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  1. #1
    Member Bamboozle's Avatar
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    Default Dealings with ISTJ friends

    I'm sure some NFs here have had ISTJs as friends, co-workers or as family members. My question is: how have you found them as friends, etc? Do you feel very different from them when it comes to how you approach people and groups, particularly? Do you understand their perspective on these things?




    This is the context for the question, though responding to it is not necessary:

    My brother (ISTJ) has a group of friends that seems to cycle through different scape-goats. At any one time, the group seems to have the one guy in the group that they all badmouth and avoid. I figured this was just group dynamics in action (albeit, a group I would never choose to be in). I'll admit that I was surprised at my brother's willingness to go along with this sort of behaviour, but no one looked like they were getting hurt.

    And then one of them got into what sounds like an emotionally-abusive relationship. He also has controlling parents…I think his mother set a soft toy he'd gotten for his birthday alight because she thought he was spending too much time with his friends and not enough time studying. He's stuck doing a degree he doesn't want to do. To boot, he failed his core subjects at uni and ended up spending the semester in front of his computer.

    His friends weren't much help. He was the latest scape-goat because his friends thought he moped about his girlfriend too much. He seemed to get himself stuck in a guilt-cycle because then he started apologising for moping too much and bought his friends presents to express how sorry he felt for being such a burden.

    I pointed out to my brother that his friend sounded depressed and really in need of a support system. Moreover, the guy's an IxFJ and is the furthest thing from a jerk. But my brother simply responded, 'I can't be bothered talking to him, though. He's too annoying.' (For clarity: too annoying because he's so down and whines.)

    I have asked other ISTJs about this and, to be honest, their logic doesn't make a great lot of sense to me. They seem to agree with my brother's approach and accept that things are just the way they are—that, essentially, other people's problems aren't really theirs(?) and that the IxSJ is being weak. I was wondering if I might understand it better if I had it explained to me by people who aren't ISTJs.

    I ask because I don't think my brother is being intentionally cold. My brother is fairly sociable and open-ish to meeting new people. In contrast, I'm socially awkward and can be quick to judge people, too. I think I resent people more. But when it comes to things like this—my brother's absolute detachment from the situation, the fact that it doesn't even occur to him that something might be wrong—I feel like I'm the warm, compassionate people-person. I feel that there is a logical disconnect between our approaches that I can't bridge. I'm wondering what that disconnect is.

    In short, my brother's callousness toward his friend—what's up with that?

    (I also know that some people will probably just say that it's down to gender and group dynamics but I was assuming that the seriousness of the IxFJs situation would outweigh the gender considerations to some extent…?)
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    The ISTJs I know are the most disciplined people I've ever encountered and they persevere against circumstances that would crush lesser humans. Whatever has to be done, they do it. I don't know what they are like on the inside (this despite knowing one of them for 12 years) but I have seen snickering and mockery of people who can't hack it, "huggers," and anybody too much exhibiting feelings. They don't whine so they don't respect whiners. One was in the hospital after radial mastectomy and when I called to ask how she was, she was fine, she said. And she said she feels lucky. Also she says things like "It makes no sense to be unhappy." (Since when does sense have anything to do with it? -- and sometimes it seems like it would only make sense to be unhappy, depending on what's going on, but I don't argue.) One told me the details of the breakdown of her marriage and was alarmed and wanted to know what was the matter when my eyes welled up. I remember telling one of them about some really unfortunate stuff that had recently happened to me and she said "I don't know what to say to that." I said "Now you could say, 'Oh, you poor thing!' " and she sneered. (I made notes not to ever say that to her.) So I dunno.

    Edit: Honestly, I think it looks like they don't care because they don't care. It's different if it's their family or if they have declared a commitment to someone, though.

  3. #3
    ReflecTcelfeR
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    I could see my brother doing this... Anything besides his family and he just doesn't care. Not because he can't, but he doesn't have the time and he'd probably just fix it, or avoid the situation altogether to feel safe.

  4. #4
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    My experience with ISTJs is that they are big softies underneath a crusty exterior. I find they complain a lot themselves & can be total depressive downers, so I'm surprised one would be so harsh towards another person being that way. I have not witnessed that kind of harshness in ISTJs. I may simply repel those ones though, being a sensitive type. Although my experience with them is the same with most types, in that they vent & open up to me more than I do to them. I worked with an ISTJ who was generally quite private, but he'd sometimes talk to me about problems with his girlfriend, anger issues he's had in the past, & even financial stresses.

    The kind of harshness I've seen in ISTJs is just a blunt, direct communication style that they don't realize is rude.

    What do you think his enneagram is? I suspect the ISTJs I've dealt with the most have been 9s & a few 6s.

    The group dynamics going on could be a thread in itself....I seriously don't get that stuff. Maybe it's some kind of weird loyalty test game, where anyone who is a part of the group has to go along with systematically hazing each person at some point...? I'm a not a cliquish person, so this stuff is so foreign.
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

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  5. #5
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    ISTJ's are funny. I had some jumper cables in the trunk thanks to my INTP Dad. An ISTJ coworker's battery was dead. I hooked up the cables to my stang and specifically told the ISTJ coworker to hold them cable clamps away from each other while I was on the phone with my ESTP brother-in-law getting instructions on the proper way jumping is done. Now, I specifically said, "ISTJ, you better hold those cable clamps farther apart or else." What does the ISTJ do? Immediately looks at me like, "yeah right she's joking as usual" and proceeds to let the jumper cable clamps touch each other. -snap, crackle, pops-

    Edit: Mods, Please don't move my post. It has symbolic meaning.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    The ISTJs I know are the most disciplined people I've ever encountered and they persevere against circumstances that would crush lesser humans. Whatever has to be done, they do it. I don't know what they are like on the inside (this despite knowing one of them for 12 years) but I have seen snickering and mockery of people who can't hack it, "huggers," and anybody too much exhibiting feelings. They don't whine so they don't respect whiners. One was in the hospital after radial mastectomy and when I called to ask how she was, she was fine, she said. And she said she feels lucky. Also she says things like "It makes no sense to be unhappy." (Since when does sense have anything to do with it? -- and sometimes it seems like it would only make sense to be unhappy, depending on what's going on, but I don't argue.) One told me the details of the breakdown of her marriage and was alarmed and wanted to know what was the matter when my eyes welled up. I remember telling one of them about some really unfortunate stuff that had recently happened to me and she said "I don't know what to say to that." I said "Now you could say, 'Oh, you poor thing!' " and she sneered. (I made notes not to ever say that to her.) So I dunno.

    Edit: Honestly, I think it looks like they don't care because they don't care. It's different if it's their family or if they have declared a commitment to someone, though.
    I am quite strongly intuitive but I recall that when I was younger, I was quite a perfect fit for the ISTJ type descriptions. Now I am clearly a lot more intuitive than sensing but some of those "habits" still remain in me.

    One of them is this perseverance. When something goes wrong, unless it's really crushing, I usually think exactly the way you described. I might get sympathies by being negative but by being positive, I can get so much more. I mean, coming up with something positive and having some other person share that just gives me so much more than getting some forced empathy. And equally, if I am angry to someone, I might not show it just because I know that by giving them a smile and dealing with my negative feelings by myself just takes me so much further on broader scale. Shortly put, in many situations, making a face has higher gain than showing your true self. That said, I am not a cold person, not without feelings. I just can prioritize what I share with others.
    INTJ, HSP, 1w9 or tritype 154, sx/sp

  7. #7
    Member Bamboozle's Avatar
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    The responses are all very interesting—and starkly different from the ST responses who didn't quite take to my perspective on the matter :P.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred
    They don't whine so they don't respect whiners.
    That's really interesting! I'm inclined to agree with @OrangeAppled: my brother likes to complain quite a bit about things that aren't going right and people who are irritating him. He's quite the fan of venting. The ISTJs you speak of, @Tiltyred, sound tough!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred
    Honestly, I think it looks like they don't care because they don't care.
    I'm not sure why they don't, though! I sense it's to do with a sense of responsibility to themselves (in MBTI terms, tertiary Fi?). From the ST responses I got to my questions, it's often going above and beyond to extend that responsibility to others. And as @ReflecTcelfeR suggested, it kind of sounds like a sense of self-preservation…possibly combined with no idea about what to do anyway.


    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled
    The kind of harshness I've seen in ISTJs is just a blunt, direct communication style that they don't realize is rude.

    What do you think his enneagram is? I suspect the ISTJs I've dealt with the most have been 9s & a few 6s.
    I've heard of that about ISTJ communication styles but my brother doesn't have that, actually (well, it doesn't seem like that to me). He comes across socially as nice, generally. Nice and quiet.

    I hesitate to guess his Enneagram type. I would have guessed 6 or 9, though. He seeks security in familiarity; it often doesn't even occur to him to try something new, even if it's just a restaurant or a kind of cuisine. But he also has a strong aversion to conflict. He gets a wry and wary look when I confront people in front of him and might gently advise me to be less confrontational afterward :P. It's difficult for me to discern if this is more to do with 6 fears or 9 fears.

    And as for the group dynamics thing: Lol! I think it's entirely unconscious. My brother didn't notice it until I pointed it out (even though he joins in with the collective resentment :P). Interestingly, I don't think my brother will ever go through the process! Like the IxFJ, he's too inoffensive and doesn't draw attention to himself. The IxFJ was just unfortunate.

    @Nerdgirl: Lol! You must joke around a lot? I think my brother would have followed your instructions religiously.


    Quote Originally Posted by gandalf
    I just can prioritize what I share with others.
    I can understand that. I don't share a lot with others either—unless we're very close. Maybe not to the extent that Tiltyred was talking about, though…lol!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Adasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    My experience with ISTJs is that they are big softies underneath a crusty exterior. I find they complain a lot themselves & can be total depressive downers, so I'm surprised one would be so harsh towards another person being that way. I have not witnessed that kind of harshness in ISTJs. I may simply repel those ones though, being a sensitive type. Although my experience with them is the same with most types, in that they vent & open up to me more than I do to them. I worked with an ISTJ who was generally quite private, but he'd sometimes talk to me about problems with his girlfriend, anger issues he's had in the past, & even financial stresses.
    I found it the other way round.

    I have an ISTJ E9 friend who listens to everyone's problems. I never told her anything because I didn't want her to have another weight on her shoulders. But recently I've talked to her quite a bit and we've both shared our issues. Nevertheless, she listens more. I've found that her advice is amazingly practical and totally non-judgmental. She is a great arbitrator. I do get a sense that she is unaware of the reasons why someone might complain. She is never emotional unless someone tramples on her Fi. Even when that occurs, it takes a long time to build up; it's like she forgets her own feelings until the point she realises that she isn't actually having any fun.

    I like ISTJs but we'll never connect deep down.

    I think the brother views the other guy as spineless and wants him to grow a pair of balls. ISTJs have a very strong "Keep calm and carry on" mentality and I think they view someone who is bossed around as 1) being weak or 2) being whiny.
    That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
    Were axioms to him, who'd never heard
    Of any world where promises were kept,
    Or one could weep because another wept.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lily flower's Avatar
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    The ISTJ I know is a total cold fish. She hates emotions and even though she is very productive, she seems to think that it's OK to complain about absolutely everything she has to do, like the world has burdened her even though she is the one burdening herself.

  10. #10
    Senior Member pinkgraffiti's Avatar
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    ^kill it! kill it with fire!

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