It sounds like you are getting pretty good at figuring him out too!
Of course! I'm an NF. Figuring out the people I love and how best to please them is my mission in life. I am also way too lazy to keep doing things that don't work.
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” ~ John Rogers
I'm aware of when I'm giving a compliment to an NT, it's usually about their idea/s or their competence in some area, especially with language......how they expressed an idea. I really envy how NTs think, so part of it is me trying to leech off their thinking, "wow, that was really cool, (can I steal it? how can I develop that ability?) I love how you put that".
As far as complimenting me, I can be pretty high-maintenance, I adore a really original comment, & if it's coming from someone who is pretty selective about compliment-giving (usually NTs, but can apply to all Ts), it means that much more.
But are there things which Fs do sometimes which to them may be offhand to them but means a lot to Ts?
I don't know if this counts. But sometimes at work I'm talking in a meeting and an NT will bring up a point that I hadn't considered. I'll recognize the importance of the point, and I'll respond, "Yeah, you're right. Good catch." And then I'll continue on talking (incorporating the new idea).
That seems to be a confidence-builder for NTs, especially in the workplace where how you say things is as important as what you say. What with sensitivity training and harrassment issues, I suspect that Thinkers get worried about speaking up around Feelers. And of course there are issues of rank.
Overall, Thinkers seem to be uncomfortable with an NF boss or NF senior coworker. They seem to worry that a good idea will be rejected and they'll take flak because they didn't package their idea in the right language. So if an NF boss shows appreciation for the pure idea and doesn't worry about how the idea was expressed or take amiss the fact that the NT interrupted and blurted out the idea awkwardly and with an air of exasperation, then that seems to be reassuring for the NT.
A good idea is a good idea, and I don't mind acknowledging and incorporating a good idea when I see it. But sometimes it seems to catch Ts by surprise. It seems like they don't always trust Fs to recognize a good idea without the proper packaging. So they seem to get a boost when a Feeler can appreciate the merit of the idea without getting hung up on extraneous matters.
You worry about you seeming manipulative? I worry that I seem as such. It would seem that the reds and the blues (Fs and Ts) can be maipulative but in their own inimitable style.
The worry comes from how many Ts take things said or done by Fs. Worst ulterior motive I have is wanting to be friends, not wanting to piss someone off . Ok, so I like to bug here and there, but that's more just goofing off than anything substantial .