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  1. #21
    Senior Member SubtleFighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saturned View Post
    I know it's annoying but have you just tried jumping into the problem and seeing how it goes?
    It seems like that’s the general consensus. I guess I just gotta hold my nose and jump in the deep end of the pool (once my voice comes back, that is).

    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    I didn't know that some people take the lack of response as a cue that I'm pushing them away. Hmm.
    For me, it really depends on the context for whether I think someone is pushing me away. I really don’t expect or want a play-by-play of someone’s day or week or whatever when I ask things like that; what I’m really saying is, “Is there anything important or new in your life that you want to share or talk about?”. Even if the person gives a “not much” kind of answer, I can tell if it’s a comfortable conversational style for them. That’s really why I mentioned that in my first post, about how she reacts to things like that, only to show that this isn’t her typical conversational style , and that because we have different styles, it’s hard to tell when it would be okay from her end for me to bring up this stuff, not because I think she’s pushing me away

    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    Yes, this is very true for me too. If I know someone has something touchy going on in their lives but they don’t quickly bring it up in conversation, then I’ll assume that they don’t want to talk about it. Thereafter, I’ll actually collude with them in avoiding the subject, to save them any embarrassment that might arise from an accidental mention of the subject. I may become so militant about avoiding the subject that I may miss obvious cues when they do want to bring up the subject. After a conversation I may think back later and say, “OMG, I think he was trying to bring up that subject finally! Now I have to come right out and ask him if he wants to talk about it!”
    Interesting . . .

    Anyway, if you want to bring up a touchy subject in conversation, I think it would be acceptable to do the following with just about anyone, including an INFP:

    When there’s a brief pause in the conversation, look a bit awkward and say, “I have a personal issue going on in my life, and I would like to run it past you just to get a second opinion. No pressure: It concerns only me and it’s not a real big deal. It’s just that I like to run things past a neutral observer who knows me. Just sometime when you have a few minutes.”

    I think that sort of direct request would appeal to an INFP. It gets past the tap-dancing about whether or not you actually want to talk about it, and it suggests that the two of you can discuss something personal without obligation or drama. The key is to make the request very casual and keep expectations low: purge the request of any hint of pressure or personal investment required on the INFP’s part, and an INFP will become as curious/nosy as anyone else. Then let the INFP’s desire to play therapist do the rest.
    What if the situation is a big deal, though? And I really want someone’s advice for it? It just doesn’t seem truthful for me to appear casual if it’s not. Would that scare an INFP off?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vala Faye View Post
    I don't do small talk. The thing is, I used to mistake 'how are you doing?' for genuine interest of the other person and start talking away to find them be annoyed that I 'took advantage' of their politeness to 'dump' all over them. Sometimes I still do that, but i really try to contain it. I have a kneejerk reaction to answer all questions honestly so when I'm actually not feeling too well it's hard to lie. These I'll make it vague and move on. Also, Fe is a tool to me. That means that if I'm still on a Fe-level with you, you're not in my real comfort circle ( I don't mind people who I know are Fe-users doing it to me though it does sometimes make me roll my eyes and chuckle).
    This is like my friend too. She can often fake Fe okay, but once she’s close to you at all, it stops. Small talk is something that she really doesn’t like either. It may sound weird, but I’m actually weirded out by most people saying “how are you?” too—when they don’t really mean it, that is. Because I know it’s just a greeting, like saying “Hello,” but I still hate to lie and say, “Fine.” But yet my Fe demands that I don’t say, “Well, actually, I’m feeling irritated right now about . . .” It’s a no-win situation. But when people mean it, it’s a different story.

    I like talking about feelings. Scratch that, I *love* it. But I know most people don't. So when they're doing the polite thing and unless it's part of a group discussion or they mention something like 'I need your opinion on this', I try not to go there (I fail, often though). I won't ask about your day, coz when you talk to me, I can feel your mood. I already *know* the most important thing. And, as Skylights said, you might not wanna talk about it. I'm likely to check, just to make sure though and go: 'hey, you feeling alright today, you seem a bit..off '
    I’ve read somewhere in this forum that Fi-users will sometimes feel that the person is in a bad/painful mood, and they’ll deliberately not ask about it because they feel like they can’t handle taking on that person’s painful emotions right now. Does that seem right to you? (Any Fi-user who wants to comment on this is welcome to!)

    If your friend doesn't do that, it would appear that a) she might be less focused on discussing stuff like this in general and/or b) you guys don't have a 'talking about feelings' bond. You share different common grounds, so she's not really ehm..using her skills to check on you emotionally, as you never indicated a need for that/that was never part of your friendship 'contract' (Fi-users tend to make individually tailored 'contracts' in their relationship while Fe-users seem to use the 'standard contract' provided by society). However, that contract is fluid and can be changed over time easy peasy, at least with me. It's kinda like a bond that grows, and when a person indicates that they trust me, and show me that, I'll reciprocate, mirrorring that trust, and deepening the bond, opening our friendship up to more indept convo about who we are and all the vulnerable dirty little secrets that entails. I have people though that don't know me at all and somehow seem to need someone to talk to, sometimes come to me and ask for my opinion on a situation they're in, and i'm more than happy to help if I can. That's more of a professional counsellor-'patient?' type of bond or that's how I feel it, since no bond was established before yet. My point is, talking about feelings doesn't really usually require bonding (at least for me), but if you are friends and it's not naturally part of your friendship, you might have to nudge her sensitivity to this stuff, and just be, as said before go:

    'Hey, can I talk to you about something for a sec? I could use your perspective on this matter as I'm not sure what to do '

    It's simple, to the point, and will make her fully focused on you. Keep in mind that if you ask this though, she'll go into problemsolving mode. If you want to actually just have her listen without saying anything, without solving anything, phrase it differently:

    ' Hey, can I rant at you about something for a bit, I have this thing that's just annoying the shit out of me right now.'

    => indicates listen only, and no jumping in with helpful solutions, just empathizing hard
    I’m not sure if it’s A or B. It could be A, since I do think she’s less focused on feelings than you seem to be by your description. B is also possible. And if so, I want to change the contract! I’m someone who loves sharing feelings with people I can trust; it’s just that I’ve been not sharing because I’ve been waiting for the social cues. So she may have taken this as me not being someone who likes to share things like that too often or not wanting to share it with her.

    Also, I love your two recommendations and the reaction that each one is likely to provoke, thanks! It's helpful

    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.
    your high-school self

  2. #22
    Senior Member SubtleFighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    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.
    This seems to be the general consensus: With NFPs, don’t worry about finding social cues to transition between subjects—just talk about the subject, just jump right into the topic, and they’re totally fine with that.

    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.
    It’s possible that is part of what is unappealing about the scenario to her (the imagined S-style conversation, I mean). She did say, though, that she hates having a set time for her to be forced to share her feelings, and that seems to also be a general consensus in Fi-users as far as the previous posts in this thread. I’m totally with you on the preference for N-style conversations—that’s really what I meant when I suggested going somewhere and discussing what’s going on/our feelings/lives at a coffee shop. I meant the analyzing of things, how this relates to their goals in life, etc. I actually really hate hearing someone give me a play-by-play of exact dialogue from something that happened to them when there’s no point to it other than simply saying it (that probably goes along with being 8th-function Si). That’s not what I meant at all! But looking back, I guess I didn’t phrase it well either.

    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.
    This corroborates a pattern I’ve noticed with us. That if I ask her stuff directly, I get the shift-eyes, but if the same thing comes up during a discussion about something else, she’ll reveal it pretty easily. Southern Kross mentioned something like this around talking around the subject. I’ve learned overall with Fi-users not to ask them directly about their feelings unless I want a wall to come up.

    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.
    Good point about Ne and making connections between topics easily!

    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.
    This is helpful—thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by GemPOPGem View Post
    Send her an email/text (maybe a bit long for a text)
    with this part of your op...

    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.
    Now that you mention this, I think this might work. Being direct about things has worked in the past when I’ve brought it up. I’ll consider it, thanks!




    NOTE: I hope this looks better; sorry about the tons of posts before! (I'm a noob, what can I say?)

  3. #23
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubtleFighter View Post
    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.
    That makes perfect sense of course and I'm sure your friend would appreciate this effort if she understood it. For me, I question others to investigate ideas rather than specifically what others are feeling (but of course sometimes those ideas can be about understanding an emotion), so if there aren't any apparent ideas to explore I'm not sure where to start. Sometimes you have to kick-start Ne, either to give her something to ask you about or for her to discuss about herself. As OA said, with NFPs you don't need to worry about bringing up things that are on your mind or taking the subject matter at hand and relating it to your own experience/situation - that's conversation fuel for us. NFPs are interested in creating a conversation flow between ourselves and others. This is to lay foundations for honest and open communication by establishing a connection - something I think INFJs can appreciate.

    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.
    I honestly don't think this approach need be anti-Fe. My ISFJ mother does it all the time with me. Fe-users are very sensitive at dealing with touchy subject matters. You're great at spotting what people are troubled about and adjusting your behaviour to suit the situation. And IXFJs are particularly great at asking (and remembering to do so, which I always fail at!) about small events that are going on in people's lives because you recognise that these can be of greater importance than is immediately apparent. Focus on those small yet important matters to start the conversation. Rather than asking, for example, how its going with her new boyfriend, ask about how their weekend away together went. Instead of generally inquiring about the job that she hates, ask about the presentation she was worried about. Your friend should find it easy to talk about such things because there isn't deep emotional investment in them, but at the same time, they relate closely to strong, underlying feelings.

    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.
    If she's not bringing feelings that relate to a matter you've been discussing in depth, she probably doesn't want to. But if you mean talking about your feelings on a matter, don't be afraid to do so. INFPs are tough on themselves when it comes to being emotionally open but we don't hold others to the same standard. I'm sure she really is interested in offering a sympathetic ear and serving your friendship needs but just doesn't know how.

    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
    Well everyone assume others think just the same as them, so its not too hard if you're the actually same type
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  4. #24
    Junior Member My Sweet Stalin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubtleFighter View Post
    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. So I've stopped doing that, lol.
    Hi, I'm new, I'm not sure if others will agree but I felt the need to respond to this part in particular because it struck me as odd. If she is, as you think, an ENFP, then if she wanted you to think her week was going fine and nothing special was happening that you would need to ask about, then you would have gotten exactly that impression and nothing whatsoever would have struck you as odd about her response. Even if she was having the worst week of her entire life, you would be totally convinced that everything was pretty much okay, nothing special going on, etc. if that's what she wanted you to think.

    This may sound crazy but maybe you're not playing the game right. If you really wanted to know, you'd notice her obviously (and intentionally) superficial response and pry further. If you didn't really want to know, but you could tell something was up and felt obligated to ask, then maybe you'd try to schedule some time to discuss matters "later".

    Just a thought. Does this sound plausible to other NFPs?

  5. #25
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Well, maybe she really doesn't want to discuss those things because she feels uncomfortable. Judging by what she's said (that it would be a nightmare) and how she's acted, it could be that, and she doesn't really want to be forced to do it. I would continue to meet and talk with her and just enjoy what you guys have and take it as it comes/see what happens.

    In the meantime, is there anyone else who you can turn to for a more personal outlet until things develop between you and her?

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubtleFighter View Post
    What if the situation is a big deal, though? And I really want someone’s advice for it? It just doesn’t seem truthful for me to appear casual if it’s not. Would that scare an INFP off?
    Okay, it wasn't clear from the OP what level of participation and inconvenience this would require of your friend. Maybe it's best to take the tack that this really could be a big imposition on your friend. In which case, I would suggest that you quit trying to find some nice way to ease into it and instead just call in a favor, throw yourself on her mercy, whatever, and ask for her help. Be clear about what you need from her and give her a clear idea of what it concerns; no one likes uncertainty. And then accept that she might get squirmy about it. If you set a separate appointment for the actual discussion, she may not even show up. But at least you'll know where you stand with her.

    In any case if there's a chance that this might really be an imposition on your friend, then I would just focus on being as clear as possible right up front what you're asking of your friend. xNFPs are pretty helpful for the most part. It's often the uncertainty of not knowing what they're committing to that creates a problem. That's why a too-tactful approach may actually get you in trouble. If the xNFP gets wind of the fact that you're trying to drag them into something but it's not clear what they're getting pulled into, they may start resisting. No one likes to write a blank check, even for the best of friends. If anything, it's better to make a big, blunt plea up front for assistance and be clear about what you need from them.

  7. #27
    Senior Member SubtleFighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    Focus on those small yet important matters to start the conversation. Rather than asking, for example, how its going with her new boyfriend, ask about how their weekend away together went. Instead of generally inquiring about the job that she hates, ask about the presentation she was worried about. Your friend should find it easy to talk about such things because there isn't deep emotional investment in them, but at the same time, they relate closely to strong, underlying feelings.
    And you’re right, this kind of stuff isn’t foreign to Fe at all. But since this is the first close friend I’ve ever had that is NFP, I’m still trying to navigate how she’ll react to various communication styles and what her thought processes are. But these are really helpful ideas for me to continue to figure it out, and to show her that I care about what’s going on in her life, thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by My Sweet Stalin View Post
    If she is, as you think, an ENFP, then if she wanted you to think her week was going fine and nothing special was happening that you would need to ask about, then you would have gotten exactly that impression and nothing whatsoever would have struck you as odd about her response. Even if she was having the worst week of her entire life, you would be totally convinced that everything was pretty much okay, nothing special going on, etc. if that's what she wanted you to think.
    I can’t speak for ENFPs in general, but typically my friend is bad at hiding her true feelings completely. There’s always something in her demeanor or eyes or something that gives her away. To be honest, I usually don’t continue to ask about the situation when I see people hiding their feelings because usually that means they don’t feel comfortable talking about it or for some reason have an objection to speaking about it at that very moment. Unless, it’s like obvious that they’re only mildly covering it up but really want someone to talk to about it, or something like that. Especially with Fi users, I don’t press.


    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    Be clear about what you need from her and give her a clear idea of what it concerns; no one likes uncertainty. And then accept that she might get squirmy about it. If you set a separate appointment for the actual discussion, she may not even show up. But at least you'll know where you stand with her.

    In any case if there's a chance that this might really be an imposition on your friend, then I would just focus on being as clear as possible right up front what you're asking of your friend. xNFPs are pretty helpful for the most part. It's often the uncertainty of not knowing what they're committing to that creates a problem. That's why a too-tactful approach may actually get you in trouble. If the xNFP gets wind of the fact that you're trying to drag them into something but it's not clear what they're getting pulled into, they may start resisting. No one likes to write a blank check, even for the best of friends. If anything, it's better to make a big, blunt plea up front for assistance and be clear about what you need from them.
    I'll keep this in mind; thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    In the meantime, is there anyone else who you can turn to for a more personal outlet until things develop between you and her?
    Not really. She’s the only person I trust with these core-issues and who knows me in the way that I need, and also I know that even if she’s never gone through exactly what I’m talking about, that she’ll have some understanding of it in a round-about way.

    But honestly, I think I’ll be okay with talking to her now Everyone’s given me a lot of insights into NFPs and the feelings of others (and in discussing an NFP’s feelings), and I feel more comfortable with being able to breach the topic. My voice is coming back, so I’ll try talking to her about it soon.

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