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First off -- No, this has nothing to do with a romantic relationship. I am currently trying to communicate with my ISTJ dad about a problem I'm having, and I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to go about it. It has been an ongoing problem. I think I may have mentioned this once already... o_O If I did, I don't remember. And I'm sorry if it is a repeat, in that case. But that aside, the problem is still there.

The Situation:
Being an Extrovert, I thrive off of social interaction. However, due to the circumstances, I only get to see my friends once a week on Sunday at church (that sounds weird and sheltered, but I assure you it's not). My time is very limited. I go to an online school, and while it is absolutely wonderful, I have a really hard time connecting with the people there. Plus, it's just not the same as face-to-face interaction. To me.

So, once a week I get to see my friends. For perhaps a couple of hours depending how long we stay. I also live 45 minutes away from these friends of mine, which makes it that much harder. We live in the country. There's no town nearby. Everything is at least 20 minutes away. Of course, there's good upsides to being here and it's absolutely gorgeous.

The Problem: My dad works very, very hard. He's got a job that isn't easy. It's eating him up. He has had this same job for, well, forever. I've noticed that he keeps on living in the future. In a bad way. He cannot enjoy the moment because he can only think of the next heavy week of work ahead, or perhaps the stress tomorrow brings. That's really heartbreaking. In his free time, he spends time outside, mowing the lawn, doing chores outside, etc. He actually seems to enjoy doing things like that. Or maybe it's just a way to take his mind of stress.

Because of this "can't see anything but the future" mentality, though, and by being responsible and working hard, he accidentally can start having some selfish thought patterns. He's doing all these things for selfless reasons, but it ends up making him feel like he's got the worst problems. I definitely acknowledge he's got stress and pressures and responsibilities I wouldn't be able to handle. However, I wish I could have his support and help. He hates staying at that one point in the week where my sister and mom and I get interaction. He also doesn't like it if we stay long, too. Whenever my mom works on Sunday (due to being a nurse), my dad makes it so we leave right after after church lets out.

It's been hard for me. I have my own issues, seemingly smaller in comparison, but they mean a great deal to me. Sometimes I wonder if he sees me as a typical 17 year old girl, or as an individual 17 year old girl who's trying hard and has her own individual problems. I know he's an introvert, but he ought to enjoy the moment a bit more. Stop focusing on tomorrow's problems. I can't find a way or a place to tell him these concerns I have. I feel like if I do talk to him, he may revert to the, "I do have hard work," etc conversation, which is entirely true, but that's missing the point.

Perhaps you ISTJs have some insight here. Maybe I'm trying to go about this the wrong way. Maybe I've got the wrong idea. How can I handle the situation?
 

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Hello,

Perhaps one of your friends can drive you home? This way, your father can leave right after church (maybe church drains him), and you can stay and chat and interact with your friends. Sounds like your father just wants to get away from the crowd, rather than not wanting you to have fun. I'm an ISTJ, and at some point, I just shut down and need to leave the crowd NOW.

Is this an option - for someone else to take you home later that day?
 

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While I'm not an ISTJ, I suppose all IXXJs have some sort of similarities.

Firstly I would say, don't feel heartbroken about the path he has chosen in his life. I can say with certainty, he WANTS to work hard. He wants to think and prepare for the future. He wants to provide, and that is how he shows his love. While my ultimate goals are different, my method is the same, I show my love to my husband by working hard for the future, so we can both achieve our goals. (He is ENFP as well :) ) Sometimes he wonders why I'd rather be out working than playing around, but that is just how we are.

I would say, how about just doing some chores with him and talking? Go out and help him with the lawn or outside work and just chat. Maybe he doesn't realize how much interaction means to you. While I won't assume the ISTJ frame of mind, I know I can get so stuck on my work I kind of block out a lot of the picture, and I simply need to be told "hey, can you do this?" Maybe if you just asked him to schedule a bit of time, and helped him schedule that time, he would be willing to do that for you. (And I emphasize schedule, I've noticed that a lot of IXXJs tend to run on strict schedules.)
 

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One of our buddies sent us this article on caring for your introvert.
Caring for Your Introvert - Magazine - The Atlantic

I feel like if I do talk to him, he may revert to the, "I do have hard work," etc conversation, which is entirely true, but that's missing the point.
Do you know what your dad likes to talk about? I know most introverts will love talking about anything they like very much or find very interesting. In my experience, ENFPs are quite good at drawing introverts out of their shells. :p Do a little bit of probing- have you asked your mum about your dad? I'm assuming she's known him longer than you have ^_^. You may be at a transition where you look at your dad more as a fellow person than just as "dad."

My guess is that your dad IS 'enjoying the moment' when he's working hard at the chores. Perhaps "acts of service" are his 'love language?' <--- bad grammar
not sure if this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you everybody! ^_^
@DaisyChain -
Perhaps one of your friends can drive you home? This way, your father can leave right after church (maybe church drains him), and you can stay and chat and interact with your friends. Sounds like your father just wants to get away from the crowd, rather than not wanting you to have fun. I'm an ISTJ, and at some point, I just shut down and need to leave the crowd NOW.

Is this an option - for someone else to take you home later that day?


It stinks that church should drain him. All his close friends are there, but lately he's been even drifting away from them. Aside from that there's the spiritual aspects that I won't get into, because that would completely derail the thread. But anyway, I wish that my friends could drive me home. But all 45 minutes back home? They can do it occasionally, but it certainly wouldn't be once a week. However, perhaps a compromise could be reached.

I don't think it's a not having fun issue or anything about enjoyment, but I feel like he is constantly feeling stress. Which brings me to reply to @Noelle -

I think it's actually because he feels the need to supply, be responsible, and prepare for the future, etc (perfectly good and brilliant motives) that he feels stress. He's caught up in something... Lost his sight, perhaps. I definitely think he enjoys the outside chores. ^_^ It makes me happy to see him happy.
@Lola Lolek -
Do a little bit of probing- have you asked your mum about your dad? I'm assuming she's known him longer than you have ^_^. You may be at a transition where you look at your dad more as a fellow person than just as "dad."

My guess is that your dad IS 'enjoying the moment' when he's working hard at the chores. Perhaps "acts of service" are his 'love language?' <--- bad grammar
not sure if this helps.


Oh yes. My mom said that she knows he has this problem. I have tried discussing it with her, but talking about it seems to stress her and it gets a lot harder to talk. However, with a bit of probing (heh) I have found that she acknowledges this issue, but will not attempt to help because she claims she's already discussed it in the past. I think it's serious now, though, and perhaps I should try talking with her again.

I am definitely at a 'transition' period. For a while now I've been looking at my parents (heck, even my siblings) and seeing them as individuals rather than simply siblings and parents.

The chores isn't the problem. Even his hard work isn't the whole problem. It's the mentality of constantly seeing the stress and anxieties of tomorrow, or the next week, or the next year. He's caught in this negative mindset. It makes him tired before tomorrow even comes. It makes it harder for him to support my sister and I. Even my mom. It's important to daily live our lives, I think, while realizing that tomorrow will come (figurative language ftw! lol) and our actions have consequences - good and bad. However, to constantly be stuck in the negative mindset of the hard stress of the future makes it really hard to enjoy the moment today. I can see it literally wearing him down.

Maybe I should just go up to him and say that straight up? @[email protected]
 

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I definitely think he enjoys the outside chores. ^_^ It makes me happy to see him happy.
This is totally not related to the larger situation at hand, but you should get some flowers or something and put them outside for him. Just not too many that he'll think of how he has to care for the.

But anyways, to help the bigger problem here, I had a milder form of it before and I solved it myself, by telling myself "Does this really matter, in the grand scheme of my life. It probably won't effect things if I don't do X and go and have some fun time.
 

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It stinks that church should drain him. All his close friends are there, but lately he's been even drifting away from them. Aside from that there's the spiritual aspects that I won't get into, because that would completely derail the thread.
If he's got close friends at church, you should encourage the interactions/relationships... not sure exactly how though. Do your parents do other activities outside of church with friends? Is the spiritual aspect the reason why he's reluctant to go to church or is it just the fact that there are so many people? I'm concerned that church may have been an enjoyable experience and important role in the past and something else has been bothering your dad- and what you perceive as issues could just be symptoms of that something else?? It sounds like he wasn't always like this. Was there any specific incident or event that marks a change in his behaviors, or have you become more in-tune with them recently? both?


I think it's actually because he feels the need to supply, be responsible, and prepare for the future, etc (perfectly good and brilliant motives) that he feels stress. He's caught up in something... Lost his sight, perhaps.
not sure if i'd call them "motives." being future-oriented and duty-bound is a part of your dad as much as your idealizing about future possibilities is a part of you.

Maybe I should just go up to him and say that straight up?
yes, this is usually the best approach. don't give in if he's reluctant to talk. If this is important to you, make it known. Keep in mind you may have to change your approach too.
 

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@Julia Bell -

Having been the ISTJ dad in almost the exact same scenario, I must say that this is more complex than a simple extrovert vs. introvert issue. The advice you've been given so far has been good, but some of this is your dad's problem to work out. I believe that you need to focus on a solution that works for you while being supportive of your parents and any issues they are facing, individually or together. So put on that ENFP possibilities thinking cap and come up with a solution:

*Ride with friends - give 'em some gas money or whatever
*Take two cars to church - If you don't drive, you should be
*Dad may be willing to stay after church for an hour if he brings some work to do
*Talk to mom and dad and pitch your idea. Expect to be shot down. Pray. Repeat. Be patient. Eventually, this will change, but it needs to be your parents idea to change.
*Get a phone, text, IM, chat more with friends during the week
*This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but something to get you thinking about possibilities.
 
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