Ok, I realise that’s a bit of a nasty and possibly conceited headline. But bear with me.
One of my best friends is another INFJ (she is a textbook e4 INFJ, while I am either 6 or 9, but definitely not 4 – that explains some of our differences.) We’ve known each other for several years and she really is one of the best friends I’ve had. We have similar values and we see eye to eye on many things, and we’ve been there for each other through some tough times. We also like the same type of music, etc and sometimes go to gigs together and that sort of thing.
The thing is – she has a profound fascination with the Middle East, Arabic and the Arab world. I also love travelling and learning about other cultures and we might even be going to Egypt together later this year. But I honestly think that she doesn’t get that not everyone is as fascinated by that culture as she is (and may even have some real issues with aspects of the culture). It just seems like EVERY time we get together, we may have personal hopes/fears type conversations and that’s all good (though we get a bit emo sometimes!!), but otherwise we talk about Arab/Arabic stuff ALL THE TIME.
It’s not entirely surprising as she does some volunteer work which involves speaking the language (which she is quite good at now), she has travelled in the region a lot, etc. But if I start telling her about one of my trips in Europe, or about one of my Western literary fascinations, etc…it’s not that she won’t at least listen politely, because she does, but it will only go so far (not very) and then she’ll say something like “yeah, you know, I was just never really that interested in Jane Austen [or Germany, or Nordic legends, or whatever the case may be!]” It won’t be outright rude, but it is kind of dismissive, at least. And then, hey ho, we’ll get back into some Arab world thing.
It may be partly my fault as I have taken quite an interest in this whole area…but perhaps she doesn’t understand that in large part I have taken an interest because she is one of my best friends. And I don’t think she realises how self-centered it can come across. If we were having an equal exchange on this kind of level, we would be spending as much time talking about my trips, my literary interests, etc etc as we do about hers. And it just doesn’t work out this way. Her brother, who I also know, once said to me "she can be incredibly self-centered and loves to talk about herself all the time," and I'm afraid he has a point.
I feel like I’d like to draw this to her attention, as I am starting to get somewhat frustrated by the whole thing. But she can be pretty sensitive…and I have no desire to hurt her feelings…I wonder if any of you have suggestions on how I might approach this.