So... Where to start. 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?
TLDR: If an INTJ talks to you in the absence of his regular clique even though he's ignored you all this while, is he befriending you? How do you INTJs show someone you want to be friends?