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Hello, ENFJ's!

Okay, so my boyfriend and I have been together about five months now. He's amazing. Probably one of the best people I've ever come across while wandering this world. We get along very well. I rarely get upset with him, and if I do, its very minimal and we usually resolve it right away. We are in a long distance relationship, and only get to see each other for about a week each month, but I've never trusted someone like I do my ENFJ, so my worries are pretty much nonexistent. We Skype every night, text during the day, and are always in constant contact. He never fails to reassure me of his love, and never lets a day go by without showing some sort of verbal affection.

Now, I'm an XNFP... I know that might seem weird to some of you, but I relate so well to both INFP's and ENFP's that it really just depends on the day or who I choose to socialize with. This may or may not have to do with my INFP sister... but thats another story. When I'm around my ENFJ lover, I tend to be more introverted, which makes sense because we find a sort of balance, but I have my extroverted days. He's usually the dominant one (which I've heard is quite frequent in ENFJ males) and I tend to like him taking the lead... which is very unusual because with most others I'm always seen as the leader. Its a nice and relaxing change for once. He's very protective. Whenever we go anywhere he's always touching me in some sort of way or holding my hand and leading the way.

The only issue I find us having is that of conversation and depth... and even then, I don't think that's the right words for it. Let me explain:

I love deep conversation. I live for it, especially with the person I love the most. For those of you who are well versed on enneagram types, I'm a 4w3. I'm also a classically trained violinist, and literally live to emote my life through my instrument. For me, finding that inner passion and trying to explain it is crucial. I look for a deeper meaning in everything (which sometimes, I find, leaves me feeling very unsettled)

My ENFJ lover, on the other hand, loves to talk! In the beginning of our relationship he did it all for us, and I just contently listened. He still does, but more recently, since I'm now completely comfortable around him, I tend to want to do more of the conversing... basically about anything that catches my interest, haha. That's a total ENFP trait... I get so excited about things and become obsessed and need to share my excitement with him... which is where my problem begins. We're great communicators on most levels except one's that require a deep and long assesment.

He does listen, don't get me wrong, but most of the time, since it's over Skype I can tell he just zones me out after a few minutes and it really hurts my feelings! He'd rather watch a movie than talk about life and passionate topics. This goes for more important matters too. I've been going through a rough patch for the past year, trying to figure out what to do with my life and pick a different college, and its caused me some major anxiety and depression. I've been having the worst panic attacks lately, and just needed him to be there emotionally... and when I finally told him (I've kept it in a very long time) he listened for a moment and then fell asleep! That kind of caused an emotional breakdown in me. I'm a very private person and don't ever tell people how I'm feeling inside, and when I finally told the one person who I thought I could completely count on, I got shut down.

Trust me, I told him how much he'd hurt me the next day. He said his usual, "I love you, I'm here for you... yada yada" but it never made me feel any better. He hasn't asked about my depression since. This has been going on for a while now. Whenever I try to talk about deeper things, he shuts down! It's like he expects all of life to be sunshine and rainbows, or black and white! We rarely skim below the surface. It is only on the rarest occasion that he lets me in to see the less superficial side of him. I know most ENFJ's only do that with their lovers, and I hold that in the highest regard, but how do I get him to listen to me more? Do we just need more time as a couple? Am I going about things the wrong way? I never feel unloved, but I do feel so alone sometimes.

Okay! Rant over.

Also... if this helps in a way, if it wasn't already kind of obvious haha, I'm definitely a Quality Time lover, while he's more of a Physical Touch. I need that eye contact and conversation while he's content just being next to me watching a movie.

Thank you for your time my lovely ENFJ friends :)

 

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Being alone with a partner is one of the rare times an ENFJ can let loose, do nothing, and just relax in somebody's company. The previous hours of the day were spent expending energy- usually on people. Don't get me wrong, but I'm sure he likes having those conversations with you, but are you constantly engaging him in this mode? Deep thought takes a lot of energy for Ni. So while you may experience powerful and engaging conversation, that was just a culmination of who knows how many hours of contemplation, and Ni may just be done for the day.
 

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I see where you're coming from. We usually only get to Skype at night, after he's done work or school and he's pretty exhausted. That takes a little ease off of my mind.
 

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Ne's purpose is to absorb different ideas and perspectives, possibilities and what not.

Ni wants to form them all, but it does so one at a time.

You are built to run through the garden and pick the flowers to smell. He is built to nurture and grow the plants until ready to pick.
 

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Being alone with a partner is one of the rare times an ENFJ can let loose, do nothing, and just relax in somebody's company. The previous hours of the day were spent expending energy- usually on people. Don't get me wrong, but I'm sure he likes having those conversations with you, but are you constantly engaging him in this mode? Deep thought takes a lot of energy for Ni. So while you may experience powerful and engaging conversation, that was just a culmination of who knows how many hours of contemplation, and Ni may just be done for the day.
I just recently noticed how much these differences can steer the interaction. My SO ENFJ is definitely in full relaxation mode when we spend time together, almost as if his brain is shut off. It's flattering, and frustrating sometimes! Sometimes I feel awkward when I want to engage in deeper conversation and know that maybe it's too much right now haha.
 

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I can relate to the Ne-Ni difference between me and my INFP. He throws out many ideas in one conversation, while I try to put them together or try to see how they are connected. When he jumps from idea to idea too much, I can't follow and my brain stuck. Or it may take me a few days' reflection to get back to him.

It helps if the Ni user can have more time, or can write to communicate. I convey deep thoughts much much more efficiently through writing.
 

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I agree with a lot of what @Eggsies said. I've had a lot of problems with my SO (who happens to be an IXTP) concerning him feeling that I often seem disengaged or in my own head, and as others have said, I look for SO time as a time to disengage....not all the time, of course, but much more than with the average aquaintance.

That being said, the other thing I thought of when you mentioned your revealing of your emotional state, as an Fi user, is that I wonder if he feels that his emotions are being tended to. Do you often ask him how things are going in his life on a deeper level? Or is it often about you.

The other thing about ENFJs that's important to note, is often they give and give and give, and really look for a few people to give back to them so they can feel fulfilled. Since you are his significant other, perhaps he wants to open up and share, but feels as though it's pointless, as you seem to occupy most of the emotional space?

Hope part of this was helpful to you in some way!
 

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I think it's important to understand the things you need from your SO and the things you want, but don't necessarily need.

If we were to compile a list of all the wants we have, I doubt any SO out there could fulfill ALL of them.
I crave intellectual stimulation. It's one of my needs. But do I need to get it from my significant other? Not necessarily. There are other INTPs, INFPs, what have you, who are happier conversing for hours about deep, serious topics. I get intellectual stimulation from reading books, from conversing on forums online, wherever I want to find it, really.

I think people sometimes mistakenly believe that what they need in life must be found in their mate. It's a bit unrealistic and it may be unnecessary. You can talk about these important matters with close friends, family, etc.
 

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I dated an ENFP for a long time and, even though I'm usually a great listener, sometimes he would really test my patience.

My J-ness makes me prefer communication that is succinct, to the point and progresses in a nice linear flow...if one thing can irk me, it's pointless drivel. Now my ENFP ex was full of brilliant ideas, but he was often horrible at presenting them...too many extraneous details and digressions, so the point would get lost in all the rambling. After a year or so, it became a bit tiring to sift through all this data to extract its essence...prolly this is a communication problem that is not rare between Ps and Js :)

In your case, what I see as the main issue is his unwillingness to face deeper (and thus potentially ˝darker˝) things. This is something I have frequently seen in ENFJs (and also INFJs sometimes)...we prize our happiness and equilibrium so much we are scared of anything that could disrupt it, and in order to cope develop a sort of ˝intentional superficiality˝. For a long time, I thought any bad feelings or thoughts were a sign of weakness, and that people who experienced bad moods were wimps that lacked self-control and liked to play victims. It took me a lot of growth to face some things deep inside me (the aforementioned ENFP helped a lot here) so that my happiness could become even greater once they were cleared :)

If your ENFJ is like this too, he might be totally overwhelmed by any mention of things like ˝anxiety˝ and ˝depression˝ because they are part of a dark, mysterious underworld he would rather pretend not existed. My suggestion is to try to lead him into the depths step by step, so he doesn't get scared :) Accessing his deeper (and darker) side may require a more subtle approach...developing intimate/deep conversation gradually by asking him the right questions, weighing his responses and then probing deeper with new ones. And try not to take it personally...I don't think his not listening has anything to do with not caring about you, but with his own fears and issues (as everything does) :)

I believe that Fi+Fe relationships have a huge potential to be mutually enriching: Fi can help us Fe-users become more aware of all the emotional stuff going on inside us, while we can help Fi-users develop an awareness of the stuff going on outside :)

I wish you a lot of luck :)
 

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The woman I was involved with who was an INFP...we never had much stability in our relationship. It was 70% awesome, and 30% of her running away and cutting me off.

I would say, that where it is true that at the end of a work day, our minds are maxed out and we don't have any capacity or energy to engage in an in depth conversation, it is not true that we want to be alone. Or are even doubted of our ability to connect on a deep emotional level. You may notice that something you said will be remembered, and it will be brought back up days later even when you may had not thought they were listening. Also, and this is true for me, writing in depth thoughts are very easy for us ENFJ's, any time. Guaranteed, there is a lot going on in our brains almost non-stop, and its usually not shallow surface thoughts.

On the other hand, I had to teach myself additional communication skills in regards to other listening. I'm more prone to talk on-and-on-and-on and not give people stage. It's nice to be listened too, but it is so valuable to share input with one another. What i've taught myself to do when talking with NFP's is, rather than completing a thought, I'll stop my thought in progress, and reach out for reciprocation. And then, I'll sit back and listen. If the topic stays on topic, then I can say some more later. But, often, it isn't necessary to say anymore...because mutual understanding is taking place! It's a beautiful thing. Or, the subject will completely change.

He is responsible for giving you space to share your thoughts. He's responsible for being sensitive to your needs in communication. You are responsible for not assuming he knows anything about you that isn't clearly communicated to him. No matter how deep the connection or how well you get along with each other, it is not smart to assume there is understanding of information or feelings that haven't been expressed. Discovering each others needs and then satisfying them is key to building trust, comfort, and harmony in the relationships we have. :) I wish and still hope that my NFP will come rejoin me for that purpose.
 

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Thank you all so much for your feedback! It is of great value!
Well, thanks for understanding. Part of why we're so secretive is that we know that some of our personal tendencies are going to conflict with people, and of course this applies to everybody, but we place a lot of importance on that kind of stuff. Yay avoidant personalities!
 
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@boxerkitty do you find it easier to engage in deep conversation with other ENFJs/enfj-like types? or is that type of interaction always lighthearted?
I am not sure how to answer this question, I enjoy having thoughtful conversation with all different people, and find it interesting that people are different. So, in general, I don't find ENFJs deeper or lighthearted than others. It has more to do with curiosity, knowledge, value and interest I guess. When I was young, I rarely have "deep" conversation with anyone, because I myself didn't think much. I think when ENFJs gets older, when their Ni develop more, they can be very different. I encountered/read posts of several older ENFJs, I can tell the difference.
 

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Some most excellent points brought up by previous posters. And thank you OP for posting such a great post.

My initial first impression is that he didn't mean to come across as so unsupportive. Sounds like you two are a fairly young couple and most likely he just has not had much practice talking about deeper, darker things. A lot of people do not have the proper skills to deal with depression or the pain of others. Is it because we live in a world that requires us to hide our authentic selves and adopt a pleasant social mask world? People lose themselves in their social mask but anywhoo, I digress . . .

Also, the timing of the Skype calls. Most likely it's best to talk about deeper things when you both are better rested than late night Skype calls. My INFJ guy was exhausted and not fully present and as alert as I would have liked him to be on our most recent Facetime call but I understand he's spent most of his energy this week at work and with roomies. Am I happy about the lack of presence and effort? Nope but at the same time, I understand it.

Also, I think it would be a good idea for you to bring up these concerns to him directly on how you would like more deep, meaningful conversations and how you would appreciate him being more supportive. Give him a few examples how you would like to be supported. You might be surprised at how well he will respond as it definitely sounds like he loves you and wants to please you.

Wishing you both the very best.
 

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Also, I think it would be a good idea for you to bring up these concerns to him directly on how you would like more deep, meaningful conversations and how you would appreciate him being more supportive. Give him a few examples how you would like to be supported. You might be surprised at how well he will respond as it definitely sounds like he loves you and wants to please you.
You all don't understand how much this insight has helped my relationship, so I will continue to thank you untill my fingers fall off and I can no longer type.

But Endless Rainbows, you were very right. I brought it up to him and he was quite surprised that'd I'd been feeling this way (I usually hide it when I'm upset unless its unbearable) But anyway, he now tries his hardest every night to ask me how my day/night was, and specifically ask me about how things are going. And god bless his soul, he even tries his hardest to pay attention to my erratic babbling... even when I've lost him after 10 minutes, haha.

Also, since he is such a social person and is literally always spreading himself too thin with putting others first, I have really tried, on my part, to be more understanding of his side of things. He lights up the room, and I have to learn to share my human lightbulb with the world, even if it means he's a bit dimmer for me when I get to chat with him. :)

Again, thank you!
 
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