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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay so here's the deal - my ex-bestfriend/boyfriend is an ISFJ, and I need help understanding him. It's been over a year since he cut me out of his life, but I know for a fact that he still cares about me... But he refuses to talk to me, and I don't know what to do. It's a bit of a long story, so I don't want to type it all out if no one will read it, but you lot all seem very kind and helpful, so if anyone is interested in discussing it, please say so. I would be eternally grateful!

I love this boy more than I can describe and I would do anything to help him, but I just don't know how... :sad:
 

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I'd be curious to hear some more about this, particularly why it is that you two broke up and why he doesn't want to talk to you any more.

I will say that it's hard to say how much I'd be able to help...I only know what's true for me, not all ISFJs. On the other hand, I always get comfort when I talk to someone on PerC who's the same type as someone that I care about and don't know how to talk to them about something, so I might be able to say something that could at least help your own state of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Did you have any conflicting values or goals? Something where he might have thought it wouldnt work out in the long term?
I don't believe so... Though there are a couple things he may have felt that way about I guess. I'll give more details, but it will have to wait until a bit later tonight when I have more time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So here’s the first part of the story…
ISFJ and I were absolute best friends throughout high school. We were inseparable. Although we always said that we were just friends, I think it was a case where we both wanted to be more than friends but each thought it was one-sided. Well, we went off to different schools after graduating, but of course we kept in touch via facebook/texts/calls/skype/email/snail mail, so it was not too bad, but it was obvious we really missed each other.

By the time Christmas break came around, we couldn’t wait to see each other. We made all kinds of plans for our reunion and how we were going to spend the break. When we saw each other, it was so amazing. We just hugged for a couple minutes straight haha. We were constantly together over break and we became closer than ever. I think it was because we had never been apart for more than maybe a week and we both just finally realized how much we needed each other. We had some really deep heart to hearts, which was great because he very rarely talked seriously about his feelings, even with me. (He told me I was the only person he ever opened up to.)

He asked me to be his girlfriend on Christmas, and of course I agreed, since we had basically been a couple for a while, just without calling it that. Not much really changed, but I think it just made both of us so happy to know that our feelings were mutual and that no one was about to come between us. So Christmas break was amazing, and although we were sad to go back to school, I was sure we could handle it since we had such a good friendship as a foundation and had been through some shit together already (including the deaths of both my dad and my brother.)

We kept in touch throughout spring semester and he seemed really excited to see me again when school was out. When I saw him the first time, though, I knew something was off right away. I knew better than to pry with him though so I tried to ignore it, thinking it would pass or he would tell me when he was ready. Not so. We had only hung out the first few days of break when he just disappeared. He deleted his facebook and wouldn’t answer my calls or texts, even though he had said he needed to talk to me about something. We didn’t have a fight or anything, but this went on for days, and then weeks.

I had no idea what to do, so I talked to his older sister on facebook and she told me that she couldn’t get anything out of him. I told her I was afraid he wanted to break up with me but didn’t want to say it, but she said she was sure it wasn’t that. She said she thought it was something about school and that he didn’t want to tell me because he really cared what I thought of him. So I thought maybe he had done poorly that semester and was depressed. He’s such a perfectionist and holds himself to really high standards, and then beats himself up about it if he can’t meet them.

Well I waited and waited, knowing that there was no use trying to get him to talk before he was ready, but more than a month went by with nothing. Finally I texted him and asked if I had done something wrong to make him unhappy with me. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) “No, it’s nothing you did. I wanted to do this in person, but I think we need to break up.” I had been half expecting that, so I asked if we would still be friends. This was his exact reply: “Of course! Life would be sad without you!”

I was really sad, but I thought I would be okay if we could at least stay friends. But he continued to ignore me. If I wanted to talk to him I had to text him first, and then he might reply. He said he “just needed space” and that he wasn’t talking to anyone else either. (Which I knew to be true since we have the same friends.) He said he had some “life changing” things happen and he needed time to “decide what to do now.” He refused to tell me more than that, and the whole summer passed that way, and I went back to school. For months and months I was depressed and worried about him, wishing I could at least help, but he wouldn’t even let me try. I had no idea what was going on or what had happened that could be so bad.
 

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Hmmm.....this is a tough situation because it's really hard to tell what's gone on in his mind. It does sound like it's an issue that has nothing to do with you; it sounds like he's going through something that's really really tough for him. It would almost be nice to be able to get some more information out of his family about it, so that you would know what's going on.


Because I'm not sure if he's in the right state of mind to hear what I think would be very helpful for him to hear from you.


If he was an ISFJ in the proper state of mind, I think he would be delighted to hear some of the things that you've mentioned in this thread about how you feel about him. I think it would make him feel very good to know that you felt like you needed him and were very unhappy without him. I also think it would help him to hear that you would love him just as much no matter what he did, and that even though you're touched that he cares so much about what you think of him, that you love him just the same, through thick and thin, no matter what he did. It sounds like he's scared you tell you about this because he thinks you'll think less of him and that would make him feel even worse.


The problem is...he may not be in a good state of mind to hear all of this. It might make him feel guilty for not talking to you and make him feel even worse, like he's pressured to talk to you just to make you feel better.



So...I don't know, it sounds like something is going on that transcends type. It's hard for me to say anything else without knowing more about his mental state and what happened.


Hopefully he will be able to work through this and get back to a right state. If he does, and if you still feel for him what you do now, I think it sounds like there's a good chance he would respond positively to it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your response! I agree with all of that, and I also agree that it's about more than type, but I figured other ISFJs might be able to better understand the way he would think about things...

The thing is, that isn't the whole story... All of that happened last spring, and a lot of things have happened since - I was just too tired to type it all up last night. Talking about this is a bit draining for me... Again, I don't have time at the moment, but I wanted to say I really appreciate your willingness to help. I'll add the rest of the story later today when I have some time...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry for the delay... I had a really weird weekend. Anyway, I’ll continue the story for anyone who is still interested...

I started my second fall semester, and we were still not talking. I had texted him a couple of times, several weeks in between, just to ask how he was doing, but I basically only got one word answers that told me nothing, so by the end of the semester I had all but given up. Before Christmas break, my mom told me she had run into him at the store, and he actually talked to her. He told her he had quit school and was staying in town to work. This worried me because it seemed so unlike him. He is very smart and had always liked school, not to mention the fact that I couldn’t imagine him just quitting, being such a perfectionist.

So I texted him, though I didn’t expect much. I just said my mom told me about running into him and asked if he was okay. He replied by saying, “Yeah I’m fine. I’m just trying to make major life decisions here, no biggie.” All I did was ask if he was alright because I was worried! I told him that and said I just didn’t know what to expect from him, since he’d told me he still wanted to be friends, but it definitely didn’t seem like it.


Basically all he said was that he didn’t want any friends right now. (Though I knew he was still hanging out with one person - a mutual friend.) I ended up getting a bit angry and “apologized” for being stupid enough to believe him when he told me he still wanted to be friends. Maybe that was a bit harsh, idk, but I was feeling hurt and betrayed. He didn’t reply, which I expected, and that remains the last time we've spoken. I didn’t see him over Christmas break, though I have run into his mom a couple times. She’s always nice and stops to talk to me.

Then this summer I was hanging out with the one mutual friend he still hangs out with (they’re gaming buddies) and she (I’ll call her J) told me that he said he wanted to get back in touch with me. J asked why he didn’t just do it, and he said he thought that I was angry and/or hated him. He actually wanted her to tell me to get ahold of him first. I was shocked but relieved to know that he was doing okay and still apparently cared about me. But I knew I would regret it if I went along with it and contacted him first, after months of doing so to no avail. I told J to tell him that I wasn’t angry, that I did want to talk to him, but that he would have to contact me first. He told her he would, but has not done so. it’s been about two months now, and I’ve heard nothing from him. J says that she asks him occasionally why he doesn’t just text me or something, but he just says that he will do it. Who knows when. Or if. :(


Most recently, he told her that he’s had recurring dreams of getting back together with me. So it can’t be that he really doesn’t want to see me, right? I don’t understand why he is acting this way. Yeah, maybe he feels guilty about the way that he treated me, but he’s already been told that I’m not angry and that I want to talk to him!

So what I’m really asking is this:

1) Why does he refuse to contact me despite claiming that he wants to and knowing that I want to talk?

2) Should I cave in and contact him? I don’t want to do this because I feel it will make him think that I’m “over it” or something, which I definitely am not. I also don’t want to have to doubt whether he actually wanted to get in touch... But I have less than a month left before I go back to school - over a thousand miles away.

3) Generally, what should I do? On the one hand I’ve waited this long for him and I don’t want to give up now, but on the other hand, how long am I supposed to keep waiting? Is it worth it? If I thought he needed/wanted me, I would be willing to wait for any amount of time... But I’m afraid he just doesn’t care as much as I do...

Some people tell me to go ahead and “move on,” but assuming I could even do that, I’m afraid it will turn into one of those infamous INFJ “doorslams” and even I won’t be able to reverse it. (I’ve done this to one person who was once a close friend, and even though I’ve forgiven her now, I’ve never spoken to her since, and I don’t expect to.)


Anyway, any advice or insight would be enormously appreciated...
 

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Well I waited and waited, knowing that there was no use trying to get him to talk before he was ready, but more than a month went by with nothing. Finally I texted him and asked if I had done something wrong to make him unhappy with me. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) “No, it’s nothing you did. I wanted to do this in person, but I think we need to break up.” I had been half expecting that, so I asked if we would still be friends. This was his exact reply: “Of course! Life would be sad without you!
My best friend is an ISFJ, and I've known a few others. That bold statement is a huuuuge load of total bull shit. ISFJ's are agreeable, especially younger ones. You get them into a conversation and you can twist and influence them... this is why they'll often avoid conversations when there's conflict. He had no real intention of continuing to be your friend, he only said that to not hurt you... many ISFJ's would rather save face and minimize conflict, than tell the truth.

Now, if you confronted one about this, they'll likely deny they're doing it. In fact, I am certain they would. The thing is if you view it in the light I view it, it doesn't allow them to save face... the only way to save face when viewing themselves is to warp their perceptions and viewpoint of themselves.

They do this because they put so much pressure on themselves to be perfect... but they can't be. So things like denial and perspective warping are mentally healthy endeavors for them.


I was really sad, but I thought I would be okay if we could at least stay friends. But he continued to ignore me.
Hahah, I hadn't read this yet when I posted my response above. So yes, I was right.

He said he had some “life changing” things happen and he needed time to “decide what to do now.” He refused to tell me more than that, and the whole summer passed that way, and I went back to school. For months and months I was depressed and worried about him, wishing I could at least help, but he wouldn’t even let me try. I had no idea what was going on or what had happened that could be so bad.
Quit worrying about him. You both sound like immature youths, and I'm not blaming you for this... but you have to realize most people at college age just aren't suitable for a lasting relationship.

I had a roommate in college. He hooked up with a girl online that lived near his home town. He spent at least 3 hours every day talking to her. He visited her every chance he had. He spent more time talking and pouring his soul into her, than I spent playing video games... which was rather remarkable.

My nerdy roommate and I (I'm a nerd too), told him repeatedly that he was wasting his time because even we knew from her behavior that his relationship would never work out.

After about 4 or 5 months of this, she just hooked up with a guy who didn't bother talking much to understand who she was (like our roommate did.) Rather she picked a guy who treated her poorly, but would screw her good. Our roommate was just acting as her emotional tampon, and continued to talk to her after she met this other guy.

So I understand it's hard, but sometimes we just have to accept that the people we may love are at a state in their development that prevents them from being in a relationship with us.

Oh and sorry to be so harsh in my post... just you get older and more calloused about relationships.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@Razare - Thanks for your response. You do have some good points.

That bold statement is a huuuuge load of total bull shit. ISFJ's are agreeable, especially younger ones. You get them into a conversation and you can twist and influence them... this is why they'll often avoid conversations when there's conflict. He had no real intention of continuing to be your friend, he only said that to not hurt you... many ISFJ's would rather save face and minimize conflict, than tell the truth.
Yeah I knew that about him, and I've experienced it many times, so I did have it in mind when he said that... But (though I agree partly that he was doing it to avoid conflict) I also really think that he still wanted to be friends, just not at that time. He has since admitted that he only cut himself off from everyone because he was upset about school and didn't want to face anyone. I'm not saying he wanted to talk to me or see me, but I don't believe he meant for it to be a permanent thing.

They do this because they put so much pressure on themselves to be perfect... but they can't be. So things like denial and perspective warping are mentally healthy endeavors for them.
Yeah this seems to be true...

Quit worrying about him. You both sound like immature youths, and I'm not blaming you for this... but you have to realize most people at college age just aren't suitable for a lasting relationship.
I won't say I'm not immature, because I know that I am in a lot of respects haha, but I will say that I'm not just about to stop worrying about him. It's not as if worrying is something I do deliberately; I'm a worrier on my best days, and that's not about to change. I can't just turn it off, as much as I'd like to. I agree with you on the lasting relationship bit, and I guess I didn't really talk about this, but I'm less worried about our "relationship" than I am about our friendship. I have very few close friends, (as in I can count them on one hand) and I was worried about him as you would be for a best friend who was clearly going through a difficult time in his life. This wasn't based just on my interactions with him - I was in touch with his older sister as well, who could tell he was depressed. Of course I was worried for more selfish reasons too, but really, I am an INFJ, and it's very difficult for me to be happy when someone that I care about clearly isn't.

I don't think the example of your friend quite fits, since in my case, we had been best friends with no romantic feelings (at least on my part) for several years before we ever started dating, so we were already quite close, and had a strong basis of trust. Also, unlike the girl your friend was seeing, my ISFJ friend hasn't been seeing other people. Basically the only people he's been hanging out with this entire time are his sister and one of our mutual friends.

Oh and sorry to be so harsh in my post... just you get older and more calloused about relationships.
Apology accepted haha. It's not a problem... I know how it is - I'm actually a bit calloused myself when it comes to some things - just not this type of relationship, as I've made painfully obvious to myself and everyone else haha...

Again, thanks for your input. Even if I don't agree with everything, it's an outside perspective, which is what I was looking for.
 

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I won't say I'm not immature,
Neither will I, it's overrated! :D

I have very few close friends, (as in I can count them on one hand) and I was worried about him as you would be for a best friend who was clearly going through a difficult time in his life.
Yeah, I understand that. I'm the type of person who will help almost anyone who asks for it... so I can get snagged into worrying over people when it doesn't make any logical sense to. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In case anyone is still interested, the ISFJ finally contacted me yesterday, at a mutual friend's urging, and we ended up having a two hour phone conversation last night. We talked through a lot of things, and I can already tell that he is much more mature than he was a year ago when I last spent time with him. For example, last year he would have done what you were talking about, @Razare, and just said what he thought I wanted to hear/whatever would avoid conflict. Last night we actually talked about that directly, and a lot of things he said were what I needed to hear rather than just what I wanted to hear, so that's really good. For now we plan on taking things slowly and trying to rebuild our friendship as much as we can, this time with better communication.

I really appreciate everyone who took the time to read through this, and if anyone has advice for how to make a better relationship and avoid problems in the future, that would be awesome. I've never been in a situation quite like this before and some more experienced opinions would be really helpful. :)
 

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My best friend is an ISFJ, and I've known a few others. That bold statement is a huuuuge load of total bull shit. ISFJ's are agreeable, especially younger ones. You get them into a conversation and you can twist and influence them... this is why they'll often avoid conversations when there's conflict. He had no real intention of continuing to be your friend, he only said that to not hurt you... many ISFJ's would rather save face and minimize conflict, than tell the truth.

Now, if you confronted one about this, they'll likely deny they're doing it. In fact, I am certain they would. The thing is if you view it in the light I view it, it doesn't allow them to save face... the only way to save face when viewing themselves is to warp their perceptions and viewpoint of themselves.

They do this because they put so much pressure on themselves to be perfect... but they can't be. So things like denial and perspective warping are mentally healthy endeavors for them.

All in all I think this is very true for ISFJs. I think part of the problem is that when these kinds of things come up, we're usually caught off guard, and it's our natural response not to hurt people, even if it means being dishonest (or at least not completely honest). So we can have a huge tendency to say things that aren't true not to hurt people. Sometimes we even actually do things we don't want to do just to avoid hurting someone.

I do think we're usually better about this if we have time to prepare for it, however. If we know that we have to hurt someone, if we can build up and kind of figure out a way to be truthful and yet tactful, then we're a lot better at saying what needs to be said.

And of course, there are plenty of times when we truly do mean all of the positive things that we say/feel...it's not like we lie all of the time.



In case anyone is still interested, the ISFJ finally contacted me yesterday, at a mutual friend's urging, and we ended up having a two hour phone conversation last night. We talked through a lot of things, and I can already tell that he is much more mature than he was a year ago when I last spent time with him. For example, last year he would have done what you were talking about, @Razare, and just said what he thought I wanted to hear/whatever would avoid conflict. Last night we actually talked about that directly, and a lot of things he said were what I needed to hear rather than just what I wanted to hear, so that's really good. For now we plan on taking things slowly and trying to rebuild our friendship as much as we can, this time with better communication.

I really appreciate everyone who took the time to read through this, and if anyone has advice for how to make a better relationship and avoid problems in the future, that would be awesome. I've never been in a situation quite like this before and some more experienced opinions would be really helpful. :)

I'm glad that it sounds like it's working out ok. I agree with you that it's good to keep hold of the true friends that you have, even if there are periods where you don't speak or if problems pop up. Hopefully he's worked through some of the issues he's had, and hopefully he'll be able to be honest with you going forward.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
All in all I think this is very true for ISFJs. I think part of the problem is that when these kinds of things come up, we're usually caught off guard, and it's our natural response not to hurt people, even if it means being dishonest (or at least not completely honest). So we can have a huge tendency to say things that aren't true not to hurt people. Sometimes we even actually do things we don't want to do just to avoid hurting someone.

I do think we're usually better about this if we have time to prepare for it, however. If we know that we have to hurt someone, if we can build up and kind of figure out a way to be truthful and yet tactful, then we're a lot better at saying what needs to be said.

And of course, there are plenty of times when we truly do mean all of the positive things that we say/feel...it's not like we lie all of the time.
In my experience, all of this seems to be true. I don't think most ISFJs deliberately deceive people or anything... They just really want to avoid causing any sort of conflict or upset, even though sometimes conflict is necessary. I get that - I think most of us INFJs often do the same.


I'm glad that it sounds like it's working out ok. I agree with you that it's good to keep hold of the true friends that you have, even if there are periods where you don't speak or if problems pop up. Hopefully he's worked through some of the issues he's had, and hopefully he'll be able to be honest with you going forward.
He's actually been seeing a therapist for about a month now, and apparently she's already made a lot of progress with him, but they're still working on some things. Obviously this takes time, but since I know he's doing what he can to make things better, I have no problem waiting. And I totally agree about trying to keep friends. I have never had a better friend than him, and I'm not about to just give up on that when there's a chance of repairing things between us.
 

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I am an INFJ, and it's very difficult for me to be happy when someone that I care about clearly isn't.
Well said... and I think you are very mature. If my ISFJ son ever pulled this disappearing stunt on me I'd track him down and verbally blast him for it. I've done something similar to him once for an equally offensive judgment he tossed on me. We're good now, and I'm glad I didn't let him get away with it... I overlooked other things with him when he was younger because I was intimidated by his opinions; I respect him a great deal but I've learned to cherish myself as he should, too (I am his mom for goodness sake & this just proves that ability the ISFJ's have to be tough).
 
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