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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are total opposites in everything except for our morals and love for music. Been together for 2+ years now, and have somehow managed to make it work as we are both very devoted to our relationship and each other.

I love (need?) those kinds of conversations that are theoretical, hypothetical, exploratory of ideas and complex concepts. He is very practical and sensible and just needs to simplify things, and has no interest in such complex conversations. I've brought this disparity up with him a few times, and each time he has offered to 'talk more'. And I see him making the effort, which I really love and appreciate, but it's still not the type of conversations I feel like I need and have been missing for a few years now. It's kind of gotten to the point where I just feel like I have totally neglected and hence blunted that side of me :(

Sure, I can engage in these fun conversations with other people, but he has expressed discomfort with me seeking other people to talk like this with. And to be honest, mental play is such a turn-on for me and I'm realising that I really need this in my relationship (be it this one, or future relationships). I'm not the type of girl to mess around with other guys while I'm in a relationship - so, really, I don't want to have this amazing boyfriend but have other guys fulfill my 'conversational needs' (and these fun conversations usually happen with other guys, for some reason).

So, I kind of try to engage him in some theoretical/hypothetical/conceptual conversation, but it usually ends up failing and we just connect in physical ways, instead. Which is great, but seriously, how in the world do I converse with my ISTJ boyfriend????

I guess what I'm really asking is:
a) is there something I'm missing with my ISTJ boyfriend, i.e. a way to engage him in this 'mental play' that I haven't yet thought of? Or
b) should I just come to terms with the fact that his mind just doesn't work like that. (Yes, that's a question, but the full-stop emphasises the feeling of finality there.)

Would really appreciate any help here, guys, as I want to make every effort to make this relationship work but at the same time be happy.

To reiterate, yes, I've brought this up with him a few times (see paragraph 2) but we're still not really conversing. If it says anything else about his personality, he loves to role-play during our intimate times (he's always the one to bring it up haha), but outside of the bedroom, anything hypothetical is just beyond his realm.

Any thoughts? Thank you :)
 

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He needs to come to terms with the fact that you need these conversations. So he can't object to you having friends that you talk this stuff with. Tell him to knock off the possessive nonsense.

Whenever small-minded people ask my husband, "Doesn't it bother you that Daisy is over in that corner, chatting with that guy?", the good ISTP replies calmly: "Why? I know who she's going home with."

It's a question of trust.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, @DaisyChain! And haha what a sweet husband you have :)

He gets that I'm a social butterfly and need those conversations, but I think he just feels a little left out when he can't share that side of me. Like I said, he does try to have good, meaningful conversations with me - but with him it always boils down to something awfully practical and we just end up saying, 'Ok cool. Next topic?'

Is this really it? Or how else does an ENFP connect with an ISTJ, beyond flirting and sex?
 

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@thosewhodanced - I agree with @DaisyChain that if he can't fulfill that need for you to converse he needs to be okay with letting you find people who do. However, I am slightly concerned that it's always men that fulfill that role. I think it might help if you found some girlfriends to talk about those things to as well.

I know my ISTJ trusts me 100%, but the thing is, he knows not to trust the other guy, so he's noticed me chatting with random guys and I'm just happy as a clam chatting away and enjoying the conversation and he realizes that the other guy is trying to make a move. There's been multiple times that he's stepped in in a somewhat possessive manner to let the other guy know I'm taken. He doesn't stop me from talking to them, but he will do something like come up and put his arm around me or hold my hand, just as a very direct message to the other guy. We ENFPs can be somewhat oblivious to these things, and perhaps he's recognized that and worries that you may be leading guys on unintentionally.

In terms of your questions:

a) is there something I'm missing with my ISTJ boyfriend, i.e. a way to engage him in this 'mental play' that I haven't yet thought of?
ISTJs tend to be able and interested to think/talk abstractly in areas where they have knowledge and interest. The latter really is the key. If he's not interested in the topic he's not going to be able to think outside the box and contribute and will probably get bored and want to bring things back to a practical matter. With my ISTJ we tend to talk most deeply about things like politics and ethics, because he's a lawyer and these are areas that he enjoys and has significant knowledge. We also discuss literature and delve into meanings and hypotheses related to books that we have read. However, I think for him there is a fascination with my mind and how it works and he happily listens (he may not always be able to contribute fully) but he listens to my theories and ideas fully. Also, it can be helpful if you can connect your hypothetical/abstract talk to something concrete. It will help ease him into it if he has something to relate back to.

b) should I just come to terms with the fact that his mind just doesn't work like that. (Yes, that's a question, but the full-stop emphasises the feeling of finality there.)
I think that at least at some level you need to accept this or move on. Harsh, I know. But you're not going to be able to change him, and if you don't accept it you will forever be feeling denied and resentful. With my ISTJ I've had to accept that he's not naturally in tune to my thoughts/feelings/needs and that I need to be direct about these things and what I want and need from him physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually.

c) Is this really it? Or how else does an ENFP connect with an ISTJ, beyond flirting and sex?
I am concerned that you feel that the only way you two can connect is through flirting and sex. This definitely should not be *it*. For all the miscommunication that my boyfriend and I have, for all our differences in thinking, we connect on so many levels. I do not believe for one second that the ISTJ-ENFP relationship boils down to flirting and sex, and if that's all you believe that you are connecting on there's going to be trouble in the future. Things like shared interests and sense of humor should be ways an ENFP can connect with her ISTJ (or visa versa). Understand that while the ISTJ may not be able to fully be immersed in the ENFP-world, he should be willing and able to step into it and get his feet wet. And as an ENFP you need to be understanding that this is out of his comfort zone and be patient. And honestly, find some fellow NF girlfriends to have these talks with.
 

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I agree with @BuckeyeENFP that you need to cultivate friendships with other women that appeal to your iNtuitive abstract thinking style. Just to strengthen the relationship with your ISTJ and reduce unnecessary drama.

a) is there something I'm missing with my ISTJ boyfriend, i.e. a way to engage him in this 'mental play' that I haven't yet thought of? [or does his mind just not work like that?]

ISTJs and other Sensors can only handle so much abstract conversation because it is draining in the way that it may drain you to stay on the surface/concrete level for very long. So you need to keep in mind his limitations.

My INFP goes into these long spiels about abstract theories, back stories, hypotheticals, and yes - my eyes often glaze over - because my mind just doesn't work like that. But I try to stay engaged because (1) I know he needs a certain amount of that and (2) It's really hot to see him all passionate and energized about those things.

You might try to teach your partner about Sensors versus iNtuitives and how it shows up in conversations. But if he can't provide enough of that iNtuitive fulfillment then you have every right to seek it elsewhere and if you pick appropriate and respectful opportunities then I don't believe he has a right to complain. I would recommend that you continue to try as much as possible with him - especially after you explain this is a need for you (in case you have not spelled it out like that). But recognize his natural limitations and work on getting the rest of those needs met elsewhere. Maybe cultivate online friendships where you play iNtuitive games? Dungeons and Dragons and other role-playing games might be just what you need to fulfill that abstract/complex/hypothetical drive.

Also keep in mind that Sensors are very physical people. I cannot handle sitting around just talking for a very long time. I need to move. So try these conversations while you two are walking or driving so he can take in changing surroundings. Or try these conversations during sex :wink:
 

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I'm an INFJ and my husband an ISTJ, and I would say that while he does admire my creativity and inner, he doesn't fully understand it nor is interested in getting into abstract N talks with me. As @BuckeyeENFP said, if my husband is interested in a topic then we can share some interesting talks, but if not (like random debates, astrology, spirituality and whatever silly random stuffs lol) then I can't expect him to be engaged lol.

But again, as @BuckeyeENFP said, the connection should also be based on common values, goals, affection. With my husband, we have these so that I can forgive the lack of company and understanding in the N realm. :) (not to mention how he has to put up with all the NF craziness anyways lol)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You guys are great :) @BuckeyeENFP - thank you so much for that very insightful answer!

Haha, I do have girl friends, but admittedly not many who engage in these conversations. I have no idea why that is. We usually just talk about their relationships and more emotionally charged topics - and the few girls I do mentally click with are off jetsetting the globe and doing a million things at once :)

ISTJs tend to be able and interested to think/talk abstractly in areas where they have knowledge and interest. The latter really is the key.
That is great advice, thanks. My ISTJ guy is an accountant and I honestly know nothing about anything finance-related... He (twice) made me a spreadsheet to keep track of my spendings, and honestly, I struggle to remember to use it haha. But I guess I'd better start reading up :3 I once tried talking to him about religion, since we met in church and his family is very religious. His response was, 'Why do you have to question faith? Isn't that what faith is about?' Ok... Since then, I just say a quick prayer with him every night (don't judge haha, it's our thing), even if it's just over the phone. It's actually really sweet.

There's been multiple times that he's stepped in in a somewhat possessive manner to let the other guy know I'm taken. He doesn't stop me from talking to them, but he will do something like come up and put his arm around me or hold my hand, just as a very direct message to the other guy. We ENFPs can be somewhat oblivious to these things, and perhaps he's recognized that and worries that you may be leading guys on unintentionally.
Yeah, that's my guy too haha!!

My INFP goes into these long spiels about abstract theories, back stories, hypotheticals, and yes - my eyes often glaze over - because my mind just doesn't work like that. But I try to stay engaged because (1) I know he needs a certain amount of that and (2) It's really hot to see him all passionate and energized about those things.
Thank god someone else experiences this haha. My ISTJ really tries to 'talk more', but it's definitely difficult when we're both in such different mental worlds and have different trains of thought. The thing is, I start to feel awkward if I'm the only one talking (to me, that's not really much of a conversation, that's just a person talking at someone...) and I try to involve him more. But then it just gets awkward and the conversation dies, and eventually I give up and he just starts making out with me.

So try these conversations while you two are walking or driving so he can take in changing surroundings. Or try these conversations during sex :wink:
HAHAHA. Good suggestions - actually, I do notice that most of our conversations happen while we're driving. I just don't want him to crash because his girlfriend won't shut up :3
And sexytime is for sexytime. He can't really multitask on a conversation during sex haha - trust me, I've tried that too :p

Any STs out there - would you really care if your NF was driving the conversation? My natural tendency is to try to include people, and fit the conversation around the other person. I think this is my issue with my ISTJ haha. But would you guys really care if your NF just talked and talked if she/he was really excited about/intrigued by the topic and honestly just wanted to talk? Or would that be inconsiderate and conversation-hogging of me? Or am I just being too self-conscious here? Haha :3
 

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Any STs out there - would you really care if your NF was driving the conversation?
Not really no; as long as you are referring to your "hypothetical" type conversation. Simply put, I would want her to feel as though she could talk about whatever she wanted, the thing is that my responses would be stock, generic ones. Hypothetical is all well and good for a short time but in my view is also largely a pointless waste of time and energy because it is only hypothetical/theoretical: if there is no practical value to the theory then I see no point. If the conversation concerns religion I will not engage in it because it is usually a strongly held belief system involved and you will never change somebodies beliefs, and if the two views are the same then the conversation is just boring.
My natural tendency is to try to include people, and fit the conversation around the other person. I think this is my issue with my ISTJ haha. But would you guys really care if your NF just talked and talked if she/he was really excited about/intrigued by the topic and honestly just wanted to talk? Or would that be inconsiderate and conversation-hogging of me? Or am I just being too self-conscious here? Haha :3
I would really rather just listen than participate in a conversation where I have no useful, practical input because I don't feel comfortable talking about something if I have no practical information or experience (it is better to keeps ones mouth shut and appear the fool than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt.) Besides there are times when I will just talk away endlessly about something that I have become intrigued with, however those are almost always practical "hobbies" etc.
 

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Thank god someone else experiences this haha. My ISTJ really tries to 'talk more', but it's definitely difficult when we're both in such different mental worlds and have different trains of thought. The thing is, I start to feel awkward if I'm the only one talking (to me, that's not really much of a conversation, that's just a person talking at someone...) and I try to involve him more. But then it just gets awkward and the conversation dies, and eventually I give up and he just starts making out with me.
Two things. If my INFP is all lit up over his hypothetical whatever, I really can't drive the conversation the way he can - not without unintentionally pulling it back to the concrete and practical at some point. So if he's into it I would much prefer that he drive things, to be sure it stays on track for what he wants. It is also much easier for me to respond to someone's ideas in the abstract space than it is to create my own. So for many reasons I prefer to be a listener and responder where the NF provides the primary conversational fuel.

Also, I've noticed it is much easier for him to get me engaged on that level if it is short bursts instead of lengthy involved discussions. I can play little games where we each come up with a brief response and it's all in that abstract world, but carrying it on and on and I'm going to get exhausted unless I tune out and just admire his enthusiasm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for your insights, @stone100674 and @sparkles. Your type really makes me laugh with your concreteness haha...

Simply put, I would want her to feel as though she could talk about whatever she wanted, the thing is that my responses would be stock, generic ones.
Yup, this is the exact response I get. Stock answers. I guess I've just got to deal with not getting anything more than that haha.

It is also much easier for me to respond to someone's ideas in the abstract space than it is to create my own. So for many reasons I prefer to be a listener and responder where the NF provides the primary conversational fuel.
Ok, noted.

Thanks for the responses, everyone. I showed my boyf this thread to see if he concurs with what you guys are saying, and classic ISTJ that he is, he is now using specific word-for-word quotes on me as I sit here and try to emote back. Haha. But cheers for the honest answers and hopefully this helps me to communicate more easily in his sphere (and maybe even occasionally entice him to pop his head into mine). (Seriously no innuendo intended.)

Cheers all :)
 

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Any STs out there - would you really care if your NF was driving the conversation? My natural tendency is to try to include people, and fit the conversation around the other person. I think this is my issue with my ISTJ haha. But would you guys really care if your NF just talked and talked if she/he was really excited about/intrigued by the topic and honestly just wanted to talk? Or would that be inconsiderate and conversation-hogging of me? Or am I just being too self-conscious here? Haha :3
If I really liked the NF I'd be happy just listen and make the occasional comment or ask a question. If I wanted to talk about something I wouldn't want her to change the subject though, or refuse to talk about it. Additionally, it would be nice to be asked questions rather than just talked to, especially questions about myself of course. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@kdr8 - oh, I could talk to him soooo easily at the start (I always can to pretty much anyone I meet ;D ). But once he and I started seeing each other a lot more often, it was like, 'well, we've covered all the important topics and there's no point in reiterating them. So what now?' And then followed a crazy phase where it almost purely just physical, because we just couldn't hold a conversation and I guess we just have always had a physical attraction towards each other. Also, he's strongly Sensing (and I'm about equally as strongly iNtuitive haha) - whereabouts in that spectrum do you sit?

If I really liked the NF I'd be happy just listen and make the occasional comment or ask a question. If I wanted to talk about something I wouldn't want her to change the subject though, or refuse to talk about it. Additionally, it would be nice to be asked questions rather than just talked to, especially questions about myself of course. :)
@Daniel_James_Maher - haha, but are your answers generally monosyllabic / dead-end statements? :p if so, that is what I have to work with -.-' if not, then you would probably make a strongly N-type girl very happy :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm glad: most people IRL refer to my concreteness with less flattering words. The ability to find humor in it will likely serve you well.
Haha, correction: it bamboozles me, which is awesome as puzzles/mysteries really do it for me LOL. But seriously, I'm grateful for all the 'concrete' people in my life as they're the ones who keep me grounded :)
 

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I just thought of something while reading these replies. If I'm having an argument or conversation with somebody, I hate it when I'm interrupted. I have no problem waiting my turn to talk. Waiting actually give me a chance to collect my thoughts (something just about every ISTJ needs. Almost everything we say is carefully weighed and calculated.) and accurately convey my message. However, if I'm in the middle of a sentence and I'm suddenly stopped, I get frustrated. I want to finish my thought before letting you counter-argue or talk about whatever it is that you want to say.
 

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I am kind of in the middle between s/n. But I'm definitely an istj. My ex and I used to go through the "What If..." book all the time. There are actual books that you buy at bookstores. I don't know if that's really abstract or not?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just thought of something while reading these replies. If I'm having an argument or conversation with somebody, I hate it when I'm interrupted.
I really hate being interrupted mid-spiel too, so I consciously try to not do it to anyone else in return. But at the same time I also make the effort to be aware of the other person's (or people's, in group situations) reactions to gauge if they look like they want a turn to speak up, and end my rant accordingly.
My ex and I used to go through the "What If..." book all the time. There are actual books that you buy at bookstores. I don't know if that's really abstract or not?
That sounds fascinating; I've never come across those before. I don't know if that's abstract or not, but the structure of going through an actual book for 'what if' statements makes me giggle (sorry haha). I guess I prefer conversations to be 'inspired' and flow naturally, rather than follow presets from a book. I do love getting lost in lengthy novels for leisure, though, so it's not that I have any problem with books in general, just that specific context.

But if it meant connecting with my ISTJ, then sure, I'd totally be up for it :) what kind of 'what ifs' did those books have in them?
 

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It's not like we needed this book for our relationship, it was more that we found it and thought "this will be fun." They are simple questions like "If you had to repeat your exact life over again exactly as it was, from any age, what age would you go back to?" "If you could find one thing, besides money, in your family attic, what would you want to discover?" I have no problem answering these questions, but if the questions are more like "what will happen to the distribution of products when gas hits $10/gal?" These kind of questions require research for an istj. We do not like to speak if we're not 100% sure on our answer.
 
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