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Thread: How many "friends" versus close friends?

  1. #51
    Senior Member Array Malkavia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post


    For most people, it is getting smaller. But is this a decrease in quality or quantity? How many people do you need to pour out your soul to? An heir and a spare, I suppose. I think that if you find yourself needing more and more soulish connects then I would encourage actually cutting back and figuring and what's going on with you internally. What are you looking for and why do you need it? What is unsatisfactory about the deep bonded relationships that you have formed, with the realization that if you're operating at 70%, that's pretty damn good.

    I could see if you had absolutely no one, because there are a so many lonely people that have not one person they can bond with. But there must also be the realization that just because a person doesn't have "real" friends and seek that kind of intimacy is it a problem with other people. It may be something the intimacy-seeker is doing to turn people off, possibly sending red flags to others that you may not be the type of person to get deeply entangled with.

    It's not a simple matter of people becoming more superficial, perhaps they are becoming more discriminating about who they bond with.
    It's something that Ive put a lot of thought into. Am I being selfish? Am I self-concious or insecure? Its probably the Fi making me constantly evaluating myself.

  2. #52
    Plumage and Moult Array proteanmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malkavia View Post
    It's something that Ive put a lot of thought into. Am I being selfish? Am I self-concious or insecure? Its probably the Fi making me constantly evaluating myself.
    For cripes sake, don't blame it on Fi. Anyone with a reasonable and active level of introspection can ask themselves those questions. I do frequently and I'm not Fi.

    Anyways, some additional thought...if you want more of these deep bonding experiences I'd also suggest thinking about how much you can give to more people. Reciprocity and all.

    I can't tell you how many you need, but having one is something to be so grateful for. Two or three even better. Having ten solid true friends that you can count on is wonderful, but IME out of those hypothetical ten, they're still going to sift and sort to a core that are closest to your center. You'll feel little twinges of "well these people get it a bit more than those," "I feel like I can open up more with blah blah blah."

    I had a situation in 2009 that really broke down the dynamics of these relationships to me. When you're quickly approaching critical mass and you know that if even a feather is dropped onto the burden you're carrying you will surely be crushed, you look around you to figure who can help you carry the weight. It's comforting and consoling to know that more than one person can handle it, because I know I've felt bad for leaning so heavily on the four I have but it sure is reassuring to know I have them. But for me, I'm satisfied with what I have. I've got quality, quantity means nothing and would actually become more difficult for me to handle.

    If you can handle more then go for it, just be mindful of how many connections you can realistically nourish and grow. How many people can you give 100% to? At a certain point, a deep friendship that could have been fruitful were it given more attention will end up being that person you're really fond that you keep around because you feel the possibility of it, but never really emerges.
    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
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  3. #53
    Senior Member Array Malkavia's Avatar
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    lol sorry, ok its not Fi.

    Good points though. Thanks. This forum usually gets my thoughts before they are critically thought about or filtered. Which may be why sometimes they can be wrong.

  4. #54
    Lungs & Lips Locked Array Unkindloving's Avatar
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    I think it's easy for anyone to mistake surface friendships for something deeper. That or to expect that enough surface friendships will grant them some security when they desire it. The problem with the person you mentioned is that he expected people to come to him, when people may have assumed he was already busy.
    The ENFP problem may be not recognizing this or that they tend to be a very social type, but laxed about it. Deeper friendships can transpire all on their own, or they need to be prodded and maintained - molded even. I don't know much about ENFPs, but they strike me as the sort who care, yet would rather just let things fall into place.

    Personally, i've had problems with thinking friendships are deeper than they were. It needs maintenance and testing. It's something that can't simply be assumed and there is always something that will come around to separate the depth from the surface.
    Aim for people who won't just come and go and who will pry a bit more into who you are. Also, make sure to do a bit of the same. Surface friendships can be built into deeper friendships and i swear people forget that. Not to say there aren't ones that are forever destined to be not-so-significant.

    As for the title- I don't like, nor really do, surface friendships.I have two close friends near me and around ten spanning across the world. It's not surprising and explains a lot about me and my views, but that's a whole other story .
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  5. #55
    Senior Member Array King sns's Avatar
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    I thought about this thread today, when I was jotting down names on an application for personal references. Thank goodness for my big bucket of surface friends!
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  6. #56
    Rainy Day Woman Array MDP2525's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post

    Friends Who Feel an Emotional Connection with Me - I've joked that if you were to give me a room full of people and 20 minutes, I would make a new best friend. This person might feel a special connection with me. But what's important here, is that I would not necessarily feel a reciprocal connection with them. There is no ill will on my part. And, I genuinely like them. It's just that I am able to make profound emotional connections with people without conscious effort. It's what ENFP's do. This non-conscious process on my part, does NOT include me opening myself up to the other person. Our connection is based on positive emotions, but not my feelings.

    Friends with Whom I Feel an Emotional Connection - I'm very selective about the friends I allow into my inner circle. These are the friends with whom I share my feelings in addition to positive emotions. And maybe this is the heart of the matter when it comes to ENFP making quick, emotional connections with people. Perhaps people confuse my fluency with 'emotion' (aka, my ability to make them feel comfortable after a very short period of time) with me expressing my personal feelings. Only after I judge that you share my special values will I open up to you.
    This is exactly what I see in my ENFP best friend. What a great description. It's funny because I didn't realize I was in her inner circle until she had a really terrible event in her life and she expressed that she didn't feel comfortable coming to anyone else about it. Kinda threw me for a loop considering how utterly popular she is and she's loved by everyone. Seriously. She has her own gravitational pull including "people satellites" revolving around her. In that sense, I always pulled back from her because of this. Everyone seemed to want her attention or affirmation. Watching from the outside it always felt to me like a huge burden to carry - everyone wanting a piece of you. (insert automatic ISTP feeling of )

    To the OP. I don't have a best friend. I have about 5 close friends. Each I trust in different areas and with different aspects of who I am but I enjoy them all the same. I have quite a bit of acquaintances though.
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  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortnsweet View Post
    I thought about this thread today, when I was jotting down names on an application for personal references. Thank goodness for my big bucket of surface friends!
    around 2-3 at any given point. i'm strict with my definition of friendship.
    at the moment i'd say 3, though one is my s/o.

    it's funny who you end up listing as references, isn't it?
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  8. #58
    Member Array SinistralPal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malkavia View Post
    Hey guys,

    I read an interesting post in another forum. It was posted by an INTJ saying he had a really deep moment with his brother. His brother is ENFP, very popular, and very likable. It was his birthday and he came home to find his ENFP brother alone. He asked him why he was alone and he responded, "nobody called. I have hundreds of friends on facebook, got hundreds of "happy birthday" comments, yet no one called. If people like me so much why didnt just one person call to take me out?"

    Ouch. I feel like I used to be in this position. TONS of surface level friendships. I would see them and we would hang out or maybe go out to dinner together. The number was too large to keep up with. But I did not have ONE deep or close friendship. It hurt. A lot. It was not until this past year that I have gained one person at that level and it took a lot of work.

    Do you think this is something ENFPs fall victim to? If it is, how do you think we as ENFPs can change this?

    I relate to this a lot. However, I would say that I have a continuous flow of deep friendships. Every birthday, people call and make me cakes, buy me gifts etc, but every year, the people seem to be different. I can't really think of anyone besides my parents who have been a solid part in my life for more than 3 years, let alone 5.

    I have also had conversations with people about massive assemblies of acquaintances vs "wolf-packs". Again, I would not say I have either. I have a scattering of close friends from different venues of my life that constantly fade in and fade out.

    As for how to change the "ENFP curse" above, well, I would think not spreading yourself too thin would help. Quality time with a select few individuals over short bursts with large groups.
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  9. #59
    Diabolical Array Kasper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malkavia View Post
    Do you think this is something ENFPs fall victim to? If it is, how do you think we as ENFPs can change this?
    ENPs seem to share this. I don't consider myself to have tons of surface relationships, there are simply people around me, I don't view them as friends, don't know if they view me as a friend either. I like 99% of the people I meet but not for their potential friendship, more because I find people interesting and like learning about them. It rarely goes any deeper.

    One aspect that I know I should make an effort with is keeping contact with those people I do consider good friends, as they are somewhat rare. Thing is as life changes, we change, and often that results in moving on to different social circles and having less and less in common, so it usually gets to a point where I question if they consider me a friend anymore and drop off.


    Quote Originally Posted by the state i am in View Post
    i also wonder if so/sx types fall prey to it more than sx/so types. one of my friends is an enfp so/sx 7w6 female and i tend to think she lacks really powerful connection with others. meaning, she doesn't get a chance to explore what she cares about, what really drives her, what worries her, what makes her most happy, etc, with other people very well. she kinda feels like she always has to be on. i feel like i have to be wary bc i'm already in a relationship, but i wish i could find a way to help her bc she does seem kinda flailing but is an awesome person who deserves more meaningful relationships. the fear of feeling lonely-- feeling trapped and having to face her own problems really seems to terrify her and forces her to react wildly.
    Interesting, makes sense that someone with sx last would struggle with that more. As a 7w8 sp/so I find it difficult to not be "on" although it's not a fake thing, just feels like no matter how open I am things are surface much of the time, it's difficult to grow relationships into a deeper one-on-one level. For me I either click right away or it takes a concerted effort from the other person, which is something that cannot be expected. Often both, actually.

  10. #60
    Senior Member Array mr.awesome's Avatar
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    at some point in my life in the past year i just sort of lifted the burden of close friendships.
    analogy- imagine a herd of 15 or so sheep. the herd of sheep live in a beautiful vast yet fenced in meadow named 'acquaintanceship' and in the middle of the meadow there is a very small shed named 'friendship'. I being the extremely indifferent shepherd kept all 15 sheep in the shed. up until some point in the past year. the shed got cramped and crowded so i let all the sheep go but one or two who wanted to stay in. the rest i kicked out or they just left and now wander the meadow of 'acquaintanceship' and sometimes come back to the friendship shed. some wander off and never find their way back. whatever happens ill know theres always a few out there.

    i just dont need many friends. you can quote me on this on a day when im feeling lonely.
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