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  1. #11
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    @Esoteric Wench's ISTP's comments were interesting to me and made sense on the basis of the probable ENFP friend I have. I think that for her everything is about emotion. She feels things in the moment with extreme intensity, to a greater extent than I do (certainly with more obvious intensity), but also seems to move on from or...reframe those emotions more easily (or just differently?) from me.

    I think that with anyone it is best to keep a close eye on their actions and to not put such weight on their words; unless of course you find out over an extended period of time that their words are extremely reliable and consistent (and I do have friends like that - they tend to be fellow IxxJs, and my IxxJ family members are also pretty much like that so it's what I was used to growing up.)

    With the above-mentioned friend, if I pay too much attention to what she says, or take it much too seriously as an indicator of how she's going to behave next, I'm going to feel let down or even (depending on the situation) betrayed. However, I've known her long enough to know what her patterns of behaviour and priorities ("core values") are like. I tend to pay more attention to those now and less to her words. (Admittedly, she has also had some pretty tough stuff happen in her life and that has made her more emotionally volatile and drawn to drama; I have to factor that in too and it is somewhat outside of type.)

    It does seem to me though, and still annoys me, that she doesn't seem very self-aware. She's married now but in a somewhat tricky and frustrating situation (husband still lives in another country). She said to me the other day "you know, even when I was single, I was never really the type who was desperate to be in a relationship, obsessed with guys or 'needed a man.'" This not only contradicts stuff she's said herself ("I NEED to be in a relationship"), but very much contradicts her whole pattern of behaviour while I've known her and what she's told me about her past (falling for one guy after another, idealising men from a certain culture, getting married in a very precipitate manner after only knowing the guy a few months and only spending a few weeks actually in his company, etc.)

    Of course this may not be all type-related. But it is interesting. I do think that people express their "core values" in different ways and INFJs may be more prone to actually stating them and giving a lot of thought and weight to words before saying them, while other types may show the "core values" more through emotion and action. I mean, this friend of mine, her words may have been inconsistent a lot of the time, but really her actions and her expression of emotion have been pretty consistent.


    EDIT: I think ExxPs live in the moment in a way I don't really understand. So - and please correct me if you're ExxP/Fi user/etc and feel I'm wrong - I get the sense that even when they are talking about the future, they are viewing it purely in the terms that they are viewing the present. So when my friend lost someone very dear to her (he actually died) and she said she would never love again - she said this many times over the course of several months - this intensely reflected how she was feeling at the time, and understandably. But I think she was seeing the future purely in those in-the-moment terms too...not that much later, she'd found someone else. Rather to my shock (and my concern that she'd not properly moved on from the last guy - which I do still think is possible.)

    For me, I think I am more future-oriented in terms of knowing that the future will be different... I know very much the feeling of being in the middle of a sad, painful situation and feeling like it will never end. But I still KNOW it will. Especially having been through experiences like that before and coming out the other side. It helps me get through, actually, even if the pain is neverending while in it. So, if someone breaks my heart, I know in the moment that the heartbroken feeling feels like forever; yet I also know that eventually it will wear off, at least enough for me to get on with my life, and that just possibly a day will even come when I slightly wonder what all the fuss was about. And I don't want to go out on a limb and look like an idiot (to myself anyway), so I won't say things like "I'm going to feel heartbroken forever and will never want another relationship", or "this was the love of my life and there will never be another like it." I may have feelings like that in the moment - sometimes for very long and painful "moments" - but I know that the feelings will pass on to a great extent, even if it takes what feels like forever.
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  2. #12
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    This sounds like more of a Ne-dom issue than an INFP one. I personally just resist making commitments until I feel I can keep them. This is because once I make them, I take them very seriously; but until I make them, I am just exploring a possibility. I'm leading with Fi though, which within itself is very consistent. Of course, @Esoteric Wench 's quote in the OP alludes to this inner consistency. It may seem random until you see enough of it to guess the pattern.

    Remember, in this sense, Fi is just like Ti in that it creates internal models to check for consistency; in this case it's a model of the ideal to check for consistency between values, self & personal behaviors. If you don't know the model, then you don't know the standard for consistency, and it will especially seem inconsistent if you're holding it up to the widely recognized "Fe model". Incongruence with one's own "Fi model" pains an xxFP greatly. They're always striving to live up as close to this ideal as possible, and I'm going to suggest it is higher in many ways than the Fe model, because it's not about viability, but perfection.

    Trying stuff on for size & abandoning it midstream is more of a Ne issue. IMO, ENFPs stick it out when they explore an idea/possibility/person long enough to form a feeling towards it, when the emergence of an ideal in reality squashes the temptation to pursue potential elsewhere, and then you have a deep Fi anchor to keep them from flying away. Until then, I'd suggest viewing the ENFP's "promises" simply as ideas they are suggesting & exploring, unless they actually use the word "promise".
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  3. #13
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    I'm not saying there aren't advantages to being an ENFP. My "issue" I suppose, is that I don't see how constantly changing priorities is a good thing in any relationship.
    I don't think it's necessarily about this (although it certainly can seem so and these are the words Esoteric Wench used). IMO it's more that ENFPs accept the world is complicated, unpredictable and always in flux - in other words, the change doesn't necessarily come from them, but externally, from the people and situations around them. They believe the best way to deal with this is for them to be in a position to adapt to these changes as they happen. Consequently, when others trying to pin things down and create hard and fast rules, ENFPs see this as a sign that they are out of touch with reality. They think that this approach will inevitably result in everyone trying to cram square pegs into round holes, so why not just make the holes to fit the pegs? Of course, we need some rules/guidelines/expectations that remain no matter what. Fortunately, Fi provides this anchor for them, with its focus on the eternal, enduring, essential aspects of life. And its entirely likely that an ENFP will think of friendships, love and marriage in such terms.

    In terms of relationship benefits, their focus on adapting means: they are more able to cope with the dynamic nature of long-term relationships (because they don't assume things are permanent); they can accept faults or differences in their partner more readily, rather than expecting them to change; they are keenly aware of their own responsibility to maintain a relationship and may be more prepared to make necessary adjustments (rather than assuming everything should shift to meet their needs); they can keep the passion and excitement alive with their enthusiasm for the new and novel; they can take changes in the financial situation, career, lifestyle, city/country of residence of their partner in their stride.

    The ENFP's I know are flighty, and can be down right flaky. I think the term "free spirit" applies. I know two ENFP's and they fall in and out of relationships very easily, constantly going from extremes; "I don't need anyone, I'm independent" to "I don't know how I'd live without him/her" - "I would never even consider doing that" to "well, things have changed"
    Yeah ENFPs can sometimes be a bit like this. I don't see it as flakiness though. Its more of a stumble in their thinking process than a sign of inconsistency. They get lost in the intense feelings of the moment, focusing on the temporary spike or dip in emotion, without looking at the long-term trends, their emotional through line. I suppose its a Ne-Te loop - its as if they're taking a survey but only use 1-2 sources of input then draw biased far-reaching conclusions from it. Once they have the time to get more information (both internally and externally) they can think more clearly. It's sort of like how IXFJs can jump to a conclusion or make a rash judgement and stubbornly refuse to believe they could be wrong; only to later changer their mind once they've let their thoughts stew a little. Its a temporary mental block that usually rights itself with a little time. Although it can certainly be incredibly frustrating for the people around either type when they're in such a state.

    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    I would agree with his assessment. I think it's not that ENFPs are ever going to be super consistent in the way you define consistency. (Though they do learn to be better at this over time.) Instead, it's that ENFPs are very consistent with their core Fi values. This is very foreign to the INFJ who doesn't use Fi very much at all.

    Does this make sense?
    Yeah, Fi creates more internal consistency than external. Its because it focuses on the intrinsic, essential aspects of things rather than the immediately apparent - so the consistency is in the essence rather than clear, distinct actions. And I suppose additionally Ne is able to draw commonalities between seemingly totally unrelated actions and find patterns of behaviour, so this will seem clearer to NFPs.
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  4. #14
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    @Southern Kross: interesting insights, thank you... It's good to see where that flexibility can be an advantage in best-case scenarios. And it's very true that IxxJs can feel stubbornly right about something and later come to change their mind when things have percolated for a while. I think because I'm aware of that, I don't vocalize all my "conclusions" in the moment becaue I know they could change. And we tend to take a long time to process, so things don't always settle down into a reasoned conclusion for some time.

    Another thing I wonder about though: I don't get the impression that ENFPs will admit all that often that they've changed their mind? It seems as though however they're feeling in the moment, that's how they feel and have felt forever. When things change, again, the in-the-moment feeling is how they've always felt/will feel. I just find that hard to grasp, as (if I don't delude myself) I think I have a pretty realistic grasp of how my feelings and views have changed in various ways over the years and can acknowledge that this has happened. When people claim that they've always felt a certain way, although they've outright contradicted something they were saying a few days, weeks or months before, it seems to lack self-awareness, at the very least.
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  5. #15
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    ^ yeah it is a bit like that with ENFPs IME . But I can't say for sure if it's a fair generalisation
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

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    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  6. #16
    Professional Trickster Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    @Wanderer, I want to reiterate how much I appreciate this thread. I think it's a really interesting topic and trying to pull my thoughts together on the subject is making me better understand myself... especially how my behavior is perceived by others.



    As far as your three questions:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    (1) When CAN I take what an ENFP says seriously? (When could I take a promise from an ENFP to the bank, so to speak)
    I've been thinking long and hard about this one, because I feel like I mean everything (well almost everything I say) seriously. It might help if you gave some particular examples for me to decode for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    (2) What does this preference for "constant reassessment" and "moving goalposts" mean for serious commitments like marriage?
    All I can do it tell you about how this works for me:

    I take my romantic commitments very, very seriously. In a way, they are more important to me than almost anything else in my life. I think ENFPs share this in common with INFJs. But there are differences as well. I think ENFPs approach romantic entanglements much more openly. In other words, they are willing to take more chances, more quickly than an INFJ might.

    I've observed that INFJs take forever (by ENFP standards) to decide that they like someone and want to date them. I'm much more willing to be tantalized and take a chance. It's like I see the best in the other person and say to myself, sure let's see if this could work. But don't confuse this willingness to entertain the possibilities with me not taking my commitments very seriously. It's just that I'm more willing than an INFJ to toy with a potential dating relationship before I make a final decision on whether or not I'm in for the long haul. I have to engage the person first before I make the decision to either cut my losses or throw myself headlong into an earth-shattering commitment. Because never doubt, this kind of "earth-shattering" commitment is what I'm really looking for. So my period of "constant reassessment" is a short-lived period in the beginning while I'm deciding whether or not to put my entire heart and soul into it.

    But because I take chances on people, sometimes I wake up and find out that it's not going to work and I cut my losses. I only do this BEFORE I've made a full commitment to the other person. Once I've made that commitment, I tend to stick around WAYYYYY too long... even after it's clear the relationship should be ended.

    So I guess I'd say there is a definite point of no return for me. At some point, I make the decision to go "all in" or not. And once I do, there's no turning back. But such relationships don't come along very often, so to the casual observer it might seem like I'm fickle or toy with people. Not so. Or at least this is not my intention. I'm just trying different people out to find the one that fits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    (3) Is it possible for ENFP's to be happy in a long term relationship?
    Yes, yes, and yes. For example, I'm very happy in my current long-term relationship. I think we'll get married next year. And, in my mind he's going to be my lifelong partner. I think a really dead-on accurate descriptions of how ENFP's approach their relationship commitments can be found here:

    http://www.personalitypage.com/html/ENFP_rel.html

    A lifelong, deep, passionate, committed relationship is what I've been looking for my entire life. (BTW, it is my observation that INFJs are looking for the same kind of commitment which is why I think that as long as ENFPs and INFJs learn to read the Fe/Fi differences correctly then this coupling makes a marvelous match.)
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    @Southern Kross: interesting insights, thank you... It's good to see where that flexibility can be an advantage in best-case scenarios. And it's very true that IxxJs can feel stubbornly right about something and later come to change their mind when things have percolated for a while. I think because I'm aware of that, I don't vocalize all my "conclusions" in the moment becaue I know they could change. And we tend to take a long time to process, so things don't always settle down into a reasoned conclusion for some time.

    Another thing I wonder about though: I don't get the impression that ENFPs will admit all that often that they've changed their mind? It seems as though however they're feeling in the moment, that's how they feel and have felt forever. When things change, again, the in-the-moment feeling is how they've always felt/will feel. I just find that hard to grasp, as (if I don't delude myself) I think I have a pretty realistic grasp of how my feelings and views have changed in various ways over the years and can acknowledge that this has happened. When people claim that they've always felt a certain way, although they've outright contradicted something they were saying a few days, weeks or months before, it seems to lack self-awareness, at the very least.
    I understand what you are experiencing here with regards to being on the other side of ENFPs…but I don’t necessarily think this ‘phenomenon’ can be attributed to a lack of self-awareness or an inability to admit we have ‘changed our minds’. I have no problem admitting I’ve changed my mind if someone can convince me that this is, in fact, what has occurred. In other words, what looks like ‘changing our minds’ from the outside probably isn’t experienced by us as ‘changing our minds’.

    I mean…we are extroverts – for the most part we process externally. One of the most efficient ways for us to problem solve is to ‘talk-it-out’. < --- the unfortunate thing about this, however, is so often you end-up looking like you are wishy-washy, lack self-awareness or are a fool – and this goes double for an Ne dom. Thoughts that are not yet formed get thrown-out…but if we are communicating with an individual that is not familiar with this process…our ‘unformed, incomplete thoughts’ can get judged as if these are in fact our ‘opinions’ when that may not be the case at all.

    Likewise, no matter how fast I talk…no matter how much I say…there is just no way I could ever ‘extrovert’ more than a tiny fraction of what is going on behind-the-scenes when it comes to Ne. I mean…you used the example similar to ‘oh my God, this person is the love of my life, I want to spend the rest of my life with this person!!!’…to… ‘I love being alone.’ < --- what is so difficult for us to articulate is that in a scenario like this…we have simultaneously built ‘cases’ in our minds for both. Both are true at the same exact time. We could try very hard LOL to explain this to anyone that cares to listen…but if ‘ENFP life experience’ serves as any indication…the process is exhausting and most people just don’t understand. And so you are only getting a tiny portion of the larger story. And as circumstances – which are often beyond our control - change…you will get a different tiny portion of the larger story. It really doesn’t feel like ‘changing our minds’. And it certainly doesn’t feel like a lack of self awareness. It feels like being extraordinarily self-aware. But I can totally understand how it doesn’t translate to the outside world in that way.

  8. #18
    Professional Trickster Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkgraffiti View Post
    ...I don't agree with the first post in that what I say impulsively is actually always true (in the moment). That is, it's what I feel genuinely about something in the moment. So I choose to genuinely share it without putting taboos to my integrity. Later on I think about what I said and wonder if it was actually productive/if I hurt someone by doing so. The point is, the emotions, what I feel in the moment is true, but in the whole picture (which I am neglecting when I talk impulsively) their WEIGHT might not be as big.
    I really identified with this and think it might be a better way to explain what I referred to as the "constant reassessment" thing.

    I tend to live completely in the moment. I also tend to say aloud whatever is on my mind. The combination of the two means that when I'm talking I'm being absolutely truthful with how I'm feeling at that moment. The sticky wicket is that I might feel differently at a later time, especially after I've had a chance to reflect. So then I might later say something contradicting that's equally as true for me at this second moment.

    I've come to learn that for some personality types this sometimes self-contradictory behavior is completely bewildering and viewed as suspicious. But within my ENFP personality it seems completely consistent because I'm speaking my truth in both moments... In other words, the consistency lies in the fact that in both moment A and moment B I was being truthful in how I felt, and I was living in accordance with my Fi values to be honest about how I felt.

    It's only been since coming onto this forum that I finally figured out that this doesn't play out well with some people. So now I make a concerted effort to try to think through more thoroughly what I say before I say it. I've gotten better at it, but it's always going to be hard for me to step out of that "living in the moment and speaking the truth of that moment" thing that I do so well and so naturally.

    Again, I hope this makes sense. Thanks for posting this @pinkgraffiti!
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    I don't think it's necessarily about this (although it certainly can seem so and these are the words Esoteric Wench used). IMO it's more that ENFPs accept the world is complicated, unpredictable and always in flux - in other words, the change doesn't necessarily come from them, but externally, from the people and situations around them. They believe the best way to deal with this is for them to be in a position to adapt to these changes as they happen. Consequently, when others trying to pin things down and create hard and fast rules, ENFPs see this as a sign that they are out of touch with reality. They think that this approach will inevitably result in everyone trying to cram square pegs into round holes, so why not just make the holes to fit the pegs? Of course, we need some rules/guidelines/expectations that remain no matter what. Fortunately, Fi provides this anchor for them, with its focus on the eternal, enduring, essential aspects of life. And its entirely likely that an ENFP will think of friendships, love and marriage in such terms.

    In terms of relationship benefits, their focus on adapting means: they are more able to cope with the dynamic nature of long-term relationships (because they don't assume things are permanent); they can accept faults or differences in their partner more readily, rather than expecting them to change; they are keenly aware of their own responsibility to maintain a relationship and may be more prepared to make necessary adjustments (rather than assuming everything should shift to meet their needs); they can keep the passion and excitement alive with their enthusiasm for the new and novel; they can take changes in the financial situation, career, lifestyle, city/country of residence of their partner in their stride.


    Yeah ENFPs can sometimes be a bit like this. I don't see it as flakiness though. Its more of a stumble in their thinking process than a sign of inconsistency. They get lost in the intense feelings of the moment, focusing on the temporary spike or dip in emotion, without looking at the long-term trends, their emotional through line. I suppose its a Ne-Te loop - its as if they're taking a survey but only use 1-2 sources of input then draw biased far-reaching conclusions from it. Once they have the time to get more information (both internally and externally) they can think more clearly. It's sort of like how IXFJs can jump to a conclusion or make a rash judgement and stubbornly refuse to believe they could be wrong; only to later changer their mind once they've let their thoughts stew a little. Its a temporary mental block that usually rights itself with a little time. Although it can certainly be incredibly frustrating for the people around either type when they're in such a state.


    Yeah, Fi creates more internal consistency than external. Its because it focuses on the intrinsic, essential aspects of things rather than the immediately apparent - so the consistency is in the essence rather than clear, distinct actions. And I suppose additionally Ne is able to draw commonalities between seemingly totally unrelated actions and find patterns of behaviour, so this will seem clearer to NFPs.
    This is really, REALLY good Southern Kross. Thank you for this post.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Wanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    @Wanderer, I want to reiterate how much I appreciate this thread. I think it's a really interesting topic and trying to pull my thoughts together on the subject is making me better understand myself... especially how my behavior is perceived by others.

    and this illustrates perfectly why I like ENFP's so much


    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    As far as your three questions:
    (1) When CAN I take what an ENFP says seriously? (When could I take a promise from an ENFP to the bank, so to speak)
    I've been thinking long and hard about this one, because I feel like I mean everything (well almost everything I say) seriously. It might help if you gave some particular examples for me to decode for you.
    Well. Three examples that are long since over;

    Two of my friends (females) roomed together. My ENFP and my ESFP friend. Anyway, end of the semester, the ENFP was leaving for a study abroad trip, yet gave the impression that they were best friends and promised to be in contact. Which was and not how it panned out at all and my ESFP friend took it kinda hard.

    My ENFP guy friend was in a relationship with this nice girl (ISFJ I'm pretty sure) and after about 3 months of being together, fairly shortly after they'd made it FB official, he broke it off with her - and she hadn't wanted to make it official unless it was serious. I basically read him the riot act and his response was "Look, I thought I was serious. But then I just realized I wasn't, and that I needed to break it off" - which would have been fine, but he did so *after* leading her to believe that it was a long haul relationship.

    As for my personal experiences with my ENFP ex - there are some really good memories and some hellaciously painful ones too. There were too many factors for me to say she just decided to break all her promises for the hell of it or because she was flighty (there was a lot of external pressure and reasons for her to break it off) but it was[is still, if I stop to think about it] hard for me to accept, just because once I give my word on something - especially if it's a promise I affirm several times over a significant period of time - there's nothing short of physical impossibility that will prevent me from keeping it. Maybe it's my INFJ stubbornness and complete inability to bend to external pressure. But I don't blame her; just wish it hadn't hurt so damn much or left as big a scar as it did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    All I can do it tell you about how this works for me:
    I take my romantic commitments very, very seriously. In a way, they are more important to me than almost anything else in my life. I think ENFPs share this in common with INFJs. But there are differences as well. I think ENFPs approach romantic entanglements much more openly. In other words, they are willing to take more chances, more quickly than an INFJ might.

    I've observed that INFJs take forever (by ENFP standards) to decide that they like someone and want to date them. I'm much more willing to be tantalized and take a chance. It's like I see the best in the other person and say to myself, sure let's see if this could work. But don't confuse this willingness to entertain the possibilities with me not taking my commitments very seriously. It's just that I'm more willing than an INFJ to toy with a potential dating relationship before I make a final decision on whether or not I'm in for the long haul. I have to engage the person first before I make the decision to either cut my losses or throw myself headlong into an earth-shattering commitment. Because never doubt, this kind of "earth-shattering" commitment is what I'm really looking for. So my period of "constant reassessment" is a short-lived period in the beginning while I'm deciding whether or not to put my entire heart and soul into it.

    But because I take chances on people, sometimes I wake up and find out that it's not going to work and I cut my losses. I only do this BEFORE I've made a full commitment to the other person. Once I've made that commitment, I tend to stick around WAYYYYY too long... even after it's clear the relationship should be ended.

    So I guess I'd say there is a definite point of no return for me. At some point, I make the decision to go "all in" or not. And once I do, there's no turning back. But such relationships don't come along very often, so to the casual observer it might seem like I'm fickle or toy with people. Not so. Or at least this is not my intention. I'm just trying different people out to find the one that fits.

    THIS!
    This explains so much. So very very much.
    They need to add this to the ENFP profile.
    I guess the reason I have a hard time understanding this is because INFJ's don't go into relationships unless they're pretty sure all-in is what they want to do. We're the people who research the car we want from the dealership, go there, pick up that exact model and color, and drive home happy I think. And we tend to have moth to an open flame levels of attraction once we decide we like someone xD

    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    Yes, yes, and yes. For example, I'm very happy in my current long-term relationship. I think we'll get married next year. And, in my mind he's going to be my lifelong partner. I think a really dead-on accurate descriptions of how ENFP's approach their relationship commitments can be found here:

    http://www.personalitypage.com/html/ENFP_rel.html

    A lifelong, deep, passionate, committed relationship is what I've been looking for my entire life. (BTW, it is my observation that INFJs are looking for the same kind of commitment which is why I think that as long as ENFPs and INFJs learn to read the Fe/Fi differences correctly then this coupling makes a marvelous match.)
    (1) [maybe slightly premature but imma say it anyway] congratulations
    (2) I agree with you there; I think that is what both personality types are looking for. The catch is the INFJ [or perhaps any personality type?] needs to be warned/know to keep from attaching until after the ENFP does so first.

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