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Hopefully I can describe this situation accurately enough without getting into too many details. I'm an INTP, and my older sister is an ESFJ. I think I may have pushed her away without realizing in the past few years. Most likely with me refusing her help quite often. It has been awhile since we've had an actual conversation that lasted more than a minute or two. If it does last any longer it usually ends with her glaring at me, at that point I just end up walking away and try again in a week.

What I know she doesn't respond well to:


1. Banter.

2. Devils advocate and what I think is playful debate.


So by this, the only thing I've figured out is I can't talk to her as if I were talking to my INTJ sister.

I mostly think it's because she's so on guard around me as if she's expecting me to be hostile. So how can I talk to her, would just being quiet and letting her talk be enough?
 

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Stop trying to talk to her and help her. Buy her things or something. Take her out for dinner. See a movie. DO something. Do not talk about opinions. Just enjoy her company and the feelings you get being around her. If you don't have enjoyable feelings around her instead, then why bother? That's my advice anyhow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Stop trying to talk to her and help her. Buy her things or something. Take her out for dinner. See a movie. DO something. Do not talk about opinions. Just enjoy her company and the feelings you get being around her. If you don't have enjoyable feelings around her instead, then why bother? That's my advice anyhow.
Ah, well that's a simple solution that was probably staring me in the face. I had an opportunity last week, regrettably I passed it up. I'll keep an ear out for my next chance. Thanks for the advice.

I do like spending time with her, as long as we're not fighting, it's just she can be exhausting and that she's constantly trying to set me up with men. Thus she can suck the fun out of the situation for me. I should probably be more blunt with her on that... or it could make it worse and she'll decide she needs to try even harder to get me a boyfriend. Always hard to tell. Blunt honesty or sugar coating?
 

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It sounds to me like she wants to express her F and J to you more, with you having T and P, it's creating issues. She wants to feel things out, and make judgements based on the feelings she gets, and you want to carefully think them out first.

She wants verification that her way of thinking is correct, and it's impossible for you to fully understand, creating a paradox, because you don't want to commit to just any guy she sets you up with, you like to keep your options open, just in case.

Perhaps you might consider going along with her schemes, just once, show her that her instincts were at least partially correct, Fs are not incapable of compromise, in fact, they are quite fond of it when a solution cannot be reached, they prefer to at least partially win. Find more situations where her feelings and judgement can succeed in your life, and suggest it to her, then emphasize your appreciation to her.

One of the ways I like to appease the ESF part of people is to plan surprises. Random parties, random theme park trips, random food outings, movies, malls, anything, satisfy your INT by carefully planning out the day, but not letting her in on anything but what is coming up within the hour.

So there's a few ideas for you besides just a black/white answer. If you sugar coat anything and give her a white lie, it's possible she may annoy you by saying something like "But what about that time you admitted I was right!" during discussions, so make sure you factor in whether or not you'll be able to passively shrug it off and not be upset at yourself when she says things like that in the future. Make compromises, but be aware of future repercussions.

Hope this helps!
 

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(I'm an ESFJ married to an INTP, by the way, so hopefully I can help you.)

ESFJs are desperate for people to be 100% with them and real. I agree with taking her out and doing things with her - it's an excellent idea - but, in conversation, try to dig deep into the depths of your soul and come up with something that gives you emotion. Then share it. Even if it's something in your far past. An ESFJ assumes that everyone has some deep feelings somewhere and, when you do nothing but be sarcastic or quiet or teasing with her, she assumes you're being fake. Now, I know you, as an INTP, probably just don't have hidden wells of emotion waiting to spill over. I married Spock. It's just not there. :p But even if you find something that brings you happiness, share it. Have a day of talking about old memories, and you will melt her heart. The Si is strong and she's probably focused on how you guys "lost your way" as siblings years ago, and is longing for something to rekindle your friendship.

But just being quiet is NOT a good idea because the ESFJ hates just talking to a wall and feeling like the other person isn't being real or sharing with her too. My husband is a fantastic listener, but I don't want just a listener. When I talk, I want active feedback. He goes into Wall-Mode and it kills me. I start wanting to chuck things at him to see if he's still alive. :p
 

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I've been married to an ESFJ for 35 years. I think I've been buried somewhere along the line. He talks, I listen. If I talk, he doesn't hear, I think because he is getting ready to say something himself. He is always reading things into my expressions or scant speech. I have a friend or two (INFPs) with whom I can actually talk when I need to. They've probably saved my marriage, as I would explode without an occasional expression of my thoughts.
There is much I love about him though. He is faithful to me---I need never fear otherwise. He is a good provider despite poor health. Above all, he is kind, and I value kindness highly.
I'm new to understanding my INTPness. I'm new to this forum as well. Reading these threads has helped me understand myself and my husband so much better. What is sad is that even if I tried to explain myself to him, he wouldn't even be able to hear what I say. We are unable to discuss many things for all the reasons you would expect from our types. He loves me, but he does not really know or appreciate me.
 

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Yes, be blunt that you're not interested in being set up with men, that's a good boundary for you, but also let her know that you appreciate how much she wants to help you. ESFJs typically show their love by trying to be helpful to others, and it sounds like you've rejected her efforts, thus rejecting her love. But it sounds like you could turn this relationship around if you want to, by finding ways to invest in it that work for her and you. Are you familiar with the five love languages? Do you know hers? If not, figure it out, and use that knowledge to show her you care in ways that are meaningful to her, that make her feel good. Relationships are all about making people feel good, and as a Ti-dom you are well-equipped to understand different personality types and learn how to communicate with them and give them attention in ways that make them feel good. This isn't science, it's social science, and we can get very good at it.

Like you said about your sister, ESFJs typically have no use for debate. They're not NTs/intellectuals and don't find it fun like you do, they're FJs and seek harmony with people and so they tend to find it irritating or uncomfortable. We have to find different ways to relate to FJs. I have no problem going into Fe mode with them. I can even nod and say I understand to the things they say that I don't agree with myself, because understanding isn't agreeing with them, it's listening and understanding them whether you agree or not. It's hard for Ti to do that since our natural tendency is to be precise and exact. It's a good exercise.
 

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I've been married to an ESFJ for 35 years. Even after all this time we cannot really converse. Mostly he talks, I listen---or at least kind of. Sometimes I feel that he cannot think inside himself, so he needs me to bounce his thoughts off. There is little point in me doing more than acknowledging what he says. Sometimes I find something on which I can comment, but that can lead to hot spots if I am not careful. I actually had the word argument there.... but we can't argue. I love to debate things, but he cannot do more than express his opinion as if it were fact. He cannot even hear my side of the debate. Yuck... that's terrible but true.
The way we best get along is if I find other outlets for my need to think and express ideas. He can't meet me on my ground. So we meet on his territory, where I can at least understand him. It may not satisfy me, but hey, relationships require give and take. My listening to him is my give. He has no idea how much it pains me.
 

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I've been married to an ESFJ for 35 years. Even after all this time we cannot really converse. Mostly he talks, I listen---or at least kind of. Sometimes I feel that he cannot think inside himself, so he needs me to bounce his thoughts off. There is little point in me doing more than acknowledging what he says. Sometimes I find something on which I can comment, but that can lead to hot spots if I am not careful. I actually had the word argument there.... but we can't argue. I love to debate things, but he cannot do more than express his opinion as if it were fact. He cannot even hear my side of the debate. Yuck... that's terrible but true.
The way we best get along is if I find other outlets for my need to think and express ideas. He can't meet me on my ground. So we meet on his territory, where I can at least understand him. It may not satisfy me, but hey, relationships require give and take. My listening to him is my give. He has no idea how much it pains me.
Astrobird, does your husband know about the MBTI? Do you think it would be helpful to introduce it to him so both of you could better understand each other? I am dating an ISTJ and found him terribly confusing at first, but I made him take the MBTI, did a lotttt of research on his type, and developed more patience and understanding for our differences as a result. ESFJs really rely on visible cues (like facial expressions, body language, and words) to understand people, but I've often found with IxTxs, this can be difficult since they're not very expressive and don't emote as much to start with. Maybe a type description would help him get into your head?
 

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Astrobird, does your husband know about the MBTI? Do you think it would be helpful to introduce it to him so both of you could better understand each other? I am dating an ISTJ and found him terribly confusing at first, but I made him take the MBTI, did a lotttt of research on his type, and developed more patience and understanding for our differences as a result. ESFJs really rely on visible cues (like facial expressions, body language, and words) to understand people, but I've often found with IxTxs, this can be difficult since they're not very expressive and don't emote as much to start with. Maybe a type description would help him get into your head?
I'm new to MBTI myself. I had him do a test and found he answered the questions in a way that gave him a type that was clearly not right. That meant I had to do a lot of digging on my own to type him. You are right, he does rely on visible cues---and with me that does not work. For example, he often thinks I am angry when I am not at all! I've been studying his type and mine (INTP) and am working out a strategy with which to approach him. He doesn't care about MBTI, but I hope to use it as a tool to describe myself to him. This is my plan so far: since he does't care much about ideas (like MBTI) I will talk about what he does care about---people. I'll remind him that I am one! And then use MBTI to try to show him what kind of person I am.
Does that make sense to you?
 

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I mostly think it's because she's so on guard around me as if she's expecting me to be hostile. So how can I talk to her, would just being quiet and letting her talk be enough?
I'm working on the same problem myself. My thoughts so far: You may find it hard to have a two-sided conversation with her. If you want to be in relationship with her you'll have to set aside your reasonable-from-INTP expectations and meet her on her turf. It may be painful for you to go there, but you are able to do it, whereas she is not capable of coming to you. Practically, that means listening to her rambling about things you have little interest in, giving clear indicators that you are paying attention. Positive comments work well, so long as they are sincere. If you do talk, she will most interested in hearing about your personal experiences, the kind you would consider too banal to share.
 
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