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I have recently started dating an INTP, and we have gotten really into reading about our respective personality types. Interestingly, he has found countless forums by INTPs, has had enjoyed reading about others' experiences as his same type. I, however, have found no forums for ESFJs! I am surprised by this, given that as an ESFJ, I love to talk to other people, especially people with whom I have something in common. And yet, no ESFJs seem to be interested in the least in talking about themselves. This shouldn't be terribly surprising, as ESFJs are caregivers, and on many of the profiles I have read about how much we enjoy talking about other people. Perhaps we should start a forum called, "What ESFJs think about everyone else"? That might get the conversation going.

In all honesty, though, I would find it very helpful to compare notes, as it were, with others like me. Let's get this ball rolling, shall we?

Here's a few topics of conversation:
* Interesting especially to me, how does an ESFJ get along with the polar opposite type, the INTP? I have found it to be a delightful match, certainly a complementary one, as long as sights are set outward and communication is open.
* Has anyone taken the Enneagram test? I find many common characteristics between my ESFJ-ness and my Enneagram 2-ness. What are other people's Enneagram types?
* From a faith perspective, how does your ESFJ type relate to your faith (in my case, Christian faith, but really any faith)? Do you believe, as I do, that some of the best characteristics of your type are directly related to your efforts to live into the ideals of your faith?
* What has been your experience in friend relationships? Do you find yourself to be a better or worse friend than others? How about your romantic relationships?
 

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I hope this thread gets some replies... I just figured that the world was your guys' forum, and didn't expect any of you to show up here (in wanting to learn about the opposite type, I went looking for ESFJ forums a little while back, as well, and didn't find any).

Welcome to the forum, btw.
 

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Oh, cool! An ESFJ to study! I'm currently living with an ESFJ relative, and I find her fascinatingly different from me. As long as I keep my room clean and do my laundry once a week, we get along great, even if she tends to overwhelm me on a social level. She takes me out to do things because she thinks it's unhealthy for me to be cooped up in my room all the time, which may be true. She also invites friends over a lot, and I have to put in my earplugs and hide. She loves talking about other people, but now that you mention it, she doesn't really talk about herself very much. Maybe she just assumes that everybody already knows everything about her, since she is Fe dominant and very open about her feelings as they are occurring.

How does an ESFJ get along with the polar opposite type, the INTP?
Well, she has an INTP son, and they don't get along well at all. She thinks he is lazy and irresponsible. She wants him to be something he can't be or shouldn't have to be, and he thinks she's stupid and controlling.

Has anyone taken the Enneagram test? What are other people's Enneagram types?
Yes. I have tested most often as 4w5, but also as 9w1 and 2w1. My results haven't been consistent.

From a faith perspective, how does your ESFJ type relate to your faith (in my case, Christian faith, but really any faith)? Do you believe, as I do, that some of the best characteristics of your type are directly related to your efforts to live into the ideals of your faith?
My ESFJ relative is a Christian, but not in the same way that I am. She believes in tradition and following rules, while I am an idealist, more concerned with living according to ideals and values that come from a Christian worldview. The distinction is subtle, but makes a huge difference in how we approach spirituality. She finds going to church once a week more useful than I do because she is an extraverted judging type, while I prefer discussing religious topics in smaller groups or online, being an introverted perceiving type. She focuses more on spirituality as something she does externally, while I see it more as a personal philosophy I hold internally, probably because of the S/N distinction.


What has been your experience in friend relationships? Do you find yourself to be a better or worse friend than others? How about your romantic relationships?
My ESFJ relative has many, many, many, many friends. She loves them all dearly, but to me they seem like shallow relationships because they are more about being able to go out and do things together than sitting around having deep, personal discussions. She is a nurturing person who lets her friends stay in the guest bedroom and feeds them, showing affection through generous physical displays. When I first came to live with her, she took me shopping for new clothes as a bonding experience through which she could show her love. Romantically, she values physical security, but settled for a relationship that was emotionally unstable. This has caused her great stress over the years, but her traditional views of marriage have kept her with someone who might not be fully compatible with her.
 

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Iron Fist
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I find snail's answer an amazing description of an ESFJ. my mom and sister are ones. i had an ESFJ friend before but that didn't end well.


this is what socionics has to say about an ESFJ interrelationship with INTP:

Conflict
Relations of Conflict (Example: LII and SEE) are, unsurprisingly, characterized by constantly escalating conflict. Conflictors are the types with the most dissimilar values, and they rarely understand anything regarding each other's motivations or lifestyles. Conflictors may take for granted truths that their partners will dismiss as absurd. Sometimes they understand each other so little that the conflict is not well understood, but prevails under the surface, discomfiting both partners to no end. Conflictors also are of opposite temperaments, a fact which both partners often find irritating.

ofcourse, shouldnt be taken literraly, each one of u has to be 100% his type for this to be 100% the case.

Personnally this is what i am bugged at about ESFJ:

Orderly
Don't need their alone time at all
Follow rules
Like to go out just for the sake of going out
Fail to have a deep conversation, puts them on edge
Passes off statements like *supposed to be* all the time
Will keep to themselves when they are bugged at you, wont approach u and tell u

This is what i know about INTP:

Have deep abstract theories about random things in life, they aren't comfortable with sharing it to anyone
Value space
Hate clingers, because they dont understand feelings, and wouldnt want to hurt this person
Feelings arent *important* to INTP, they could subsitute it most of the time.
When they are romantic, WHEN, its adorable.:crazy: coz its not their norm, so its amazing and genuine and unique.

This is what i can muster up at this hour, i could come back later to say more.
 
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This is what i know about INTP:

Have deep abstract theories about random things in life, they aren't comfortable with sharing it to anyone
Value space
Hate clingers, because they dont understand feelings, and wouldnt want to hurt this person
Feelings arent *important* to INTP, they could subsitute it most of the time.
When they are romantic, WHEN, its adorable.:crazy: coz its not their norm, so its amazing and genuine and unique.

This is what i can muster up at this hour, i could come back later to say more.
My personal experience with an ESFJ was not pleasant. However, I think I've met others whom I don't mind quite so much, since they don't seem to be nearly so neurotic. I still don't think I could have an intimate relationship with an ESFJ.

Welcome to the forum, btw.

About the INTP, I think you're wrong about being uncomfortable with sharing theories with others. If the other person shows interest, we'll talk about our theories to our heart's content. At least, that is my experience. It's just that we aren't wont to go around talking about our theories the way ENTPs might. I personally would wait for someone to ask me for my opinions and theories.
 

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Iron Fist
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i love INTPs, yes i mean they dont share their theories except if they feel comfortable and were asked. an ENTP would die to tell as soon as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Man, I am sorry you all have had such negative experiences with ESFJs - I promise we're not all neurotic! We are actually deeply feeling people who enjoy interactions with other people. I am sometimes disappointed when people don't reciprocate my willingness to share deep parts of myself; I WANT to know people deeply, I LOVE being the person they feel comfortable coming to when they're in need. I don't tend to sit around discussing theories that are distinct from human experience, but a conversation that IS rooted in human connection and relevance and feelings would not put me on edge - it would in fact exhilarate me! I absolutely DO need alone time (although I am only 68% E), and my favorite kind of "social" time is with one or two close friends, not going to a party just for the sake of it. I do have a strong sense of obligation and responsibility, resulting in a lot of "shoulds," yes, but such loyalty is seen as an asset in other types!
 

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Iron Fist
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Man, I am sorry you all have had such negative experiences with ESFJs - I promise we're not all neurotic! We are actually deeply feeling people who enjoy interactions with other people. I am sometimes disappointed when people don't reciprocate my willingness to share deep parts of myself; I WANT to know people deeply, I LOVE being the person they feel comfortable coming to when they're in need. I don't tend to sit around discussing theories that are distinct from human experience, but a conversation that IS rooted in human connection and relevance and feelings would not put me on edge - it would in fact exhilarate me! I absolutely DO need alone time (although I am only 68% E), and my favorite kind of "social" time is with one or two close friends, not going to a party just for the sake of it. I do have a strong sense of obligation and responsibility, resulting in a lot of "shoulds," yes, but such loyalty is seen as an asset in other types!
congratulations ur pretty over developed.
 
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My step-mom is an ESFJ definitely. We actually get along really great except for when she tells me how to do something. She can be controlling and it seems like she thinks "her" way and opinions are the only right ones often. I have a lot to disagree with her about, but I'd rather not start conflict. Overall though, we get along great. She's very caring and thoughtful and friendly, and it seems like she's always up for a conversation which is nice. I think she's a great person. One thing that bugs me though is when she starts talking to me when I have my headphones on and I'm listening to music. She doesn't seem to understand that I like to be left alone when I'm on the computer, and that when I have headphones on, it means don't bug me. But oh well, I'm glad to have her as a step mom.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
In response to snail:
I very much appreciated you post. A number of people have commented on ESFJs' cleanness... I reckon anyone who knows me would scoff at this. I DO, however, keep my mess in my place, and I can only tolerate it for so long. So if you were to look around my apartment, my room might be a disaster, but the mess in the rest of the apartment would all be my roommate's.

I was especially interested in your different ways of practicing your faith. I am, as it turns out, a theology student, so am always interested in how people experience their faith. I think a community experience like Sunday worship and more intimate gatherings like Bible studies are equally important, as they feed very different parts of one's faith. It has been interesting to see my ESFJ-ness come out in my view of the Church (as someone ready to uphold institutions), compared to others' view (often anti-institution). I have tried to reconcile these differences, to see the pros and cons of any given institution and stand against it if need be, and uphold it where it is useful.

Valuing physical security is something I have thought a lot about as well, and I too have found myself in less than ideal relationships just because it was somebody who said he'd take care of me (but ultimately didn't). As long as I've got somebody to love, somebody who will be there at the end of the day, I'm golden. I have worried because I am also an enneagram 2w3, and so particularly prone to becoming an enabler. I need to love and be loved, and I need to be needed (but don't want to need anything in return, though of course I do). But I've come to see that just being loved isn't enough - I also need to love the person back for who they are and not just the security they offer!

Thanks again for your thoughts! Give an ESFJ high-five to your relative for me. :wink:
 

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Man, I am sorry you all have had such negative experiences with ESFJs - I promise we're not all neurotic! We are actually deeply feeling people who enjoy interactions with other people. I am sometimes disappointed when people don't reciprocate my willingness to share deep parts of myself; I WANT to know people deeply, I LOVE being the person they feel comfortable coming to when they're in need. I don't tend to sit around discussing theories that are distinct from human experience, but a conversation that IS rooted in human connection and relevance and feelings would not put me on edge - it would in fact exhilarate me! I absolutely DO need alone time (although I am only 68% E), and my favorite kind of "social" time is with one or two close friends, not going to a party just for the sake of it. I do have a strong sense of obligation and responsibility, resulting in a lot of "shoulds," yes, but such loyalty is seen as an asset in other types!
I never said my experiences were negative, exactly. I may not be able to have a deep intuitive conversation with an ESFJ, but if I need something to get done, especially if it involves marketing, I can depend on the ESFJ to help. My satisfaction with the ESFJ is fully dependent on whether I expect her to be something she isn't. If you try to use a knife as a spoon, it isn't the "faulty silverware" that makes you cut your mouth or spill the soup. The "shoulds" get annoying, but as long as there is a mutual appreciation of differences, those can be avoided somewhat.

My ESFJ relative does have a bit of a problem understanding how territorial and private I am. She sometimes just randomly comes into my room to talk to me, and I feel slightly invaded. I'm sure she probably feels a little insecure about my introversion if she interprets it as a lack of caring, but I try to reassure her that it isn't anything personal. I just need more space in order to feel comfortable.
 

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starrynights, I'm not sure what that's even supposed to mean. You essentially say ESFJs are underdeveloped - unwilling to engage in deep conversation, shallow, etc. - and then sardonically tell me I'm overdeveloped, as I try to show you NOT all ESFJs go about life without thinking deeply about a single thing. Do you notice the inconsistency?
 

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I like this silverware analogy, snail! I'll have to remember that one...
The territory/personal spacel issue is certainly problematic. I will have to keep in mind if I do things like this to people.... headphones: leave person alone. door closed: leave person alone. Check.
 

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...Christian theology student? I'm gonna have to hear more about that, sometime...
 

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oh'k. uhh.... haha.

Where are you going? What denomination are you? What kind of theology are you studying? What are your favorite things about it? And, well, I guess most importantly (since I've been wondering about it myself), why are churches important and what do you think of the ones around today?

(you can probably talk pretty technically, if you want--whatever makes the ideas most precise. I've taken quite a few classes myself, so I shouldn't have a problem understanding the jargon)
 

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And, well, I guess most importantly (since I've been wondering about it myself), why are churches important and what do you think of the ones around today?



An excellent (albeit difficult) question...
I hesitate at first to answer, because I don't want to step on anyone's toes. I may or may not be very opinionated on such things... *ahem*
Churches as religious communities are absolutely important. I remember a children's sermon that has actually stuck with me (sign of a good illustration!), where the pastor had a kid break one toothpick - no problem. Then he handed the kid several toothpicks, and of course the kid couldn't break them all. A religious community serves, among other ways, as a way to hold you up when faith falters, to pray for you, to be an ever constant reminder of your place in the Body of Christ (for Christians), as a part of the great cloud of witnesses. Furthermore, the collective act of worshiping together is a mighty one, powerful for all participants. I could go on, but will leave it there, lest I begin to bore or offend. This is not to say private devotion (or small group) isn't just as important - certainly the Sunday gathering does not replace time alone to pray, study, whatever. It is important to have both.

Churches as institutions can also be really good. A healthy church may have many excellent programs - many of the same programs you could find in secular institutions as well, yes, but these undergirded by deep faith and devotion to something much larger than humanity, a Being which, when we no longer have the strength or desire to go on, is still present and still urging us to serve. I consider the church to greatly shape my calling to do good things in this world, always striving to love my neighbor, welcome the stranger, etc.

What do I think of the churches we have around today? I think many fall short in many ways (doggone human-ness always falling short). I think many of them foster an ethic that is too-far from Christian ideals of love and service. Some of them perpetuate unhealthy power-structures and discrimination. Some preach only a gospel of prosperity, rather than addressing real human issues that can be addressed or challenged by true faith. Some, however, do really great things, challenging the oppressive status quo (how un-ESFJ of me to say), striving for positive change in the world, speaking out in word and deed against injustice. A church that is outward-looking instead of turned in on its own proverbial belly button is certainly a boon to society and toward the improvement of this world. If all churches were able to embrace this ethic, I reckon not so many people would have been turned off by it.

Here ends my spiel on the importance of organized religion. Coming full circle, the strength that an organized religious community can offer this effort toward world-improvement is invaluable, and that is why they are important. I certainly couldn't do all that by myself. And yes, Church as an institution (in some cases) does uphold this positive ethic, even though it (like any human being) sometimes falls short.

Okay, stepping off soup box now. I hope I haven't offended anyone.
 

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starrynights, I'm not sure what that's even supposed to mean. You essentially say ESFJs are underdeveloped - unwilling to engage in deep conversation, shallow, etc. - and then sardonically tell me I'm overdeveloped, as I try to show you NOT all ESFJs go about life without thinking deeply about a single thing. Do you notice the inconsistency?
i was pointing out that u are different from the ESFJs i know.

actually i think i am rude. im sorry if i came on too strong. i did leave u a note on ur profile. im a bit moody these days due to my finals and i think its contributing to my cheekiness.

ESFJ has many characteristics that are amazing. its why i hang onthat friendship for 2 years although i was very very hurt at times.

It hurts me to remember the good things now, but here goes:

at random times i would receive gifts from the friend, she would pass them by my house and give them to the janitor to bring it up.

when i visited her i felt at home and very well fed

she would throw me and even my friend's which she didnt know surprise birthday parties and spend loads of money on them.

she respected my mom and dad to a large extent

she stood up for me all the time

she would make me laugh when in a group

she would respect how i feel about avoiding some people and wouldnt expect me to push myself with them

she never used me, never lied to me, never neglected me, returned my stuff when borrowing them, tried to learn from me stuff i was enthusiastic about (not all the time)

would say please and thankyou and have all the manners and ettiquette required all the time.

---

What i would have wanted, is a note with the food to remind me which thing i did that made her happy so i could keep doing it, less food at her place and more at mine but she always found an excuse not to visit, a more fundamental talk about life rather than feelings not everyday but ever, when she got pissed at me i wanted her to tell me and not to tell a common friend. she didnt diss me ever, never used a bad word, but would complain to someone else, and i felt that i wasnt important for her to stay, for her to try to tell me. She easily gave up on the relationship saying that i hurt her. she didnt know that by leaving she hurt me the worst.

if i come off as an ESFJ hater, in reality ive been someone who is really hurt by one. she was so kind to everyone that at times i didnt feel special at all, i didnt know if her kindness to me was just coz of her nature or her like to me. when she gave up on me its confirmed that we didnt have any special friendship after all. Being an ENFP i wont be nice to u except if i like u and want more of us together. I think being an ESFJ is be nice to all, until u dont have to be nice at all.

Uptil now u handled all what i said pretty awesome. and for that i thankyou, i wouldnt have much patience. and i truly apologize if what i said was more on the negative.

another thing is that i know a pretty good deal of INTPs, and i know by experimenting that they open up feeling wise to ENFPs, and mst of them did. so i want to share my experience with u i just need time to sort it out n make it presentable.

thankyou for tolerating my upfrontness.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It's actually very helpful to hear about things ESFJs have done to hurt people. I see some of those same tendencies in myself - not that I always do them, but that I totally understand why they happened. If I may be so bold, I would venture to say that none of her hurtful behavior was malicious - in fact, it was probably the opposite. All of those things you mentioned that were so hurtful would be just the kinds of things I would think do in an effort NOT to hurt someone. Not tell someone something to their face for fear of hurting their feelings (but still needing to get it out somewhere); wanting always to be the servant, the one who provides the food, etc.; being kind to all, never wanting anyone to feel snubbed (but in turn, it seems, making that niceness less meaningful for those close to me)... So I guess, take it with a grain of salt, it's not meant to hurt you. Regardless, it clearly did, and I will take this to heart, lest I hurt people similarly. Thanks.
 

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Man, I am sorry you all have had such negative experiences with ESFJs - I promise we're not all neurotic! We are actually deeply feeling people who enjoy interactions with other people. I am sometimes disappointed when people don't reciprocate my willingness to share deep parts of myself; I WANT to know people deeply, I LOVE being the person they feel comfortable coming to when they're in need. I don't tend to sit around discussing theories that are distinct from human experience, but a conversation that IS rooted in human connection and relevance and feelings would not put me on edge - it would in fact exhilarate me! I absolutely DO need alone time (although I am only 68% E), and my favorite kind of "social" time is with one or two close friends, not going to a party just for the sake of it. I do have a strong sense of obligation and responsibility, resulting in a lot of "shoulds," yes, but such loyalty is seen as an asset in other types!
Don't worry mate. We don't generalize in this forum so we don't look at you as a "neurotic" individual.
 
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