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The Idealist and the Giver

An Introverted/Extraverted Relationship
The level of both harmony and conflict within Introverted/Extraverted
relationships can vary considerably, depending on how strongly expressed the
introverted and extraverted tendencies are for these types. With very moderate
expressions only the general attitudes, desires and interests of the parties
involved are likely to be factors of importance affecting the relationship, and
these will depend more upon the specific functions of the personalities and less
upon their introverted or extraverted expression. In other cases however,
particularly where both parties have a strongly expressed dominant focus, the
impact of Introversion vs Extraversion becomes an important factor affecting
all the functional dynamics of the relationship. For this reason general
statements about the functional give and take within such relationships are of
little value where individual differences play such an important part. We have
tried to take this into account in the following, but it is worth recognizing that
in some instances what might appear as a conflict in one relationship can be a
source of harmony in another.

INFP/ENFJ Relationship Dynamics

While a relationship between an ENFJ and an INFJ might be said to at least
have a quirkily balanced rider maintaining a somewhat loose grip on the reins,
the INFP/ENFJ relationship is much more like the free, unbridled horse itself.
Whatever feeling dictates as a course, it will follow. It will have its own
character, and its own internal balance of outer perception and inner reflection,
but like a horse free to roam and graze as it likes, whatever it does will be done
horse style.
Equine analogies aside, this relationship is a classic where both partners have
strongly dominant traits, having an almost mythical or archetypal aspect to it
which tends to color, even overshadow, this pairs shared activities and the
situations in which they find themselves.

The likelihood of this being a cross gender relationship is small. Mostly it will
arise between female partners through workplace or social interaction. Of the
two cross gender possibilities, the most likely would be male INFP to female
ENFJ. Since the distribution of both these types among the male population is
very low, the likelihood of male to male or cross gender relationships occurring
through normal social interaction is minimal, but could be much higher where
such people are drawn together through shared interests or goals.
This is a relationship where feeling valuations utterly dominate the inner and
outer landscape, where the consideration of the purely sensual world, or
abstract logical factors other than those dictated by feeling, is minimal at best.
It is a relationship where each individual is inclined to maintain a more
balanced view of the world when alone. When they are together, the more
fated or archetypal aspects which this relationship can engender sometimes
arise to dominate or overshadow its more mundane side.
One of these aspects occurs where the INFP is the strong personality in the
relationship and takes on, or is placed into, a kind of Guru like role, with a
partner who is willing to both follow and act upon their ideas.
Another, perhaps more likely or common archetypal aspect to this relationship
is that which follows naturally from the overvaluation of feeling judgments in
the face of all other balancing factors. Where this occurs and feeling values
alone dictate all decision making processes, the relationship is always going to
attract those mythical, counterbalancing negatives which arise from the shadow
world of the unconscious.
Under such circumstances it will seem to this couple that they are fated ever to
find themselves in situations which represent the great struggle between good
and evil, where everything even the most mundane antagonism of their
desires will seem like a deliberate and cunning attack from the dark side.
Because of this, such a couple will often be found, or find themselves, waging
an almost constant war against the insidious demons of cold logic and abstract
fact which haunt the dark spaces of physical and biological reality.
While this mythical aspect can sometimes go to extremes, it can also be
virtually invisible. Nevertheless, it is usually apparent at least to some degree in
this couples collective behavior and the lifestyle choices they make together.
Many of these choices often disregard a more rational or logical approach in
favor of some haunting or purely aesthetic vision of how things ought to be.

Within their own space, these two do balance one another; the tendencies of the
one compensating those of the other. In the home for instance, while both will
share a desire for quality, beauty and elegance, certain areas will be
considered unimportant by one partner, whilst the other will want these
neglected areas suitably organized. The garden, for instance, might be a place
where both enjoy and share a passion for quality, yet the garden shed will be
the left to the ENFJ to maintain, at least to some degree of order and
The home office, the kitchen, indeed all those spaces where things are mutually
achieved will have specific aspects to them which the one will consider
important and the other will consider of lesser importance, to the degree that
there will be an almost constant adjustment or tidying up by the one of that
which the other leaves to chance.
With both partners here supporting their values through intuition rather than
through any more direct approach to the physical world, it is unlikely the kind
of order an ESTJ or ISTP would expect to see will be displayed. Things will be
ordered according to a system of merit comprehended only within the mutual
value system of the partners. Suffice to say, that while six days of washing
piled up in the laundry or a refrigerator in which new life is being created on a
daily basis might horrify a sensitive sensation type, such things can easily be
accounted for within this system.
Outside the realm of their own competence, this couple tends to be at the mercy
of both fate and those who create, maintain and deliver the technological and
material necessities of life. As an example and a rider to what I said above
regarding cross gender relationships I used to live next door to a couple who
were precisely of this pairing, a lovely ENFJ lady and her INFP male partner.
They both had a good working life and a happy relationship. What they didnt
have was the slightest idea about anything functional or technical. I came out
one morning to find my neighbor Greg at the back of the house, attacking the
old laundry/sunroom area with a large crowbar. I asked what he had in mind
and he told me it all had to come out and be replaced. I asked him if he was
going to replace the roof as well. No, just the wall and floor. he replied,
levering out yet another of the wall studs. I suggested that if he continued what
he was doing the whole roof would collapse and that perhaps he ought to
consider changing his methods. He looked at me, looked up, and then gazed for
a moment, somewhat disbelievingly, at the two remaining uprights which were
now the only things supporting the overhanging tile roof. Oh shit, he said;
asking what I thought he should do. I suggested he contact a builder quickly.

Making it Work
There is probably going to be little disagreement between these two on the way
things ought to be done or organized between themselves and within their own
environment. Feeling types can also have a kind of mutual whatever
approach to things which either dont interest them or they see as being of
ambivalent value. Much of the order and care for the purely material aspects of
life which a more strictly common sense approach might dictate is often left to
chance or the contingencies of the moment. There are always more important
things to be concerned about, it would seem.
It is just in this area, however, where some difficulties can and will arise. The
shadowy world of stark, in your face reality really does need to be
sufficiently illuminated for us to navigate in the world without falling over.
When two people combine who both tend to leave such things to others or
simply hope everything works the way it should, then they are going to be
disappointed at times.
It will be these difficulties and disappointments, sometimes rising to
monumental proportions, which can create tension between these two; tension
which cannot often be resolved without the aid or intervention of other persons
more qualified to deal with such matters. Such tension often arises because
what one cannot see in oneself is often imputed to the other, some lack of skill
or expertise on our own behalf becoming an issue for its additional lack in our
partner. It is important to see the differences here, that when two people share a
position which includes a decent awareness of the others typology and their
strengths and weaknesses, there will be a far more reasoned and level headed
approach to matters which neither can deal with effectively. Such goes for all
types in all kinds of relationships, but can be seen as particularly relevant here
where there is a strong collective bias toward a somewhat singular vision of the
world and how it ought to behave.
So, one of the important things in this relationship is for both partners to truly
understand their typological similarities and the way these things present
through both the introverted and extraverted approaches to life. Everyone is
different of course, and not all couples will comprise two partners whose
feeling/intuitive functions are so strongly dominant. Although, as the world
becomes a place in which education, parental nurture and childhood
development continue to become narrowed within an ever more cloistered,
artificial and technologically driven environment, raw typological traits are
becoming increasingly dominant factors in human behavior. This is particularly

so now in our metropolitan environments, where the people live without access
to the natural, experiential richness of days gone by, and where first hand
experience of the world is replaced by idealized and target specific media
Gaining an understanding of our natural way of seeing things is not as easy as
we often believe. We believe we know ourselves, but this knowing is already
colored by the typological glasses we wear. Removing these is not merely a
matter of understanding what we are easily able to believe about ourselves, but
understanding what we are normally not willing to allow into our lives and
going to those places we are not normally willing to go.
It is not that it is difficult for an introvert to see the world through extraverted
eyes, for they do it very often. It is just not the comfortable way of seeing
things. The same goes for the extravert, who finds resting with nothing but
inner images and ideas to fulfill their time is, whilst not a demanding or offputting thing to do, is merely not a sufficiently interesting nor comfortable
place for them to stay.
So understanding the difference between introverted and extraverted feeling is
not actually that difficult for either type once they recognize the small shift in
perspective necessary to make the jump from one to the other. It is something
which can be practiced and actually maintained at some level all the time. In
this way we can indeed become more of the one and slightly less of the other,
rounding out our way of feeling to a broader and more encompassing set of
values which include not merely our own world or the outside world, but both.
The real difficulties arise when we try to understand those aspects of the world
beyond those which come naturally to us through our own valuation processes.
It is here where the power of emotion both protects us from and restricts our
access to those very areas we need to understand if we are to develop our
relationships with others.
The quickest way I know to make a strong feeling type angry is to bombard
them with the facts and figures and reasoned arguments which make their own
valuation of some things importance seem ambivalent, unnecessary or just
plain wrong. None of us like to see the way we value or interpret the world
devalued or underestimated by others, and the emotion which rises within us at
such times maintains the very wall which separates us from just this wider
appreciation of things.

Coming to terms with any vision of the world in which values are seen as
irrelevant or merely personal interpretations is very difficult for the feeling
type, particularly the extraverted feeling type, who has a tendency to believe
the values they project into the world have a kind of universal application and
impersonal authority.
Just as the purely thinking type cannot see how anyone could misinterpret or
devalue the facts and logic of a particular conclusion, the strong feeling type
cannot see how anyone could be blind to the obvious value of a particular way
of behaving or a particular way a specific situation should be resolved or
There are times, however, when feeling valuations - even where supported by
intuition - are simply not going to stand against the tide of the moment or the
way a situation has arisen. So in this partnership there are going to be times
when the one will say what are we going to do? and the other will reply, I
have no idea, as both will be limited to a certain extent by the similarity of
their typology and the limits it applies to their ability to comprehend a
particular situation and resolve its difficulties.
If it seems I have been somewhat circular in my approach to this relationship, it
is because, like those relationships between strongly thinking/intuitive types,
where all is rosy as long as emotionally sensitive issues are kept in the
cupboard, here we have a relationship where two people will have little trouble
in their human dealings with each other, and which will be rosy only as long as
the stark and undervalued areas of technical necessity and purely physical
survival are properly maintained and kept at a safe distance. The proper
development of any such one sided relationship therefore depends not so much
on the two people coming to terms with each others conscious approach to life,
but more upon both partners in the relationship developing a wider viewpoint
and a more comfortable relationship with those aspects of the world and
themselves that they habitually devalue, fear, or reject as irrelevant.
Suggestions for the INFP
Just like your partner, your dominant function is feeling, in which you
value things according to how they affect you and the things in your life.
Your partner tends to value more highly the things they see in the outer
world, often placing more emphasis on the needs and the feelings of
others rather than their own. It is natural for you to feel comfortable only
when those around you are, and you tend to get agitated if things dont
run smoothly. It is necessary sometimes then to work in the way your

partner does, not by merely waiting for things to settle and become right
for you but to actively set things right where you see a problem,
regardless of whether this problem and its resolution bear upon your own
needs or not.
Not everything in the world can be assessed by its human value. Many
things are merely as they are and subject to a system of relationships
which cannot be controlled or set to rights by adjusting their content or
context. Understanding the way things work, regardless of their value to
us is not only a path to greater knowledge, but also leads to development
of our own personality as we become more appreciative of the wondrous
workings of the world. Just how a thing came to be might seem
irrelevant at times, but at others it could be the most important thing we
need to know. In this regard it is worth paying particular attention not
only to our body needs and the way it functions to maintain our health
and physical integrity, but also to the way it supports and sometimes
distorts our psychic balance.
Getting out there is not normally your thing, but it is your partners.
Make time to do the things they do with them. Try to apply your own
insights to the problems they have. Join the fray and see how you ideas
and values might apply to others who need a helping hand. Try to never
assume that you know how another person is feeling about something
until you discuss the matter fully. Sometimes what we value for
ourselves is simply not there in others.
You have a tendency to see the world as a place of great potential; that
paradise might somehow be regained if only people could see the
values you see; could enact the vision and make everything right. But the
world doesnt follow our dreams, and often when we are not in a
position to make big things happen we tend to try and adjust every small
thing in our life to some perfect image. Too easily we become nit
pickers, overvaluing the smallest trifles in place of the things which
might be important to a greater community, and nothing around us ever
seems to be quite as it should. When this happens we begin to see our
partner in the same light, burdening the relationship with requirements
and unspoken needs for the most irrelevant details to be just so.
Overcoming this tendency is simply a matter of finding a wider purpose,
of using your skills in a bigger environment, committing yourself to a
goal worthy of your visions. Something you do not have to do alone, as
your partner well knows.

Suggestions for the ENFJ

Sometimes we need to rest from the world, where it seems the demands
never end, although most of this demand is actually driven by your own
personality needs. In the same way, your partner feels their own inner
world as a place of demand, whilst for you it can be restful to just be
with yourself, alone with your thoughts for a while. Best to practice this
often, even while at work. Coming home and watching television isnt
the answer, for the mind needs space to regain its energy, without which
we tend to skim too much over the surface, for, without energy we
cannot dive more deeply into the things around us. Here is one place
where you can learn from your partners ways. Watch and listen to the
way they work out difficulties before they take action and notice that
they take far greater regard of the effect such things have upon
You know most of the workarounds when things need to be done; you
know the people and how to get their help to get the things done you
cant do for yourself. Your partner is not so inclined and usually tries to
do everything for themselves, often jumping from one thing to another
and sometimes getting into a muddle over things they really want to
achieve but do not have the training or the natural talent to do. Try not to
just foist upon them the obvious answer of calling someone and getting
it done, for while this might be the most natural thing to do for you, it
does not help your partner with the real problem, which is that they
would really like to achieve their desires for themselves. So whilst it
might be necessary to call for aid at times it is also worth encouraging
and helping your partner to learn the skills they need to achieve what
they want. Something you know a lot about doing, but just remember:
encouragement rather than statements of the obvious is necessary here.
Sometimes it is painfully obvious that we live in a world where those
qualities, manners and values we hold dear even the most obvious and
easily seen values seem to count for little and we can become
despondent, particularly when we allow the world beyond us too much
of an input into our lives. Fighting the good fight where we can is one
thing, but endless concern for matters over which we have no control is a
waste of energy. It takes away from our ability to deal with effectively
with our own lives and the negativity it generates can and will affect our
relationships. Both you and your partner are easily affected by the
negative and chaotic aspects of the world beyond your own place in life,
so try as much as possible to maintain a focus and goals which take your
activities in directions which will build upon the quality you have

already achieved rather than waste your energy on concern for things
beyond your power to deal with.
Your shared space will tend to take on the values you hold, it will reflect
to others the kind of things you feel are the most important in life, and it
will of course, by default, also reflect the things you consider irrelevant.
Living in a shared space in which both partners contribute to a strongly
focused or idealized way of life can narrow your outlook on things.
When you are in your shared workspace or at home with your partner, do
you feel you cocooned in a safe, secure place where the less pleasant or
less important aspects of life are shut out? If so you could be setting
yourself up for a disaster down the track, as the more we attempt to keep
ourselves free from the bad in life, the more likely we are to
experience it in a worse form when it sneaks up on our doorstep
unawares. Remember to adapt your shared life to the sensory and
material aspects of life; dont merely take them for granted, for, if
disaster is going to strike anywhere, it will be from this quarter.

The Key
The enemy of this relationship is narrowness, or too strong a focus on finding a
niche or achieving some happy ever after dream. Extraverted feeling types
can live their lives wrapped in mental cocoons just as easily as their introverted
partners can in physical ones, and whilst it might be comfortable to do so, it
narrows the path to development whilst at the same time making our world
smaller and smaller. When this happens, the most trivial things in life can
inflate in our minds to issues of exaggerated, almost life and death importance
and our relationship time, our life, is wasted in a constant battle with a world
that refuses to conform to our ideals. So, whatever you do together, make sure
it is big enough, that it takes account of a wider world than merely your own.
Development of long term and larger goals keeps us connected to the world. In
as much as we experience it as a place where things are both good and bad, we
at least have the constant need to test our values against its reality and develop
our weaker functions. In doing so, we develop a broader base for connection
with and support of each other.
Copyright 1998-2005 BSM Consulting Written by Robert G Heyward