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Hello everyone. I classically f'ed up a social encounter with an ISTP colleague of mine and was hoping for some input if you had a moment to spare.

The cliff notes version is a 25-year-old (M) ISTP started working in my department 3 months ago and I developed feelings for him. I (32, M, INTP) was assigned to do his training. We are both located in a fairly rural area and masculine in nature. We found it easy to talk to one another and hit it off pretty quick as we have a couple of common hobbies as well. He is mostly mature, sweet, and genuine but very selfish in nature when it comes to his outside life.

During month two, he asked in an indirect way if I wanted to go rock climbing with him. I said yes but it rained that day and he canceled. Within this same month, I started to notice him often staring at me when I was not looking. Certain equipment we have has a reflective surface and while he could not see my face, I could see who was behind me. I then started paying more attention to my peripheral view and found he keep looking up at me when my head was not facing his direction. I would turn my head and he would look down. I would ask if he needed any help and he would then politely decline.

This went on for three days and he finally got a bit bolder. Instead of deflecting his eyes when I would turn a corner toward his direction, we locked eyes. He boyish face was cute, intense, and freaked me out because even though I identify as bisexual I have never acted on the same-sex urge.

I write all that text above to give context to the actual problem. Two days ago, while sitting on break talking about life, he let his defenses down and really opened up about his upbringing. I did as well. It was the most real, unfiltered, frank, and engaging conversations I had ever had with anyone. I never met someone before that truly "got" the why and how of my personality. He even briefly skirted talking about an emotion before he caught himself! I was shocked and my emotions were rapid at this point.

I went home, calmed down, read more about ISTPs, and decided I needed to grow a pair and just directly ask. My plan was to go slow and ask if he would be interested in going hiking next week. I arrived at work and found he is making little eye contact. I notice he puts space (devalues) between us usually the day after we have deep conversations. He was in a great mood in general and laughing with others so I decided to proceed.

When I got him alone, I got so nervous I uttered out this really awkward question if he would make time to hang out with me to go hiking. He just stared at me after asking and when I followed up he said "we'll see" and gave a list of potential conflicts in his schedule. I took this as immediate rejection and instead of backing off, I grew even more nervous and stupidly blurted out that I simply never met anyone like him. He got nervous and asked what I meant by that. I stuttered some stupid answer about common behavior and hobbies. After about two minutes of dead silence, he jumps out of his chair to claim he needed to go get a pop.

I took this as immediate rejection and instead of backing off, I grew even more nervous and stupidly blurted out that I simply never met anyone like him. He got nervous and asked what I meant by that. I stuttered some stupid answer about common behavior and hobbies. After about two minutes of dead silence, he jumps out of his chair to claim he needed to go get a pop - which was a lie.

I felt like jumping off a bridge into evening rush hour traffic. I thought that I made that sound so awkward and would be no more than an acquaintance at this point. He then comes back in ten minutes later and sits back down at my table one chair closer to me than before. And he still says nothing. At this point, I am externally stoic but about to flip crap. I get up and leave the room to go back to work.

I work in a medical lab with many "job stations" and equipment on the floor. He returns to work in this hyper-drive, face-paced state bouncing from station to station around me. It was like he wanted me to notice he was there. At this point, I am depressed and just keeping to myself. He then starts asking me job-related questions that I know he knows, constantly looking over at me, and laying on the mannerisms heavier than he ever does when helping with common tasks. Given his age, he is still a bit emotionally immature and being weak in expressing emotions myself I just gave him the cold shoulder the rest of the day. I learned from this he is far more selfish than I originally thought and can not hold a conversation in this area. I am really confused if he shares any mutual feelings and I think he will freeze if I am direct again.

1. How do immature ISTPs show interest? Any different than the rest?
2. Given his immature/selfish nature, should I just cut my losses? I sense he keeps trying to gauge my interest and wanting maybe a "chase." I am not sure if he is toying with me or just really unhealthy in expressing himself back.
3. Depending on feedback from question 2, could someone share some insight if they have encountered a similar (general) experience and how they approached it?

Sorry for the wall of text. I tried keeping it as short as possible. Thanks for reading.
 

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Sire Dominus Laird
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Ok, so first of all you're lucky I do have a moment to spare ;)

From what I can tell, it seems you did go a little too fast with this, you caught him off guard.

But think you would only really mess up if you continue giving him the cold shoulder, because then he would act accordingly after a while. I don't think that's what you want.

Now about your points:

1. I am an ISTP and uuuuhhhh.... I don't know :D I remember when I had my last crush, I couldn't stop looking at him from time to time. But we'd be clueless anyway since we're virtually insensitive to signals.
Could be he never had such an experience before?

2. One thing to keep in mind is: everyone has their thoughts, insecurities and perhaps plans/tactics to assess something.
And about the selfishness: your choice. Is he selfish to everyone or just everyone except their most dear people?

3. Following point 1 instead of 2 ;) But there was this guy who was in love with someone who was unattainable for him. He said "if you really love him, you're happy with whatever makes him happy, even if it means not being with you". From there, when I had a crush, I tried to setup my mindset to "be happy for whatever you can get, but still do your best". And doing your best is not being bold by telling him pretty direct results (although it can help, but not too soon), but by accepting you might hit a wall, which doesn't push you back, just stops you right there.


And last but not least: you may get advice from people here and there, but in the end, trust your instinct above their advice, since you know all you know and they don't. Just think it through.
 

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Ok, so first of all you're lucky I do have a moment to spare 😉

From what I can tell, it seems you did go a little too fast with this, you caught him off guard.

But think you would only really mess up if you continue giving him the cold shoulder, because then he would act accordingly after a while. I don't think that's what you want.

Now about your points:

1. I am an ISTP and uuuuhhhh.... I don't know 😄 I remember when I had my last crush, I couldn't stop looking at him from time to time. But we'd be clueless anyway since we're virtually insensitive to signals.
Could be he never had such an experience before?

2. One thing to keep in mind is: everyone has their thoughts, insecurities and perhaps plans/tactics to assess something.
And about the selfishness: your choice. Is he selfish to everyone or just everyone except their most dear people?

3. Following point 1 instead of 2 😉 But there was this guy who was in love with someone who was unattainable for him. He said "if you really love him, you're happy with whatever makes him happy, even if it means not being with you". From there, when I had a crush, I tried to setup my mindset to "be happy for whatever you can get, but still do your best". And doing your best is not being bold by telling him pretty direct results (although it can help, but not too soon), but by accepting you might hit a wall, which doesn't push you back, just stops you right there.


And last but not least: you may get advice from people here and there, but in the end, trust your instinct above their advice, since you know all you know and they don't. Just think it through.
Thanks. That was very insightful. Can you elaborate on what you mean by insensitive signals? Are you referring to hints from others or from within? Maybe both? Anyway past this other than time?

The staring is what gets me. It sends mix signals and hard to gauge intent. I have no expectations so if it's not mutual I have no problem dropping it.

I would have also thought if he did not share some feelings, he would have put some space between us afterwards. Like passive aggressive devalue. Instead, he was making a point to be within talking distance to me the rest of the shift. He even was trying to engage in random topics. It was out of character.

He is selfish with everyone including his family. That may be a deal breaker for me if he can not give in a little.

I think your quote is spot on. That's what I needed to hear. Being an ISTP, what was your behavior like when you had a crush? You mentioned you would stare, but did you drop hints or take any initiative to see how they responded?
 

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Sire Dominus Laird
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Thanks. That was very insightful.
Nice, an INTP complimenting an ISTP :smug:

Can you elaborate on what you mean by insensitive signals? Are you referring to hints from others or from within? Maybe both?
You mean insensitive TO signals? By this I mean not having a clue when someone tries to let them know they are liked a lot.
I have tried to compensate for that and it still "overshoots", as in: I can think someone has a crush on me and totally misjudge it, but it's pretty rare now.
Experience can help gauge it better.

I would have also thought if he did not share some feelings, he would have put some space between us afterwards. Like passive aggressive devalue. Instead, he was making a point to be within talking distance to me the rest of the shift. He even was trying to engage in random topics. It was out of character.
Well, one thing is for sure: you did not blow it, but it's not clear how he took it. Maybe he understood and doesn't know how to deal with it, maybe he didn't and just took it as a real sign of friend-like appreciation.
But the fact that it's out of character (if you say so), would lead me to think the former.

He is selfish with everyone including his family. That may be a deal breaker for me if he can not give in a little.
Well, again, I'm not here to decide in your place ;) I have been told to be really selfish too, and I really appreciate when people have patience with me, because it's necessary. I try to improve on multiple domains, and this is one of them, because my way is only one way.
I'd say: try to gauge if he's willing to improve himself? In general, just in a subtle way or something, not in a blurted out nervous way.

I think your quote is spot on. That's what I needed to hear. Being an ISTP, what was your behavior like when you had a crush? You mentioned you would stare, but did you drop hints or take any initiative to see how they responded?
The one story I referred to is a bit long (and a bit too open) to elaborate here, but yes, I did.
Actually they weren't one-sided, but I had the impression he didn't quite like it when I looked in his direction, but on the other hand, he enjoyed watching the stars together, and we both touched each other subtlely when in a group with plenty of space.
And he was physically playful, just the way I like it. (like playing a game where you have to catch a rolled up napkin sticking out of the top of your adversaries' shorts/pants on the back. We rolled and tossed like crazy before I finally won :D )

In the end, months later, I totally screwed up majestically when really angry at him by doing something socially unacceptable. (but you have to know, this guy was smoking hot).

Turns out I looked like his ex and he (my crush) was emotionally unstable. Now he hates me and has another guy (a sour one).


So, moral of the story: chances are this ISTP will screw up, but it depends on your patience and goodwill. It really impresses me when the other still wants to go on.

But hey. Another ISTP might have been wiser from the start and not gone into this in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks. That was very insightful.
Nice, an INTP complimenting an ISTP


Can you elaborate on what you mean by insensitive signals? Are you referring to hints from others or from within? Maybe both?
You mean insensitive TO signals? By this I mean not having a clue when someone tries to let them know they are liked a lot.
I have tried to compensate for that and it still "overshoots", as in: I can think someone has a crush on me and totally misjudge it, but it's pretty rare now.
Experience can help gauge it better.

I would have also thought if he did not share some feelings, he would have put some space between us afterwards. Like passive aggressive devalue. Instead, he was making a point to be within talking distance to me the rest of the shift. He even was trying to engage in random topics. It was out of character.
Well, one thing is for sure: you did not blow it, but it's not clear how he took it. Maybe he understood and doesn't know how to deal with it, maybe he didn't and just took it as a real sign of friend-like appreciation.
But the fact that it's out of character (if you say so), would lead me to think the former.

He is selfish with everyone including his family. That may be a deal breaker for me if he can not give in a little.
Well, again, I'm not here to decide in your place 😉 I have been told to be really selfish too, and I really appreciate when people have patience with me, because it's necessary. I try to improve on multiple domains, and this is one of them, because my way is only one way.
I'd say: try to gauge if he's willing to improve himself? In general, just in a subtle way or something, not in a blurted out nervous way.

I think your quote is spot on. That's what I needed to hear. Being an ISTP, what was your behavior like when you had a crush? You mentioned you would stare, but did you drop hints or take any initiative to see how they responded?
The one story I referred to is a bit long (and a bit too open) to elaborate here, but yes, I did.
Actually they weren't one-sided, but I had the impression he didn't quite like it when I looked in his direction, but on the other hand, he enjoyed watching the stars together, and we both touched each other subtlely when in a group with plenty of space.
And he was physically playful, just the way I like it. (like playing a game where you have to catch a rolled up napkin sticking out of the top of your adversaries' shorts/pants on the back. We rolled and tossed like crazy before I finally won 😄 )

In the end, months later, I totally screwed up majestically when really angry at him by doing something socially unacceptable. (but you have to know, this guy was smoking hot).

Turns out I looked like his ex and he (my crush) was emotionally unstable. Now he hates me and has another guy (a sour one).


So, moral of the story: chances are this ISTP will screw up, but it depends on your patience and goodwill. It really impresses me when the other still wants to go on.

But hey. Another ISTP might have been wiser from the start and not gone into this in the first place.
Good sir,

I wanted to give you an update. This guy ended up being a covert narcissist. For the last six months, he has done all sorts of crap - all for my attention only I believe. He is emotionally unavailable similar to the guy you mentioned. I think he likes the chase and/or to be chased but when it comes to having a serious conversation he would gaslight me. It has been a wild few months.
 

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Sire Dominus Laird
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Good sir,

I wanted to give you an update. This guy ended up being a covert narcissist. For the last six months, he has done all sorts of crap - all for my attention only I believe. He is emotionally unavailable similar to the guy you mentioned. I think he likes the chase and/or to be chased but when it comes to having a serious conversation he would gaslight me. It has been a wild few months.
Oh crap...

Hope you're over it by now?

Was he already known to be a narcissist?
 

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Good sir,

I wanted to give you an update. This guy ended up being a covert narcissist. For the last six months, he has done all sorts of crap - all for my attention only I believe. He is emotionally unavailable similar to the guy you mentioned. I think he likes the chase and/or to be chased but when it comes to having a serious conversation he would gaslight me. It has been a wild few months.
Oh crap...

Hope you're over it by now?

Was he already known to be a narcissist?
Negative. And negative. My colleagues are none the wiser. His mask dropped and showed himself to me. He is a coward but was/is excellent at making you doubt your reality.

You and others were spot-on on your assessment. There was an added layer to it if you will. He is emotionally damaged from childhood trauma and can not form healthy bonds. He became interested in my attention (which looked like interest to me) so he started to toy with me by dropping breadcrumbs to keep me chasing but would flip his lid when I got too close. Rinse and repeat.

It's a game. So, I quit playing a month ago. Now, this past week I guess reality has set in with him. He found out I am talking with another potential mate and flinched in his seat when he heard the news. Now he has been sucking up this week and giving me those puppy dog looks from across the room 😆.

I am better now since I see what he is. He, at the very least, is pansexual but I still maintain the believe he is in the closet. The things he would do to flirt and get attention; I've seen no straight dude attempt.
 

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Hello everyone. I classically f'ed up a social encounter with an ISTP colleague of mine and was hoping for some input if you had a moment to spare.

The cliff notes version is a 25-year-old (M) ISTP started working in my department 3 months ago and I developed feelings for him. I (32, M, INTP) was assigned to do his training. We are both located in a fairly rural area and masculine in nature. We found it easy to talk to one another and hit it off pretty quick as we have a couple of common hobbies as well. He is mostly mature, sweet, and genuine but very selfish in nature when it comes to his outside life.

During month two, he asked in an indirect way if I wanted to go rock climbing with him. I said yes but it rained that day and he canceled. Within this same month, I started to notice him often staring at me when I was not looking. Certain equipment we have has a reflective surface and while he could not see my face, I could see who was behind me. I then started paying more attention to my peripheral view and found he keep looking up at me when my head was not facing his direction. I would turn my head and he would look down. I would ask if he needed any help and he would then politely decline.

This went on for three days and he finally got a bit bolder. Instead of deflecting his eyes when I would turn a corner toward his direction, we locked eyes. He boyish face was cute, intense, and freaked me out because even though I identify as bisexual I have never acted on the same-sex urge.

I write all that text above to give context to the actual problem. Two days ago, while sitting on break talking about life, he let his defenses down and really opened up about his upbringing. I did as well. It was the most real, unfiltered, frank, and engaging conversations I had ever had with anyone. I never met someone before that truly "got" the why and how of my personality. He even briefly skirted talking about an emotion before he caught himself! I was shocked and my emotions were rapid at this point.

I went home, calmed down, read more about ISTPs, and decided I needed to grow a pair and just directly ask. My plan was to go slow and ask if he would be interested in going hiking next week. I arrived at work and found he is making little eye contact. I notice he puts space (devalues) between us usually the day after we have deep conversations. He was in a great mood in general and laughing with others so I decided to proceed.

When I got him alone, I got so nervous I uttered out this really awkward question if he would make time to hang out with me to go hiking. He just stared at me after asking and when I followed up he said "we'll see" and gave a list of potential conflicts in his schedule. I took this as immediate rejection and instead of backing off, I grew even more nervous and stupidly blurted out that I simply never met anyone like him. He got nervous and asked what I meant by that. I stuttered some stupid answer about common behavior and hobbies. After about two minutes of dead silence, he jumps out of his chair to claim he needed to go get a pop.

I took this as immediate rejection and instead of backing off, I grew even more nervous and stupidly blurted out that I simply never met anyone like him. He got nervous and asked what I meant by that. I stuttered some stupid answer about common behavior and hobbies. After about two minutes of dead silence, he jumps out of his chair to claim he needed to go get a pop - which was a lie.

I felt like jumping off a bridge into evening rush hour traffic. I thought that I made that sound so awkward and would be no more than an acquaintance at this point. He then comes back in ten minutes later and sits back down at my table one chair closer to me than before. And he still says nothing. At this point, I am externally stoic but about to flip crap. I get up and leave the room to go back to work.

I work in a medical lab with many "job stations" and equipment on the floor. He returns to work in this hyper-drive, face-paced state bouncing from station to station around me. It was like he wanted me to notice he was there. At this point, I am depressed and just keeping to myself. He then starts asking me job-related questions that I know he knows, constantly looking over at me, and laying on the mannerisms heavier than he ever does when helping with common tasks. Given his age, he is still a bit emotionally immature and being weak in expressing emotions myself I just gave him the cold shoulder the rest of the day. I learned from this he is far more selfish than I originally thought and can not hold a conversation in this area. I am really confused if he shares any mutual feelings and I think he will freeze if I am direct again.

1. How do immature ISTPs show interest? Any different than the rest?
2. Given his immature/selfish nature, should I just cut my losses? I sense he keeps trying to gauge my interest and wanting maybe a "chase." I am not sure if he is toying with me or just really unhealthy in expressing himself back.
3. Depending on feedback from question 2, could someone share some insight if they have encountered a similar (general) experience and how they approached it?

Sorry for the wall of text. I tried keeping it as short as possible. Thanks for reading.
Typical ISTP behavior. When I met my current girlfriend, we clicked and hit it off instantly like you two. We became really close friends, and we spent time getting to know each other. This went on for years and I absolutely had a crush on her with no intention of ever telling her, because I wasn’t sure how she felt. She was actually the one who told me- and I was taken completely off guard, I think it’s like a defensive thing for us because we poorly manage our feelings. For a few months I was hesitant about being with her- after years of crushing on her! Go figure. But I was nervous about ruining the friendship- which could be something on his mind as well. We aren’t very direct or comfortable with our feelings so it really helps us gain confidence in that department when someone else is direct first.
Yeah, this bothers me still to this day. All he can do is stare - mostly when he thinks I am not paying attention. I asked him twice last year if he had a crush and he denied it and got extremely defensive.

I got hurt and upset thinking I was somehow misreading some obvious signals. His body language and actions were telling me he was extremely interested but his words did not match.

However, still to this day, if I place too much distance or naturally the connection starts to distance he will make some overt attempts to get my attention. He got all pissy when I went on a date back in December.

For a long time, I thought he was playing a game. I later realized what I I thought was him playing "hot and cold" was him getting overwhelmed in general.

Lately, he has been purposely locking eyes with me and holding it. I am not sure what he is trying to convey now since he got mad at me last year when I asked about him staring.

A lot has happened between us since this post but I think you are right about expressing needs and feelings. I am not sure what to do in my case but I am glad it worked out for you. 🙂
 

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Sounds weird and unhealthy especially if it has been going on for a year.

Not sure what else to say. The guy is dishonest, probably with himself as well as with others.

As for the locking eyes thing, it can be interpreted as a power move although it's not specifically an ISTP behavior. Maybe he does it to show you or prove to himself that he's in control. Probably to mask the fact that he's definitely not in control, otherwise he wouldn't be squirming because you went on a date or embarrassing himself with childish antics. Either way, it's childish.

That said, I did something similar fairly recently. It was because I knew I had a hard time keeping eye contact with a guy I had a crush on. He on the other hand seemed to always stare naturally, and I resented it because I felt like it made me the weak one. I absolutely hate being weak or at the mercy of anyone else and I always have. I think it's one of the main reason why I'm so bad with relationships. Anyway. When we were conversing one time he made eye contact and I made a point of holding it. He looked away first which meant I "won". But in hindsight it was pretty silly.

Also, I can relate insofar as pestering the object of affection with random questions and silly antics. I get more playful and energetic around people I like and I suppose it could come across as hyper and out of touch, selfish even. It's not always conscious and I would compare it to becoming more of an animal, like a dog jumping around trying to get another dog to play.
 

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Sounds weird and unhealthy especially if it has been going on for a year.

Not sure what else to say. The guy is dishonest, probably with himself as well as with others.

As for the locking eyes thing, it can be interpreted as a power move although it's not specifically an ISTP behavior. Maybe he does it to show you or prove to himself that he's in control. Probably to mask the fact that he's definitely not in control, otherwise he wouldn't be squirming because you went on a date or embarrassing himself with childish antics. Either way, it's childish.

That said, I did something similar fairly recently. It was because I knew I had a hard time keeping eye contact with a guy I had a crush on. He on the other hand seemed to always stare naturally, and I resented it because I felt like it made me the weak one. I absolutely hate being weak or at the mercy of anyone else and I always have. I think it's one of the main reason why I'm so bad with relationships. Anyway. When we were conversing one time he made eye contact and I made a point of holding it. He looked away first which meant I "won". But in hindsight it was pretty silly.

Also, I can relate insofar as pestering the object of affection with random questions and silly antics. I get more playful and energetic around people I like and I suppose it could come across as hyper and out of touch, selfish even. It's not always conscious and I would compare it to becoming more of an animal, like a dog jumping around trying to get another dog to play.
It is unhealthy, I agree and is one reason why I have kept my distance since October. He has emotional trauma from childhood and so I have cut him some slack after coming to realise that fact. It certainly does not excuse his behavior(s).

He is such a sweet dude if you get to know him but lacks emotional maturity. The gazing does not creep me out or anything like that. He wants to "connect" or bond but you can watch him visibly get anxious when you try to get to know him. I agree in hindsight (after originally posting) this is not a ISTP thing in relation to his personality but an attachment issue. Google insecure attachment types.

I had the same thought as you initially about him wanting to lock eyes - but I think it had more to do with confidence and by him initiating it gave him a false sense of control. The need for control comes from insecurities rooted most often in childhood which boils down to safety or the lack there of.

I think (and I could be wrong) he is locking eyes to signal interest and wanting to get me to start chasing him. I say this because a) he can't hold the eye contact like you in your story, b) he is inconsistent and does not engage if I attempt it (he looks down at the floor), c) he watches my every move, d) I basically called him out last fall over eye contact. He would know by starting an above normal amount would get me suspicious again and some days he goes out of his way to make sure I notice he is looking.

He can not express in a healthy manner his interest and wants to keep things ambiguous. It is a way to avoid hurt and possibly rejection because then he can say that the eye contact was meaningless. So, yeah, I have set a personal boundary with him. My grandmother would always tell me you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
 
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