How to get an ENTJ to follow - occasionally


#1

So, overall I am in a happy relationship with my ENTJ man.
We have many things in common and usually he organises what we do and how we do it. I’m fine with that. And he is a considerate guy who tries to take care of both our preferences. I also often come along to ‘his’ things because it is fun to be together, or something is important to him, or I am simply curious.

However, sometimes I would like him to come along to some of the things that I like and care about. And that is really difficult. What is the best way to motivate him to let me take the lead?

Here is one small but typical example, I suggested to go to a certain theatre play that I like - he agreed to coming along, he chose the date and I organised the tickets. Now that we are getting close to the actual day of the show he is criticising and nagging that the theatre is in a part of town he does not know, about how many hours the play will last, why we are watching it in English (not our native language and I speak it somewhat better than him). I can try to ignore all this since he has agreed to come, but still it leaves a bitter taste with me, he is spoiling the fun for me.
I have told him that and I hope he stops the nagging now. But is there something else I can do so that there is no nagging at all? How can I make him join in?


#2

Ok I’m going to try to be as open as possible, since nothing makes me as happy as seeing two people enjoying being together and I’d like to help fascilitate a better understanding between you and your significant other.

In general you’re never going to get an ENTJ to follow you, at least not without him “plotting” to normalize or overtake the power dynamics. It is not in the nature of ENTJs to be followers, though they can follow anything or anyone as long as it is within their best interests to do so. To a certain degree he is already letting you take the lead by choosing things to do occasionally. What I would do were I in your situation, is tell him that you enjoy his dominance but you have an innate desire to occasionally be completely in controll yourself, and youd like his help learning to take charge and be assertive. Then you ask him if he could help you by encouraging your assertiveness, and generally trusting your judgment on situations where you actually have made a decision and he has agreed to it. Likely he will enjoy this, you will probably find his support very empowering, and it will establish you occasionally taking the lead as a natural power dynamic in your relationship. Though keep in mind that if you are not gentle in your use of the “lead”, he might start resisting by not agreeing with you when you make decisions.

That’s just the actual solution though, but it doesnt change the underlying problem, which in my opinion could be that you possibly don’t know how to handle having power. You can’t gracefully have the upper hand. He is likely spoiling your fun because you aren’t making it very fun for him. He is reaching out to you, to get him excited for the play or movie or the thing you are attending together. For him to get excited about it he needs some way of relating it to his inner world. I am highly sympathetic towards your partners point of view, ENTJs are highly prone to boredom, and we dont really think that much like INTJ does. Several hours of watching something, that I couldnt relate to in any way, or get mentally involved with, is my definition of several hours of hell. From his perspective, you talk him into accepting going to the play, and then just leave him hanging. You need to somehow get him emotionally involved in the play, which is what he tries to do by researching the play. From your perspective you are just trying to share some aspect of yourself with him, but from his he might need some help actually understanding what you are sharing and how it relates to him.

Hopefully this post wasn’t complete nonsense, I’m pretty tired.


#3

Thanks a lot for your advice!

We actually went to the play and he really enjoyed it, too. He explicitly said so afterwards.
I hope that this - another positive experience - helps so that he will trust my judgement more in the future.

However, I get what you are saying that I need to spend more time and effort making the things I want him to come along to more interesting for him as well. I thought that I did that but it must have been way too little. I’ll try to treat the nagging and criticism as a way of asking for more information.

Also, I think it is an interesting point that - compared to INTJs - ENTJs are more focused on the extenal world and therefore they want to be in charge of what is happening there. If I am in a situation where I cannot get away immediatelly and I am not particularly interested in what is going on then I often withdraw to my inner world and do some thinking until it is over. Therefore it is not a big deal for me to just come along to something as long as it is not totally against my values or physical capabilities. Maybe ENTJs do not do that and I cannot expect a similar behaviour from them.