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  1. #1
    Junior Member Morticia's Avatar
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    Question Confusing INFJ-ENFP friendship dynamic

    I usually try not to refer to socionics as a way of better understanding my close relationships with other people, because I tend to think that it's reductive and a poor substitute for simply talking to the friend in question. (I do think it's a useful tool, just to a limited degree.) BUT the nature of my friendship with this ENFP is so complicated and strange (at least in my mind) that I think directly talking about it with him is actually not the best option right now. So here I am! Please give me your objective two cents, whatever it is.

    About a year ago I started a new job and met my ENFP friend. Together, we are completely the stereotype of ENFP-INFJ chemistry: non-stop hilarity and teasing and goofiness, shifting from one random subject to the next seemlessly, talking comfortably about pretty much anything and everything, with mutual understanding. When we're paired together we end up doing more talking than working, but because we're so funny and cute, no one seems to mind. I'm 23, and he's 35. I'm religious and he is agnostic. For a long time I thought of the friendship as completely platonic, and he made a point of expressing in conversation that he wanted it to be platonic too. I was also aware of trouble he's had in the past with unintentionally leading girls on just by being himself, so I'm careful not to read too much into the more suggestive things he says.

    In the past several months our friendship seems to have changed, though. I have definitely fallen for him, and I am uncertain about his feelings for me. Shortly after I realized my feelings for him, (and of course kept them to myself like a good INFJ) he decided to tell me out of the blue that he was dropping another one of his many fleeting dating prospects and that he thought that he needed to figure out what his relationship with God was before he started dating again. I told him that made sense to me, and he acted relieved. After this interaction he started acting hypercharged around me; he was acting affectionate and bubbly and inquisitive in a more intense way that I wasn't used to. I thought it was cute but I was also really worried that he was going to lead me on and inevitably break my heart. To put it simply, I got so anxious about it that I ended up lashing out at him after a while and I deeply hurt his feelings. I apologized and we patched things up, but for the next several weeks we just couldn't quite get our flow back and we kept on having misunderstandings and getting in fights over stupid things. I would be too cold towards him and hurt his feelings, and then he would tease me too relentlessly and end up hurting mine. After I got mad at him for teasing me too much, he felt extremely guilty and developed a complex about it for a little while. I had to reassure him several times that he didn't need to worry about it anymore after I had already forgiven him. (He likes to point out that we argue and then work things out kind of like an old married couple. More fun ideas for me to over-analyze)

    Eventually we got back to normal, but it was only a week or so before he had to leave the country for about 3 months. (To have a pre-planned adventure.) That was about 2.5 weeks ago. So I have the summer to brood about the strange nature of our friendship and figure out what to do next. (Ha.)
    On the last day before he left, he seemed very fragile and subdued, and although he was clearly happy to see me at the beginning of the shift, he was acting really stiff and awkward when I came to say goodbye to him. I decided to just ignore it and act like my normal self, but I was worried that I was making him feel uncomfortable. He mainly kept his eyes on his work and responded to the things I said very quietly. He kept his body turned away from me and I had to linger for much longer than normal before he finally hugged me goodbye. It came as a surprise especially because earlier that day I caught him staring at me very intently several times, and we had some fun conversations here and there like normal. The staring is new, and he has also recently started self-deprecating a lot and laughing more than normal in our conversations. On his last day of work he decided to tell me in a very solemn way, "when I'm talking to you, (name), no one else exists." So I inwardly panicked and decided to take it as a joke and he mirrored my reaction.

    To my surprise I got a text from him a few days after he left with some links he thought I would like. He hasn't replied to my most recent message, which was about 2 weeks ago.

    In a non-freaky, non-clingy way, I care about this guy very much and I want to be a good friend to him no matter what, I'm just not sure right now what that would look like. It would be nice if I knew for sure that I should be spending this time apart trying to get over him and moving on, if it seems like he ONLY wants to be friends. I don't want to make him uncomfortable or do anything that would make the friendship become even weirder than it already has been. I think sometimes he might feel pressured by female friends to essentially "entertain" them by being engaging and a little bit flirty. So, ENFPs, can you shed some light on his behavior and tell me how you think I can best care for my ENFP friend? Thanks for reading my word vomit

  2. #2
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    I'm no expert on this, so take my advice with caution. What I would do personally is tell him how I feel in a very concise way IN PERSON WHEN HE COMES HOME or at least on the telephone. I'd just lay it out and ask him if he felt the same way, but let him know its ok if he sees us as just friends, and let him know that you want to continue being friends if he doesn't like you like that (if thats what you want); you were wondering and you wanted to get things straight. I just think if you don't tell him you could end up losing him to someone else and wonder what if. But if you want to move on, that's good too, there are other guys out there and he is gone for a long time. Do what's right for you.
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  3. #3
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    Hey Morticia, seems like he is pretty much ripe (for an ENFP), maybe let him do his travelling and see where he is at when he gets back. He might be spaced for a bit or it might have given his compass a a point.

    Do you know how he feels about age gaps? Poss he is worried about destroying a beautiful friendship and taking advantage. Have you had relationships before? does he know your history?
    "We knew he was someone who had a tragic flaw, that's where his greatness came from"
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  4. #4
    FRACTALICIOUS phobik's Avatar
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    In all my yearsbon yhis site, Never seen anything like this.
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  5. #5
    empress Nørrsken's Avatar
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    He's not stupid. He knows he has feelings for you just like he knows that you have feelings for him. Couple the age gap with the fact that you are both colleagues, and it makes for a very awkward picture for any ENFP man to be in. People always tell me this when it comes to office romances: Don't sh*t where you eat. In other words, don't mix business with pleasure, don't get involve with a work buddy, because if you two do break up, it will create a mess for the rest of the company to look after and then one or both of you will have to leave to find work elsewhere. I understand that you like him a lot; something about them ENxP men and their charming ways makes us INFJs hunger for more. I get it.

    Best way to kill a crush is to make a new one, with another man, one who doesn't share the same office space as you do. I know it might not be the best advice you'd want to hear, but for your sake, as well as the company you work for, think with your head and what is in your best interest rather than your heart, which can get you into a lot of trouble. If you two are meant to be, and one of you go on to work at another place, then perhaps a relationship is possible. Right now? Its just not going to work.
    I'll follow her into the depths
    I'll find warmth in the steel of her glare
    I'll hear music in the darkness of her silence
    Don't leave me there.
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  6. #6
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    An agnostic who says he needs to reevaluate his relationship to god That sounds like a very naive:immature 35 yo or/and a con to attract a believing infj

    I stopped reading there because come on: how gullible are you.
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

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  7. #7
    Junior Member Morticia's Avatar
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    Oh wow, I totally gave up on this and forgot about it. I didn't think anyone would respond!

    Quote Originally Posted by EcK View Post
    An agnostic who says he needs to reevaluate his relationship to god That sounds like a very naive:immature 35 yo or/and a con to attract a believing infj

    I stopped reading there because come on: how gullible are you.
    Yeah, I get it. It occurred to me that it could be a con, at least in part. Mutual friends who have known him for longer than I have and hold similar standards regarding authenticity have an equally high opinion of him, though, so I do tend to believe that he is an honest person with good intentions. He can definitely err on the side of naïveté and even immaturity, which is probably a classic "idealist" problem. One of our coworkers describes him as perpetually "lost", and I think that fits. Still, I don't think his willingness to actively struggle with an issue like this is a weakness in itself. I can see how to an objective third party who might not feel the same need to struggle, though, that wouldn't mean much, and it would just seems like a load of BS with no possible alternative.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Morticia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelenOfTroy View Post
    Hey Morticia, seems like he is pretty much ripe (for an ENFP), maybe let him do his travelling and see where he is at when he gets back. He might be spaced for a bit or it might have given his compass a a point.

    Do you know how he feels about age gaps? Poss he is worried about destroying a beautiful friendship and taking advantage. Have you had relationships before? does he know your history?
    It's my sense that some of the time he decides the age gap is irrelevant, and in these moments he'll allow himself to be openly flirtatious. The rest of the time he will be varying degrees of guarded and I think he subtly tries to set boundaries so that we don't get *too* close. I think in these moments he probably feels a bit suspicious of his own motives (maybe afraid he is trying to "take advantage" like you said) and understandably is also worried about others' perceptions, too. He has a second job as a teacher of second-language English, and he works with a lot of kids. Our relationship is nothing like that of a student and teacher, but if he does have feelings for me he is probably afraid it's a slippery slope to being seen by his community as a total creep. Or, knowing him, he would be afraid of actually being a creep. These are just my assumptions, of course. If I were in his position, I would be afraid of the same thing. He consistently forgets my age, no matter how many times I tell him. And he knows that I have never been in a relationship, only been on a few disappointing dates. That part probably doesn't help, either.

    Of course, he might only act cautious sometimes because he doesn't want to lead me on, and he's had problems in the past with leading women on.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Morticia's Avatar
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    I'm afraid to tell him and assume my feelings are requited, because if they actually aren't It will make him feel pressured or guilty and strain our friendship. I know that ENFPs have a natural talent for understanding people and making them feel special, and also like to be playful, and that it's often misinterpreted as romantic interest. I know from personal experience that it's a pretty stressful problem for both parties involved, so I don't want to make that mistake if I can help it. So I guess I was hoping one of you ENFPs could tell me how you would act in this situation or give me some kind of special ENFP insight into his behavior. If that's possible.

  10. #10
    Undisciplined Starry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morticia View Post
    I'm afraid to tell him and assume my feelings are requited, because if they actually aren't It will make him feel pressured or guilty and strain our friendship. I know that ENFPs have a natural talent for understanding people and making them feel special, and also like to be playful, and that it's often misinterpreted as romantic interest. I know from personal experience that it's a pretty stressful problem for both parties involved, so I don't want to make that mistake if I can help it. So I guess I was hoping one of you ENFPs could tell me how you would act in this situation or give me some kind of special ENFP insight into his behavior. If that's possible.


    From what you described Morticia...I think he probably does have romantic interest in you. Depending on the nature of your work it could be the job that is keeping him at bay but I agree with Troy that it's probably your age that is causing him the most concern. I mean, in many ways there does seem to be a larger distance between 23 and 35 than say 33 and 45. As someone that teaches myself it would creep me out a little yah.

    I see no reason why you can't talk to him about this though... We can't handle a great deal of confusion and mixed signals very well.** It causes us to act a lot like you're describing. If you intend to keep him in your life then put your cards on the table.

    **I need to clarify this. For many ENFPs mixed signals and confusion can be fun and interesting...but if he truly cares about you like you say...from what you described you are past that point. I feel this has become troubling to him and I do not see him approaching you if the age is the primary factor here.
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