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Thread: Ask an ESTJ!

  1. #1651
    Cheeseburgers freeeekyyy's Avatar
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    So, @EJCC, what do you think are some practical differences between typical ESTJ and ISTJ personalities? I know the functional differences, but I'm curious as to how they externally manifest, other than ESTJs being more social. I know how I compare to a typical ENTJ, but it's a bit harder for me to see the distinction between the sensing variety of TJs.
    Last edited by freeeekyyy; 11-28-2011 at 12:47 PM. Reason: added mention tag
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  2. #1652
    [bento boxed] EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamske View Post
    I'm chuckling at reading these last posts, seeing you all trying to get some Si-algorithm that'll take care of "basic Fe things". And thinking about how I'm trying to concoct something that would vaguely resemble a Te (er, if the work is done on time, it's all right, isn't it?). Sometimes I've got the impression we're all focussing on what we're doing wrong... It's okay to try and improve weak points but it's not okay to think you're not all right unless you achieve this or that.
    You are all right.
    Really.
    Please think of the things you are good at. And don't think "but THESE things are EASY!" They are not. For lots of people those things are hard as hell. That's the sign that you're good at something: it seems easy to you.
    Thanks Tamske

    It's so easy to get bogged down in your own flaws, sometimes. Especially when you're a "fixer" sort of person! And can you get more perfectionistic than an Si type 1?
    Quote Originally Posted by freeeekyyy View Post
    So, EJCC, what do you think are some practical differences between typical ESTJ and ISTJ personalities? I know the functional differences, but I'm curious as to how they externally manifest, other than ESTJs being more social. I know how I compare to a typical ENTJ, but it's a bit harder for me to see the distinction between the sensing variety of TJs.
    Sorry -- I did read this post before! Really! I just got bogged down in a lot of things (thanksgiving break etc).

    Here are some of the most obvious ways that those functional differences manifest:
    - Stronger Te means that they're less likely to sit back and let people make the "wrong" decision -- whereas ISTJs are more likely to sit back and silently shake their heads at the person with the knowledge that they'd do it better.
    - Weaker Fi means that it isn't as well restrained in ESTJs -- an ISTJ in an argument would be more likely to recognize the effects of their emotions and end it by saying "that's just how I feel and let's agree to disagree", while an ESTJ with especially weak Fi (e.g. me a couple of years ago!) would fight that fight to the bitter end, absolutely convinced that they're correct and logic is on their side, and completely oblivious to their emotions. Also, ESTJs show their anger a lot more, and sometimes their rage explosions can be as scary and sudden as an ENFP bitchslap.
    - Stronger Ne means that their sense of humor is less linear, more random, and a lot goofier. If you put an ESTJ and an ISTJ in a room together, chances are that the one shaking his/her head at the other one's "bad jokes" will be the ISTJ. I'd say that ESTJ humor is more likely to be described as "random" and "ridiculous", and ISTJ humor as "sarcastic" and "deadpan". Also, ESTJs are a lot more excitable about things that they find interesting/fun -- and they evangelize that excitement with their Te. Example: "I saw this movie the other day and it was AMAZING! The special effects were awesome and the story was awesome and I am taking you to see it tomorrow! No arguments!! You have no better plans than watching this awesome movie."
    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!

  3. #1653
    Cheeseburgers freeeekyyy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Sorry -- I did read this post before! Really! I just got bogged down in a lot of things (thanksgiving break etc).

    Here are some of the most obvious ways that those functional differences manifest:
    - Stronger Te means that they're less likely to sit back and let people make the "wrong" decision -- whereas ISTJs are more likely to sit back and silently shake their heads at the person with the knowledge that they'd do it better.
    - Weaker Fi means that it isn't as well restrained in ESTJs -- an ISTJ in an argument would be more likely to recognize the effects of their emotions and end it by saying "that's just how I feel and let's agree to disagree", while an ESTJ with especially weak Fi (e.g. me a couple of years ago!) would fight that fight to the bitter end, absolutely convinced that they're correct and logic is on their side, and completely oblivious to their emotions. Also, ESTJs show their anger a lot more, and sometimes their rage explosions can be as scary and sudden as an ENFP bitchslap.
    - Stronger Ne means that their sense of humor is less linear, more random, and a lot goofier. If you put an ESTJ and an ISTJ in a room together, chances are that the one shaking his/her head at the other one's "bad jokes" will be the ISTJ. I'd say that ESTJ humor is more likely to be described as "random" and "ridiculous", and ISTJ humor as "sarcastic" and "deadpan". Also, ESTJs are a lot more excitable about things that they find interesting/fun -- and they evangelize that excitement with their Te. Example: "I saw this movie the other day and it was AMAZING! The special effects were awesome and the story was awesome and I am taking you to see it tomorrow! No arguments!! You have no better plans than watching this awesome movie."
    Thanks for the response. I just added that mention because I wasn't sure you'd seen it, since I hadn't quoted anybody and I wasn't sure how far down the list this thread had gone. I have a buddy whose type I wasn't sure of, and that pretty much has convinced me he's ESTJ. He's not exactly the type to dominate a group, but he does seem to have stronger opinions than many of the ISTJs I've known, and certainly has the more "wild" sense of humor. The point about Ne really helps.
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  4. #1654
    Senior Member Owfin's Avatar
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    I'm an ESTJ wannabee. Is this good or bad?
    I don't see any invisible treasure chests.

    • MBTI? ISTJ
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  5. #1655
    [bento boxed] EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owfin View Post
    I'm an ESTJ wannabee. Is this good or bad?
    It is very good! Te for the win.
    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!

  6. #1656
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    ESTJ's, what do you think about the Ford Mustang?

    Hmmm. How smart is the Smart Car?


  7. #1657
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Hey there @EJCC! Hope all is good with you.

    I have a couple of questions about a probable ESTJ who I know (I'm about 90% sure ExTJ at any rate, and I think he's more likely S than N.)

    He's in his mid thirties and has had some pretty serious health problems in the last couple of years, which seem to be due to a) overwork and not taking care of himself and b) an accident which led to a lot of health issues, including depression and anxiety.

    He told me a few months ago that the doctor had essentially told him that if he doesn't make some pretty serious changes there is a decent chance that he will die in the next ten years. Again, this isn't someone old - he's only a few years older than me. The thing is, he's said more than once to me that he "doesn't mind" and that he probably does see himself prioritizing his work over his health (he's a business owner) - this was when I suggested that prioritizing his health over his work at least for a while might be a good thing to do. Whatever type he is, he's definitely a workaholic and perfectionist, which under the circumstances I don't think helps.

    An interesting thing happened yesterday. I was having tea with him and a couple of his friends at his house and when they wandered off and left us we essentially had the same conversation again. I decided to be honest and told him that it really bothered me that he would say that. He looked surprised and wanted to know why. I said that I thought people should put more value on their life than that. He said (essentially) "I've already accomplished most of what I want to" [and it's true, he has accomplished quite a lot]. "I don't see life as being about length but about what you've been able to accomplish." I reiterated that it bothered me and that he was this close to getting a major lecture from me. (He'd also admitted that he'd fallen off the bandwagon in terms of some of the health measures he was supposed to be taking.)

    Later that evening I was out at an event in town and then later I checked Facebook. ESTJ had posted that he'd had an emotional roller coaster of an evening as a (young) old friend had died and another old friend had "come back from the dead" (I don't know exactly what the latter means but I could hazard a few guesses). I was shocked as this had obviously happened just in the last hour or so. He'd actually texted me a few hours after I left him and said he hoped I had fun that night, so I assume he'd found out after that. I had texted back joking about how I owed him a lecture and dying young wasn't heroic. Obviously given that he found out that evening that he'd lost a relatively young friend, I felt like a bit of an insensitive cretin, though my comment had nothing to do with what then happened, it was just unfortunate (?) coincidence. When I saw his status update I texted him and asked if he was ok. He texted back that he was shaken up, devastated and happy at the same time because of the two pieces of news - and "confused". I wasn't sure what to say (will probably find out a bit more about what happened at some later point) so just texted back that I was glad about the good news but sorry about the bad.

    I wonder if you could give me a bit of insight into what might be going on in his mind. I have a hard time believing that a diagnosis of maybe only a few years to live - for a young active man - isn't more distressing than he's letting on and that he isn't whistling in the wind/bravado. He had also said to me that he'd always felt that he had a lot of friends but since he had a lot of issues the last few years, a good many of them had disappeared. (However, he does also have parents who from anything I've heard care about him a good deal.) I can't help wondering if this his way of being a tough guy and "proving" that he isn't much bothered. I also think he feels like a bit of a failure because of how the last couple of years have played out. His health has let him down and he hasn't been able to do what he normally would and has had some unpleasant constraints placed on his life.

    I also thought that the timing of one of his friends dying was...interesting. I mean, tragic, but I wonder what impact it might have on him. I don't wish to be tactless, but with my insatiable desire to lecture people I care about, I do wonder if I might be able to develop this somewhere decently down the line into "ok, you know how upset you feel about your friend, and no doubt his/her friends and family all do? Think about how we'd all feel if something happened to you."

    I feel like he might be looking for reassurance that people actually do care about him and that some of us would mind if he suddenly dropped dead. But I'm not sure. That might just be me putting an overly emotional INFJ spin on things.

    Any thoughts about all this?
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  8. #1658
    [bento boxed] EJCC's Avatar
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    Missed this!
    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd Girl View Post
    ESTJ's, what do you think about the Ford Mustang?

    Hmmm. How smart is the Smart Car?

    Very smart. How else is it going to lead Santa's team of microcars?

    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I have a couple of questions about a probable ESTJ who I know (I'm about 90% sure ExTJ at any rate, and I think he's more likely S than N.)

    He's in his mid thirties and has had some pretty serious health problems in the last couple of years, which seem to be due to a) overwork and not taking care of himself and b) an accident which led to a lot of health issues, including depression and anxiety.

    He told me a few months ago that the doctor had essentially told him that if he doesn't make some pretty serious changes there is a decent chance that he will die in the next ten years. Again, this isn't someone old - he's only a few years older than me. The thing is, he's said more than once to me that he "doesn't mind" and that he probably does see himself prioritizing his work over his health (he's a business owner) - this was when I suggested that prioritizing his health over his work at least for a while might be a good thing to do. Whatever type he is, he's definitely a workaholic and perfectionist, which under the circumstances I don't think helps.

    An interesting thing happened yesterday. I was having tea with him and a couple of his friends at his house and when they wandered off and left us we essentially had the same conversation again. I decided to be honest and told him that it really bothered me that he would say that. He looked surprised and wanted to know why. I said that I thought people should put more value on their life than that. He said (essentially) "I've already accomplished most of what I want to" [and it's true, he has accomplished quite a lot]. "I don't see life as being about length but about what you've been able to accomplish." I reiterated that it bothered me and that he was this close to getting a major lecture from me. (He'd also admitted that he'd fallen off the bandwagon in terms of some of the health measures he was supposed to be taking.)
    ...
    I wonder if you could give me a bit of insight into what might be going on in his mind. I have a hard time believing that a diagnosis of maybe only a few years to live - for a young active man - isn't more distressing than he's letting on and that he isn't whistling in the wind/bravado. He had also said to me that he'd always felt that he had a lot of friends but since he had a lot of issues the last few years, a good many of them had disappeared. (However, he does also have parents who from anything I've heard care about him a good deal.) I can't help wondering if this his way of being a tough guy and "proving" that he isn't much bothered. I also think he feels like a bit of a failure because of how the last couple of years have played out. His health has let him down and he hasn't been able to do what he normally would and has had some unpleasant constraints placed on his life.
    ...
    I feel like he might be looking for reassurance that people actually do care about him and that some of us would mind if he suddenly dropped dead. But I'm not sure. That might just be me putting an overly emotional INFJ spin on things.

    Any thoughts about all this?
    Yes -- it all sounds pretty in character for a very sad ESTJ. (I'm avoiding the word "depressed" because I don't have the qualifications, let alone the data, to get that specific.) When ESTJs are going through a tough time, it's typical for them to not talk about it until they have a concise and unemotional way to summarize it (or unless they're in the midst of it and are desperately asking for help, which is not the case here). This ESTJ has been in a downward spiral for a while now, and had a lot of cause to think about mortality and the value of his own life even before he got the news of his shortened life span, so he helped himself cope with it via the sadness-addled reasoning that you quoted earlier: Oh, it doesn't matter, because I guess I've done pretty much what I need to do anyway. It comforts him to think that way, because otherwise he'd be terrified and even more sad and paralyze himself with shadow-INFP indecision. He could say all that to you because it seems so reasonable to him, at this point. He can say it without feeling emotional, and without showing you all the emotion behind the statement.
    I also thought that the timing of one of his friends dying was...interesting. I mean, tragic, but I wonder what impact it might have on him. I don't wish to be tactless, but with my insatiable desire to lecture people I care about, I do wonder if I might be able to develop this somewhere decently down the line into "ok, you know how upset you feel about your friend, and no doubt his/her friends and family all do? Think about how we'd all feel if something happened to you."
    If he's had other friends leave him recently, his shadow INFP is probably going to tell him that it's just part of the broader trend of everyone leaving him, and becoming increasingly alone. I doubt that it'll have a terribly different effect on him than anything else has, but it's definitely pretty bad timing. Plus, if he's really this down/low/sad, then he'll focus a lot more on the dead friend than the re-emerged one.

    Summary: You have cause to worry. Which is a shame. I guess I would recommend that you keep on with what you're doing, and make that speech you mentioned, connecting the recently dead friend with any possible trend he might be observing. The bolded may not be what he's looking for, but I think it's what he needs and he would be receptive to it. (He also could use some therapy, or at least a motivational interview!)
    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. #1659
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    ^ Thank you very very much for this. It is very helpful and I think you are probably spot on about darn near everything. I feel more worried now. I'm glad to know that it's not really normal for ESTJs to be like "well, who cares if I die soon because I've done alot already." Not that I really thought this was normal...it obviously disturbed me...but you guys can sound very reasonable about things, even if it's really sad and off!

    Plus, he's a guy, so probably less willing to show emotion, and he's English...and he's SO English... He's got that whole "stiff upper lip" thing going on, big-time. Which I admire and love about the English but there are times when it's not so good. I would say he seems deceptively brisk and cheerful a lot of the time. Which is probably why it was a shock to hear him come out with something like "I don't mind if I die soon". You are quite right that he's had a while to get to this stage and it is probably sort of settled in his mind as "reasonable" although in fact it is not. I have known him somewhat for a couple of years, but only better for less than a year. I was aware that he'd had health issues around when I first knew him but perhaps not how serious they were. He actually just seemed a bit withdrawn and if anything slightly unfriendly for quite some time, but I think perhaps he was in the middle of the worst of it then.

    It really sucks, poor him. I know you suggested that the timing of a friend dying is particularly bad (and yeah, even if someone came back into his life unexpectedly and happily, it would be overshadowed of course) but I do hope that it might make him reflect about how he should look after himself better. (Depends a bit on circumstances, but there is certainly an angle of "you're shocked by this - this is how we would feel if something happened to you.") I need to work up a tactful lecture. At least I am reasonably good at that. We also have quite a few mutual friends and acquaintances and I wonder if I should chat with a few of them, because I don't know if they are necessarily aware quite how low he has been. That can be a bit awkward and tricky though. I should maybe not go there for now.

    Thank you again. Very very helpful. I actually have another unrelated ESTJ question, just a funny little one. I know you've mentioned you seem to have quite a few Ns in your life (unusual!). I don't recall you mentioning many - or any?! - other ESTJs in your life! And yet there are supposed to be quite a few of you guys. Do you have friends or acquaintances who you think are ESTJ? How do ESTJs get along with other ESTJs?
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  10. #1660
    [bento boxed] EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    ...but you guys can sound very reasonable about things, even if it's really sad and off!
    True that! I think that's a T thing in general (especially a T-dom thing; my dad can have the same problem and sometimes it takes a while after a conversation with him to go "Wait, he was spouting off complete nonsense! What was that?!" ).
    I have known him somewhat for a couple of years, but only better for less than a year. I was aware that he'd had health issues around when I first knew him but perhaps not how serious they were. He actually just seemed a bit withdrawn and if anything slightly unfriendly for quite some time, but I think perhaps he was in the middle of the worst of it then.
    Probably. Warning sign with ESTJs is when they withdraw. Then you know something is wrong.
    I need to work up a tactful lecture. At least I am reasonably good at that.
    For sure!!! NFJs are the BEST at this.
    We also have quite a few mutual friends and acquaintances and I wonder if I should chat with a few of them, because I don't know if they are necessarily aware quite how low he has been. That can be a bit awkward and tricky though. I should maybe not go there for now.
    I think if you know who his best friends are, you should talk to them. You know, the 3am-phone-call friends. Or if he comes up in conversation with a close mutual friend, at least bring up the conversation and tell them you're worried about him.
    Thank you again. Very very helpful. I actually have another unrelated ESTJ question, just a funny little one. I know you've mentioned you seem to have quite a few Ns in your life (unusual!). I don't recall you mentioning many - or any?! - other ESTJs in your life! And yet there are supposed to be quite a few of you guys. Do you have friends or acquaintances who you think are ESTJ? How do ESTJs get along with other ESTJs?
    I don't have any ESTJ friends that I can think of, besides @sui generis... I have two or three ISTJ friends, and some ESFJ friends. But mostly I'm friends with NFs and a few NTs. The only possible reasons for that, that I can think of now, are

    1) I'm kind of quirky for being an ESTJ and am therefore drawn to other quirky people, most of whom aren't ESTJs because ESTJs are more "normal";
    2) I have N parents in N careers and am therefore better at communicating with Ns than other ESTJs (and have more N hobbies/interests than most ESTJs and therefore less in common with them);
    3) I don't have many male friends and the rule about 75% of men being Thinkers and 75% of women being Feelers seems pretty true from my personal experience;
    4) I just really like NFJs.

    I'm really not sure though. It's hard to know whether it's the other ESTJs, or whether it's me.
    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!

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