[ENFP] How do I talk to my SJ parents?

How do I talk to my SJ parents?

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This is a discussion on How do I talk to my SJ parents? within the ENFP Forum - The Inspirers forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; I'm currently at home because I'm in college. I'm stuck here for financial reasons and for the most part, it's ...

  1. #1

    How do I talk to my SJ parents?

    I'm currently at home because I'm in college. I'm stuck here for financial reasons and for the most part, it's not so bad. Except when I leave my room and have to be around my parents.

    My parents are ISTJ and ISFJ. And they abhor any conversation that isn't small talk. I will try to open up to them and they'll tell me they've listened long enough and now I have to ask them a question about their day, after which they will chatter about something they did. And I mean stuff like "I cleaned the sink this morning and one of the spots wouldn't come out, so I had to use that new cleaner I got at the store last week to get it out."

    And that's all they'll talk about. Surface stuff. What they did. Their plans for the next couple weeks. What someone said to them today. Basic stuff about their friends and what their friends are up to. On and on and on. It's like listening to radio static, and I get about as much interesting information out of it.

    It's to the point in which it's practically a language barrier. They tell me daily that my social skills are terrible because I have no patience to sit around and listen to dry facts about meaningless subjects all day. To me, small talk exists to get to know someone. But I know them already so it's like I don't know them at all.

    I've seen my parents write about stuff that's happened in their lives and what they felt about it and their resulting opinions on it. It's all really interesting. But they won't talk about it verbally with me and the writing was usually some kind of requirement for a seminar or something, not anything they did voluntarily.

    I literally cannot talk to these people. I don't think they know me at all because every time I try to communicate in a way that isn't abject torture, I get shut down after a minute or so and they say they've "listened enough" and it's "time to change the subject."

    I'm to a point where I don't think I can have a relationship with them anymore. I've never met anyone who loves talking about absolutely nothing as much as them and their friends. I'm tired of turning myself off to talk to them. I deal with draining small talk all the time, but the only time I gain any energy is from actual, meaningful conversations, which is why I'm in my room all day, not because I'm antisocial. I'm there to escape being bored to tears. I cannot stand this anymore and I'm in college for 3 more years, so they're just going to complain about this until I find some way to express to them how much torture they put me through every time they talk to me.

    Is there any hope or is this a lost cause?

  2. #2

    Lost cause.

    I love my ESFJ mom but ultimately I could not fully be myself until I moved out. She did release some rules and "relax" in some ways as I lived at home in college but there were still many red lines and things I didn't agree with that she banned in the house. The day, the moment, I moved out I threw most of her rules out the window.

    She's honestly a very nice lady and nurturing mom but we just don't agree on many life goals/rules/guidelines.

    Just keep hope that you'll be away from home someday.

  3. #3

    I don't exactly know which type my dad is but there's a lot of signs of Si-related happenings from past in him + definitely Fe too so it makes xSFJ most likely. Very nice guy, always helping and we do get along very well but sometimes annoying for me to discuss so much about everyday happenings, what friends did etc :) During such topics I tend to be quite "introverted" person :)

    I guess there's not much to do about that as those are quite different worldviews. He understands up to some level that my worldview isn't similar and is somewhat open to that but Ne-talks with him have always been at quite limited scale :) Similar is going on with my 2 sisters who are most likely xSFJs too. Even the fact that we all get along very well doesn't help much to communicate in same language :) I have no idea who my mom could be in that context as I don't see signs of any cognitive function displayed clearly - sometimes there's some Fe, sometimes very subjective and rigid Fi etc.

    Fortunately being ENFP naturally comes with ability to easily adjust your communication style according to the other people, that helps me quite a lot.
    Last edited by tarmonk; 06-04-2019 at 01:52 AM.

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  5. #4

    What I have learned from having an ISFJ parent is that it's better to accept the differences and learn from what they have to teach you, because you either way will have your strength where they will lack. The only thing you have control over is your own openness to the other. Learn to appreciate their advice, because their strengths are ultimately your weaknesses. Acceptance is the key to becoming well rounded.
    Tridentus, Ele30, SummerRoads and 3 others thanked this post.

  6. #5

    If they’ve decided that you “need to learn small talk”. To the point where they won’t even discuss past experiences with you, then the only thing you can do is go out and find Ne friends and bring them home so that your parents can see you interact. Only other people’s reactions will change those Si determinations at this point. However... if you go out and find places to hang out where you get friends then this might just make it so that you don’t need your parents to act a certain way anymore and will free some things up. So— no more time wasted on this— move forward and they will too and you’ll be able to find satisfaction in your parent-child relationship in some ways some how as they realize they could lose you. very soon and it’s not exactly their place to teach you this any more. The more of your own life you get the more they will have to shift their ideas.

    It sounds like they are kind people— that’s not always the case. So run ahead little Ne— they won’t be able to catch you, but at least they will probably try and that’s all you need. You just need them trying to do their type of love in the background.

    Might I suggest college clubs? Religious college clubs? Any special interest clubs out there. What you really need is like the college religious institute to go crash at, play pool, read a book. Libraries have a lot of that too. Or a friend’s apartment or dorm to crash at where you can get really involved and date and stuff. Or study abroad for a year or DO move out. That would really teach respect if possibke, get a part- time job and a bunch of roommates, but get out of there.

    They likely have decided that due to your lack of smalltalk you won’t find friends or a spouse and they are insisting you lesrn proper interaction—- get out and prove them wrong. They will still love you and be your parents, but you won’t find what you’re exactly looking for there—- and you’re looking for your own life, I’d bet.
    Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
    Moby and Tridentus thanked this post.

  7. #6

    Well, my aunt is an ISFJ and she basically raised me with her husband (who I'm assuming to be an ExFJ). Things were really tense between us when I was younger, and I honestly could not stand her even though she was the one related to me by blood. I was more similar to my uncle and he was interested in talking about deeper things while my aunt didn't seem to be very "deep".

    Turns out I was wrong. She does talk about practical things all the time, and she tries to help me navigate the "adult world" when it comes to finances and things like that. I can talk to her about my mental health now (her husband died in 2012, so we grew a bit closer once I moved out) and she is supportive although not quite in the same way fellow intuitives are.

    What I learned about my aunt, and my other sensing friends, is that they feel the way about experiences the way us intuitives feel about ideas. For us, it's the possibilities, the discussion of things, but for them it's experiencing things and living in the moment. My aunt enjoys gardening, hiking, cleaning, and crafting. Sometimes sharing moments with S's is the best way to bond with them. What activities do your parents enjoy doing? Join them, and try not to talk to them through it, just experience it. When I'm with my S friends and family, I find that I can really just live in the moment without all the thoughts filling my head that normally do, and it can be very relaxing. Some experiences don't have to be put into words.

    And as for being able to communicate with them? I would start by being as direct as possible. Don't talk in metaphors, don't embellish things. Being specific helps me explain things to my aunt. I'll tell her "I am feeling extremely depressed." Naturally, she asks "why?" and I tell her "I do not know, I just feel depressed and I could use a hug/some support". I think when S's talk to us, they feel insecure and uncomfortable not because we're "deeper", but because they don't really understand what we're trying to say. As for your parents saying "they've listened long enough", I think that might be a clue. Try to plan what you will say beforehand (I know, this definitely isn't an ENFP thing, intuition is so much easier to go off) and make sure it's concise, to the point, and expresses what you want to say as directly as you can.

    I also think maybe your expectations of what they can offer you might be too high. Think about what I said earlier. They can offer us experiences, living in the moment, that sense of flow that comes with "doing". I don't think your parents, given how they are, were really meant for what you're asking of them. That's how I realized it was with my aunt, and since then I feel better not saying some things to her or changing the topic. I know she has feelings just as much as I do, she just processes them differently and that's okay. I've filled that space with other people who can offer me what I need, and I know what to expect from my relationship with her.

    I think that they are processing their emotions differently, I really think that's what it boils down to. For them, experiences are cathartic enough, they don't have to discuss their feelings in the abstract ways that we do. I'm really sorry to hear that you're bored with their conversations. I do think that finding common ground in activities is the best way to solve the problem. What do they do that you also enjoy? Could be a board game, could be writing. Learn to be comfortable in silence, or learn to listen to them while doing those activities and respect their boundaries. It's also important that they respect yours. If you're in mindset where you feel you can't listen to what they're saying, you could always tell them "Is it okay if we just sit here together in silence for a few minutes?" Conversations are a big part of relationships, but silence is as well. It would be an appropriate way to shut down their "drivel" while still cultivating the bond between you.

    Sorry for the realllly long post, it's been a while since I've been on here and I kind of had to type to think about it. Let me know if you have any more questions, I'd be glad to help! Also, let me know if I've gotten certain things wrong. I don't know the details of your life or relationship with your parents. I do think that it's not a lost cause, I just think that you might have to reframe the way you're thinking of what a "meaningful relationship" with them will be.
    Marvin the Dendroid thanked this post.

  8. #7
    ENFP - The Inspirers

    I've got to agree with the others.

    Trying to change your parents is a VERY fruitless task. Just accept, and absolutely do not compare your relationship with your parents to others' relationships with their's, every family is unique and once you focus on dealing with yours the way that it is it will get a lot better.

    You've also got to remember that even though you've known your parents your whole life, you basically only really see the tip of the iceberg. You don't know about the way their grandparents treated them for example, and what parenting lessons they learnt from them, you don't know about that one person who broke their heart and changed their approach to interactions, you don't know many things..

    Unless maybe your parent is an ENFP lol. In which case you may find out a little too much.

    Having said that also- being in your 20s and living with your parents is supposed to suck, so don't be surprised if a lot of your frustrations adjacently stem from that factor.. After you move out you might find your parents' communication style more natural if you're seeing less of them.
    SailorStar, SummerRoads and NIHM thanked this post.

  9. #8

    Oh! Side note--maybe you could also post this in the ISTJ/ISFJ threads? It might help to get their perspective as well.
    NIHM thanked this post.

  10. #9

    I feel you there. My mum is ESFJ and dad ESTJ.

    If they've shut off to their Si default mode to that extent, I suggest you keep friendly distance with them. If they want to talk to you in something, you listen then move on but never more than that. It seems cold and bad but that's best for everyone. Better to keep peace and mutual relationship than forcing each other to be something they are not. Si-dom and Ne-dom aren't always getting along, that's the fact.

    Another thing is, you try discussing something like how to manage daily works with them. SJs are generally great at daily maintenance, which is something we suck. Try drawing wisdom from them. If anything it might help you feel better, or at least, your works will be better. This trick might not be for you, but at least it works for me. (Both my mum and dad were workaholics so they are pretty good when talk about works and businesses)

    Good luck out there.

  11. #10

    @KateMarie999 ,

    I'm sure that can feel very frustrating... I think it's natural for anyone who is old enough to leave home to feel frustrated when they have to be stuck in their parents house under their parents rules regardless of how well your personalities click. That's just part of growing up. That aside, I agree with what some others have said. Try to appreciate them for who they are and don't try to fight it or try to change them. All the things that annoy you about their small talk might annoy them about you with your shutting yourself in your room and seeming to be "too lofty" or something.

    Why not try to talk to your parents one on one out of the house. Ask your mom if she wants to go get lunch somewhere and then ask her some deeper questions about herself. Ask her about what she enjoyed studying at college when she was your age or what she wish she would have done differently. Or whatever! Ask questions about them. Don't expect that they're just going to chime in on all your ideas floating around in the universe. As sensors, they'll probably feel more comfortable opening up to you about things they've experienced in life and that are tangible. I think with some effort and time, you'll see there are a lot of deep layers to your parents.

    Believe me, no one LIVES for cleaning the sink and talking about the spots they couldn't get out. Some people make small talk because they don't know how else to connect to someone. Maybe they pick up on your annoyed attitude of them or you shutting yourself in your room all the time, or maybe they feel self-conscious because you're a smart college student now and maybe they feel dumb when you ask them questions that are too abstract for them or they feel you're giving off an air of superiority or something, (I'm just making stuff up obviously, I don't know how you are with them). Just make an effort to appreciate them. Ask yourself what you can learn from them and then ask them deeper questions about themselves. Then take your pent up Ne side and hit up some friends outside the house and get your fix there. Your parents aren't going to meet all your relationship needs so just accept them for who they are and get the rest met elsewhere. You don't need to end things with your parents just to stay sane. Take charge of fulfilling your needs on your own and then come back to them with gratitude for letting you live in their house and for them being kind parents to you. Watch a movie with them, hang out with them instead of going to your room, and just appreciate what they bring to your life and get all other parts of your needs met outside the house like in college where ideas and deep conversations are boundless.
    Last edited by SummerRoads; 06-06-2019 at 01:15 PM.

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