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Thread: Ask an ESTJ!

  1. #1021
    [bento boxed] EJCC's Avatar
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    Fidelia, speaking of that thread... allow me to quote you and address your ESTJ comments:
    Hey! I had never thought of actually explaining to someone that they needed to hear me out before saying anything. You just also offered something else tremendously useful about what you try to do to help when people are venting. The trying to balance out the negative with positive feels to me like the other person is saying that I am blowing things way out of proportion, that the other party actually was right and I'm being a whiner or that I need to just get over it instead of making such a big deal over things. Then it feels like instead of being able to run to my closest person for support, they are actually in opposition to me and contributing to my problem.
    That makes sense. I suppose the reason why I do that with people is because that's what I do for myself when I have a serious issue that I have to deal with. I tell myself something like "Well, everybody has to go through this at some point", or "Sleep on it and you'll feel better tomorrow". So, what do you tell yourself to make yourself feel better in those situations, out of curiosity?
    So, with an ESTJ, when you suspect something is wrong and they are just acting normal, what is the appropriate response? Back off or ask?
    Hm. Because you're an INFJ, I'd say yes. Follow your instincts. But with other types, I'd probably say no, because there's the off-chance that they're more angry than sad, which would mean that they'd probably get a negative response from the ESTJ. And there's also the fact that, when I'm feeling down, I'd rather not be asked about it, except for by someone I trust, because opening up to people who are just acquaintances feels, for lack of a better word, weird. So it's kind of the opposite of what you said; while INFJs consider the ones who cheer them when they're down to be the best friends, ESTJs only want their best friends to cheer them up. Or at least, that's how it is with me.
    Regarding your frustrations about your two ways of cheering people not being welcomed while INFJs vent: I'm most definitely sure that that was terribly for my ESTJ. I just didn't realize this. I figured he was annoyed at me for troubling him with something that I didn't seem to want help with, when what I was looking for was someone to hug me and say, "Talk all you like, I'm here and you're going to be alright". After I'm done venting, then I'd be open to the "Have you tried" and any other observations or ideas you have though.
    Someone needs to take all the ESTJ/INFJ couples aside and say to them: "INFJs, be clear that you're venting and don't want advice until you're done. ESTJs, don't interrupt, be supportive, and give hugs. That is all."
    He never went to me with stuff he was frustrated about and I felt shut out and like he thought I was weak and needy for talking about stuff to him.
    That's such a chronic misconception with ESTJs. It's sad, really. But like so many other types, we hold different standards to ourselves than to others. I never think people are weak for needing to talk things out.
    Publicly or socially he would observe the faults within the school and community environment around him. He was really just doing what I do when I vent, but it was so chronic and he almost seemed to derive great pleasure out of finding and pointing out the foibles of the people and the community we were working with that it seemed like he was being rude to them, chronically unproactive by not changing his situation, and felt I was stupid for trying to impact the environment around me because it couldn't be done. He later said that it was just his way of trying to confirm that his perceptions were valid and a way of handling the toxicity that he came into contact with every day.
    That's totally like something I would do. And sometimes I do get frustrated with people for trying to fix stuff that they can't possibly fix. It's just like what we were talking about earlier - joking about your problems to make them seem like less of a big deal. Tried and true ESTJ defense mechanism.
    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
    Coriolis: "Is that the ESTJ Serenity Prayer?"

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    want to ask me something? go for it!

  2. #1022
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    What do I do to make myself feel better? Find someone to vent to , indulge myself a little, sleep.

    What if you try to ask the ESTJ about what's wrong and they insist nothing is or they just continue retreating into solitude? Does that mean they don't trust you?

    No kidding about the INFJ/ESTJ couple briefing that needs to happen. You and me could go into specialized marriage counselling!

    Here's the thing about ESTJs holding others to different standards than themselves. It doesn't feel very reciprocal. You know how you were talking about the importance of being open, while your INFJ friend hid information like his political leanings because he thought it might offend? While it's kind of the same way. If you are always the strong one or if you only offer knowledge or support but never need any, it kind of feels like there is an unequal amount of trust in the relationship. Not that I think someone has to bleed all over the road if it's not in their nature, but they maybe should turn to me sometimes if I'm the closest person in the world to them.

    That last one - huge source of friction! I wish I had understood it sooner. On the other hand, it still made it difficult to be there. It was like you were talking about INFJ venting making you feel very pessimistic and hopeless yourself. His constant negativity gave me my own problems and then his negativity as well to navigate. Although I think if he (and the other ESTJ that would get together for negfests together) had been able to verbalize what it was that they were doing or why, it would have been easier to accept. He spent a lot of time saying things like, "Why are you trying to do anything with these kids? The program will just end anyways as soon as you leave. Your efforts are not affecting anyone, so why don't you just quit bothering?" What is that all about? I had accepted the fact that I wouldn't be able to transform people's lives or the community. However I felt that the input I had did make a difference for some kids, I was noticing progress in them and I felt that probably some of the benefits of what we were doing probably wouldn't be apparent for 20 years in some people.

    His comments just made me feel like he thought that I was idealistic and stupid and hadn't thought through any of it, when in fact I probably spent a lot more time than him assessing whether my efforts were being expended in the best direction or not and feeling futility in trying to make a difference in some areas. I think he felt unsure about his own efforts, had a job now that put him in touch with more kids, but didn't allow him to develop relationships to them and he maybe wished that he felt as strongly as I did that he was doing the right thing. That's all conjecture though.

  3. #1023
    don't fence me in sui generis's Avatar
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    I'm going to kind of respond to the previous two posts in a second.

    I have been thinking about last night's conversation about sad movies and sometimes enjoying the catharsis. I think it's definitely an individual difference thing. I have always tested in the 90% range for T-dom, but there have also been several circumstances in my life that have forced me to get in touch with my emotions. I don't want to get all into sad stories or details but embracing that bit of F-ishness has been important to me and my mental well-being. Other people may have had different circumstances. Neither is good or bad, just different.

    Anyway....

    What if you try to ask the ESTJ about what's wrong and they insist nothing is or they just continue retreating into solitude? Does that mean they don't trust you?
    It depends on who I'm talking to. If it's someone who's not in my inner circle, it can mean that I don't trust them, or don't trust them with this particular topic or bit of information. With those people, "I don't want to talk about it" generally means "I'm talking about it with someone else". With people whom I DO normally trust, it's kind of different. When something is very deep and personal and vulnerable, I am capable of feeling the need to cocoon and turn it over by myself before bringing it up to anyone else. This is rare, but it's not unheard of.

    And there's also the fact that, when I'm feeling down, I'd rather not be asked about it, except for by someone I trust, because opening up to people who are just acquaintances feels, for lack of a better word, weird.
    [...]
    ESTJs only want their best friends to cheer them up. Or at least, that's how it is with me.
    I don't want to be around people I don't trust when I'm emotionally vulnerable. There's a part of me that, despite my growing comfort with my emotions, still ultimately views them as not only vulnerable but a kind of weakness, and I'm not up for showing that to just anyone.
    Murphy Brown: What is it with us? Why can't we take the easy road once in awhile?
    Avery Brown: Because it's boring and dishonest and uncomfortable, like wearing a pair of shoes all day that pinch your feet.

    approx 55% ES, 90% TJ

  4. #1024
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I feel the same - I don't show the truly real part of me to just anyone. Although it's probably more about of me trusting what their reaction is going to be and regarding their opinion highly, than feeling weak. I would never spill anything important to just anyone who was up for listening supportively.

    For the people whom you are close to but you need to cocoon to think stuff over, what brings you out of your cocoon? Time? Discovering a workable solution? Or?

  5. #1025
    don't fence me in sui generis's Avatar
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    I can understand what you mean by being curious/wary what others' reactions will be. That's a factor for me too- in fact, I think it is a crucial part of how someone becomes a member of that inner circle in the first place. I have to know that they're not going to judge or mock me, no matter what.

    For the people whom you are close to but you need to cocoon to think stuff over, what brings you out of your cocoon? Time? Discovering a workable solution? Or?
    It's a combination of all of these, really. As time goes by and I do a bit of internal processing, whatever I've been struggling with and cocooning over starts to feel more like a part of me, more natural, less vulnerable, and the idea of sharing it with loved ones therefore becomes a lot less scary. Also, I sometimes get to the point where things still feel kind of vulnerable, but I need to process externally, both to hear myself say it aloud and to get others' opinions. It's also less scary/intimidating once it's outside of my head.
    Murphy Brown: What is it with us? Why can't we take the easy road once in awhile?
    Avery Brown: Because it's boring and dishonest and uncomfortable, like wearing a pair of shoes all day that pinch your feet.

    approx 55% ES, 90% TJ

  6. #1026
    [bento boxed] EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    What if you try to ask the ESTJ about what's wrong and they insist nothing is or they just continue retreating into solitude? Does that mean they don't trust you?
    It could either be that they don't trust you or that they don't want to talk about it. Sometimes you have to wait for the right time, or wait for the situation to develop a little. Or it could be that they don't want to acknowledge that anything is wrong.
    No kidding about the INFJ/ESTJ couple briefing that needs to happen. You and me could go into specialized marriage counselling!
    Absolutely.
    Here's the thing about ESTJs holding others to different standards than themselves. It doesn't feel very reciprocal. You know how you were talking about the importance of being open, while your INFJ friend hid information like his political leanings because he thought it might offend? While it's kind of the same way. If you are always the strong one or if you only offer knowledge or support but never need any, it kind of feels like there is an unequal amount of trust in the relationship. Not that I think someone has to bleed all over the road if it's not in their nature, but they maybe should turn to me sometimes if I'm the closest person in the world to them.
    That's absolutely right. Thankfully, most ESTJs aren't consistently like that with everyone. Although I still hold myself to a different standard, I also open up to friends/family when I need to - though only as much as is necessary. And of course I open up to my closest friends, and I'd say that most ESTJs probably do that. Though your ESTJ's oft-proven unhealthiness (and his gender, to a degree) probably explains why he's an exception.
    That last one - huge source of friction! I wish I had understood it sooner. On the other hand, it still made it difficult to be there. It was like you were talking about INFJ venting making you feel very pessimistic and hopeless yourself. His constant negativity gave me my own problems and then his negativity as well to navigate. Although I think if he (and the other ESTJ that would get together for negfests together) had been able to verbalize what it was that they were doing or why, it would have been easier to accept. He spent a lot of time saying things like, "Why are you trying to do anything with these kids? The program will just end anyways as soon as you leave. Your efforts are not affecting anyone, so why don't you just quit bothering?" What is that all about? I had accepted the fact that I wouldn't be able to transform people's lives or the community. However I felt that the input I had did make a difference for some kids, I was noticing progress in them and I felt that probably some of the benefits of what we were doing probably wouldn't be apparent for 20 years in some people.
    ...
    I think he felt unsure about his own efforts, had a job now that put him in touch with more kids, but didn't allow him to develop relationships to them and he maybe wished that he felt as strongly as I did that he was doing the right thing. That's all conjecture though.
    This quote makes me wonder a couple of things:
    1. Did he seem frustrated when he was acting negative? Or did he seem entertained? If he seemed entertained, that's the defense mechanism that I was talking about.
    2. Do you know his Enneagram type? Because speaking as a type 1, if I were in his position, I would do absolutely everything in my power to step in and make the system better, instead of just bitching about it from the sidelines. That's actually one of my biggest pet peeves; it makes me want to go up to them and slap some sense into them.
    3. Do you think that, if he really was insecure, he might have been hoping that someone would convince him that he was wrong? (Totally blind guess.)
    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
    Coriolis: "Is that the ESTJ Serenity Prayer?"

    ESTJ - LSE - ESTj (mbti/socionics)
    1w2/7w6/3w4 so/sx (enneagram)
    lawful good (D&D) / ravenclaw + wampus (HP) / boros legion (M:TG)
    conscientious > sensitive > serious (oldham)
    want to ask me something? go for it!

  7. #1027
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    1. Entertained. Gleeful even in pointing out foibles and topping what others have observed with more examples of dysfunction.
    2. I would guess 8, but I don't know that. I may be completely off. I'd have to look over it again. I am quite sure he wasn't a 1 though. That's what made me mad - he had the power to make some difference and instead was complaining from the sidelines. To be fair, I think he was less jaded at the beginning and tried harder when he had more opportunities for more relationships with older kids that he taught English to. When he became a consultant and was at two different schools with mostly little kids and a lot of incompetent local teachers, he got worse. He bought one kid a bicycle once.
    3. That's entirely possible. I gave him a lot of credit for being surer of himself at the beginning than he actually was. I realized much later that sometimes he was bouncing things off me for my reaction and I instead took it as his actual, immovable belief (like it would be for me if I forcefully stated it out loud).

  8. #1028
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Hi. I want to say that I really like this thread. I've learned to appreciate ENTJs. I find their straightforwardness and lack of self-conciousness very charming and refreshing.

    I've got a co-worker that's an ENTJ that I've worked with for over 10 years. I'm afraid that the relationship was rather rocky all that time and it's 90% my fault. I was very socially inept and a mess during a lot of it and took advantage of a lot boundry issues that she has. And, also, I did manage to step over some boundries when trying to be well meaning.

    Over the years the work relationship pretty much swings between comrade in arms, friends, and strained and awkward. Work is stressful enough without dealing with awkwardness. So I've been making a directed effort to smoothing things over. First of all, I respect the boundries. Second, I make myself scarce when I get even the faintest impression that I'm less than welcome. The plan's been in effect for many months.

    This is working, and is better than the alternative, but it gets tiring for this INTP. The work part is going very smoothly. The problem is, there is hardly ever active reaching out to me initiated from her on the social level, which I might understand. But If I don't make occasional social visits then she starts reacting badly. But if I visit on a regular basis, she starts getting avoidant. Honestly, I'd like to be friends, but I'm fine with just being coworkers. But I hate being in an indeterminate state.

    Is there anything I should be doing? I don't want to cross over any more lines than I have. Will time settle this out?

  9. #1029
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Are you talking about ESTJs or ENTJs?

  10. #1030
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Are you talking about ESTJs or ENTJs?
    Sorry, ESTJ. Not sure why I had N on my mind.

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