It has been pointed out to me that I have difficulties with adapting to some "social norms", and I'd like to work on improving that aspect of myself, but I don't even know if "social norms" is actually the right phrase or not, and I feel at a loss as to how to go about it. A paraphrase of the problem is that I don't "do the appropriate things at the appropriate time".
It is natural for me to be concerned about the feelings of others and any decisions I make I do put a lot of thought into "how will this affect others", so I think I have at least some positive Fe traits in that regard, but desire to be better in social matters does not seem to equate to actual ability to do so and I'm not sure if its a type limitation, or if I'm going about things the wrong way, so at this point I'm open to ideas about how to improve my Fe/social abilities/awareness etc.
I do try to be polite and courteous and say "please" and "thank you", but to me those are just niceties and sometimes I either get absent minded or distracted and forget to say those things when it would be appropriate to do so and that has resulted in hurt feelings (specifically of an ESFJ and an ISxJ), so I'd really like to find a way to condition myself or change my perspective or something so that doing those things for other people becomes more natural and automatic (when I am around those people, I make a conscious effort to be more alert and follow the protocols I think they expect, but it takes a lot of mental energy to do that which can cause other problems and its also not as sincere as I'd like it to be). I don't think its the change in behavior I find draining so much as the effort I need to put into being alert (Se) enough to recognize when I should say something, but thats just my theory.
In the times where it has been pointed out to me that I hurt someone's feelings, it is nearly always what I didn't do (that they considered a "social norm" or "social expectation") that they thought everyone should be aware of. I don't know if "social norms" and "social expectations" equate to manners and etiquette or if they are something different - I did learn some manners as a child, but I also resisted learning (or abandoned on adulthood) the ones I could not see the purpose behind and that may be a factor here where I need to re-evaluate the manners I once perceived as pointless courtesies, but I'm not sure if I'm even evaluating the problem properly or not.
Although I don't think it has caused many hurt feelings I am also conscious of the fact that saying "your welcome" when being thanked is a difficult/discomforting thing for me and I'm more likely to try to downplay being thanked or deflect thanks with by further explaining why I did what I did or said what I said that resulted in being thanked.
I often feel like my values don't match those of Fe users (which I think is fairly common for Fi users), so even if I try to put myself in their shoes it does not work as well as I'd like because I just don't think like they do. The golden rule becomes very broken when doing for others what I'd want them to do for me is taken as rude or insensitive. I try to keep a mental catalog of other peoples values that are different from mine over time and it can help in some situations, but it often seems like that is not enough to really be empathic toward people that are very different from me.
It does really bother me to know that I've unintentionally hurt the feelings of others through my flawed social abilities, so I'd really like to find ways to avoid repeating these mistakes, but as I mentioned, I feel at a loss as to how to go about improving that aspect of myself.
After a bit more reflection on this, I think my problems can be further refined to gratitude and reciprocity being relativly low on my value scale (and very important to others) combined with ocasional absent mindedness...