Hi, NFPs! There's a question that I've been trying to figure out for some time now, and I was wondering if you could help me out.
A good friend of mine is a XNFP. (She says she's an introvert; but she seems pretty extraverted to me; so I'm including both types to cover my bases.) We're very close and hang out a lot. 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.
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!) 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. 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. 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.
Now, since I know (?) that Fi-users typically assume that the other person will bring the subject up if they feel the need to talk about it, and since I know that the XNFP has offered to help me if I need help and genuinely wants to help me if need be, I thought to myself, "Well, then just bring it up even if it isn't the natural thing you'd do!" But that's been a problem too *sigh*. When we get together, she may say "How are you?" as the customary greeting, but often she won't wait for an answer, and she'll begin talking about something else quickly. 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? And so it doesn't get discussed. I feel frustrated because it seems like all the factors are there for me to be able to talk to her about these things, and yet there still seems to be a wall there.
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?
Any input would be helpful and much appreciated!