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  1. #1
    Junior Member quidtimeam's Avatar
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    Default INTP Confused By Enigmatic ENFJ

    Several months ago I met an ENFJ girl via a philosophy extracurricular I ran at my college. She doesn't attend my school, but was interested in our club, so after an exchange of several emails we decided it would be good for us to casually meet up at a more mutually convenient location than my school.

    We hit it off immediately, and had several rendezvous, sometimes including my friends, whom she also seemed to enjoy. Typically we would visit each other's campuses for an afternoon, walk around and talk, give little tours, and usually end up eating together somewhere and getting into more personal or philosophical discussion.

    Over the course of these interactions, I grew quite fond of her, and really enjoyed bringing out her earnestly raw Ti in conversation, and in turn appreciated the emotional warmth offered by her more mature Fe.

    However, she remained an enigma to me on several levels. First, I couldn't tell if she likes me romantically or not. She definitely enjoys my INTP originality and substance, and my willingness to engage interests most other people find obscure or worthless, and she often makes suggestive statements about our relationship, but when I return them she never takes it the next step.

    This ambiguity about our relationship connects to more general trends I have observed about her character. We have had several discussions about her cynical despair toward the world, and her inability to connect with other people in a meaningful way. I've even commented on the way in which she quickly breaks eye contact with me as a manifestation of this, and she confirmed it, saying that she doesn't want people to be able to read her personal thoughts and reactions. She has told me that she would rather protect herself from emotional engagement and feel nothing rather than risk returning to what was a very powerful adolescent depression, and I can't help but apply all this to understanding her behavior toward me.

    She is very socially isolated from her peers. She lives at home and has a 3 hour daily round trip commute to her campus, and tells me she doesn't go out of her way to spend time with anybody except me, which I take to be truthful. She spends most of her time reading and with family.

    Over the holidays, I came out to her place once. I got her a Christmas present, which she greatly appreciated, especially since it was related to one of the interests she doesn't have confirmed in more conventional social circles. We spent a great day together, yet at the end we had our most extended conversation on her aforementioned cynicism. It was very explanatory in a way, since she set up several moments that would have been great for our first expression of physical intimacy yet got out of them when I started verbally steering the conversation in that direction.

    I've emailed her twice since then, once with a poem I wrote about what she has told me about her general emotional situation, and secondly with a more general update on myself and asking her how she was doing. She hasn't responded to either in a week. I would call, but she almost never answers her phone or calls back. She made very clear that we were going to do something together again, perhaps as a way of apologizing for flaking out of our closer situations.

    I'm slightly hurt by all this. I know that I have to give her her space to work through her inner life on her own, and as an INTP I am pretty certain I have not been at all overbearing with her in this way. Is she just exhausted from being so emotionally open with me in a way she probably hasn't been with anybody in some time, given her isolation and cynicism? If she does have feelings for me, would this type of behavior be appropriate? Or is it just her way of killing a relationship she doesn't feel she is ready to handle?

    I'd appreciate any insight here. We've spend enough time together for me to feel emotionally engaged, and I really enjoy her company.

  2. #2
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    We'll have to let the ENFJ's speak for themselves, but I'm thinking that in the moments that she "set up" for physical intimacy, that you simply should have laid a big smacker (moochy moochy) on her rather than continuing to talk about it. I know the INTP instinct is to make sure the moment is right and to speak the right words and all that stuff, but to the ENFJ, I'm thinking that her setting it up in the first place was her basically saying, "Kiss me you fool!" She wasn't just opening the door so you could walk through it, she wanted you to bust the door down, toss it to the side, and make her feel like a woman.

    INTP's might hesitate in moments like this (we're always cognizant of invading people's personal space, possibly on the shy side, and all that other gobbledy-gook), but I'm thinking that's what she was looking for in that moment.
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

  3. #3
    Junior Member quidtimeam's Avatar
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    I thought of that, but her body language just wasn't open to it. She fidgets constantly, always seems anxious, and didn't stay still long enough for me to make a smooth move. She just kept pacing and averting her attention in an uneasy way. And when I say she killed the moments, I mean that she got us alone together but then quickly diffused the tension and changed the setting when I started making the first more explicit verbal moves. Not as a categorical, but in a "not right now" way. She just wasn't comfortable, and seemed to be communicating that she needed more time to process some internal things before this happened.

    This seems to be pretty consistent behavior for her. If she gets back to me, I'm definitely going to have the next meet up on my turf, so I can control the situation and overcome her fidgety hesitancy in that way.

  4. #4
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    I can't speak for everything here.. but as we can both tell.. she is very wounded and guarded against further wounds..

    You are also "in there" .. what I mean is, She sounds very interested.

    She is an NFJ.. then she is searching for consistency. even if she doesn't realize it.. you are being tested. She also sounds e6.. If this is the case..
    Be patient.. and most importantly of all.. be open in your intentions... (she likely knows anyway) So maybe, trying to get her on "your turf" "to control the situation" is going to backfire. I can assure you she is a better manipulator than you are. She will likely spot this from a mile away..
    She can probably sense already, that you have questions and are uneasy yourself, about a few things.
    Remain consistent and don't put too much pressure on anything like you have been doing already.. If she chooses you (and it sounds as though she has, she just needs to come to terms with it).. You are in for the ride of your life..

    "Ride" as in life is going to get fun.. Get yer minds out of the gutter..

  5. #5
    Junior Member quidtimeam's Avatar
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    She finally got back to me, and said that she doesn't appreciate what she interprets as my attempts to change her into somebody less cynical and more open in her relations with people. She feels that I don't respect her if I think that I can "change" her just by my mere companionship.

    I replied by saying that I'm not trying to change her, but grow with her in a mutually beneficial way, and that I'm only interested in this because I already like her perfectly well the way she is. I confessed my affection for her, and explained that any intellectual distance I have taken in analyzing or describing her psychology was motivated by this deeper bond.

    She thought this was very well said, and apologized for thinking I was trying to do this. It has made me realize that I should just be emotionally direct with her instead of abstracting things. Given my usual NT company I'm just not used to be people being so emotionally sensitive. I'm glad there has been some communication here. But I definitely will be more conscious of such boundaries in the future.

  6. #6
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    She has a strong need for independence which sounds like it's been overlaid with perhaps bad experiences. Has she been corralled or unfairly contained in the past?
    eNFJ 4w3 sx/so 468 tritype
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    EII-Fi subtype, Ethical/Empath, Delta/Beta
    RLUEI, Choleric/Melancholic
    Inquistive/Limbic
    AIS Holland code
    Researcher: VDI-P
    Dramatic>Sensitive>Serious

  7. #7
    Junior Member quidtimeam's Avatar
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    She definitely has, but seems really reluctant to let me in on the specifics. How long can ENFJs maintain this odd mixture of closeness and reserve?

  8. #8
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quidtimeam View Post
    She definitely has, but seems really reluctant to let me in on the specifics. How long can ENFJs maintain this odd mixture of closeness and reserve?
    Dear me. If the strength of it is matched by her sheer willpower, it may take some time. But don't let that dishearten you. Make your presence felt while standing to the side and when she's ready, she'll come to you one day and tell you a bunch of things that you thought you'd never hear. Prying (not that you are) will make things rocky. INTPs and ENFJs have that in common, for better or worse.
    eNFJ 4w3 sx/so 468 tritype
    Neutral Good
    EII-Fi subtype, Ethical/Empath, Delta/Beta
    RLUEI, Choleric/Melancholic
    Inquistive/Limbic
    AIS Holland code
    Researcher: VDI-P
    Dramatic>Sensitive>Serious

  9. #9
    Senior Member Greta's Avatar
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    it's like bizarro world, the roles you two have taken on. (i.e.: i usually hear intps bitching about enfj trying to change them to be less closed off from people)

  10. #10
    Senior Member Neutralpov's Avatar
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    Default close

    The closer you are the more you see the mixed feelings. I saw that on an ENFJ thread and I think it is accurate of my close relations.

    Just saying also that she might not be into you 100%. Just an option. Keep that in mind so you can take her behavior at face value as well and not invest where she might like you but know you aren't long term material for whatever objective or chemistry related criteria. The non-personal reasons. The enemy of a great match for me is a good one (where I am mostly matched but not completely and wishing I was and seeing potential). That would equate to mixed feelings in the investigative stage; guard your heart you are being evaluated and calm, sincere persistence is the best you can do. Right on in your behavior imo

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