A Boy Who Likes An INFP (Wish Fulfilment, Obviously)

Yellow flower

So, there’s this girl.

Before you get any ideas, I don’t like her, or anything like that. She isn’t particularly pretty, or clever, or witty, or anything, really. She’s just a little peculiar, odd, and in this world, it’s sometimes hard to find anyone really strange these days. She lives next door to me, and I see her often. Sometimes, I see her through her bedroom window—not that I’m trying to be a creep or anything, you know, sometimes I just happen to glance out my window, and see that hers is all lit-up, with the curtains parted, and I sometimes just catch a glimpse of her, sitting at her desk or walking around her room.

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What’s so strange about her? Well, get this: all the time, every single day, whenever I pass by her or see her leave the house, she carries this shoulder bag bulging with library books. I know they are library books because once I passed by her when she dropped the bag, its entire contents spilling out onto the pavement, and I saw they were all library books. And get this—they were all fiction books, ranging from children books to teen fiction, and she is practically an adult woman. An adult woman, reading fairytales! Reading little kiddy books, picture books. Who does that? I get the feeling she’s got her head stuck up in the clouds. And does she even have a job? With that misty look in her eyes all the time, it’s a wonder employees would consider hiring someone who is evidently so scatterbrained and immature.

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One other time, I caught her having a conversation with herself, or perhaps someone in her imagination, on her porchsteps. I think she was pretending she had a boyfriend, with the way she coyly smiled at some invisible man, and clasped her hands as if she were in love. It’s absolutely ridiculous, the way she—oh, just everything about her is laughable! Frankly, I do believe she might be a little mentally deranged, or at least quite the private actress. The more I spy on her, the more I feel as though I’ve stumbled across some rare, eccentric human specimen, someone untouched by the reality of the world. Someone who never grew up, when everyone else did.

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And, no offense, but I get the feeling that she’s really, really lonely. I’m good at picking up people’s weaknesses, if I do say so myself, and she seems like one of those lonely adults who never grow up, buried in books, cats and her own eccentricity. She’s literally a crazy cat woman in the making. Does she even have any friends? And what is with that look in her eyes all the time? That sad, lonely and lost look, that seems both faraway and intent at the same time, as if she lost something very dear to her long ago and has been searching for it ever since, her hope slowly ebbing away over the years. Oh, what am I saying; listen to me getting all poetic over some lonely young woman’s misery. But—it’s the way she looks at things sometimes that gets me. The clouds. Flowers. Out windows, at the stars at night. As if she is searching for a home, someplace safe to rest her soul, in whatever she looks at, and always finding herself disappointed.

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She looked at me the other day, while I was coming home from work. Right over the fence separating our residences, straight in my eyes. For some reason, it was a shock, staring straight into that soft, faraway gaze after seeing it directed other things for so long. She was picking flowers in her garden, had a whole bunch of dandelions in her left hand—a grown woman, picking flowers like a five-year old!—and the moment she saw me, she blinked, turned red, looked away, and a moment later, scurried back inside her house, the door squeaking shut behind her. She’s a strange one, I tell you. That night, her curtains were closed, but I could sense her behind the curtains, at her desk, reading her childish books or doing whatever she does, thinking her strange thoughts. Maybe thinking about me.

___

That’s it. I’m going to stop spying on her, because this is the last straw. Yesterday, sick from work, I spent the day reading some books I’d loved as a kid, Zac Power and Geronimo Stilton, and in the afternoon, when I was feeling a little better, I went out into the front garden and just sat in this sunshine, stroking my cat. I hadn’t done anything like that in years. Weird. I swear that weird girl who happens to be my neighbour is having some kind of slow, insidious effect on me. I certainly hope it isn’t permanent. An independent, grown man like me has no need for eccentric women like her in my life. Besides, I have a date with Natasha next week, and need to spend my time properly preparing for that, instead of sitting at my desk staring out my window at her bedroom window, wondering if those curtains will ever open again.

___

Natasha came round to my house after the date. We frolicked a bit on the sofa. Nothing serious—just a little flirtation, a little kissing. For some reason, I wasn’t that into it—and I became even less into it when I saw her through the window while I was entangled with Natasha, standing in her garden, staring straight at me. The look in her eyes—but why should I feel guilty? It isn’t as if she and I are in a relationship, or anything. She’s just my neighbour. This time, when our eyes met, she started as if I’d stuck her with a jolt of electricity, and  turned and walked away, this time without haste or hurry, with slow, measured, and, dare I say it, regal steps. Suddenly, I felt like being alone. Disgruntled, Natasha left, her hair and lipstick a little mussed, the smell of her perfume lingering all over my clothing.  Now I’m sitting at my desk, looking out the window. Her curtains are not closed this time, but she isn’t sitting at her desk, or walking around her room. She’s lying on her bed, her face turned away out of sight.

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I mean, it’s not as if I’m interested in her or anything. But she certainly is an oddity, and I’ve always been a curious person. That’s why I’m going to introduce myself this afternoon. We are neighbours, after all, and it is about time. I want to ask her what she’s been reading, and what the name of her cat is. I wonder what her bedroom looks like, when you’re standing inside it. I wonder what she likes to drink—surely not coffee? No, coffee wouldn’t suit her. For all I know, she likes to drink from juice boxes with a straw and snack on lollies. Who’s her favourite singer? You know, just ordinary questions, for an ordinary girl.

I wonder what her imaginary boyfriend looks like.

For Dreamers, Prescence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

Ferris Wheels

As a rule, dreamers prefer to see the world, people and life, and, well, everything, really, through rose-coloured glasses. However, it would be more accurate to call them cracked rose-coloured glasses: though we are good at noticing, from afar the nitty-gritty details of the world, due to our idealism, our vision is often faulty and fractured when it comes to closer ground – namely, our own surroundings, and the people around us.

This is never more clearly illustrated than when we fall in love. For dreamers, falling in love is not merely an event, or even a celebration. Instead, it is the metaphorical equivalent of (at least in the early stages) two quivering metaphysical halves being brought together in a cataclysmic, extra-dimensional explosion, shooting atoms and sparkling bits of destiny in every direction in a burst of energy bright as a supernova. It is mind-blowing, life-shattering; it is the perfect feeding ground for one’s idealism. And feed it does. Upon entering into the relationship, the dreamer brings with her an idea of the ideal partnership, its various elements gleaned from films and books throughout her life, as well as her own imagination, to form a great big enormous heart-shaped bubble of expectation.

Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you see it – this bubble soon pops, as the realities of relationships, which the dreamer did not account for in his or her daydreams, sets in. Days are not spent in a steady stream of golden happiness; rather, the same responsibilities, the same tasks, from washing the dishes to taking out the trash, must still be done, whether you are in love or not, dragging the dreamer down to mundane reality after the initial love-high with a crash. Gradually, especially if you move in together, you acclimatise to each other, and, given enough time, your partner becomes as normal to be around as your own family. The day a dreamer finds herself (or himself; there are more male dreamers than you think) farting in her beloved presence without blushing is the day the last vestiges of her daydream dies.

More worrisome is the fact that, as the relationship further progresses, the dreamer’s partner transforms from an infallible creature into someone, well, less infallible. Someone awfully human, just like herself. And it is phenomenally disappointing. It’s easier to see the cracks in your rose-coloured glasses when you are looking up close at something. Some dreamers can’t help but feel as though they’ve been cheated, when, in reality, their beloved was the same person all along, only she tried to project a falsified, idealized image upon the existing creature, or her imagination erased any faults during the relationship’s honeymoon stage.

In who was initially a man or woman who could do no wrong, the dreamer begins to notice, with twinges of alarm, selfishness, brashness, laziness. Or it could be the opposite: the partner might, by way of contrast, highlight the dreamer’s selfishness, laziness, cowardice, and thus challenge her own idealised concept of herself. Emotions, like all things in nature, build up waste, and that waste, in relationships, manifests as disagreements. Arguments soon spring up, where one person likes or sees things one way, and the other person likes or sees things entirely differently, and the two are unable to agree to disagree.

There will be days when the dreamer is utterly bored of her partner, and can’t stand the very sight of him.

There will be other days when the two avoid each other, speaking only when necessary, and even then only in cold tones, which will make the dreamer’s heart wither even as her face hardens.

There will be days when her partner’s anger will scare her, for there is nothing more frightening than seeing the one you loved and placed on a pedestal acting brutish, mean, mouth open in a roar, faced contorted and ugly.

There will be moments of happiness, of course, and love, but mixed in with the sweet brew will be a bitter and hearty dose of misery, pain and heartache.

It is at this point in the relationship, when both have shown their true selves, their ugliness and flaws, and seen each other’s true selves, that the real work in building a relationship begins, and the dreamer reaches a crossroad. Many, at this stage, leave the relationship, with a huff and a pout, placing all the blame on her partner for not living up to her imagination, not realising that the best grass is just around the bend, past the pack of drooling trolls. Of course it is always a possibility that the partnership was an abusive, or incompatible one (dreamers are also at risk of remaining in bad relationships, a partner’s flaws either clouded by her imagination, or in the idealistic hope that “things will get better”) – but, in most cases, ordinary hiccups usual in most relationships are enough to convince a dreamer a break-up is necessary. Though it must be kept in mind that sometimes, even in the case of ordinary pet peeves, people are just unable to put up with particular traits or differences.

For the more mature (or tenacious) dreamers, who hang on despite having seen their partner red-faced and screaming in anger while sitting on the toilet, or been seen by her partner in the same unflattering state, “true love”, the centrepiece of so many daydreams, awaits. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this is true for dreamers – to an extent. It is often dreamers who, three months after the break-up, regret most having split with their once-beloved. But the dreamer only yearns for him because, in his absence, due to her idealistic nature, she only remembers his good traits, the good times, the good memories. She sees him distantly, and thus the cracks are easier to ignore. To spend time with him again would once more bring the cloud plummeting back to earth.

For dreamers, and arguably most people, the old adage should be reversed: presence makes the heart grow fonder, as only through extended exposure with their loved one, flaws and all, riding in tandem the troughs and peaks of love and life, can true love, based on reality rather than fantasy, flourish.

And it may not be the true love most dreamers imagined as little girls or boys, lying in bed and staring up at the ceiling. To idealise is to distort, and distortion is always harmful, even when it is positive. Blown up to mythical proportions by one’s imagination, true love is elevated to a transcendent state, when it is anything but otherworldly. It is, in fact, when real and true, one of the most worldly experiences one can have. Sooner or later, if the dreamer is persistent, undeterred by discomfort, he or she discovers that love is no grand affair, no blare of trumpets, and sometimes not even the fluttery beat of a heart. It is much, much quieter, and less assuming. It is coming home after a long day and feeling happier upon seeing that particular person’s face. It is close to the affection one feels for one’s parents, one’s siblings – though not quite. It is lying next to your loved one while he or she is asleep and being deeply, deeply comforted by their breathing, their warm body.

It is no melding of souls – some corner of your beloved’s psyche shall always remain a mystery to you, and likewise you to him – but two minds delightfully grappling with each other for years, understanding and then not understanding, loving one minute, hating the next, bored the third, a beautiful dance that goes on and on, darting forward and skipping away, rather than two people pressed against each other, standing stock-still until the end of their days (where would the fun be in that?). It is sitting at the table and eating together for thousands of meals over the course of a lifetime. It is cleaning up vomit, pacing in the waiting room at the hospital, screams and shouts; it is cooking and cleaning, breaking and making, traveling and living; it is waking up next to someone that makes you deliriously happy and unbelievably annoyed; and it is kisses and hugs, and quiet moments at night when you sit or lie, side-by-side, and hold each other’s hand, stare into each other’s eyes, comforted, no matter how briefly, by the presence of another human who loves you to shield yourself against the chaos of the world and the darkness of the oblivion.

And yes, perhaps, for the especially stubborn dreamers, this kind of love is, compared to the romantic extravaganzas conjured by their imaginations, a little disappointing; but that is the nature of reality, my friend, and you can’t wriggle away from the fact that everything will always seem, look and feel a thousand times better inside your head. Yet there is a fragmented beauty to cracked glass absent in the perfectly smooth, a strange loveliness in the broken, half-repaired, the scattered pieces.

In the end, sweet dreamer, if you grow up a great, great deal, you will find that is far better to publish a book than envision the perfect novel in your mind, to live in a cottage on the ground than a castle in the sky, and to love and live with someone who will stand before you, in flesh-and-blood, with real arms to hold you, real eyes to look at you, than spin in the imaginary arms of a thousand princes or princesses.

Eventually, you will come to the conclusion that real experiences, no matter how mundane, are always more wonderful than the pretend. A real bird, fluttering softly in the cradle of your hands, is worth more than two imaginary peacocks in the bush. Relationships, and true love, like all of life, when actually experienced, is very, very ordinary – and thus, extraordinary.

How INFPs Approach Love

ladybug

The short answer: We don’t.

Or, at least, I don’t. I can’t speak for all INFPs – every person is different even if they share the same personality type, so perhaps this should be titled “How An INFP Views Love” – but I can safely say that “approach” is not the right word to describe the way I gingerly dodge and avoid the arena of relationships, turning up my nose at the whole business around others and then wistfully gazing over my shoulder at the spectacle when no-one is watching.

The long answer is a little more complicated.

My past is a contributing factor to this caution and fear. When I was a teenager, my father walked out the door without a backward glance, leaving my mother and I without the funds to pay even the rent for the week. To this day, I have not seen him since. At the time, the sense of abandonment I felt was like a howl in my heart I could not express verbally. Even when he was in life my life, he was awfully distant, awfully selfish, and awfully unloving; I remember he used to spend thousands on the perfect sound system yet complain when I needed fees to pay for school excursions. So it only follows that, as he was the first man I tried to love, my opinion of the male species in general is quite low.

Not all men, of course, are as bad as him; lots of men are nice and good and kind; I am not so bitter as that. But in terms of relying on men, on handing over to them my love and trust, as a partner – frankly, I would sooner stick a skillet in my eye. I am fond of likening myself to a woman who carries invisible burns, and now, every time I come close to any “fireplaces”, even if they are not lit, I cringe and step away. This, combined with my extreme desire for love and affection, naturally anxious personality, and high sensitivity, tends to make me view love with the wide-eyed gaze of a gazelle caught in a lion’s sight.

Then there is the small matter of my sense of separateness from humanity. In truth, I do not think there are any glaring differences in myself compared to others, apart from perhaps an increased tendency for introspection. But this introspection, which some might call self-absorption, means I am a highly self-conscious creature, which means in interactions with other people I am overly focused on myself and my own shortcomings, which makes me feel removed, and, well, different. Out of place. An outcast.

Being creative doesn’t help matters, as often what you want to talk about are too strange and random and bizarre to be palatable for most people. For instance, most people do not want to make up as many symbols for Death as they can while waiting in line to borrow books at the library (though I can’t imagine why). What all this boils down to, essentially, is that there are a limited cohort of people in society with whom I can find any common ground with, and feel comfortable with. University campuses are infested with people who talk of the most banal and trivial subjects; I have yet to find that sort of odd, artsy young graduate who is by himself a lot of the time, and seems to see and notice things others do not. Basically, I like unique people, and in society there are not many unique people, mostly selfish or boring or indifferent people. Thus my very nature greatly limits the available romantic candidates. Until I find a man strolling alone through a cemetery in the sunshine, looking thoughtfully at headstone after headstone, deep in philosophical thought, and who is not a serial killer trying to select the best place to bury his victims that night, falling in love is unlikely, if not impossible.

Another complication is my own self-hatred. Because I spend the majority of my life inside my own head, thinking and thinking and thinking, it gives me a lot of time to analyse myself, physically and psychologically, and, truth be told, I do not often like what I find. Self-love is an ongoing battle, every second posing a choice to love myself or to berate myself. On my rare good days, I see myself as a beautiful creature, both inside and out, kind and intelligent and sweet. On my bad days, which is most days, it is hard for me to look in the mirror without feeling visceral surge of disgust; to not loathe my arms, any body hair, my legs, my skin; to not see myself as an a reserved and aloof woman no-one could stand to be in the same room with, let alone love. On the worst days, I am disgusted by my own bodily fluids, disgusted when I pass gas or burp, disgusted by every word that comes out of my mouth and every thought that crosses my mind, am unable to look in the mirror or leave the house, and wish I were a pristine, ethereal creature who was above all humans matters and concerns. Such an unhealthy mental state, need I say, would not be conducive for a good relationship. To love others, you must love and accept yourself – and I am just not there yet, and might not be for a long while and after many hours of therapy.

On top of all this, I am just not an easy person to be around for most people. For one thing, I am very, very introverted. I am most comfortable going through great swathes of my day talking in short bursts, and spending the rest of the time observing the world and the people around me and holing myself up in my room, doing introverted tasks, like studying, reading and writing, for hours on end. This annoys people who like to talk. Even other introverts get a little huffy at my extensive desire for alone time.

And then there are times when I am just plain unpleasant to be around. Yes, I am kind, and caring, and I would never hurt a single creature willingly; but in the privacy of my home, I can be moody and impulsive, wallowing in misery one second and then taken to the heights of ecstasy by a beautiful piece of artwork. If riled, my ability to intuit exactly what would hurt the other person most makes my tongue sharp as a thorn. When my writing is not going well, or when I begin to despair of my literary ambitions coming to fruition, the door is shut, my soul is dark, and anyone who dares come inside my room does so at their own peril. Whoever does end up being my partner will have to be someone strange or crazy enough to want to put up with my mercurial moods, my bouts of self-loathing and depression, and my isolated nature. It’s a tall order, is all I’m saying.

In theory, I am a romantic, but in reality, I would much rather be alone than spend my time around someone I cannot be myself around, doesn’t understand me, and doesn’t support my creative endeavors. With the right person, I will appear bright, sensitive, self-aware, creative and talented. All the wrong person will see is a moody and immature woman who holes herself up in her room for long hours and possesses the irritating tendency to gush over the beauty of a dead insect, a rusted tap, a flower poking its way through the footpath. I need to find (or stumble, more like; “find” suggests one is actively searching) someone whose weirdness interlocks with mine, just like everyone else, and until then, I will file away Love to the back of my drawers, to be taken out some other day, and leave the business of dating to others.

Compass Girl: A Song For How INFPs Sometimes Deal With Love

Compass Girl

compass

Take my hand

No let me go

Come on close

Please go away

Say Hello

Ignore you so

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Chorus

Make up your mind you say

Do you want me to stay

Yes…yes.

My heart says Yes

My actions say No

I’m made of poles

North South & West

A quirky compass

Yes I know that best

And you’re confused

And angry too

And I understand

But can you understand me

I’m just so scared

So very scared

And when I’m scared

I’m not brave

I’m not North and South that way

____

I don’t love you

No wait I do

I don’t like loving you

But I do

Wait maybe I don’t

Maybe it’s all in my head

So go away

Leave me alone

____

Chorus x1

____

Take my hand

Please take my hand

Come on close

Please come on close

I’ll say Hello

I’ll say Hello

And maybe we’ll talk…

…and maybe we won’t.

Click HERE to hear it.

How INFPs Seduce People

seduce

Though I do not speak for all INFPs, it is a well-known fact that we are masters of the art of seduction. Or I am, at least.

You know someone is an expert on something when they Google the word representing their field of expertise, in my case, “seduction”, to clarify just exactly what it means – that shows initiative, it does.

Of course, it doesn’t help matters when the definition is something along the lines of seduction is “the act of seducing someone”. Highly uninformative, if you ask me. After some further digging, however, I came up with much better spoils. According to Wikipedia, seduction is “the process of deliberately enticing a person to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; to corrupt, to persuade or induce to engage in sexual behaviour.”

Now doesn’t that sound like something an awkward, shy creature would be brilliant at? My thoughts exactly.

Indeed, not to blow my own trumpet or anything, but I can go about the business quite creatively. A few bats of an eyelash, and the lads are all falling over each other on my doorstep, if you get my drift. However, if you were not blessed with my excellent seduction skills, as so many of you poor souls probably are (we can’t all be so lucky), here are a few of my exclusive techniques to help you seduce that lucky lady or gentleman.

1. Pretend you don’t like them.

This method is more effective than it sounds – trust me; I’m the seduction expert here, after all. You see, it follows a natural principle of human nature, which is to want what we cannot get. Ergo, pretending not to like someone is the human equivalent of throwing catnip over yourself while in a room full of cats. Who could resist someone who does not seem to notice they exist, even actively avoids or ignores them? That’s right: no-one. Absolutely no-one.

2. Talk to them only through social media.

If, impossibly, ignoring the object of your affections has failed to seduce them, the next best alternative is to contact them exclusively through social media. I cannot stress this point enough: under no circumstances should you talk to them in person, even if you see them almost everyday. Why? Because this makes you mysterious, a disembodied, friendly voice behind a screen, and everyone likes mysteries. It is also recommended that you contact them sporadically, so as to throw in an additional element of surprise, and, when they fail to respond adequately, employ a series of deftly placed emoticons to dispel the awkwardness.

3. Convince yourself they are secretly in love with you.

This is when that big imagination of yours can come in handy. Any smile or glance in your direction – especially those which were directed at someone behind you rather than, well, you – should be interpreted as a sign of undying love. Whenever you pass or bump into them, believe, deep down, that they harbor deep, concealed affections for you. Now before you start haranguing that this is veering into delusional territory, and that a visit to the therapist is in order, hear me out. Ever heard of the Law of Attraction? It states that whatever you believe or focus on becomes your reality. Therefore, if you believe they love you, they will love you. Simple as that.

4. Confess your  feelings – vaguely.

Nothing is more seductive than a confession from someone who you barely know, and who ignores you at every turn in real life. Once again, social media comes in handy; I recommend Facebook, though any other site which allows for private messaging is fine. Now the key here is to not actually say outright that you like them – that is a big no-no when it comes to seduction. Instead, skirt gently around your true intentions.

In a message long as an essay detailing your utmost apologies for ignoring them (see how that technique comes in handy also at this point?), embed, here and there, small hints of your affections, be it that you have always found them to be a most intelligent and discerning creature, and that, well, you yourself are also an intelligent and discerning creature, the implied but unstated meaning being: look, man, we’re perfect for each other, can’t you see?

It’s also a good idea to intersperse mentions of your positive traits as well, including sensitivity, shyness and an appreciation for philosophy and beauty – these are all highly seductive traits, perfect for showing off through text rather than in real life. All there’s left to do after that is press SEND and nibble your nails and hyperventilate while you wait for the reply.

5. Realize that it is not always about the goal, but the journey.

If, after your confession, you receive a curt message in return outlining your delusions, along with a few pieces of advice on how to increase your confidence and be more comfortable with yourself, you are ready to learn the greatest lesson of seduction. It is this: you don’t need to actually seduce someone to seduce them. So realize that, if you followed each of the techniques outlined above carefully, you did technically seduce them, only you did not actually bring the seduction to a conclusion. And that’s perfectly fine. Like some Zen philosopher who most likely drank herself into oblivion and died alone once said, it is about the journey, not the goal, and I’m sure, by this point, you have experienced quite the ride.

I hope this information aids you in your no doubt thriving love life. In a world where sensitivity and shyness is often derided rather than appreciated, seduction for us INFPs is obviously a piece of cake. Our idealization of people, so often interpreted as an inability to separate reality from fantasy, is a gift rather than a burden when it comes to love. Oh, and one last piece of advice: never underestimate the seduction of good books. They are far more sexy than the most intelligent and talented of men or women, with their delicate spines, rustling pages and spidery writing – who could resist?