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  1. #11
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I could say a lot about this topic: Right now I'll say I'm struggling.

    I'm more socially integrated than I used to be, since I'm happy, and I've developed a lot more relationships than I had... but I also now feel a bit backed into a corner.

    I know I feel a push/pull when I fall in love; I want the closeness and revel in it, but at the same time I get scared and want my space to avoid being absorbed.

    And now I have had friends call me to say hi at unexpected times and sound disappointed if I don't call them back (yes, I'm a dork -- I screen my calls, even from friends!), but I feel encroached on. I do e-mail because I can maintain control over my time and space while still engaging someone. I do want to talk to them and often enjoy it; but that doesn't mean I like the way the phone intrudes into my life. I feel this obligation to talk to them even if it will drain me, so they'll still be my friend, and if I blow them off too much, I could lose a potential deeper friendship; yet I don't like the pressure.

    Social interaction to me has always had obligation built into it.
    I understand some of that. The preference for the control over presentation, disliking the way a phone call tries to drag you out of whatever you're focused on at an inopportune time, and even the tendency to be conflicted about whether you feel like talking to them. On one hand, they might have something interesting to say or actually need you, but on the other, it might be dreadfully boring and nothing more than a distraction.

    Only thing I don't really get is the strong sense of obligation and need to fulfill invisible "duties" to a person that come with such a connection. I think that might have come from having too many ISFJs (or maybe just SJs in general) in your life as your only positive role models.

    I have noticed a strange tendency within myself, though. I find I really only like interacting with people when we're first meeting and realizing how much we connect, enthusiastically discussing/analyzing something intellectual in depth, or one of us is trying to comfort the other's emotional pain. I find that anything else tends to bore and tire me quickly.

    Which creates a pattern in which I get really close to people emotionally at first, enjoy it as long as I can, and then (often unconsciously) distance myself when I've gotten as much emotional/intellectual stimulation I could out of it. Then, I find myself just forgetting about the person entirely unless I happen to see them again... and then I'm extremely uncomfortable interacting with them again (because they're too far in the past for me at that point), so I just don't usually. I'm not entirely sure this is a good thing (especially since I'm somewhat unhealthy in many ways anyway), but I never really thought about it until now.

    I don't usually perceive obligations unless they're expressly stated, and I have a tendency to construe an obligation I don't like as being the other persons fault, and might end up disliking them because of it. I very much don't like seeing other people feel obligated in a personal way, and do what I can to prevent them from feeling that way.

    I wonder what all of this means?

  2. #12
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I think much in a person's experiences growing up affect how we relate to a significant degree. This is a chicken and egg question, but I have some sense of how these patterns were reinforced in my socialization. I moved around a lot growing up and didn't ever get involved with people to the extent that I had an obligation to a group or something. I was inundated with a sense of obligation to a set of religious ideals, so that plays some role, but it was more abstract than social. During adolescence and early adulthood, I didn't manage to belong to a social group or clique. Part of the reason was that I could see how many particular behaviors were expected. There was a lot of obligation involved in order to gain acceptance. I think in order to be socially involved in the world, you almost have to embrace some of the obligation to others. The people who naturally came to me were often socially ostracized. In some cases these people had boundary issues, but not ill intent. Because of that I acted out drawing clear boundaries without obligations. If someone talked to me too long, I would tell them that I "appreciated seeing them, but that I need to go now" or something like that.

    I also don't think people should feel pressured to not be obligated because there are pragmatic reasons for it. I guess it is a topic that effects most everyone, something I have felt a little out of step with, and an area that can cause confusion.
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  3. #13
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    I also don't think people should feel pressured to not be obligated because there are pragmatic reasons for it.
    Faking it is pragmatic

    I have a pretty strong sense of obligation to others... at least along the reciprocation axis. I don't feel it very strongly in a general sense, in that I have next to no group identity or social bonds don't hold me strong (I don't rate family obligation higher than friends etc.) So in that regard, I'm the kind of person who goes too far when visiting ("imposing") on others, or when hosting. I also tend to return favors disproportionately, and am sensitive to when others do not.

    I don't relate to some of the other things being said in this thread... probably because I'm more about discharging obligation than anything else. That would make sense, given how my parents raised me and the obligations they kept placing on me.

  4. #14
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Same as you Toonia, up to the point where you say to be socially active in the world you need to embrace some of the obligation to others. I mean I guess you do, but I am incredibly socially active and yet don't really feel like I'm hemmed in by obligations and seldom feel any obligation at all. I think it's because obligations placed on me by other people's expectations, I don't really acknowledge them. That doesn't mean I never feel obligated, but if I do then the sense of it has come from within me: I feel that I owe somebody, and so I make a point of fulfilling that.

    I guess this has the effect that people who don't agree with me over what's obligatory and what isn't, fall by the wayside in my life and never become more than acquaintances, whilst the ones who are on my wavelength about it become good friends. It doesn't really bother me that the other ones think I'm rude, ungrateful, whatever. I know I'm not, and there are plenty of people who can back me up on that.

    It's kinda funny... say a person invites me to their party. If I get the sense from them that they're pressuring me to go and implying they'd be offended if I didn't go, I almost don't go just on principle. But if they invite me in such a way that I feel they genuinely are leaving it up to me and won't be offended if I don't go - well, I want to go

    Edit - PT, you sound just like my prickly ISTP, God love him
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  5. #15
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    I think much in a person's experiences growing up affect how we relate to a significant degree. This is a chicken and egg question, but I have some sense of how these patterns were reinforced in my socialization. I moved around a lot growing up and didn't ever get involved with people to the extent that I had an obligation to a group or something. I was inundated with a sense of obligation to a set of religious ideals, so that plays some role, but it was more abstract than social. During adolescence and early adulthood, I didn't manage to belong to a social group or clique. Part of the reason was that I could see how many particular behaviors were expected. There was a lot of obligation involved in order to gain acceptance. I think in order to be socially involved in the world, you almost have to embrace some of the obligation to others. The people who naturally came to me were often socially ostracized. In some cases these people had boundary issues, but not ill intent. Because of that I acted out drawing clear boundaries without obligations. If someone talked to me too long, I would tell them that I "appreciated seeing them, but that I need to go now" or something like that.

    I also don't think people should feel pressured to not be obligated because there are pragmatic reasons for it. I guess it is a topic that effects most everyone, something I have felt a little out of step with, and an area that can cause confusion.
    I think I've had similar experiences, except in my case the people around me were always constantly moving on. Pretty much had the same effect inasmuch as I never belonged to a group. I've actually had a strong tendency to avoid being bound to a clique/group. It's so strong that I couldn't even handle being in a guild when I played WoW, and ended up paying random strangers ridiculous amounts of gold to help me with quests. I'm actually still learning about boundaries, but I've recently gotten close to the approach you describe in terms of drawing them.

    The bolded part concerns me, though. I don't think I could or want to really embrace those obligations. I could learn to tolerate them as a means to an end, but I couldn't accept them as having value in and of themselves. Do you suppose that would be enough?

  6. #16
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Edit - PT, you sound just like my prickly ISTP, God love him
    Cause no one else would? I'm just happy I found someone who didn't want to exchange gifts and really doesn't keep a tally book in the relationship! I have some friends who are like that, but one advantage to be over-sensitive to it is that you tend to do too much in return, which is a strong social signal. It's 90% of my charisma. Heh, I guess in many ways, obligation is social glue. See it way too much in the Asian side...

  7. #17
    Senior Member Snow Turtle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Only thing I don't really get is the strong sense of obligation and need to fulfill invisible "duties" to a person that come with such a connection. I think that might have come from having too many ISFJs (or maybe just SJs in general) in your life as your only positive role models.
    Obligations are attached to values. These values aren't influenced by the SJs community. SJs =/= Common cultural standards. Having gotten that out of the way I don't like knowing that somebody is obliged to be around me, I'd rather they do things compassionately out of their own free will. It got me into an arguement with my parents over whether I should look after them out of family obligations or not. I kept arguing that I don't need to, which was interpreted as I won't...

    Otherwise I think there is value in obligations. There are going to be plenty of situations where a friend will not want to do something, but will do so because they value the friendship much more. That is obligation right there.
    I'm not 100% certain but was it not Kant that said that actions not done out of obligation (i.e. Dislike of the said task) are not moral or something to that effect. I can definitely see how there is an element of love in doing something obliged.

    There are lots of invisible obligations with friendship and families. That usually go unspoken, I don't believe that most people are up front about their expectations.

  8. #18
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    Obligations are attached to values. These values aren't influenced by the SJs community. SJs =/= Common cultural standards. Having gotten that out of the way I don't like knowing that somebody is obliged to be around me, I'd rather they do things compassionately out of their own free will. It got me into an arguement with my parents over whether I should look after them out of family obligations or not. I kept arguing that I don't need to, which was interpreted as I won't...
    That's very important to me as well. In fact, I don't even consider the things people do valid in emotional terms when done out of obligation. Perhaps valid in monetary terms, though.

    Otherwise I think there is value in obligations. There are going to be plenty of situations where a friend will not want to do something, but will do so because they value the friendship much more. That is obligation right there.
    I'm not 100% certain but was it not Kant that said that actions not done out of obligation (i.e. Dislike of the said task) are not moral or something to that effect. I can definitely see how there is an element of love in doing something obliged.
    I would likely be willing to do something I don't want to do for someone, if I feel like they really need it and couldn't easily get it from someone else. But that's not really out of friendship so much as my own ideals about compassion. If they just want/expect it, though, forget about it.
    There are lots of invisible obligations with friendship and families. That usually go unspoken, I don't believe that most people are up front about their expectations.
    Ah, well those would be the ones I dismiss. I don't consider unspoken obligations to be valid. If a person has one, I honestly consider that their problem to handle on their own, because I won't take any responsibility for it.

    I guess we wouldn't get along very well, huh?

  9. #19
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Only thing I don't really get is the strong sense of obligation and need to fulfill invisible "duties" to a person that come with such a connection. I think that might have come from having too many ISFJs (or maybe just SJs in general) in your life as your only positive role models.
    It could very much be related to that. I was shamed/guilted a lot in the course of my life with the "social etiquette" thing. (So I still feel guilty when I don't acknowledge someone who called/wrote me just to fill me in on something, and I feel bad for not writing a 'thank you' letter for stuff I don't think is necessary to issue a response on, etc.) And when I've slacked off and trusted that people understand, I still have been bitten by some people who apparently WERE judging me. So it's not all in my head, unfortunately.

    I have noticed a strange tendency within myself, though. I find I really only like interacting with people when we're first meeting and realizing how much we connect, enthusiastically discussing/analyzing something intellectual in depth, or one of us is trying to comfort the other's emotional pain. I find that anything else tends to bore and tire me quickly.
    I identify a lot with that statement, although I increasingly get better with just doing the "small talk" thing.

    Which creates a pattern in which I get really close to people emotionally at first, enjoy it as long as I can, and then (often unconsciously) distance myself when I've gotten as much emotional/intellectual stimulation I could out of it. Then, I find myself just forgetting about the person entirely unless I happen to see them again... and then I'm extremely uncomfortable interacting with them again (because they're too far in the past for me at that point), so I just don't usually. I'm not entirely sure this is a good thing (especially since I'm somewhat unhealthy in many ways anyway), but I never really thought about it until now.
    I identify with the first half, up to the "uncomfortable" part -- when I run across them again, I actually like talking to them. (So drop me a line sometime! )

    I don't usually perceive obligations unless they're expressly stated, and I have a tendency to construe an obligation I don't like as being the other persons fault, and might end up disliking them because of it.
    I remember doing that for awhile. I'd just avoid people who I knew would ask me to do something because then I'd have to disappoint them or potentially anger them by saying no... or else (more typically) just do it and feel resentful about being "controlled."

    Learning how to say "no" helped me alot with that.
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  10. #20
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post

    It's kinda funny... say a person invites me to their party. If I get the sense from them that they're pressuring me to go and implying they'd be offended if I didn't go, I almost don't go just on principle. But if they invite me in such a way that I feel they genuinely are leaving it up to me and won't be offended if I don't go - well, I want to go
    Ha. I can relate to this.

    I inwardly bristle when I sense something is expected of me, and I am quite liable to want to go the opposite direction. It just seems like some sort of limitation thrown on me by another - that I must be/act a certain way to be 'approved' of, as if my natural inclination, and natural state of being, is somehow not acceptable.

    And, the reverse. Ultimately I want people to WANT to do something out of their natural inclination and free will. I want them to make the choice. I wouldn't want to slant a message in a way that implied I'd be offended if they didn't do it...because it would be meaningless in the end if they did it out of a sense of obligation/guilt/resentment - as others have said. Then I'd just feel bad as well, and then we'd both have had the wrong motiviations for doing things. Ok, I'm all about the motivation. :-P Whereas if they did it because they *wanted* to, well, that's a million times better. This isn't to say I wouldn't be inwardly disappointed or hurt if someone chose not to do something I would have liked them to have done - because I might be. But I would also have the added data to know exactly how they feel about things, prioritize things, etc etc. I'd know more about them, and I'd also know more about the nature of the relationship itself.

    As far as ME feeling social obligations, yes, I do feel them. I am able to say 'No' and assert my boundaries, sometimes to the point of being isolated, perhaps (maybe a self-protective maneuver, as I have a strong drive to make sure my independence/'freedom' remains intact), but I also go out of my way to make sure misunderstandings don't arise by trying to maintain good communication. When I DO say 'No', where I know I'm letting someone down, I often experience residual feelings of anxiety and I will often second-guess myself and my reasoning for saying 'No'. So I'll often feel bad when I don't do something that I know someone would have liked me to have done (BUT: the feelings are probably derived from rather a self-imposed obligation), but didn't do because it's just not what I truly want and I'm wanting to stay true to myself.

    So it can be a tough balance for me to be true to myself, as the feelings can be unpleasant when I do that, and I don't like hurting/disappointing others. I guess in summary, I don't feel a need to follow through on expectations/social obligations, but it does cause a personal emotional toll on me when I don't. It would cause a different toll if I did it, though - i.e. resentment, etc. So I can't win. :-P

    I agree social obligations/expectations have a lot to do with how one is raised and just an overall cultural bent - as those forces can be quite powerful - and sometimes it causes more anxiety to push back/resist than to just go with it.

    This is so vague and general..I apologize..but it's a broad topic. I think my post is all over the place.
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