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This is going to be a long story, so settle in and sit tight. Ultimately, yes, this is me asking for personal "relationship" advice (if you could really call it that when I'm not in a relationship).


First off, a little background about myself: I'm an INFJ and HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) with ADD, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), anxiety issues, and seasonal depression. I've always considered myself to be an outcast, an oddball, with far too much emotional baggage (just from having to live with all those conditions) and too many issues to be considered as "dating material" or "girlfriend potential" or whatever. I've just never attracted that kind of attention from guys. Ever. At least, not as far as I know. It really wasn't until tenth grade that I even started being able to talk to guys casually as friends. I've always spent a lot of time reading in favor of human interaction, as well as writing both prose and poetry. I'm more conservatively-minded, you could say. Conservative about a lot of things, but what matters most in this situation is that I don't wear short skirts, or low tops, or crop tops, or tiny shorts, or anything like that. I've never considered myself attractive, and I don't have much in the way of looks. At least weight isn't a problem for me, being 5'6" and a consistent 120 lbs. Even so, I keep thinking that I should get myself thinner, because maybe it'd make me more attractive somehow. I don't have any eating disorders, but the SPD gets in the way because it makes me feel like I'm always hungry even when I'm not, hence my love-hate relationship with food. That's me in a nutshell.

I've had crushes before, and whenever I have a crush on a guy, it always lasts for a long time and really hurts, because it never gets anywhere beyond my own mind. Well, I'm a senior in high-school now, and, having gone to the same K-12 school all my life, I've known a lot of the people in my small graduating class since kindergarten, including the ENFP on whom I have a crush now. (I promise I'm getting to the point soon.) I won't go into all of the many, many details of the interactions he and I have had in the past year, for I fear it'd bore you (even though much of the information is pertinent), but I will say that I've had a crush on him since early August of 2014, and though I've been doing my absolute best, under the circumstances, to interact with him more and to get to know him better and to talk to him as much as I can, I've been so very limited that I only get maybe 15 minutes a day to talk to him, or less. I'm afraid that he's subject to the out-of-sight-out-of-mind paradigm that other ENFPs have as well. And no matter how much I research what ENFPs do when they like somebody, I can't seem to be able to pin him down on one side of the spectrum or the other. I can't tell if he's just a really nice guy, with a dash of that classic ENFP flirtiness that makes me blush and giggle like a middle-school girl, or if he is sincerely interested in me.

Neither of us have made any overt attempts towards an official romantic relationship with the other, and I've always been on my best behavior to be as pleasant and pretty and polite as possible with him. I feel like I've always been the one seeking him out, and that it's never the other way around, which is why I think he doesn't Like me. But, on the other hand, we have a lot of similarities in our interests, and while we don't necessarily agree 100% on everything, we always share some sort of common ground and can calmly agree that the parts we don't agree on are of lesser importance, or at least, that they're matters requiring more research or insight or knowledge to fully resolve than is available to either of us. He's so overwhelmingly positive that I've never seen him sad or upset or angry at anyone; he has an even-tempered-ness that I envy, and I can tell that being around him helps to balance me out and calm down my anxiety. His spontaneity loosens me up while my practicality brings him back down to earth sometimes. He has an incredibly talented mind, as well, being an artist/athlete/engineer/philosopher/reader. While it's true that there seem to be a lot of people like that at my school, more so than you'd usually find in high-schools I suppose, he's one of the ones who seems to excel in everything. He makes me want to be social in a way that few other people do, and when I talk to him, I feel understood. And I suppose that he must trust me too, in a way, because of what happened in June. . . .

We were on our class trip, an annual 18-day educational trip to Greece and Italy for rising seniors, in early June, and the bus had made a stop at a beach in Greece, just for 15-20 minutes or so, and we all went out to the beach to stretch our legs and such. We all took our shoes off, even though the beach was covered in nothing but rocks, and the odd sea urchin. Well, he and I, and I don't know how it ended up this way, maybe I was just the only one who answered his call to go explore, but he and I were alone together walking along the shore in one direction and he posed a question to me that at first he almost didn't ask. I could tell that it was going to be personal, perhaps a sensitive subject, so I gave him some gentle encouragement before he finally decided to come out with it. INFJ confidante/counselor that I am, of course I was willing to listen and help as best I could. I gave him the best answer I could at the time, but I'm horrible at speaking extemporaneously, so I didn't say nearly as much as I could have. In August, it was still bothering me that I hadn't given him a detailed-enough (in my opinion) answer, so I sent him a really long e-mail (quoted below for your convenience) with a better, more explained answer. You can tell what his question was from my response.

What I need to know is . . . do I give up, even though I can see how things could go perfectly between us, or do I keep trying, even though my foresight of a perfect future means that there's a 99% chance that perfect future isn't going to happen? I've tried giving up on him already, but I can't stop myself from reacting the way I do when he's around. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just desperate and my subconscious keeps picking out good guys who I know would be good for me and treat me well, etc., or if my affection is pure and genuine. These words from the Frozen outtake song "More Than Just the Spare" well summarize my feelings: "If only all this feeling I have in my heart/Could mean something to someone/How I'd love to play that part. . . . So maybe I don't have a magic touch/And maybe I don't ave a talent, as such,/Just this heart with much too much to share." I want to mean something to someone, someone who is good, someone who I trust and who I know well. Maybe it's just because I don't know how to flirt, and maybe it's because I'm not sufficiently posing myself as being receptive of his potential attentions, and maybe it's because I'm far too pre-occupied with stressful things to be doing this right, but I don't seem to be getting anywhere with him. Do I keep trying? If so, how can I give him a subtle hint at my feelings without exposing myself to a blunt and painful rejection? Do I give up? If so, how do I move on and make myself stop smiling like a fool whenever he's around? (I can't help but smile whenever he's around. *sigh*)


Here's that e-mail I promised:
I have never been good at speaking extemporaneously, and I always look back and think of how much more I could have said and how much better I could have said it. At the time when you asked me your question back on Grand Tour, when we stopped at the beach on the Gulf of Corinth, I did not get to say all that I felt I ought to have, all that I wanted to say. So, I am writing this explanation out as a supplement and explanation to what I said then.

You proposed to me the question of what to do when you know with your head that you are "well loved and all," but do not feel it in your heart. (I've put the question in terms of head or heart to make things clearer and easier for me to explain.) To accept a fact as truth and to know/feel its truth are two different things. Before Grand Tour, people would tell us how beautiful the mountains are in Greece and how beautiful the Italian countryside is. We knew it with our heads then. Now that we've been to Greece and Italy and seen those things for ourselves, we know with our hearts how very true those statements are. We would not be so convicted about the veracity of the statement, "The mountains in Greece are beautiful," if we had not experienced them for ourselves. Experience is what transmutes head knowledge to heart knowledge, so to speak.

When one knows in their head that one is loved by their friends and family but do not know it with their heart, it is also a matter of experience. Perspective is something that also plays a role in this, however. Our perspective, the way we intake and analyze our surroundings and circumstances, is the set of colored lenses tinting our world. Perspective is like happiness in that our perspective is our own choice, but we often let it be dictated by circumstances. To control our perspective, and our own happiness, despite our circumstances, is what the Stoics promoted. Indeed, one's happiness and one's perspective are interdependent upon each other. But, I digress.

When we lack the feeling of being loved and appreciated, we often fall into a certain mindset, or perspective, which only serves to prolong and intensify the feeling of loneliness. Giving in to this mindset leads to social withdrawal, self-made isolation, spiritual degeneracy, and, inevitably, depression. I have listed the effects in the order that they occur. Choosing not to participate in conversations, not to speak when there are others around, is the first thing that we are tempted to do. Rather than try to recover from all of those things listed above, it is far better to prevent the downward spiral at its initiation. When the feeling of depreciation, neglect, loneliness (whichever way it manifests itself) begins, it is best to seek out company, to put yourself in a group of close friends, those you know to be good people and whom you trust. As has happened to me on occasion, sometimes the topic of conversation comes around to something where a friend compliments you or just says something that is very uplifting and gives us enough of a high to be motivated to participate socially, which is the experience needed to transmute our head knowledge into heart knowledge once more. It won't always be the first conversation, and it might take several conversations/efforts until the desired result is achieved, but it is a good start and the best immediate "treatment" for when this happens.

My own experience with these sorts of problems are what have given me the knowledge to know how to answer your question. After all, hindsight is 20/20 and we tend to learn from our mistakes after we make them, not before we do. Thank you for trusting me enough to ask about this, because I would have hated seeing you slip into the downward spiral and lose yourself, then try to struggle your way out. Its not easy, especially when there's nobody there to help. Like I said, isolating yourself and withdrawing from people is how it all starts, and it's possibly the worst thing to do. It removes you from those who would help you and it creates an emotional/psychological environment that allows feelings of loneliness, inferiority, bitterness, and the like to fester and dominate your mind. Now that I've (finally) clawed my way out of the spiral, I know better, and I do my best to stay out of it. Some days are better than others, of course.

I have realized that when I explain emotional/mental/psychological/spiritual processes, like this one, I tend to explain it either in a highly scientific, precise way, or in a flowery, poetic way, and sometimes one or the other of these causes confusion instead of clarity. If I haven't been clear, please let me know and I can try to rephrase things and explain them in aa different way so that it makes more sense to you. I hope your last week of summer is an enjoyable one and that things are going well with you. I'll be seeing you when the school-year starts up again.

Sincerely,
****** ******
 

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I'll be really brief because I know that you are going to get 22 responses soon that are much more insightful than my view, but :

You have done a great job of getting outside of your comfort zone to do what's in your heart, considering everything you've fought through growing up. :happy:

I'm wondering if part of the waiting game for you is in part from you being used to being an INFJ, and he always thinking in terms of other ENFPs.
He might still see part of you as an extrovert waiting for the right time to go super-social, when, in fact, you are fine just as you are.
If he knew exactly what an INFJ is capable of (and that you are part of the rare group), he might react differently.
"Traditionally", ENFPs are among the best complimentary matches for the INFJs.

I'll chime in again later, after everyone else does. Keep up the great work. :happy:
 
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Wowza, gal, you wrote a lot xD. Reminds me of me :wink:.


The first thing it makes me curious about is why you think it's going nowhere and what you've actually tried. The simple fact is that, unless he makes a move first, you're going to have to expose yourself to the possibility of rejection in order to find your answer.

Or, you can be persistent about increasing opportunities for him to do something about it. Once you get him spending time with you, you can do subtle things like increasing physical contact (touch his arm lightly before you say something, push him gently/playfully if he teases you, tug his jacket to get his attention before pointing something out, stand closer at his side). You can also include certain words that get him thinking about you differently. Suppose he wears a nice shirt one day. You could say fairly casually, "Wow, that shirt looks really attractive on you!" And then quickly steer the conversation to something else before he gets the chance to be awkward about it. Don't wait for him to respond.

Either he's also afraid of rejection, or he's not thinking about you as more than a friend. Try wearing a nice dress once, a noticeable perfume a different time, or let him catch you gazing and don't look away. If, after you've tried a million of those signs, and he still doesn't respond, brace yourself and find a clever way to tell him you like him. Be reading a book, and when he comes up asking what you're up to, show him the page, where you've got a strip of paper laying atop it that reads simply, "I like you, _name_. Take me out sometime?"

If he's as good a guy as you say he is, it'll hurt, but it won't go terribly, and you'll have your answer + the opportunity to move forward.
 

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Holy shit thats alot. I promise to read it soon and give feedback! Gimme an hour or less to play this LoL match.

Edit: Wow, you've written this out really well. I would probably be able to offer more personalised insight if you had gone on to give some further examples of what he's like around you, so if you wanted you could PM that to me. Otherwise, I'd say that you've just gotta know the line between setting up for a confession and just doing it. Yes, a setup like getting to know each other better does drastically change response, but once you've gotten to know each other enough the response likely won't be different if you do it subtly or if you come out and confess - just remember to choose an appropriate time. Bad timing can make people uncomfortable and you might not get the real answer. Yeah, this is a really hard situation. I've been in it a couple times. Didn't go too well, but I learnt from my mistakes and every situation is somewhat different. I hope I can help you!
 

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I think @Sedem gave some really great advice.

Unfortunately I don't have much to add, I just wanted to say you sound like a really nice person, and the fact that this guy trusted you with such a deep question shows that he must think highly of you to say the least. :)

Your email to him is so insightful and wonderfully written. I know what you mean when you say you have so much to share and want to mean something to someone, and I really hope things go well with this, whichever direction you decide to take from here.
 

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It's like I'm reading about me!

I've had crushes before, and whenever I have a crush on a guy, it always lasts for a long time and really hurts, because it never gets anywhere beyond my own mind.
This is so me, i would have major crushes for over 2 years just daydreaming all the time.
The hardest lesson i had to learn: living inside our own head is comforting because things are relatively predictable and cosy, but it's not real! You have to really make that difference. Real life can hurt like hell, but the good parts are so shinier too. I used to feel so close to some people because i would spent so much time with them in my own head, but not that much in real life. It's not the same.

There is little to go on in your note from his point of view. From what i read for the life of me i cannot tell you whether he might be into you or not. In romantic matters there are a lot of shy extroverts. Even if he doesn't initiate contact does he try to be around you?

And i know it is incredibly difficult, but take the plunge. Even if it's a small dip. Ask him to do something together. Ask it jokingly if needed (although that can backfire).

The only guarantee in life is that not doing anything has a high likelihood of not leading to anywhere.



I've always been on my best behavior to be as pleasant and pretty and polite as possible with him.
This is the only thing that made my eyebrows raise. Don't ever do this. Be yourself. We are already pleasant and polite, but don't be more than that as an effort. One, it might make us come across as grey mice, so chances are you are more interesting as a person with everything that you are (not just the polite nice girl), and two, if you would be getting anywhere you want him to like you for all that you are, not just the polite version.
 

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@Rainheart You're really good at writing!

My advice would be to just tell him how you feel. If you want to get closer to him, get to know him, be more than friends, tell him so and either he'll reciprocate or he won't. If he doesn't feel the same, at least you'll know, and you can move on. If he does, then well, take it from there and good luck. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
@EndlessSky

Thank you . . . :')

@INFJ Red

How would you recommend a set-up for the confession? What would I do?

@Blue Soul

Thank you for the compliment. :) I've received that advice before, and while it is good advice, I just don't know how to follow it. If he does not reciprocate my affections, I fear it would taint our friendship and get in the way of my ever being comfortable around him again. I just can't handle the possibility of rejection; after being rejected once, how could I ever want to try again? How could I possible move on?

@Copper North

Thank you so much. :happy: That might be it, that he's still unconsciously thinking of me as an extrovert not engaging at the maximum level I am capable of. That's definitely something to chew on. I did mention to him in passing, once he finally took the MBTI after I nicely pestered him about it for months, that I'm an INFJ, but I don't think he went on to do any research on INFJs. At least, he hasn't said anything about it.

@Sedem @Hanne

I concur with the others: that is really good advice. Perhaps I have been trying to create more opportunities for us to hang out outside of school, but I don't want to be too insistent, don't want to be too pushy or look controlling or something. Or maybe I've just been hoping that once I take the first step, he'll pick up where I leave off, or at least make an equal effort. In fact, it kinda feels like I've been doing nothing. I've been thinking about all of this a bit, and maybe I've finally pinpointed my key problem: I've refused to act for so long because I'm afraid of the consequences. I may be talking to him briefly every day that I can, but in terms of real action, I've done nothing. People say that it's worth it to risk such great pain when such happiness could be gained from the risk, but is it really worth it? Maybe it's just because of my low self-confidence that I feel convinced he'll say no if I ask him if he likes me in that way, but I can't help but feel like the chances of things not working out are higher than the chances of things going well, i.e. things going the way I want them to. With all the odds against me, is it really worth it to risk our friendship and the potential suffering induced by rejection just to find out that he probably doesn't like me? I could choose to remain in my state of discontented ignorance and satisfy myself with fantasies, let myself pretend that I matter to him as more than a friend. I've never tasted romance, and I already feel like my chances of ever getting to are slim, so why should I be willing to risk a great pain when the odds are against me that I'll attain my desired result? I just . . . I don't understand . . . How is such pain worth it, when there's no guarantee that I'll ever find the person who likes me back, and who'll eventually want to marry me?
 

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Thank you for the compliment. :) I've received that advice before, and while it is good advice, I just don't know how to follow it. If he does not reciprocate my affections, I fear it would taint our friendship and get in the way of my ever being comfortable around him again. I just can't handle the possibility of rejection; after being rejected once, how could I ever want to try again? How could I possible move on?
So are you just going to keep living a life too afraid to do that which you want to do, to grab that which you want to have, just because you're afraid of rejection?

If he rejects you it probably wasn't going to work out anyway. There's no fault in you because someone turns you down or breaks up with you, the fault is most likely in them. And you don't have to stop being friends, just be mature about it, don't make it weird and it doesn't have to be. And if he doesn't want to be friends while you still do, he wasn't a very good friend to begin with. It's more painful to live in a false friendship anyway, always longing for that someone but not daring to make the move. Eventually somebody else will grab them before you, and where are you then?

Just grow some courage and do it. It doesn't have to be perfect, only honest. Regardless of the outcome you will feel better in the end, this is my conviction.
 

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@Rainheart I'd say just get to know him better and confess when you think the time is right. Make sure if there are people around there aren't too many. Perhaps if you can get him alone in a nice setting.
 
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