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  1. #1
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    Default INFP and ENFP relationship

    Hello, there. I apologize if this has been discussed before. I searched and didn't find much.


    I am an INFP male in a relationship with an ENFP female and I was wondering what everyone's thoughts were on this dynamic.

    The INFP and ENFP have reversed Dominant/Auxillary functions. The INFP leads with Fi/Ne, and the ENFP leads with Ne/Fi. I am an INFP with well developed Ni, and at times I feel like this leads our relationship into an almost telepathic nature. Overall, our relationship is a sucessful one, but at times there feels like there is a pretty strong communications barrier. Why is this?

    Benefits I notice are that we are both very sensitive to the other's emotions. This, however, can be a hindrance, as we both at times seem to almost expect the other to read our minds. Often, I am frustrated by day to day tasks and schedules that require planning and structure. For instance, we share a car, and her schedule is never the same each week. I have to ask her almost every day if and when she is working. I never receive this information without asking. Similarly, I rarely am good at expressing my wants/needs as I often don't really know what I want/need.

    I appreciate the deepness of our relationship at the emotional level, however, I sometimes find myself desiring a mate who is more organized to keep me in check. I am more J than she is, but having to do the J side of things all the time gets kind of tiring. At the same time, SJ types often (not always) annoy me with their frequently displayed inflexibility in routine. Routine annoys the crap out of me. If it's for the sake of something I enjoy, then great. Otherwise, what's the point?

    Does anyone have any experience with this? What are your thoughts on general compatibility? What are your thoughts on general challenges?

    Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    Professional Trickster Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    I've never dated an INFP, but I have several INFP friends. I hope this gives me some qualifications to speak to the question at hand in the OP.

    It has been my experience that INFPs and ENFPs make great, great friends. But, I'm not sure if I think they make good dating partners. In fact, I've had the opportunity to date a couple of INFP guys and I friend-zoned them right away. I'm not sure why I friend-zoned them. It wasn't a pre-meditated choice... meaning I didn't friend-zone them just because they were INFPs. It just "felt right". Subsequently, I've spent a considerable amount of time pondering why it "felt right" to be friends with these INFP guys and why it "felt wrong" to date them.

    I guess I've come to the conclusion that what I'm looking for from a friend is different than what I'm looking for from a dating partner. Furthermore, I've concluded that, in general, INFPs give me more what I'm looking for from a friend.

    • Same Wavelength - You gotta love that NF on NF connection. No one can understand me like another NF. Even more specifically, ENFPs and INFPs both share Ne and Fi. So even among NFs, INFPs and ENFPs are uniquely configured to communicate in a seamless manner.
    • Complementary Energies - In general, I seem to do best when I - as an extravert - hang out with introverts. It's like our energies don't conflict with each other because we're operating in completely different energy spaces. I naturally pull my INFPs out of their shells. They naturally give me room to be an extravert. This makes hanging around INFPs very comfortable for me.
    • Complementary Organizational Skills - I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that I definitely need some J energy around me to complement my P ways. This doesn't have to come from my boyfriend, but I definitely need it in my life. While J/P conflicts can be tough, if both sides appreciate the unique gifts of the other, then both parties do well when they partner with someone of the opposite preference. This is a way that INFPs and ENFPs don't do so well together, I think. As a pair, they don't balance each other out in terms of J/P skills.


    In sum, I think there are obstacles inherent when any two personality types hang out together. INFPs and ENFPs are sooooo much alike that communications between them goes very smoothly. But, the flip side of this same coin is that INFPs and ENFPs aren't different enough to complement each other in some important ways. This can be a little icky in terms of a dating relationship, but great in terms of being BFFs.

    [All that I've said above doesn't mean there aren't many, many happy INFP/ENFP dating couples. I think it just means that - in general - these couples experience the same challenges your experiencing with your ENFP. These are surmountable - even if predictable - challenges. And, I would far rather date an INFP as opposed to an SJ.]
    ENFP with kick*ss Te | 7w8 so | ♀

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rebe's Avatar
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    I agree with Esoteric Wench. ^ I could never handle another NFP in a relationship. In friendship, yes. But relationships are an intimate partnership that requires two people to be around each other like all the time. Not physically but when you're in a relationship, its a 24/7 thing. I cannot handle another person's range of emotions on a daily, daily basis. It would exhaust me so much. For me, because I am aware of my weakness, I need someone to better complement me by being very, very steady emotionally. My mom is an unhealthy ENFJ and she blares her negative emotions all the time and it is so, so, so exhausting and damaging for me. It's chaos inside me so I need my external environment to be as stable as it can be and I need my partner to be as stable as he can be.

    Having said that, I think it's important for you to examine how you feel. Do you want to work at it and continue this relationship? No one can really tell you if you are meant for each other or not. Any two individuals can be together, but both have to want it. Are you mostly happy?

    You really should sit down with your ENFP and talk about the problems in the relationship and share the responsibilities. It's not fair for you to be SJ all the time. It's not fair to always bend over for her needs, but not your own. It's about compromise, right? You both need to get organized and together, be more SJ and share the tedious burden of paying bills, cleaning and sharing the car. If you're unhappy, you need to communicate this. I have the same problem but no one can read your mind or help you solve problems if they don't know what they are.

    I think that if an ENFP and an INFP loves each other and are attracted to each other, they would make a very cute, if disorganized, couple who at their best can frolick together.

  4. #4
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    Relationships are challenging. There's always something you get, and something you give. It's most clear in typology, where you can identify exactly what you're missing out on. An NFP-NFP relationship will experience all the loss of the S, T, and J. On the bright side, your functions match almost perfectly, and you should speak similar "languages". On the downside, you two prioritize and problem-solve differently: you prioritize values (Fi) where she prioritizes concepts (Ne); you utilize experiential knowledge (Si) where she utilizes external efficiency (Te).

    ENFPs tend to like outputting logical order (Te), so you might try buying a whiteboard and asking her to write her weekly work schedule on it. It could be positive for both her and you. In terms of J tasks, you could also set up a board of who is responsible for what (or a weekly schedule, if you guys would rather rotate tasks). Make a place where you can check it off when you're done so you can feel proud of yourselves! :3

    ENFPs also tend to like helping others work through their internal issues, so you might ask her to sit and talk with you for a while, or perhaps you could try putting your wants and needs into writing. I've had to explain to my SO that I take a longer time than him to process emotionally, which has helped us; you could try the same.

    I don't ascribe to type matching; I believe there are too many other variables to make it worthwhile. It really comes down to your personal needs and preferences in terms of what you are willing to sacrifice and what you absolutely need from your partner. If she's not meeting your core needs, then you may want to consider trying something else. If she's meeting your core needs but you feel like you need to do some tweaking, try working together on it - NFPs love projects. :]

  5. #5
    Professional Trickster Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    @Spiritual Science, How old is your ENFP? It took me a fair amount of life experience to get organized and get a handle on following through on the details. If she's young (i.e., twenties), then she probably needs to be consciously proactive on working on these areas in her life. I'd say this stuff started clicking for me in my early to mid thirties. I might've been a late bloomer, but I've noticed this same kind of timeline with the other ENFPs I've known. I'm thinking of one ENFP I know currently who is turning 32 next month. He's only barely getting a handle on that kind of thing.

    BTW, at least for me, it took me learning how to execute my Te to be able to structure my life more. Perhaps a little conscious Te muscle strengthening skills would be helpful to her. I think there are a few threads on how one might go about doing this here on the forum.
    ENFP with kick*ss Te | 7w8 so | ♀
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    Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. Sorry it's taken me awhile to respond. Overall, yes I am happy in this relationship. It does seem however, that the stresses we are both not very good at dealing with a certain kind of stress and our sensitivity to each other tends to exhaust us emotionally. Regarding friendship, my girlfriend is also a great friend to me as I am to her. I think this is because we are very similar.
    @Esoteric Wench, we are both 24, almost 25. You put it well when you say INFP and ENFP relationships fail to complement each other in important ways. I think the biggest problem is that we both struggle with decisions (J energy). We can never decide what we want for dinner, for example. Neither of us is very organized, though I am moreso. I guess just being patient would help. The white board is a good idea too. I honestly feel like I've become less organized as I've gotten older. Maybe that's just because I've gotten busier.
    @Rebe, regarding emotional stability, I've definitely noticed this. We are both really sensitive but simultaneously get annoyed when the other can't "be there for us". It takes a lot of energy for me to stay strong when she is not. When she's upset, I just get upset too. I try to help, but end up being almost too empathetic. The same goes for her, although being an ENFP, she tends to be more supportive that way. I will definitely need to sit down and have a calm and collected talk with her regarding some of these issues. I just don't know how to bring it up without making it sound like "something's wrong."

  7. #7
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    I think the most telling thing in this match, and you've noticed it already, is that someone has to end up being the J in relationship. There's just too much "real world" stuff that needs attention, and one of you will end up carrying that load unless you are really, really careful not to let that happen. This generally tends to happen in many P - P pairings, so I would advise some good negotiation and conversation about it now.

    On the plus side, development of your tertiary and inferior functions will naturally evolve into your thirties, forties and beyond, so you're not doomed as a couple to be endlessly asking each other, "What do you want for dinner?" "I don't know, what do you want?"

    Good luck! Just remember to talk about all this stuff - communicate - and most of these types of daily issues can be handled with love and grace.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  8. #8
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    Am in an INFP (bf) - ENFP (gf) relationship. We are in our late twenties/early thirties. I agree wholeheartedly with many points in this thread: Extreme attunement to each others' emotions, to a telepathic degree. Forcing someone to do the 'J' tasks.

    Personally, I cherish and love our emotional connection. It is deeply, deeply nourishing to both of us. Also always thought I needed a J to balance me out, but in order to 'survive' in society I have taken jobs that have forced me to develop T and J skills. I.e. intentionally balanced myself out, even if it has been a drag . Advocate/writer/zany girl at the core, with externalized real-world skills. Better to kick your own @** and force yourselves to do practical things than to make one or the other of you the pesky 'parent' who makes you clean your room--resentment will mount for both of you. Think of doing chores for each other as a gift, it feels nicer that way. Our dishes NEVER get done and certain dreams take ages to come to fruition, but we can both do J tasks to survive.

    Also, if we both do what we want to do with our time, we will probably be poor (if rich in spirit!). Music, blogging, non-profits, painting, sculpting, amature documentary, fishing, hiking. Some ENFP/INFP make decent money, but it can be a stretch for both to find work that pays enough. Also, sensitivity to criticism, strong integrity, and a gut-level aversion to being controlled or managed probably makes it hard for both of you to thrive in strict hierarchies.

    As an INFP, you likely make a very loyal partner. This is really nice. You probably have greater odds of meeting each others' emotional needs than if you were with a T. But try to keep it light sometimes--you can dig into the depths of each others' souls but there is an outside world, too. Also, if your ENFP is very open socially, can cause major tension when the ENFP thinks she is being friendly and the INFP thinks she is being disloyal or flirting/trying to get attention.

    As an INFP, you also probably have pet values or concepts to which you are fiercely attached (loyalty, purity, integrity, virtue, beauty, not doing a sales job, etc.) Be careful you don't alienate your ENFP when you defend your values. She probably prefers to keep things light and bouncy, and when you get on your soapbox she may sense you are rejecting her, rather than attacking a threat to your values.

    Like Rebe said: we make a very cute, if disorganized, couple who at their best frolick together. You know, read classic literature by a roaring fire in a log cabin in the woods ... live on blackberries and wild mushrooms riding unicorns around a meadow ... that kind of stuff

    For you, it is your life and your choice but to me it seems the better option to become more well-rounded and do the J things yourselves (even if it is against your character) rather than leaving the relationship for a J, and keep the practical things to a simplified minimum so you don't get overwhelmed. Or really, hire someone to help you with the boring J things (accountant, tax help, cleaning, etc.) If you can't afford these things, consider a skill share--trade an hour of cleaning for an hour of childcare, or a painting for doing your taxes. It sounds out-there, but it may work!

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