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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:crazy:Hello! :D So I'm 20 now and have never been on a date. I... I actually haven't even had my first kiss yet.:unsure: This is a problem because i'm a huge hopeless romantic. I want very badly to be in a relationship but I can't even begin to fathom how to do so. I'm really bad at both flirting and understanding when someone is attempting to flirt with me. I also tend to shy away from those i'm super attracted to and when I do engage in conversation i'm often very flustered and act like a weirdo. :frustrating: In short i'm painfully awkward. So my question to you, my fellow INFP's, is how do you go about relationships? If you have ever been in a situation similar to mine or even just have some good tips i'd love to here them! Thanks for your time! :happy:
 

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Well I was single all throughout university and my early 20's so I don't know how to navigate that sort of dating scene. My adult relationships happened simply because I met the right person and was in a frame of mind that he liked. So:

- Relatively confident, at least enough to be authentic and hope for the best
- At peace with my singleness (i.e. not desperate)
- Knowing what I want out of life and out of a relationship
- Interests in common

And of course the important thing is that he actually appreciated my personality and found me attractive. In all honesty I'm still not noticed by most people, so I have nothing on how to attract them either.

Once the relationship happens, I think it's all down to honesty and communication.

If you're desperate for a relationship, it's probably going to be a turn-off to anyone who isn't 1. also desperate, or 2. some kind of predator. I understand being desperate (so was I at your age) but the thing is, if you're unsuccessful in a romantic sense, you have an opportunity (and the freedom!!) to do something about it. Shyness can be worked on if you're willing to expose yourself to more new people. Once the shyness subsides a bit, the awkwardness probably will too. What's left might be seen as a bit of a quirk rather than as something crippling (although you'd be surprised at how little other people might notice the times you embarrass yourself).

Of course it's also important to think about what you can offer in a relationship. Even for a romantic soul, just "love" isn't enough. Something I've learned from experience. Think about the sort of partner you want to attract (are they intelligent? a bit geeky? ambitious? some kind of activist? strong principles? artistic?) and think about what qualities you have that they might appreciate. What might make them choose you over someone else? Focus on bringing those out to the people you meet, so that they can see some of your strengths rather than someone who's painfully shy.

But at the same time be open-minded.... as a teenager I never would have imagined that I'd be happy in relationships with Thinkers, or with entrepreneurial types. I imagined they wouldn't have the same sort of values that I held dear, and that I'd be left emotionally unfulfilled. In reality I've found they also have principles and a sweet emotional side, and they balance me out and actually make me more confident.

Well that's a bit incoherent but hopefully there's something of value in there. I remember how it is to be in that frame of mind but at least I needed a bit more of a tough love approach so I hope I'm not coming across as a bit insensitive.
 

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A big suggestion though is to better stay away from the easy way - jumping into dating anyone, just to learn how to be in a relationship. Odds are it will fuck you up to a point of no return.
I really think it's worth waiting pure and not ruined from previous heartbreaks or mistakes. This way you will have much more to offer to the relationship too.

I wish I had not felt the pressure from people around and myself to enter a relationship and prove that I can. Have one. I've dated too many wrong people, who have left me hopeless for my future and damaged my self love. It's not worth it. If I could, I would take it back.
 

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I agree with @ElliCat that being in the right frame of mind is important. For me, this has meant being healthy and happy enough by myself to not push for certain types of relationships (friendship, romance, acquaintance, what have you) out of a desire to have those, but to just enjoy others' company and let our interactions actually inform me of what could be. This may not apply to you, but I won't bury the lede: my biggest mistake has been to confuse the vastness of my desire for a romance for what is really just partly a desire for a romantic relationship and mostly a desire for stability in my relationships to others and society in general.

So now I do an assessment. It's a simplistic metaphor, but it helps me to think about the stability of my relationship to the outside world as a chair with four legs with each leg to represent areas of my life: career/civic purpose (my contribution to society), family, friendship, and romantic relationship. I'm most content when all four of these legs are strong. If I feel unstable in my relationships, I try to assess where I am in each of these areas (i.e. If I feel like I'm only standing on one strong leg, I'll likely put too much pressure on trying to rush in a relationship leg; a romantic relationship won't ultimately solve my overall discontent if the other areas are lacking.). I try to make sure I'm working hard in all of these areas of my life, and this is what makes me happy (Plus managing my physical health, but that doesn't have to do with relationships.). Then I also feel more able to discern if someone is right for me romantically.

At times, this has meant pushing myself to figure out other areas of my life first in order to know myself better and also feel more confident in myself as an independent person before starting a relationship (despite that persistent INFP feeling that you're missing a chunk of yourself without a romantic relationship). This doesn't mean that I didn't/don't want to integrate my life with another person and that I won't ultimately depend on that person in some ways as our lives intertwine. What it meant for me was to feel responsible for and manage my own happiness, fulfillment, and success enough to feel able to give to another (especially in times that person might need some extra support) and vice versa for that other person.

Additionally, it's ok to be shy! I'd encourage you to figure out the situations that bring you out of your shell, and find those as a starting place to share common interests and the like. I'm not the best with interacting people in just any old situation (though sometimes being thrown into meeting new people can be great, too, but it's more hit or miss). I have the most fun meeting new people in classes, activities, and sports I chose out of pure interest. It's just made it easier for me to talk and bond that way. If I'm in a new situation and something interesting is going on or something pops into my head, I push myself to say at least one of these thoughts out loud to someone nearby. It's an easier conversation starter for me than small talk openers. I really try to embrace my awkwardness and weirdness when I know people have noticed, like sometimes just said weird things out loud like "I just don't know what to do with my limbs right now!" to make people laugh about it and then move on to something else. Most people have experienced feeling a bit awkward and nervous and won't hold it against you. Most likely, they'll respect your attempts to move through it.
 

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(((Just a margin note, but really wanted to say that I read all above notes... and feel so happy and proud now that some of my fellow INFPs are so wise :blushed: . Haha, so having a Fi moment! Will go on reading now :wink: )))
 

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I was going to reply comprehensively, but I really think @%1; summed it up very nicely indeed :)
So I think I'm just going to make little points, pretty much repeating most things I suppose!

- be confident
- be yourself
- spend time learning about who you are and loving that person
- join groups and societies of like-minded people e.g. like writing? Join a creative writing group :) you'll meet like-minded people AND enjoy yourself.
- be open to friendships and relationships equally. My current relationship stemmed from friendship. I really wanted to go out with this guy from the get-go pretty much, but I loved just becoming his friend. I think that once you can let the idea of a relationship go and just enjoy being around someone while still being comfortable single, things just naturally unfold.

- a heck of a lot of people you wouldn't consider "awkward" think of themselves as "awkward" too. They're probably thinking about this a lot more than they are thinking that you're "awkward". So don't worry about it! Plus, a lot of people think lots of awkwardness is cute and attractive.

- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just as you might think some guy is the hottest thing in town and your friends might think you're crazy, some guy is probably looking at you thinking (or will undoubtedly think in the future) that you're absolutely the most perfect person they could ever imagine, even if you might not see where they're coming from. So believe you are a beautiful person, and a lot of the time, this confidence and self-esteem can be the most radiant and beautiful thing in the world :)

- Kissing people outside of a relationship was and is really weird for me. Only once, ever, at 19, and it was the most analytically crazy experience ever. Overrated.

- Relationships should be measured in quality over quantity. You might get to 28 and never have kissed someone, and then meet the love of your life. Many people, including those who kiss all kinds of everyone from 13 or so, never have the experience of this kind of love, and many experience it at 13 as well as 50 for the first time in their lives. Society and the media pressurises this idea of multiple partners and the "dating age bracket" but you can have just as much fun alone and with friends if you decide to just wait and pursue a quality relationship. Likewise, if you kiss a LOT of frogs before meeting a prince, you might have a lot of fun too :)

Just don't be afraid. If you're confident in yourself and open to accepting all good and bad things as experience, whatever you do (and you should do something, sitting in a situation you're unhappy with is the worst feeling ever) will be positive :)

(This turned out to be pretty comprehensive... Sorry, I tend to rant!)

All my love x
 

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@Whoop, my experience was just like yours when I was 20, and things have turned out beautifully so far.

I am shy too, and am plenty awkward with guys. I went on a few uncomfortable dates all after the age of 21, drunkenly made out with a guy I didn't know in my sophomore year of college. When I was 23, I was a little down after having gotten out of college and not being sure what I wanted to do next, and that spring I started up some post-bac classes and a part-time job - really focusing on myself and my wellbeing. That was when I met a guy at work who flirted with me. I withdrew from him at first, since I was embarrassed and flustered, but having the shared work environment made it easy to talk (i.e. commiserate about work ;) ). I trusted him because I got to see his character through his actions and interactions at work, and we developed a connection through talking often. He actually dated someone else after I shied away from him, but he ended up not really liking her (lol!) and by the time he and I started texting again, we were both into going out with each other. I made him "teach" me how to kiss because I was so afraid I would be awful (I think I was at first, but he was sweet about it!). We have been together almost 4 years since. Of course I don't know if this will be my last and only relationship, but I hope it is, and I think that if it is, I will be very happy. We have had our ups and downs but we both have strong shared values and we both uplift and comfort each other.

I think the "recipe" in my case was (1) taking good care of myself, so I felt in touch with my personal values and what I really wanted out of a relationship (2) the shared environment that we both had individual interest in, so we opened up honestly and got to see each other acting realistically with others and under stress - we essentially knew each other before dating, (3) feeling like I trusted him, and (4) a little pinch of luck!

I totally agree with ElliCat that once you're in, honesty and communication are the keys to keeping things good. And a little humility too. Bending when you don't want to bend, giving in when you're angry, that kind of self-mastery where even when you feel wronged you just suck it up and offer peace for the sake of the relationship. And being realistic - not expecting your partner to be perfect all the time even though that's how you want to see them in your INFP head. :)

I guess I waited a "long time" to get in a relationship, and some people will say it's not good that I haven't had much experience, but I'm really happy with where I am. I feel cared about and safe and loved. I don't regret having been shy or having waited. It's just a different path, I guess. I have an ENFP 9w1 friend who did sort of the same thing - she dated around some in college but never was in a serious relationship until her 20s, and she just got married at 25. I think it's good to be yourself and do your thing and just to try to stretch yourself when you feel right.
 

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I generally just enter into casual sex with a man I find desirable and then try to negotiate a relationship if I see potential after that.

I don't regret my relationship experiences. Even though jumping into things can cause heartbreak and other chaos it has also lead me to really good experiences.
 

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1. Just look hot
2. Repeat step 1 until partner is acquired
 

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But @Itsmyhead @Whoop is asking about INFPs in awesome relationships and you aren't in a relationship, so why are you responding?

Everyone who has responded already has given some incredible advice and it's been a pleasure reading it all. This is just my take on relationships and you can take or leave whatever you feel doesn't apply.

There's nothing wrong with never having been kissed and there's nothing wrong with kissing everyone who wants to, male and female, the question is what is right for you? People have different values and they're influenced by personality and history in that person's life. Values can change over the years too and they don't always remain the same. I still remember the first girl I kissed when I was 14 and the way she had her friends kiss me afterwards, maybe because she wanted to downplay the meaning of the kiss we shared. It was on a Valentine's Day. I really cared about her, I didn't want to kiss her friends but she wasn't interested in a real relationship. We stayed close for long time though. As a teenager I wanted a piercing but I wanted it for me not for anyone else so I got my tongue pierced. The subject seemed to come up whenever I was in a social situation with girls saying that they'd always wanted to experience that and so I ended up kissing many more people than I ever would have otherwise. It was an interesting experience for me because I'm someone who is much more comfortable in a meaningful relationship, but there were these situations and opportunities opening up. Experience isn't everything, but something I found is that it does often help with confidence. Sex has been an interesting one. The biggest problem I had for a long time was with women expecting casual sex from me because I'm male. When I explained that I'm looking for something more meaningful they seemed to find it extremely difficult to comprehend and sometimes even took it as a personal insult. That said after a particularly difficult breakup, maybe it was an age thing, but I started re-evaluating my values and experimenting with what I was comfortable with more.

The following is the advice I'd give myself:

1. There's nothing wrong with never having been kissed and there's nothing wrong with you. Find your boundaries and what you are comfortable with, but don't be afraid to question them or experiment if you feel it's the right thing to do.

2. You may feel that you act like a weirdo, but it's extremely unlikely that the person you are talking to thinks that about you. It's likely the other person is having comparable emotions even if they don't show them. In movies it's all about having the next perfect line, but in reality it's more about two imperfect people fumbling in the dark with each step lit only seconds before you take it.

3. Do you have any male friends who you could be interested in? Do you spend any time with guys? There's nothing wrong with going on "dates" with guys just to share an experience that you both are interested in, like a film, a concert, an art interest or anything else. Also nothing should be expected from a date other than to share the company of another person.

4. There's a line from my favourite film that I think has a lot of truth to it, "Too many guys think I'm a concept, or I complete them, or I'm gonna make them alive. But I'm just a fucked-up girl who's lookin' for my own peace of mind; don't assign me yours." I notice I have a tendency to fall into the thinking of, if I get the perfect relationship with my dream girl then that will make me whole and I think that's a whole lot of pressure to put on myself and another person before anything has even happened.

5. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, they are messy affairs that involve a lot of highs and lows and the only thing anyone can do is find someone who's right for them.

6. Don't exclude people who have had different values or experiences in relationships than you have in the past. Just because a person has had more experience does not make their worth any less and neither does having less.

7. If you're going to put yourself out there and put your heart on the line, be prepared to have it filled with love and also expect it to be broken.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@ElliCat You're right. I think I tend to get a little to caught up in my romantic ideals at times. Though, I hope I don't come off as a predator. xD Actually the idea of coming on to strong or acting desperate often manifests my awkwardness. When I'm conversing with someone I'm interested in I tend to break off the conversation when I feel I've said to much. In fact, I sometimes won't even approach people because I worry i'll be bothering them. :p

Currently I'm taking classes in which I have great interest in. I'm still pretty shy but i've met many kind people through school. Also, working at my job has helped me to crawl out of my shell bit by bit. I have had people ask me out on dates but I suppose i'm a little apprehensive to take that plunge. Which I know sounds completely counterintuitive. :frustrating: Even guys who don't see me as awkward I still struggle with. I think it's actually a fear of failure on my part. I often can't stand the thought of being rejected. I want a relationship but I'm still scared to commit to people. I don't want to fail them or myself. I feel as though my awkwardness stems from the fact that I want to be in a relationship but at the same time I'm entirely afraid of it.

Now that I've actually typed this up i'm realizing that I may be a bit fearful of rejection. Of which I should probably work on before I decide to get seriously involved with anyone. As you said,
"- Relatively confident, at least enough to be authentic and hope for the best
- At peace with my singleness (i.e. not desperate)
- Knowing what I want out of life and out of a relationship"
I need to fortify these strengths more before I decide to take a flying leap into a relationship.

Thank you so much for taking the time to right such an insightful response, I really appreciate it! I also appreciate the tough love approach as well :) I feel it made the post all the more honest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@Shameless Nation
Ah yes, I don't want to find myself in a relationship that I feel was forced from the very beginning. Pressure from others is definitely a factor. My friends, my cousins and college life in general all tend to weigh on me. Though, I won't deny that a good deal of that pressure is simply from my own aspirations.

After reading all these insightful posts I feel it's best for me to take a step back and reassess why I want to be in a relationship in the first place and whether or not I'm championing the right motivations. Taking it slow and finding my own inner confidence seems to be the first step. :)

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply! It's much appreciated! :)
 

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You remind me of 20 year old me. Focus on getting out of that shell first :), actually that's not the right advice. Forcing yourself out of that shell is pretty hard. Peek out of the shell at first, then stick your head out, then leave for a second then dive back into the shell. Find a friend who's willing to drag you to a stressful situation. In my case it was black metal concerts. It was terrifying, but I survived, and that fact alone made me realize there was less to be terrified about.

As for dating: you'll realize that everybody's actually really awkward, which means you don't have to feel awkward, about your awkwardness. You're going to do/say silly stuff just because you have no background knowledge of dating, we all do, it's okay :).
Don't be somebody you aren't. Realize you'll have needs with a relationship once one get started, don't just be a giver. Learn to confront issues, don't be passive-aggressive (if you have a history of that). Don't date somebody because they share the most interests with you, date somebody because they make you happy (oh dear, now I sound like a hallmark card). Interests help, but it's not a be-all end-all.
 

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@Whoop

A big suggestion though is to better stay away from the easy way - jumping into dating anyone, just to learn how to be in a relationship. Odds are it will fuck you up to a point of no return.
I really think it's worth waiting pure and not ruined from previous heartbreaks or mistakes. This way you will have much more to offer to the relationship too.
I'm not sure if I personally agree with this... I think it depends on whether you're the type of INFP that happily learns from mistakes or is permanently traumatized by them. But even if you're permanently traumatized by a relationship, I still think it's a healthy learning experience in the end. I walked through every single 'serious' relationship I've been in in this thread, and they were all different MBTI types (page 3):

http://personalitycafe.com/infp-forum-idealists/291466-relationship-survey-infps.html

I think that if it weren't for all the shitty and heartbreaking relationships I've been in, I wouldn't have repeatedly built the courage and wisdom to pursue other combinations, to see what really works for me. Through my shitty relationships, I've learned some major things about what I want or need from a relationship in order to happily function within it. For a while, I went out with individualist, 'cool', mysterious types repeatedly (both seriously and casually), but soon learned that what I actually needed was someone who is simple, non-mysterious and rational/objective. I couldn't handle the 'mysterious' types, because they tended to be too similar to me, or (surprisingly) too emotionally/psychologically complicated for me.

OP, I say get out there and get your heart broken at least a couple of times. Learn what works for you, and what doesn't. Heart break never lasts forever, but ending up married with someone you thought was 'perfect' (when you still didn't have the experience to know better) lasts for much longer, especially if you end up having kids with said partner. I have too many friends who have 'saved' their hearts for the right one, only to later gradually find out that the relationship isn't working. This, in itself is also a learning experience - but wouldn't you rather have these painful learning experiences done and over with sooner than much later?

Getting hurt is part of the process of finding someone you know can respect you and care for you in the way you need it. I agree that it's harder for INFPs because we're so protective of our own feelings; but I personally would never take back any of my terrible relationships... because I learned so much about myself from them.

Besides, you'll be able to laugh about your terrible past relationships with your right partner down the line. It's not all pain and suffering in the end.
 

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You're right. I think I tend to get a little to caught up in my romantic ideals at times. Though, I hope I don't come off as a predator. xD Actually the idea of coming on to strong or acting desperate often manifests my awkwardness. When I'm conversing with someone I'm interested in I tend to break off the conversation when I feel I've said to much. In fact, I sometimes won't even approach people because I worry i'll be bothering them. :p
Actually, I was thinking that you might attract predators if you start coming off as desperate for a relationship! Because obvious desperation often correlates with low self esteem ("I need a partner to be complete!" = "There is something wrong with me; I am not a whole person on my own!") and people with abusive tendencies love to target people with low self esteem. Probably more of an extreme scenario than what you're actually in at the moment, but still, it does happen. Especially with those of us who want to see the best in others and help bring that out of them. :-/

Worrying that you're bothering people merely by approaching them seems to be something that affects a lot of us INFP's (and maybe also some ISFP's?). I still struggle with it when it comes to people I don't really know, but I'm a lot better about "bothering" my friends now. In fact sometimes I wonder if I come across too strong now. XD But I think mostly they appreciate that someone is taking the lead, socially at least. Maybe you could think about things from that side.... think about what you appreciate in your friends and try to emulate more of that for them? If what they want coincides with what you want, of course.

Honestly, we're all just figuring this out as we go along. Some are better at acting confident than others, that's all.
 

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Advice?

For guys:
Be
-confident
-self dependent
-healthy
-ambitious
-self amusing
-own a car
-have your own living space
-don't be awkward
-have interests and passions
-be tall
-have the balls to take risks
-have a good sense of humor
-don't whine
-don't even dare being insecure about anything
-earn a decent amount of money
-always take good care of yourself
-be inquisitive
-never break your promises
-don't be arrogant

For girls:
Be
-pretty
-sit outside and wait for them to flock themselves at you

I kid, I kid (kinda). Other people have already given great advice in this thread so there's not much more to add.
 

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@AmisAmora you are right. I wrote it from a subjective point of view and knowing how personal INFPs can take problems and hard we tend to be on ourselves.

But it does depended on the person. Maybe trying out once, twice, getting your heart broken once, would help her understand herself in relationships, her problems, if there are any, if she's stromg enough to look at it rationally.... But be careful, still............
 

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@AmisAmora you are right. I wrote it from a subjective point of view and knowing how personal INFPs can take problems and hard we tend to be on ourselves.

But it does depended on the person. Maybe trying out once, twice, getting your heart broken once, would help her understand herself in relationships, her problems, if there are any, if she's stromg enough to look at it rationally.... But be careful, still............

I can sign under what Elli is saying. You gotta be in the right mindset, and in good relationship with yourself before you put yourself out there. Otherwise you might misunderstand your own desperation of proving something to yourself, with "I'm ready to wisely, fully yo into a relationship".

I put myself out there out of desperation and that made more problems than anything else. While I still look back at my experiences with a smile, if I had had them when I was in a better relationship with myself, there would be much more gain and much less pain!
 
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