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Discussion Starter #1
I'm writing a novel in which the protagonist is a female INTJ and her love interest is an ENFP. Now, I absolutely love ENFPs... or at least I used to. I recently had a problem with one who literally attempted to destroy my life. She was my best friend at one point and ended up starting a cult - I mean this literally. She and some of her followers left the state because "God is going to destroy" this one. Yeah. All my friends at the time were mutual and before I figured out her game, she managed to convince them that certain things about me were true which are obviously false. Not all of them believed everything, but they all believed enough that I had to cut them all out of my life, even the ones who cut ties with her.

Which brings me to my current problem. My male lead keeps coming off boring, which ENFPs are so not, because I think I'm subconciously linking the more traditional qualities of the type with manipulation. I'm also having an unusually hard time getting in his head, something that's never happened to me with a character outside of occasional writer's block.

Character background: he was in a long-term stable relationship (his first serious adult one) with an ISTJ and very happy. For reasons beyond his control, he had to leave his old life and can never go back. He meets the INTJ and has an instant connection. They're both reluctant to start anything, but they keep being drawn together. Can any of you help me sink my teeth into how this would look from his end? And if you can help me out somehow with my ENFP awesomeness aversion too, that'd be gravy.
 

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If you don't want him to come off as boring, I'd suggest you begin by stepping back from the tragedy you have faced, and looking at your friend for who she was. What made her so neat that you viewed her as your best friend? Interesting characters tend to be a mixed bag, of both good and bad traits.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response. I guess the problem is I'm having trouble with that stepping back part. We INTJs are awesome at walking away from a bad situation but horrible at getting over it even though we try to seem unaffected. I can't think about her good qualities without feeling like an idiot and wondering if it was all some elaborate plot. I can see now how each of the things listed below were used against me, mostly indirectly, to devastating effect.

The things I liked about her were that even though I met her when I was a teen and she was almost old enough to be my parent, she was the first person to really get me and accept me for who I am, she was able to pull me out of my shell and get me to take risks, and she taught me to be less socially awkward. She could be ditzy and goofy at times, but anyone who thought she was a fool did so at their own risk. And she could talk people into absolutely anything. She was really smart and the only person I have ever met who could go head to head with me in a debate or even understand any of my more complex theories.

Before her, I had one friend at a time my whole life - except for a brief period when my elementary school friend overlapped with my middle school friend. My network expanded to five friends of wildly varying temperaments and a large number of acquaintances. Now they're all gone and I feel like an idiot for having trusted any of it at all. I think that bleeds into the writing whenever I try to make him more charismatic... and, to be uncomfortably honest, it's painful. Maybe I'm just here to convince myself that most ENFPs really are great people with their own set of flaws.
 

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I would give yourself some time to heal and reflect over what you two originally had, before going forward with this project. It could possibly give you ideas, and help to make your book more of a complex read. Writing, while in pain, could turn your romantic story into a tragedy.
 

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Heal, huh? Is there like a how stuff works page for that? I usually just shove most of my bad emotions in a small, dark room to die slow painful deaths... You're probably right, though. I just have to figure out how to do that. I wallowed in my inferior Se for about three years before slapping myself back into shape. I thought I was done with, but it obviously is still effecting me.

In the meantime, any insight into my fictional ENFP male's initial reaction to his situation? Or any idea on how long it might take him to move on?
 

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Character background: he was in a long-term stable relationship (his first serious adult one) with an ISTJ and very happy. For reasons beyond his control, he had to leave his old life and can never go back. He meets the INTJ and has an instant connection. They're both reluctant to start anything, but they keep being drawn together. Can any of you help me sink my teeth into how this would look from his end? And if you can help me out somehow with my ENFP awesomeness aversion too, that'd be gravy.
Well I'm guessing the reactions would vary depending on his motivations in life and such; there's much more to a person's mind and soul than a four letter label. But I'll bounce some things your way, why not? :tongue:. Basically I'll go by what my reactions might look like and what my motivations would be. Keep in mind a lot of this is probably not the ENFP cliche and could possibly be explained by my enneatype (4w3 sx/so).

I'm guessing the reaction would differ depending on the reasons for the split of ENFPguys previous relationship and how that effected his self esteem. In my case reluctance to pursue somebody I'm drawn strongly too would largely be to my fears of emotional pain (especially if the previous relationship had a painful ending), rejection, and feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

Internally I'd probably endlessly be thinking about the girl I'm infatuated with and fighting between the needs to run to her and run away from her, and getting extremely torn up inside over it. While thinking about her, which would be very often, I'd quickly retreat into fantasy land and start looking at all the romantic possibilities; everything from the marriage and children, or living together, or exploring the world together, or six hour conversations, or being there for each other during times of extreme emotional stress, or the bad habits of mine that would hurt her, or the risk I took that killed me and left her traumatized, or my inability to be the man she needs me to be (etc. etc., the possibilities are always infinite).

I'm not even going to mention the amount of idolizing that would be going on in my head and heart; I'd be viewing INTJgirl as the perfect and entirely flawless woman. If I didn't know her that well, I'd fill in the blanks with idealistic fantasy. This fantasy land thing would go on for ages, then I'd seem to make a decision on what to do (probably something optimistic; "go for it, you can do it, she's worth it, etc." at the end of the day I somehow remain an optimist) and come back to the real world. At some point I'd remember all the negative possibilities that could come from my decision and retreat into fantasy land again. Rinse, repeat - essentially she'd probably have to make the move if anything were to happen, as the complete lack of self-confidence stops me from doing so much of what I want to do.

But most of this melancholia would be an internal thing that wouldn't be shown to the outside world. On the outside you'd see a lot of the traits more typically associated with ENFPs; silly, charming, talkative, optimistic, disorganized-scatter-brained smiling-guy that chaotically bounces between talking with people, performing for people (with varying intent from making them laugh, making me laugh, scaring them or simply for the sake of weirdness), listening to people's problems/empathizing with people (don't know if I have a big sign on my back that says "tell me your problems, I'll listen and sympathize with you", but so many people do it), daydreaming and coming up with completely random adventures to drag people on; all of this is possible at the same time with the same person, by the way. After a while I'd just disappear for a few days to go into melancholic internal mode, then I would be back out in the world doing my thing. With the INTJgirl that I like, I'd bounce between the extremes of"talking-to-you-and-staring-into-your-soul-ignoring-the-world" mode and "deliberately-ignoring-and-avoiding-you-while-in-your-sight" mode, and lots of things in between.

The hard part I have explaining - that I bet a lot of other ENFP's would be able to explain - is the why part. Why am I infatuated with and drawn to this INTJgirl (aside from physical traits, I find lots of women to be beautiful and attractive). As I've never been infatuated with a known INTJ.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow... that actually helps a lot - and totally explains the behavior of an ENFP guy who I knew that I thought was into me a while back.

But back to the story, if you're interested, his previous relationship ended because some very bad people tried to kill him as revenge against his brother. The INTJ saves him (it's her job). It's an alternate reality / sci-fi world and basically because she had to take extraordinary measures to save him, he ends up having to leave his old life and becoming part of her world. He was deeply in love with his gf and living with her, had already bought the ring. He never got to say goodbye and she thinks he's dead.

I don't know if that additional info alters anything. Thanks for the insight. It's also interesting how similar your analysis paralysis is to mine (though mine usually happens when I'm under unusual stress). Now I'm curious how common that is among ENFPs.

Thank you for the input!
 
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