You’ve heard the saying that opposites attract. But once they attract, is it possible for them to stay together? A few years ago, my answer would have been “no, absolutely not.” As an INTJ personality type, relationships—although wonderful when I get around to them—are hard to maintain with the amount of depth that I want. However, while attending college, I met an ENFP girl—and promptly ran. Really. I did. She was so outgoing and energetic that it literally made me panic and retreat back into my shell.
But two years later, after a lot of growing throughout the college years, we crossed paths again. She came at me like before—but this time, I stayed. And I am forever grateful that I did. Here are ten things that I have learned from being friends with an ENFP.
Being the least extroverted of the personality types, ENFPs do know when they need to stop and calm down. And for that, I thank my ENFP friend from the bottom of my heart. Even at the end of a long day when I am absolutely worn out and want nothing more sometimes than to be alone and recharge, my ENFP friend can still offer a calm and relaxing evening.
Parties—no. Social gatherings—no. To me, they are draining and to be avoided. It has taken a nudge (multiple nudges, actually) from my ENFP friend to encourage me to stay around large groups of people every once in a while. It doesn’t bother her to be around more than one person at a time. She is open about her thoughts and in tune with other people’s feelings. Being around others gives her energy. I still don’t understand it. But I have met a lot more people because of her.
If there is one major thing I have learned from my friendship with an ENFP, it’s the different ways we handle conflict. “If they’re doing something to hurt you, get right up in their face and tell them that,” I might say, to which I will consistently get the answer, “No—I don’t want to make trouble!” Neither do I. I am opposed to unnecessary drama. But there is a difference between causing trouble and making things right. INTJs aren’t nasty, but if something is out of line, we have to step up, and the ENFP is more reluctant to do that. But she has definitely softened me up—just a little, in a good way.
Picture this: my friend and I sit down and talk about the exact same topic—what we plan to do after college. She will start daydreaming about what could be without having any grounds in the present to necessarily support that idea. I will take all the powers in my present world that are vested in me and make a game plan based on what my reality is now and how I need to change the present to make the future happen exactly the way I want it. Both perspectives definitely have their strengths and weaknesses.
I don’t understand the realm of emotional support. I try, but it always ends up with me scheming up a solution and being frustrating when the situation doesn’t have one. On the other hand, she is ready to let someone cry into her shoulder for hours if it will make them feel better. It is my natural bent to believe that every problem in the world can be solved by solutions and facts. However, I will be the first to admit that this approach does not typically work on human beings, which usually leaves me out of a job in this department. But can I say that I am glad not everyone in the world is an INTJ? We need a lot of feelers out there who will let us cry to them when we’re hurting—if there is no alternative but to cry. This is a lesson I have to learn from my ENFP friend every single day.
I would love to see what’s going on in her brain half the time because I know it’s going a million miles an hour—about as fast as she’s talking. I know that she probably doesn’t get the chance to share half of what’s on her mind. She’s all dreams and goals and so many beautiful things rolled into one person, and her knowledge of things that I don’t understand is exciting. Luckily, INTJs are good listeners. And she has a lot of information that I can learn. So, for us, it works.
I have never been a hugger. She has made me a hugger. So what exactly have I learned here? Sometimes people just need to feel the touch of another person to assure them that they are human. Even me.
Yes! Finally, some common ground! After every work shift she has, she’ll come up to me with a hourly time log of things she wants to do that day on the hours—sometimes even every half hour. The difference between our planning mechanism is in the specifics. She is more specific short-term and I am more specific long-term.
I can think myself into the grave without ever actually telling anyone what I’m feeling. It’s almost like I actually expect people to just use telepathy and understand exactly what my thoughts are and appreciate them. But she thinks aloud constantly, and I’m never at a lack to know what she’s going through, what annoying situation happened that day, etc. From her, I’ve learned that sharing my thoughts out loud can sometimes be a good thing—because people like her really do want to listen to people like me.
We have spent many—dare I saw ‘happy’?—hours plotting. Yes, plotting. I’m talking everything from outlines of arguments to teachers, to planning for her wedding (with my cheapskate budget scheme and her artsy-craftsy flair, of course). Picture it like this: the ENFP has ideas like sparkles floating freely around in midair, but it takes the INTJ to get them all together in one centralized place and make them work.
It really is an amazing this thing we have going here. Of course, it hasn’t been easy. But is any friendship, really? She is strong is every area where I am weakest, and I would not be the person I am today if I didn’t have her by my side. But you know what? Nothing that comes easy is ever worth having. Period. It hasn’t been easy, and we’ve got a long way to go. But there is nothing to me worth having in the world more than her friendship. And with luck, I will keep learning more valuable lessons from this very special ENFP.