Please, don’t stress.
You’re probably telling me because I asked, and because of how intently I am listening for the answer (including what’s between and beyond the words).
People tell me personal stuff all the time. Complex perspectives that are not usually so readily shared; reflections on past, present, future challenges. I am the privileged recipient of all.
I’m not trying to elicit your secrets. Actually, I’d prefer it if you didn’t overextend yourself, as that’ll make us both feel bad.
Understand that this is just how I roll. Meaningful, in-depth communication is the biggest part of my life. (I would imagine that it’s typically the biggest part of any ENFJ’s life.) You’ve taken me into your confidence because you’ve detected, accurately, that my motives are pure.
Because you know, it doesn’t matter to me that we don’t know each other that well. Whatever you’re currently experiencing – joy or despair – I’ll enter into your world and experience it with you. For the duration of our conversation at least.
And you can trust that I’ll interpret whatever you tell me in the best possible light. Because when it comes to people, I’m idealistic.
I’m paying attention to your potential, not your weakness.
I’ll offer you my listening; I want to. But do not take advantage of my support.
My self-esteem isn’t resting on what I can give you. I have an outlet for the impact I wish to make – one that is healthier than acting like some sort of unsolicited fixer-upper.
So don’t make me into your mother, or draw too heavily on me. I’m aware of your unspoken needs. Your continually asking for my help is a burden. Neediness tends to bring out my dark side.
This’ll go better if you make my counsel the entree, not the main event.
Seek out my support with discretion, and let me impact you with the insights I can bring. It’ll satisfy me beyond anything else.
And if you want to hurt me or shake my self-confidence, know that the way to do that is to ridicule or reject my attempts to help.
Being forced into small talk for prolonged periods is painful.
I am more than happy to do this as a warm up to getting to your core concerns. But if you insist on scripting your way through this conversation, I’m going to feel starved of oxygen.
Let me steer the dialogue to something more interesting to me. (Trust me, you are going to like it. You’ll get to talk about yourself a lot.)
If decisions need to be made on the basis of impersonal information, I’m not your woman. Cold hard data is white noise to me. I judge how things should be on needs – yours and the group’s, primarily.
Don’t be too caustic and critical, because you’ll wound me deeply. I’m highly sensitive to your disapproval. Emotionally volatile people: my threshold for you is extremely low.
Those who are insensitive to others’ needs – I just don’t understand you. I want to teach you how to step outside of your box and care, or vanquish you from my life. One of those.
I cannot fathom why people don’t take the time to understand each other.
‘Please, let’s just get along?’
Unresolved conflict is distressing. It can stay with me until it’s resolved.
But reality imposes limits on my desire for peace and harmony. I’ve accepted it.
Rifts are opportunities to deepen honesty and intimacy.
I enjoy small groups and one-on-one encounters the most.
Larger, unwieldy groups are trickier, as that is a lot of people to check in with. I can feel a little overwhelmed in larger groups.
If I get married, the wedding is going to be a testing day.
I have feelings and I’m not afraid to use them.
I’m not economical about expressing my emotions. Traditionally, it is act first, think later, although thank goodness, that is changing with age.
Don’t take everything I emote as gospel. I can lack precision when it comes to interpreting and articulating my emotions. My subjective emotional experience doesn’t get a lot of mental bandwidth. My feeling focus is outward, not inwards.
I’m not always aware of how I feel in the moment.
‘You’re intense’, he said. It wasn’t meant as an insult. I don’t like the description, even though I understand it.
It doesn’t drain me to run a mile-a-minute conversationally, or to dive deep into discussions of an intimate personal nature. This is energising to me. It is my brand of extraversion.
If I get vibes that you aren’t comfortable developing the relationship the way I think it should be, that’s okay. I will back off.
But I’ll seek to build depth to your comfort level.
‘ENFJs are less assertive than other extraverts. They are the least extraverted‘, it is said.
Us and the ENTJs, I reckon.
Developing my introversion to a happier place has been the work of my life. I’m self-critical and can turn to dark thoughts when alone.
But without introversion, there’d be no fulfilment of my core personal projects. And so when it comes to my work, consider me an introvert. The extraversion currently happens in restorative niches.
For the longest time, I mistyped myself as an INFJ. Even though I would come out as an ENFJ when I took the tests. (Wilful disregard of data is not uncommon for ENFJs, I understand.)
It seems almost funny now. Relating to others is like breathing, whereas being alone and thinking deeply requires me to swim.
I’ve just become a better swimmer.
Growth happens in developing the two introverted pieces of me, my intuition and thinking. This has made me more well-rounded. Less people-pleasing, less kowtowing, more self-referential. Smarter, more logical and insightful.
The warm optimism hasn’t left me. But now it is tempered with a realistic objectivity. It is a welcome change.
It has taken something to get to this place.
I’m every bit as accepting as I appear to be.
Except when I am under extreme stress. When I’m in the grip, compassion leaves me, and in its place is harsh judgment. It isn’t solely directed inwards, it goes to you too.
I’m getting better at noticing when I am in the grip.
‘I’m not sure why I’m telling you this’
Hopefully now you know.
And you understand why it really is okay.