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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Unhappy Hurt by inconsistency in someone I like...a lot...

    Hi INFJs,

    I guess I need some advice from the people who will understand!

    Ive been friends with this guy for most of three years, and for most of that time I have also been attracted to him. I suppose that like many INFJs, I often have a hard time separating what feels like a particularly close friendship with someone of the opposite sex, from the possibility of romance. I think it is possible that he liked me when he first knew me, but that the moment passed with neither of us actively doing anything or he wasnt in the right place for a serious relationship, though I think I would have been and then we went into the friend zone, although still with me hoping for more. (Its also quite possible that he was only ever interested in me as a friend and I misread some things, though I think I could be forgiven for doing so.)

    He hasnt done the MBTI test (that I know of!) but I think he is either ESTP or ESFP maybe ESxP? I cant say Im too good at typing people without them taking the test! He has a very charming and attractive personality (and is also attractive physically) and is extremely good at knowing what to say to people, and how to act around them, so that he is generally well liked he certainly has a huge circle of friends and acquaintances. However, a few of my friends who either see through him or think they do say that hes shallow. Hes an excellent person for a fun and witty conversation, and sometimes for deeper, more reflective conversations. He loves travelling, drinking (though he has been trying to cut back), social occasions (though there he also seems to be trying to cut backnot quite sure about that though), meeting new people, having interesting experiences. He is very fond of his family (his parents and sister dont worry, hes not married!!) and seems to place a lot of value on being close to them. I should mention that we both belong to a faith where dating is viewed as a possible prelude to marriage, so neither of us would embark on casual relationships although he has loads of female friends and Im sure at least a few are interested in him, he seems to be avoiding the whole relationship thing quite effectively.

    It is also worth noting that we had a period of estrangement last year but got through it eventually. I was tired and angry because he seemed to be using me in various ways (mainly asking me for lots of favours, which normally I am happy to do for my friends) and I wasnt getting anything back he was ignoring me a lot, cancelling on me, not bothering to include me, and so on, and I couldnt understand why, and also I would have to say I was becoming jealous because he seemed to be paying some mutual female friends/acquaintances a lot of special attention (perhaps of the kind I was somewhat used to from him.) I blew up one night and sent him some angry texts about how he was using me, etc etc and he replied (NOT what I had even confronted him about) that apparently it was impossible to be just friends with girls, and friendship was all he wanted. I avoided him for a few months, but he made some overtures as a friend and eventually we had a proper conversation about it and he apologised for being inconsistent with me and if I felt like I was being used.

    Subsequently weve gone back to a more or less close friendship, although I still have rather confused feelings about him. It is also fair to say that he has been more careful with me. He doesnt ask me for favours all the time any more, if I do him a favour he makes sure that he really expresses his appreciation, and he backs away if he can see that a conversation were having is likely to end with me getting upset. But lately I feel like he is being inconsistent with me again, and it is really troubling me. Over the last month he was texting me all the time well, every few days anyway, and wed have these long exchanges (often just about silly in-jokes, that sort of thing, occasionally on more serious subjects). Sometimes I initiated the texting but about as often it was him. He travels a lot and hed text me before he left on his trip, and when he got back, and hed text me when I got back from a trip, etc We also had a couple of good long meaty conversations where we talked about our thoughts about the future, how we feel about the place we live, etc.

    Then the last couple of weeks hes just gone quiet. I thought that possibly he was mad at me because Id made a slightly stupid/possibly insulting joke at his expense in a text, but honestly, it was not that bad and it would be very unlike him to take offense at something like that, or if he did, it would only last for five minutes he does forgive and forget. No, it seems like hes just gone quiet. I didnt want to start desperately texting or something sad like that but I did text him a couple of times in the last week once he didnt reply at all (which is unlike him) and the other time he gave me a rather cold and polite reply. I am just tired of this inconsistency, like one minute Im his best friend and possibly even more, and then I hardly exist. It is possible that somethings going on with him that I dont know about hes exceptionally busy, hes upset about something totally unrelated to me, etc - but how am I supposed to know? I dont think I can really confront him and say why were you texting me all the time for several weeks, and now you seem to be ignoring me? This is sort of what led up to our bust-up last year, and I dont want the same thing to happen again though I could feel the possibility building up.

    I do realise that this is mainly about my unrequited feelings for the guy, and I know it is unhealthy to hang onto these, nurture them, and in the process let things like this upset me as much as they do. Since Im aware that we probably wouldnt be very good for each other even if he was interested in me, I would love to be able to switch the feelings off, but its virtually impossible. I could try to cut him out of my life, but we have too many mutual friends, etc for that to be completely possible, and the fact is, next time hes acting friendly and wants a good long chat with me, or whatever, Ill probably go right back to him. Im just not that tough about friends, particularly guy friends I also have feelings for!

    Sorry for rambling on and onI know this is really long. But if you have any suggestions for how I can approach this situation/this friendship, how I can better deal with these useless and frustrating feelings, etc, Id really appreciate it.

    Thanks all!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rachelinpa's Avatar
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    I think detachment is your answer. This may involve setting up some rules for yourself. It's the inconsistency that I think is dangerous for us NFs. Naturally, I don't think your guy friend is being intentionally hurtful by his behavior, but it seems that you are vulnerable and he may not know what to do with your feelings (or even be aware of them at all).

    In my experiences with certain guy friend ESFPs, it is just better for me to step back regardless of how the situation might look in-the-moment. I let them initiate and I determine that I will not date them even if they change their minds and decide to pursue me. I do that on the basis that I really don't think long term it would be good for me (I'm not sure if that's the case for you, but I sometimes trick myself into thinking we'd be good together--when really, deep down, I know that's not true).

    I think we all deserve someone who is 100% totally into us and vice-versa. Oddly enough, it is usually when I decide to step back that they swarm back into my life. They want to make sure they have still captured my attention. And, I let them think that, as my friend, they are the best in the world--and at the same time, I hold back what is most important to me, to keep myself from getting crushed and being resentful when they flit to new strangers or seem to value other relationships over ours (when it makes absolutely no sense at all).

    I guess the best thing to do, is to look at the person as objectively as possible. Know their flaws and what you are dealing with. And then, take the necessary precautions to feel safe and like you are not pining over them--recognizing that there will be other suitors out there... that are probably far more suitable!

  3. #3

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    I second Rachelinpa. If I were you, I would create polite distance. I would set up invisible boundaries within myself to prevent me from "tricking myself" later into believing things could "work out" with him when I knew damn well in a "non-influenced state" that we would not work out long term.

    I had a very, very similar situation with an ESFP a year or two ago. Though I miss his lively banter and charming demeanor, I know it is for the best. I think ExxPs in general have a way of creating magnetic interactions with individuals when they are focused on them, but create the same level of repulsion when they turn away from them. IxxJs value consistency and when ExxPs beam their sunshiny rays at someone else 5 minutes after doing the same to you, it creates a lingering resentment that can be hard to shake --especially if it happens more than once.

    You know that ...pause... we get immediately before we decide to act on a present whim or fleeting desire? --It usually precludes life choices or romantic pursuits (as we take both very seriously). That moment where your intuition is tapping at your inner door? Don't ignore it. I have several times before and I always end up regretting it. I've learned to give it at least one hard once-over before taking the next step, or for INFJs --the rapid descent into action. It's also the moment that absolves the other person of responsibility for the mistake we are in the process of making, or absolves ourselves for the mistake the other person may attempt.

    Whatever you decide, best wishes my dear.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  4. #4
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    I understand how you are feeling and I know it's a tough spot to be in. I had a similar situation a year ago, though with a different type(ENTJ). All I can say, really, is that it seems so frustrating while you are dealing with it all but time really will give way to peace with the situation. I think you need to decide whether you want to be his friend or not. It sounds like he isn't really treating you well but your romantic feelings are in the way and not wanting to let go or to let yourself get, justifiably, angry.

    You are completely justified in feeling confused and hurt. He's been a good friend but that doesn't give him the right to hurt you. I know it's hard. If I were you, and I know how scary it can be, I would call him up and talk about it... all of it. Or I suppose you could just avoid him for awhile and have another blow up and keep the cycle going.

    Oh, and my situation.. I wanted my guy from day 1. We went to the friend zone with an intensity. We were hanging out all the time. I felt like I was getting all sorts of signals. He had a knack for hurting me but I just excused it away because I liked him so much. I finally did have to tell him one day how I felt. It was his reaction that made me finally able to move on. It wasn't kind or sweet and I was finally able to see how much of an asshole he could be, rather than dwelling on all the reasons why he was awesome. We have all the same friends too. We don't actively pursue a friendship with each other anymore but we are cordial when we see each other. I miss those fun times that we spent together, but I'm so glad I don't have to be in super crush mode anymore. i guess for me, I'm very apt to see the good in a guy and fall head over heals for it... so much, in fact, that I too easily excuse away the bad.

  5. #5
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    I second Rachelinpa. If I were you, I would create polite distance. I would set up invisible boundaries within myself to prevent me from "tricking myself" later into believing things could "work out" with him when I knew damn well in a "non-influenced state" that we would not work out long term.

    I had a very, very similar situation with an ESFP a year or two ago. Though I miss his lively banter and charming demeanor, I know it is for the best. I think ExxPs in general have a way of creating magnetic interactions with individuals when they are focused on them, but create the same level of repulsion when they turn away from them. IxxJs value consistency and when ExxPs beam their sunshiny rays at someone else 5 minutes after doing the same to you, it creates a lingering resentment that can be hard to shake --especially if it happens more than once.

    You know that ...pause... we get immediately before we decide to act on a present whim or fleeting desire? --It usually precludes life choices or romantic pursuits (as we take both very seriously). That moment where your intuition is tapping at your inner door? Don't ignore it. I have several times before and I always end up regretting it. I've learned to give it at least one hard once-over before taking the next step, or for INFJs --the rapid descent into action. It's also the moment that absolves the other person of responsibility for the mistake we are in the process of making, or absolves ourselves for the mistake the other person may attempt.

    Whatever you decide, best wishes my dear.
    Great advice, very applicable. Adult mode of attachment is a big deal, maybe moreso or at least just as much as type.

    Secure people are generally easy to deal with in a romance, avoidant people can be very hard to albeit not intentionally by them, and anxious persons can become exhausting if they constantly need reassurance for the most trivial of details.

    E_ _ Ps are charmers, and we do live in the moment, but do not discount us as insincere, shallow, or unable to commit. Once we do make the decision to commit, it is very real. The worst thing you can do to a E_ _ P in s relationship is make them feel rejected. If this happens too much and feel it is unwarranted we have a tendency to be inclined to move on. It's strange. If you ever date an E _ _ P make sure they understand your type, especially the need for introverts to re-charge, for intuitives to not want to be expected to make decisions on the fly, for NFs the need to be heard and connect on deeper levels (but please define deep for your E _ _ P or they will think you are hiding the ball and playing unfairly), for Fs to not be all about logical problem solving, and for J's to see things in black and white and not the 6,000,000 shades of grey that Ps do.

    My (beautiful) wife of 15 years is an INFJ. In theory we are supposed to repel each other like oil and water, but we have made it. It has been a journey at times, but it has hands down been the most wonderful experience of my life to be loved by her.

    BTW, ESTPs are one type that has a documented preference for dating/marrying their INFJ opposites. I think ENTJs too...

    Opposites do attract, then they attack, then they lick their wounds and have great make up sex.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Winds of Thor's Avatar
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    I am so sorry ...and I understand these emotions...It certainly doesn't feel good..I mean, you have feelings for this man..and it just feels like you give, and give..and you don't get anything back.

    My suggestion is to help someone with their relationship...help someone who has a broken heart...give them your gifts..your joyfullness, your compassion and...I don't know you well..but your precious gifts..and I believe you will receive these things back...and the right person will find you...someone you trust who loves and cherishes you.

    I am so, so sorry. I feel for you . Your situation is certainly not easy.

    Blessings to you.


    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Hi INFJs,

    I guess I need some advice from the people who will understand!

    Ive been friends with this guy for most of three years, and for most of that time I have also been attracted to him. I suppose that like many INFJs, I often have a hard time separating what feels like a particularly close friendship with someone of the opposite sex, from the possibility of romance. I think it is possible that he liked me when he first knew me, but that the moment passed with neither of us actively doing anything or he wasnt in the right place for a serious relationship, though I think I would have been and then we went into the friend zone, although still with me hoping for more. (Its also quite possible that he was only ever interested in me as a friend and I misread some things, though I think I could be forgiven for doing so.)

    He hasnt done the MBTI test (that I know of!) but I think he is either ESTP or ESFP maybe ESxP? I cant say Im too good at typing people without them taking the test! He has a very charming and attractive personality (and is also attractive physically) and is extremely good at knowing what to say to people, and how to act around them, so that he is generally well liked he certainly has a huge circle of friends and acquaintances. However, a few of my friends who either see through him or think they do say that hes shallow. Hes an excellent person for a fun and witty conversation, and sometimes for deeper, more reflective conversations. He loves travelling, drinking (though he has been trying to cut back), social occasions (though there he also seems to be trying to cut backnot quite sure about that though), meeting new people, having interesting experiences. He is very fond of his family (his parents and sister dont worry, hes not married!!) and seems to place a lot of value on being close to them. I should mention that we both belong to a faith where dating is viewed as a possible prelude to marriage, so neither of us would embark on casual relationships although he has loads of female friends and Im sure at least a few are interested in him, he seems to be avoiding the whole relationship thing quite effectively.

    It is also worth noting that we had a period of estrangement last year but got through it eventually. I was tired and angry because he seemed to be using me in various ways (mainly asking me for lots of favours, which normally I am happy to do for my friends) and I wasnt getting anything back he was ignoring me a lot, cancelling on me, not bothering to include me, and so on, and I couldnt understand why, and also I would have to say I was becoming jealous because he seemed to be paying some mutual female friends/acquaintances a lot of special attention (perhaps of the kind I was somewhat used to from him.) I blew up one night and sent him some angry texts about how he was using me, etc etc and he replied (NOT what I had even confronted him about) that apparently it was impossible to be just friends with girls, and friendship was all he wanted. I avoided him for a few months, but he made some overtures as a friend and eventually we had a proper conversation about it and he apologised for being inconsistent with me and if I felt like I was being used.

    Subsequently weve gone back to a more or less close friendship, although I still have rather confused feelings about him. It is also fair to say that he has been more careful with me. He doesnt ask me for favours all the time any more, if I do him a favour he makes sure that he really expresses his appreciation, and he backs away if he can see that a conversation were having is likely to end with me getting upset. But lately I feel like he is being inconsistent with me again, and it is really troubling me. Over the last month he was texting me all the time well, every few days anyway, and wed have these long exchanges (often just about silly in-jokes, that sort of thing, occasionally on more serious subjects). Sometimes I initiated the texting but about as often it was him. He travels a lot and hed text me before he left on his trip, and when he got back, and hed text me when I got back from a trip, etc We also had a couple of good long meaty conversations where we talked about our thoughts about the future, how we feel about the place we live, etc.

    Then the last couple of weeks hes just gone quiet. I thought that possibly he was mad at me because Id made a slightly stupid/possibly insulting joke at his expense in a text, but honestly, it was not that bad and it would be very unlike him to take offense at something like that, or if he did, it would only last for five minutes he does forgive and forget. No, it seems like hes just gone quiet. I didnt want to start desperately texting or something sad like that but I did text him a couple of times in the last week once he didnt reply at all (which is unlike him) and the other time he gave me a rather cold and polite reply. I am just tired of this inconsistency, like one minute Im his best friend and possibly even more, and then I hardly exist. It is possible that somethings going on with him that I dont know about hes exceptionally busy, hes upset about something totally unrelated to me, etc - but how am I supposed to know? I dont think I can really confront him and say why were you texting me all the time for several weeks, and now you seem to be ignoring me? This is sort of what led up to our bust-up last year, and I dont want the same thing to happen again though I could feel the possibility building up.

    I do realise that this is mainly about my unrequited feelings for the guy, and I know it is unhealthy to hang onto these, nurture them, and in the process let things like this upset me as much as they do. Since Im aware that we probably wouldnt be very good for each other even if he was interested in me, I would love to be able to switch the feelings off, but its virtually impossible. I could try to cut him out of my life, but we have too many mutual friends, etc for that to be completely possible, and the fact is, next time hes acting friendly and wants a good long chat with me, or whatever, Ill probably go right back to him. Im just not that tough about friends, particularly guy friends I also have feelings for!

    Sorry for rambling on and onI know this is really long. But if you have any suggestions for how I can approach this situation/this friendship, how I can better deal with these useless and frustrating feelings, etc, Id really appreciate it.

    Thanks all!
    "..And the eight and final rule: If this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight."
    'Men are meant to be with women. The rest is perversion and mental illness.'

  7. #7
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Thanks all I really appreciate you reading my long rambling story and your insightful comments. By the way, I addressed my initial message to fellow INFJs but of course I am very happy to get the perspective of any type! Ive been lurking and reading here for quite a while, and the insights are so good I just had to get them on my own situation!

    I have to say that much of what you all said has been in the back of my mind in some way, but its great to get outside perspectives and have others articulate what sometimes you find so hard to spell out to yourself. I dont know yet how Im going to handle this situation. After we patched things up last year, I told myself I had to keep more distance, but now it seems that Ive failed to do so. I think there is much to be said for the polite distance thing. I could confront him, but I am scared to do it, I have to admit. His response last time I tried to do that was fairly harsh and too close to the bone and I had a lot of stress and anguish while we were estranged. Of course, I might have touched a raw nerve with him at the time I was angry and upset and I kind of set out to hurt him, and I can be surprisingly good at that when I get to that point. But while I dont want to hurt his feelings, I am quite a bit more eager to protect my own, and I think a confrontation might lead to a very hurtful outcome for me that would take me a long time to recover from (based on my past experience with situations somewhat resembling this.)

    Part of me wants to do the classic INFJ doorslam on this person, but it would be difficult and wouldnt give me much relief, I dont think. I tried to do it with him last year, but it was painful. I doorslammed someone years ago, for three years, when they had just shown me too much disrespect and total lack of care for my feelings, but it haunted me. I had a recurring dream about him for years. Eventually we spoke again and patched things up, and I was able to let go but the good thing there was also that he wasnt really in my life any more. I mean, we exchange a cordial email every couple of years, but thats it.

    The current ESxP guy you know, Im not sure he is even capable of understanding how much the whole inconsistency thing hurts me. I tried to explain it to him last year, but I dont think he got it. (While I said that he apologised to me, which was true, I didnt mention that he had to be guided toward it and wouldnt have done it on his own. The overtures that he made consisted of texting me a couple of times to see if I was ok, making silly jokes to try and lighten the atmosphere, and bringing a peace offering from our mutual home country were both ex-pats. All of which were nice, but rather immature. I had to spell everything out to him in the end.) Hed been dropping me for his party friends, basically, and when I pointed out that he was acting sometimes like my best friend, and sometimes like I didnt exist, he said something lame like oh, but I didnt think you liked those kinds of social occasions. But the thing that gets me is, its not like I fall for EVERY guy Im friends with (though I do tend to fall for friends, when I fall.) Hes contributed to the situation by turning the charm offensive on me ferociously when it suits him saying and doing things that made me feel special (though I later realised that a few of those were undoubtedly triggered by him having had too much to drink.) When I first knew him I really thought he liked me. He was always finding ways to get me away from the crowd, have a few drinks and intense conversation for hours on our own which is a killer for me. If he was consistently just a good friend, without singling me out half the time and forgetting my existence the other half, there is a good chance we could just have a friendship even if I had some feelings I wasnt dealing with. His approach is just too thoughtless and selfish, and I really need to defend myself before I get hurt worse.

    The fact is, if I admit it to myself Im not sure I have ever really trusted him. ESxP types are supposed to be chameleons, and while I can flatter myself that hes showing me the real him when he tells me about his feelings or shows a more thoughtful side, who really knows? His party friends presumably think they know the real him too. Its certainly a useful skill to be able to get along with and mirror all types, but I dont think it makes anyone too trustworthy.

    RuffledINTP your situation sounds so, so much like mine, except I suspect Ive let mine drag on longer. He had a knack for hurting me but I just excused it away because I liked him so much yes. I wish I had let his unpleasant reaction last year kill any feelings I had right then, and been strong enough to ignore his overtures, but my feelings die very very hard, if ever.

    Thanks for the help and kind thoughts, people. I might be back for more advice or to shed a few tears over this situation at some point, well see. But I hope Ill be posting occasionally in other threads too

  8. #8
    Rats off to ya! Mort Belfry's Avatar
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    That sounds like an ESTP co-worker of mine, (though possible ESFP) and the remnants he had of a relationship with an IN_J. She is constantly trying to talk to him but he refuses to - and it's not because he's angry at her, it's just indifference and a little sadism. He actually enjoys making her feel like an idiot when she tries to extend the olive branch.
    Why do we always come here?

    I guess we'll never know.

    It's like a kind of torture,
    To have to watch this show.

  9. #9
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mort Belfry View Post
    That sounds like an ESTP co-worker of mine, (though possible ESFP) and the remnants he had of a relationship with an IN_J. She is constantly trying to talk to him but he refuses to - and it's not because he's angry at her, it's just indifference and a little sadism. He actually enjoys making her feel like an idiot when she tries to extend the olive branch.
    Sounds like an asshole!

  10. #10
    half mystic, half skeksis jenocyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74 View Post
    E_ _ Ps are charmers, and we do live in the moment, but do not discount us as insincere, shallow, or unable to commit. Once we do make the decision to commit, it is very real. The worst thing you can do to a E_ _ P in s relationship is make them feel rejected. If this happens too much and feel it is unwarranted we have a tendency to be inclined to move on.
    Halla is once again correct.
    (and I'm happy for you, man!!)

    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    The current ESxP guy you know, Im not sure he is even capable of understanding how much the whole inconsistency thing hurts me. I tried to explain it to him last year, but I dont think he got it. (While I said that he apologised to me, which was true, I didnt mention that he had to be guided toward it and wouldnt have done it on his own. The overtures that he made consisted of texting me a couple of times to see if I was ok, making silly jokes to try and lighten the atmosphere, and bringing a peace offering from our mutual home country were both ex-pats. All of which were nice, but rather immature. I had to spell everything out to him in the end.)
    Maybe he pulled away because he feels that you don't take him seriously? If he understands why you're upset but is not sorry because he didn't do anything, why should you force him to say that he is? Words are empty and meaningless. Anyone can say anything. He reached out to you by doing a few nice gestures and you wrote it off as immature. He was trying to be start over. But you only accept him as mature when you force him to say words he doesn't mean? I think immaturity is making too much of a situation and not recognizing the efforts that others make for you. Holding a grudge, and rejecting me for it, is the quickest way to get left in the dust, imo. Just another side of the coin - may not apply to you specifically.

    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    The fact is, if I admit it to myself Im not sure I have ever really trusted him. ESxP types are supposed to be chameleons, and while I can flatter myself that hes showing me the real him when he tells me about his feelings or shows a more thoughtful side, who really knows? His party friends presumably think they know the real him too. Its certainly a useful skill to be able to get along with and mirror all types, but I dont think it makes anyone too trustworthy.
    All of those pieces of him are the real him. Who else would it be? Do you show the same part of yourself to your boss that you show to your mom? For some reason, I get offended when someone accuses me of being insincere just because I like and get along with all types in all situations. It doesn't mean that I like you any less...

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