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Thread: Ask an ESTJ!

  1. #1331
    don't fence me in sui generis's Avatar
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    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

  2. #1332
    Striving for balance Little Linguist's Avatar
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    Well, for the record, I think you are awesome, regardless of any rules.

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    Wow I was just going to search for this thread and it came up as most recent Dunno if this question has been asked before, but is it normal for an ESTJ or be really ... hot and cold? I'm not really sure another way to put it, but I recently met and became pretty good friends with and ESTJ (it came up in conversation) and she's the most confusing person I've ever met. My other friends put it down to her being a girl, and uhh things that come with being a girl ... but I think there's something a bit deeper to it.

    Usually I'm able to get a bit of a read on stuff, but I'm just so confused by her mood switches. Like we'll be in lectures and I'll just make some small talk, and she'll tell me to shhh quite seriously, which makes me think she really wants to listen in and stuff, but then like maybe 10 minutes later she'll being trying to draw on me / my notes, or telling me a joke and I'll be like, "what the...". I've read ESTJ's are really focussed and have a big divide between work and play, so it's probably this right?

    Other times, it will just be her character. She's pretty confident, and really outgoing, likes to lead etc etc, but then she'll say something like "I don't really have many close friends" or "I don't really think I'm that strong a character". It really puzzled me at first, but now I'm thinking she has some deep-seated insecurities which I should be careful around. Then there's just other simple things, like when she's hungry she stops being really chatty, and becomes really quiet and is quite singular minded on only getting food, or like she doesn't seem interested in talking so I'll back off then she'll facebook message me, send me a song on spotify etc. What do you guys think? Can you relate?

    Which brings me to my next point - honesty. Do ESTJs unconditionally value honesty? Even if it's pure, brutual and no feelings will be spared? As much as she tells me she values honesty, and has been angry before when I've not been completely honest, I get the feeling she knows I'll tell a white lie, and I think in some cases she needs me to reassure her on stuff like appearance, if she's annoying people, etc. I think sometimes the truth is a bit hurtful, and I'd rather not give an answer that might potentially be quite devastating or hurtful.

    And finally, any tips on how an xNFP/ESTJ friendship might work? If it does at all? I really like her as a friend, but sometimes it does feel like I care more than she does, which is quite draining. Any advice / thoughts / opinions would be brilliant! Hope I haven't offended any of you in my post, you ESTJs are pretty cool

  4. #1334
    lords of summer EJCC's Avatar
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    Hey Peel Welcome to the forum!

    Pretty much everything you describe in this post is a universal trait, imo, and not type-related - but I'll be more specific:
    Quote Originally Posted by Peel View Post
    Usually I'm able to get a bit of a read on stuff, but I'm just so confused by her mood switches. Like we'll be in lectures and I'll just make some small talk, and she'll tell me to shhh quite seriously, which makes me think she really wants to listen in and stuff, but then like maybe 10 minutes later she'll being trying to draw on me / my notes, or telling me a joke and I'll be like, "what the...". I've read ESTJ's are really focussed and have a big divide between work and play, so it's probably this right?
    I really don't think this is related to personality type. This is related to knowing what you feel like you need to listen to in the lecture, and what you don't. I'm guessing that she shushed you when she knew that the professor was saying something important, and when the professor was talking about something she already knew about or that she considered unimportant, THAT'S when you can chat/draw. It's like when you're watching a movie; you don't want to talk when the action's happening, but you want to talk when you'll miss something less important.
    Other times, it will just be her character. She's pretty confident, and really outgoing, likes to lead etc etc, but then she'll say something like "I don't really have many close friends" or "I don't really think I'm that strong a character". It really puzzled me at first, but now I'm thinking she has some deep-seated insecurities which I should be careful around. Then there's just other simple things, like when she's hungry she stops being really chatty, and becomes really quiet and is quite singular minded on only getting food, or like she doesn't seem interested in talking so I'll back off then she'll facebook message me, send me a song on spotify etc. What do you guys think? Can you relate?
    This is also basic human behavior. No one is perfectly confident, and everyone has vulnerabilities that they hide. Although one little detail in there did strike me as type-related, and that is what I bolded. She may have a lot of friendly acquaintances, but what an ESTJ (or more probably, an ESTJ girl) would consider a "close" friend - i.e. a friend who you can completely bare your soul to, and be completely vulnerable around, and confide in them through thick and thin - is hard to come by. We don't make "close" friends very easily. There's a line, you know?

    And as for the quiet vs. chatty thing - yeah, ESTJs are single-minded. If something bugs us, we have a hard time keeping our minds off it until the issue is resolved. This includes being hungry and really wanting food but it could also include any number of other things. She probably messaged you after she ate and therefore after the issue was resolved and she was relaxed again.
    Which brings me to my next point - honesty. Do ESTJs unconditionally value honesty? Even if it's pure, brutual and no feelings will be spared? As much as she tells me she values honesty, and has been angry before when I've not been completely honest, I get the feeling she knows I'll tell a white lie, and I think in some cases she needs me to reassure her on stuff like appearance, if she's annoying people, etc. I think sometimes the truth is a bit hurtful, and I'd rather not give an answer that might potentially be quite devastating or hurtful.
    Again, this is universal. The truth hurts no matter what your personality type. The difference is whether you think the truth is important enough to be worth the pain. As much as an ESTJ may be hurt by a blunt comment, what separates them from many other types is that they're likely to realize that the comment was valuable, and they will often be glad that comment was made to them, despite any pain along the way.
    And finally, any tips on how an xNFP/ESTJ friendship might work? If it does at all? I really like her as a friend, but sometimes it does feel like I care more than she does, which is quite draining. Any advice / thoughts / opinions would be brilliant! Hope I haven't offended any of you in my post, you ESTJs are pretty cool
    No problem! It's common for ESTJs to seem like they don't care all that much, at the beginning of a friendship. I will admit to thinking of many friendly acquaintances as fun diversions and not as real people - which is pretty harsh but also a good way to keep from being hurt emotionally by someone you barely know which is why I (and other ESTJs) reserve my loyalty for close friends who I know won't disappoint me or backstab me later.

    As for friendship advice - based on everything you've been saying, you seem to be taking your ESTJ friend very much at surface level. So my advice to you would be to remember that she has flaws and vulnerabilities just like everyone. She may seem absolutely and perfectly capable of anything you ask her to do. She may seem impossible to hurt. She may seem 100% self-confident at all times. But that's just because she doesn't talk to people about her vulnerabilities. (It's kind of an extension of ESTJ task-oriented thinking: they only want to talk about their insecurities and feelings if it'll solve some sort of problem*.) And because she doesn't really talk to people about them, it's very very important that you recognize when she does, and that you don't undermine it, because if you're dismissive, she'll think to herself "If that's how he's going to act every time I open up, then I can never open up to him again, and therefore i can't be his close friend." And then she'll distance herself from you and you'll probably end up being her friendly acquaintance again.

    But that's not really xNFP specific. Regarding your type in particular: if you're like the INFPs I know, you're probably a little flaky, and prone towards making huge blanket statements without backing them up. Both of those traits annoy the crap out of ESTJs, especially when combined. For example, one of my INFP friends decided that she would give up chocolate for a month, then wouldn't give me a straight answer as to why (first "to lose weight", second "because of poor labor conditions in ecuador", and third "because it's just something I want to do - why is everyone making such a big deal out of it??"), and then thought it wasn't a big deal to eat a chocolate bar a week later. For ESTJs, if you say you're going to do something, you know why you're doing it, and you do it to the best of your ability, and anything else makes no sense. That's been the biggest communication with my xNFP friendships, and it may be the same for you.

    Hope that helped some!


    *defining "problem" loosely. for example, "I'm feeling sad. This is a problem. I've tried dealing with it on my own, and it hasn't worked. Maybe I should talk to someone who would understand."
    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)
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    lawful good (D&D) / ravenclaw + wampus (HP) / boros legion (M:TG)
    conscientious > sensitive > serious (oldham)
    want to ask me something? go for it!

  5. #1335
    lords of summer EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Linguist View Post
    Well, for the record, I think you are awesome, regardless of any rules.
    Thanks, bro! Screw the rules! (just this once )
    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!

  6. #1336
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Okay, I just realized that some people have been taking a different message from this thread than what I was hoping for. I read this post, by someone who I still think is very cool but who still somewhat disappointed me with this statement.



    In response, a public service announcement:

    I AM NOT AN EXCEPTION TO A GENERAL RULE.

    Thank you for your time.
    Aw, EJCC! The main difference I see is that you are more willing to talk about this stuff than the average ESTJ I've met (who considers MBTI hogwash). Much of the misperceptions around ESTJs that people seem to have stem from the fact that ESTJs are less likely than some types to vocalize their thought/feeling process to others and sometimes feel some discomfort/confusion with it even themselves. You have done a real service for us all by being willing to help outline those processes. I know that Fe/Ti in particular has some tendancy towards filling in the blanks with their most likely guess for someone's motivations or behaviour if it seems that the other person is unlikely/unwilling to give them the definitive answer or if that information simply isn't available. I'd way rather the correct explanation, but cannot tolerate no explanation at all - it makes my Ni go nuts generating an overwhelming amount of possibilities to wade through.

    Perhaps your self-awareness/willingness to verbalize what's going on is what accounts for people's perception that you are an atypical ESTJ in that sense. Maybe they attribute that willingness to having been raised by types quite dissimilar from you, because they haven't generally encountered that with the ESTJs they know. What do you think?

  7. #1337

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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Hey Peel Welcome to the forum!

    Pretty much everything you describe in this post is a universal trait, imo, and not type-related - but I'll be more specific:

    I really don't think this is related to personality type. This is related to knowing what you feel like you need to listen to in the lecture, and what you don't. I'm guessing that she shushed you when she knew that the professor was saying something important, and when the professor was talking about something she already knew about or that she considered unimportant, THAT'S when you can chat/draw. It's like when you're watching a movie; you don't want to talk when the action's happening, but you want to talk when you'll miss something less important.

    This is also basic human behavior. No one is perfectly confident, and everyone has vulnerabilities that they hide. Although one little detail in there did strike me as type-related, and that is what I bolded. She may have a lot of friendly acquaintances, but what an ESTJ (or more probably, an ESTJ girl) would consider a "close" friend - i.e. a friend who you can completely bare your soul to, and be completely vulnerable around, and confide in them through thick and thin - is hard to come by. We don't make "close" friends very easily. There's a line, you know?

    And as for the quiet vs. chatty thing - yeah, ESTJs are single-minded. If something bugs us, we have a hard time keeping our minds off it until the issue is resolved. This includes being hungry and really wanting food but it could also include any number of other things. She probably messaged you after she ate and therefore after the issue was resolved and she was relaxed again.

    Again, this is universal. The truth hurts no matter what your personality type. The difference is whether you think the truth is important enough to be worth the pain. As much as an ESTJ may be hurt by a blunt comment, what separates them from many other types is that they're likely to realize that the comment was valuable, and they will often be glad that comment was made to them, despite any pain along the way.

    No problem! It's common for ESTJs to seem like they don't care all that much, at the beginning of a friendship. I will admit to thinking of many friendly acquaintances as fun diversions and not as real people - which is pretty harsh but also a good way to keep from being hurt emotionally by someone you barely know which is why I (and other ESTJs) reserve my loyalty for close friends who I know won't disappoint me or backstab me later.

    As for friendship advice - based on everything you've been saying, you seem to be taking your ESTJ friend very much at surface level. So my advice to you would be to remember that she has flaws and vulnerabilities just like everyone. She may seem absolutely and perfectly capable of anything you ask her to do. She may seem impossible to hurt. She may seem 100% self-confident at all times. But that's just because she doesn't talk to people about her vulnerabilities. (It's kind of an extension of ESTJ task-oriented thinking: they only want to talk about their insecurities and feelings if it'll solve some sort of problem*.) And because she doesn't really talk to people about them, it's very very important that you recognize when she does, and that you don't undermine it, because if you're dismissive, she'll think to herself "If that's how he's going to act every time I open up, then I can never open up to him again, and therefore i can't be his close friend." And then she'll distance herself from you and you'll probably end up being her friendly acquaintance again.

    But that's not really xNFP specific. Regarding your type in particular: if you're like the INFPs I know, you're probably a little flaky, and prone towards making huge blanket statements without backing them up. Both of those traits annoy the crap out of ESTJs, especially when combined. For example, one of my INFP friends decided that she would give up chocolate for a month, then wouldn't give me a straight answer as to why (first "to lose weight", second "because of poor labor conditions in ecuador", and third "because it's just something I want to do - why is everyone making such a big deal out of it??"), and then thought it wasn't a big deal to eat a chocolate bar a week later. For ESTJs, if you say you're going to do something, you know why you're doing it, and you do it to the best of your ability, and anything else makes no sense. That's been the biggest communication with my xNFP friendships, and it may be the same for you.

    Hope that helped some!


    *defining "problem" loosely. for example, "I'm feeling sad. This is a problem. I've tried dealing with it on my own, and it hasn't worked. Maybe I should talk to someone who would understand."
    Thanks so much EJCC! That makes much more sense especially if I think of things as being "task orientated". I probably agree with you on the things not being type specific, but I guess the thing that confuses me the most is how quickly she changes mindsets.

    Just another question that's related: is there any reason why ESTJs find it hard making close friends? Is it because they have stricter definitions for what a close friend is, because they are more cautious with people, etc?

    Thanks again

  8. #1338
    lords of summer EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Perhaps your self-awareness/willingness to verbalize what's going on is what accounts for people's perception that you are an atypical ESTJ in that sense. Maybe they attribute that willingness to having been raised by types quite dissimilar from you, because they haven't generally encountered that with the ESTJs they know. What do you think?
    Maybe. Although the fact that the post came from an NFJ (which I probably should have mentioned earlier) brought this whole other subtext with it: "NFJs are considerate. EJCC is considerate. Her mom is NFJ. COINCIDENCE???" ... without thinking that the ability to be considerate and thoughtful and - most importantly - INTROSPECTIVE - is not necessarily type-related! I do a lot of introspecting, and I did even before I found MBTI. I was always on the lookout for ways to improve myself - and since that seems Te-related, I'm sure that many other ESTJs are like that too. And as we all know, there are nice people of all types.

    Also, a relevant song quote: "You never know just how you look through other people's eyes".

    Quote Originally Posted by Peel View Post
    Thanks so much EJCC! That makes much more sense especially if I think of things as being "task orientated". I probably agree with you on the things not being type specific, but I guess the thing that confuses me the most is how quickly she changes mindsets.
    Interesting. I wonder if that is, actually, type-related.
    Just another question that's related: is there any reason why ESTJs find it hard making close friends? Is it because they have stricter definitions for what a close friend is, because they are more cautious with people, etc?

    Thanks again
    No problem! It's a little bit of both, and they're mutually reinforcing. We have stricter definitions of what makes a "close friend" - i.e. what makes someone worth opening up to - because we don't want to take the risk of growing close to someone who will hurt us later.

    A quote from earlier that's relevant:
    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    She may have a lot of friendly acquaintances, but what an ESTJ (or more probably, an ESTJ girl) would consider a "close" friend - i.e. a friend who you can completely bare your soul to, and be completely vulnerable around, and confide in them through thick and thin - is hard to come by. We don't make "close" friends very easily. There's a line, you know?

    ...I will admit to thinking of many friendly acquaintances as fun diversions and not as real people - which is pretty harsh but also a good way to keep from being hurt emotionally by someone you barely know which is why I (and other ESTJs) reserve my loyalty for close friends who I know won't disappoint me or backstab me later.
    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!

  9. #1339
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I agree - no type has got a corner on considerate and thoughtful. In fact, I've found that ESTJs tend to be extremely considerate in many areas which don't come naturally to me. In my experience, they notice what the other person's practical needs are and work quickly to deal with them. They are a lot more adaptable than me in terms of trying to speak in another person's love language. I've found that they are pretty universally tremendous at noticing details about how others communicate and putting the person at ease through using those observations to inform their behaviour. I am easily embarrassed, especially when I am in unfamiliar territory, and I've found that ESTJs matter-of-fact manner, knowledgeability and interest in being of use has made them one of the more likely types I'd go to for an explanation or help with something.

    As far as introspective - yes I agree with you on that! ESTJs are extremely introspective. I think that where INFJs may make the distinction is what they are introspective about and also how much they verbalize it. Self-improvement - absolutely! That's one of you people's defining features! Also, taking in what is around you, thinking about it and applying it in real terms is a form of introspection that I think we are pretty weak in by comparison.

    If I were to ask a lot of ESTJs how they felt about a certain event that had happened in their life and what they would have done same or differently though, I'm not sure what kind of response I'd be likely to get. You've said that this thread's questions have made you think about some things that you may not have been as likely to otherwise. Do you think this is the kind of stuff that that person may have been referring to? (I don't know, just am wondering what you think...)

  10. #1340
    Saponi Redbone's Avatar
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    She may have a lot of friendly acquaintances, but what an ESTJ (or more probably, an ESTJ girl) would consider a "close" friend - i.e. a friend who you can completely bare your soul to, and be completely vulnerable around, and confide in them through thick and thin - is hard to come by. We don't make "close" friends very easily. There's a line, you know?
    And what would make you decide to cross that line? Is what you see in that person, the feedback you receive from them, or that they seem to know where you are coming from?

    One of my ESTJs blew up my phone this morning unloading on me. I was kind of shocked. We both talk to each other about our problems but we both tend to be matter-of-fact about it. Not this time. When we got on the subject of our current issues, he admitted that he gets scared, confused, and freaks out. He said no one may see it (well, he said it was important that no one sees this) but on the inside, he is coming apart. He spoke of his fatigue, his frustration, and even being lonely despite being surrounded by friends and family. I was really surprised that he was so emotional about it. Oddly enough, when we have talked before, he always ends the conversation on a "hell, I said too much" vibe. This time, he was more like, "I'm glad I talked to you. Thank you." I've known him for a very long time and he's never been like that. It makes me wonder what happened. I feel like an invisible line has been crossed.

    I look back over conversations over the last few times that we have talked and noticed a different tone to them. So, he's been heading in this direction for a little bit. I just didn't notice it.

    As always, thanks in advance.

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