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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys!

I'm a female ISFP, friends with a male INFP now for over a year and a half. I'd consider us pretty good friends. Even so, for a while now I've wanted to move past the shallow end of the pool into deeper water. I'm certainly not a shallow person and I don't believe he is either, and yet we can't ever seem to get past talking about what happened during our day and a little philosophical/political/work-related stuff. I'm ready to discuss the deeper things of life! You know, like have religious discussions, talk about our feelings. Only about two weeks ago did he actually, in conversation, call me his friend, which I felt was some kind of breakthrough. We almost never talk about our friendship or what we think of each other.

And yet I SENSE there's a lot going on under the surface, which makes it awkward for me. Although I've become progressively more comfortable with him, I still feel a certain self-consciousness around him and if I'm at all intuitive, which I like to think I am, he seems to be self-conscious around me, too. Ugh!

I used to initiate almost all interactions with him. Now that he's my supervisor I've backed off. I let him initiate almost everything, which means we no longer meet on weekends, just at work. Which means he hugs me, but I don't offer to hug him. And he's such a creature of habit that he does hug me at the end of every shift.

All of this is strictly platonic, which is what we both said we wanted way back at the start of our friendship. I'm perfectly cool with that.

All this to say, I am thinking about taking a BIG step forward and becoming more transparent with him, about almost everything.

Will this scare him off?

I've tried in the past to shift gears with him and failed. He always diverted the conversation, which left me feeling very frustrated. Communication is SO important to me and I want that communication to include not just thoughts, but emotions. Both are equally important.

How should I proceed???

(FYI - By nature I'm very reticent about trusting others, opening up to them, expressing any feeling for them, etc., etc. Seems he is the same way. This makes it so much harder!)

Any advice from you INFP's would be greatly appreciated. :happy:
 

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I trust people very easily. Simply because I don't want that kind of fear to control me and I don't want to live a defensive life.

Though some INFP's I know are the complete opposite. One time one of them told me the only "person" in the world she trusted 100% was her cat.

An INFP who has been damaged in the past is going to be too afraid of people to allow that to happen again.

INFP's will always have something going on under the surface because that is where they take place. The exterior behavior they exhibit is only 40% of themselves. Just talking to other people is a chore for more highly introverted INFP's because living externally is difficult especially to an INFP who is clutching to his Fi values because they have been damaged in the past. He's not going to open up very easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
In his case, he suffered rejection by his two previous best friends plus his parents and older brother. Those are just the instances I'm sure of. There were likely a number of rejections by girlfriends, too.

Sooo, I guess I should just drop the idea of self-disclosure?

I know all about under-the-surface stuff. That's where I live, too. :happy: Only, I would say people see considerably less than 40% of me, unless and until I let them close. There is so much my friend doesn't yet know about me....

I'm ready to move this train out of the station!

But is he? :unsure:
 

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In his case, he suffered rejection by his two previous best friends plus his parents and older brother. Those are just the instances I'm sure of. There were likely a number of rejections by girlfriends, too.

Sooo, I guess I should just drop the idea of self-disclosure?

I know all about under-the-surface stuff. That's where I live, too. :happy: Only, I would say people see considerably less than 40% of me, unless and until I let them close. There is so much my friend doesn't yet know about me....

I'm ready to move this train out of the station!

But is he? :unsure:
when in doubt, you could always just be direct. INFP's are the approached, not the approacher. good luck getting them to budge from that position. they require someone to play the role of the instigator most of the time. they are readers and responders, not writers. (most of the time at least)
 

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I've been... fairly abused in the past and to some extent still am. For many years, I kept a room inside of me into which I would let no one in - not family, not friends, not even my partners. I kept a lot of my painful memories there. Outside of that room, I was super-nice to everyone, always helpful and smiling and whatnot. Beyond a certain point, trust was impossible for me.

I'm not sure really if it would've been possible to "unlock" me. It wasn't really until I admitted to myself that I secretly wanted to let someone into that room that it became apparent to me many of my friends around me were actively trying to do that. Only recently have I begun to share my inner feelings with a selected few. Which is incredibly difficult for me, so the first time I told someone about everything I've been through, I had to tell her through a letter. My inner feelings, to me, are dark and despicable. I'm still somewhat afraid that if I ever share them with someone, I cannot be loved or even liked. If someone would try to pull it out of me, I would most likely run away. Actually, now I remember a time when somebody tried to do just that (aggressively). I hated it. Opening up is no longer impossible for me, but I really like to be in control of what I share.

Does he have a place/space in his life where he feels absolutely comfortable with himself? Ask him sometime if you could come with him to that place. Preferably alone, with no one else to "judge" him except you. Don't be surprised if it's far out in the wilderness somewhere. Open up a little, don't think too much about it, just try to be natural. You want him to feel natural about your friendship, too. That's what I would've appreciated.
 

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Honestly, if it were me, the more open you were with me, the more I would feel comfortable with you. It's not easy for me to trust, because I am always, always betrayed/hurt, so it just seems like a stupid thing for me to do, but I will anyway if someone is genuine, open, honest, patient, and understanding with me. It usually takes a good bit of time and reassurance, though, and I have been known to "test" people quite a bit, before I do really open up. A part of me is always reserved, but I don't think it has to be that way. I just have to meet someone with whom I can really be comfortable. They're just rare, such folks.
 

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Personally i don't like it when my friends leave all the initiating to me, because then it seems like they have no interest in me, especially if they were the ones to inititate stuff before, could seem like you've backed off. But that might just be me.
that's understandable. but the thing is that INFP's among other types as well rarely express interest by initiating. perhaps only when you bring up something that pokes at an INFP's Ne function. but even then, Ne is a reading function whereas Ni is a writing function. I don't purposefully setup the events around myself even if I want to when it comes to gaining information in the form of conversation, I simply respond to what has already been established if at all.

I show interest by listening and responding. If I don't find something interesting I don't listen to it. But even if I find something interesting, if nobody brings it up I'm not going to.
 
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I'm very trusting and it bites me in the ass more often than not. I assume the best of most people I know (strangers are another matter).
 
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If a close, opposite-sex friend were to completely open up to me I would feel honored. They would have to be pretty direct about what they were doing though. Something like, "Jon, I feel like I can trust you with so and so, would you listen or talk with me about it?" If a friend approached me that way, they could say literally anything and I would be very open to listen and give feedback. Don't do it in a group though, I can't let down my defenses in front of more than one or two people at most.
 

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I tend to find it difficult to trust someone but I'm an overly paranoid person so ignore me ^^. I feel like I trust most people on a basic level meaning that I don't always assume they're out to get me, but a deeper level of trust where I actually share my insecurities and feelings? The person would have to earn it... not that I'm a prize or anything :tongue: . I think I just have this irrational fear of being embarassed or ashamed. So yeah trust isn't completely impossible...

For your case, I'd say you should be honest but maybe not too much at once. I'd say it's already a pretty good thing that he's hugging you this often and that you shouldn't be scared to initiate contact with him but maybe just ask him if he minds it since he's your supervisor.
 

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If someone would try to pull it out of me, I would most likely run away. Actually, now I remember a time when somebody tried to do just that (aggressively). I hated it.
I've had a friend practically insist I told her stuff and she'd patiently listen to me stammer my way through it and then ask for more. ... I found it flattering though, and a positive experience. Maybe it is matter of degree?

If a close, opposite-sex friend were to completely open up to me I would feel honored. They would have to be pretty direct about what they were doing though. Something like, "Jon, I feel like I can trust you with so and so, would you listen or talk with me about it?" If a friend approached me that way, they could say literally anything and I would be very open to listen and give feedback. Don't do it in a group though, I can't let down my defenses in front of more than one or two people at most.
For sure. If someone comes to me and indicates explicitly that there is something important to them on their mind they want to talk about, I completely shift gears.

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Really the only thing I can suggest is that if you try to talk about something personal to you and he tries to change the topic, let him know explicitly but not aggressively that talking about that thing is your preference. Anxiety causes people to change topics more often than not, and you don't have to let that stop you. If you really are friends then don't worry about it. I don't want to advocate a strategy that hasn't necessarily a great record for me, but you've got to tell people what you want and get answers from them when you're not sure what's going on. Ambiguity is a deceitful ally.
 

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I'm always more open when I don't see the person and don't have to talk. With this screen between myself and everyone else, it's easy for me to express what I think. I have time to think out what I say, riddle it with hints if I want, and it just feels less like I'm putting myself out there, even though it actually reveals more. If you can get like an aim thing going or facebook messaging, there's a good chance you'll get somewhere.

If you want that to carry over to actual conversation, well leave it hanging with something to think about and bring it up. That's how people have gotten me to express myself.
 

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I'll chime in with a word: "Patience"

You're going to need it if he's anything like me.

I trust the general populous to a certain degree.

I just don't let myself be vulnerable around other people. It might be due to a history of disappointment. I dunno.
 

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I trust people on the surface very easily. I love people very easily, as well. I can love someone and trust them with some of my secrets, but there are very few people that I feel comfortable telling my inner most thoughts and opinions. I'm dating an ENTP and she often wants to have deep philosophical conversations and discuss her ideas about the world. It's not that I don't have ideas about the world, I just find it very hard to discuss them with her. Maybe it's because I'm afraid she'll try to start debating them. I made the mistake of mentioning how it's very difficult for me to tell most people what I really think, my closest views and opinions. I think I upset her, because she just stopped talking. I felt really horrible, because it's nothing against her. I love her and trust her in almost every way. But I find I'm usually only okay with opening my closest thoughts to other INFPs.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I want to thank everyone for their honest posts - you have all given me advice to consider. I believe one word sums it up for me and it's something HannahDanielle said: Patience.

Sometimes I get frustrated because I desire to talk about deep inner stuff - while I'm a private person and selective about what I share with whom, I possess a need to communicate. My friend and I have much in common, not so much our life experiences (we are quite the opposite in that respect) but in how we act/react to situations. Our personalities are very alike. So a natural understanding exists between us. The trouble is, he is reticent about expressing emotion and so am I. Unless I am very close to someone, I am not articulate about my feelings; instead, I show them through acts of kindness/service. Sometimes I long to be completely honest with him ... but, unfortunately, I typically mirror others. If they're shy, I'm shy. If they're emotionally repressed, I tend to be, too. In this respect I'm very like you INFPs, aren't I? A chameleon!

When two people are emotionally inhibited, communication can be quite frustrating. At least for me; he seems perfectly content with the status quo. I keep reading that INFPs are deeply emotional creatures but I sure don't see it! Over time I've invested time and money into the friendship - buying/making him little gifts, cooking him meals, planning our outings, driving him places, helping him move, etc. but he doesn't reciprocate in the same manner. I also initiated much of our contact. Lately, however, I've pulled back.

After all, we now work some of the same shifts together - he's my new supervisor. Because my shifts vary, we now see each other 1 to 5 days a week, although we don't get in much personal conversation. He was busy this summer moving - twice! - and was too tired and stressed to meet as we used to, most Saturdays. I understood. But now? Things are fairly back to normal for him. He said as much a few days ago. So maybe he'll want to hang out again? At this point I've decided to wait for the invite.

Because he's a guy, I can't help but expect him to take the initiative. (And this despite the fact we're just friends.) All the time? Of course not. After all, I believe in equality. But 50% of the time would be nice. (Is that possible for you INFPs?) For a while I wanted assurances from him that he regarded me as a good friend. I really enjoyed his companionship and hoped it was mutual. Were those assurances forthcoming? Nah. Certainly not verbally. With him I have to read between the lines, which, by the way, I hate doing ... with anyone. Even so, I've finally come to realize that, yes, he does care. But I wonder whether he will ever say as much. Do you INFPs ever eventually open up about your feelings? Or should I be satisfied with things as they are?

I keep telling myself not to expect anything different from him. Maybe this is all he can give me. Considering all the damaging relationships he's endured and considering that I am strictly off limits (he's single, I'm not), I really shouldn't wonder at his reticence, should I?

I know he does trust me, obviously not with the deep emotional stuff, but he has shared some personal experiences, not all of which were flattering. In other words, he doesn't try to put on airs with me or make himself look heroic. So I guess that's a good thing?

(By the way, my husband is okay with this friendship. I love my husband very much; we've been together 21 years and I don't keep secrets from him. At first he was apprehensive but then as time went on and it became obvious my friend was 100% respectful of my prior commitment, my husband relaxed. My friend has not once flirted with me; I find that very honoring. Perhaps it helps that he is 19 years older, close to retirement age.)

Do any of you have ISFP friends?

Thanks for listening. :happy:
 

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I'll chime in with a word: "Patience"

You're going to need it if he's anything like me.
That has been my experience with my best friend. It took a long time, lots of patients, a true desire to only receive what info he was ready to share and not pry for more, opening up and sharing my own experiences and feelings, and relaxing around him so he could relax around me.

And I don't know how to express how much it was worth it...
 

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Sometimes I actually need to be more cautious, I am naturally quite trusting and like to believe that people are generally not that bad. I do have moments when I know that I shouldn't trust someone though, it's like an alarm bell goes off inside and I know that the person is a little off somehow and to be careful.
 
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