[INFJ] Should we be friends? (mid 30s, Married INFJ/f, Single INTJ/m)

Should we be friends? (mid 30s, Married INFJ/f, Single INTJ/m)

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This is a discussion on Should we be friends? (mid 30s, Married INFJ/f, Single INTJ/m) within the INFJ Forum - The Protectors forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; Questions to my fellow INFJs, I'm here because I feel like you might understand better what I'm dealing with and ...

  1. #1

    Should we be friends? (mid 30s, Married INFJ/f, Single INTJ/m)

    Questions to my fellow INFJs, I'm here because I feel like you might understand better what I'm dealing with and be able to speak to straight to my soul :)

    • What's the deal with this INTJ/INFJ connection I've read about? Is there a connection or am I just lonely because I don't have many friends in the area?
    • Should I even consider befriending this single INTJ guy, as a married INFJ gal?
    • What are some things I should look out for in terms of marriage and friendship? Esp if I'm looking for deeper connections? And more esp if my potential INTJ friend also looks for deep connections?
    • What's with the INTJ invisibility cloak? I'm usually pretty tuned in to social connections, but the behaviour changes only came as an aha in my mind so much later?

    So... I realize that I'm overthinking this and wondering where my INFJ weirdness is leading me.... I feel like I'm in high school again lol, just a few decades late and with the complications of adulthood. I'm a happily married/f/INFJ, mid 30s, (hubby is ENFP). He is single(?)/INTJ/mid 30s? I'll call him Gary.

    I attend a one week class with Gary a couple of times a year. We joined at the same time a couple of years ago and had a group project that didn't go well - it exploded in drama between him and another group member who was being an ineffective leader, or something. I didn't know either of them and even though I was super annoyed with the whole thing, I was of course peacekeeping...very vague recollection. Gary ended up in different circles in the class cause he knew some people there from before and we've never spoke since.

    An aside: I generally don't talk about my husband in this class (lots of photos of us social media though) because I've been building my own friend circles and community. While it's great to be adopted by an ENFP and it's increased my capacity for social interactions, I'd like to have my own friends that are with me for me, not because of my bubbly hubby, if that makes sense. I need to rebuild my sense of identity which I lost for a while. Because of incidents in my past I do have trust issues around men (I get that not all men are douchebags and I've been doing work on increasing my personal sense of safety)...for example, when I attended an event that had trust falls, my issue was not the falling...i was freaking out and I cried at the thought of all the hands that would be touching me... Anyway, I've talked to my hubby about developing close friendships with guys - knowing my trust issues, he was incredibly supportive and has given me the freedom and trust to build the friendships I need, so no issues there.

    Last year there was a poetry assignment, to write poems inspired by people in the class, and I was surprised he that he'd selected me for one of his poems. I'm an expat so I'm used to people being fascinated by my differences, though it doesn't help my INFJ angst. I felt mildly awkward as he read it out, but my class mostly know I'm married, even if they do occasionally mock flirt with me.

    A bunch of us had dinner afterwards and I ended up sitting near Gary. When he talked about how everyone is always drawn to the loudest or most powerful people in the room, I replied that's not how it works for me - I go by who I connect or resonate with, or who I feel I can support and contribute to.

    We ended up talking about some challenges Gary had at work - he was thinking of leaving coz it didn't align with his long term goals and I gave some ideas on how it wasn't unaligned and he could build on it without leaving but having to talk to his business partners. The conversation was flowing in bits and pieces coz we were still in a group setting where I kept getting interrupted by a friend who knows my husband and I...this friend knows I'm really private and don't like talking about myself, and for his amusement kept putting me in the spotlight on some of the work I've done in my business with my husband, so I ended up sharing about some of our work with the table. This friend is highly successful and respected, and I half-joked that he was spotlighting me to avoid talking about himself (I met him through my husband...with friends like this who needs enemies #mortified)

    In a move that's generally unlike me, I joined Gary and his clique for drinks afterwards. I was pretty quiet but enjoyed the company. He was goofing around and they seemed pretty comfy as a group, lots of laughter. Someone brought up MBTI and most of them were INTJs plus an ENxP. Gary thought he was INTJ, but he wasn't sure/couldn't remember. He does seem to match some of the characteristics. No one asked and I didn't mention my profile. At the end of the night he was being weirdly irritable and made me play a song he likes on my phone while getting Uber. (I actually liked the song and it became a regular on my playlist).

    A few months later we were back for another class. On the first day Gary "picked" me as a project partner - I didn't realize we'd paired up till I turned around and he was just standing behind me. I didn't think anything of it, it's a group of 30 odd people so it's probably by chance, right? 🤔

    There's a few people I'll normally drift around but I'm with different people for meals and projects, so I don't have a strong clique. Another time, Gary was leaving to doing a coffee round and offered to get me a coffee, which has never happened. I guess it's normally just within his clique, who weren't there.

    The classes tend to be really interactive, really intense, really challenging, and with really long hours. While I'm generally warm and friendly esp to the newcomers, (I figure it's easier than breaking into existing groups), I'm very focused on my work. During a different project Gary came up to ask for my help/time. I was working in focused / mildly stressed mode so I did my best to entertain him while deflecting his request to someone else while I worked. He had again (briefly, like 1 sentence) talked to me earlier in the class which was itself unusual, but because he seems pretty competent I was surprised at what and why he was asking for my help. Because I was sitting and working at a table with a group of people, the easily distracted and oh so helpful extroverts started responding to him (haha!) and I shrank back to work, even though he seemed to be wanting to keep engaging me in the conversation (body faced towards me, speaking in my direction).

    Another time, he started telling me about his pet keeping him up the previous night... Thinking back, at some point he even brought up that first disastrous group project during class, there was a group of us and he was like (addressing me)
    Him: "hey, remember that, haha?"
    Me:...(oh is he talking to me? Nods mutely)... "oh? yeah...yeah.."
    I don't know how to not embarrass myself in public settings, I swear I'm more articulate... But that's a topic for another thread...

    On the second last day the teacher came to work with someone seated next to me. Gary came and hovered in front of my desk, presumably waiting for the teacher to be done with the student next to me. He picked something up from my desk and made some random comment as he fidgeted with it. It was the first time he made eye contact (or maybe first time I noticed?) And it was like suddenly a connection came alive. We didn't speak the rest of the class but I became very conscious of his presence, and absence. Super weird given he was practically invisible to me for 2 years.

    At the end of class we get into a huddle, arms linked. Gary came in when we were already gathered up, and I only noticed when the girl next to me prodded me to make space to allow him into the circle (why didn't she just do it? I dunno). For some reason he was standing right behind me and I couldn't see him when I turned back, which seems weird to me... wouldn't you stand to the side or in between where you want to be brought into the circle? Anyway Gary ended up next to me with our arms linked. And then left without a word at the end.

    So maybe I'm slow, but it was only a few days ago I've realized that throughout the last class we interacted nearly 10 times, mostly initiated by him and a couple of times I nearly jumped out of my skin coz I'm not expecting it...I guess my Fe keeps a pulse on what's happening in the room so I always know when a friend is going to talk to me but he's breaking out of my expected behaviour patterns by interacting with me and it's driving me nuts. It sounds ridiculous for a smallish group but like I said it went from him practically being nonexistent with ZERO interactions to me suddenly wondering...wait, is he saying something? I also can't believe it took me a month to realize his behaviour was so unusual... which I find really perplexing because I'm usually really tuned in and I'm on top of things like this... BUT in my defense I'm always stressed in that class and I've read that INJTs are impenetrable vaults.

    As an expat I don't have many close friends here, and as an INFJ I crave deep connection and I can't shake that sense of potential connection after the eye contact. Weird, I know, but I've read about this mysterious INFJ/INTJ connection and I'm wondering if Gary could have picked up on it during before I did? In our dinner conversation I did end upv telling him things I normally wouldn't say, like how lost I felt at different points in my life and had to reinvent myself...that's not something I tell many people. And beyond dinner I did end up joining them for drinks, also not very usual behaviour for me. I'm probably reading into this way more than I should.

    Obviously being married I'm not looking for anything more than friendship, but I am very selective about my friends and I guess as an INTJ he would be too... So me wanting to seek out that connection might seem weird? Would it look like I'm leading him on? And of course all that has me lamenting the modern sexualization of friendships and thinking about my marriage/hubby and the 8 different kinds of love (philia, eros, pragma, storge, etc etc) and why/what I might be looking for in this friend connection... #overthinking

    I'm not going to see Gary for a few more months and know he's super busy with work right now... I think it would be really weird to contact him out of the blue. After reading up on INTJs, it seems they don't want needy/clingy friends so while I'd like to be friends I don't want to come across that way. He just seemed...softer? But that's all now in retrospect so I could be completely off. I also don't want to reach out to him in class and embarrass myself if he ignores me, ugh...I think it would be super obvious to his friends and mine that I'm mingling outside of my usual circles and I'd feel SO awkward if he doesn't want to be friends and he was just bored without his friends...

    Sigh. Here I am obsessing on Reddit, mortified that Gary might somehow come across this but also super curious how things went at work after our dinner conversation months ago and how to approach him as a friend, knowing that both our personality types are more likely to just not be initiators. I know INTJs are supposed to be masterminds so maybe I'm overthinking and projecting too much intention on him haha?

    So, what am I wondering?

    • Does he want to be friends?
    • What was with the eye contact, could that have been accidental?
    • Does he actually want to befriend me because he enjoyed the conversation we had at dinner, or because my friend kept putting me in the spotlight and now I'm a collectible-could-potentially-be-useful-for-something-in-future acquaintance in that calculated INTJ way?
    • Given that his usual clique wasn't around, was I just the "best of the rest" and things will return to normal ie stop talking to me when they're back?
    • Do I just wait it out or will that seem unfriendly and he'll close off?
    • How do I handle him just appearing out of thin air and making me jump out of my skin, and then I'm too thrown off to actually mumble more than a dumb "yeah" response?
    • How do I show that I'd like to be friends? How do INTJs show they'd like to be friends?

  2. #2

    I'm sx dom so you may want to take what I'm about to tell you with a grain of salt, but I didn't read a single line in your text that's about friendship.

  3. #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Egao View Post
    I'm sx dom so you may want to take what I'm about to tell you with a grain of salt, but I didn't read a single line in your text that's about friendship.
    I'm SP/SX and I also didn't.
    Kirjuri, Sour Roses, Shodan and 5 others thanked this post.

  4. #4

    Men and women can't be friends. Don't get me wrong, obviously people are always attempting to make it work and I'm sure that a great many of them actually believe they are managing to pull it off. It is possible to cultivate an online friendship as long you know you're not ever going to meet face to face but there would have to be some reward for both to get out of it. For example, maybe it's online gaming, or an exchange of ideas on politics or philosophy, etc. Unless there is a common denominator the conversation will become more personal and this in turn leads to either one or both people desiring to connect more and more often. If only one person grows attached, it is more than likely for that attachment to push the other person away because they will sense the unwanted affection and do their best to avoid it. This in turn can fuel resentment and misguided desire. Unrequited love can be just as painful as a normal breakup. I don't recommend going down that rabbit hole.
    I didn't always believe men and women couldn't be friends. My brother had a female friend for many years and I never thought much of it until I vacationed at his house for a few weeks to help him out with some projects. During that time I got roped into building her a brick flower garden and building a backyard tool shed for her. At that time I also discovered how my brother had almost completely renovated her house for free in his spare time. Now he's moved to another state and for some odd reason their friendship has fizzled. Gee, I wonder why that could be? LOL.
    Some women will claim to have multiple guy friends yet when the woman is asked if she thinks those men are secretly attracted to her she will invariably reply yes with a slight smirk on her face. These types of men are typically unwittingly stuck in the friend zone without even understanding what all that implies. This arrangement may seem great for the woman; having a small circle of adoring men to flirt with, help her move, take care of her dog when she goes on vacation, shovel snow for her, fix her car, etc, etc. Deep down these men want to get in her pants and are willing to put up with years of bullshit for a little bit of attention but no actual reward. Other women are keen to this type of manipulation and help the men they fall in love with to cut the ties of false friends. Hell, women often sever contact with their own girlfriends after marriage so they'll have no trouble taking out their husband's trash too.
    I would say it's typical for older people of both genders to become friends. By the time you're in your 60's sexual desire is at best an afterthought and better damn well be worth the effort to get up and out of the lazyboy recliner just to muss up the covers on the bed for a few minutes.
    Anyway, I guarantee that whatever happens between you two, this guy has it in the back of his mind that there is a random chance that he might get to sleep with you at some point. He may actually just enjoy your company and very much like the idea of having you as a friend. But none of that is gonna keep him from secretly staring at your ass whenever you walk away. Don't hate the player, hate the game. There is nothing wrong with him. He is just a perfectly normal dude resonating with the universe in the way he was hardwired to.
    But I'm sure that somewhere in the back of your mind you already know all of these things. If something is missing from your life you might be subconsciously trying to fill it. The projection of your Animus can mess with your mind as you mature psychologically on the path of individuation. Make sure you take time to step away from your ego and make sure it's not manipulating your decision making processes. It's easy to forget how much we depend on our partners until one of us gets sick. We are all just one accident away from a long and miserable stay in an ICU ward.
    Sweet but Psycho and wonderfoollife thanked this post.

  5. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by Shroom View Post
    Men and women can't be friends.
    This is hetero-normative crap and is 100% untrue.
    user87, Kirjuri, Highway Nights and 5 others thanked this post.

  6. #6

    A few questions you might find it helpful to ask yourself @wonderfoollife :

    How does it feel talking casually to Gary about your home life and your husband?

    How much of what you've described in this reddit post have you also described to your husband? Does it feel natural to tone down the level of physical detail or change how you talk about your interactions with Gary, when you talk with your husband about him?

    How aware are you of Gary's physical presence when he's near you? What emotion usually comes along with that awareness? How aware are you of gary's physical presence in memory, when he's not near you? Is the emotion the same at those times?

    I've been actual friends with men as a married woman. But it is not something everyone does, or perhaps knows how to do, is a better way to put it.

    I also know a fair number of male INTJs in real life. Their feelings grow slowly and out of sight. You have to be REALLY emotionally self-aware and direct with with them, to avoid doing them and the relationship (whatever it is) a hurtful bad turn, due to miscommunication.

  7. #7

    I agree with @Egao @Marvin the Dendroid and @Paper Shade

    The way you are writing your mental state sounds as if it's coming from your partner-focused mental space rather than someone who's "just" a friend. Of course that can happen without any sexual thought whatsoever for females.

    I can relate to your position of feeling out of the friend loop so I'm aware how one's mind tries harder to connect... but his thoughts, opinions, perspective seem to matter too much for a casual friend association.

    It can be hard to differentiate what the deeper levels of your mind are getting up to when you aren't directing them to think that way... but it can still happen.

    For instance, as a purposefully socially isolated gal who hasn't dated in forever... I was at the Dr's office for an annual, and didn't really notice much about my doc in any respect. I wasn't aware of any weirdness going on in my mind. But when he did the abdominal palpitation and I exploded in a fit of giggles because it tickled so much... then spent the rest of the day with obsessive thoughts over how he viewed my kooky behavior, I realized the part of my brain that was now active in the discussion was treating him as if he were a partner candidate (without any real idea of what he looked like or any other personal knowledge) and giving his opinion of me equal weight as my own, influencing my self-image. My brain did this precisely because of my isolation, so even the slightest interaction carries more weight than it should.
    Meanwhile, the doc was most likely lost in a professional contemplation of the human intestinal tract during the event in question and didn't give it another thought.

    I do believe it's possible for men and women to be friends rather purely, even when one is single, but it's not a simple thing or very probable to last.

    Some questions to ask yourself might include:

    - Why does his opinion matter so much?

    - What do your non-romantic thoughts in friendships with women sound like?

    - Do you think you can consider him with only as much thought as you'd give to a GF, and have similar reactions if in an disagreement with either?

    - Your husband trusts you, and that's wonderful... but do you trust yourself to not cross emotional boundaries?

    - Would you feel completely comfortable taking this friend to dinner with your husband, and letting them talk to one another without interfering or steering the conversation away from certain areas?

    - Does the friendship add more to your life than what it takes in energy to manage based on it's particular circumstances?

  8. #8

    I appreciate all the very thoughtful responses, you guys are amazing.

    A couple of contextual things that may (or may not) be relevant...

    1- I've been married for over a decade. After seeing friends and family divorce after 2yrs or 5 yrs of marriage, hubby and I have committed to make this work for the long haul. (fingers crossed)

    2. We do our best to make communication a priority. In the past I have got "hunches" about people, and I tell hubby when I think someone might become a close friend. I'm not always right but he's learned to trust my spidey senses. This has been the case even with guys. I make sure he knows who I'm talking to, and who I'm talking about. I keep him husband in the loop, I'll invite him along to dinners etc) but sometimes when I get into intense intellectual conversations, he can get bored and has been known to excuse and entertain himself.

    3. Pretty much everyone there knows I'm married. It's rare for someone like me/where I'm from to stay in this country, so that's usually the first thing they want to know. "How long have you been here? XX yrs? Really??? Why?" "I've been married for over a decade, and my husband is from here. For me, this is home."

    4. Hubby is something of a local celebrity. I've had my share of people talk to me just to get to him. A new couple recently joined this class (although I guess it's kind of like an ongoing social interest group). After the "why are you here" conversation, the wife rummaged around in her handbag. "I think I know your husband" she says, pulling out her phone. "Is that you?" she asks, showing me a photo of my recent vacation. "Yup...small world", I smile and shrug.

    My hubby knows everyone. When I mentioned someone else I'd met that day he's like, "oh, yeah, I haven't met him, that's this person, they do this and that..." That's partly why I don't always talk about him and why I'm thinking of having a circle of friends who share my interests and live in my vicinity (I do have some friends, but cause we've all moved they're everywhere). I tend to be the add-on in the package deal by default.

    Ironically, I guess I'm interested in making friends with the people who may not be so overtly interested making friends with me. Hence why I'm overthinking this thing and maybe over-excited at the possibilities of actually hanging out with a friend from this class... I want to shortcut the process of making friends. I don't want to have to through the agony of putting myself out there and being vulnerable to rejection in the process, or at least minimize it by looking for MBTI compatible introverted friends? Lol...my strategy to overcome the whole "Introverts of the world! Unite...Alone...At home..."

    That's why it feels like high school. With the adult components of marriage and filtering out business "networking" associates.

  9. #9

    Quote Originally Posted by DuCiel View Post
    This is hetero-normative crap and is 100% untrue.
    This is partially why I wanna have this conversation with you guys. Maybe it's the idealism in me that wonders, why can't this be possible?

    I talked to hubby, that within healthy boundaries, men and women might not always avoid being attracted to one another but they can learn to interact and value and respect each other as friends. Isn't it up to us to decide where we make a stand in our values and principles, but to love everyone freely and wholeheartedly? To express love in its different essences... To have everything in a marriage, but to choose to eros / pragma love within the boundaries of marriage. To have storge / filial love in family and develop that with life-long friends. And to have philia / friendship love in the community we build around our marriage to support it with agape love...having people who want the best for us and for our marriage. It seems like a lot of narratives are based around fear and withholding love, but if men and women don't learn to interact normally, as people, aren't we just perpetuating the beliefs that any time we interact, there must be something more involved?

    But yeah... the different perspectives have been helpful to frame conversations for hubby and I, and friends, going forward.
    Kirjuri, DuCiel and Kelly Kapowski thanked this post.

  10. #10

    Thanks Paper Shade for finding the questions that got lost in my mental process. I feel like you've been inside my brain and giving me a sense of clarity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paper Shade View Post
    How does it feel talking casually to Gary about your home life and your husband?

    How much of what you've described in this reddit post have you also described to your husband? Does it feel natural to tone down the level of physical detail or change how you talk about your interactions with Gary, when you talk with your husband about him
    I generally do think in detail with my husband, but probably not breaking it down in the way I've done in this post which is more of my internal monologue. One, cause I'm figuring it out, and two, he gets tired of me overthinking things and my "pseudo psychoanalysis".

    I do tell him "I feel like I'd like to get to know this person better, I think we could be good friends". It's probably happened 4 or 5 times, mostly with girls that I've met only once or twice and we had a brief conversation. Once it was a German guy a few years ago that I met while volunteering. Introduced him to my husband and when he visited the country he stayed at our place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paper Shade View Post
    How aware are you of Gary's physical presence when he's near you? What emotion usually comes along with that awareness? How aware are you of gary's physical presence in memory, when he's not near you? Is the emotion the same at those times?
    It's weird because I'm often not conscious of his presence when he's in my immediate vicinity, hence the standing behind me and I'm clueless. That's unusual because I tend to be hypervigilant and aware of the physical space around me. When he enters the room, I notice, here's a sense of oh, he's here, then like it switches off. I am usually up near the front, he's usually somewhere behind so he's out of sight, out of mind. When I'm next to him or talking to him, there's a sense of...eerie calmness? Like I'm switched off, so it's like I'm not even aware that I'm talking to him or like unconsciously processing (I know, doesn't really make sense...) It's a different emotion in memory...like a connection, and sense of pulling and a sense of ...concerned interest? It feels like attraction, but it's not, it's more like...heightened awareness and wanting to reach out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paper Shade View Post
    I've been actual friends with men as a married woman. But it is not something everyone does, or perhaps knows how to do, is a better way to put it.
    Someone mentioned that I might be asking because I feel there's something wrong, but that wasn't the case. The question was prompted by lurking in the threads and seeing that most of the relationship conversations were about dating, not really addressing the complexities of making friends as a married person...

    Quote Originally Posted by Paper Shade View Post
    I also know a fair number of male INTJs in real life. Their feelings grow slowly and out of sight. You have to be REALLY emotionally self-aware and direct with with them, to avoid doing them and the relationship (whatever it is) a hurtful bad turn, due to miscommunication.
    This is what I feel conscious of. My hunches tend to be accurate but in this case, I'm thrown off by the unreadableness and usually if I was gonna make friends it would have already happened, whereas here I may be re-evaluating a potential friendship after being in the same space for 2 years and almost forgetting his existence.

    I'm very sensitive to not wanting to be friendly to someone who just wants to use me as a ladder towards their next goal, I've had a lot of that. I also don't want to ignore or shut down a potential friendship by being...not "cold", just neutral (I'm congenial with everyone, happy to see them when I'm there, but I don't hang out or talk to anyone outside those meetups).

    I value the class as a safe space and a community I want to stay comfortable and happy in...I want to be open to connect and reach out, but I don't want to cause any ripples either that might make me uncomfortable being myself. I don't want to lose the space I've created to find and express myself again.

    Sorry for the long rambling, I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post and getting to the heart of the matter :)

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