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  1. #11
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    I once did a tour of my country with an American friend. I hadn't seen her in a while and was really looking forward to it. I even worked out a whole plan of where to go and what to do (and OKed it all with her) so we could fit in as much as possible. The first week was so great and we were really bonding. Then we gave a Canadian guy that we met in the hostel a ride, which then ended up him spending the next 2 weeks travelling with us. He was a cool guy and ordinarily I would have rather liked him, but the two of them ended up as thick as thieves and I was left out. She is quite a impressionable person and was completely taken with his zen-ness, and worldly knowledge and experience - and it bothered me how much she worshipped everything he said (and a few of his ideas I thought were ridiculous). He also kept questioning the plans I'd made and undermining my knowledge of places/things in joking ways (not a good thing to do to someone with a 5 wing ). I found myself becoming rather stubborn, irritable, pedantic and disagreeable towards them - basically textbook e4 disintegration to e1

    Now, I'm TOTALLY NOT the jealous type. I mean, I never get jealous. But it felt like he was pushing in on and disrupting the time I had been looking forward to spending alone with my friend. I had built up the whole thing in my mind, so my disappointment was all the more. And I knew I was being grumpy and ridiculous but I couldn't stop myself. I'm actually kinda embarrassed about some of it but I never said anything to my friend about it.

    I know this isn't exactly the same circumstances, nor did I react in the same way as your friend, but perhaps it is a similar case. Maybe she just wanted to spend time with you and felt like your boyfriend was in the way, and then got in a bit of a grump about it. If that's the case then it isn't a big deal. She's probably over it and feels a bit stupid about it.
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  2. #12
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    My ENFJ mum can be much more micromanagey and directive when she is under emotional stress. It sounds to me like your friend probably has had plenty of that in her life.

    I don't know about ENFJs generally, but I have found with my mum (who I think is an example of a pretty healthy ENFJ), she is so focussed on meeting other people's needs that she sometimes isn't aware of her own, or is very private about sharing them. She finds it very difficult to surrender control (I think this is an E_ _ J thing), even when someone wants to do something nice for her.

    On the other hand, the lack of trust that one's needs will be provided for (which comes along with insecurity) can often make a person rather controlling as well. You will need time to re-establish the boundaries of your relationship and you will probably encounter some resistance to change. In the long run though, it is kinder to her, as it allows you to be equals and have a sustainable friendship without resentment.

    As you have found, balance in your life is essential to maintaining healthy relationships and to maintaining objectivity. As you become more objective, you may even feel really bamboozled at how you could have allowed things to get so skewed, even if at the time, it didn't seem like such a big deal. I think it's really easy at that stage to beat up on yourself for not seeing things as they really were, but it is something that happens so gradually, that it is sometimes hard at the time to decide whether you are just making a big deal out of something, or if it is a legitimate feeling.

    When people feel insecure, they will feel threatened by anyone or anything that could be important to you and compete for your affections (eg your boyfriend, your new life elsewhere). The person will feel the need to try to get you to shrink your world so they can maintain a more important role in it and it is easy for that to happen gradually, until their wishes taking on unreasonable weight and significance for you. Then you over invest and will do whatever it takes to make things work, without considering the imbalance. I've also found in these cases that often the people who wish to exert the most control in the friendship also are the ones shouldering the least responsibility. They invest less or are less willing to compromise.

    It would be simple if there weren't also very attractive qualities that obscure or offset the negative behaviours. No one is all bad, and sometimes it takes some time even to notice whether an incident is part of a pattern of behaviour, or if it is just an isolated event. Often the person has conflicting behaviours that can keep you guessing which is the real them and which keep you invested in the relationship. I don't think those behaviours are consciously thought out, but rather are an instinctive response to very strong fears. However, the behaviours do do damage.

    For me, I have been most susceptible to allowing someone undue influence in my life when I have some emotional need that the other person steps in and seems to meet. If I am far away from a support system of my usual people, or feel isolated, etc, I am more likely to be willing to over-accommodate someone who occupies an important role in my life and also to have insufficient other people and interests to help maintain a better perspective.

    Widening your scope of people and pursuits has a way of putting things back into perspective and allowing you to better decide what kind of role you want the person to have in your life.


    Sounds to me like this is where you are at now.
    Yes, exactly exactly exactly! The bolded rings so true. When we became friends, I was still drifting around at college. New, hadn't really found my place. She kind of gave me a place, a rock to latch onto, because she is at the exact opposite of the spectrum - instead of drifting, she locks down in one place and has trouble moving. I suspect some of her locking down and need for control is due to her childhood situation - her parents I suspect are ESFP 7w8 sp/so and INTJ 8w9 sp/sx, and her mother I suspect never really offered a ton of emotional support (she is very cheery and sweet, but also competitive and flighty), while her father is very quiet, somewhat distant, and extremely hot-and-cold. They divorced when she was a teenager and remain very unfriendly. In that sense, I feel bad for her, and I feel bad that I didn't have the level of self-awareness to resist being so mutable.

    Even in our later years, I started "drawing out" away from her, as my friend circles were expanding and deepening, and I was discovering which friendships were more organic and lasting, versus which ones were more social and happenstance. I curiously also happen to find myself gravitating towards people who were also attached, like myself - for example, one of the girls from my school who has recently married and is settling down - I feel like we were almost more on the same wavelength than my ENFJ friend and I. It has become easy to interact with couples. Even then, I hit it off best of all with my recently-single friend who always has seemed kindred to me, though we hadn't talked in a long time. She was so excited to meet my boyfriend and they even talked one-on-one for a while. She herself had been in what she had thought what would turn out to be a forever-relationship, and unfortunately he turned out to be seeking a good-time girlfriend more than than a devoted wife and mother to his child.

    I think part of the problem is that it is genuinely hard to be in a serious relationship and also be in a close, young-style girl friendship. My friendships with friends who are in or have been in serious relationships seem to have matured and altered in a way that allows for there to be another, more important person in our lives, and we're both fine with that. It's enjoyable to be with them because we can be comfortable with each other but also give room and respect for that other person, or the possibility of another person like that - even bond over the shared feelings of having or having had a person like that. I don't think my ENFJ friend has necessarily shifted to a place of actively wanting a forever-person like that in her life, though she's voiced the desire from time to time. Or maybe she's not ready yet to emotionally let go if she doesn't have other close emotional supports in her life.


    Up until this incident, I assumed that since my ENFJ friend was so naturally distant and removed, it would even be pleasing to her for me to be in a close relationship with someone else, because I know that sometimes my emotional intimacy and desire for closeness could be off-putting to her. I thought she would appreciate having her own room, for example, because she really likes a lot of personal space. I guess now I realize she would probably have preferred both of us to have individual rooms, not for me to share one and her to be alone in being alone - but unfortunately I would be unhappy in that sort of scenario, as I prefer to have a close person physically near. I feel like I mentioned at some point that I thought I would be able to have my cake and eat it, too - as in, my closely-attaching self plus my boyfriend being able to be close and intimate, and my self-providing, intimacy-avoiding friend being able to take care of herself and not have to deal with me trying to press her out of her comfort zone. I guess it's not that easy.

    The first phrase of yours I bolded is very interesting, too. It does seem like that, often, though I wonder how much she does go outside her comfort zone for me. I've always assumed I was the one giving more, but over time as she opened up, I think she began to give a fair amount, too. I know I connected to her much more swiftly than she connected to me, and much more intensely, but on an individual level, I wonder if the amount of effort we have been exerting is really that different. To be honest, based on both her childhood and her personality, I think she's much less better conditioned and wired to be in a close relationship than I am. She takes a long, long time to open up, and she doesn't automatically account for the other person in her decisions (while I tend to be too open and have a hard time making decisions without input from those important to me).

    Like you said, I think this will be a good experience for her. I'm thinking that the best thing to do will be to remain there, and not drop off the face of the planet because of this person in my life. I still like her, and I still want to be good friends. I'm mostly just surprised by the way she acted, disappointed that it prevented me from engaging with others, and upset that it hurt my boyfriend. It's not anything against her person, just that it had an overall negative impact on my life, and I want to help resolve it now and prevent it in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    An ENFJ 3w4 so/sp? Those people are easy.
    !

    To the extent that she's mature and actually close to you, she ought to be able to tell you what feelings she had that drove her actions. She's got a wall up, and that issue's much more on her than it is on you.

    If you're gonna pursue this one further, I'd let the whole "boyfriend" incident go (that is, not expressly call her out on that issue alone) and instead focus on the underlying motivations.
    Thanks, bologna. I think so too, and I hope that she will be willing to explain what's going on. I recently sent her a message asking if anything was going on, since she's seemed distant ever since that time, I was confused by her behavior, and that she seemed cold around my boyfriend and I didn't understand because I thought she had wanted to meet him. I apologized if I'd been overly attentive to him, or if he upset her. Then I asked to know what was going on. I tried to make it neutral, compassionate but truthful. I don't hold it against her, I was just disappointed and want to understand. I also told her a little about a funny thing or two going on in my life, and left a cliffhanger to goad her into responding, lol. She hasn't written back yet, but it's only been a day.

    The thing I might be struggling with most and would really appreciate your input as a 3w4 so/sp ENFJ is that I know for certain that my boyfriend was really put out by her behavior, and I can't blame him for feeling like that, but I have no idea how to address that with her, or even if I should. He already knew she wasn't the most open or emotionally gushy person, since we've talked about her before, but in no way was he prepared to be treated as he was - just as if he was a non-entity, or didn't matter. It was less overtly negative and more just totally lacking... probably most offensive in its non-recognition of him as a worthwhile being. She did have one moment where she was kind of funny and scooted up next to him, making him sandwiched between the two of us - I think she was trying to open up - but even then she didn't really engage in conversation with him, and by the end of the trip, she declined to share something funny with him she'd been promising she would. He's clearly still of negative viewpoint towards her, and like I said, I can't blame him. Her behavior towards me is basically negligible in my book because we've been friends for so long, but her behavior towards him as a stranger was totally uncalled for, and I have no idea what to do about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    I once did a tour of my country with an American friend. I hadn't seen her in a while and was really looking forward to it. I even worked out a whole plan of where to go and what to do (and OKed it all with her) so we could fit in as much as possible. The first week was so great and we were really bonding. Then we gave a Canadian guy that we met in the hostel a ride, which then ended up him spending the next 2 weeks travelling with us. He was a cool guy and ordinarily I would have rather liked him, but the two of them ended up as thick as thieves and I was left out. She is quite a impressionable person and was completely taken with his zen-ness, and worldly knowledge and experience - and it bothered me how much she worshipped everything he said (and a few of his ideas I thought were ridiculous). He also kept questioning the plans I'd made and undermining my knowledge of places/things in joking ways (not a good thing to do to someone with a 5 wing ). I found myself becoming rather stubborn, irritable, pedantic and disagreeable towards them - basically textbook e4 disintegration to e1

    Now, I'm TOTALLY NOT the jealous type. I mean, I never get jealous. But it felt like he was pushing in on and disrupting the time I had been looking forward to spending alone with my friend. I had built up the whole thing in my mind, so my disappointment was all the more. And I knew I was being grumpy and ridiculous but I couldn't stop myself. I'm actually kinda embarrassed about some of it but I never said anything to my friend about it.

    I know this isn't exactly the same circumstances, nor did I react in the same way as your friend, but perhaps it is a similar case. Maybe she just wanted to spend time with you and felt like your boyfriend was in the way, and then got in a bit of a grump about it. If that's the case then it isn't a big deal. She's probably over it and feels a bit stupid about it.
    Yeah, I feel like you're probably right, especially in terms of the bolded. I've rarely interacted with her and someone "more important" before, just being with her and my mom for very brief periods of time, so this would be the first time she's really been in an extended situation with me where someone else's influence trumped her own, and I imagine he probably had even more of an impact on me than I realized. It's true that we really couldn't talk about the close emotional issues with him around, but I actually had thought this would be an ideal situation for them to get to know each other because we were going to be with groups most of the time anyway. Her actions did suggest that she was trying to get away from the group, and maybe she was struggling because she had thought this would be more like one of our traditional trips where her and I hang out and engage more with each other than anything else. Thanks for the story and explanation, it's good food for thought

  3. #13
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    As an update, 3 days post-message and zero response from ENFJ thus far.

    I am frustrated. I very much value the ENFJ's intelligence and insight, but dealing with this passive-aggressive behavior is so, so stressful to me. I have communicated this to her before, but there has been little change. I still would like to be good friends, but I don't feel like I can depend on her, which is what I really would hope of from my closest friends. I feel like I need close friendships of more steady exchange and more positivity.

    Ah, well. Live and learn. Time to forge some new connections, strengthen some old ones, and let some bygones pass away.

  4. #14
    Diving into Ni-space Crescent Fresh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    As an update, 3 days post-message and zero response from ENFJ thus far.

    I am frustrated. I very much value the ENFJ's intelligence and insight, but dealing with this passive-aggressive behavior is so, so stressful to me. I have communicated this to her before, but there has been little change. I still would like to be good friends, but I don't feel like I can depend on her, which is what I really would hope of from my closest friends. I feel like I need close friendships of more steady exchange and more positivity.

    Ah, well. Live and learn. Time to forge some new connections, strengthen some old ones, and let some bygones pass away.

    Sometimes, I think it's possible for E/INFJ to ignore other contacts simply because they are going through a stage of depression or facing challenges in reality. I know it may sounds unfair for those who try to connect (or in your case, re-connect) with them, but if you once share a very special and strong bond with her, perhaps try to give her a little more time to sort it out on her own.

    I agree with fidelia that your friend could be somewhat jealous of your love life, since her relationship seem to be full of issues (otherwise, she would've tagged her ex-lover along). Normally, I think Dom-/Aux-Ne users are not good at hiding negative emotions as compare with Fi users. Have you ever tried to drop hints to check if everything is okay with her life? Sometimes, when an ENFJ felt one has been asked genuinely about his/her inner-state of mind, it helps them to share their inner-troubles with others.

    But then, of course there's also this notion of how people change when we've been apart. So I couldn't tell you exactly what's the best option, but I would just like to share that I tend to shut down all interaction whenever I'm facing a serious obstacle. And I certainly realise it is unfair and selfish to those who tried hard to reach out to me, just to check out if things are okay in my life. And I'm trying hard to work on this at this moment too.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    but I don't feel like I can depend on her
    There's your answer.

    I'm glad that you're out finding happiness for yourself and forging more meaningful connections.

  6. #16
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crescent Fresh View Post
    Sometimes, I think it's possible for E/INFJ to ignore other contacts simply because they are going through a stage of depression or facing challenges in reality. I know it may sounds unfair for those who try to connect (or in your case, re-connect) with them, but if you once share a very special and strong bond with her, perhaps try to give her a little more time to sort it out on her own.

    I agree with fidelia that your friend could be somewhat jealous of your love life, since her relationship seem to be full of issues (otherwise, she would've tagged her ex-lover along). Normally, I think Dom-/Aux-Ne users are not good at hiding negative emotions as compare with Fi users. Have you ever tried to drop hints to check if everything is okay with her life? Sometimes, when an ENFJ felt one has been asked genuinely about his/her inner-state of mind, it helps them to share their inner-troubles with others.

    But then, of course there's also this notion of how people change when we've been apart. So I couldn't tell you exactly what's the best option, but I would just like to share that I tend to shut down all interaction whenever I'm facing a serious obstacle. And I certainly realise it is unfair and selfish to those who tried hard to reach out to me, just to check out if things are okay in my life. And I'm trying hard to work on this at this moment too.
    Thank you so much for the response... that's good to know. The thing that surprised me was I was that we did speak openly about her relationship and she confided some issues in me right before all of this happened, and she seemed fine with it all. If she was dealing with something, it must have been some very internal shift, because she shut down really suddenly and in the middle of our interaction. I don't know if maybe it was the stark contrast between her grappling with those issues and then being faced with his and my closeness, or what it may have been. I finally pushed her into giving me any response at all - nothing harmful, just said I would start asking others if they knew if she was okay if she didn't respond by a certain period - but she's still maintained distance and pretending like nothing out of the ordinary has happened. I'm going to try to just let the friendship slide back into contact. I miss talking with her and hearing about her life and I still care about her.

    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    There's your answer.

    I'm glad that you're out finding happiness for yourself and forging more meaningful connections.
    Thanks

    Yeah, I think this... it just kind of drives the point home that she can't be the kind of person that I'm searching for friendship-wise. I'd still like her to be a good friend. But now I know I can't look to her to fulfill that role I thought she fulfilled.

  7. #17
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    I didn't see this thread until now.

    I think your friend has some internal thoughts/conflicts she's working through using Ni. They're not ready to be expressed yet, and she probably doesn't even know how express them yet. They might relate to a nonconscious comparison between your SO relationship and her own, but maybe not. Connect on things you know you still connect on with her, and keep things fairly light and funny. Make time your friend rather than your enemy, as I'm trying to do in my related friend situation.

  8. #18
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    I didn't see this thread until now.

    I think your friend has some internal thoughts/conflicts she's working through using Ni. They're not ready to be expressed yet, and she probably doesn't even know how express them yet. They might relate to a nonconscious comparison between your SO relationship and her own, but maybe not. Connect on things you know you still connect on with her, and keep things fairly light and funny. Make time your friend rather than your enemy, as I'm trying to do in my related friend situation.
    Thanks JAVO

    I think maybe it's the e6 that's getting to me in terms of I worry about trying to rely on her in the future if anything like this happens again. A while back we had been joking about her being my maid of honor someday in the far future if I should get married, but I just think about what might happen if she shuts down again at a moment when I'm really depending on her, during a moment that is important to me, and when we're surrounded by people who are important to me. Part of me has deep empathy because Fi also has slow processing and I understand how frustrating it can be to feel "wrong" but to not really understand why yet, and to have to wait for your mind to catch up, but the other part of me notes that it doesn't really seem like she tried to adjust her behavior for my sake, especially given that we don't see each other that often anymore and it was her only chance to make a first impression with my boyfriend. She's very careful with her presentation around people she desires to impress and I really didn't see any effort made for him at all, even if just for my sake.

    I think it just really boils down to me wanting more out of the friendship than I'm getting. On the bright side, friendships aren't monogamous.

  9. #19
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    I notoriously shut people out or disengage when I am having problems but at the same time, I do respond if they reach out to me. There is usually only so much "emotionally deep" conversation I can take when I am in that state.

    What I am trying to say is that it is probably much more about her than you in this situation which can be quite unfair in a friendship.

    She could be jealous or maybe she just doesn't want to burden you because she has her problems and feels like a third wheel because you seem so happy and she feels like she's "intruding" on your "new found happiness". Damn, sorry about the run on sentence.

    This is slightly different but when my mom got a boyfriend, she wanted all of us to be happy, spends tons of time with him. When I spend time with her, a lot of it is with her boyfriend or if it isn't, she does many things that pertain to her new life or talks about her new boyfriend/new life constantly. She tries to be there for me but it is clear that she is wrapped up in her own world. I know that I can't be there for her and that she can't be there for me right now (now matter how much she argues the point). I know it is fairly different but I thought it might have some relevance.

  10. #20
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glycerine View Post
    I notoriously shut people out or disengage when I am having problems but at the same time, I do respond if they reach out to me. There is usually only so much "emotionally deep" conversation I can take when I am in that state.

    What I am trying to say is that it is probably much more about her than you in this situation which can be quite unfair in a friendship.

    She could be jealous or maybe she just doesn't want to burden you because she has her problems and feels like a third wheel because you seem so happy and she feels like she's "intruding" on your "new found happiness". Damn, sorry about the run on sentence.

    This is slightly different but when my mom got a boyfriend, she wanted all of us to be happy, spends tons of time with him. When I spend time with her, a lot of it is with her boyfriend or if it isn't, she does many things that pertain to her new life or talks about her new boyfriend/new life constantly. She tries to be there for me but it is clear that she is wrapped up in her own world. I know that I can't be there for her and that she can't be there for me right now (now matter how much she argues the point). I know it is fairly different but I thought it might have some relevance.
    Thank you... it does. For a while I was totally obsessive about the relationship. Since I'm sort of in a lull career-wise right now, his and my relationship has really taken a front seat in terms of important things in my life, and I can imagine she's probably sick of hearing about it. Everyone probably is. But I really have made an effort to cut down on it.



    The more I think about it the more I think that I just have to shift my expectations of our friendship to better fit what she and I can reasonably do. I guess it's just that once you have the stability and comfort of having someone close, you try to have them fit that role you need instead of trying to look for someone else. She's not the bubbly sweet silly flexible creative close friend I think I really desire... I had a few good friends like that in college and a friend like that in middle school and I really miss them... and I haven't been expecting her to be that, but I think I've been disappointed that she isn't. I deserve and she deserves for me to seek that elsewhere.

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