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  1. #1
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    Default advice for ENFP girl dating ESFP boy

    I am an ENFP girl and my boyfriend is an ESFP. We are very different and I want to know HOW I can make my relationship work.

    1. He is very action oriented and I am not. He wants to play basketball with me and takes hikes and walks in nature. He wants to go to the beach to watch the sunset. I don't like basketball and I hate going out at night.

    I want to do cooking with him and be silly and create new recipes. I really want to do epic meal time. Haha. I also like talking, drama, movies, and reading. He would prefer to make regular cookies and muffins but will do what I want if it makes me happy. BUT I also want him to have a good time! Playing basketball with him would make him happy but I really hate sports. I was a nerdy kid.

    2. He lives in the present while I think about the future a lot. He will call me and want to come over to my house in 5 minutes. This makes me nervous because I am mentally unprepared and a lot of the times, I'm not ready to hang out or have company over. I have not showered, I haven't cleaned up... I like it when he ASKS me if he can come over the day before or at least a few hours before. I cannot handle him spontaneously coming over. I NEED to plan. Also, I have a tight schedule so when he randomly asks if we can hang out in 5 min (he lives 5 min away), I usually can't. We have never had a single date that was planned ahead of time. I really, really want to plan out dates at least 2-3 days in advance so I can write it down on my planner and mentally prepare for it. Like what am I going to wear, what's the weather going to be like, what should I bring, etc. But if planning is not his style, I don't want to force him to plan ahead if it's so difficult for him.

    Should he accommodate for me or should I accommodate for him? I could give basketball a chance. I might like it. However, I am shy around him and his friends and I don't think I will have a good time. SHould I be more spontaneous or does he need to learn to plan? I know sensory experiences are incredibly important for ESFPs because of dominant Se and I totally want to accommodate by going to the beach and watching the sunset with him but I really don't want to go! Watching the sunset sounds really boring to me. If I am at the beach, I want to go in the afternoon and play around in the water and look for seashells and build sand castles. lol. He didn't like my sandcastle idea. Most girls would kill for a guy to take her to watch the sunset. I think I should just give it a chance because it seems like something most people would want and I'm probably just being very negative.

    3. He can't keep his hands off of me. Once I had to physically restrain him so he would stop touching me. I talked to him about this and he said that he gets very excited when he sees me and feels hyper and just acts spontaneously without thinking. If this is hard for him, is it fair for me to continually yell at him to stop touching me? I also feel like this is my fault because I am uncomfortable with physical contact soo... it could be me. His feelings get hurt when I tell him to stop touching me and I feel bad for him. I know he's trying! As a side note, I think he has an impulse control disorder. He frequently gets into physical fights and arguments over little things. He destroyed his computer because it was loading too slowly. The other day, a woman scolded him for not bringing a pencil to school and he got very angry, snatched the pencil from her hand, threw it across the room and kicked over her desk and walked out. I don't know how to help him with this. he feels very guilty afterward but doesn't know how to control it.

    Besides these things, he is very caring, sensitive and loving. He loves to cuddle with me and he is a gentleman. He has never shown any aggression with me and I know he would never hit me.

    any ideas for activities we both might like? or how i can accommodate for his sensing preferences. ive already asked him to plan ahead for me and he says he will make an effort. now what can i do to accommodate for him?
    ENFP 6w7 sp/sx

  2. #2
    Professional Trickster Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    I know that this is not exactly the answer you're looking for, but here goes:

    I've dated three ESFP guys (two of them seriously) and I've come to the conclusion that ENFP/ESFP dating is generally not a good idea. On the good side, they were all very kind and considerate to me. We really connected on the F level. (Since most guys are T, this was very nice for me.) We were also able to connect on the flexible and spontaneous aspects of our personalities. We were both very laid back and these overlapping energies were nice. But there were obstacles, too. I think you have outlined them very well in your original post. They mostly have to do with clashing Ne (your dominant functions) and Se (his dominant function).

    1. ESFPs are very present oriented. My P allows me to be flexible and spontaneous, but this isn't the same as living in the present. Like you, I tend to live in the future. And frankly, this "present orientation" eventually drove me nuts in each of my three ENFP/ESFP relationships. Likewise they were equally annoyed by me always living in the future.

    2. ESFPs are very hands on. My ESFP boyfriends all wanted to experience the world via their senses. I was in awe of this since I don't do this. I experience the world via concepts and abstractions. Boy, could my ESFPs kick my ass when it came to doing physical things like hiking or skate boarding or even rock climbing. And my ESFPs eventually became more and more frustrated with me that I couldn't keep up with them in this area.

    3. ESFPs are demonstrative. If an ESFPs care about you, they can be very cuddly. Likewise, if they are frustrated they can throw what from my perspective seems like an immature fit via both words and actions. I've seen one my ESFP boyfriends throw plates against a wall. Another one got angry about his computer and completely demolished his laptop. I knew they would never hurt me, but this was still disconcerting and self-destructive behavior that put up all sorts of red flags.*

    4. ESFPs communicate very literally. I do not. I think this paragraph from the Personality Page's profile of ESFPs explains this very well:

    ESFPs are extremely literal and concrete when communicating. They say things in a very direct, abrupt manner, and can sometimes even unintentionally seem quite harsh. They like things to be communicated to them in a similar, concrete fashion. They dislike theory and abstraction, and will frequently misunderstand the jist of a communication if it is not communicated in a factual, present-tense manner. Discussions regarding the future or the past are not the ESFP's strong suit, and in fact they're likely to miscontrue future-looking statements as something that needs immediate attention. When they discover that the discussion is not regarding an immediate concern, they become disinterested.
    So I say again to you that I think that ENFP/ESFP relationships are frought with lots of obstacles that you need to seriously consider now. Don't you want someone who loves the best parts of you which are your ability to think abstractly and conceptually. Who can appreciate your Ne dominant strengths? Who loves that you are future-oriented? Who delights in the fact that you find meaning in everything? That you relish the planning time before the date almost as much as the date itself?

    All of these wonderful parts of your personality probably bug your ESFP. I proffer that you both deserve a better match.




    *I'm going to gently suggest that you need to step back and take a realistic look at your ESFP's violent tendencies... because that's what they are... even if they are not aimed directly as you. Perhaps a more mature ESFP (I'm assuming you're both fairly young) might not grab a pencil from someone's hand in frustration. Nonetheless, such behavior is completely unacceptable. None of us can help how we feel (such as frustrated), but we sure as hell can control how we act (grab a pencil out of someone's hand). Your ESFP boyfriend has not seemingly mastered controlling his actions. Young or not, this isn't how you want anyone you're dating to behave.
    ENFP with kick*ss Te | 7w8 so | ♀

  3. #3
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    I'm not ENFP and I don't really have experience with ESFPs, but I have to second this point:

    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    *I'm going to gently suggest that you need to step back and take a realistic look at your ESFP's violent tendencies... because that's what they are... even if they are not aimed directly as you. Perhaps a more mature ESFP (I'm assuming you're both fairly young) might not grab a pencil from someone's hand in frustration. Nonetheless, such behavior is completely unacceptable. None of us can help how we feel (such as frustrated), but we sure as hell can control how we act (grab a pencil out of someone's hand). Your ESFP boyfriend has not seemingly mastered controlling his actions. Young or not, this isn't how you want anyone you're dating to behave.
    @KiwiBurst When I first read your mention of his display of violent tantrums in the OP I was quite concerned with it as well.


    Anyway, I'd like to mention one thing: relationships are always about different people coming together. Sometimes certain people are already compatible in terms of worldview, beliefs, values, interests, and that makes it easier for them. However, no couple is ever going to be completely compatible the first second they meet. It takes a lot of understanding and adjusting on both parties to make a relationship work, and it will only work if you learn to appreciate the things in your partner that are different from you. This appreciation also has to be mutual.

    I understand your question about who should do the accommodating. I had questions like that too at the beginning of the relationship, but I'm starting to realize that the only way it can work is neither of you should be accommodating. That will only build resentment down the road. What you need is a desire to really understand each other and good communication. What is it like to be him? Why does he like the sunset? What does he see in it that you don't? At the same time, show him what it is like to be you, and how wonderful your Ne world is.

    My boyfriend is INFP, and I don't think I will ever truly understand him, but sometimes I can get a glimpse of what it is like to be him, and see and feel the world from his point of view, and that is a beautiful and exhilarating experience.

    I'm a firm believer that ANY pairing could work. BUT some pairings and individuals, because of their basic differences, require more work than others, and usually that requires not only patience, and an open mind, but for both to grow emotionally, and perhaps even spiritually, and that is a long and difficult process. In the end, sometimes you just have to think if it is really worth the time and effort.

    Good luck
    4w5 sp/sx EII

  4. #4
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    @KiwiBurst Hey fellow ENFP 6w7, I feel you

    1 - About action orientation, I wouldn't want to play basketball with his friends either, lol (though you could agree to try it just once! :]), but are there any lower-key activities you might be into? Going to a theme park or water park, swimming in a nearby lake, ziplining (SUPER FUN, you should try this!), etc? You mentioned going to the beach in the afternoon and playing around. And do let him take you to watch the sunset at least once. It's beautiful. As an ENFP I'd be floored if you didn't revel in the colors. And I'd be kinda surprised if he had a big problem with you playing in the sand while watching the sunset with him.

    2 - My bf's an ISFJ 9, and I have had a similar struggle with my super future focused, planning ENFP 6 self learning to meet his laid back present focus. He will come over on short notice, too (though I have given him the go-ahead at any time), and he generally prefers to make plans within the flow of the day instead of in advance. At first it was more of a struggle with me always trying to plan everything out, and him preferring to let things arise. Now we sort of go half and half - either we make a plan to do one specific activity (like go to a movie at 6 pm on Tuesday), but let the rest of the day be spontaneous, or we'll make loose plans (let's see a movie and get dinner later). I feel like this works out well for both of us - of course with more formal or bigger events, we'll plan more meticulously, and then some days we just have no plans whatsoever. With your busy schedule, maybe you could try asking him if you could plan a block of time together and then not have any specific plans within that block except to hang out, to satisfy both of your needs.

    As ENFP 6s, I know the lack of planning drives us crazy, but it's really good for our Enneagram growth to learn how to let go of our compulsive planning and just -be- in the moment. My little brother's best friend is an ESFP and it seems like he just comes and goes like the wind. But what I have learned as a result of being with someone who is more present-focused is that I've started to learn sort of a more consistent, comfortable self, being ready for anything - and not worrying so much about whether things will turn out perfectly. What if you could live in a way that you'd be okay having company basically at any time? It's sort of fantastic to be that comfortable in your skin (though of course you might not -want- company at certain times). You can sort of start to let go... not be so anxious about how everything will turn out, and whether you'll be prepared. It's almost like "meta-planning" - planning to not have to plan. Instead of worrying about what to bring, you can create a bag of "essentials" that are what you absolutely need, and then you can always find anything else you need on the road. You could either keep your room more organized - or just not worry about it! It's freeing, in a way, to learn to live like this. It's a relief from our future-anticipation compulsion.

    It seems really uncomfortable at first as a 6, but the flipside to not planning that 6s usually fail to understand is that you aren't bound to anything. If something is suddenly unpleasant for any reason, you can just do something else. You're not beholden, so it doesn't matter that you might not be prepared for it. And if he's not a planner, you can do things spontaneously with him around and it will probably be okay. If he asks if he can come over in 5 minutes, if you tell him no, it's probably not a big deal to him. And if you just need to shower, you can probably just hop in the shower. My bf doesn't mind if he gets to my place and he has wait 15 minutes for me to shower - he just occupies himself playing on his phone or talking to whoever's around - because he hasn't planned do to anything specific anyway.

    And you can help him in the same way, of course, to learn how to be more future-oriented. What has started happening for us is that as I let go of planning EVERYTHING, the situations that really would benefit from planning become more clear, so we get the best of both worlds. You can learn from each other.

    3 - Hm. I think you're going to have to meet halfway with physical contact. For him, it's probably a way of demonstrating affection. And for you, even though you feel uncomfortable, physicality is a major part of a relationship, and I feel like it's not really a reasonable demand to restrain physical contact. Is there history behind you feeling uncomfortable with contact? However - you can talk about -how- he touches, and help him touch in a better way and at better times. I have a hard time with abrupt contact (it's unsettling to me), and I've talked to my bf about helping me by making contact gentler and slower - but I also try to be patient with him when he forgets, because I know that for him, it's a communication of affection.

    -

    Quote Originally Posted by 21%
    What you need is a desire to really understand each other and good communication. What is it like to be him? Why does he like the sunset? What does he see in it that you don't? At the same time, show him what it is like to be you, and how wonderful your Ne world is.


    Though I think "accommodation" can come into play positively when you recognize the points at which your partner is -trying- but has reached a limit where they are just not practiced enough or skilled enough. When both partners are willing to do this for each other, it creates a "safe haven" for both people. It requires extra strength out of both, but generally at different times, so ideally one partner can use their strengths to accommodate the other's weakness.

    Also, you might suggest he talks to a psychologist about impulse control, if he hasn't already. They could help him develop positive strategies to deal with his impulses and re-channel his energy.

    -

    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench
    Don't you want someone who loves the best parts of you which are your ability to think abstractly and conceptually. Who can appreciate your Ne dominant strengths? Who loves that you are future-oriented? Who delights in the fact that you find meaning in everything? That you relish the planning time before the date almost as much as the date itself?
    I think these are valuable questions, certainly, and worth serious consideration. Still, someone who lacks all of those qualities themselves can still appreciate them in a partner. It's also important that for e6s, future orientation is as much a thorn in our sides as it is a strength, because we become too future oriented, trying to protect ourselves from every angle in futures that will never exist. Our planning time can become fairly negative - "must prevent catastrophe" time instead of "yay this is awesome" time. As NF 6s, we can become overly attached to our future idealization, and freak out when minor things start to deviate from The Plan.

    I used to always argue against prescribed MBTI relationship pairings - though I've come to realize that perhaps for some people MBTI type does end up being a very important consideration in relationships. It probably has a lot to do with how much people resonate with the type identifications. For others, it might be other aspects of the personality that are more significant... at least personally, while conceptual thought is a major strength of mine, I feel like I am heavier on "NF" than on "ENP", and I pride myself most on how I use Ne to help people, so I place more value on a partner who appreciates my desire to help others than one who appreciates my thinking process in and of itself. So to return to Kiwi's situation, if her partner can appreciate her knack for planning and conceptual thought, and allow/encourage it to flourish both in and out of the relationship, I believe it has a chance to be a good pairing regardless.

    Perhaps the question we should be asking is "does my partner's personality as it is include room for my personality as it is"... ? I figure that some ESFPs have room for ENFPs, while others don't - and vice versa...

    -

    Also - @Elfboy might be helpful in this situation, since if I remember correctly, he is an ENFP that prefers ESFP mates.

    Good luck with everything

  5. #5
    Lungs & Lips Locked Unkindloving's Avatar
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    Though I'm an ENFJ, I'd say that my relationship with my ESFP works well because we do try to get out of our comfort zones and accommodate for one another. Sometimes we'll let it slip that we'd prefer to do something else- or that it isn't what we normally value- and that is just about communication/tact and/or informing the other person how far we are stepping out of ourselves for the benefit of an equal relationship. It can be daunting at times. I mean.. mine can't stand dances and open mic poetry nights aren't really his forte either.. but he tries for me. At the same time, I'm a terrible gamer and I don't Do the outdoors at all really, but I still try for him and even got into his zombie LARP on my own level.

    As a J, I have an inherent need for an initial plan. I've learned to just breathe and try to roll with the punches, but it's a similar thing in regard to compromise. You may both need to meet in the middle more, or have some planned days and some spontaneous. It could be equally as uneasy for him to constantly plan things as it is for you to constantly have things be unplanned.

    Given, a lot of this sounds like compromise and willingness and value of both parties to make such compromises happen. It's less about personality differences, because even the most oppositional of couples can work depending on how much they value compromise in their relationships. Not saying it should be done for everything and 100% of the time, but that it is an important factor to consider.
    -

    I also find my ESFP has anger issues, but he handles them better now than he did when he was younger. A lot of his, at least from what I see presently, would stem from frustration with stupidity or with passion toward the people he cares about. He has literally told me to not have him be the first person I go to if someone starts shit with me because he will want to destroy them 10x more than he would want to for his really good friends. I understand that. He cares to the point of violence, and at the same time I can tell he can't stand how blind with rage it can make him.
    I do feel, at the same time, that it is good that I met him and began dating him while he is 26 and has gone through peaks of partying, extraversion, anger, etc already. He understands himself well and it really translates well for the relationship between us. Same goes for myself, because I can communicate myself far better to him than when I was younger, and see where it pays to compromise - try new things/things out of my comfort zone - or choose to not compromise if it is too much.
    Hang on traveling woman - Don't sacrifice your plan
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