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Thread: Ask an ESTJ!

  1. #861
    One day and the next Rainne's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I know of an ESTJ woman who has a sharp tongue and bluntly critcizes the flaws of people and their work w/o consideration of their feelings, and does not like new ideas or change.

    I also notice that she treats people under her command like pawns, but sucks up hardcore to people above her. As a result, there's a lot of animosity in the office towards her, but I don't think she really notices or cares.

    Can you help me see things from her point of view?

  2. #862
    lords of summer EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamske View Post
    Now you know how we (perceivers) feel when we do meet a deadline.
    I'll remember this for next time a similar thing happens. For example, sometimes I forget to say positive things to my perceiver friends when they're on time for things. I need to stop that!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rainne View Post
    Can you help me see things from her point of view?
    Disclaimer: We're not all like your ESTJ acquaintance. Just because I can relate, doesn't mean I'm someone to be hated. I can still help you, though. Here's my interpretation, section by section:
    I know of an ESTJ woman who has a sharp tongue and bluntly critcizes the flaws of people and their work w/o consideration of their feelings
    She doesn't mean to offend, and I think she would probably consider the criticism to be constructive. ESTJs, from my experience, never criticize "needlessly", i.e. they criticize when they see something that they think needs to be fixed. So, what your ESTJ acquaintance is really doing is trying to do what's right by fixing what needs to be fixed, and she's doing it the only way she knows how: bluntly. ESTJs = not so good with the subtlety.
    and does not like new ideas or change.
    ESTJs like working with precedent. Since it takes a lot of pressure and stress to fully utilize our creative Ne (example: "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO AAAAAAAAAAH oh okay i guess i can do this thing instead"), we would much rather have a traditional method to use. Also, we're skeptical, so we're generally only okay with new approaches when we can be certain that they will work.
    I also notice that she treats people under her command like pawns, but sucks up hardcore to people above her. As a result, there's a lot of animosity in the office towards her, but I don't think she really notices or cares.
    This isn't something that most/all ESTJs do - maybe it's an enneagram 8-ish thing? (someone correct me if I'm totally off base) - but I interpret that as single-minded power playing.
    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)
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    want to ask me something? go for it!

  3. #863
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I feel foolish almost a year later to still be asking questions. However...

    I emailed the ESTJ a little while back with news that several people he had known well in the community we were in had suddenly died (he wouldn't have any other way of knowing and we've been in touch sporadically). He never replied. However a short while ago, I received an email telling me that he was planning to go on a 45 day trip to Ireland/Scotland/Iceland which would include attending the conference in Scotland this summer (which my friends are presenting at and which I had been planning to go to). It was just a regular friendly letter, saying that he was celebrating his brother-in-law's b'day with a lobster boil, the school year was busy but winding down etc. In the meantime, other music friends from Nova Scotia where he lives (who were teaching a workshop with me) have seen him several times and indicated that he still is drinking a lot.

    I would like to go to the conference and am somewhat annoyed at him acting as ignorantly as he has, yet still frequently involving himself with my acquaintances and colleagues even though this is my career and it is a hobby for him. I am not up for similar behaviour to the end of the last school year over there and if I were to go for a trip, do not want to spend it on an emotional rollercoaster. At the same time, it may be that things would be perfectly normal and no problem at all. If I am to go to Scotland/Ireland (as I've wanted to for many years) alone, then this conference would be an important chunk of it. However, if it's going to be just a frustrating experience anyway, I may wait and go with my family, which would be a different type of trip.

    Any predictions of what the thought process for him is/would be and what behaviours I could be likely to expect? I really value consistency and can deal with just about anything, but I'm not good with this different upon every meeting/interaction. Does any of that behaviour under emotional discomfort make sense?

  4. #864
    lords of summer EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Any predictions of what the thought process for him is/would be and what behaviours I could be likely to expect? I really value consistency and can deal with just about anything, but I'm not good with this different upon every meeting/interaction. Does any of that behaviour under emotional discomfort make sense?
    You alluded to various behaviors that you didn't describe in the post - behaviors that are inconsistent and really can make you upset. Because this thread is getting too long even for me to deal with, would you do me a favor and remind me of some examples of inconsistencies that he's had recently? Or did you mean the example with him ignoring your message and sending a bizarrely conversational message soon after?

    Sorry I'm being so dense... things have been crazy lately.
    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!

  5. #865
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    If someone hugged you would spikes come out?

    (joking around, but I need a string to bat at)
    Dreams are best served manifest and tangible.

    INFP, 6w7, IEI

    I accept no responsibility, what so ever, for the fact that I exist; I do, however, accept full responsibility for what I do while I exist.

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  6. #866
    lords of summer EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runvardh View Post
    If someone hugged you would spikes come out?

    (joking around, but I need a string to bat at)

    ESTJ + Hug = Qwilfish!!!
    Rargh. *fearsome glare*

    But seriously, the answer is no. You're thinking of ISTJs. Oh wait, that wasn't a serious answer! Whoops.
    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. #867
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Between Feb (when he suddenly broke up with me) and June of last school year (when we left for opposite sides of the country) his behaviour was extremely inconsistent. Here are some examples:

    - acting like we were still dating (eg offering at a party to go run home and get something that I needed or forgot)
    - being a polite neighbour that just says hi in passing in the hall on the way to use the washing machine.
    - inviting me to ride to a social event with another couple we were friends with to save me the trip alone, yet spending the time talking about social events with others that they enjoyed together which I hadn't been invited to
    - doing completely uncharacteristic things like showing up drunk in public (eg to board the plane for a business trip) and picking arguments with band councillors there from the reserve about being racist against whites!
    - making up tales while out drinking with acquaintances of me phoning him crying late at night
    - occasional moments of saying that he was acting weird (at a party where the two of us were talking privately, but while seated in a circle of 20 people on the deck) because it hasn't been easy for him either (is that realness, or being a politician?)
    - partying till 6 am multiple weekend nights and 2 or 3 on weekday nights with 25-30 year olds (he was 45 and not in the habit of doing that)
    - going between wanting to be physically affectionate and huggy, or completely untouchy
    - initiating supper together from time to time, having a nice time, then saying the next day at work that he was humouring me by doing so because I seemed to "need" that.
    - embarrassedly asking if I could put lotion on his back when the air was terribly dry during the winter (because it was even more awkward to ask anyone else to), but then obviously hoping that more was going to happen than that after I agreed to do it. Then acting unspokenly upset and rejected when I didn't rise to the occasion. When the opportunity was opened to discuss the reason for the breakup (which never had been disclosed), blame was laid on me for wanting things cleared up between us (couldn't deal with this anymore).
    - eating lunch as friendly colleagues with friends every day, waiting in the lunchroom with me till my food finished heating before going to sit down
    - not saying good-bye at all after 4 1/2 years of dating and leaving for the opposite end of the country
    - emailing from time to time, but in a friendly but distant acquaintance sort of style.

    I am fine with being polite acquaintances, old but somewhat distant friends, or former bf/gf that get along. However, at the conference I would not be fine with seeing him spend all his time going out drinking with people who are primarily my friends and colleagues and acting hot and cold when we bump into each other. If it seems likely that the behaviour would be somewhat consistent because time has passed, I would prefer not to be chased away from going. However, if not, then I'd rather not have a rotten time. I know you aren't a fortune-teller, but I thought maybe you'd have a better idea that me of how things would be processed.

  8. #868
    lords of summer EJCC's Avatar
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    Your question is a tough one, but I think I can explain some of the inconsistency. For starters, I think I see two types of inconsistencies:

    1. How he acts towards you alone (friendly/aloof/flirtatious/sulky)
    2. How he acts towards his friends (friendly/posturing/lying about you)

    I think that #1 is always more true than #2. e.g. I think that in the example of him seeming to have fun at supper and then telling his friends that he didn't, that he really did have fun, but was trying to impress them somehow. All the examples you gave of how he interacts with others suggest (to me) that he isn't genuine with them at all, and wants to use them as a distraction - that is, he uses them for a good time (partying, laughing, etc). You, on the other hand, are someone he can be a little more deep with. In fact, I think he was probably being serious when he told you that it wasn't easy for him (and I came to that decision based on other examples you've given). Admitting something like that is admitting weakness, and I can't think of a single ESTJ who would ever want to fake weakness. Why not fake strength?

    On that note, my theory about #1 (which explains most, but not all, of the things you described) is that he's trying different methods of coping with your breakup and new status as "just friends". Each method has been chosen to minimize the amount of pain he'll have to go through. Leaving without saying goodbye? Chosen because saying goodbye is difficult and emotional. Being distant with you? Chosen because it makes things less awkward. Crazy partying with younger people? Probably also to numb himself. Of course, what it doesn't explain is the semi-flirting. Maybe he still has some feelings for you? I really don't know. I would suggest that you talk to him about his mixed messages towards you in that regard, but if I remember correctly, you already did, and he was totally uncommunicative. So I guess I don't have any advice for you there.

    Now for the attempted answer to your question: I would definitely go. Who says you have to spend a lot of time with him? It would be fun, and if your ex gets to be difficult to be around, you can be around other friends, right? Is it possible to bring family AND go to the conference, or is it too short notice? Either way, if you talk with him about partying (or, rather, how maybe he shouldn't do it since it's a business trip), the friend issue would be taken care of. Can't promise anything about possible flirting or running hot and cold (because like you said, I'm not a fortune teller), but, speaking as a cold-hearted ESTJ, I guess I'd choose the conference, and if anything awkward came up, I'd find a way to deal with it and/or avoid it.

    Pardon the late-ish reply. It took me a while to think about this/write about it. Definitely the trickiest question I've had on this thread. I hope I've helped a little bit, because I'm not so confident in my answer.
    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. #869
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I think your theories seem to hold true. I have felt that he was being more genuine around me than with others (image is important to him, as is not looking weak. I think one of the things he did value about me was that I did at times get through to the genuine and more vulnerable part of him). There has been no flirting in emails, just varying degrees of communicativeness or formality.

    Probably one of the most damaging things between us was this business of a public and a private persona. It seemed inauthentic and incongruent. I disliked what I saw in public quite often, but very much liked the person I knew in private and that kept me reeled in. It also (even when we were together) left me feeling sometimes like people on the outside didn't know I was as important to him as I was and made me feel like he was embarrassed of me or something even though at the beginning of our relationship it was almost too much at the opposite extreme. At other times, when it was convenient and made him look good, he would praise me up to all kinds of people and be very warm and affectionate publicly. I felt like I couldn't trust him to represent me accurately to other people who knew me less well. It was more whatever image of me served him best to present. (Of course that didn't happen all at one time. It was bit by bit, and generally happened most when he felt the most insecure. Interestingly, every spring as we got closer to a summer apart, he would spend a lot of time partying with people I knew less well (even when he rarely drank much during the rest of the year), and avoiding time spent with me. I think maybe it had to do with trying to make the time spent apart seem easier by him initiating it rather than having to respond to it. Does that seem like a realistic interpretation?)

    On the one hand, I really wish to see him again. It's not that I think we'd get back together (he sticks with a decision once he's made it, no matter how painful and I know it wouldn't work), but I probably would be internally hoping for some kind of resolution or a sign that I really had mattered. The fact is, he remained single during those four months after we broke up (and it appears during the following year as well), which is unlike his past track record. He's chosen to be in touch, even if sporadically and in a fairly removed manner. I know that's about as good as it's gonna get, yet a part of me wishes for a chance to talk things over (and I know it's not going to happen) or for him to wish to spend time together to close the circle.

    On the other hand, I don't want to appear to be following him there. He mentioned going a couple of years ago, but I didn't think at the time that he was serious about it. I think if he ignored me, that would be hard and if he didn't, then I'd still be looking for a specific response which may not be realistic for me to expect. This isn't exactly business - several friends are presenting at one of the workshops, but the majority of it is going to concerts and sessions - it's open to the public for anyone who enjoys fiddling, even though the papers being presented have a more formal scholarly aspect.

    Thanks for the thought you put into your reply. I will spend some time mulling it over. I never did talk to him about his inconsistent behaviour, other than the one conversation where he said it wasn't easy for him either. I did write him some time ago saying that I was likely to be in Eastern Canada in the spring though and didn't know whether he'd prefer that I contact him or avoid doing so. We have enough of the same acquaintances that I didn't want him to hear second hand that I was there/had seen them. I told him I still didn't even know for sure how I felt about seeing him, but wanted to at least know how he felt about it. No reply. That isn't unlike him even with his closest friends though. Awhile later I got an email about something totally unrelated.

  10. #870
    lords of summer EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    There has been no flirting in emails, just varying degrees of communicativeness or formality.
    True. I guess some of the examples you gave made me assume that possible flirtatiousness would be a problem (like the back-rubbing thing). But if you don't think that would be a problem, it seems to me that that would take most of the awkwardness out of the equation.
    Probably one of the most damaging things between us was this business of a public and a private persona. It seemed inauthentic and incongruent. I disliked what I saw in public quite often, but very much liked the person I knew in private and that kept me reeled in. It also (even when we were together) left me feeling sometimes like people on the outside didn't know I was as important to him as I was and made me feel like he was embarrassed of me or something even though at the beginning of our relationship it was almost too much at the opposite extreme. At other times, when it was convenient and made him look good, he would praise me up to all kinds of people and be very warm and affectionate publicly. I felt like I couldn't trust him to represent me accurately to other people who knew me less well. It was more whatever image of me served him best to present. (Of course that didn't happen all at one time. It was bit by bit, and generally happened most when he felt the most insecure.

    That is terrible on many levels. All I can say is that I'm glad that the relationship is over, because you deserve better than that.

    Do you know if he's an Enneagram 3? Because, as you know (being of the same type as yours truly), no self-respecting 1 would ever act like that. I mean, I want people to like me (hello 2 wing!), but not that badly.
    Interestingly, every spring as we got closer to a summer apart, he would spend a lot of time partying with people I knew less well (even when he rarely drank much during the rest of the year), and avoiding time spent with me. I think maybe it had to do with trying to make the time spent apart seem easier by him initiating it rather than having to respond to it. Does that seem like a realistic interpretation?)
    My first thought was that maybe he was trying to distance himself from you as a way of easing into the transition. But your explanation makes a lot of sense too.
    On the one hand, I really wish to see him again. It's not that I think we'd get back together (he sticks with a decision once he's made it, no matter how painful and I know it wouldn't work), but I probably would be internally hoping for some kind of resolution or a sign that I really had mattered. The fact is, he remained single during those four months after we broke up (and it appears during the following year as well), which is unlike his past track record. He's chosen to be in touch, even if sporadically and in a fairly removed manner. I know that's about as good as it's gonna get, yet a part of me wishes for a chance to talk things over (and I know it's not going to happen) or for him to wish to spend time together to close the circle.

    On the other hand, I don't want to appear to be following him there. He mentioned going a couple of years ago, but I didn't think at the time that he was serious about it. I think if he ignored me, that would be hard and if he didn't, then I'd still be looking for a specific response which may not be realistic for me to expect. This isn't exactly business - several friends are presenting at one of the workshops, but the majority of it is going to concerts and sessions - it's open to the public for anyone who enjoys fiddling, even though the papers being presented have a more formal scholarly aspect.
    Thank you for this elaboration. It makes things a lot more complicated, and it totally throws my previous suggestion out the window, but thank you nonetheless! Typical ESTJ behavior on my part - thinking only of the "efficient" solution and totally ignoring people's feelings. Allow me to try again.

    Firstly, I don't think it would look like you were following him there if you were clear about the fact that some of your friends would be presenting and you wanted to support them.

    Secondly, I think one option that would solve at least a few of your problems would be to invite someone (or a group of people) along with you. That way you could still spend time with your ex like you wanted to, but your main obligation would be to take care of your fellow travelers, and sightsee with them, and educate them on fiddle playing, etc.

    I never did talk to him about his inconsistent behaviour, other than the one conversation where he said it wasn't easy for him either. I did write him some time ago saying that I was likely to be in Eastern Canada in the spring though and didn't know whether he'd prefer that I contact him or avoid doing so. We have enough of the same acquaintances that I didn't want him to hear second hand that I was there/had seen them. I told him I still didn't even know for sure how I felt about seeing him, but wanted to at least know how he felt about it. No reply. That isn't unlike him even with his closest friends though. Awhile later I got an email about something totally unrelated.
    It sounds to me like the only times he'll actually be responsive with you about things like that are when you're with him in person, it's a one-on-one conversation, and you can't be ignored. Perhaps that means that this trip could be a good opportunity for you to try again. After all, the fact that he said that it wasn't easy for him either, in my opinion, makes that previous conversation a complete success, since by saying that, he essentially admitted to using that behavior as a coping mechanism. I suppose the next step would be to talk to him about how to nip (some of) that in the bud. Maybe you could tell him your trip concerns, and specific things he could do instead, to make things easier for you, just for the trip? I dunno.
    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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