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  1. #11
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    open your mouth and make noises that communicate her whats on your mind. if she doesent respond the way you want, then open your mouth again and make noises that communicate that to her
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
    — C.G. Jung

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  2. #12
    Senior Member Chiharu's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if this is typical of XNFPs, but it could be that... how to explain... xnfps often get accused of talking too much about themselves, someone asks "how are you", all they want to hear is "fine", but the xnfp tells them a whole long convoluted story and rants or whatever. It's the honest answer of how they really feel, but the other person wasn't ready for it and doesn't understand. xNFPs are rather sensitive and as soon as anyone accuses them of selfishness or narcissism or they even think that they could be misunderstood like that they overcompensate and then get overly defensive about personal questions.

    Or this could just be me back in high school.
    Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness." ― Kurt Vonnegut

    ENFP. 7w6 – 4w3 – 1w9 sx/so. Aries. Dilettante. Overly anxious optimist.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Eckhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiharu View Post
    I'm not sure if this is typical of XNFPs, but it could be that... how to explain... xnfps often get accused of talking too much about themselves, someone asks "how are you", all they want to hear is "fine", but the xnfp tells them a whole long convoluted story and rants or whatever. It's the honest answer of how they really feel, but the other person wasn't ready for it and doesn't understand. xNFPs are rather sensitive and as soon as anyone accuses them of selfishness or narcissism or they even think that they could be misunderstood like that they overcompensate and then get overly defensive about personal questions.

    Or this could just be me back in high school.
    When a friend writes me "how are you", I will only say "ok" (even if it is wrong) exactly because I know they don't want to hear more than that. I have yet to get to know people who want to talk openly about such things.

  4. #14
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubtleFighter View Post
    From what I know about NFPs in general, they tend to assume that others will bring up situations that they feel a need to talk about on their own (because that's their own typical conversational style) and that asking about them without them bringing it up could seem intrusive. (Please tell me if this perception seems off to you!)
    Nope, it sounds about right. In my case, you can be blunt with me though, in regards to yourself (directly asking me about me might make you hit a wall) You don't need to artfully segue into talking about yourself, but you could do that if you want to. Steer the conversation where you want it to go, either directly or indirectly. I will never do that though; I tend to let it flow where it wants to, but because I go with the flow, then I'll follow your lead.

    Either way, she has told me that she finds the idea of setting up a time to hang out and talk about lives/feelings (like at a coffee house or something) something like her idea of a nightmare.
    I don't have an issue with this. I'm not the kind to plan to do this (a weakness, yes), but if I am invited, then I enjoy sitting around with a friend talking about this stuff. However, I do like to talk more from an analytical perspective than just sharing information. This is typical of Ns, and it may be that her "nightmare" is the S style where the focus is on relating experiences & discussing facts about their lives, as opposed to the more abstract aspects Ns prefer. I hate talking about other people & what has happened (especially stories told chronologically :shudders: ), but I do like to discuss my friend's lives in terms of how they feel emotionally, what events imply/mean, what general philosophy they have on life, etc. It's just less focus on facts, literal experience, etc.
    And when I ask her things like how her week is going, she gets kind of shifty-eyed, gives a superficial response, and quickly changes the subject.
    I admit I really uncomfortable talking about myself directly, in terms of my life events. It's partly because I find that talk dull to a degree & don't find even my own life events all that interesting, but also because I don't do well at moderating what I reveal. I prefer to error on the side of guarded rather than be too intense. It's that Fe-tardation again - I can't easily determine appropriateness. Also, to a Ne type, the present (the way our poor Se interprets it) can seem negative & dull. The future is always where hope & things of interest lie, so discussing what is going on now will come out negatively from me, and I don't want to be a downer.

    Try asking her more about N topics that can lead into feeling discussions. What are her ideas & views of certain things? What are her plans/hopes for the future? You'll find her revealing personal feelings & life events as she illustrates her Ne perspective. We use Ne to communicate, remember. You can access her Fi via Ne.

    It seems clear you talk N stuff a lot, but you can make the transition if you take advantage of those subtle connections in subject matter.

    However, for me, I'm waiting for someone to say to me, "How is your week going?/How did that event go yesterday?/Are you feeling better today?", things like that. Otherwise, if the other person doesn't ask me these things, I feel like the other person doesn't care about these things and talking about them and bringing them up myself would seem intrusive.
    That's a fair expectation. It's too bad she hasn't learned some social ropes.... I know that I am conscious enough of what is polite or what communicates genuine interest to at least ask, "How have you been?". Honestly, I've noticed many INFPs to be good about remembering small details about people & later using those to inquire of them; I do this a lot. That way, I don't feel like I am prying because I am working off of info they already chose to reveal to me. Maybe this is a weak spot for that particular INFP though.

    Our conversations quickly get theoretical or we talk about food/health (a common interest/passion of ours). And at that point, even if I really feel the need to discuss a situation in my life, I feel like, How in the world can I transition from this to my topic?

    Is there something I'm missing about how NFPs typically discuss these kinds of things or cue them from others? If a friend really needed to talk about something, and you want to help them, how can the friend begin the discussion?
    Like I said above, gently steer the conversation. Ne types make transitions well from one topic to the next because they easily see obscure connections. It would be easy to transition health discussion into personal, emotional discussion without losing an NFP. We follow tangents quite well.

    If you don't want to be direct, then begin with an indirectly related, more casual topic & then slowly ease into the topic you want to discuss. This is best if you want to discuss the INFP's life/feelings & not yourself.

    However, you can be direct in bringing up your own feelings....I don't get weirded out by intensity or awkwardness, and I notice most FPs don't. That is the benefit of dealing with FPs. Just don't expect me to be direct about myself. Being direct about yourself can indirectly make me talk about me though, as now it feels "safe" to discuss such things.


    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    Yeah I do this a fair bit. When people ask me about something I don't want to talk about for one reason or another I always give the most vague answer possible and then add a few platitudes that I know people want to hear, just to smooth over my evasiveness. Often I will then start asking a lot of questions about their life in return to make them forget about the whole subject matter. I have it down to an art form
    Yes, I'm guilty of this too..... countless friends have complained about this "wall".

    I'm not sure about your friend but its hard for me to bring up personal matters in an arbitrary manner. They have to come up in naturally relation to the general conversation, and if I feel comfortable, I will speak about it. And often what I find particularly difficult is when I people force me to reflect on an overarching concept that is troubling me (eg. by bringing up problems with a job, SO, university etc). The trick is to ask about small details that are less emotionally charged, which could lead to the subject you wish to discuss. If your friend feels comfortable enough, the conversation will flow on to the central matter. It sounds stupid but talking around the subject can be the best approach.
    Agreed....we can make the connections between slightly related subjects so you can gently lead into more personal conversation. As I mentioned above, you don't need quite as much delicacy when segue into talking about yourself though.
    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

  5. #15
    Senior Member SubtleFighter's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks so much for all the replies!! I'm sorry I didn't reply earlier--the site wouldn't load for me for something like 5 days, and then I had all these assignments for my summer classes due at the same time, and I didn't even check the site at that point. I'll try to reply to everyone before I have to go to work, but if not, I'll shoot for tomorrow.

    Also, I blew my voice out from a wedding reception I went to a week ago (I really blew it out, I'm going to end up going to the doctor about it), so I haven't had a chance to talk to her or anyone else much lately. And the situation I want to discuss is still going on, so I'll try something new with her when my voice comes back!


    Quote Originally Posted by Lady X View Post
    hmm...it's true that i hate to feel intrusive but it's not true that i never am... unintentionally. i think i actually do ask personal emotional check type questions that others might not and it's not till i get a whoa..that's a lil personal!! look from someone that i realize it was intrusive...and casually smooth it over let em off the hook by saying something like...probably still sorting it all out huh...so they can just say yeah and we can talk about something more comfortable...but luckily i don't know too many people who are uncomfortable to get personal with me.

    so...anyway...it seems a bit odd that you and your friend can't just talk easily about things...you infjs are odd like that i've noticed....just talk to her.
    lol, I'm sure that that's what she'd say about this whole situation too--"just talk to me, girl!"

  6. #16
    Senior Member SubtleFighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    Are you sure they are NFP?
    I'm pretty sure she is. I haven't gotten to talk to her fully about MBTI yet (I'm still throwing out tidbits to her and hoping she finds it interesting) but when I told her about I vs E and N vs S, she insisted she was an introvert and intuitive. (I have doubts about the introversion, but that's another topic.) She's definitely a Feeler, and there's just no way she's an INFJ or ENFJ. So, yeah, she's an NFP.

  7. #17
    Senior Member SubtleFighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    Yeah I do this a fair bit. When people ask me about something I don't want to talk about for one reason or another I always give the most vague answer possible and then add a few platitudes that I know people want to hear, just to smooth over my evasiveness. Often I will then start asking a lot of questions about their life in return to make them forget about the whole subject matter. I have it down to an art form

    I'm not sure about your friend but its hard for me to bring up personal matters in an arbitrary manner. They have to come up in naturally relation to the general conversation, and if I feel comfortable, I will speak about it. And often what I find particularly difficult is when I people force me to reflect on an overarching concept that is troubling me (eg. by bringing up problems with a job, SO, university etc). The trick is to ask about small details that are less emotionally charged, which could lead to the subject you wish to discuss. If your friend feels comfortable enough, the conversation will flow on to the central matter. It sounds stupid but talking around the subject can be the best approach.
    This is really interesting. It does seem like from the Fi-users I know that they pretty much all view that kind of speech to be arbitrary. And I'll admit that sometimes when Fe-users say that kind of stuff, it's only because "that's what you ask people about." But the funny thing is, for me, if I'm asking a friend that stuff, I mean it. When I asked her how her week was going, for instance, I was saying it because I was genuinely interested in her life, and from an Fe perspective, you're usually doing your friend a favor by asking about that stuff so they can talk about it (if your friend is an Fe-user, that is!) But yeah, I've noticed that Fi-users don't typically like that kind of questioning too much. To me, it is a real conversation (and not arbitrary) to ask questions like that, so the difference in the view of that kind of conversation is where the miscommunication comes in! But my purpose is to be helpful to her, and I certainly don't want to make her feel like I'm intruding, so that's why I stopped asking.

    I totally get what you mean about dancing around the topic! I've found that while she's adverse to discussing things in any kind of way that resembles a "socially constructed way," we typically end up discussing deep things and deep feelings from our past or present when they come up from discussing another topic. And I've noticed what you mentioned too about when little details from one subject comes up, she may then begin to go off into discussing something deeper about that subject in her life. It does feel like extra work for me to do this rather than just coming out and discussing something, but I understand that this is how she works. So me and her do discuss our feelings/situations in our lives a lot, it's just the feelings/situations that don't come up from another topic that I've been struggling with starting a discussion about. I'll see if I can use the same concept in talking about those subjects that I'm struggling with.

    I'm guilty of this sort of behaviour. I struggle to understand or remember where I'm supposed to say things and ask questions and can seem insensitive because of it. On the other hand it could be intentional. She could think that because you don't bring the subject up yourself that you must not want to talk about it. She fears it might make you uncomfortable to discuss it and therefore she dutifully avoids the subject for your sake. Of course this is how she believes a good friend behaves because it is how she would want to be treated.
    Hmm . . . that could be the case too.

    Honestly, your whole reply sounds so much like her! It sounds very much like what I've deduced her thought processes are probably like based on how she acts.

    Thanks for the insight and your suggestions

  8. #18
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    How close are you to this person, that can have a large effect on how open she is with you especially if she is infp, they seem to open up to people when their feelings say it okay

  9. #19
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    Send her an email/text (maybe a bit long for a text)
    with this part of your op...

    Quote Originally Posted by SubtleFighter View Post
    I'm going through some difficult situations in my life right now, and I really feel like I need to talk about it/get feedback about it/bounce things off of her. But I feel like I'm having an inordinate amount of difficulty in trying to do it. I know that she's a compassionate person who loves to do things to make her friends happy, and she's enthusiastically told me that if there's anything I need from her (including talking about things) to call her. But I guess what the main problem is is that I'm having trouble finding the social cues to do so because me and her have different starting points as to when we would naturally talk about things like that.
    Replace all the "she's" and "her's" with You's and your's... I'm guessing she will take it from there if she is a good friend.
    It really is that simple.

    EDIT: This may work better with ENFP's but i'm guessing good friends of either I or E would respond positively and initiate the discussion.
    "We knew he was someone who had a tragic flaw, that's where his greatness came from"

  10. #20
    Senior Member SubtleFighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    i think you've already figured this out, but i don't think many xNFPs really do social cues. half of us probably wouldn't notice one if it hit us across the face...


    but seriously - they make us feel weird, generally, i think. no Fe = very little idea of how to respond appropriately, much less do we know how to cue others with the same ease that FJs do. it was only in my first year of college that i began to get any sense of how to do that, and 4 years later i'm still not very good at it!
    It's really hard for Fi/Fe to understand the other side or try to imitate it! Just looking at all the epic threads about it makes that very clear But yeah, I can relate to how hard it is for Fi-users to make sense of Fe cues when I compare it with how hard it is for me to understand Fi. And I have a mom and a sister who're both Fi-doms! (ISFPs). You'd think that spending a couple decades living with them would make me learn the basics of how their dominant function works, but as you can see, I'm still struggling to figure it out! So yeah, I totally get that and sympathetize with it.

    if she's already given you the go-ahead to talk to her about problems, that means anytime, anywhere. including smack in the middle of conversation.
    *ponders over this awhile . . . ponders some more . . .*

    This is a foreign concept to me and I've never considered it, but once you mentioned it, it sounds right for my friend. Hmm . . . it seems so unnatural to me to just start talking about a subject without the social cues for it, but if I want to talk about it, and she's willing to talk about it whenever, then maybe I should go out on a limb and just introduce it at (what for me would be) a random time.

    though for the second part, it sort of depends on how close we are and how much i keep you in the loop. if you're close, i don't mind you asking about how things are going with me. actually i like it a lot. i do think it's odd when acquaintances ask questions like that. it feels like an interview to me.
    This makes me wonder now if I have slightly upset her by completely having stopped asking her any questions like that (since I saw her reaction to them in the past). We are close--she's told me that I'm like a sister to her. So, I wonder if she feels more comfortable with me now and may feel differently or if maybe I was just asking the questions in the wrong way . . . maybe I'll feel things out and see if asking very innocuous questions seems uncomfortable for her at this point.


    !

    admittedly, it does seem a little strange to me. it feels a little awkward. but i mean, if a good friend asked me to and was genuine about it, i'd be fine with it - as long as they didn't want me to share during that time as well... i think maybe that's what makes me uncomfy about it - the promise that i would definitely have to talk about my life or feelings at that time. how do i know now that i will want to talk about my feelings tomorrow at 6? Fi is so fickle... and then even if i didn't want to, the other person would be expecting it, and that would be awkward, etc...
    That was definitely a weird conversation when I brought up the subject with her! To me, the idea of 'let's go out and sit around sipping coffee while pondering over our feelings and lives' sounds like one of my ideal friends-outings (if the person is a really good friend). So when I suggested the idea to her and she told that 'Honestly, having a place and time to be forced to talk about my feelings sounds like something from a nightmare', I couldn't help but laugh! Because it was as if I had offered her what would be to me, the most fantastic dessert ever, and I had said to her, "So here's my idea--a moist chocolate cake with a just-strong-enough peanut butter icing with nuts sprinkled on the top, with Giuradelli chocolate. What do you think?" and she replies, "That cake is like something out of my nightmares!" It was just the exact opposite response I was expecting! She also said, though, that she hates to sit still for very long, so that also was what made the offer unappealing. So needless to say, we've never gone to a coffee shop together

    But yeah, I'm slowly coming to the realization that Fi isn't like Fe in how it reveals its feelings and the precise ways that it's different. But it's been a slow process!


    haha so if you asked me how my week was, i'd probably look up and to the right, cause that's what i do when i'm remembering things, and then give you an overall idea. i usually assume people want an overall when they ask that... not details. questions like that seem like "conversational gateways" to me. like, useful when we haven't talked in a while or if i don't really know the other person well, but kind of a superficial question if we're close.



    yeah, to NFP logic i think it's sort of like, if i'm your friend, i care about what's going on with you. i can't possibly know what's going on with you, nor what you want to talk about... if you had an awful day and don't want to talk about it, i don't want you to have to think about it or talk about it. so it seems easier to me for both of us to just talk about what we want to talk about, instead of prompting one another for things we might not really want to talk about. if i didn't want you to talk to me about the things that are important to you, i wouldn't hang out with you or talk to you. NFPs want to know what you care about... that's what's most interesting to us.

    (i know this is not the same to Fe logic )
    *ponders some more*

    This just illustrates to me how important it is to really get behind the other person's thought processes and to see their actions through those criteria and not our own. Fe (at least *I*, and I'm assuming that most Fe-users work like this) assumes that if the other person doesn't ask me about it, then they must not care, since Fe would move an Fe-user to ask about it. Or maybe the person forgets during one conversation, but when they see them again, they may say, "I forgot to ask you about this before, sorry! But, how did ____ go?". But you can't use this criteria for Fi-users or else you'll get an inaccurate assessment of how much they care. I have wondered if my friend even cares about XYZ in my life since she doesn't bring it up, but then I remind myself that she has shown that she cares about me a lot through other means, and so this is probably not true. Okay, so just the fact that she's shown that she cares about me and that she wants to hang out with me shows that she's interested in what's going on with me . . . this makes me feel better.

    Geez, it's a wonder sometimes how Fi-users and Fe-users ever communicate with each other at all! *shakes head*



    all you're missing is that your friend doesn't need any heads-up. we don't really cue or respond to cues (we are so easy to deal with)


    but seriously, we just do. the logic is like, if you want to talk, don't cue, just talk. cuing is confusing to us, lol, sorry. it seems like more rules and dancing around things. that's one of the lovely things about friends - they're people with whom social boundaries are dropped so you can jump straight to the heart of things with them. sometimes NFPs can get off on tangents and get self-absorbed - if i don't know the other person has something they want to talk about, i just let conversation run free.
    It probably sounds weird to you, but I feel lost and confused without cues, lol. Because that's my native tongue. What you said about dropping social boundaries around friends reminds me a lot of my friend too. There's been a couple times where the two of us have been around a bunch of people at once who are only passing acquaintances to us, and she'll talk to them for awhile using Fe-like language. But then she'll whisper something to me, and the way she says it is jarring to me and I wonder if she's mad at me. And yet besides that statement, I'll have no evidence at all that she's mad at me. Only after pondering over the situation do I realize that she had slipped back into Fi-speak with me, and that I had been confused because 1) she'd been talking "Fe" just a minute before to others, and 2) Fe is my foundational perspective. And once I drop the Fe-expectations, I realize she was simply speaking uncensored to me in an Fi way, and not that she was mad at me. But I take it as a good sign that she feels she can speak "naturally" with me, though.

    i think she would feel bad if she knew you had something you wanted to talk about but felt like you couldn't talk to her... you know how you are looking for those prompting questions? she gave you that a long, long time ago in condensed format by saying to talk to her whenever. that's a genuine offer - "tell me about what's important to you?" - and it stands permanently.

    if you don't want to tell her that you want to talk about something in face-to-face conversation, you could write her a little note, or send an email or text. i know she said she didn't like the idea of setting up a time and place to talk, but i suspect that's mostly because it feels superficial to Fi - like "you should talk when you feel like you want to talk, not at a prearranged time" - but i don't think she would have any problem if you would be like "hey i'm having some trouble with this situation and i was wondering if i could bounce a few ideas off you, can we get together tonight at 8 at the cafe?" or something. i bet she would be more than happy to.

    good luck
    Your whole reply has been so helpful to me--Thank You!




    Thank you to everyone so far; I really appreciate it!! I gotta get going to work, though, but I'll be back later to give more responses.

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