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[ISFP] ISFP working through emotions under pressure - any insight?


New member
Aug 20, 2016
Hello all, I'm an INFJ seeking to to better understand my longtime ISFP friend who is currently in a pretty stressful situation and to whom I recently got closer. We've always had a good rapport and a bit of a history too (some drunken making out years back) but last weekend we hooked up and it turned out a bit complicated - he was initially somewhat reluctant, immediately stating he wasn't looking for a relationship, which I'm not either since I've only separated from my ex a few weeks ago, so I felt a bit rebuffed, and in the end he was the one to make the move. He said he really likes me and we both enjoyed it a lot, and then spent a very comfortable, easy-going day together. He made a point of saying we needed to talk when sober, and after a few days of constant texting (he said he's better in writing than in speaking sometimes) we had a 1.5 hour phone call about where we stand, respectively.

He's currently under a lot of pressure because he's finishing his doctorate in a few months and has been putting everything else on the back burner (hasn't been on vacation or seeing his friends much the past year), and while he doesn't know what he'll be doing afterwards he's keeping his options open and would like to work abroad. Also there's a lot of unfinished business with his ex, he hasn't been able to process their separation because she's seriously ill and he's been there for her as much as he can. His work/life balance is completely skewed, he described having tunnel vision at the moment, and that he very clearly felt his lack of capacity & volition to be in a relationship, which is why he burst it out so fast. He felt he'd been inconsistent by still having hooked up with me, and that it was important for him to be forthright with me because he didn't want to lead me on and values my friendship a lot.

I appreciate his honesty with me and made an effort to be equally straightforward, even though its hard for me. I've always felt there was something between us and was honest about having feelings for him and that I would've liked to have had the chance to find out what could've been, even if not now, since I want to take time to fully work through my own break-up and recalibrate, so to speak. I'm aware that the loss of my former partner is amplifying the intensity of my feelings for my ISFP friend and that because meaningful connection is so important to me, I'm fairly vulnerable emotionally. I assured him I wasn't looking to jump straight into another relationship but did ask whether his own certainty was because of the whole situation he was in or because he felt he'd prefer to remain friends. He responded by elaborating the first point and didn't touch upon the second one. In general he was reserved when it came to his own feelings.

I recognize that he wants to do right by me and that I need to work on myself and my future anyway and not get fixated on whatever potential I might see. But I'm hurt by how matter-of-factly he described what happened, as if this were all just coming from me, which makes me doubt my intuition and feel worse about myself. I feel like I gave him the opportunity to let me down straightforwardly, if he feels less strongly than I do, but considering his dislike of discord, he could easily be trying to spare my feelings. And if he does feel similarly, I have a hunch he'd file acknowledging it under promises he can't keep, and consider it to be disingenuous and unfair to me. Or is it that he's simply too mentally and emotionally taxed to be able to process whatever he might feel and what that'd mean in relation to his other interests and plans?

We agreed to give each other space at the moment, and I wouldn't pry anyway out of respect for his boundaries, but it'd help me accept things if I could better understand what he might be going through emotionally, given all the pressure he's under. I'd be grateful for any insight other ISFPs could give!


New member
Jan 6, 2016
Instinctual Variant
This is a really old thread, [MENTION=29281]Sel_48_10[/MENTION]. Not sure if you're still hanging around these parts, but if you are, would you care to give us an update? I feel horrible no one replied and would like to give my input if you like. :)