[INFJ] ESFJ friend + INFJ friend = bad idea?

ESFJ friend + INFJ friend = bad idea?

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This is a discussion on ESFJ friend + INFJ friend = bad idea? within the INFJ Forum - The Protectors forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; My ESFJ friend is having issues with her INFJ boyfriend and decided to come to me and my sister for ...

  1. #1
    INTJ - The Scientists

    ESFJ friend + INFJ friend = bad idea?

    My ESFJ friend is having issues with her INFJ boyfriend and decided to come to me and my sister for help. Her boyfriend is quite a young/immature INFJ (in the way he's very easily influenced by his best friend, who is a very poor role model) and he's been quite thoughtless (letting my ESFJ friend walk to his house in the dark alone, not calling to see if she's ok when she seems upset etc.) - I know these are signs he's got stuff on his mind, but I'm wondering what I can do to help her.

    The main problem is she's getting insecure about him texting his ex-girlfriend all the time, right in front of her. To me, this shows he truly cares for her enough to let her see what he's doing, but to her, she thinks he's bored of her and wants to get back with his ex. I tried to explain this, but it didn't really get through. She also heard some of her flat mates talking about the ex, saying she was really pretty and stuff like that, which really bothered her. I personally don't get that kind of thing, but my ESFJ friend is very concerned with appearance (VERY concerned) and dresses up every time they go out, puts loads of makeup and perfume on etc. so that was the worst thing for her to hear. I also told her to ask him about it straight out, but she hasn't.

    Another issue is that he's not verbally affectionate. Another INFJ trait being they do rather than say - I told my ESFJ friend when he gives her a hug or pats her on the shoulder, it means more than saying 'I really like you' or something, but she didn't understand that.
    Overall, it seems like this relationship is a bad idea to me, as they just don't get each other, but my ESFJ friend is determined to keep it up and I don't want her to get hurt, so I'd like any advice on how to help her (and him) through it.

    I know my ESFJ friend is insecure (she has lots of insecurities, never really being asked out before - she thinks she's too unattractive, when, in fact, it was all because of her being too fake - overly happy, and stuff) and she's never been in a relationship before.

    My INFJ friend did ask her if she was ok and she said yes, but when he didn't call to check on her later, she got upset and came crying to me and my sister. Now she seems very stressed out and depressed (needs to be with people all the time, clingy, not wanting to do university work, trying to compete with all the girls around her etc.) so I'd like to get her back on track asap. I'm quite worried about her.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.



  2. #2
    INFJ - The Protectors

    The only way to help her with her relationship is to convince her to talk with her boyfriend. They need to figure this out together. If they can't even talk about things, then they have no business being in a relationship. It may sound harsh, but you and other people won't always be there to handle her relationships for her.

    Of course, as her friend you can support and help her to see in what ways she may be going about things the wrong way. It's always good to have someone to talk to and feel understood. I suggest you invite her over to hang out together, and bring up the topic. Let her know you care for her and understand how she feels, but also point out how part of what she's going through may be caused by her own attitude. Being tactful is of the essence here.

    What I'm really trying to say here is that you should help her grow and make yourself available as her friend, but you shouldn't try to co-manage her life (especially her romantic relationships). That's probably the worst thing you could do for her and her development as a person. Simply say it like it is, and if she is not willing to take action herself then the consequences are hers to deal with and learn from.

    My advice to you is to be aware of where your responsibility as a friend begins and ends. This is an invisible boundary that when crossed (in either direction) is detrimental to both yourself and your friend.
    Lost in Oblivion, the_BLOB and Llamarider thanked this post.

  3. #3
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Thanks for the input :)

    I'll try inviting her over soon. It might be awkward to bring it up, but hopefully, she'll tell me what's going on. I tend to feel like my friends are my children (lol) that I need to look after, but I never co-manage their lives (I don't have the time XD). It's just frustrating see their misunderstandings and only be able to point it out in a subtle way. I want to write a list of everything she's misunderstood but she wouldn't take that well.

    To be honest, it doesn't seem like the relationship is going to last: she's too insecure and he's too distant for her liking. I just hate waiting to see things fall apart.

  4. #4
    Unknown Personality

    Yeah I think communication is really important, especially with the S/N divide! I've been there and it's scary XD She needs to be VERY clear with him.

  5. #5
    INFJ - The Protectors

    My friendship with my ESFJ is probably one of the most emotionally validating friendships I've ever been in. So yes, it's possible, but like any relationship, it takes some doing to make it work.

    Because of their strong Fe, both INFJs and ESFJs have a tendency to hide their darker emotions behind a screen of not wanting to hurt the other person. An INFJ can see right through this (not sure if ESFJs are as adept at it), and if they're a little insecure, all sorts of questions pop up: "Why is she hiding this from me? Does she not trust me? Is she doing something untrustworthy?" So each will dance around trying to be kind, while getting on each others' nerves more and more.

    Direct communication is very important (it is in any relationship). Here, it sounds like the boyfriend is being a little thoughtless. I think it would help if he were to start showing her in his actions that he cared for her, like doing the calling, telling her clearly why he's still speaking with his ex-girlfriend, things like that. In some ways, it sounds like he's not ready to move on from that old relationship, and the ESFJ friend can tell, if only instinctually.

    In the same way, the ESFJ could be a little clearer with her feelings, and not try to fake them. Like saying okay when it sounds she really isn't--INFJs may be intuitive, but we still take people by their word. If you say it's okay, we're going to act like it's okay. I had to kind of confront my ESFJ friend on that a few times. "Is that what you feel...really?" and lots of emotional validation when she finally came out with whatever it was. (Or if she told me she didn't want to talk about it, I'd respect that--as that's finally being truthful, too.)

    I'm not sure what you could do to help bring about either of those things, as it's them who has to walk the walk, in the end. With my ESFJ friend, I think respecting her boundaries and teaching her to respect mine did a lot for how she handled herself with others. (She had just gotten out of a bad marriage and had had a close friend screw her over, so she was pretty insecure for a while.) It showed her what a friendship could be like, and she could then take what she learned and liked about our friendship and apply it to her other ones is she so wished.
    the_BLOB thanked this post.

  6. #6
    INFJ - The Protectors

    I would agree that they need to talk about it. If the ESFJ isn't willing to confront the issue then things are unlikely to change. Intuition does not make someone magically know that something is wrong, it just tends to help with seeing the different sides of an issue. I'm sure the INFJ would make great support for her, but only if he knows that she's really getting worked up about this and, more importantly, knowing for sure that it's about him rather than another issue that's bothering her.

    With some of things you say about him being thoughtless, it may be that he's the type (like I used to be) who agrees to a lot of things when suggested, so perhaps she keeps suggesting coming over to see him and he agrees to it, because he doesn't want to raise an objection, but doesn't feel strongly enough to turn round and say 'no, actually I'll come there instead'. With regards to the calling thing, I don't think that it's his job to fix it just because he's the guy. If she's going to tell him that things are fine then that's on her head because he's going to trust that she'll be honest with him unless she repeatedly shows him that he can't.

    The affection thing seems to be an issue with many strong introverts in general, I doubt you'll be able to convince the ESFJ otherwise but there's no reason he can't adapt if he thinks it's important to her, I know I've worked on being more verbally affectionate for girlfriends in the past and it became pretty natural after a while once I realised how important it can be for the both of us.

    Unfortunately I have a few questions that I hope don't offend you. First, it seems a little like you blame this friend of his for 'leading him astray', I don't know if that's inaccurate or not? What do you consider to make him a 'very poor role model'? It sounds a little dangerously like you're suggesting that his inherent INFJness should make him naturally better than he actually is, so there must be an outside influence. I apologise if I'm interpreting this completely incorrectly though.

    Last question is if you think this tendency to think of your friends as children may be clouding your view of this a little? When you take that viewpoint it's all too easy to feel subconsciously or consciously indignant that these 'kids need mother/father to fix it again', which can make it easier and more natural to judge friends for what seem like silly actions that they could easily avoid. I advise caution against having this attitude towards friends as often they can sense it better than you think. Again though, I could well be wrong so feel free to correct me if you think I'm getting this all wrong.

    Overall though I'm sorry to hear about the situation and I hope things improve. I know it sucks to see things fall apart for other people.

  7. #7
    INFJ - The Protectors

    Probably, yes.

    ESFJ's Fe can be overbearing to introverts. Their Si isn't really interested in abstract ideas, which INFJ's are full of. Their Ne, if well-developed, can be fun at times. Their inferior Ti can make them seem quite often as incredibly illogical creatures. From my experience with ESFJ's, they have little to no interest in intellectual discussion, and are usually more interested in your hair care routine or the brand of shoes you're wearing or repeating the same jokes over and over.

    I find ESFJ's tolerable at arm's length.
    the_BLOB thanked this post.

  8. #8
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Thanks for the responses :)

    Quote Originally Posted by luzluna View Post
    Probably, yes.

    ESFJ's Fe can be overbearing to introverts. Their Si isn't really interested in abstract ideas, which INFJ's are full of. Their Ne, if well-developed, can be fun at times. Their inferior Ti can make them seem quite often as incredibly illogical creatures. From my experience with ESFJ's, they have little to no interest in intellectual discussion, and are usually more interested in your hair care routine or the brand of shoes you're wearing or repeating the same jokes over and over.

    I find ESFJ's tolerable at arm's length.
    I get on pretty well with my ESFJ friend (except for the fact she doesn't tell the truth about certain things) and her boyfriends tends to go out with ESxJs, so he must like something about that sort of personality too :) I do find it hard to see if they have anything in common, but before he started texting his ex all the time, they were pretty happy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aizar View Post
    Direct communication is very important (it is in any relationship). Here, it sounds like the boyfriend is being a little thoughtless. I think it would help if he were to start showing her in his actions that he cared for her, like doing the calling, telling her clearly why he's still speaking with his ex-girlfriend, things like that. In some ways, it sounds like he's not ready to move on from that old relationship, and the ESFJ friend can tell, if only instinctually.

    In the same way, the ESFJ could be a little clearer with her feelings, and not try to fake them. Like saying okay when it sounds she really isn't--INFJs may be intuitive, but we still take people by their word. If you say it's okay, we're going to act like it's okay. I had to kind of confront my ESFJ friend on that a few times. "Is that what you feel...really?" and lots of emotional validation when she finally came out with whatever it was. (Or if she told me she didn't want to talk about it, I'd respect that--as that's finally being truthful, too.)

    I'm not sure what you could do to help bring about either of those things, as it's them who has to walk the walk, in the end. With my ESFJ friend, I think respecting her boundaries and teaching her to respect mine did a lot for how she handled herself with others. (She had just gotten out of a bad marriage and had had a close friend screw her over, so she was pretty insecure for a while.) It showed her what a friendship could be like, and she could then take what she learned and liked about our friendship and apply it to her other ones is she so wished.
    Yeah, asking her to be straightforward is asking her to change her entire way of being (that sounds really harsh, but she's never really been straight with anyone). I did tell her to be honest with him, but I haven't talked to him yet, as we're not as close friends and I don't really want to bring the subject up. I'm hoping she'll talk to him about it and I've arranged to meet her soon to hopefully get an update. The unfortunate thing is, she's getting really, really stressed out over it all and it's making her suffer unnecessarily :(
    It does seem he's a bit hung-up on the ex, but he broke up with her for religious reasons (she had a very strict family) and I don't really see them getting back together, but he could have some regrets.

    Quote Originally Posted by IonOfAeons View Post
    Unfortunately I have a few questions that I hope don't offend you. First, it seems a little like you blame this friend of his for 'leading him astray', I don't know if that's inaccurate or not? What do you consider to make him a 'very poor role model'? It sounds a little dangerously like you're suggesting that his inherent INFJness should make him naturally better than he actually is, so there must be an outside influence. I apologise if I'm interpreting this completely incorrectly though.

    Last question is if you think this tendency to think of your friends as children may be clouding your view of this a little? When you take that viewpoint it's all too easy to feel subconsciously or consciously indignant that these 'kids need mother/father to fix it again', which can make it easier and more natural to judge friends for what seem like silly actions that they could easily avoid. I advise caution against having this attitude towards friends as often they can sense it better than you think. Again though, I could well be wrong so feel free to correct me if you think I'm getting this all wrong.

    Overall though I'm sorry to hear about the situation and I hope things improve. I know it sucks to see things fall apart for other people.
    No problem, I'm not offended, so don't worry :)

    For the first question: the friend has been with him since he was little and is a 'stronger' (can't think of a better word) personality than he is. It's not that he's never at fault, but lots of his actions mimic those of that friend, which leads me to believe he's heavily influenced, even subconsciously.

    For the second question: I never really get involved, even if I do feel 'motherly' toward my friends. I let them come to me if they need help, or may offer occasional advice if they say things that are bothering them. I'm not the kind of person to jam my nose into their business or manipulate them to do things the way I think they should. I say endlessly to my sister that people have to be left to make their own mistakes.
    The only reason I made the topic was for some reassurance and advice about what to do, as having them awkward around each other messes up the friend-group dynamic.


    Quote Originally Posted by tine View Post
    Yeah I think communication is really important, especially with the S/N divide! I've been there and it's scary XD She needs to be VERY clear with him.
    Yeah, there are a lot of misunderstandings there. Maybe Ns and Ss have differently wired brains or something? I tend to get on with Ss very well though :)
    Aizar thanked this post.

  9. #9
    INFJ - The Protectors

    Quote Originally Posted by laurie17 View Post
    No problem, I'm not offended, so don't worry :)

    For the first question: the friend has been with him since he was little and is a 'stronger' (can't think of a better word) personality than he is. It's not that he's never at fault, but lots of his actions mimic those of that friend, which leads me to believe he's heavily influenced, even subconsciously.

    For the second question: I never really get involved, even if I do feel 'motherly' toward my friends. I let them come to me if they need help, or may offer occasional advice if they say things that are bothering them. I'm not the kind of person to jam my nose into their business or manipulate them to do things the way I think they should. I say endlessly to my sister that people have to be left to make their own mistakes.
    The only reason I made the topic was for some reassurance and advice about what to do, as having them awkward around each other messes up the friend-group dynamic.
    Glad you weren't bothered by anything I said.

    Hmm interesting. The trouble with people who have been friends a long time though is that you can't always tell who has influenced who even when one seems stronger. However I'm digressing here...

    One thing I'm curious about, are you by any chance a social type (in terms of enneagram) because I've noticed that the 'for the sake of the group-dynamic' seems to be a more common thing for them to say. Your 9ness is totally coming out by the way . The whole 'I'm trying to hint at it but I don't want to come out and say it in case she doesn't like it' - classic conflict avoidance! (And we're awesome at that )

    As far as what you're saying about her tendencies, I understand why you're worried... If she won't face the issue properly she's just going to decline even further into her insecurities, I would say this is your main worry? Is there maybe someone who she might listen to if they laid down the truth to her? I can see you're reluctant to but perhaps someone needs to do it.

    I haven't seen anything here that suggests the relationship is doomed though. Every couple has their crises and misunderstandings. If it's her first proper relationship then she likely just needs the reassurance to get through. It just needs to be stressed to her that in a relationship, it's unfair to hold anything back from the other party. Would I be correct in thinking that she fakes a lot of things so she stays appearing 'happy and okay' with whatever the situation is? If this is the case then the best hope is making it clear that pretending things are fine will upset him far more than talking to him about what's bothering her. More importantly since it's her first real relationship, stress that there's nothing wrong with not feeling things are okay, that it's not because she's clueless about how a relationship should be, because there is no right way. She needs to understand that faking happiness will make things worse, but that being true about her unhappy feelings is not selfish and not something she has to ignore to keep things 'running smooth'.

  10. #10
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Quote Originally Posted by IonOfAeons View Post
    Glad you weren't bothered by anything I said.

    Hmm interesting. The trouble with people who have been friends a long time though is that you can't always tell who has influenced who even when one seems stronger. However I'm digressing here...
    I used to be seriously led by my sister, who was 'stronger' and more extroverted when we were younger. I got over it though. I'm going by the fact the friend acts first and the boyfriend mimics :)

    One thing I'm curious about, are you by any chance a social type (in terms of enneagram) because I've noticed that the 'for the sake of the group-dynamic' seems to be a more common thing for them to say. Your 9ness is totally coming out by the way . The whole 'I'm trying to hint at it but I don't want to come out and say it in case she doesn't like it' - classic conflict avoidance! (And we're awesome at that )
    Ack, yes! XD I thought I was becoming more sp, but I guess it was just the change from so/sx to so/sp! Yeah, I think the Fe combined with being a type 9 makes it even harder to say things that might upset others. So troublesome D:

    As far as what you're saying about her tendencies, I understand why you're worried... If she won't face the issue properly she's just going to decline even further into her insecurities, I would say this is your main worry? Is there maybe someone who she might listen to if they laid down the truth to her? I can see you're reluctant to but perhaps someone needs to do it.
    That's pretty much it, yes. I'm concerned the relationship will end without either of them realising what went wrong and both feeling awful about it. Her best friend (friend from when she was 7) is now at university in Wales :( They're absolutely miles away, so that friend can't really help. My sister might be able to make her listen, but it might upset her as well... the friend in Wales was a lot better at being blunt than me XD

    I haven't seen anything here that suggests the relationship is doomed though. Every couple has their crises and misunderstandings. If it's her first proper relationship then she likely just needs the reassurance to get through. It just needs to be stressed to her that in a relationship, it's unfair to hold anything back from the other party. Would I be correct in thinking that she fakes a lot of things so she stays appearing 'happy and okay' with whatever the situation is? If this is the case then the best hope is making it clear that pretending things are fine will upset him far more than talking to him about what's bothering her. More importantly since it's her first real relationship, stress that there's nothing wrong with not feeling things are okay, that it's not because she's clueless about how a relationship should be, because there is no right way. She needs to understand that faking happiness will make things worse, but that being true about her unhappy feelings is not selfish and not something she has to ignore to keep things 'running smooth'.
    I'm glad it doesn't look doomed :) I've never been in a relationship myself, so I can't use my own experience as an example. I hope she'll realise some stuff on her own, so I might leave it alone and see what happens for a couple of weeks, then, if they're still not working, I could try pointing some stuff out vaguely or something. I told her several times it's fine to get upset at him (as long as it's justified, of course) and to say if she's unhappy, but I know how hard that is, as I repressed my feeling for years when I was young and it took a good couple of years to work everything out after. It might take her just as long, if not longer, when she realises hiding her true feelings is a problem.
    I don't know how to cut up quotes, so I wrote in bold XD Sorry! Thanks for the response!


 
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