This week, a conversation with an ENTP strayed into his lack of understanding of the reasons ENFPs shut people out and refuse to talk their feelings out. As a Fe-user, he is comfortable talking about his feelings. He pointed to Amy Pond’s near-divorce of Rory Williams as an example. He, rightfully, thought that was a stupid decision for her to make, to think that her inability to have children was a “deal-breaker” for Rory, after all he’d gone through for her. Within 24 hours, someone else commented to me their inability to understand why an ENFP just shut them out, and would not talk to them about what was happening in their life. That made me think that maybe it is time to look at how ENFPs handle emotions a little more closely. I won’t pretend to speak for all ENFPs, but this is how it is with Amy, and maybe it is more common than I think.
Amy and Rory’s story is a classic Fi-Fi dynamic, of never talking about feelings, but instead acting on them. Rory cut off his ponytail for Amy. Amy gave up her love of adventure for a “dull life” in a little village for Rory. Rory spent a thousand years guarding Amy while she sat in a box. Amy let an angel throw her back in time so she could be with Rory. On, and on, it goes. Hardly ever an I Love You exchanged verbally, but it is spelled out a thousand times in their actions. And because it is a silent love story, frequently they underestimate one another’s true feelings. Rory thinks he loves Amy more than she loves him; and she thinks she loves him more, because she is willing to give him up. If they would ever talk about their internal anguish, that problem wouldn’t arise, but alas, that isn’t how they roll.
I have always “understood” Amy, because in some ways we’re similar: creative, imaginative, enthusiastic, easily bored, and somewhat unable to articulate our emotions. We turn things into jokes so that it doesn’t reveal too much of our heart. She “gave up” Rory for awhile, even though it made her miserable, because she thought he would be happier without her. Amy made a decision with her heart, based on her own insecurities, not with her head. She loved him enough to think that she could give him up so he could find happiness with another person, but that isn’t what either of them wanted. For all her false bravado, she can be immature when it comes to expressing and understanding her emotions. She finds it very hard to talk about the things that she is feeling. Instead, she acts on them… and sadly, that means pushing people out of her life that she really cares about, because she cares about them enough not to want them to get hurt further; or because she’s so afraid to talk about how she feels, it is easier to push someone away than risk rejection. It is sometimes easier to do the rejecting, and deal with their anger, than to face their disappointment.
Rationality doesn’t really weigh in to these emotional decisions, and since she isn’t a Fe-types, she doesn’t have the luxury of just being up front with her emotions and letting them spill out. Her joy is her own. Her sadness is her own. Her misery is her own. Her grief is her own. If it sneaks out, if other people see it, she feels vulnerable and even ashamed. Amy was willing to let Rory go because she loved him, and as another silent suffering Fi-user, he was going to let her. Thanks to the Doctor, their story has a happy ending.
The ENFP in your life may not be able to tell you what they are feeling, but they show you every day, in a thousand ways. If they push you away, don’t assume it’s because they don’t love you. The opposite may be true, and if you care about them, don’t let them go.