Monday, March 9, 2009

Good Advice from Dave [INFJ] about a Relationship

Dave DeVaughn [l], is our Meyers-Briggs expert for TheIntrovertzCoach website. Dave is happy to answer letters from site visitors. To see an index of all Dave's articles, CLICK HERE.

VM wrote:

I have read a lot of articles and researched for about 9 months, since I met this really amazing man through an online dating site. He is an INFJ. I am ISFJ/P. At first we thought were just alike, and since have come to understand that is not correct. We share similar morals, values and beliefs, even have a lot of the same habits, likes and dislikes.

In fact, we agree on most things.... when we talk about them. We have been apart this entire time, with only emails and phone calls once in a great while. Neither of us is too fond of the telephone. We used to chat some, but I think that was too big of a distraction for him. I kept him on the emotional side when he needed to be thinking about his work. At this time, we are each others best friend, I am his only friend and confidant.

I think I am coming to you simply because you are an INFJ and maybe you could give me one or two suggestions on how NOT TO OVERWHELM him once he gets here, or on the other hand, I also do not want him think that I do not appreciate and love him. The fact is, I can write down in email some of the things I have trouble saying out loud. I am an introvert, to help matters along, I am also painfully shy. I am working on that in my old age :)

I guess what I really want to know is . . . . would you understand the silence? I can and will extend my friendly side to him, but I am not sure I can make up for the awkward silences that always seem to follow. Will he understand if I just want to hold his hand and not talk? He is such a gentle soul and I never want to offend or leave him feeling like I don't care.

Maybe I am hoping you can give me insight in more than one way. You are civil engineer, he is a service/and lift engineer. I seem to attract or be attracted to men in that field. Odd.

Thanks for your time.



I usually start of all my responses with the disclaimer that I am not a psychologist or a therapist. In this case, I guess I better mention that I am also not a love guru. Relationships are just as difficult for me as they are for any Introvert.

In my opinion, there is something wrong with your situation as you describe it to me. First of all, most INFJ's are very outgoing and enjoy communicating with people. They are the most outgoing of all the Introverts and, in fact, are frequently mistaken for Extroverts. I do not understand your friends desire to minimize communication with you.

No phone calls or chatting tells me that he doesn't want unsolicited contact with you - the question is "why" he needs it to be that way. It certainly isn't because of his MBTI type. In my case, I almost always have FaceBook and Messenger on so that I can receive IM's. I put my personal cell phone number on my business cards so that I can be contacted. I do not hide from the world, I embrace it like so many INFJ's that I know.

It would be odd for an INFJ to place his work ahead of a personal relationship. Your research should have mentioned that INFJ's face the outside world with their Feeling function. Your friend chooses to communicate with you only when it is convenient for him - through emails. That does not make any sense to me, unless he is hiding something. Personally, I rarely email anyone because there is no personal touch to it.

What I am saying here is that his actions are not typical of an INFJ or any other MBTI type. I think that he is using you as some weird sort of sounding board, distraction, or God knows what. The MBTI is not an excuse for deviant behavior. It is merely an explanation of how people think and act when they are emotionally healthy.

The question that I must ask you is whether you have actually spent time with this person face-to-face during these 9 months. If the answer is no, then there is definitely something wrong here, with both of you.

I am not sure if you can really fall in love with a person that you have never met - you can only fall in love with the image that you hold of him in your mind. You have a relationship built solely upon an infrequent email and that is just not healthy.

I am sorry that you are in this situation and that you have let your caring side overwhelm your thinking side. There is nothing that I can do for you - you must do it yourself and you must do it soon. Please don't take anything that I say as the absolute truth. I do have limited information to work with. Talk it over with your friends. Talk it over face-to-face with your internet friend. Force the issue - you can't hold back the truth, you can only delay its arrival.

Good Luck.


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