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  1. #1
    Member Bamboozle's Avatar
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    Default ISTJs, friendship groups, support

    ANECDOTE (if you want context. If tl;dr, skip to question below):
    My brother (ISTJ) has a group of friends that seems to cycle through different scape-goats. At any one time, the group seems to have the one guy in the group that they all badmouth and avoid. I figured this was just group dynamics in action. I'll admit that I was surprised at my brother's willingness to go along with this sort of behaviour, but no one looked like they were getting hurt.

    And then one of them got into what sounds like an emotionally-abusive relationship. He also has controlling parents…I think his mother set a soft toy he'd gotten for his birthday alight because she thought he was spending too much time with his friends and not enough time studying . He's stuck doing a degree he doesn't want to do. To boot, he failed his core subjects at uni and ended up spending the semester in front of his computer.

    His friends haven't been much help. This guy is the latest scape-goat because his friends think he mopes about his girlfriend too much. He seems to have gotten himself stuck in a guilt-cycle because now he apologises for moping too much and buys his friends presents to express how sorry he feels for being such a burden.

    I pointed out to my brother that his friend sounded depressed and really in need of a support system. Moreover, the guy's an IxFJ and is the furthest thing from a jerk. But my brother simply responded, 'I can't be bothered. He's too annoying.' (For clarity: too annoying because he's so down.)


    QUESTION:
    What is the ISTJ perspective on group dynamics and/or their perceived responsibility to other people?
    I don't think my brother is being deliberately cruel/uncaring/cold. But I don't understand his perspective. Could anyone else shed light on this for me? Open to general stories about ISTJs and friends/groups.

    I do know that our sense of what is right and wrong, socially, has always differed but I was really struck by that difference this time. I'm an INTP and am socially awkward and pretty quick to judge people. He's social-ish and not really judgemental at all, most of the time. But I find that he can, to my eye, be a bit wishy-washy when it comes to taking responsibility for things like this. Sometimes, I feel like I'm the warm people-person in comparison. Why is this? Are these things not relevant to him?
    3 INTP

  2. #2
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    I'm not an ISTJ, but I'll reply anyway, and if the ISTJs of the forum disagree then they can let me know:

    It all depends on how close the friend is -- and it sounds to me like your brother's friends aren't really that close to him. The behavior you're describing is not typical of ISTJ close friendships. I would say that if your ISTJ brother is like me, then he has two types of friendships:

    1) the Friendly Acquaintances, i.e. probably at least 75% of the people he hangs out with; people he enjoys being around, but wouldn't mope about if they were suddenly not in his life anymore (the nice way to describe these relationships would be "enjoying a diverse group of fun and interesting people"... but the not nice way would be "using people for their entertainment value") -- and
    2) Close Friends and Family. If the IxFJ you were talking about were in this group, I would think that your brother would be there immediately, giving him whatever support he needed, or whatever support he thought he needed.

    xSTJs are some of the most loyal and protective friends you can have -- when they care about you. This is why xSTJs have so few close friends. We are so loyal to our close friends that it uses up a lot of energy, and we don't want to drain ourselves completely, so we conserve that energy with everyone else. Which is also why we can be so apathetic about everyone else, on a relative scale.

    So, short answer: He probably isn't close enough with the IxFJ to be able to muster up enough empathy to comfort him in his time of need.

    (But again, this could be off base because I'm ESTJ.)
    ~ g e t f e s t i v e ! ~


    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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  3. #3
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Also not an ISTJ, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect anyone to be an emotional support system for an acquaintance (since the guy doesn't sound like a close friend at all). Particularly someone like an ISTJ who might not find it easy to be supporting, etc. I don't think that is a reasonable "responsibility" to put on yourself, let alone judging someone else for not doing it.

    Not supporting him is different from directly being mean, of course. You only mentioned him not reaching out to this guy, and IMO he isn't obligated to, morally, socially or otherwise.

    He's too annoying.
    honestly that guy does sound really annoying. You can feel bad for someone without feeling the desire to interact with them or the need to solve all their problems.
    -end of thread-

  4. #4
    Member Bamboozle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC
    2) Close Friends and Family. If the IxFJ you were talking about were in this group, I would think that your brother would be there immediately, giving him whatever support he needed, or whatever support he thought he needed.
    Actually, I've told my brother that I've been in some trouble before and he didn't react then either. But I thought that maybe he didn't believe I was in that much trouble. I thought his friend was a better case-study since the danger of the situation seemed to be more pressing than when I talked to my brother.

    But I see your point @EJCC— and @Randomnity, too. Other xSTJs agree.
    3 INTP

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    ISTJ in my experience doesn't understand Feelers. The one I am in the closest contact with says things that amaze me like, "Well, there's no sense in being unhappy." I have seen a tendency to think that people being down or emotional are acting out, and it does bring out mockery. Not to be unkind about ISTJs, because I think they are fine folks. I'm just sayin'.

  6. #6
    Member Bamboozle's Avatar
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    @Tiltyred: I'm actually really interested in that tension right now—between STJs and Feelers, particularly NFs, and how the two types get around it. Do they just end up avoiding one another? Do they simply treat one another with caution?—Especially as I hear NFs can be very careful in their selection of friends? If there are conflicts, what kinds of conflicts? Very interested in stories.

    In fact, I've set up a thread asking the NFs that kind of thing if you would like to contribute. I think it's still a quiet thread at the moment. No pressure, of course .
    3 INTP

  7. #7
    Junior Member apotheosis29's Avatar
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    I can't speak for all ISTJ's I can only speak for myself. My thoughts are along the lines of Randomnity.

    As an IxTJ reaching out to someone to be there support system is way outside of my comfort zone, especially if it's another guy. For a special woman in my life I'd do it because not much is required except to be a sounding board and possible offer a little advice.

    What is the ISTJ perspective on group dynamics and/or their perceived responsibility to other people?

    None. I don't feel any perceived responsibility to help other people, especially in the friend/acquaintance category. If we're close enough and somehow we get into that conversation, I might offer some advice, but I'm not going to actively try to engage that conversation. If anything I'd probably be trying to find other things to talk about as a way of keeping the conversation light and keeping their mind of their worries.

    Family, I'd be a little more inclined to help out, but unless it was drastic, I probably wouldn't go looking to start that conversation.

    Work - My perceived responsibility would be to maintain a good attitude, do my portion of the work and try to help keep the group on task.

    -----
    As for the rotating scape-goats that seems out of character to me. If someone is my friend, then they will be my friend and I'm not going to say anything about them behind their back that I wouldn't say to their face. If you're not my friend, then screw you, I'll say whatever...I'm just not going to pretend to like you

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