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  1. #1
    Senior Member Saslou's Avatar
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    Default Please help me understand an INFP

    Hey there .. I am the kind of person who keeps things to myself until i have exhausted all thoughts on the subject, at which point i come looking for advice/guidance. I am now at that point, lol.

    I have been dating an INFP for just a little while now. He knows my past and himself came out of a relationship recently to which he was badly damaged. I knew all this going into the relationship but i thought (as you do or as i do) that things would be different between us. Unfortunately they are not.

    I was attracted to him because he spoke of transparency and honesty in a relationship to which i was thinking to myself 'YES finally' lol.

    Now we are in a relationship the only transparency he is willing to show me is the ones on his terms .. Honesty comes during discussions but also when he has been caught out .. He has told me that he feels like i judge him which is not the whole truth .. He talks about stuff but that is all it is, just talk .. So it is not so much that i judge him, i have in essence stopped paying attention to his talk .. Because he retracts it. He talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk.

    He had a discussion yesterday which has really got me thinking about what he has been saying to me .. He writes beautiful poetry, and the women love it, lol .. I asked him why it must always be dark and why never light and positive, to which he replied that people don't want to read happy poems, and this is how he'll make his millions (he was joking), maybe he thougth i was criticizing him, i wasn't, it was just a question .. We also spoke about how much time he spends online to which he replied that being online is his diary and i basically don't have access to his diary .. I looked at a reply he was going to post, this was not good idea, lol.

    He has told me that he is a private person and will never give me 100%, i never asked for 100% .. I just wanted the transparency and honesty he spoke of beforehand. He tells me short term pain for long term gain.

    I know this all looks bad .. He isn't a bad person just in a period of transition, but i am now wondering if we are on 2 different planets. I don't want to become passive but i just don't know how to communicate with him .. He doesn't like that i talk and process information thus coming to a conclusion yet when i am to the point and blunt, it can come across as a tad harsh .. I don't know what to do.

    If you can give me some insight, then i would be very grateful. I am open to ideas ..
    “I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower, you hung all your associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see—and I don't.”
    ― Georgia O'Keeffe

  2. #2
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    I can't speak for other INFPs, but I have a really hard time being emotionally open and vulnerable. I usually have to spend a fair amount of time with my close friends before some of my barriers and defenses come down enough to really talk about anything of substance. I find it frustrating, because often interactions are time limited.

    Also, I just have a hard time feeling vulnerable and open in general. It takes a long time before I feel like I've built up enough trust with someone to be truly open. Even with those to whom I feel close, I know there is a lot going on internally I can't effectively communicate to them.

    Being so internally emotionally aware can feel distancing, because you are extremely aware of how much of your experience cannot be communicated. Trying to bridge that gap and failing is particularly painful.

    So, all that is to say I sympathize with both you and your friend. I get irritated at myself, at times, for not being more open than I am. On the other hand, I've learned to be more patient with myself, and to accept that I have my own emotional pacing.

    Also, it's possible there are other issues going on with your friend, and he hasn't learned how to be direct about unpleasant feelings and reactions. That's also something you have to master as an INFP, because it can be very tempting to just go with the flow and keep the peace. For me it took painful experiences to realize that being direct early is far better than letting things building or letting others mislead themselves.

  3. #3
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saslou View Post
    Now we are in a relationship the only transparency he is willing to show me is the ones on his terms .. Honesty comes during discussions but also when he has been caught out .. He has told me that he feels like i judge him which is not the whole truth .. He talks about stuff but that is all it is, just talk .. So it is not so much that i judge him, i have in essence stopped paying attention to his talk .. Because he retracts it. He talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk.
    I can agree with the above post. Opening up takes time for me. However, I still feel I am honest. I don't withhold in a way that I see as deceiving.

    You two may have different ideas of what honesty/transparency is, or maybe different timelines for it. INFPs often idealize being very open with someone - but it takes time to get there. What is it that he is talking about doing, but not doing? Remember too, that INFPs are not action-oriented or "in the moment" - we tend to be dreamers and acting on our ideas takes some times and maybe a nudge in the form of positive encouragement. If his passivity gets unacceptable to you, it's best to approach the issue as expressing how you feel, not in an accusatory way.

    I asked him why it must always be dark and why never light and positive, to which he replied that people don't want to read happy poems, and this is how he'll make his millions (he was joking), maybe he thougth i was criticizing him, i wasn't, it was just a question ..
    My ISFJ mom asks me this ALL the time . "Why must you always be so dark?". Positive emotion is easier to process internally, more acceptable to express directly, but can also feel more risky, since positive emotion often wants reciprocation. For me, I either bask in the positive emotion and feel no need to express it, or I may not express it because it actually makes me feel vulnerable to do so. If I do express it, then the normal means such as a smile or hug or verbal affection usually works. I've had to learn to express the warmth I feel...it's not easy, but again, positive encouragement will usually make me more comfortable in doing so.

    However, negative emotion is trickier to express acceptably. I seek expression for it, because unlike positive emotion, I want to dispel it, not wallow in it. Writing is something many INFPs find useful to express complex feelings. Poetry may be his outlet for dark feeling, but he may have more regular means for expressing the happier feelings. Or, he is not ready to share the happier poems with people - they may actually feel more personal.

    We also spoke about how much time he spends online to which he replied that being online is his diary and i basically don't have access to his diary .. I looked at a reply he was going to post, this was not good idea, lol.

    He has told me that he is a private person and will never give me 100%, i never asked for 100% .. I just wanted the transparency and honesty he spoke of beforehand. He tells me short term pain for long term gain.
    I am very, very private also. I need a level of space and independence. If this is threatened, I may get scared off. Again, being honest & close to someone probably doesn't mean giving up his unique identity & private time. That's really important for many INFPs to keep. He's telling you that it will take time to earn his full trust, but he has the same long term desires as you.


    This thread may be helpful. I wrote this long list in it:

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...tml#post800087

    And this post is fabulous in how to deal with an INFP who is down, or how to get one to open up:

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...tml#post826457
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx | RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive | Tritype is tripe

  4. #4
    Senor Membrane
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    Quote Originally Posted by saslou View Post
    I have been dating an INFP for just a little while now. He knows my past and himself came out of a relationship recently to which he was badly damaged. I knew all this going into the relationship but i thought (as you do or as i do) that things would be different between us. Unfortunately they are not.

    I was attracted to him because he spoke of transparency and honesty in a relationship to which i was thinking to myself 'YES finally' lol.

    Now we are in a relationship the only transparency he is willing to show me is the ones on his terms .. Honesty comes during discussions but also when he has been caught out .. He has told me that he feels like i judge him which is not the whole truth .. He talks about stuff but that is all it is, just talk .. So it is not so much that i judge him, i have in essence stopped paying attention to his talk .. Because he retracts it. He talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk.
    Sounds familiar... What type are you?

    The way I see it, he most likely wants to be open, he might even see himself open, but... as you said, on his terms. Now, I do the same, I guess. If I am not sure that I can trust to tell you something, I will either circle around the question or give you something small, something that answers your question and even gives you the chance to push it if you want, but doesn't tell you what the actual problem is. I don't see this like I am being dishonest. I am telling you as much as I find possible at that time. It might be that your INFP really wants to be open but he is fighting himself. It isn't easy, you know. Most of the time I have been open in the past it has brought me more pain than relief. I don't trust people that easily anymore. Still the ideal of being open is there, and I know that it is something I need to do to be happy on the long run. I will just be careful with it.

    I've found that the S-style opening up is the hardest thing... Like, I can tell you how I think and feel and what frustrates me "mentally" or whatever, but if I actually have to give you historical facts about my life. That is the difficult part, maybe because I will actually remember the painful events instead of just remembering the abstractions that I have built out of them. I don't know your type, just throwing that thought out there because it might be that the INFP already thinks that he is opening up, while you might see that he isn't.

    EDIT: Oh, one thing. I'm not sure about other INFPs, but I personally don't think that "talking the talk and walking the walk" are two separate things. To me the talking usually is walking. I mean that if I am talking about wanting to be open, that talk is part of the effort to solve the problem. See, the problem is always internal for me. If I can construct my mind in a way that motivates me to act in the way I need to act, then the problem is solved. In other words, the "walk" is only a side effect of the problem being solved. But to solve the problem I need to look at it from different perspectives, turn it around, stretch it, dissect it and whatever it is that I do with it. This can be frustrating from other people's perspective since I don't think there is any way knowing if I truly am focusing on the problem.

  5. #5
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    First, be careful with INFPs that are in love with their own mystery. You'll never get one to open up... and if you do, they'll resent you for it.

    I noticed that your INFP likes the idea of honesty, but struggles with being honest. I've noticed this once before with an INFP in a relationship. He wasn't in a good place, and would throw eloquent romantic words at his girl while never following through with his actions. He strung her along for over a year before she finally left him. If his words aren't matching his actions, I suggest calling him out on it (give him a chance to either change his words or his actions so they are congruent) or leaving.

    I guess I have one other thought, although this is more observational than anything else. In my experience, ESFJ-INFP is an amazing relationship during the first several months. You guys just seem to put me at ease while simultaneously bringing out my passionate side, and I love that. However, there seems to be issues when the relationship gets to a certain point. It's like, on the surface and middle areas, we connect so well. (I remember many idealistic, deep, and dreamy conversations with ESFJs.) But when it comes to inner core stuff, the ESFJs never seemed to fully understand me. Which was such a surprise, considering how strongly we connected everywhere else.

  6. #6
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    Being that communication is the most important thing in a relationship (in my opinion), I would say this relationship isn't going to go far. You can't change people, and it sounds like this guy is more focused on what he won't share with you than on what he wants to share with you, because you are his partner. Red flag.

    I understand that lovers don't just fall from the sky and that relationships take hard work, but I believe there is someone out there that will meet your very basic needs without you having to beg for it, and you should go get it while the gettin is good.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udog View Post
    First, be careful with INFPs that are in love with their own mystery. You'll never get one to open up... and if you do, they'll resent you for it.

    I noticed that your INFP likes the idea of honesty, but struggles with being honest. I've noticed this once before with an INFP in a relationship. He wasn't in a good place, and would throw eloquent romantic words at his girl while never following through with his actions. He strung her along for over a year before she finally left him. If his words aren't matching his actions, I suggest calling him out on it (give him a chance to either change his words or his actions so they are congruent) or leaving.
    Quote Originally Posted by disregard View Post
    Being that communication is the most important thing in a relationship (in my opinion), I would say this relationship isn't going to go far. You can't change people, and it sounds like this guy is more focused on what he won't share with you than on what he wants to share with you, because you are his partner. Red flag.
    You guys seem to have more negative view on the situation. Here's what makes me think that this might not be such an impossible problem:

    Quote Originally Posted by saslou View Post
    I have been dating an INFP for just a little while now.
    I don't know, it might be. I mean, I'm not sure what it is exactly that we are talking about here. I thought that saslou is trying to make the INFP talk about his damages and stuff like that. To help him. So, I immediately thought that if they've been together for a short while, it might be that there isn't enough trust yet. But you guys make a valid point. It he is unreachable, then there is nothing you could do about it.

  8. #8
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    INFPs require patience to start with, but you said yourself that you picked up a broken one. It also looks like he's decided there is a certain point you won't get to know which is never a good sign (even as broken as I am I want someone to eventually share it all with). I'm not sure if this situation is going to help you with your troubles, either...
    Dreams are best served manifest and tangible.

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    I accept no responsibility, what so ever, for the fact that I exist; I do, however, accept full responsibility for what I do while I exist.

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  9. #9
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Nolla, it was the sentence after the one that you quoted that raised my red flag:

    Quote Originally Posted by saslou View Post

    I have been dating an INFP for just a little while now. He knows my past and himself came out of a relationship recently to which he was badly damaged.
    Red flags aren't deal breakers... they just need to be addressed if the relationship is going to succeed.

  10. #10
    is an ambi-turner BRMC117's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udog View Post
    Red flags aren't deal breakers... they just need to be addressed if the relationship is going to succeed.

    Very much so, I am dating an ESTP, and we talk about everything. I had to tell him that It would take sometime to feel comfortable about telling him everything but he stuck in there and now that we are at that point, things are good.
    And I was the same way, I would tell him about all the things that I wanted to do for him but I never followed through. Once he told me about it I stopped doing it. I guess what I am trying to say is, give it time, let him open up to you.

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