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  1. #1
    Senior Member Adasta's Avatar
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    Question INFP (male) & ENFJ (female) - Advice?

    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post - messageboard etiquette dictates that I tell you immediately lest you all begin to cluck your tongues at my lack of "board knowledge"! Apologies for any faux pas.

    Anyway, I've got some questions for you all. As the title of this thread suggests, I am an INFP. My girlfriend is an ENFJ. Although we get on really well, there are inevitable problems from time-to-time. Could any ENFJ ladies - or other suitably knowledgeable folk - give me some advice? I'm trying to figure out how best not to antagonise one another! I don't want to give a false impression to you - these are not "critical" issues. Nevertheless, some advice would be welcome. So, to begin...


    • I am forgetful. She can tell me something three or four times and I won't remember. This is because, to me, it's unimportant. For example, she'll often tell me that she's going out with her friends on a certain day of the week; I inevitably forget and call her to see where she is on that day. She gets annoyed, somewhat justifaiably, since she is telling me the same thing over and over and yet I still forget. However, she can't understand that I don't mind if she goes out; if I ring her all she has to say is "I'm out this evening". I won't mind. I have other things to do!

      How do I best negotiate this? I honestly cannot make myself remember what she tells me because it's so inconsequential that it doesn't even register to me.


    • I am messy, but in an "unconvential" way. In fact, I am very neat in general and like things to be "in their place". However, when I look for something, my method could be described as being "frantic". I tend to search for something, find it (in a drawer, for example) and then leave the draw open with everything strewn about and go off to use the thing I was so fervently searching for. This drives her crazy.


    • She worries about everything. Her worries, however, seem trivial to me because they are so...banal? She doesn't believe I worry at all; in fact, she laments the fact that I seem so "laid-back". She's wrong, of course! My worries are almost always wide-ranging. For example, she'll be worrying about how much we should spend in the first week in the month just in case it impacts on our ability to pay the rent in the fourth week of the month! Or she'll worry about how actions now might affect her life in 5 years time (career, for example). On the other hand, I'm busy worrying about existential matters...What is truth, what is justice, what do I actually want from life, why is it structured in this way, why is everything back-to-front! I don't know how to reconcile this.


    • She always has to have the last word and always contorts the situation to misrepresent me! This is frustrating. Even if I have a legitimate point against her she'll whine and complain and make out like I'm being horribly unjust. Honestly, it's how I'd imagine a corrupt ruler would behave at his/her own impeachment!


    That's about it right now...I'm sure other things will crop up.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    Most of these problems seem to me to be "par for the course" in a relationship between an INFP and an ENFJ. Other than the last one I don't think anything "unhealthy" is going on there, and even with that one I'm guessing it's just a result of you both being quite young. Sounds to me like a lot of areas where you should "meet each other half-way". Communication is "key". I think a good "first step" would be to stop treating her concerns etc as banal or unimportant. Existential matters will still be there (probably unresolved) "long after you're dust", but rent's gotta get paid. If you clearly "explain your position" in a non-antagonistic way yet still "make an effort" to address her concerns I think that should be enough for her. Has she seen the INFP profile yet? That might help her a bit in "understanding where you're coming from". You might want to check out the ENFJ one too if you haven't already.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adasta View Post
    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post - messageboard etiquette dictates that I tell you immediately lest you all begin to cluck your tongues at my lack of "board knowledge"! Apologies for any faux pas.

    Anyway, I've got some questions for you all. As the title of this thread suggests, I am an INFP. My girlfriend is an ENFJ. Although we get on really well, there are inevitable problems from time-to-time. Could any ENFJ ladies - or other suitably knowledgeable folk - give me some advice? I'm trying to figure out how best not to antagonise one another! I don't want to give a false impression to you - these are not "critical" issues. Nevertheless, some advice would be welcome. So, to begin...


    • I am forgetful. She can tell me something three or four times and I won't remember. This is because, to me, it's unimportant. For example, she'll often tell me that she's going out with her friends on a certain day of the week; I inevitably forget and call her to see where she is on that day. She gets annoyed, somewhat justifaiably, since she is telling me the same thing over and over and yet I still forget. However, she can't understand that I don't mind if she goes out; if I ring her all she has to say is "I'm out this evening". I won't mind. I have other things to do!

      How do I best negotiate this? I honestly cannot make myself remember what she tells me because it's so inconsequential that it doesn't even register to me.


    • I am messy, but in an "unconvential" way. In fact, I am very neat in general and like things to be "in their place". However, when I look for something, my method could be described as being "frantic". I tend to search for something, find it (in a drawer, for example) and then leave the draw open with everything strewn about and go off to use the thing I was so fervently searching for. This drives her crazy.


    • She worries about everything. Her worries, however, seem trivial to me because they are so...banal? She doesn't believe I worry at all; in fact, she laments the fact that I seem so "laid-back". She's wrong, of course! My worries are almost always wide-ranging. For example, she'll be worrying about how much we should spend in the first week in the month just in case it impacts on our ability to pay the rent in the fourth week of the month! Or she'll worry about how actions now might affect her life in 5 years time (career, for example). On the other hand, I'm busy worrying about existential matters...What is truth, what is justice, what do I actually want from life, why is it structured in this way, why is everything back-to-front! I don't know how to reconcile this.


    • She always has to have the last word and always contorts the situation to misrepresent me! This is frustrating. Even if I have a legitimate point against her she'll whine and complain and make out like I'm being horribly unjust. Honestly, it's how I'd imagine a corrupt ruler would behave at his/her own impeachment!


    That's about it right now...I'm sure other things will crop up.
    LOL.. I love this post..

    #1.. Get a notebook or something and write this stuff down. If your memory is weak, simply supplement it.
    It really is that easy

    #2.. Yes this drives her crazy.. So clean up after yourself. Put things back and close the drawer. You obviously display and aptitude for opening things and and displacing the contents of what is there within. Simply reverse this effort once you have found what you are looking for.

    #3.. Welcome to Ni ..lol and she sounds like a Type 6.. Your life will never be boring and your future taken care of. What I find funny is what you say you worry about is what she is also worrying about. She is just more grounded about it. I like to contemplate the meaning of everything too. This does not excuse me from taking care of present matters nor should it excuse you from doing so, she is not your mother.

    #4 You are dealing with frustrated Fe and Ni.. This will get worse and worse until you stop devaluing her. example calling her issues "trivial" and "banal"..

    You said it.. these are minor issues that can simply be solved with a little shift in perspective.

    You say she whines? I wish all my relationship issues were as simple as yours.. Man!! this shit is trivial and banal. Your points hold no real value.

    See? Did that feel nice?

    Good luck with this. My real advice is if you love her, cut her some slack and work on what you can do to show more respect and it will be reciprocated.. Continue to devalue her feelings and you will eventually be torn to shreds.. The little Dictator will just keep getting bigger and bigger.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ExAstrisSpes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adasta View Post
    • I am forgetful. She can tell me something three or four times and I won't remember. This is because, to me, it's unimportant. For example, she'll often tell me that she's going out with her friends on a certain day of the week; I inevitably forget and call her to see where she is on that day. She gets annoyed, somewhat justifaiably, since she is telling me the same thing over and over and yet I still forget. However, she can't understand that I don't mind if she goes out; if I ring her all she has to say is "I'm out this evening". I won't mind. I have other things to do!

    How do I best negotiate this? I honestly cannot make myself remember what she tells me because it's so inconsequential that it doesn't even register to me.
    Have you read John Gottman's "The Relationship Cure"? It's an excellent book. In one of Gottman's other books, he mentions that the couples who are better-connected have good "memory maps" of the other's routine. She is letting you know where she is because it *is* important to the health of the relationship.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adasta View Post
    • I am messy, but in an "unconvential" way. In fact, I am very neat in general and like things to be "in their place". However, when I look for something, my method could be described as being "frantic". I tend to search for something, find it (in a drawer, for example) and then leave the draw open with everything strewn about and go off to use the thing I was so fervently searching for. This drives her crazy.
    When I have too much stuff to do (which is often), I let my place go to crap too. If this is just "how you are", it may be something she needs to accept. Although you should probably put everything back in the drawer once you discover your missing item.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adasta View Post
    • She worries about everything. Her worries, however, seem trivial to me because they are so...banal? She doesn't believe I worry at all; in fact, she laments the fact that I seem so "laid-back". She's wrong, of course! My worries are almost always wide-ranging. For example, she'll be worrying about how much we should spend in the first week in the month just in case it impacts on our ability to pay the rent in the fourth week of the month! Or she'll worry about how actions now might affect her life in 5 years time (career, for example). On the other hand, I'm busy worrying about existential matters...What is truth, what is justice, what do I actually want from life, why is it structured in this way, why is everything back-to-front! I don't know how to reconcile this.
    I worry about EVERYTHING. I've tried to cut back (or just not give a f***), and as a last resort just don't share the fact that I worry so much with my close friends/loved ones, but I do.

    Maybe suggest you both take a yoga class together? It's very calming to me and helps me not worry for a few hours.

    Also, if you bring up her worrying, she'll worry about that. So try to do things that calm her down without explicitly telling her so. Give her lots of hugs and kisses and tell her how pretty you think she is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adasta View Post
    • She always has to have the last word and always contorts the situation to misrepresent me! This is frustrating. Even if I have a legitimate point against her she'll whine and complain and make out like I'm being horribly unjust. Honestly, it's how I'd imagine a corrupt ruler would behave at his/her own impeachment!

    That's about it right now...I'm sure other things will crop up.
    This sounds like an immature ENFJ to me. I used to do stuff like that. It's interesting since the stereotype is that ENFJs hate conflict. (I certainly do) So what kind of other, deeper problems are you having?
    Last edited by ExAstrisSpes; 10-20-2010 at 10:36 AM. Reason: fix quote

  5. #5
    Senior Member Adasta's Avatar
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    Thanks for everyone's responses.

    I realise my original post sounded rather "cutting", but I should stress that it's not as bad as it may sound! In fact, our relationship is really good. I blame the latent-aggression (that is perhaps perceptible...) on being English, haha.

    Her worrying is interesting because it is oddly constructed. To me, it seems that she feels like caring and worrying are the same thing. However, the subjects do not seem to be part of any hierarchy; instead, they are all worthy of the same amount of worry. Career, life, friends, the future, relationships, what people think of her (or me, or us, or the house...), the quality of her work etc. all seem to be subjects worthy of attention; it's just a case of which one is de rigeur. I often tell her not to worry so much, and she acknowledges that she does worry, but is there anything I can do (in an active sense) to stop her worrying? Or is that the same as asking me to stop "questing for truth"? Would the worrying be somewhat counteracted if I simply reminded her that I am there as well?

    Also, the argumentative oneupmanship is almost certainly due to her relationships with her siblings. It doesn't bother me too much because I just make a joke of the fact that she can't let a subject die!

    In general, it's not as doom and gloom as you think!
    That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
    Were axioms to him, who'd never heard
    Of any world where promises were kept,
    Or one could weep because another wept.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ExAstrisSpes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adasta View Post
    is there anything I can do (in an active sense) to stop her worrying?
    No. She'll just be more stressed out about it because now she has to hide her worrying from you.

    And read suggestions I posted above.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Adasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExAstrisSpes View Post
    No. She'll just be more stressed out about it because now she has to hide her worrying from you.

    And read suggestions I posted above.
    Don't worry; I did.
    That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
    Were axioms to him, who'd never heard
    Of any world where promises were kept,
    Or one could weep because another wept.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ExAstrisSpes's Avatar
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    :rolli:

  9. #9
    Senior Member Adasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExAstrisSpes View Post
    :rolli:
    What was that for? Either offer your advice and be done with it or be polite in your responses. I've taken everything at face value and I'm genuinely asking you questions because I thought you might be able to help.

    Don't flame the noob.
    That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
    Were axioms to him, who'd never heard
    Of any world where promises were kept,
    Or one could weep because another wept.

  10. #10
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    I don't know what kind of ENFJ you're dealing with here. You would know best if she's the kind who just wants you to listen, support, and acknowledge and she feels satisfied.

    For me, what would help with the worrying is an action plan. I have plenty of people around me to listen and support, I don't need anymore listeners and supporters. When I have said something for the 12th time it means it's a problem I'm not able to solve and I'm not finding suitable answers and solutions. It means, HELP ME SOLVE MY PROBLEM. It means that you say some approximation of these words, "Honey/baby/boo/snookums/name whatever, I see that you're mind is churning over [blank]. I've given this some thought already and I think XYZ would be helpful. What do you think?"

    What you need to do is show me that you have noticed my emotional state of being (which you have) and are reacting to it in a proactive way that moves towards a solution. When you give me solutions you:

    a.) kickstart my thinking towards finding my own solutions and maybe kick my ass out of a mental rut and
    b.) show me that I'm worth the expending of your mental energy (not, "she's worrying again...guess I'll go watch the game") and invested in our relationship enough that you are taking some of my problems on as your own and are actively seeking a SOLUTION.

    That's not always a good thing, but it makes me feel like we're synched, in tune with each other, and that you're helping shoulder a burden that is becoming to heavy for me to carry. Telling me to stop worrying about it is useless. It's like saying, don't think about cupcakes and all you can do is think about cupcakes. It's like having a song in your head that you can't get out, unless you put another song in. What you need to do is put another song in her head and this song will be a solution. You are quite accurate in your observation that all worries receive equal attention because the ability to prioritize concerns and weight which one is more important is probably not there or developing.

    Money is a perfect example. While you don't see it as a big deal, just acknowledging it is just step one. If she's worried about the money (which I think is a big effing deal too!) you need to say "Hey, we can do this. I googled some budget templates and have been reading some personal finance blogs. Let's see what works." You may need to do this more than once. Follow-up with her and see if she feels better about the money situation after a couple of weeks. Notice if she stops talking about it and if she has, then you are the wonderful, wonderful man who's going to get lots of cupcakes and milkshakes and other goodies because he plucked off the straw that was about to break the camel's back. She's probably going to have another straw in a few weeks but that's another post and more suggestive of inferior Ti than anything else.

    Now aside from that, the tone in your OP does sound dismissive to me. What feedback I've gotten from my family and friends that aligns with what you're saying about is that you're not having to guess with what she wants. Maybe it's me, but is it not a good thing that you can tell your GF is upset about something and you're not totally clueless as to what is is? That fact that you are aware of at least three of her gripes (is it that frickin hard to put a shirt back in the drawer?) means you can correct them. Frankly Adasta the forgetfulness and messiness are two issues you can tackle and make progress on. The worrying is something that she'll need to work on with a strong assist from you and even then, it's still murky. The last word issue I'd need more info about because there are three sides to every story.

    If she tells you she's going out or she's doing something and you can't even be bothered to remember? To me that indicates you're not listening to me when I talk to you and you don't really care what I do or where I go. My red flags would be in overdrive right now.

    RE the planning: All I do is think about my future. For some ass-backward reason, I believe I have more control over what happens five years from now than later on in the current week. Thinking about my future is something I enjoy doing, it gives me pleasure, it feels good, I like to think about what I could be doing, where I'll be, if my plans will come through or fall through. This is why the current week doesn't matter because things have come to fruition at that point and it's less interesting. The future is quite safe because it hasn't happened yet. Therefore anything could happen or better yet, what I want can happen.

    When she's going on and on about this, she's doing something that's pleasurable to her. She's forecasting and projecting. Believe it or not, if she's getting detailed about it, it means you probably have a lot of influence over this process. She's also could be just thinking and talking out loud and there's not much you have to do but let her do it. If you're confused about what she wants when she does this you can say "Do you want me to respond or are you just talking?" It's always helpful to have given this some pre-thought and throw out a few of your own plans for your future.

    Generally, you sound like you have a grasp on the situation and you're not a completely clueless puffalump () so I think these are manageable issues. Some couples go the duration of their relationship arguing about niggling little habits that ruin something that would otherwise be quite happy. Either somebody is going to get used to living in a garbage heap or someone going to put their clothes back in the closet and drawers (I think you can tell which side of the fence I fall). If you can deal with a pretty small issue like clothes and remembering things then that gives you the energy to deal with the bigger ones like the worrying and last word.

    ETA
    Quote Originally Posted by Adasta View Post
    She worries about everything. Her worries, however, seem trivial to me because they are so...banal? She doesn't believe I worry at all; in fact, she laments the fact that I seem so "laid-back". She's wrong, of course! My worries are almost always wide-ranging. For example, she'll be worrying about how much we should spend in the first week in the month just in case it impacts on our ability to pay the rent in the fourth week of the month! Or she'll worry about how actions now might affect her life in 5 years time (career, for example). On the other hand, I'm busy worrying about existential matters...What is truth, what is justice, what do I actually want from life, why is it structured in this way, why is everything back-to-front! I don't know how to reconcile this.
    I want say one more thing about this quote in particular. I'm not quite sure what to make of this....when people say they worry about existential things it comes off as pretentious to me and I just do an internal eye roll.

    Over this summer, I started volunteering with a local community group that has partnerships with several schools in my county. We recently got a grant for a youth and school violence prevention program and we honed it down even further to address teenage dating violence. We figured out how we were going to customize the smaller programs to address the needs of school by reading the state report card for each school. I feel like a 14 YO boy in game store. I can't say I spend anything more than a passing amount of time thinking about why bad things happen to good people, what is truth/justice, if there is a God, or how to itemize my 1040. I will spend the next days and weeks trying to figure how to make this program work.

    When you said what you worry about I thought to myself, why bother concerning yourself with that? For example, to me it doesn't follow to worry about if there is justice while blithely doing nothing to put a moratorium on capital punishment in my state (I know you're English and this doesn't apply). That's the irreconcilable part to me...to think about some abstract concept but when the manifestation of that concept bops you on the head you just keep scratching your chin and let it pass by you. That may be your opportunity to see if justice exists and get an answer to your question, unless the point is not ever have an answer and chase your own mind tails.

    The point of all this is to say why is what she thinks about so trivial and banal yet what you think about so esoteric and profound? That's why I thought your OP was dismissive...it sounds like you're tuning her out a lot and missing some critical information as to why she is the way she is.
    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.
    Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts
    Social Penetration Theory 1
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