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I'm INFJ, and clearly, when trying to give advice to a friend, I come off as motherly and strict. But I really am concerned about my friend, who is ENFP, and am trying to be as supportive as possible. See, he and my ENFJ friend are fighting about a whole series of insignificant events...basically their rude comments to each other. My ENFP friend has been depressed before, but when our friendship group became close he got a lot better. He's the only guy in the group, and because many ignorant guys taunt him for being slightly effeminate, has no close guy friends he can depend on. This causes him to feel alone and misunderstood.

I just came across a thread talking about BPD and ENFP's and now am convinced he has that. I also came across threads pertaining to the relationship between ADHD and ENFP's, and he has ADHD as well. His mood swings are ridiculous and when I attempt to understand him he just pushes me away and insults me.

Any advice on how to help him without sounding like I'm trying to be his mother?

Sorry if this doesn't make sense, I'm upset and it's late at night :unsure:
 

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I'd like to take a shot at helping you help him. I feel as though I can understand the situation here.

I'm assuming that you feel he's feeling a little depressed again, or he seems different and you want to help him in a more general sense, and this fight with his friend is an example of that. From your description, I feel like I know exactly what he's going through right now, and I know that going about approaching him about this is going to be tricky business. If you ask him if something is wrong he's going to say it's nothing or come up with a clever excuse, and if you keep asking him what's wrong he's going to get annoyed and eventually start becoming hostile in conversation. To be completely honest, I sometimes have thought that I had BPD, but if someone (even a friend) came up to me and said that they thought I had BPD, my first instinct would be to say "fuck you." ENFPs aren't keen on authoritative dialogue. However, if someone approached me in a private, keyword PRIVATE setting with a 500% non-threatening atmosphere, I would consider opening up.

If he's anything like me when I went through about the same situation, he will be desperately throwing out subtle openings during conversation, and sometimes they won't be so subtle. If they happen in a group setting, DO NOT ask him about it in front of the group. Instead, when in private, say something like "You said (blankity blank blank) earlier, what did you mean by that?" Again, do this as non-authoritatively as possible or he is more likely to retreat and lie about his feelings. Be listening in for these hints during conversation and develop something from there.

This is of most importance: if he truly isn't feeling right, he will eventually come to you. He may outright say it, he may subtly slip it into conversation either as an implicative statement or a joke, or he may become distant and quiet when with a group, prompting you to ask him (IN PRIVATE). Either way, if he isn't feeling right, he WILL give you signs and throw you a bone every once in a while, it's just that sometime they're hard to see, and sometimes friends will ask him about it in front of a group of people which would just lead to embarrassment. Be wary of his subtle signals, and be especially wary of any possible negative signals you may be giving off that he could be misinterpreting. In the mind of an ENFP, any negatively implicative joke, any brash statement, any dismissive gesture or look WILL be taken to heart.

At this point, if you can receive and interpret these signs, you'll have bypassed that "mothering" atmosphere that you're afraid of and would undoubtedly drive him away. If he's a man who's insecure about his femininity, to him it might seem pointless to open up to a girl. Getting him to open up is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. He may give you a signal, but when you ask him about it later he might disregard or demean it (or, as you say, push you away and insult you). To a certain extent, you have to get lucky. The atmosphere has to be perfectly open minded (and private) or it's a no go.

Also, if he really isn't feeling right, and you do get him to talk about, the important thing is to LISTEN. Listen and KEEP HIM TALKING. Do NOT under ANY circumstance take control of the conversation or argue while he's trying to express himself. If you call him out, he will likely have his feelings hurt and immediately forfeit and consider himself in the wrong. This may solve the immediate issue but in the end it will make him even more self-conscious. Just be supportive and open minded, no matter how convoluted or irrational his explanation may be (which it's likely not, but you never know). Once he's opened up and you feel that the conversation has gotten to a very deep, open minded place (when he's done talking), this is when you can go in and ask him about everything (carefully and supportively, of course).

And, in another scenario, he may be able to fix whatever emotional problem he has himself. He may only ask you something small, and will ask other members of the group other things in order to gather a complete opinion. Just be careful and most of all, patient with him. The moment you show annoyance at his reluctance he will immediately close up.

If he does ever open up to you fully, he will become VERY attached to you for while (not necessarily in a romantic way, but certainly as a friend). Don't take advantage of that, throw it away, or act negatively afterward because it will put him back at square one if he realizes his confidant is less dependable than he first realized.

Please ask any questions or give me more examples of his actions. I would love to help!
 

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As someone who has Bipolar Disorder, I can assure you, moodswings are no fun. However, there are ways to control and temper them. Encourage him to find some routine. Feel free to just listen to him. Bipolar sufferers are just as much depressives as unipolar sufferers.

Part of the depressive mentality is that certain things start to happen to our mindset.

  1. We feel that everyone is against us
  2. We lose all confidence in our ability to do things
  3. We lose all our drive and motivation

These affect in really amazing ways. It's very hard to explain what it feels like, but when people start to tell the depressed individual what they have going for them in their lives sounds logical right? But being logical actually makes it worse. There's no reason beyond chemical imbalances that are causing the depression. So suddenly the world is against us and so we start to isolate ourselves.

As we lose ourselves and our energy levels, we're already irritable that we can't control our emotion and feel miserable when there aren't necessarily many reasons for it. When truly depressed, it's nice to be able to cry and vent your misery to someone who will just listen and will hug you and let you be miserable without trying to force positivity on you.

It is also hard to realise that being depressed often leaves a bipolar Disorder sufferer feeling guilty. We don't want to drag you into our world of bleak despair and misery. However, if you can listen to us, just listen, however ludicrous we sound. Further it's important to just be understanding. Once the person in question is feeling a bit more lucid, feel free to validate elements of the personality that require validation, but do so in a subtle manner, don't be overly mothering, as it can come across overbearing.

As a general rule, to win a Depressive's trust when they are in a depressed phase, then the best way to do it is to let them talk to you, without interrupting or offering solutions, rather it is best to let us do most of the talking then. When lucid, especially as an ENFP, I don't doubt he'll rush in to return the favour and help others around him. Coming to terms with elements of your own personality is one of the hardest things you can do, so just be a friendly ear and supportive in the sense that you're there to help, not to try and solve, unless your advice/solutions are specifically asked for.

I really hope that helps, and if you want to know more about how BPD can affect your mood and actions etc, feel free to ask, I'd love to help!
 
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