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  1. #1
    All Natural! All Good!
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    Default My ESFJ friend thinks he is sub-par

    My ESFJ friend talks to me about his emotional situation quite a lot. I have noticed he seems to have one significant problem. It seems related to Fe. He says he judges himself according to the social standards of what people from his culture should do with their lives. (I'm from the same race/cultural background and I haven't noticed these standards.) He says these standards are on his mind all the time. If he deviates from what he thinks these standards are, he starts to get down on himself. Same if he can't live up to them. He is his harshest critic and says he's been like this for years. Also, he says other people are always judging him by these same criteria.

    He "vents" a lot to me and it always seems to come back to this. I strongly believe his problem is caused by the very things that are positive about the ESFJ type (caring for other people also means caring what they think of you, how they judge you, etc. right?). It's a double-edged sword.

    I don't know what to say to help him (any thoughts?) and I can't sympathize having never wanted to fit myself into standards. Help me help my friend? Thanks.
    Strychnine is all-natural,
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    It's Godly and righteous,
    So eat it, you should.
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  2. #2
    Glycerine
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    Make him realize that noone is going to really fit all the standards and that it is unrealistic and stressful endeavor. It's like a form of perfectionism (not a healthy way to live).

  3. #3
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    Thank you Pitseleh. I read your post last night and agreed with you so I tried to take this approach yesterday. In response, he came up with a list of professions he thinks he should be doing (doctor, lawyer, businessman, etc.) then said that because he wants to go into academia he will never live up to the standard. He does think that some people really do fit all these standards, which makes sense if they're as concrete and one-dimensional as professions. Then he told me he was "very outside the box" and "off the beaten path" because he's going into academia (or wants to anyway) and "no one else from [our culture] does" (which is not even close to true)

    I thought I was going to be sick when he said he was "off the beaten path" - oh please, every thought he has is about forcing himself to get back on the beaten path. I could say I am off the beaten path too but perhaps the real test of strangeness is that I LIKE being the way I am, while he hates himself for it.

    I also want to add that this guy thinks of himself as superbly logical, but he holds totally contradictory views (inferior Ti doesn't work that well in a 21 year old, if at all, I'm guessing). He tested as ESTJ but is blatantly Fe dominant. I have concluded that he has a totally skewed perception of himself. He has ruined his personality by trying to fit it into external norms. After all, these same standards dictate that males must be rational and logical. Emotional expression (which he does a lot of) is forbidden

    Thanks again...maybe I should just stick to helping him with the problem in the OP.
    Strychnine is all-natural,
    So strychnine is all good.
    It's Godly and righteous,
    So eat it, you should.
    Who are you to refuse nature's will?


    Don't use the multiquote; it was planted by the devil to deceive us.

    Social Role: Asscrack/Piece of Shit/Public Defecator/Spiteful Urinator


    A different type everyday - so no need to type me anymore. But feel free to enjoy the sound of your own asscrack.

  4. #4
    That's my name biotch! JoSunshine's Avatar
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    The ESFJ's I know are all intensely perfectionistic. They also spend a great deal of time comparing themselves to other people. It is really destructive. I know I don't have the tools to "make" or even encourage them to change (in any significant way) because it seems to make them further feel like a failure (because they want to be perfect so if I point out how they might change it is evidence of their imperfection). One of my closest ESFJ's went to and outpatient psychiatric program and she says it was the best thing she's ever done. ESFJs have a tremendous amount of respect for authority, and I think hearing things from an expert is easier for them to take.
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. " - Dr. Seuss
    I can't spell...get over it

    Slightly ENFJ, totally JoSunshine
    Extroverted (E) 52.5%........Introverted (I) 47.5%
    Intuitive (N) 65.63%..........Sensing (S) 34.38%
    Feeling (F) 55.56%............Thinking (T) 44.44%
    Judging (J) 51.43%............Perceiving (P) 48.57%

  5. #5
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    This ESFJ I work with is a big fat slob who thinks he has it all figured out and the rest of us are fools, when it's really the other way around. He embarrassed me and another guy yesterday in front of our boss' boss' peers by representing our project and falling flat on his face. Since he's the project manager on this job it's hard to totally disregard him.

  6. #6
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    I see two sides of the issue - perhaps the perfectionism on one hand, but the one part that could be worked on a little more easily (maybe) is pointing out the flaws of this culture that's apparently judging him. It needs to be demythologized in his head. Obviously, it's bad for him - he admits it himself. He needs to take it a step further and embrace real dislike for expectations or opinions around him. He needs to see it's problem areas, so he can prioritize when and where it's worth his time caring. And the best way to not care about someone's opinions is to have a reason to disrespect them. Plain and simple. He needs to smell their dirty laundry (and hopefully he isn't the type that just tries to clean it ).

    There are people all over the world that could use someone that thoughtful. Without real priorities though, they end up caring about everyone (or whoever demands the most of their time) - and caring about everyone isn't good. Attitudes like this enable the crappier people to take advantage, draining others like vampires.. Until that person who was merely trying to help finally crumbles. Then they're not even helpful for people who need them. Or worse, not even helpful to themselves.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoSunshine View Post
    The ESFJ's I know are all intensely perfectionistic. They also spend a great deal of time comparing themselves to other people. It is really destructive. I know I don't have the tools to "make" or even encourage them to change (in any significant way) because it seems to make them further feel like a failure (because they want to be perfect so if I point out how they might change it is evidence of their imperfection). One of my closest ESFJ's went to and outpatient psychiatric program and she says it was the best thing she's ever done. ESFJs have a tremendous amount of respect for authority, and I think hearing things from an expert is easier for them to take.
    About the bolded: you are so, so right about that. The same exact thing happens in every conversation here. He says he is "just oversensitive" and the new problem becomes that he has to become less "sensitive". I can't believe I didn't see this before...thanks for that.

    You're probably right about the authority bit. He went to see a counselor last year but stopped after a few sessions. Apparently she was trying to get him to agree to go on medication, which he did not want. He may want to find a new counselor but I am not going to push that either.

    Quote Originally Posted by IZthe411 View Post
    This ESFJ I work with is a big fat slob who thinks he has it all figured out and the rest of us are fools, when it's really the other way around. He embarrassed me and another guy yesterday in front of our boss' boss' peers by representing our project and falling flat on his face. Since he's the project manager on this job it's hard to totally disregard him.
    Yikes. Sorry to hear that.

    KDude, I think your post gave me a whole new perspective, major thanks for that. I'll respond soon.
    Strychnine is all-natural,
    So strychnine is all good.
    It's Godly and righteous,
    So eat it, you should.
    Who are you to refuse nature's will?


    Don't use the multiquote; it was planted by the devil to deceive us.

    Social Role: Asscrack/Piece of Shit/Public Defecator/Spiteful Urinator


    A different type everyday - so no need to type me anymore. But feel free to enjoy the sound of your own asscrack.

  8. #8
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    penny, not all counsellors are created equal. Maybe he might fare better with one who's credentialled up the ying yang (psychiatrist), an authority he can respect, possibly male?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenaphor View Post
    penny, not all counsellors are created equal. Maybe he might fare better with one who's credentialled up the ying yang (psychiatrist), an authority he can respect, possibly male?
    Of course they are not, I didn't mean to imply that. Male might make a difference, idk. I'd have to suggest it kind of...smoothly (not my forte)
    Strychnine is all-natural,
    So strychnine is all good.
    It's Godly and righteous,
    So eat it, you should.
    Who are you to refuse nature's will?


    Don't use the multiquote; it was planted by the devil to deceive us.

    Social Role: Asscrack/Piece of Shit/Public Defecator/Spiteful Urinator


    A different type everyday - so no need to type me anymore. But feel free to enjoy the sound of your own asscrack.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    one part that could be worked on a little more easily (maybe) is pointing out the flaws of this culture that's apparently judging him.
    ...
    He needs to take it a step further and embrace real dislike for expectations or opinions around him. He needs to see it's problem areas, so he can prioritize when and where it's worth his time caring. And the best way to not care about someone's opinions is to have a reason to disrespect them. Plain and simple. He needs to smell their dirty laundry (and hopefully he isn't the type that just tries to clean it ).
    I think you're right, this will be much easier. Especially in light of what JoSunshine said above - any comment about how he could help himself makes him feel even more inadequate. But criticizing the culture...that is brilliant. This whole post is brilliant. I am not kidding. Thank you. You have given me a new perspective.

    My biggest criticism of this culture is that it puts too much emphasis on money, marks in school, position in society, prestige, etc. and not enough on letting people be themselves. I don't think this will help though, because I think at this point he actually values the other things more than following his own path. Another criticism...IMO, a culture that puts these materialistic, shallow things like titles of your profession, your bank account balance, etc. above happiness is not worth being subservient to. It's like a malevolent "god" - not worth the title. I guess I should just pitch different possible criticisms until one sticks.

    In some sense, he has smelled the dirty laundry. He has experienced homophobia. The only thing that seems to do, is make him think that being gay is wrong, even if everyone he cares about is supportive. (Which is not true for *everyone*, but most of us around him.)

    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    There are people all over the world that could use someone that thoughtful. Without real priorities though, they end up caring about everyone (or whoever demands the most of their time) - and caring about everyone isn't good. Attitudes like this enable the crappier people to take advantage, draining others like vampires.. Until that person who was merely trying to help finally crumbles. Then they're not even helpful for people who need them. Or worse, not even helpful to themselves.
    I agree, he has a big heart but only one life time. He cares about people that hurt him. Hell, the whole culture hurts him at times due to the homophobia etc and all he does, is worship it in response. When really, he should only care for those who reciprocate with caring as well, or those who prove themselves deserving/worthwhile. This is excellent advice. Thank you!
    Strychnine is all-natural,
    So strychnine is all good.
    It's Godly and righteous,
    So eat it, you should.
    Who are you to refuse nature's will?


    Don't use the multiquote; it was planted by the devil to deceive us.

    Social Role: Asscrack/Piece of Shit/Public Defecator/Spiteful Urinator


    A different type everyday - so no need to type me anymore. But feel free to enjoy the sound of your own asscrack.

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