Entries for month: January 2016

Going with the Flow and Over the Cliff

My son’s girlfriend, Amy, is an ISFP. One night last summer, my son made a fire in our fire pit and we were all sitting around admiring it. “There’s a trick to making a good fire,” said my son. Amy jumped up and said, “Show me.” Pretty soon she was helping him move logs around the fire and collect sticks from the woods.

That struck me. It’s rare that people show that much interest in other people’s activities. Even if we think it would be nice to know the trick to a good fire, most of us would probably just ask. Getting up from a comfortable chair to actually participate in fire-making, well that’s something very few of us would do.

You might think it’s because she’s in love, but I see her do it with everyone. With my daughter – a real foodie – Amy has long, animated conversations about good restaurants. Even with our family on New Year’s Day, Amy seemed to really enjoy listening to us read out the family memories of the year that I have been recording each month, and asked me questions about how I keep the records.

Amy reminds me of two of my friends who are also SFPs.  Over the years, I have always been impressed with how “present” they are. When they are with me, they seem to be completely with me. The attentive, happy look on their faces makes me feel like there is nowhere else they’d rather be, and they are just having a marvelous time.

If I suggest an outing or a get together, they are always up for it. Whatever is going on in the moment is the most interesting thing in the world to them.

They are both mothers, and when I used to watch them with their kids, I’d think, “It must be nice to grow up with someone who looks like she just loves being with you, and would not want to change a thing about you,” because that is just the vibe they sent to their children. My SFP friends send that vibe to me as well. When they leave, I always feel as if I am perfect just the way I am.

I wish I could return that vibe. Unfortunately, there is one thing that I would really like to change about them.

That sensing and perceiving ability to enjoy the present moment, to go with the flow, to adapt to what is in front of you, can be a real handicap when the flow is going in a bad direction. Over the years, I often heard my SFP friends complain about the way they felt in their marriages. I can’t count how many times I said to them, “Did you tell him? Does he know?”

They never did tell them though, and over time things built up to a point where it became intolerable for them, and they suddenly walked out. Their spouses were completely shocked. The children were too, and took sides with their dads, and my friends are now, for the most part, alone.

I could never understand why they never said to their husbands, “This is the way I’m feeling when I’m with you,” or “This is what I need and am not getting.” I also didn’t understand why they never confided their feelings to their children. But I realize now that talking about negative feelings is a lot easier for me than for them.

We both share the feeling types’ dread of confrontation, but being an intuitive, I’m more comfortable with language and discussions about anything. The secret to initiating a difficult conversation is finding words that aren’t going to bring retaliation on your head, and even though I tried to give my friends examples of things they could say to their spouses, like, “When you said that, I felt unwanted,” they didn’t seem to trust words or expressing vulnerability. It was more natural for them to express their feelings in sudden and dramatic action.

Part of the reason they didn’t trust words may have been that they both had a history of getting “out-talked” by their husbands and being confused and silenced by them, whereas no one has ever been able to leave me at a loss for words, at least not for long.

Also, being a judging type, I’m more comfortable with directing the action than going with the flow. I believe that bad things just keep getting worse unless you do something to stop them, whereas my friends seemed to believe that if they just waited long enough, things would sort themselves out on their own.

Thank goodness that Amy, my son’s girlfriend, doesn’t remind me of my friends in that way. When my son has done something thoughtless and bone-headed, she tells him soon afterwards, in a nice way, that the action hurt her, and they talk it out. Amy only reminds me of the things I love about my SFP friends - that it’s wonderful to be with someone who thoroughly enjoys you and whatever you are doing.


1 Comment

The Plight of the Condiments

I am in the midst of a merge – a merge of stuff from an ESTJ and an ENFP.  My ESTJ view of stuff – keep it because it’s useful and practical. The ENFP’s view of stuff – keep it because it has potential.  Altogether, we have too much stuff!

And as an INTJ friend pointed out about our problem of “too much stuff” – “this is a first world problem!”  That really puts it in perspective!!  I should quit complaining about his stuff, but please indulge me a bit. 

One of the many fine qualities I admire in ENFPs is their sense of adventure and in trying out new things.  However, I have also discovered that when this applies to condiments, a problem occurs. 

Plight of the CondimentsWhere do you put the millions of bottles of condiments related to adventures with the palate?  How do you even locate the right bottle to use among the collections in the refrigerators and cupboards?

How many kinds of mustards does one really need? Are eight kinds of vinegars that essential?  What on earth would some of those bottles add to the taste buds?

One friend suggested I sneak a bottle out a night and throw it away.   However, it is difficult for me to throw out something already purchased and that has not yet passed its “sell by date.”  And taking the time to empty and clean the bottle before recycling it…well that might be noisy and my plot discovered!

Another friend began looking for “use it up condiment” books for me, but finding none, located instead some websites with many suggestions.  I went grocery shopping with her recently and she kept pointing out foods to buy that would use dipping sauces.  Trouble is there is only so much dipping one can do and it takes numerous meals to get through those bottles. 

And besides the condiments, think of merging spices!!  Some were easy to throw out because they were long past their “sell-by” date, and spices do lose their potency. 

Another sure sign was turning the bottle upside down.  If it didn’t move, the spice went.  Actually I took a knife and loosened up the spice and dumped it into a big bowl.  That was kind of satisfying. Different spices have different colors, textures, and smells.  (No, I did not taste them!) 

Three large mixing bowls later with dozens of spices gone, the remaining ones were still too many.  However, as much as I love to sort and categorize things, I was done.  I gave over cupboard space to extraneous spices.  Some acts of sorting just take too much time and energy!

He (the ENFP) took the bowls and since they were organic material threw them on his lawn.  He has sold his home and we do not plan a return trip to see what has sprouted (or been killed by this act). 

So I am trying to develop my NFP side and be open to other possibilities for condiments and spices – at any quantity.  Send me your suggestions, please, along with step-by-step directions!! 


No Comments