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  1. #1
    Junior Member Cognitive Cartograph's Avatar
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    Question Need to Pick Brain of Real Live INFJ

    I am an ENFP with a varied background enriched by INFJ's.

    My first young love was with an INFJ who ended up breaking my heart. He (rightly) decided he could not communicate in a way that would make us happy. Truthfully, we were both too emotionally immature to negotiate communicating. I still view him as one of the best friends I ever had.

    I married an INFJ and had a passionate, romantic, communicative, fulfilling marriage that was the envy of friends and family until I was left a young widow 3 years ago.

    I now have a few new INFJ friends in my life. One of whom I had been developing a nice friendship with and now I am unsure of how to proceed. Thus, I thought I would seek your expertise.

    We socialize in groups, text and email. Occasionally we talk on the phone (I am not a huge phone user). He is very successful (read: busy) at work and has a large extended family as well as friends. Knowing he has a lot on his mind and plate, I have often asked him if he needs some time where I can back off and come back? He has always said no.

    Recently, he had begun opening up to me more about his feelings. In a spoken conversation he said his feelings were dumb after I got playful and started teasing him (yes, sigh, I know).

    After, he wrote me and said I was incredibly easy to talk to. Which he appreciated and wished he could be more like. Then he emphasized I could share things and write to him.

    So, a little under a week later I wrote to him and he has since disappeared.

    So, I thought about what I know of the INFJ mind and then spent days reading YOUR thoughts and replies to others.

    I waited a bit and sent a short message apologizing for teasing him, saying I truly appreciated what he had said. I also said that I was sorry that I had not just listened to his feelings and had suggested ways I thought he WAS good at what he said he was not, because he knows himself and maybe he just wanted a hearing ear.

    Still nothing.

    In the past he would have answered the same day.

    I was worried because I am very complimentary he might have thought I was interested in him. But I always have been, he is equally complimentary, he knows I am still grieving and I can't imagine him throwing away a friendship over two communications and mere hypothetical?

    So, how best to proceed INFJ's? Particularly you males of the species, either sex who withdraw, really ALL are welcome!

    Would it be kind to drop a line saying there is no need for any response unless there is a problem, so that if he is mentally taxed right now that relieves at least one burden? Should I wait a while and send a funny video with no message just to show all is ok on my end. Or should I just leave it completely to him?

    Thank you so kindly for considering the issues of this ENFP as I (or at least I try to) understand how much effort and space it costs you!

  2. #2
    Junior Member Cognitive Cartograph's Avatar
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    Or maybe that last line makes it sound like I think I "get" INFJ's which I so obviously don't which is why I messed up with the teasing and need your help now...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Opal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cognitive Cartograph View Post
    Recently, he had begun opening up to me more about his feelings. In a spoken conversation he said his feelings were dumb after I got playful and started teasing him (yes, sigh, I know).

    After, he wrote me and said I was incredibly easy to talk to. Which he appreciated and wished he could be more like. Then he emphasized I could share things and write to him.

    So, a little under a week later I wrote to him and he has since disappeared.
    It sounds like he felt self-conscious because he perceived your reception of his feelings as flippant. I can't speak for him, but the INFJs I know tend to lie or very obliquely point to the truth when they feel stressed. My interpretation of what you presented is that he was looking for some sort of validation and didn't get it, which in his mind may have created an imbalance in your relationship which could have possibly been righted by you sharing analogous feelings and letting yourself be vulnerable. If you waited a week he may see it fit to do the same; how long has it been? Also, what was the nature of your response?

    I should stress that I'm basing this on my past interpretation of the actions of temperamental INFJs I know.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Cognitive Cartograph's Avatar
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    Thank you for your insight, solipsists. I waited a week to write a letter (blush, yes I still write those). It's been +week with no reply to that. It's been three days with no response to my apology.

    That feels like light-years to this tender-hearted ENFP who finds it very difficult to trust. But, his friendship is well worth discomfort and wait-related anxiety.

    So, sit tight then?

  5. #5
    ndovjtjcaqidthi
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    @Cognitive Cartograph

    Sounds like he's just doing his own thing right now and you should too.

    Give it more time.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cognitive Cartograph View Post
    Recently, he had begun opening up to me more about his feelings. In a spoken conversation he said his feelings were dumb after I got playful and started teasing him (yes, sigh, I know).

    After, he wrote me and said I was incredibly easy to talk to. Which he appreciated and wished he could be more like. Then he emphasized I could share things and write to him.

    So, a little under a week later I wrote to him and he has since disappeared.
    It's my sense that INFJs can be sometimes totally unruffled by teasing - but often don't do well at all with being teased at times or in areas where we feel vulnerable. I've seen this in myself, and I think I've seen it mentioned elsewhere. And speaking for myself, apologies do not necessarily erase the supposed "information" we hear in such teasing communication, especially when it comes from someone I'm open to. I'm curious to know if this ever came up for you with your INFJ spouse - did it? (in a context of extremely high trust, it might not matter, but I think in any context where trust is even slightly in question, it can).

    I don't know what to make of what he wrote back to you. I know that I myself don't lie unless my actual physical survival, or the physical survival of someone I love, is at stake. But sometimes what do I say is not always obvious to others in its actual meaning. There can be layers of meaning underneath my words that aren't apparent from a literal read. I kind of wish I could see his actual words in the writing you paraphrase here, to see if I can pick up anything about what he wrote as related to what you paraphrased - but I don't want his private words to you made public, so that can't happen.

    I waited a bit and sent a short message apologizing for teasing him, saying I truly appreciated what he had said. I also said that I was sorry that I had not just listened to his feelings and had suggested ways I thought he WAS good at what he said he was not, because he knows himself and maybe he just wanted a hearing ear.

    Still nothing.

    In the past he would have answered the same day.

    I was worried because I am very complimentary he might have thought I was interested in him. But I always have been, he is equally complimentary, he knows I am still grieving and I can't imagine him throwing away a friendship over two communications and mere hypothetical?

    So, how best to proceed INFJ's? Particularly you males of the species, either sex who withdraw, really ALL are welcome!

    Would it be kind to drop a line saying there is no need for any response unless there is a problem, so that if he is mentally taxed right now that relieves at least one burden? Should I wait a while and send a funny video with no message just to show all is ok on my end. Or should I just leave it completely to him?

    Thank you so kindly for considering the issues of this ENFP as I (or at least I try to) understand how much effort and space it costs you!
    So first of all, what actually happened? Did he suggest he had more-than-friends feelings for you and you teased him? Something else? Hard for me to get my head around the specific situation without a bit more.

    For the moment, I would suggest you not send him a video with no text because that could easily be misinterpreted. In the same vein, if you send him an email saying there's no need for him to respond, he might very well read that as you telling him you don't want to hear from him (under some circumstances, it can be great to tell an INFJ that we're not under any obligation to respond, but uner others we get into non-initiator mode and don't want to impose, and I think this one situation may be closer to the second one). My instinct is to tell you to be open and vulnerable with him - like, if you really miss him, let him know that. But again, I don't know the specifics so this is just a vague sense. I could be wrong.
    Last edited by Werebudgie; 03-26-2014 at 05:36 PM. Reason: typo caused opposite meaning

  7. #7
    Senior Member Opal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cognitive Cartograph View Post
    Thank you for your insight, solipsists. I waited a week to write a letter (blush, yes I still write those). It's been +week with no reply to that. It's been three days with no response to my apology.

    That feels like light-years to this tender-hearted ENFP who finds it very difficult to trust. But, his friendship is well worth discomfort and wait-related anxiety.

    So, sit tight then?
    Of course, I hope it's at least slightly helpful. And I'm sorry, that sort of suspension is awful...

    Do you see each other in person regularly? Or was the conversation via video? You mentioned he's very busy, so it seems reasonable he'd be slow to write/mail a response regardless of his feelings. I'd need a better understanding of his character to offer advice, though overwhelming him with mail when he's already busy could be detrimental. Perhaps an INFJ could chime in?

    EDIT: INFJs have spoken.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Cognitive Cartograph's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for your time, advice and insights solipsists, Nights and Days and Werebudgie.

    solipsists, we primarily speak through emails, letters and texts as we both adore writing. We tend to hang out in groups when our friends plan things.

    Werebudgie, my husband NEVER enjoyed being teased although he enjoyed my playfulness, which is why I should know better (and am disappointed in myself).

    I too would feel it was a betrayal to repeat his actual words so thank you for your understanding in that regard. I teased him when he was telling me his dreams of old age. I thought it was really clear that it was a playful, appreciative building on what he was saying. But, I realized my mistake as soon as he said he was saying "dumb things".

    I wasn't worried because he wrote me saying how easy I was to talk to and he revealed more personal stories/insecurities. Also, because he said that I could write him casual or heartfelt. But, after I wrote him again is when he disappeared. Thus, my apology.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Opal's Avatar
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    I would wager he either doesn't know how to respond yet or is busy with other things. He sounds too good-natured and mature to flake after offering positive feedback and reinforcing it with personal stories/insecurities. It seems congruous with your description of him that he'll respond and apologize for the wait.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cognitive Cartograph View Post
    Werebudgie, my husband NEVER enjoyed being teased although he enjoyed my playfulness, which is why I should know better (and am disappointed in myself).
    Well, I appreciate the info about your husband on the teasing thing just because I'm tracking it in relation to being an INFJ. Very interesting (though me finding this interesting is not helping with the topic, so onward)

    I too would feel it was a betrayal to repeat his actual words so thank you for your understanding in that regard. I teased him when he was telling me his dreams of old age. I thought it was really clear that it was a playful, appreciative building on what he was saying. But, I realized my mistake as soon as he said he was saying "dumb things".

    I wasn't worried because he wrote me saying how easy I was to talk to and he revealed more personal stories/insecurities. Also, because he said that I could write him casual or heartfelt. But, after I wrote him again is when he disappeared. Thus, my apology.
    You have me curious now about what you wrote about right before he stopped responding, can you share the gist of that?

    Quote Originally Posted by solipsists View Post
    I would wager he either doesn't know how to respond yet or is busy with other things. He sounds too good-natured and mature to flake after offering positive feedback and reinforcing it with personal stories/insecurities. It seems congruous with your description of him that he'll respond and apologize for the wait.
    If it is in fact that he doesn't yet know how to respond - that does happen to me a fair amount. In fact right now there's an email I've started to write that I should have sent yesterday but haven't been in the space for it. No reason, just not in the space yet. And actually, I just today sent an email to a friend who I haven't written to in over a year because I couldn't figure out what to tell her about my life, given what we usually communicate about. Oh and now that I think about it, there's another friend - someone I love very much - who has been trying to find out how I am for weeks now and whose recent email is in my inbox and it just doesn't feel *right* to reply for some reason and I really don't know why yet. (I need to write to her. I'm getting there).

    Me personally: When I'm in that "I don't yet know how to respond" space, I'm actually quite happy to get communication from people letting me know how they are, what they've been doing or thinking about, I'm on their mind, they miss me etc - just as long as they are clear and clean and honest in whatever they say (basically to reduce the energy expenditure trying to figure it out) and as long as they're clear that while they'd love to hear from me when I want to write, they also don't need an immediate/quick response if I'm not in the space to offer one. I'll often be writing bits of emails in my head to people as I go through my day, just kind of thinking about them, and even though they don't get to see that, I am thinking about them. So getting communication like I just described is fine with me.

    That said, everyone's different ... and again, I could be wrong (not about me, about your situation).

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