Today's written interview is with Holly Richmond (INFJ/ISFJ).
Holly Richmond is a creative writer and intergalactic supervillain with a penchant for boston cream donuts, queer pop culture heroines, and cat snuggles.
Connect with Holly:
Hey, it’s nice to meet you Holly :) So can we start this interview by finding out where in the world you currently reside? Is this also where you grew up?
I live in Portland, Oregon. I grew up near here, then went to college on the East Coast, moved to Seattle for a few years, and moved back here in 2011.
Do you remember what you were like as a child?
Shy, quiet, creative, and weird.
What was school like for you? And how were your teenage years as a whole?
I loved the learning part of school (nerd fo’ life!), but not the cliques and bullying. Adolescence sucked, because I didn’t understand why my friends would rather skip class to go fake-tanning instead of developing photos in the darkroom!
What words, or phrases, would you use to describe your current self?
Anxious, sensitive, creative, and weird.
When did you first realise that you were an introvert? How did this happen?
Probably when I stole my mom’s Psych 101 textbook in high school, or in a psychology class in college? I don’t remember!
What is your Myers-Briggs personality type? (if you know it)
I’ve gotten several different results, but mostly INFJ and ISFJ.
When did you first do the Myers-Briggs test?
Probably sometime in college, since I was a psychology major.
Has discovering you were an INF-type impacted you in any way? If so, how?
Yes! I’ve always needed lots of alone time to recharge, so knowing I’m introverted and that’s a thing (not just me being “antisocial” or “moody”) helps me understand myself and stand up for my needs more. If people pressure me to hang out when I’m not feeling up for it, it’s easier to say no without feeling guilty!
That sounds like a pretty major impact, I’m glad! What qualities do you think you share with other INF-types?
I’m very sensitive (started reading The Highly Sensitive Person and it’s mindblowing!). I’m also idealistic, empathetic, creative, and judgmental! ;) (That’s the J in there.) I also love to write, and I tend to overthink things. And I can be a perfectionist.
The ‘Highly Sensitive Person’ blew my mind, too! It’s one of my favourite books. I remember coming across it and feeling even more understood, because that’s when I first realised that I was both an introvert and a highly sensitive person, too.
What were your favourite subjects at school? What did you study at university/college?
I’ve always loved reading and writing, but I was afraid I couldn’t make a living doing it (although I do now, so the joke’s on past me!), so I got a degree in psychology and planned on becoming a therapist. I also took art, Italian, and theater classes in college.
What are you spending your time on at the moment?
I work full-time as a marketing writer at a software company, but I also volunteer at my local library and try to update my personal blog once in a while. I used to do more freelance writing but that ebbs and flows. I just finished the first draft of a piece I want to pitch to a cool website...but the fear of rejection is real!
The fear of rejection is real, and I think it’s something we all have. It sounds like you’re up to some cool stuff :) Was there a moment in your life when you made a drastic change?
I’ve shaved my head twice, which was pretty drastic! I also moved from Seattle to Portland (about a three-hour drive) while only knowing one person in Portland. That was a pretty big change.
I’ve been to Portland, and I’d like to visit Seattle too. That whole Pacific North West region sounds like a beautiful one...
It is! It’s very green.
So I know you’ve might’ve mentioned this already, but… do you have a preferred creative/artistic outlet? Can you tell us a bit about this?
Oh, definitely writing! I’ve kept journals since I was about 14 (I think I have about 30 now). I also LOVE acrylic painting, collage, decorating, creating fun outfits from thrift shop finds, and for a while dyeing my hair a bunch of different colors.
I started writing again about 5 years ago, and I recently cleared out a bunch of old journals… I think I’d filled up about 10 notebooks! It sounds like you’ve got a bunch of creative outlets :)
Would you describe yourself as a 'highly sensitive person', or an empath?
DEFinitely a highly sensitive person. I love knowing I’m not a wacko or the only one, because I do feel things very deeply and can stew over things more than some people. But on the flip side I also love very deeply and get excited easily!
Did you know this before you started reading Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person, out of interest?
I knew I was sensitive in sort of an abstract way, but it seemed like a weakness or abnormality (until I read the book) rather than just the way I’m wired.
Moving along a little... what does being 'successful' look like to you?
Having fulfilling, healthy relationships and creative expression. Having a life full of love, whether romantic, platonic, and/or self-love!
I like what you’ve said there a lot. And what about 'happiness'... what does that look like for you?
Oh I guess the same as above!
Do you like to plan things, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type of person?
DEFinitely a planner. Google calendar is my life.
What does your perfect Sunday look like?
Sleeping in, leisurely drinking coffee while flipping through a fluffy book or magazine, maybe going to the Oregon Coast or a movie, taking a nap with my cat, and having a deep conversation with a friend.
Ah, that sounds lovely. You’re making me reminisce about my time back in Portland, when I got to visit a waterfall on my last day.
That’s awesome! Was it Multnomah Falls?
No way... I just googled it and I think it was! That bridge is bringing back memories :) Next, I wanted to ask you if there's anything you've read, watched or listened to recently, that you've loved?
I love Justina Blakeney’s design books (The New Bohemians) for funky imperfect style inspiration, and I read a lot of self-help books. If anybody out there has people-pleasing or codependent tendencies like I do, I highly recommend Women Who Love Too Much! I always go back to self-help books to remind me to set healthy boundaries and stop trying to change people under the guise of “helping” them.
That’s a really great reason for reading self-help books, and for you to be aware of the purpose that your reading is serving… I can have a tendency to just binge and binge on stuff endlessly, without any conscious reflection (or action)...
Ugh totally. It can almost be masochistic sometimes if you’re just dwelling on what’s “wrong” with you.
And do you have any favourite blogs or podcasts?
Thank you for sharing those! How about favourite movies or TV shows? Anything you've seen recently that you'd recommend?
I LOVED the High Fidelity reboot on Hulu, even though the main character is definitely flawed (and emotionally avoidant, if you ask me). I’m always on the lookout for bisexual characters in pop culture, since I’m bi, and I love that there have been more of them on TV lately! Same goes for Stumptown--a badass bi lady kicking ass and being complex and flawed. Highly recommend.
If you could go back in time and meet "you" back in 2010, is there any advice that you'd give this younger self?
OHHH BOY. I’d give myself a copy of Attached (about relationship attachment styles) and tell myself to quit pursuing people who are obviously not interested in me romantically! I’d also tell myself to be more direct and use my words (instead of being passive-aggressive), and if I don’t like someone, I don’t have to be friends with them!
This sounds like AWESOME advice, and I’ll make a note of that book you’ve mentioned, too :)
Ha, thanks! I think it’s so helpful for single people (everyone, really).
So if you could one or two pieces of advice to your follow INFs, what would they be?
Therapy can be a huge help. I’ve seen therapists off and on for over a decade, and it’s hugely helpful to have an outsider’s perspective, particularly in normalizing things. Also setting boundaries, particularly with narcissists, is life-changing (since they tend to gravitate to us sensitive empath types!).
Yes, I’ve been in therapy myself and I can so relate to that outsider’s perspective, and also just helping me to bring “stuff” and feelings to the surface that I’d been holding inside me for a while.
Okay, can I ask you what 'self-care' means for you? How do you practise it?
SLEEP. Self-compassion. Alone time. Creative expression. Bubble baths :)
I love it! And I really love that you mention creative expression, I feel that one’s less obvious but so, SO important for us introverted and sensitive souls.
Do you have a favourite quote?
“Don't ever let anyone convince you that wealth or looks or anything material is as important as love and compassion.” My mom wrote that to me in a letter before she died, and I think about it a lot.
That's really beautiful. Holly, it’s been so nice talking to you. If someone reading this would like to connect with you online, where might they find you?
I hate social media, but I do try to update my website once in a while (hollyrichmond.com).
And lastly, is there anything else you'd like to say before we bring this interview to an end?
Thanks so much for creating this community and asking such lovely, thoughtful questions!
You are so welcome. Thanks so much for taking part and being so honest and generous with your answers. It’s been a real pleasure talking to you.
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