Is this worth pursuing? | INFJ Forum

Is this worth pursuing?

Nov 6, 2023
Hi all! Need to get some like-minded people's opinion on this. Might be a lengthy one (sorry).

Because of privacy issues I can't go into exact specifics, but I (an INFJ) have a situation going on with a girl (another INFJ). We met last year through work (she'd already been there for a year but we didn't work together before then. I'd just seen her in passing). Neither of us knew we were INFJs at the time (that's pretty recent for both of us).

We worked together pretty closely for one year in a group setting until the summer of this year. I liked her from the get go, but didn't develop feelings or anything. I also had to keep a distance because of the work relationship we had (also there is quite the age gap - 15 years - with me being the senior party).

At first I began noticing her staring at me (the famed INFJ stare). It was so intense, but it was always followed by a coy little smile. I began reciprocating the stares and smiled back, and it became a thing we had. After a while we would just know what the other was thinking and look at each other and smile, knowing we both had the same thought. Apart from that I kept being professional. I was kind to her, talked to her mostly about work stuff, but smiled to her a lot as I kept liking her more and more.

She, on the other hand, showed more direct signs of interests in my opinion. She would ask me about various stuff and interests I have (favorite movie, hobbies, and other every day things). She would also readily defend me if she thought someone was disrespecting me or took a stance against my opinion. Once, when she discussed relationships with older men with some girls her age, she said she'd have no issues with it as long as the guy looked a lot younger than his age (I look at least 10 years younger than my age - as people keep telling me). I'm pretty sure she knew I'd be able to listen from where I was at the time. She also knew, very well, that any pursuit of a relationship between us would be a no go at this time (not even an admission of feelings would go down well for any if us).

Towards the end of the year working together I had a strong feeling that she had developed feelings for me, and we had a great vibe between us. She felt more comfortable joking around and often made fun of me in a witty and sarcastic way (which I LOVE). I had then began developing stronger feelings towards her as well. Towards the end of the year, it was clear that I would be transferred over to another work group over the summer. That's when she did two things that rarely any woman do to me. First, she came up to me and gently touched my back when wanting to speak to me (not something I would have expected from her). The second was her being obviously upset and almost angry that I wouldn't be working with her for the next year. She said, trying to be funny, that I had let her down. But I sensed that she meant it. Being transferred was out of my hands anyway, so nothing I could have done. It's important to note that us working at different groups still would not allow us to pursue a relationship of any kind. Only after her tenure at the work place would be over (which will be summer of next year)

Now back to where I was. I went on summer vacation, and when I was back at work and with a new group I walked past a room she was in with a bunch of other people. I just looked inside, and there were people talking and having a meeting of sorts. Upon seeing me, she jumped out of her chair, as on instinct, ran towards me with open arms and threw herself at me and gave me a hug. To my great surprise! She then did some small talk with me, ignoring whatever went on in the room. Me, not wanting to disrupt what was going on, felt I had to cut it short and leave her there.

Her new working group had a 3 day workshop a few weeks inn after summer which I was asked to lead (it was within my area of expertise). That's when things really began feeling a bit more serious from her part. Her jokes and fun-making felt a bit more brazen and flirty, and more open for others to notice. The whole group played a card game one evening, and she literally punched me and kicked me (as a jest for things not going her way and pinning me as responsible for it). It was all in good fun, but again it took me by surprise.

After this workshop I've only really had two prolonged interactions with her (apart from a few times passing by in the hallway and greeting one another (often with a smile, and once even with a wave).

Both these prolonged interactions sent my head spinning and heart pounding. The first one was a time when I went to check up on her working group, as they were close by where I was. At first glance, she smiled and wanted me to come look at some stuff she'd been working on. We exchanged some great banter and she quite brazenly said out loud that I came over because I missed her the most in the group (not untrue, but I didn't want that to be obvious). I left after a few laughs and talking to other people in the group. Only a few minutes after she came over to where I worked and continued the banter and wittiness. She came on very strong and flirtatious (without flirting outright), and a friend of her even looked a bit stunned by her behaviour. I eventually had to ask her to leave because of my own obligations, but I did so in a lighthearted way. Afterwards I was speechless. That was the moment when my feelings finally hit me HARD!

When I saw her a few times the week after, she suddenly, for the first time, ignored me completely and didn't even want to look at me as she passed me. That confused the he'll out of me... What was that all about?

A few weeks went by and I hardly saw her. I then suddenly saw her sitting with a friend (a girl whom I also worked with the year prior) doing some work in an open seating area. I decided to walk up to them and have a chat. They both first told me that they missed me, and they didn't enjoy this year as much because of me not working with them. They then wanted me to have a look at some of the stuff they'd been working on. I sat down with them, and suddenly this girl (my INFJ) began showing me her personality test (which showed INFJ) and an IQ score (135). She then asked me about career advice, at which I didn't have a good answer at the time, as my head couldn't calm down (to her annoyance). She then opened up about some of her personal interests, which eerily matched some of my own more secret and deeper interests (which she definitely didn't know about). After a bit more banter and fun-making on my behalf I left them. I went straight home, took a personality test myself (3 of them), and got INFJ every time. It made perfect sense (for both me and her). I also took an IQ test and got 132 (so basically matching intellects as well).

Since then (been 4 weeks now) I have hardly seen her. Just a few nods and hellos in quick passing (neither had time for a chat or walked with other people).

So, after AAALL of that (kudos if you read it all), I have a few questions:

First of all, am I right to still be insecure as to how she feels? It's an INFJ thing to want to know 100 %, and since she hasn't spelled it out outright, I still can't be sure.

Second. Would it be right for me to pursue her when her tenure is up next year and it's more of a green light to do so? Even though there is quite the age gap? We would both be consenting adults, but still.

Third. If I actually do pursue her, some people at work may not like it and it could be damaging to my relationship to some colleagues (and perhaps to future interns) . I really like my job, so I don't really want to compromise it too much.

And fourth. Even though we can't really pursue any form of relationship at the moment, it is hard for me to just sit around and wait (what if she suddenly decides to move somewhere far away when she leaves next summer?). What do you think of me sending her more innocent texts about us both being INFJs or something similar, to keep our communication going? Or is it best for me to play it safe and wait to see what happens?

And by the way. Wow, it is hard being an INFJ in the dating world.. I'm soon closing in on 40, and still have only been in one serious relationship... It all makes sense now though, after learning about my type!

Thanks to anyone who bothers reading it all and gives a reply 🙂
I just wanted to add a bit more of a personal and emotional context to this:

I've never met a girl who just gets me like she does. It's as if she just knows who I am and how I function. Her comments are always spot on and makes me feel seen and valued as few others have managed.

This makes it feel like it is worth pursuing, despite any possible negative outcomes (opinions from others etc.). Would still like other's take on it, though.

She does come off as a bit hot and cold at times, but that's how we are as INFJs I guess. I am pretty sure I come across in the same way. It wouldn't surprise me if she is just as unsure about the whole thing as myself. I do think her Ni is stronger than mine, though, and it wouldn't surprise me if she has my side of the situation more fugured out than I hers. I am more dominant in my Fe function than my Ni, I think.
You should first know that this isn't an online test where you give a bunch of input and one answer comes out. We are talking about a dynamic human relationship that has many unknowns, most of them for those who give advice, but some of them even for you. Still, your questions are easy enough to answer:

1. No, it's a human thing. We generally like knowing what to expect so we can prepare accordingly. I don't know whether it is right, if that qualifier even applies here, but it's normal.

2. There is no moral or civil law against age gaps, provided you aren't children of course. But the younger you both are, the more prominent will the difference be. For example, if you were 50 and 35, the difference would be less relevant than when you are 40 and 25. Ultimately it doesn't matter as long as you get along consistently. The only problem is that this might affect fertility if you decide to start a family, but that would be worse if she were the older one.

3. Only you can set your priorities straight. However, strong relationships are always more important than career. Especially if you claim an unprecedented connection with this woman, to which I can relate. A man is not alive by bread alone. It is better to be poor together than rich alone. But maybe you already have a good social network that gives you meaning and use for your money. Or maybe you just wake up each morning to work for the sake of comfort and killing time. I don't know your circumstances, but we were certainly not made for the latter.

4. Obviously, if you decide to pursue her then keeping communication alive is critical. Unless you already know and love each other so deeply that you are equipped to withstand any external temptation, silence will erode your affections.

A word of caution, if you decide to go for it and possibly jeopardize your work: a lasting relationship requires faith that is higher than just your trust in each other because you can't really trust something that's broken. You don't mention your faith anywhere in this, so I'm going to assume you are a non-believer. If you only rely on your desires and good favor of your partner, you will lose any motivation to persevere when these things are denied and taken away; and do not be deceived, they will be denied and taken away. This is why our culture handles marriage and divorce like a visit to an amusement park. Paradoxically, if you have Christ before each other, you will cherish each other more, and you can solve your problems through that common framework. Most people who have waited patiently for marriage to reap the full rewards of their love will attest to a stronger bond. I can't overstate the importance of this if you happen to quit your job later because of the consequences, and your initial carefree attraction is tested. You may end up with nothing.
Hello and welcome, @IdleWanderer.

This is a tough situation because you make it sound like you must choose between a chance at a relationship or your career. Relationships that demand sacrificing a major aspect of yourself are not a great choice. If you had to leave your current position as a consequence of dating this woman, would you have other job options to continue your career at another company? Before making a move, research different avenues for a possible future, so you know you're taking care of your needs.

The intern/leader dynamic creates a power imbalance. Be careful that any move you make isn't viewed as an abuse of power by her or by anyone associated with your career. Make sure this power dynamic ceases to exist if you meet up outside of work later on.

Age gaps in relationships are fine (as long as she is not a minor, which she is not), but issues will arise from age gaps. Relationships between people who are in different significant life stages can have friction. The older person will go through life stages the younger person cannot relate to, including some complicated and volatile stages like middle age. The older person will have perspective from living through earlier stages but will lack understanding of all the changes in the world that make the younger person's experience different than their own. Your shared empathy and understanding must be stronger than all of this.
You will also be judged for the age gap. While this may be unfair, you need to know you can withstand that criticism and concern.

I've seen age gaps work when the younger person is particularly mature, while the older person holds onto a degree of youthfulness. They meet in the middle and create balance, and they are equal partners. In cases where I've seen it crash like the Hindenburg, the two failed to relate to each other's life stages, the power dynamic was unhealthy, the younger person was immature and/or the older person viewed their young partner as a showpiece or trophy.

I am unable to discern how serious she is about you. It seems obvious that she was trying to get your attention, but she also seems immature. Plus, she turned cold later in your story and now plays hot and cold. Is she feeling limerence? Are you?

Her behavior seemed to ignite your interest. What do you really feel? Are you interested in her, or in the idea that she likes you? -- This is a rhetorical question and something to think about.

If you are able to reach out to her after she leaves without sabotaging your career, try it. Meeting her for a low-key date like coffee or connecting on social media and opening a dialog so you can get to know each other and speak openly outside the framework of the work environment will tell you whether you will truly make a good couple. Don't get ahead of yourself thinking about a serious relationship when you haven't shared deep and hard conversations yet. You haven't spent any time together one-on-one. You don't know if you are compatible under pressure, or whether you have opposing life views.

Loyalty, morality, ethics, and love are not exclusive to those who believe in a god. Marriage takes dedication, and you cannot give up when it gets tough, or you will miss out on the most rewarding and fulfilling relationship, but you have to marry the right person first. I do not think you know this young woman well enough to entertain making her your life partner yet.
Thanks a lot for replying to my lengthy post (story). Both of you have some valid points and thoughts to consider.

I really appreciated your reply Asa, so I'd like to comment on some of your points.

First of all, the situation is not really a love vs career situation. I'm certain I wouldn't loose my job if I pursued her (as long as I wait until after she leaves the work place next year). But some colleagues would definitely not agree with it. I have two colleagues who have 1. married and 2. a long term partnership with a previous intern. There are age gaps in those relationships, and probably more than 10 years. No one bats an eye on those. The difference is they both met their significant other some time after, and didn't start dating the same year as the end of the internship tenure. It's the immediately after thing that might scratch someone the wrong way, at least at first. If worst came to worst, and something bad did come out of the whole thing, I would be able to find work elsewhere without issue. But I like my current work place quite well.

I have thought quite a bit on the whole age gap thing. As you say, she does come across as immature sometimes, but quite often I feel it is her being playful more than anything. But yes, definitely some comments and actions have been a bit immature (that might also stem from being a bit unsure about herself, which is more common when you are that age). I am quite playful and youthful myself, and, as I said, I do look significantly younger than my age. People quite often get very surprised when they hear my real age, and I often tend to fit in with the younger people at work (being under 40 I am still much part of the "young gang"). That is not to say that I am immature. My mother is the same (also an INFJ). Very youthful in nature, and goes on well with the younger generations, and she is in her 70s.

When it comes to the whole hot/cold thing, that is something that has been slightly present the entire time (from both sides), and most of the time I have attributed it to the situation we are in. We can't allow ourselves to just stay "hot" all the time, and the whole situation makes me (and probably her) very unsure of it all. Especially since we cannot actually express our feelings fully as things stand. That one time when she went all cold turkey on me for a week after that one day of being almost too "hot" caught me off guard, but my guess is that she herself knew she went a bit too far, considering the situation, and felt it best to keep a distance (bear in mind she does not know exactly how I feel either). When we interacted again a couple of weeks later (the chat when she told me she was INFJ), it was all fine again, and she hasn't gone back to that cold stage since. We have hardly seen each other since though, but that is more because of work than anything else I'd say.

When it comes to my own feelings, now that is something I am actually quite relaxed about. I had a previous experience of heavy limerence on someone once. It was a crazy experience lasting 3 years, with me thinking I had found a Twin Flame and all that stuff. It ended pretty badly, and it woke me up from a dream state I had been in throughout that time (it awakened me quite a bit to myself and life in generally too, I must say). This time everything is very different. Yes, my feelings grew gradually for this girl, but not because of her possible attraction to me (I actually get that a lot at my job - even from other interns, a perk of being an INFJ I guess, to pick up on those things), but because of the connection we got. There was just something else entirely there that I have never really experienced before. Instead of me thinking about her all the time, wanting to be with her, obsessing over her, thinking about what she might be doing 24/7 and even dreaming up all kinds of future scenarios, like I did in my previous experience, I just don't in this scenario. This just feels more real, more concrete, more there in my face, and not somewhere floating around in the space of my head. I don't really care what she does from day to day, even if she goes on a date with another guy, I don't feel any of those things, I just know that we have a great connection, and that I have strong, but more down to earth, feelings for her, and if I could, I'd love to pursue that connection further to see where it leads.

It's the whole situation with us not being able to communicate freely that have me so unsure of it all, and it's my nature to second guess every little thing from her side (which is really why I made this thread in the first place). I believe she senses the connection too, but, from what happened previously with the earlier "twin flame connection" I don't want to repeat the mistake of just assuming (that time I thought we were deeply connected on a spiritual level, but I actually never got any signs from her in the physical that that was actually true). It all feels very different and more real this time around, though. This girl actually shows she feels something too, as far as I can tell. This does not feel like a deep "spiritual" connection, but a genuine person to person connection, rooted in reality. Which I much prefer.

As for your suggestion of going on a low-key date once she is finished, I think that is probably the wisest course of action, and something I have thought of myself. Even so, I'd love for us to both have our feelings for each other confirmed before then, to make it all a bit less unsure. Then we would know beforehand that we would meet up afterwards and see where it all leads (if she wants the same, of course). Still, I found your comment on this reassuring, making me think I actually do not need that confirmation. Instead I think it best to just let things develop naturally over the course of her last months at work. Not trying to force anything, but just keep our connection as is (hoping we will still be able to meet and interact once in a while to not let the connection fade entirely). Because, as I said, I do not really dream too much or plan too much ahead with this girl, I certainly do not yet see her as the one girl of my dreams. However, she is the girl I've had the best connection with, and one of the few that seems to really get me and who I am (through my INFJ persona), so it would be nice to see where it leads. No matter what happens, at least I'd know more of what type of connection to look for further down the line (if she ends up not being the one).

One last thing, though, to the INFJs in this forum. Do anyone of you recognize yourself in either me and my thoughts and behavior, and/or in her behavior (the INFJ girl)? I just find it very fascinating how so many INFJs experience similar things and act in similar ways. It makes me make more sense of my own experiences in life. Finding out I was an INFJ was a real eye opener too me!
@IdleWanderer It sounds like you already know what direction you want to go in. When her internship is over, ask her out on a date for coffee or dinner. If she accepts, get to know her.

One last thing, though, to the INFJs in this forum. Do anyone of you recognize yourself in either me and my thoughts and behavior, and/or in her behavior (the INFJ girl)? I just find it very fascinating how so many INFJs experience similar things and act in similar ways. It makes me make more sense of my own experiences in life. Finding out I was an INFJ was a real eye opener too me!

No. I don't.
I've seen these things unfold with guy friends in your position with various outcomes, but this has not happened to me. This isn't my style. I don't mean that in any sort of way.
If things haven't changed drastically by then, and I sense she might be up for it, I will probably do just that.

I wasn't really alluding to the whole age gap or intern/leader situation (if that is what you think) when asking other INFJs to chip in on similarities. It was more the general behavior and thought processes around love and uncertainties, and how one acts in certain situations (no matter what roles and age one must have, which are simply labels we put on things). To me, similarities within are much more interesting and important to discuss, than similarities without.
I wasn't really alluding to the whole age gap or intern/leader situation (if that is what you think) when asking other INFJs to chip in on similarities. It was more the general behavior and thought processes around love and uncertainties, and how one acts in certain situations (no matter what roles and age one must have, which are simply labels we put on things). To me, similarities within are much more interesting and important to discuss, than similarities without.

Oh, I know. :)
At first glance I was like wtf date this girl she's obviously crazy about you. However, the power dynamic wasn't really apparent to me in the first post. Sometimes that in and of itself can create an attraction that may not otherwise have been there had you two met under other circumstances. For me, it would be a matter of conscience in the sense that I'd need to ask myself if I'd be just as likely as the next person (not associated with her through a leadership or similar professional role) to develop this kind of relationship with her. It seems likely that the sustained interaction you had with each other that allowed for opportunities to get to know each other so well was a product of your position, regardless of either of your intentions. It's decidedly different than two peer coworkers developing feelings for each other in that you are not equals. I can understand why it might raise an eyebrow with colleagues. In my field this would not fly, but I can't speak to yours. Tread carefully.
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