I used to have problems with ESFJ's, my mom and sister being two cases in point... but lately I've had a few epiphanies that've changes my attitude towards them completely, and I've learned to really appreciate what it is they do, the way they are and approach life, and to realize that much of it can apply to me.
I've realized that when I've complained in my life about feeling lonely and not feeling connected to anyone, always feeling very detached and as though others are detached to me, it's because I've turned my nose up at those "mundane things" that people want to talk about, and in the past, sorta snottily decided that unless people want to dive into cosmos-altering conversations then they're not worth my time.
However, my little sister (an ENFJ) started one of those private message thread type things you can make on Facebook, where several people are invited to participate. She included in it all the people in our family that have Facebook accounts and called it the Happy Christmas Thread. I thought, what the heck, it's Christmas, and I joined in. And I learned loads of stuff about the personalities of some of my relatives that I've known (or thought I knew) all my life. Though everyone was just talking about what they were having for dinner, and where they were going tomorrow, and how much weight their baby has put on this week, and what favours they were going to put on the tables at their wedding in May, I found it curiously enjoyable. And I felt the most included I've ever felt in the family, the most 'part of things' ever. And warm, very warm.
However, at the time my sister started the thread, she had fallen out with my brother, so he wasn't included. To cut a long story short, a new thread was made with him included in it - but he just bitched and moaned about how pissed off he felt that he kept having his important video game interrupted by Facebook messages arriving, and moaned about how pointless and mundane the conversations were - "inane" was the word he used, in a way that said he thought the people having the conversations were themselves inane and not worth his time.
Everyone else felt pissed with him because we'd started the new thread because we felt bad for excluding him and wanted him to be with us. We'd all found a new-found closeness through being able to participate in this thread as though were were all together in one room - something that happens very rarely because we're all widely dispersed around the globe. We felt like a family again and it was wonderful and we wanted to include him in it, but he bitched like a whore and asked to be re-excluded.
Seeing the way he behaved made me see myself in the past, and what a jerk I've been. And it made me realize that I've excluded myself from everything, through pure snottiness and just... well, no excuse really at all for it, but suffice it to say that all the loneliness and whatever that I've felt is just karma really, for the way I behaved towards other people.
A realization came to me, and I wrote in the thread these words to my brother, feeling at one and the same time both embarrassed at how I was beginning to sound like one of those sickeningly sentimental forwarded chain letters you get sometimes, and yet compelled to write anyway because of what I knew was the astounding truth of what I was saying:
"I'm always interested in the little things... it's those little things that you share with people when you see them every day... they don't really matter enough to write about (at least you don't think they do), but if you're with someone every day and see them all the time you just get this steady stream of bits and pieces, the mundane everyday things of their life, and they get yours. That's how you keep in touch with someone, and track the gradual changes in them as they learn and grow. It's when we're separated from someone for a long time, that's when we lose touch and find we hardly know each other any more... because we haven't shared those little things. People only write when they think they have something worth writing - but a lot of people think only the 'big' things are worth writing about... great, so after ten years I know if someone's married, how many kids they have and their kids' names, I even know where they went on holiday or that their friend died last week... but if I met up with them I wouldn't know what to say because I don't know WHO THEY ARE any more. And knowing those things about someone far away doesn't stop you feeling alone. It's when you know the little things, that's when you feel a part of their life. Those fundamental things that are what life is all about, what memories are made of. Little things "
And it's those little things that ESFJ's do and take care of so naturally, so well. When I think of my ISTP step-dad, and how uncommunicative he is and how he'd have no social life and no family life at all and be generally very lonely and isolated if he didn't have my mom there doing all the arrangements and keeping in touch with people... and I think, y'know, how vulnerable he is to becoming a sad and lonely old man if she dies before him because he's unlikely to continue to make the same efforts she does... and I think about how he probably won't die a sad and lonely old man, because my ExFJ sisters will see to it that we all keep in touch...
Well, I think thank God for ExFJ's. They rock.