Q&A: Why Did My INFJ Change/Pull Away?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 0 Comments A+ a-

Your Question:

Hi there, I'm an enfj guy. I wanted to ask you why did my infj friend pull away and what can I do to get our friendship to be the same again if that's possible.

She has changed this year, now she barely speaks to me, and when I tell her about it and ask her if I can do anything to change that, she laughs and says that she's busy answering her family. I have always helped her with her homework and anything I could, but when I want to chat with her she always replies shortly and sometimes doesn't even reply.

It's also true that I felt something for her this year, but I never told her that for the sake of her relationship. Yeah, one could think that she might have got aware of that since infj's have those people-reading skills and such, but she got another boyfriend just plain 10 days after she left the first one, and nobody told me in time.

Yeah, one may think that she's introverted and that's why she doesn't want to speak, but she left her previous boyfriend just because he didn't speak with her as much as she wanted. Now with her new boyfriend some days she speaks whole 6 hours straight, and instead with me and her friends she barely has time. In both cases, the relationship's longdistance, and I think that has to do with the infj's tendency to value more the people from which they are far away.

I don't know, she's just not the same this year, she's no longer the funny and gentle person I fell in love with. No more, that part of her can now only be seen when we're out somewhere with friends. Now she's one of those pretty girls who have a lot of pride and a bad attitude. What could have caused this change? Also, sometimes I feel like I'm pretty irrelevant to her, like for example when she doesn't remember that it was me who helped her with this and that, so is there something I can do to grab her attention? We're 18 by the way.

PD: Hey, I admire your dedication and the altruism of this site. I've read some of it months ago, and it was interesting.

My Answer:

Hi there!

Thanks for getting in touch with me (and for the compliment about my blog…you’re so sweet). I’m really sorry to hear that your friendship has changed, and not in a positive way. I know that ENFJs are very social and have wonderful people skills, so I can understand how you’d be confused and upset about your INFJ friend distancing herself.

Without knowing her, and what she’s going through, it’s impossible for me to pinpoint “why” she’s pulled away. The personal life of an INFJ is quite private, and what you see on the surface barely touches what’s happening underneath. She may not even know herself…it may be that she’s acting out of instinct or self-preservation, based on nothing more than her intuition. We’re actually better at analyzing other people’s feelings than our own. One of our many quirks. :)

What I can do, though, is give you some of the reasons that I’ve pulled away from male friendships in the past. I did it a lot, especially in my younger years. Maybe it will provide a little bit of insight.

Growing up, I had more male friends than female friends. Guys were more logical and down to earth, and they didn’t bring a lot of drama into our relationships. They also had a tendency to “take care” of me, which I enjoyed. I grew up in a small farming community, surrounded by men (dad, grandpas, uncles, cousins) who doted on me. So I loved my guy friendships. However, I had to let some of them go…even cut some of them completely off…and here’s why:

  • They wanted more than friendship. This is pretty much the #1 reason. I kept my circle of friends small, so that I could devote 100% of myself to those people, and my guy friends really liked being the center of my world when we were together. Sometimes, this led to romantic feelings on their part. I would sense it and—not wanting more than friendship—would slowly pull away from them. Or quickly, if they were too intense. The point is, I could sense their emotional attachments. If I wasn’t comfortable with it, I moved on.
  • Another person wanted into my circle. Usually, this was a boyfriend, but not always. Whoever it was, I wanted them to have that 100% of me, so I had to temporarily back off on some of my other friendships. Most guys were pretty cool about letting me go, because they knew I’d come back in full force if the boyfriend thing didn’t work out. If they couldn’t handle it and needed to move on, though, I always let them.
  • Boredom. Okay, that may seem kind of shallow, but INFJs are quick learners. We easily pick up on patterns (in jobs, nature, people) and, once we’ve grasped those patterns, we start looking for the next one. Because of this, we have a tendency to “relationship hop” and it was a long time before I figured this out about myself. I didn’t know I was an INFJ until an employer gave me the test (in my late 20s). Before that, I couldn’t explain my restlessness to anyone. No one understood it (and it was super frustrating). I’ve since learned that INFJs have a kind of gypsy spirit, and while we can be happy with one significant other, we still have that need for “something new” that drives us forward. New hobbies, new clothes, new car, and even new friends. We absolutely have to learn and improve ourselves, or we end up depressed.
  • Internal change. My internal life is complex and very private. I’m constantly modifying it, changing priorities as new data comes along, or I experience new things. Most of the time, no one knows about those changes. They’re subtle, but persistent. And when they reach the tipping point, I will make a decision to pursue that new goal or priority. To someone else, it seems like a sudden change. But it’s not. They just didn’t see the subtle, internal process I was going through. You’ll find this a lot with INFJs. We will make a quick—sometimes huge—change in our lives, and it looks like we’ve gone off the deep end. Actually, though, we’re not spontaneous, and those changes were prompted by a lot of things going on inside us…things we might feel, but not always be able to verbalize.
  • I outgrew the friendship. Yeah, this one sounds hurtful. It’s not meant to be. INFJs have the ability to see/intuit our future, and we can tell if something is going to “work out” or not. If I couldn’t see the potential in maintaining a friendship, there was no point in nurturing it any more. I could “sense” the inevitable break and would try to get it over with before it became too hurtful for both sides. Again, no one understood this. It was something I just had to do.
  • Self-preservation. Sometimes, the men in my life had personality quirks that made me feel bad. Maybe they were overly critical, or drank too much, or made jokes at my expense. These were things I knew that person wouldn’t (or couldn’t) change. So I backed away before those things hurt me to the point of unleashing my rage on them. INFJ rage is not a pretty thing. It’s terribly destructive. So each time they hurt me, I put a little notch in my belt. When the belt was full, I ended the friendship. Usually without a reason why. I know I baffled a lot of people with this. But I didn’t like conflict, and when my mind was made up, no one could change it. I just walked away.
  • I wanted more than friendship. This is the opposite of the first reason. If I found myself falling for a guy friend, but sensed there wasn’t a chance he’d return my feelings, I would distance myself. It was a way of protecting my heart. 

Okay, so those are the primary reasons I pulled away from male friendships. Now that I’ve typed them out, I think they may explain why your friend has gone through a perceived personality change. Maybe she needed something different (to learn, or relieve her boredom, or make her feel more accepted), and that’s what you’re seeing in her now. That’s just a guess, though. I really admire you for going to her directly and asking her what had changed. I don’t know if she answered honestly, but that was a caring, tender, and incredibly brave thing for you to do. You’re an extraordinary young man. Truly. :)

How to grab her attention? I’m not sure how to answer that. If she’s focused on pursuing her current state of being, she’s apt to block everything else out (another INFJ quirk). And you need to stay your awesome ENFJ self. One thing I’d encourage you to do, just from my experience, is not to give up on her. Whatever she’s going through, it’s personal. Most likely, it has nothing to do with you and is just part of her INFJ journey. I’ve been fortunate to have some true-blue, reliable people in my life that allowed me to drift away from time to time. I always came back to them, because they made it safe for me to do so. I’m not saying that you should continually put up with abusive or hurtful behavior (if that’s how she’s making you feel). I guess I’m encouraging you to be true to yourself and keep all your options open. Be supportive and be there for her as you move through your life. Be authentic and real (INFJs value that). If the relationship is meant to be, it will find a way. 

So I’ve written a lot here, without any feedback from you. I’ll stop for now. If you have any other questions or just want to keep talking, feel free to write back. In the meantime, have a great weekend and take care of yourself, k? :)


Image Credit: CanStockPhoto