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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to ask if anyone's had problems with ESFPs in the past. I currently have someone I'd consider my "best" friend (and who has labeled me as such, too, in the past) who is definitely an ESFP. Because of that, she has a lot of more "shallow" relationships-- and since I'm an INFJ, I long for deep, meaningful friendships that are almost spiritual, in a way.

Anyway, there's a lot of problems with the way she views friendships (treat everyone nicely, don't let anyone in) and how I view friendship (get to know a few people as meaningfully as you can). It's always been a problem, but I feel like I've driven her away by sort of insulting her point of view, and insinuating that I should be her only good friend.

So... has anyone else had this problem? If so, how do you reconcile those two points of view?
Thanks!
 

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This thread... saved my day. Thanks for putting it up.

My ESFP best friend is a laid-back college student. There are times when both of us would clash because of our different viewpoints on certain things. When he doesn't like somebody, he doesn't like that person. Period. I can basically relate with you.. know the person first before making some assumptions. He's a fighter, I'm pacifistic and passive in nature, but I wait for the opportunity to fight. He doesn't like it; I don't like his "warrior" persona. Almost as if it is Yin and Yang. He's very perceptive of people though and is egalitarian by nature. He accepts people as who they are but at times, he gets too hot-tempered and I get too sensitive. He's scared of... ruining relationships. That's him, and that's a thing we have in-common.

Basically, I settle the conflicts most of the time 'cause he wouldn't even bother... it drives me nuts. -sigh- However, he is very influential in my life. It's an on and off relationship, really.

My advice... just have fun when you get the chances. She probably has something to offer anyway, in the end:proud:
 

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I can basically relate with you.. know the person first before making some assumptions. He's a fighter, I'm pacifistic and passive in nature, but I wait for the opportunity to fight. He doesn't like it; I don't like his "warrior" persona.
The ESFP guy friend I have doesn't have a "warrior" persona. In fact, he will take about anybody under his wing and just be friends with them. Is it a deep meaningful relationship? Certainly not - heck, I can hardly get a meaningful conversation out of him. But he just likes to live in the moment and accept just about anyone.
The good thing is that helps us get along just fine is that he doesn't mind my need to organize stuff a bit (and I don't mean in the physically organizing/being neat as Si would, but the Ni way of planning and looking ahead). That being said, I don't usually mind it when he randomly calls me with some crazy idea telling me he's at the airport and waiting on the flight to Vegas and if I want to go with (haven't quite done one like that... but hey, lol)
I've noticed that when I try to look ahead too much with an ESTP and I try to add them in my equation of figuring out the future, then they get annoyed a bit and won't hesitate in telling me how I should just "live in the moment".
 

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My best friend is an ESFP and me and him are extremely close. I have known the kid since first grade and we now have been out of high school for four years. Me and him have almost no issues other then him trying to get me to skip class today to play a video game with him that came out today and me being like noooooo I gotta go to classsss XD. Stuff like that where he is trying to get to do stuff with him just on a whim and my tendency to wanna have everything planned is like whoa calm down. It is quite a funny friendship because we are so different but such great friends.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Humilis-- your friendship dynamic might be usurped by the fact that you've known each other forever. In that way, you've kind of forced the ESFP to become close with you. My ESFP even had a built-in excuse for not having friends for longer than a few years-- she was in a military family.

My friend definitely doesn't have a warrior persona! In fact, your friend who has that might not be an ESFP at all, because one of the defining elements of ESFP is willingness to talk to anyone, to be friends with anyone, and to avoid conflict as much as possible with everyone. It's something I USUALLY appreciate, but when she won't open up to me and tell me how she really feels, it gets frustrating.
 

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when she won't open up to me and tell me how she really feels, it gets frustrating.
This is something that cannot be changed about her. There is nothing you personally can do to change it anyway. It's a trait that most ESFPs have, and it's ingrained. They have a deep fear of revealing anything negative about themselves. It's very important to them to maintain a happy-go-lucky persona. They would feel terribly ashamed if anyone knew they had dark feelings inside, because those feelings are unacceptable to them.

If you want to continue as a close friend, the best thing to do is to simply accept her as she is. She may be encouraged to talk about deeper things if you are able to gain her trust, staying by her through whatever comes along. Or you may not. I would say it's a long shot. I've been married to an ESFP for 15 years, and I can probably count the number of times he has truly opened up to me in a shockingly honest way on one hand. They just don't do that unless they either feel forced into it, or they are in such mental distress that they have to to relieve the pressure. And they definitely won't do it unless they trust you implicitely.

If you want her to understand some of the deeper things you like to talk about, try to relate it in some way to some of the people you both know. ESFPs love people, and love to talk about people. In fact, that's pretty much all my ESFP likes to talk about.
 
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My mother is a ESFP, for some reason we can get along really well. We enjoy similar jokes, I like the fact she can just not think so hard and just laugh at odd things in life. on another note we view the world so differently. we do good alone. We approach the world different, she gets stressed with the way I act and I do with her.

Getting her to understand me is probably the most difficult and most day's i think are impossible. many times I will hear "my head hurts I can't think anymore" lol but seriously ESFP will try to look within themselves but what you see is what you get. anymore is like a unknown language. She has a lot of worry's about everything and everyone but ESFP's just want to keep it to themselves no matter what I believe this trait is as strong on INFJ, probably where I got it from. Her mind is so simple it just make's me smile sometimes.

This is the woman who starts crying because she doesn't want to do anymore paper work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is something that cannot be changed about her. There is nothing you personally can do to change it anyway. It's a trait that most ESFPs have, and it's ingrained.
Yeah, I noticed that. I don't really know if I can be friends with her, since I know that even as someone she considers a truly close friend, there will never be a guarantee that she'll open up to me. That's a big barrier. When she has opened up to me (only a few times, and not really about life-changing things), it's always nice, but it's not even close to as often as I need, as an INFJ. I've told her everything I think/dream about, everything I strive for, all the sordid stories from my past... in the hopes that she'll reciprocate. But it just doesn't seem to be important to her.

Anyway, I'm not saying she's not a good person. Just that it will be hard to be friends with her on a long-term basis. We seem to do better in writing, when she feels more comfortable with talking about things (apparently-- we Skyped a lot the past two summers). I don't know how you managed a marriage with that-- maybe you have some tips that could transfer to friendship.
 

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It is not just ESFP thing, but a characteristic found in all extraverts to some extend or another. Their mind works more horizontally - get as much surface knowledge as you can - rather than vertically as it works for introverts - get as much in-depth knowledge as you can. If I had a one-on-one relationship with an extravert who didn't really hang out with anyone else, I project that both of us will be unhappy as a result - me for betting poked more when I want to introvert and extravert for not getting enough reaction from me.

I was in a relationship with someone who was moderate extravert and we just had those times where each of us did our own thing. He was engaged with his extraverted activities. I was busy with my introverted ones. I don't remember myself wanting to have more of a monopoly on him with respect to personal relations. To the contrary, I enjoyed it when he would introduce me to some new friend of his. So it worked out pretty well this way for years.

If you use the search function there are actually plenty of threads about INFJs and ESFPs - seems like a common relationship pairing. They are kind of related to ENFPs but do relate better to other sensors. I think INFJs are kind of more boring for them. I know my ISFJ mother tends to draw ESFPs to herself quite a bit, in fact I think that this is the most common type of friendship for her.
 

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Yeah, I noticed that. I don't really know if I can be friends with her, since I know that even as someone she considers a truly close friend, there will never be a guarantee that she'll open up to me. That's a big barrier. When she has opened up to me (only a few times, and not really about life-changing things), it's always nice, but it's not even close to as often as I need, as an INFJ. I've told her everything I think/dream about, everything I strive for, all the sordid stories from my past... in the hopes that she'll reciprocate. But it just doesn't seem to be important to her.

Anyway, I'm not saying she's not a good person. Just that it will be hard to be friends with her on a long-term basis. We seem to do better in writing, when she feels more comfortable with talking about things (apparently-- we Skyped a lot the past two summers). I don't know how you managed a marriage with that-- maybe you have some tips that could transfer to friendship.
It isn't easy. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Truthfully, I need advice myself on how to cope with it. In 15 years I haven't figured it out. One thing I do know is that it's really important for you to have at least one other close friend who is an intuitive. You have a better chance of mutual understanding that way.

And the other is that you simply have to be accepting of your ESFP freind. It's important to get to the point where you can be okay with them as they are, not always trying to look deeper or find more meaning in what they say. And like I said before, if it's important to you to try to convey some understanding of an idea that you feel really strongly about, you have to bring it down to earth for them, ground it in the reality they are in by providing real life examples of the idea at work. They don't like concepts or theory, but they do like people, so try to relate it to that.

One good thing about them is they can help you become more balanced. They'll get you out and about, encourage you to try new things and be spontaneous, and basically just help you have a great time. If you can see the value in that, then you will enjoy an ESFP.

And one more thing, whenever I talk to Talon (one of our ESFPs on PerC) about any question I have about my husband, he usually asks "What did he say when you told him how you feel?" So talk to her about it. Talon says that ESFPs generally need you to spell everything out for them, they are not going to be able to guess. And you may have to do it repeatedly in my experience.
 

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TBH I think you may have to accept a relationship with ESFPs that's not "profound" in the kind of way INFJs think of it. My little brother is ESFP, and even though we have almost no "meaningful" or "deep" conversations, we're extremely, extremely close. I suppose you're right in that knowing him literally his entire life helps, but really even when you know them that long you have to reconcile your differences. I like the way my brother and me interact though - we're almost perfect opposites in some ways, but the shared F brings us together because we can bond over things like caring for our sister - who has special needs - we both love animals, etc. I also think ESFPs and INFJs can almost... balance each other out, if that makes sense? His happy-go-lucky, friendly, spontaneous personality brings me out of my shell when I'm feeling antisocial and when I'm intimidated by conflict or social situations I can just let him take the lead. Similarly, I take the edge off some of his hot-headedness. ESFPs can be very sanguine and tend to respond to things in a very knee-jerk manner - in my experience - and having an INFJ around they're close to can balance that out a bit.

But you do noeed to accept them for who they are. You will most likely never have a "deep" conversation about the meaning of life with an ESFP :crazy: the very idea is pretty funny to me. My brother would get bored after about 2 minutes... The best approach is to try and enjoy them in their spontaneity, appreciate them for who they are - crazy, energetic, mischievous. *My* ESFP brings out my silly side :laughing:
 
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