moment, as it is happening.

So, what am I doing instead?

Firstly, I try to sit with what I am feeling and experiencing as it arises. It helps to write it down, to get it out on paper, so I'm not turning it over again-and-again and I'm actually doing something with it, rather than just let it sit there and fester, or push it down and avoid it.

I try to create pause and space in my day, whether it's sitting in the jacuzzi and doing a couple of minutes’ grounding mindfulness (I did that in the bath today), or a yoga class, or 10 minutes of the 'Calm' (meditation) app before bed. 

The more calm, at ease and grounded I feel, the more I can recognise when I am feeling things I don't want to feel. I can then lean into and deal with it, rather than avoid it.

To sit with what I am experiencing, and to write it down on paper - or, talk it through with some I know and trust - is a much more conducive thing to do rather than to run from what I am feeling.

In my experience, avoidance only leads to those feelings building up. And, I suspect, those feelings - if they're powerful and long-lasting enough (i.e. allowed to fester) - might just embed themselves into our psyche and remain there, undealt with, just to spring up later on or otherwise manifest themselves in unhelpful ways.

Basically, thoughts/feelings/emotions are best off being dealt with and expressed as they arise, rather than run away from and avoided.

This is a HUGE realisation for me, and I hope that I continue to take my own advice going forward. 

Hopefully, by sharing this with you, this has hammered the point home even more firmly and made me even more accountable to taking constructive, helpful action when these situations continue to arise (I am a sensitive feeler after all, so these situations will continue to arise).

I'll keep you posted, but it feels much better for me to put these thoughts and feelings down on paper. 

No, seriously. I feel better already.

Okay, so what now?

I would encourage you to think about how you currently deal with unpleasant feelings and emotions. 

Do you manage them healthily and deal with them as they arise? Or, do you try to avoid, numb or otherwise run from them in some way? Has what I have written about today resonated with you in any way?

I hope this has been a thought-provoking piece for you.

As always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to tweet @inf_club or email me: jasraj.s.hothi@gmail.com.


Some other stuff…

🌕 LonerWolf
I’ve recently come across the LonerWolf blog, run by Luna and Sol (an INFJ and INTJ). I love the whole vibe of the website, and I don’t think I’ve ever such a wealth of knowledge and practical information around the subject of deep, soul-based work. I also love their definition of a free spirit:

🔮 His Dark Materials
I was just a kid when I read Philip Pullman’s trilogy, and I only actually read the first book. That first book has been made into an 8-part television series, airing every Sunday evening in the UK (BBC1), and every Monday evening in the US (on HBO). I really enjoyed the opening episode, which was watched by 7.4mn in the UK, making it the most-watched new British show in 5 years on any channel. It looks like my next few Sunday evenings are set, and I may well have to read the trilogy now.

💎 Marina
Singer-songwriter Marina, previously known as Marina and the Diamonds, previously revealed that she’s an INFJ in a reply on Twitter. I promptly added her catchy anthem Primadonna to my Spotify playlist, as well as a couple of her recent albums (thanks to fellow INF Jaymie for the recommendation).


🙋🏼Got a recommendation? 🙋🏼‍♂️
Are you reading, watching or listening to anything you think other INFPs and INFJs would enjoy? Just tweet @inf_club, or drop me an email -> jasraj.s.hothi@gmail.com.

And remember, you can browse the archive over here.

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Sharing my dreams with my mother

Or, how she reacted when I told her "I want to be a writer"

First off, I want to give a warm welcome to the new subscribers who have joined INF club since last week’s re-launch. I really appreciate each and every one of you.

Since I last wrote to you, it feels like Winter has suddenly descended upon us. Here in the UK, Daylight Saving Time ended over the weekend, which came with an extra hour in bed (yayyy), but also darkness falling upon us even earlier (nayyyy).

I was pondering on this recently, but I noticed a marked change in my mood at this time of year. I caught a cold a couple of weeks back, and a temporary downer soon followed… one which lead to an existential What am I doing with my life? kinda crisis. Thankfully I got through it.

Here’s what I’ve been doing this week to combat it: working from the room at the front of the house, where light pours in (our bodies respond to light, and you can’t beat natural light), doing more gentle work at the gym (e.g. a stretch class, or a lighter workout, and making time for sitting in the jacuzzi/sauna afterwards, even if just briefly), leaning into reflective journalling, and getting into bed & turning the lights off at a reasonable hour (though I, ahem, got a bit carried away last night watching Netflix until the early hours. whoops).

Speaking of Winter and shorter nights, my family and I are heading to Reykjavik, Iceland over Christmas just days after the Winter Solstice (aka the shortest day of the year). Aside from some quality time away from home with the family, I’m really looking forward to this for several reasons: experiencing a day with just 4 hours of daylight should be interesting, we’re hoping to see the Northern Lights, and I might just get to see my 1st ever white Christmas, which has been a dream of mine since I’ve been a kid. I’m trying not to set my expectations too high, but I’m really looking forward to our trip away together.

That being said, here’s this week’s piece, followed by some other tidbits at the end.

I hope you enjoy this one and, as always, if anything resonates or you feel like getting in touch, do drop me us a tweet, tweet me directly, or send me an email -> jasraj.s.hothi@gmail.com. I love receiving emails. I actually prefer them to texts and WhatsApps.

Right, let’s get started.


Sharing my dreams with my mother

As a 30 year old, I didn't think I'd be still, effectively, asking permission from my parents about certain things. I sometimes feel like a little kid again, tentatively approaching a subject, or a difficult conversation, with my tail between my legs.

Back when I was at school, when I imagined my future me I figured I' would have 'settled down' by now, with my own place, and perhaps with a kid or two in tow. It's funny how things turn out...

As a highly sensitive introvert, my relationship with my parents is an interesting one. They love me to bits, and vice versa, but - and this is especially felt because I’m living at home - the whole separation thing hasn't really happened.

By separation, I mean the transition from parent-child relationship to an adult-adult one. In some ways, this has kinda happened, in other ways this hasn't really happened.

Which brings me to the conversation I had with mum just a few days ago, last Sunday.

But before I go into that, just a few weeks ago, during a conversation I was having over coffee with a friend of mine (who happens to be an INFJ and living her own unconventional life), I was describing to her the many different things I was pursuing - learning to trade FX, freelance marketing, talking to others a about a 'trading opportunity' for a family business whose website I'd just created... it was all very messy; I had taken on too much. She suggested, after I told her I wanted to get a job which still allowed me to write: "Have you thought about working in a coffee shop, or something?"

In the moment, I said something along the lines of "Yeah, I have. And if things don't work out with any of this stuff, I may consider that option early next year. I don't have any airs and graces when it comes to doing a job like that...".

And yet...

Actually, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I did have some airs-and-graces. In a way, I still do. It feels difficult, and scary, for me to commit to doing something like that. And yet, today, as I write this piece and I now write these words, I feel more confident in this being my path than ever.

I want to be a writer. There, I said it.

Which brings me onto the conversation with my mum one Sunday that has recently passed.

I woke up on this Sunday, where the clocks had gone back in the middle of the night, in line with the end of Daylight Saving. So, an extra hour in bed, before waking up for the 2nd Rugby World Cup semi-final between Wales and South Africa. After a late night the previous night (a friend's 'stag' do), and with the possibility of my going into London later today, I was tired. I could have easily spent a cosy day in, sat on the couch with laptop on lap, writing and reading stuff, with some good Sunday TV playing in the background.

But, it was nice outside, and I quite enjoy our treasured moments walking outside together, through the park, and across the river over the bridge to one of our favourite brunch spots.

And I'm glad I did. Because, somehow, it felt right to share with my mum what was going on for me, and what I was thinking. I think, as an INFP, we just know when the time’s right to have a conversation, or take action, or otherwise make something happen.

In fact, it what happened was what Lauren Sapala described to me in one of our email exchanges as “the pull” and - in doing so - she beautifully articulated what following your intuition looks like - and how we can do it:

“Lucky for you, you're an INFP, because this is where your intuition comes in, big-time. The key is to not plan anything out, just be in the moment and go with the flow. Let the conversation/interaction/encounter naturally take its course. If something is meant to come up and be shared, it will come up naturally and, even though you might feel uncomfortable, you'll feel the pull to share. The REAL key, IMO, is that it feel like a "pull," not a push. So, if you're in the conversation with the person and you start feeling panicky and weird and like you need to spill everything to them RIGHT NOW and you stop and check in with yourself and you notice that you feel like you're PUSHING yourself, like, you're getting behind yourself and giving yourself this shove to move forward, get going, get it over with...that's a pretty good sign that you're freaking out and trying to control everything. Also IMO, I think introverts tend to be more okay than we should be about pushing ourselves because we've been kind of brainwashed to override our natural instincts to hold back and wait, so we tend to push ourselves in all kinds of situations where we don't need to push ourselves.

Instead of pushing yourself, wait for the pull. The pull will feel much more natural, and like's it a natural part of the conversation. You won't have to engineer anything or overthink it. It will feel like a pull in your body to share something, and it will only occur if the time is right and if you feel safe. In fact, I encourage you to stop pushing yourself in everything, and ONLY operate according to the pull. That's called following your intuition.”

-> Lauren Sapala


Btw, Lauren has a remarkable understanding of INFJ- and INFP-personality types (she’s an INFJ herself), and I’ll be mentioning her again in the ‘Some other stuff’ section following this piece.

And, this is exactly what happened when we were sat down together at the table in the cafe; my brother had gone up to order our food, and it was just the two of us sat there. We were just talking and, all of a sudden, I just recall it feeling right to bring up my intentions to be a writer, and thus the sorts of jobs I was now looking for. I felt the pull.

These deep, below-the-surface conversations with mum don’t happen so often, but I’m noticing they’re happening much more often than they used to. This feels like a good sign.

So here’s what I told her. The context is this: since the start of the year, I left my job (again), to give freelance marketing a go. It hasn’t worked out for various reasons, and it just hasn’t felt right.

I told mum that I was wanting to get serious with my writing. I was committed to pursue writing as “my thing”, and thus get a customer-facing job that wasn't too stressful. This meant that, as of now, I was officially not wanting to 'build a career'. Yes, I left the city in 2015 and, yes, I left my employed job earlier this year, but it’s felt like I’ve been in a limbo between two blocks of land, hovering somewhere in the middle, and not quite brave enough to leave the world of “impressive jobs” behind.

And a little to my surprise... she was absolutely fine with it. She was supportive. She agreed that finding a non-remote job, in terms of the people-interaction Id be getting away from the solitude of my writing, wold do my good.

"I just want you to be happy", she said.

It was so nice to hear those words. And it felt like, in saying what I wanted out loud, and with my mum, I felt a release.

Truth be told, this has felt like a big step for me. As an Asian kid sent to grammar school, who got good grades and was intelligent, I felt the expectations of my school, of society, of everyone... to do something 'impressive' and earn good money in a job. Perhaps most of all, I put those burdensome pressures and expectations on my own shoulders.

Even though I left the City 4 years ago, I still feel the pull of these expectations. And I know my parents do, too, from everyone else and society as a whole, from extended family members, from random other folks we meet at gatherings, where they inevitably ask what me and my brother are ‘up to’, like folks tend to do.

For the last 4 years, it's been a topsy-turvy journey, one which my parents have witnessed but also I've not really shared the journey so much with them, in terms of what I’ve been going on in my head.

At one such gathering a few weeks ago, someone asked my dad what I did, and the guy later talked to me and joked (innocently) that my dad didn’t really know what I ‘did for a living. Apparently: "Your dad said you do blogging...". Bless him. I mean, he’s not wrong.

I know my parents don't quite get what I'm doing, and it would be much easier and less stressful for them if I was doing something more conventional.

All of which makes my mum's reaction even more special, and me so appreciative for it. This feels like a huge step for me. And a remarkable conversation, one that'll stay in my memory.

It was the day I said, out loud, that I wanted to be a writer and focus my efforts on that... and the day my mum accepted me for it.

It was also apt that, just a few moments ago, we were watching Gogglebox together, and as part of the Stand Up To Cancer segment, they showed a couple of harrowing stories of a couple of men who had suffered with, and gone on to die from, cancer. Both mum and I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing and she said, afterwards, “It just goes to show how precious life is. You need to live your life and follow your dreams.”

Those words are still hanging in the air, as I put these words down on the screen.


Some other stuff…

📖Book: The INFJ Revolution
This week, I finished reading Lauren Sapala’s latest book. I’m an INFP, but I recommend that all INF-types, whether you’re an INFP or an INFJ, read this. It is so, so good -> Find out more and get your own copy.


🔔In case you missed it…
I was on my 1st ever podcast recently, talking about being a ‘highly sensitive introvert’. I’ve had some lovely feedback so far, speaking on a topic close to my heart. You can listen over here, or just search ‘Creative introvert Jas Hothi’ on your favourite podcast platform (e.g. iTunes, Spotify, etc).

📷Instagram
I’m not a big Instagrammer at all, but my favourite account has to be a kind bear, whose bears are drawn by the mother of a friend of mine. It’ll fill your feed with some much-needed joy.

👥 Friendship
I recently came across a quote by the author CS Lewis, which I felt beautifully described what friendship is all about:

Aw! I couldn’t have put it better myself. And this is literally me every time I meet someone who I really connect with (more often than not, this happens when I vibe with a fellow INFP or INFJ).

✏️ Writers / #NaNoWriMo
Are you taking part in #NaNoWriMo this year? If you’re a writer and have no idea what I’m talking about, you might wanna check it out. If you’re an intuitive writer (INFPs and INFJs, that’s you!) and the idea of sitting down and churning out lots and lots of words, over a period of consecutive days, terrifies you, you’ll want to check out Lauren’s recent post -> How INFJs and INFPs can start using the intuitive writing process.

PS. It was thanks to last year’s NaNo that I completed my first 50k-word manuscript. For this November, I’m currently teetering between working on finishing my 1st edit, or working on a whole new one. Keep up to date with what’s going on in my writing life over here.


So that’s it for this week’s edition. Remember, you can browse the archive, anytime.

And if you’re new to INF club, and feel like saying ‘hi’, please do! Just tweet us, or drop me, Jas, an email -> jasraj.s.hothi@gmail.com.

Thanks for being here, and see you next week 👋🏼

Jas

PS. Fancy sharing the INF vibes with someone who you reckon will appreciate them? If so, thank you! :)

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Moments of clarity.

Do you know when you get yours?

Confession: today, being the last Friday of the month, I should technicallyyyy be sharing with you an interview with a fellow INFP or INFJ. Unfortunately, life has gotten in that way and I have no new interview to bring you today.

But…

Instead, I invite you to read two previous interviews with Alie Harwood and Amanda Linehan, two INFs who are both relatable and inspirational:

-> the INF interview: Amanda Linehan

-> the INF interview: Alie Harwood

And, given that it’s a week of celebrating the re-launch of INF club here on Substack, I thought why not serve up an extra piece for you this fine Friday.

Today on the blog, I talk about moments of clarity, and how you can find them yourself through getting closer to your intuition. I also share some pre-weekend tidbits with you at the bottom.

Btw, if you haven’t read my Wednesday post, you might wish to check that out over here. (I talk about INF friendships, my new favourite show & my new favourite podcast).

I hope you enjoy this one and, as always, you can respond to the piece by hitting ‘reply’ if you are a subscriber and are reading this from your inbox, or by commenting on Twitter or sending me an email, I’d love to hear from you -> jasraj.s.hothi@gmail.com.


Moments of clarity

As INFPs and INFJs, our relationship with our intuition is very important indeed.

It's always something that is there, but it is a relationship that can be cultivated, developed further if you will. I have definitely noticed that there are certain conditions under which 'clarity' tends to emerge for me.

Keeping my self-care in check is, as a general rule, conducive to feeling grounded and 'well', where the mind feels healthy and not 'frazzled'. This is a basic requirement for any form of clarity/reflection/relationship with the intuition to develop. If you're not taking care of the basics right now (e.g. enough sleep), I'd really recommend it.

However, I've also noticed that clarity can pop up at very specific times for me. For example, I may be pondering upon something and, as if by sudden, that answer will emerge or I'll get "an inkling" for the answer, and whatever it was that I was pondering suddenly makes sense. Or, I'll otherwise get a flash of inspiration, or a different perspective will cross my mind.

Either way, it's as if a dose of clarity has sprung up.

For me, it often happens when I've been in the gym and done some sort of movement, whether it's a light stretch, some weights, or some cardio on the bike. It doesn't even have to be intensely working out; I think the most important thing is that the movement grounds me, and my mind lets itself go from the day/my thoughts/whatever it was I had been doing before the workout (which is, most likely, some sort of Mac-based work).

Right after I've done the workout, I'll take my headphones out of my ears in the changing room and - usually - even if it's just for a few minutes, I'll head to the swimming pool where I'll sit in the sauna/jacuzzi/steam-room or some combination thereof. 

And it'll be like, in this relaxed state and with a still mind, ta-da.

Clarity.

And, even if it's not like this clarity-bolt-of-lightning that emerges where I realise something with absoluteness and certainty - due to the fact that I'm clear-minded and calm and grounded, this is generally a good space to think anyway.

Sometimes, I'll be giving something thought in the sauna or jacuzzi (or steam-room), focusing attention on whatever it is I'm 'pondering' or wherever I'm hoping to get clarity, and the clarity will come.

Other times, I might not even be consciously directing my thoughts there but, for whatever reason, it's as if the subject of my pondering is there somewhere under the surface within my psyche and, as if suddenly, I'll get an insight or a thought or some form of clarity around whatever it is I might be pondering/mulling over/seeking a decision on.

It might be a question like "What do I want my blog to look like one year from now?", or even something more trivial like "Do I want to go out for dinner tonight with mum, or should I stay in, instead?”

PS. The above two examples are two questions I have been mulling over in the here and now.

It's like I'm more grounded in both my head and my body, and so my intuition (body*) and my logic (mind*) are more 'reliable', I am able to access them more easily - and without a sense of overwhelm or confusion.

[*To me, logic feels like it's in my mind, whereas my intuition feels like it's in my body.]

For you, it might not be a case of having to go to the gym and sitting in the spa afterwards. You might find your calm, your stillness, your ideal 'state' from where you find clarity, some other way.

In my experience, though, here are some ideas to incorporate some of that calm and get to that more balanced 'state' from which clarity arises:

- yoga/meditation (super-cliched, but it works for me)
- in the morning, soon after waking up
- during, or after, writing/journalling of some kind
- with gentle, relaxing music (I’m currently listening to my ‘movie music’ playlist on Spotify)

The key is anything which settles your mind and your body, and helps you feel calm, at ease and grounded.

So, given all of the above, here are my learnings to take forward with me:

- I want to carve out more time each day for a gym workout or movement of some kind (and a short time afterwards in the spa where I can)
- Where I've had what feels like a busy afternoon/evening (whether on the computer or out socialising), 10mins of the Calm meditation app before bed is a very good idea

Now, a couple of things to ask yourself:

- Under what circumstances do moments of calm or clarity happen for you? After you’ve done a certain activity, perhaps? Or at a certain time of day? How can you make more of these moments happen for you
- What can you do to incorporate more feelings of groundedness into your life?

Feel free to share them with me by hitting ‘reply’ (subscribers), by commenting on Twitter, or by emailing me -> jasraj.s.hothi@gmail.com.


Pre-weekend tidbits

☀️ Some good news…
When I worked in the City, I used to devour the (free) commuter newspapers, with the same news, each way. I am a lot more conscious about the news I consume now, choosing things like Positive.News instead. I talk about my transition away from ‘regular news’ in this short piece. It’s great to see more publications changing the sort of ‘news’ that is reported, and I also recently discovered GoodGoodGood thanks to my friend, and fellow INF, Jae.

😶 Shame and guilt
These emotions have been described as two of the most burden-some that exist. I stumbled across a 13-min podcast on Shame, Guilt and Embarrassment by the Anxious Therapist, talking about how we can move through it and sharing a powerful affirmation that might help. Listen to the episode here.

🏄🏽‍♂️ A dash of confidence
I have recently realised that one of the reasons I watch Mixed Martial Arts when it’s on is the raw emotions I experience when watching it. You can really feel them. Before a recent main-event fight, Israel Adesanya put on display an entrance of the kind I’ve never seen before. For him to do this, as the underdog, before the biggest fight of his career, and in front of the biggest attendance in UFC history, is just… something else. Here it is (the fighter emerges around 1 minute in). PS. If the video is unavailable in your country, type ‘Israel Adesanya entrance’ on YouTube, and you should find some alternatives.

And finally…

💁🏽‍♂️ I was on a podcast…
In case you missed it, I was recently on a podcast with a fellow introvert, the lovely Cat @ TheCreativeIntrovert, where I talked all about being a highly sensitive introvert… AKA, an INFP! I have a hunch you’ll be able to resonate with some of the stuff I talk about. Listen to the episode over here.


👉🏼 Remember, if you haven’t already you can subscribe (free, or premium) over here.

🎁 If you know another INFP or INFJ who you think would enjoy this blog, please forward this on, or tag them in this tweet. Thank you for your support 💛

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INF friendships...

and a show you *must* watch.

Hey! So this is my very first post I’m writing on Substack. I’m kinda toying with a new format here. In this week’s post you’ll find one of my regular pieces and then, at the end, a bunch of other stuff.

I hope you enjoy it, and I would love to get your feedback through a comment below (yes, you can now comment!), or an email if you prefer that instead -> jasraj.s.hothi@gmail.com.

I’ve also uploaded all of my previous blog posts, and I’ve re-vamped a couple that talk about why I even started INF club and the hopes I have for it. I’d love for you to take a look:

-> welcome to INF club

-> about INF club

OK, all done? Great! Over to this week’s piece all about INF friendships. I’d love to know what you think in the comments below, especially if you can relate in anyway. Thanks, and enjoy.


INF friendships: the trials & tribulations

Written: October 5th, 2019

I nearly wrote this earlier today, after I was feeling pretty het up. Instead, I've had the day to let it sit with me, and (as is always a good idea) get out of my head and not let an 'emotional situation' ruin my whole day. (Though, I did stay in bed for much longer than usual, which is something I tend to do when avoiding unpleasant thoughts and emotions).

Here's what happened. 4 of us guys played golf recently, and we had a good time. One of them is a friend I've know since primary school, and the other two are more recent 'friends' (we've hung out just a couple of times), but cool guys nevertheless and guys I'm looking forward to hanging out with more. (In line with my ongoing intention to nurture the relationships in my life; see my article on self-care for some more context here).

I was in a good mood, and we'd been talking about doing something at the weekend all week. It happened to be one of the "new" guys' birthdays. There was talk all week about getting together and doing something, initially another round of golf and then other ideas were thrown around. But...nothing got sorted.

So, on Friday I took the bull by the horns and tried to get something sorted. After throwing around some ideas, I bumped into birthday boy at the gym, and we came up with a plan. We were going to this place called Flight Club (a funky bar with darts in East London) and then get some food/drinks afterwards.

I set up a WhatsApp group and asked folks to let me know that 4/5pm would be good. My primary school friend couldn't come, but another mutual friend that we all knew *could* come, and with 4 of us going that was the minimum group number for us to make a booking at Flight Club.

I sent a voicenote and some written messages after creating a new WhatsApp group. I got no answers back, though, and this was late on a Friday and the night before... the next day. Like, we were supposed to be doing something tomorrow and there were still no plans.

I was annoyed. And, after the first message I received on the group was one of the boys complaining about my creating a WhatsApp group to get this sorted, I sent a short, direct message to say I would wait for an answer, and I left the group.

There were a few things at play here:

- I stepped up, I organised and offered to book, and it felt like no one was bothering to help me make it happen.

- Even though I'm a go-with-a-flow-er, I like to have plans (especially ‘group plans’) set at least 24hours before they happen; I don't like being left waiting for what may/may not happen, and basically being on 'hold' - otherwise, it feels like a waste of a day

To top it off, I'll be honest, despite my in-the-moment excitement the thought of a day/evening of socialising for a few hours didn't seem so exciting; especially as I ended up hanging out with a friend on Friday night, and I had brunch and cinema planned on Sunday. Basically, I knew I'd be exhausted and introvert/HSP-hungover. 

-> See also: This is what 5 hours of meetings does to me.

Plus, I was trying to be sensible with money at the moment (job-searching n’ all…). I'd eaten out on Friday night, and no doubt going into London and doing an activity and having food/drinks would set me back a bit £-wise.

So, basically, I made my excuses the next morning. I said that I had overlooked some family plans and told the guys I could no longer do anything. I was annoyed and - frankly - not in the mood for going out.

But, all of this really tapped in with a larger challenge I have had throughout my life.

Friendships.

Finding 'my people' and folks whose company I enjoy in the first place. Much of the time, I like 'hanging out' to involve deep, meaningful conversations.

But, actually, I really enjoyed the round of golf and pub with the four of us, and realised that just taking it easy, having some fun, and *not* having to have such deep conversations all the time was OK. In other words, these guys seemed like nice, decent guys and with similar personalities too (I get quite a sensitive vibe from them also).

And then, actually making plans. More often than not, it's been *me* that's had to step up and take the reins. Right now, I like to feel like the friendship is reciprocal, and has equal give-and-take, equal reaching-out going on. Is that too much to ask?

But, it turns out, I've found that us guys tend to suck at friendships, and reaching out, or making plans.

In fact, the only friend I have who I feel like I have such a reciprocal relationship with is Alex, my primary school friend. In the last couple of weeks, we've both messaged one another to ask if we'd like to hang out with the other. That's how it should be.

But I've struggled with friendships at school, and now as an adult. Don't get me wrong, I'm in the best place I've been. I have a handful of folks who I see 'now and then', as well as the accountability group I meet with every week, via video call.

But, so far as real-life goes, I'd like to continue to nurture these friendships - but to feel that, like I described above, they are balanced in their nature.

What it boils down to is this:

- Finding 'my people' hasn't always been easy

- Then 'making plans' has proven to also be tricky; due top folks not reaching out, not 'taking action' when I extend an invite; I also feel like, with WhatsApp and Facebook and in this age of 'digital communication', 'quality' has been compromised; for example, back in the day an invitation used to consist of a call or at least a personalised message. For a while, I was getting 'send to all' Facebook invitations. I'm not about that vibe.

- I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this post. I wanted to offer a glimpse into the tricky nuances of my sensitive personality; both when it comes to making friends, and also my fluctuating mood - "ooh, yeah let's go out" one minute, but then "hmm, actually, I don't feel like socialising so much this weekend" the next.

So, where do I go from here? Well, this is what I've decided:

- I want to continue to make time for friendships; and, at least every other weekend (or twice a month), make time for plans with friends

- I will try to make plans from a measured/grounded place, and really be sure I'm wanting to & able to socialise (energy-wise) before I commit to making plans, or reach out to organise plans like I did

- I will still make time for mostly 1-on-1 or 'small group' socialising

- I will continue to be more honest & express myself to my friends, so that I honour my own feelings and probably deepen these friendships in the process

- I'll try not to over-think my friendships, and acknowledge that the people I bring into my life and choose to spend my time with are that exactly... my choice

- I will not over-extend myself; be the one who always makes plans, who always responds first on the WhatsApp group, and so forth

Sheesh, this friendship lark is hard, especially as an adult. Who else is with me, here?


Some other stuff…

📺 The most INF show I’ve watched ever.
So, following last week’s 5 hours of meetings piece, Brad tweeted me a recommendation for a show called Undone on Amazon Prime. Oh.my.goodness. I’ve not only watched the whole series, but I started re-watching it last night. It’s difficult to put into words, but I can only say this show resonated with me on freakin’ LEVELS.


🎙 A podcast I’m loving.
Come to think of it, it’s been a darn good week for discovering new things. My brother told me about this podcast and it’s SO good! I’m a huge fan of the US Office, and it turns out that Pam and Angela from the show are BFFs in real life and are going through each and every episode, starting from the very beginning, and re-living what it was like to film each episode, and offering special insights that one would only have from being on the show. Oh, it’s so good. Have a listen on Apple, Spotify, or other platforms. Just search ‘Office Ladies’.

🍂 How I’m feeling.
I’m shaking off a cold and thankfully coming out the other side, now. Getting used to the colder, greyer, darker weather has also been an adjustment. Hopefully, my trusty bedside Wake-Light will help, they’re pretty cool (PS. Mine’s a Lumie).

🕰️ Clocks changing.
Speaking of which, if you are reading this from UK/Europe, we’ll be gaining an hour when clocks go back in the early hours of Sunday. Btw, I hadn’t realised just how many countries in the world observe Daylight Saving Time, nor had I realised that clocks change at different times for different countries (for those in the US, it looks like your clocks will change next weekend) -> read this.

🏰 My hopes and dreams for INF club
I mentioned it at the start of this piece, but please have a read if you haven’t already. I’ve been thinking about what I would like INF club to be, and I’ve shared those thoughts here and here. But, what is that YOU want INF club to be? Let me know what you think by commenting or emailing me on the address at the top of the page. I’d really, really love to hear from you about this.

Or, if you’d like to check-in more casually…

❄️ Breaking the ice
Are you a cat-person or a dog-person, or both? I’m curious, let me know! :)


Thank you for reading this week’s piece, and my first on Substack.

I’ve also uploaded all of my previous posts from my old Proseful website, and you can find all of my articles, in order, over on this page.

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