When it comes to relationships, many of us feel daunted by the positive and negative possibilities. Do we like someone enough to commit? Do we trust them? What if there are better options out there? What if we’re not good enough? What if they’re not good enough? Most of us want to find true companionship and love, but the path to getting there can be treacherous. Today’s article is going to explore some ways to avoid relationship roadblocks, specifically for ENTPs. We’re going to look at three mistakes that this type tends to encounter in relationships, and some ways to avoid those mistakes.
Mistake #1 – Distraction
ENTPs are visionaries filled to the brim with ideas and theories about the future. The world around them is a catalyst for thousands of new possibilities and they find themselves chasing after those possibilities with enthusiasm and vigor. The only problem with this is that it can feel like they are too distracted to really listen to what their partner says or follow through on obligations.
As an example, imagine a couple having a romantic dinner together. One partner starts talking about his day at work, revealing his frustration in the ever-changing expectations of his boss. The ENTP partner, hearing this, might initially empathize, but then go down a rabbit trail of thoughts related to that subject. It might start out simple: Why is the boss struggling to be consistent? What kind of project is this? Then it might turn into a discussion about bureaucracy, the future of this particular business venture, socialism, capitalism, and then the pros and cons of social justice warriors. Towards the end of this conversation, the partner who initiated the conversation walks away feeling unheard and invalidated.
In the same way, ENTPs can show a lot of enthusiasm for a project only to get distracted part way through and leave it unfinished as they pursue something more fascinating. Their search for new ideas can lead them away from their deeper values, and the desires and needs of their partner.
How to Avoid This Mistake:
When you are in a relationship, take time to consider what’s really important to you on a personal level. What needs will you prioritize? What old habits do you want to get away from? Set a reminder on your phone to check in with yourself to see if you’re still prioritizing those things.
Examples of those priorities could be:
– I will actively listen to my partner when he/she speaks to me.
– I will finish projects I agreed to do for or with my partner.
– I will be honest about what I need or want instead of getting distracted and looking for satisfaction elsewhere.
– I won’t make jokes at my partner’s (or others) expense.
When your partner is talking to you, make sure to look at them directly, put aside distracting thoughts, and avoid working out responses while they are still speaking. Give an occasional nod, ask questions, and reflect on what they say before responding or interrupting. Occasionally, stop and paraphrase what they’ve said to make sure you understand it. Most of all, take some time before jumping in with counter-arguments or rabbit trails leading down a different path. This kind of active listening shows your partner that they are valued and that their words matter. Listening like this can greatly improve communication and diffuse conflicts.
Mistake #2 – Leaving Nitty-Gritty Tasks in the Dust (Literally)
ENTPs are driven by the theoretical and possible more than the concrete and tangible. They want to make big things happen and are always looking forward to the opportunities of tomorrow. Menial tasks like paying the bills on time, keeping track of social obligations, or washing the dishes can get lost in the whirlwind of their ideas. Repetitive, day-to-day chores tend to be the bane of their existence and it can be easy for them to get disregarded. In relationships, this can be a problem because their partner might feel obligated to pick up the slack for them or else deal with an uncomfortable amount of unpredictability and mess. Over time this can cause resentment to build in the relationship as the partner of the ENTP feels like they are taken advantage of rather than shown consideration by sharing responsibilities equally.
How to Avoid This Mistake:
Uneven chore splitting can actually cause a lot of discord in a relationship. Relationships, especially in marriage, are a partnership. When the practical aspects of that partnership are equally shared and run smoothly there is more harmony and trust in the relationship. Here are some ways to split up chores evenly.
#1 – Before you start dividing up the chores, you and your partner should talk about what’s really important to you. One partner might be comfortable with a certain amount of mess while the other is not. Discuss how you both feel about bill-paying, cleaning, cooking, and whether you like to be at events early or on-time. Decide which obligations you can compromise on, and which are important to each of you.
#2 – Next, sit down and make a list of all the chores that each of you hates doing. What one of you hates, the other might not mind as much. If there’s a particularly awful chore, maybe you can conquer it as a pair.
#3 – Once a week go over the to-do list, obligations, and events. Decide who is going to do what, make a list, and share it on your phones or in a public place (like on your refrigerator). Don’t nag each other about the chores. Wait till one week has passed and then check-in with each other to see if you both stayed on track.
#4 – Re-evaluate once the week is up to see if the chore list was manageable. Was it too difficult to keep up with? Are there ways you could re-organize your home to make chores more efficient? Do you need to hire outside help? Should certain chores be swapped? These are all things that you can discuss as you work this out. Be patient with each other and refrain from accusatory statements.
Mistake #3 – Struggling to be Vulnerable
Vulnerability never sounds like a positive thing at first glance. For Intuitive-Thinking types, vulnerability is especially difficult. It can feel counter-intuitive to share your weaknesses and fears with the person you’re dating. It can be intimidating to put yourself out there emotionally for someone who may or may not stick around for the long haul. ENTPs want to seem competent, capable, and ready for anything. Showing their emotions, being open about their weaknesses, being okay with being wrong, these are all things that make them uncomfortable at times. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can cause major disturbances in a relationship. The ENTP’s partner might feel like they don’t truly know them on an authentic, deep level. There might be a lack of trust or a barrier in intimacy that only grows with time.
How to Avoid This Mistake:
Thankfully, vulnerability isn’t something you have to dive into deeply right on the first date. You can take your time to establish trust before opening up about your deeper struggles and emotions. Being vulnerable is a risk – but here’s the good news: ENTPs are risk-takers! You don’t mind taking chances, trying new things, or going out on a limb. Remind yourself of that when you’re feeling fearful about vulnerability.
Here are some extra tips:
Start small with vulnerability if a lot of trust hasn’t been established yet. Share a story from your past or offer some insight into your deeper feelings about something. Give your partner the chance to either reciprocate or evaluate.
Admit when you feel embarrassed. Give your partner a look inside yourself and your true feelings. When they share vulnerability with you, share a story of how you can identify with their experience. Show empathy and listen carefully.
Don’t wallow. Sharing a story about a struggle you dealt with or overcame can be a good thing. But don’t get stuck there. Focus on the present so that you can stay tuned in emotionally with your partner.
Get the timing right. Don’t open up about something deeply personal in a crowded room while your partner is playing Candy Crush on her phone. Find a time when you both are relaxed and undistracted. Make sure both of your phones are silenced. Let your partner know that you don’t expect them to have an immediate response to what you are saying, but that you just want to be as authentic as possible with them and open up lines of communication.
Summing It Up…
As an ENTP you have so many strengths to bring to a relationship. Your imagination, creativity, and logical, intellectual mindset are compelling to many people. You bring excitement and ingenuity to everything you do and this is something that can add a lot of joy and wonder to your relationships. Don’t let the potential mistakes we’ve talked about here get you down! Embrace the strengths you have, and keep an eye out for these potential roadblocks. You can find out more about your ENTP strengths, weaknesses, and more here.