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It is a self induced psychological restriction that makes sense given
their need to put the group first. They say its fine
because it is fine in comparison to their actual worries
which is never themselves. I have spent 20 years
trying to get my ESFJ to put herself first. In a typical sense?
She never does. If I am to look at her motives as selfish
then she is selfishly maintaining a social high ground
by sacrificing her sanity in aid of others.

It actually makes sense.

If you have ESFJ in your life then it behooves you to push
them until they explode from time to time. Sort of like venting the
steam.

I have become very proficient at this as my wife and Son are ESFJ.
So they really don't see their own problems as worrisome as others, because they're naturally always thinking of the group? Trying to put myself in their shoes, and while I do get it, I don't get it, if you know what I mean. Meaning even if I do the right thing for the group in sacrifice of my own values, the fact that I've considered my own values still exists. Do ESFJs consider their own values and then sacrifice, or does the thought hardly cross their mind because their natural thought process is usually on the needs of the group?
 

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It is a self induced psychological restriction that makes sense given
their need to put the group first. They say its fine
because it is fine in comparison to their actual worries
which is never themselves. I have spent 20 years
trying to get my ESFJ to put herself first. In a typical sense?
She never does. If I am to look at her motives as selfish
then she is selfishly maintaining a social high ground
by sacrificing her sanity in aid of others.

It actually makes sense.

If you have ESFJ in your life then it behooves you to push
them until they explode from time to time. Sort of like venting the
steam.

I have become very proficient at this as my wife and Son are ESFJ.
Funnily enough that is exactly what happened with me and this woman at one point.
She was screaming at him/me/idek and in the middle of a long german tirade and I was like
"LOOK WE'LL JUST MOVE OUT OKAY?"

She freaked out, and we all ended up having a sit down talk that actually ended with laughing and happiness. So you really know what you're talking about.



Also thank you so much for the kind response, you made my heart parts get all fluttery.
See, I don't understand why people say ENTPs are assholes. Sure y'all can be sarcastic and biting, but my experiences is that y'alls sweethearts under it all

Also Heyy high five on the german thing
 

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So they really don't see their own problems as worrisome as others, because they're naturally always thinking of the group?
I believe this to be, yes. In/with the ESFJ I am privy to.
That said...I do not look at it as altruistic. It is selfish of them to act that
way it just seems less so simply since helping others and sacrificing
ones self to do so is typically looked at as selfless.

I believe no one person to be selfless yet I do believe that they
can do selfless acts.

This is not to piss in the ESFJ corn flakes. We are all indeed selfish.
That is just their way. And it has purpose. Needed purpose.

Trying to put myself in their shoes, and while I do get it, I don't get it, if you know what I mean.
I know exactly what you mean. I always use this line here.....
I get it...but I dont understand it. Conversely, for flavor..
you can mix it up...I understand it..but I dont get it...



Meaning even if I do the right thing for the group in sacrifice of my own values, the fact that I've considered my own values still exists. Do ESFJs consider their own values and then sacrifice,
I dont think values is the word I would use. They sacrifice self.
Meaning time, effort, heart space, head space, items.
They are indeed very value driven. They can and do hold to their values.
Stubbornly so. We need not look any further then what they consider
a positive value of helping others. You ever see them sacrifice that, as an example.



or does the thought hardly cross their mind because their natural thought process is usually on the needs of the group?
Think of it like so......ESFJ are fulfilled when the people they feel responsible for
are fulfilled. (when the ESFJ is healthy). An unhealthy ESFJ can show the shadow
of this and that is down right Mean Girls x 10. So its not as much sacrificing what they
prefer. They are just stalling the inevitable....ones self. Themselves.

I as an ENTP as an example. (not that I am speaking for all ENTP)
I have a huge issue with procrastination. I know I do. I can forecast
even the damage it will cost and will still procrastinate. Yet the reason
I procrastinate is valid to me. Not to common sense it is not. But to me it is.
It is a character flaw in me personally yet I may assume that a lot of my "type"
have the same issue. Their is a personal benefit for me to procrastinate
at times. I dont expect others to understand it ...but after years of
dealing with me? They damn well get it.
 

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Also thank you so much for the kind response, you made my heart parts get all fluttery.
See, I don't understand why people say ENTPs are assholes. Sure y'all can be sarcastic and biting, but my experiences is that y'alls sweethearts under it all
I joined this forum to try and find out why I never feel
deeply or when I do I cant understand it. It is nonsensical to me
outside of the biological definition. I tend to force my
emotional side on here. Typically? Under real life
circumstances? I am a hard nut to crack and can be
very ENTP esq. Years of trying to understand emotions
have taught me how I should act in normal parlance
with emotional people. It is more learned then natural.

Is that a southern draw I read? I used to live in the south (Texas).
Great place. Its no Canada to be sure but heck of place.


Also Heyy high five on the german thing
yeahhhhh lucky me.... .. . . . I jest...I do enjoy her culture.


German and an ESFJ. Thats a fucking trip. I know.. I am living it.
Talk about regimented. Effin Christ.
 

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This is a very personal and experiential perspective on your type from an INFP (who, frankly, hasn't had many good experiences with xSFJs because I've encountered lots of damaged / twisted / unhealthy / overly conservative ones), but my questions are not meant to offend.

1. Can you describe what exactly is the kind of security you derive and the inherent attachment you may derive from upholding and adhering to social norms / societal conscientiousness and possibly ingrained cultural norms as well (a sense of belonging? Or is it a deep intellectual / spiritual conviction?)? Even if there are alternative options that may be better or are at least neutral / may not cause as much harm as you may perceive (while achieving the same purpose), what might make an ESFJ choose the most socially desirable / most conventional option over other options that may or may not have a higher risk-reward ratio?

2. From my personal experience, for the unhealthy (note, unhealthy / unbalanced) individuals of the ESFJ type, why do they stab me in the back / tell something to someone else that I entrusted them with not too long ago / take the side against me even when they could have defended me at least remained silent? What exactly could the unhealthy individuals of the ESFJ type be thinking when they engage in these behaviors?

Is it because they're thinking that by engaging in these behaviors they might gain the popularity / social standing among the person / people they'd like to have their status elevated by? Or is it just because they thought I was ridiculous / way too "off" from the start and simply wanted to turn people against me for their own entertainment?



3. What is your way of unwinding / relaxing when you are exhausted being a "people's person"? How do you give time to yourself? Do "people issues" often make you stressed (for example, you really, really want to do everything to make everyone happy and taken care of) to the point where you feel an existential crisis of self identity versus the identity that comes from all of the ways in which people, or the perception of how people expect you to be? Do you feel like you have a very deep, escapist internal world to retreat into when these interpersonal affairs are becoming taxing?
 

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ESFJs, you are highly interested in others but hesitate to disclose your own issues. I have found this commonality in Fe types. Everybody has issues though. So when you say you're fine and it's nothing, why exactly do you say this?
I don't want to upset the social-emotional atmosphere. I need it to be upbeat at all times. If other people bring up their problems, I will cheer them up, give them advice, whatever I need to do to 'fix' it so the atmosphere goes back to being upbeat. But I don't want to be the one putting all that negative energy out there. I don't know if other people even feel it the way that I do, but nonetheless, I feel like it's my responsibility.
 

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Discussion Starter #67 (Edited)
I can't speak for all ESFJs obviously but here are my thoughts (and thank you for putting effort to ask in a nice way when it sounds like you've had difficult times in the past with ESFJs)

1. Can you describe what exactly is the kind of security you derive and the inherent attachment you may derive from upholding and adhering to social norms / societal conscientiousness and possibly ingrained cultural norms as well (a sense of belonging? Or is it a deep intellectual / spiritual conviction?)? Even if there are alternative options that may be better or are at least neutral / may not cause as much harm as you may perceive (while achieving the same purpose), what might make an ESFJ choose the most socially desirable / most conventional option over other options that may or may not have a higher risk-reward ratio?
I don't think I have a very eloquent answer for this...but I'll give it a shot. I guess I just feel like we all have different states that put us in flow - like where we just feel happiest and like effortless. ESFJs like connecting with people and feeling good vibes and not being in conflict. <--absolutely can't stand conflict because of the negative energy / vibe it creates in a group. Because we empathize deeply with people and almost feel what they feel, you know? So if we feel like someone is disrupting the group dynamic by inserting a lot of conflict (or being "rude" or going against other accepted social niceties / norms) it can bother us because we know that it'll have an affect on other people that we then will have to put more "social" work into making the environment better again or listening to that person's feelings to help them sort it out and feel better.

Obviously, I'm not saying people can't come to a group dynamic and ask questions or bring controversial ideas or things like that (I am married to an INTP after all....) but we do like a certain sense of civility and harmony and are known as social organizers. You ask what security we derive from this? It gives us a sense of freedom and structure I guess because we "think" we know social norms and rules on what's acceptable and not and when our outside world is organized, we feel more at peace internally. (Similar to other introverted personality types that need their internal world organized so that they can feel free in the external world). If that's not the case and there's always conflict and disorganization and "rude" people disrupting the normal flow of things then it's like we turn into "managers" and want to reshuffle everything to put it back in order so that we can internally be at peace again with the world. And again, it's not that we don't want to hear differing opinions or free thought.... it's just that sometimes people can be quite abrasive with it and not pick up on cues of the people around them. I think we would just prefer people had a bit more tact and spoke through a filter of kindness while still being honest.

And who exactly would this "higher risk / reward" be better for? I think a lot of ESFJs feel most comfortable without taking tons of risks and would prefer that even if they knew a higher reward might be at the end of a riskier option. IF you want us to take the riskier option then we need to see that you've done your research and have a plan for it working out. My husband has pitched all sorts of crazy life things and in the end we've done them but not until he's really shown me he thought it out and has a plan. I have an ENTP brother who lives on the risk/reward side of life and I know that makes him happy and works for him but I can also see the pitfalls of that as well and downsides just as you can see it in ESFJs and others who like a more conventional life. Neither is really better or worse, we're all just trying to follow what makes us happy. Again, there's always too extreme on either side and some ESFJs could really learn to be more open minded to things and try some new thing but the same goes the other way around too for other types.

2. From my personal experience, for the unhealthy (note, unhealthy / unbalanced) individuals of the ESFJ type, why do they stab me in the back / tell something to someone else that I entrusted them with not too long ago / take the side against me even when they could have defended me at least remained silent? What exactly could the unhealthy individuals of the ESFJ type be thinking when they engage in these behaviors?

Is it because they're thinking that by engaging in these behaviors they might gain the popularity / social standing among the person / people they'd like to have their status elevated by? Or is it just because they thought I was ridiculous / way too "off" from the start and simply wanted to turn people against me for their own entertainment?
I'm so sorry to hear this. That of course is very tough, I am sure. Obviously, the goal of health ESFJs is not to hurt people...so I don't know your friend so I have no clue what that person is going through but I do know that ESFJs can get a bad wrap for being "gossips" when in actuality we just happen to know a lot about people because we are good at relationships and so sometimes when we talk to other people then it's almost like you want to bring everyone on the same page as to where people are at. OBVIOUSLY, friends should keep secrets etc etc so I'm not saying it's okay to do that but I'm saying ESFJs tend to know a lot and want to connect people and sometimes it's hard in moments because you want to be agreeable with whoever you happen to be with so you don't want to stand up against what that person is saying or be too forceful but instead just kind of nod and let that person say it and then you move along with your day. We don't like conflict. As we get older and more secure with ourselves I think we know more how to stand up for others and do all fo that but it can still be hard when you don't want to make a scene and think the fall out isn't worth it.

I would imagine your ESFJ friend was just young and wanted to feel connected to the other person she was talking to and by telling that person something about you maybe it made her feel like she had a way to connect with the other person (sadly not thinking about your privacy). It may not always have come from a bad place but of course that is hurtful. Sure there are the bad reasons to think about (she just wanted to be popular, etc) but there might have been more benign reasons. Social pressure can be very VERY real for ESFJs. What if her friend put her on the spot? Asked her a really pointed question and maybe she felt like she had to say something. Of course we can all say she should've been stronger and not but it's like teenagers being in a group where everyone else is drinking..sometimes the pressure to belong feels too real. Again, maybe she's just a mean person with her own baggage but I know younger ESFJs can get in hot water sometimes because they don't realize what they're doing will get out there / be hurtful to others when they thought they were just kind of filling people in on what's happening with other people they care about, you know? It's not always from a bad place.


3. What is your way of unwinding / relaxing when you are exhausted being a "people's person"? How do you give time to yourself? Do "people issues" often make you stressed (for example, you really, really want to do everything to make everyone happy and taken care of) to the point where you feel an existential crisis of self identity versus the identity that comes from all of the ways in which people, or the perception of how people expect you to be? Do you feel like you have a very deep, escapist internal world to retreat into when these interpersonal affairs are becoming taxing?
Ummmm.... not really. lol! It doesn't really stress me out being out there with what society expects of me because I like to be out there. I know the social rules, I'm good at it, I have lots of friends, people think I'm nice and organized, so it's kind of a positive and puts me in my flow state. The parts that get massively draining are when you have a really good friend who is going through a hard time so you then try to be there for them a lot and you just get sucked into their problems and feel their pain. It's hard to separate yourself from that sometimes. Having young kids is also super draining because you invest so much in them that you don't really leave much time for yourself...so that's a common theme for ESFJs. It's hard sometimes too when you think you're doing something nice to help someone and then you realize later they didn't appreciate it or didn't find it helpful when you really just meant well.

I do like to have some quiet time at home away from people to unwind and it helps to talk out my feelings to get it "out in the universe"/ out of my body...if that makes sense when I'm having a hard time. I think ESFJs REALLY need someone or people in their lives that check on them and ask them how THEY are doing. We so often listen to everyone else's problems and then people really aren't good listeners back. We need someone else in our life that helps us feel cared for instead of us always caring about others. One big way is to let them talk and vent without judging them or bring a meal or send a nice text message that you're thinking about them or just asking how they're doing, whatever! I feel like we're not picky...any sign of caring about them is super nice! :) Other than that though, sometimes I feel like ESFJs have it kind of easy in this world because we get along with everyone (generalizing...you know what I mean)....other than here on PerC where everyone seems to hate us and think ALL mothers are ESFJs...oh my gosh, seriously people....no.
 

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1. Can you describe what exactly is the kind of security you derive and the inherent attachment you may derive from upholding and adhering to social norms / societal conscientiousness and possibly ingrained cultural norms as well (a sense of belonging? Or is it a deep intellectual / spiritual conviction?)? Even if there are alternative options that may be better or are at least neutral / may not cause as much harm as you may perceive (while achieving the same purpose), what might make an ESFJ choose the most socially desirable / most conventional option over other options that may or may not have a higher risk-reward ratio?
This question is worded a big weirdly for me so I apologize in advance if my answer doesn't seem completely relevant. I wouldn't say I derive 'security' from that--it's just something I do (and all people do, to differing extents). I see it as a tool for navigating the social world & society in general. I also don't uphold every social norm (I don't say 'bless you' when people sneeze, for example). Cultural norms and values are very much an age-based thing, so what is considered 'conventional' changes generation to generation. An SJ is more likely to relate to the values of their generation than the values of previous generations, because it's what they were raised among, which is why older SJs don't look very similar to younger SJs. In any case, I am not opposed to challenging social norms if I see a reason to. But those reasons are going to be subjective and can't be 'forced' by others for their own personal reasons. I think SJs in general are prone to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset. If there is an alternative option that is better--you're gonna have to prove it first before an SJ would consider trying it out.

Do you have any specific examples of cultural norms in mind? It's a little difficult for me to give a good answer when I'm talking too broadly. I'd be happy to offer a better answer and maybe address what social norms you're referring to that you think cause harm? And what alternatives for them you have in mind that you would like to suggest?

2. From my personal experience, for the unhealthy (note, unhealthy / unbalanced) individuals of the ESFJ type, why do they stab me in the back / tell something to someone else that I entrusted them with not too long ago / take the side against me even when they could have defended me at least remained silent? What exactly could the unhealthy individuals of the ESFJ type be thinking when they engage in these behaviors?

Is it because they're thinking that by engaging in these behaviors they might gain the popularity / social standing among the person / people they'd like to have their status elevated by? Or is it just because they thought I was ridiculous / way too "off" from the start and simply wanted to turn people against me for their own entertainment?
The only person who would know is them, really--we'd need to know in depth every player involved, the entire social context, etc. in order to suggest a decent answer on someone else's behalf, especially an unhealthy individual. Their motivation could be anything at all when I don't know the details of the situation. However, even then, the answer would probably just end up summarized as "unhealthy people do unhealthy things because they're unhealthy" ha.

3. What is your way of unwinding / relaxing when you are exhausted being a "people's person"? How do you give time to yourself? Do "people issues" often make you stressed (for example, you really, really want to do everything to make everyone happy and taken care of) to the point where you feel an existential crisis of self identity versus the identity that comes from all of the ways in which people, or the perception of how people expect you to be? Do you feel like you have a very deep, escapist internal world to retreat into when these interpersonal affairs are becoming taxing?
I relax by going home and taking some time to myself where I don't have to feel obligated to be responsible for everyone else and maintaining a positive social atmosphere. I go home after work, shower, eat some dinner, and spend the last couple hours of my day just chilling and doing whatever I want--video games, youtube, netflix. I always check discord and this forum too.

I worry a lot about how other people perceive me and I have a compulsive need to be liked by everyone, even people that I don't necessarily like (however a lot of this I attribute to being an enneagram 2 rather than an SFJ). I do have a constant internal monologue going on that helps me process my thoughts and emotions (a lot of which I actually end up not sharing) but I don't know if I can retreat there--the external world has to come first for me. In the end the only way to get rid of a problem is to address it and I prefer to do it as quickly as possible so that I can rest and recalibrate my equilibrium. If I think someone is upset with me (or any other sort of interpersonal issue) I need to fix it rightnowimemdiately or I will not be able to calm down and relax (and letting that inner dialogue run out of control will only make it worse).
 

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Discussion Starter #69
Omg, Suntide! 1) It's nice to hear from you again! 2) YES! So much this --> "and letting that inner dialogue run out of control will only make it worse." Ugh, I have to be really cognizant to not let that happen sometimes. I don't know if I'm the only one that ever does this but sometimes if I can't like immediately reach the person to get something resolved and you're like forced to sit on it for days, I'll like talk to myself out loud on a walk or something and see if I can't work it out somehow out in the spare outside my head. LOL!!! (I swear I'm not crazy...lol)
 

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@SummerRoads Hi!! I like that we were both responding to the questions around the same time, lol!! Good to see you :)

If I have to let something sit for days unresolved... I would probably die. I go over every single possible way it could go down when it finally happens and play through them all multiple times. And then it's always underwhelming when it finally happens... lol
 

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I joined this forum to try and find out why I never feel
deeply or when I do I cant understand it. It is nonsensical to me
outside of the biological definition. I tend to force my
emotional side on here. Typically? Under real life
circumstances? I am a hard nut to crack and can be
very ENTP esq. Years of trying to understand emotions
have taught me how I should act in normal parlance
with emotional people. It is more learned then natural.

Is that a southern draw I read? I used to live in the south (Texas).
Great place. Its no Canada to be sure but heck of place.



yeahhhhh lucky me.... .. . . . I jest...I do enjoy her culture.


German and an ESFJ. Thats a fucking trip. I know.. I am living it.
Talk about regimented. Effin Christ.

Haha, you caught me out. North Carolina born and raised

FUNNY YOU MENTION Canada. Boyfriend wants to move their ASAP :tongue:

And he has the exact same issue with emotions. He literally cannot feel them. I tried teaching him how to meditate to feel them, but he came up with nothing.

As a life coach, I use this meditation ALL THE TIME with clients to get them in touch with their emotions.
And it just straight didn't work on him.

Fortunately, he respects emotional arguments, and emotions in general, so he's always a sweetheart if I'm upset
And I'm an INFJ so I'm borderline psychic anyway, so I can usually just tell him what he's feeling


I swear, ENTPs are one of the most curious types I have ever come across.

Do you have ADHD, or any of the variants on attention disorders?
 

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Haha, you caught me out. North Carolina born and raised
Interesting. Some of the biggest suppliers at my work are in Hickory/Raleigh.
Small world.

FUNNY YOU MENTION Canada. Boyfriend wants to move their ASAP :tongue:
To be honest. Our socialized health care may do you a world of good.


And he has the exact same issue with emotions. He literally cannot feel them. I tried teaching him how to meditate to feel them, but he came up with nothing.
Although I do believe that I have less emotional reactions to items in my
life I think this is more an effect of dismissing them instantly as appose to
not actually having them. I have them. Indeed if emotional range was
actually truncated for certain types/amplified for others? We could
physically measure that. Making typing people a sure fire thing.


Fortunately, he respects emotional arguments, and emotions in general, so he's always a sweetheart if I'm upset
And I'm an INFJ so I'm borderline psychic anyway, so I can usually just tell him what he's feeling
Bingo. That is my go to. My ESFJ's and the ENFP's in my life.
For me to actually figure out what I am feeling and put
a word to it? I need to compare my physical symptoms
with my own past experiences as well as others. Then I use
consensus as to what I am actually feeling. The more that
happens the easier it is to just know what I am feeling. Based
solely off that database I have acquired.


Do you have ADHD, or any of the variants on attention disorders?
Nope. I was listed as gifted and slightly hyperactive.
Translation: I have sense(of some sort), good memory and moving slow is for sloths.

I never understood why hyperactive was listed as a bad thing
to be rectified. It seems like it would be better to be hyperactive
to me. I mean...assuming you are not tard rushing headlong
and making mistake after mistake of the same type.
 

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I don't want to upset the social-emotional atmosphere. I need it to be upbeat at all times. If other people bring up their problems, I will cheer them up, give them advice, whatever I need to do to 'fix' it so the atmosphere goes back to being upbeat. But I don't want to be the one putting all that negative energy out there. I don't know if other people even feel it the way that I do, but nonetheless, I feel like it's my responsibility.
I have to read through the other posts above when I have more time as they might provide a lot more detail to what you said above, but I have experienced EXACTLY this with the ESFJ I knew. She told me the same exact thing, but I want to know the root cause of it all, if I may. Why do you need it to be upbeat all the time (which includes making it upbeat and not being the one to cause it to go sour)? Why do you feel it is your responsibility? Don't mean to be so prying, but I am genuinely interested in the deep whys of this.
 

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Interesting insights from both of you and it's the first time I've received such coherent responses about these questions I've wanted to ask about your type. Thanks a lot. I guess it's undeniable that our minds do work in some fundamentally different ways, and that to be perfectly honest with myself I don't think I'd be able to fully understand / come to grips with your far more externally focused way of life (and vice versa).

@Suntide I need to think a bit more about your response to my first question, I'll have to think about some examples. Well being an N you can guess how challenging it can be for us to come up with concrete, easily explainable examples because we tend to focus a lot more on the general feelings / observations / vibes / musings lol, but thanks for taking the time to respond to my post.

I think what's important for an ESFJ, as @SummerRoads mentioned, is to have someone in their lives that can support them when they're down and give them clarity on what they really want, how they really feel, and to tell them that not only is it OK to not be focused on people and the world all the time / most of the time, that having a strong sense of self-identity and the ability to not let emotional vampires drain too much of your energy is important for a well-balanced life.

I admit that in the past I've often let people get the better of me and drain me more than what should have been acceptable because I also cared too much and really wanted to live up to my kindness and compassion and not being part of this increasingly cold, uncaring world. So I guess I've also fallen into "savior" mode though I'd say for some slightly different reasons than you guys. For me it was a combination of general compassion driven by a deeper desire to not be one of "those" people who'd turn their eye away from suffering. I tried hard to convince myself that helping these people whom I thought were in need without any ulterior motives was good for my personal "karma", to put it one way, and a statement of making a stand against a world I perceive to be harsh and cruel.

As for listening to an ESFJ's troubles and worries without any judgmental attitude, I admit I'm very much guilty of being far more judgmental than I might appear to be. I might listen and nod, but deep inside me there's a constant processing of how the content of the other person is telling me fits into my internal framework of beliefs, what I would / could have done (which may come out, in the end, as part of or all of my advice), and I am trying to "map" the person in a general sense. It's hard for me to just take isolated incidents as, well, isolated incidents, because my mind starts thinking about the broader implications and patterns that are being demonstrated. So, I am FAR from being able to embody love and compassion because there's just too much subjectivity and the personal element involved. As for how this might specifically apply to an INFP-ESFJ dynamic, i fully admit that my first instinct when reacting to an ESFJ telling me about their "people troubles" is to question them on why they care so much when I (note, I) feel those people would not be worth their time and energy (when the reality is I don't think those people would be worth MY time and energy).

This is where the Fi-Si dynamic comes into play for me. My Fi relates my internal framework of values reinforced and processed using my Si, to form what I see as a comprehensive yet very imposing model of how I think they should respond without taking into account the full extent of their circumstances, inherent personality / character differences, needs etc. I'd be much more likely to tell them one way or another: "Then stop caring so much, focus on a few people and stop trying to cater to others all the time. It exhausts you and you may not get generosity reciprocated." The way I see it is that 99% of people are like you see them, they see you, you exchange glances and probably never see each other again. So why bother with all the social norms and caring so much about these people whom you may never encounter again? Even if they think poorly of you, it's none of your business because you should spend time around people who appreciate your quirks from the beginning. Of course I am not saying it's okay to simply be unreasonable and heartless (though oftentimes I come off as unintentionally rude / strange / whatever), but I believe in individuality and being selective with your social interactions, to make YOU the prize that others should seek (as long as "being yourself" is generally a good kind of self) rather than always trying to cater to other people's standards. You raise people to yours, well, at least in an intellectual / philosophical / spiritual / emotional NF sense to me, or perhaps more intellectual / deductive to an NT.

When I was younger and in a more abusive situation than today, I desperately sought social interaction and opened up myself to ALL kinds of people. Well, unsurprisingly, that got me nowhere and now that I'm much more developed and aware I've come to realize that my true mode of interaction with people is being as good as possible but selective.

Hopefully this will give you guys insight as to the limitations of NF with Fi (ENFP and INFP) and why we sometimes behave the way we do. You guys are so much better at practical stuff than we are, a lot of times I wish I could help someone do something but I don't know where the hell to start. Solving practical issues is extremely draining for me. I also wish I had more of a musical / artistic / literary / creative side but thinking / wondering about things comes far more easily to me than actually creating something lol

At heart I feel both our types want to help people rather than turn a blind eye to their suffering. When someone comes to me with their troubles I can't help but view it as possibly / likely the start of a deeper existential crisis for them, when the fact is they may simply be going through a bit of a low period or roller coaster phase that's not necessarily the questioning of the values / norms / beliefs they already hold. I also tend to give advice of the philosophical nature (and I can ramble on a lot and tend to imagine "worst case scenarios") because of this bias towards thinking people's problems are often existential / philosophical in nature, if you want practical solutions of immediacy that's where my wisdom quickly falls apart lol.

My inner world is very important to me. It's like a high ground where I can retreat, observe, recollect, and reshuffle how I see the world and engage (or not) with the world. A big part of its purpose is to be "blast resistant" for lack of better words, it's meant to be a source of vitality, something to turn to that reaffirms an inherent goodness of the way I am when faced with adversity and pressure to change from the outside world. Affirmations from the few people I've let into my life (the ones I get along best with are, unsurprisingly, fellow Ns) add to this internal "armor" that I wear.

It's a kind of entrenched defensive position with an argumentative mode when I feel it's necessary, a kind of fortress-building self-protection that devotes almost all of my mental and emotional resources to self-preservation while reducing my "offensive" capabilities when it comes to actually engaging with / learning about different parts of life and the world. It's worked well for me during my years of being abused.

Not all types have it as "easy" as the more common types, though we all have our share of joys and struggles. ESFJ's devotion towards a fairly large "scope" when it comes to people, and its concern for the "greater good", may lead to some people-related / self versus external expectations struggles that might be difficult because so much of ESFJ's identity is derived externally. A type like INFP, on the other hand, can mitigate or eradicate these struggles due to a combination of having a far lesser need for social acceptance / social engagement along with a far more developed blast resistant inner core, though at the cost of some benefits that come more naturally to the ESFJ. ESFJ is far more acutely observant in a physical sense and has a very practical brand of wisdom when the situation calls for workable solutions, while INFP's wisdom / brand of observance is more general and applies to areas such as insight into human behavior, human nature, deeper problems etc.

INFP can be so consumed by the quest for deeper meaning, for continually striving towards perfection in people and the world that I sometimes envy your ability to just see things as they are and appreciate the beauty in the little things and the appreciation of people.
 

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@Bunniculla Don't worry, I don't see it as prying at all! I'd be happy to expand on my answer.

My inner world can't be calm and stable unless the world around me is also calm and stable. I feel the 'social mood' of the room pretty intensely, even when I'm not actively involved in it (such as two strangers in a store that I have nothing to do with getting in a fight about something). I really want my inner world to stay at its 'equilibrium' and to do so I need the social mood to be comfortable to match it. Most other people either can't sense it the way I do or simply aren't affected by it that much, so I take it upon myself to balance it out when possible (or remove myself from the situation if it's not something I can do anything about, like the 'strangers fighting in a store' example). So, in a sense, it kind of is selfishly motivated (for me at least, I can't speak for anyone else) because at its core, it can be watered down to "I want everyone else to be upbeat so that I can feel upbeat" but the effect of that benefits other people in the process, which is great.

@WraithOfNightmare Yeah no problem! I made my best attempt at doing it the 'abstract way' haha. Take your time thinking up any examples if you want me to expand more on it (I'll be pretty busy this weekend anyway :p)

Yep emotional vampires can easily take advantage of people who have trouble with conflict or disappointing others. Typically when I vent about things to others, I'm more looking to just vent than to get advice unless I ask for advice (but I don't know if that makes it better or worse for you lol!!) but when others vent to me I usually feel compelled to give some kind of advice, lol. As for 'caring less'--god that's a lesson a lot of SFJs need to learn, and I think part of it comes with age as we sort of become more wisend and more comfortable asserting ourselves. It's definitely a learned skill for many of us and not something that comes naturally, because we don't like 'being rude' to other people and to a lot of us, 'saying no' means 'being rude.' But that's a really slippery slope that lets us get taken advantage of really easily, but we get fed up with it and we start learning.

I wish I could will myself into caring less what others think of me, but people liking me is, for whatever reason, my like #1 priority lmao. Personally I just can't mentally or emotionally handle being seen in a negative light by others, it makes my self worth just plummet. I'm a little better at seeing more of my self worth internally rather than externally compared to a few years ago, but I still have a loooong way to go. One way I like to describe this mindset is: "If every single person in the entire world thinks I'm a shitty person except for myself, they must be the ones who are right because my self perception must be clouded and I am outnumbered." Because of that I feel more naturally inclined to pleasing others' perceptions of me than my own. It can be pretty tiring sometimes.

Oh and I thought of another thing earlier today that I wanted to mention that might help you out with ESFJs (or perhaps SJs in general) in the future!! I've noticed (with myself at least) that when people try to introduce new ideas or concepts to me (such as, perhaps, changing my behavior regarding social norms, or getting me to consider alternative methods of doing something) my initial reaction is almost always resistance. My brain is wired in a way where it always wants to defend and uphold what it already knows rather than throw it all in the garbage for something different, and the more insistent someone is when they try to get me to change, the more resistant I am to it. The best way to get me to consider a different viewpoint is to introduce it very, very gradually, and from a neutral, practical perspective. Give me some time to sit on it and think about it by myself, and perhaps I will end up being the one coming to you to learn more about it!! But try and 'force' it on me or make me feel like I am 'bad/wrong' for being the way I currently am automatically puts me on the defensive. My sister is an INTP and I have noticed when I clash with her, it's usually over things like this!!

For example, someone saying to me "You need to stop doing that because it's morally wrong" will put me in auto-defense mode. I take it personally, even if it's not meant to be a personal attack. It's like saying "You are a bad immoral person for doing this thing that you might not even have known is harmful before I said this just now." However if it were phrased more neutrally, such as "I think it's possible that some people would interpret what you're doing as hurtful to them and they would probably appreciate it if you would consider trying it this other way" I'm much more open to hearing them out.

Hopefully this helps you understand some more about ESFJ mindsets a little more!!
 

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I am going on and off with an ESFJ (I think). She has a very strong feeling to keep harmony, and after a romantic time, to have me stringed and as a sort of friend. Very confusing.

I am not willing to put the full story here. But if there is someone willing to PM with me and provide me advice on next steps, please let me know :)
 
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@Mr.Adrian there aren't very many of us on this forum, unfortunately. And I for one have not had a ton of romantic relationships so...I doubt I would be much help.

I would say work on making an emotional rather than just physical connection. If you have to cancel or reschedule meeting, let her know as soon as you know.

As for stringing you along, she might be trying to make up her mind about how she feels about you. Good luck to you! Sorry, I can't be much help.
 

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@Mr.Adrian there aren't very many of us on this forum, unfortunately. And I for one have not had a ton of romantic relationships so...I doubt I would be much help.

I would say work on making an emotional rather than just physical connection. If you have to cancel or reschedule meeting, let her know as soon as you know.

As for stringing you along, she might be trying to make up her mind about how she feels about you. Good luck to you! Sorry, I can't be much help.
Thanks!

She keeps on giving mixed signals to me. Even after I told her I cannot be friends, and because of my continues not reciprocated feeling, I don't want to. She keeps on doing it.

I repeated my stance, not being friends. And anything I do is not out of friends for her.

She was hurt, blocked me for a week. To me it is immature. How do you perceive it?
 

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I am going on and off with an ESFJ (I think).
Not very ESFJ like. I mean it can be but if they like the person they tend to
commit to the relationship or let it go.

She has a very strong feeling to keep harmony, and after a romantic time, to have me stringed and as a sort of friend.
I understand the words but the meaning is lost. Clarify please.

This is what I think you mean. She likes to have sex from time to time
yet fails to commit to anything beyond a friends with benefits role for you?



Very confusing.
ESFJ confusing to an NT type? Surprise!



I am not willing to put the full story here. But if there is someone willing to PM with me and provide me advice on next steps, please let me know :)
I know that I am not the help you asked for but I may be the help you need.

I am an NT as well and have an ESFJ wife as well as an adult ESFJ son.
I tend think I know a thing or three about them. At least from our NT point of view.

Let me know if I can help.
 

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Not very ESFJ like. I mean it can be but if they like the person they tend to
commit to the relationship or let it go.


I understand the words but the meaning is lost. Clarify please.

This is what I think you mean. She likes to have sex from time to time
yet fails to commit to anything beyond a friends with benefits role for you?




ESFJ confusing to an NT type? Surprise!




I know that I am not the help you asked for but I may be the help you need.

I am an NT as well and have an ESFJ wife as well as an adult ESFJ son.
I tend think I know a thing or three about them. At least from our NT point of view.

Let me know if I can help.
Thanks!

No, we went towards a relationship. We had sex, but after the 1.5 months not anymore, but she does string me along for validation and attention. And uses her seduction skills for that. She is dancing very intimate, with a hair away touching lips. She is looking very deeply in my eyes, touching me, hinting that others have met in the same way as us and they are now in a relationship, invites me in her bedroom, asking me to reassure her and we went through her 21 birthday photobook (she is now 26+).

I sent you an DM. Thanks for listening and helping.
 
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