User Tag List

Results 1 to 9 of 9

  1. #1
    Junior Member _lizzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Enneagram
    5w4
    Posts
    5

    Unhappy Need help with my ESFJ co-worker

    Sorry if I'm posting in the wrong place. This is part "I need advice" and part "I need to rant".

    I'm having trouble with a co-worker. I think she's an ESFJ (or maybe ENFJ), and I just don't understand her.
    I work in IT, and I share an office with three others. We are a small team in charge of the same software for the company, and all do similar work.

    Anyways, I'm a typical INTJ woman... I'm new to MBTI, but from what I've read I'm pretty typical. I'm quiet and I don't enjoy talking about non-work related things, while I'm at work. I especially don't like talking about myself. I'm very private. But I also understand that a little bit of that is good for the team, and I do share and enjoy chatting now and again.
    But one of my coworkers, is VERY extroverted, and she loves to talk, constantly. If her browser or software isn't loading fast enough, she'll get bored and use that time to say something, whether you are actively listening or not. I've been using headphones mostly, so I can work through her random musings and "exciting" life updates, without being distracted.

    What I'm having the most trouble with is when she tries to draws information out of me. Sometimes she just asks questions. What are you eating right now? (happens every day). Where did you buy it? Have you ever done Xxx? What are you and your wife doing this weekend/last weekend/this summer/tonight? ect.... And she jokes that she talks a lot, but doesn't seem to care. Or maybe she is holding back, which is a scary thought.

    These questions aren't too bad, because I can be vague if I don't want to dole out too much. They just happen frequently.

    But then there are things she wants to ask me about, but I think on some level she knows it would be rude. So she hints about it. Tiptoes around it. In hopes that I'll talk about it, I guess. One example, I have a large scar on my hand. And I've never talked about it, it's not important to me and frankly I rather not. But she's come in with some new lotion or cream that her friend swears by, and tells me that it does wonders for your hands. You know, for dry skin, scars, discoloration... And this seems to happen, about all types of things, a lot. I figure she's just trying to help, but WTF.

    This is what I hear when these situations arise.... "Hi! I see that you are in the middle of working, but I'm going to interrupt you anyway. I was studying you, and even though you've never talked about it with me, I noticed XYZ. So I wanted to offer you this 'thing' that I think is related to XYZ. And I insist that you talk about it with me now. Thanks!"
    "Um, no thanks." Awkward silence.

    She's a little gossipy too, so I really don't want to tell her anything because I'm worried she'll inevitably tell someone else. Plus she'll bring up things I've said in the past, any chance she gets, like we are best friends with this inside information we can talk about. But I don't want to be her friend. I just want to be her pleasant hardworking co-worker, that gets her sh*t done and talks about work things. It doesn't help that she doesn't get her sh*t done, but that's another matter.

    Is this an ESFJ thing? I know I'm difficult too, but I don't seem to have these problems with the other two people in the office. What exactly does she want from me? What's her deal?! Is it that she NEEDS to be my friend and/or know everything about me in order to work with me?
    I want to keep things copacetic between us, but I don't know how to handle her interactions. Right now I feel like I'm a jumpy cat that hisses at her every time she looks at me.

    TLDR; She's nosy and talkative, I'm ultra-private and quiet. Is there a place I can meet her half-way so we are both happy? Help!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member yeghor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    2,418

    Default

    @_lizzy

    Whenever she asks you something that you don't want to answer... Tell her that you are not feeling comfortable discussing your private life... If she says something like "why not" or insists on it, tell her that you've already given her an answer... and tell her that you'd be pleased if she respected your preferences...

    I however get the feeling that she'd be offended with that somehow... Just take note of how she receives that... If she fails to respect your preferences, tries to somehow turns this around on you or blow it out of proportion etc., know that she may have some kind of controlling personality... To that end, she may be trying to datamine you to find areas to latch on to and try to exert control over you...

    The hinting thing is a sign of indirect communication, which may turn into passive aggressiveness in more negative tones... It may be a sign that she doesn't desire to take responsibility for her own actions...Ne\Se types tend to do this "poking around" thing with trap-questions to find out your opinion on certain things... That attitude may also be stemming from a need to have their "insecurities" soothed by others...

    If she keeps pestering you, notify her (preferably in the presence of others) that you cannot concentrate on your work due to her interruptions and that you'll have to take this to the manager if it goes on...

    Giving unsolicited advice may be a sign of exerting control over you (and may point to Te)... Edit: If she sees you as an exceptionally intelligent person, she may be trying to feel that she's intelligent as well by giving you advice and you, an intelligent person, accepting her advice... Do both of you have similar qualifications and education?

    That and not respecting boundaries combined points to a controlling personality...

    Just assert your boundaries as to how you want your interaction to be (and on what topics) and see how she reacts... And don't bite the hook with her indirect questions... Force her into direct communication...

    And she may also be an ESFP... Google the profile...
    Last edited by yeghor; 04-19-2014 at 03:10 PM. Reason: Edit

  3. #3
    Junior Member _lizzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Enneagram
    5w4
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thanks yeghor! Great insight and advice. She's seems very sensitive and a little insecure, so it wouldn't be hard to offend her, or at least make her feel bad. So I'm trying to be careful with what I say. I think what you said about her "insecurities" needing soothing is right on.
    We do have similar qualifications and education, but she has trouble getting her work done, and I've had more success in the short time I've been at this job, so it wouldn't surprise me if she feels surpassed.
    I hadn't considered the "controlling" aspect to what she's doing. I'll just keep ignoring her hooks and see what happens.

    She's definitely not an ESFP. She lives by routine and a schedule, yet she's also a little scatterbrained. And except for maybe food, she doesn't enjoy excess, good or bad. She's not the life of the party. She's in charge of the invites, and at the end is the designated driver... sorta speak.

  4. #4
    Senior Member yeghor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    2,418

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by _lizzy View Post
    Thanks yeghor! Great insight and advice. She's seems very sensitive and a little insecure, so it wouldn't be hard to offend her, or at least make her feel bad. So I'm trying to be careful with what I say. I think what you said about her "insecurities" needing soothing is right on.

    We do have similar qualifications and education, but she has trouble getting her work done, and I've had more success in the short time I've been at this job, so it wouldn't surprise me if she feels surpassed.

    I hadn't considered the "controlling" aspect to what she's doing. I'll just keep ignoring her hooks and see what happens.

    She's definitely not an ESFP. She lives by routine and a schedule, yet she's also a little scatterbrained. And except for maybe food, she doesn't enjoy excess, good or bad. She's not the life of the party. She's in charge of the invites, and at the end is the designated driver... sorta speak.
    She doesn't have qualms about ending up as the designated driver? Anyway, just assert your boundaries in a neutral manner and see where it goes from there...

  5. #5
    climb on Showbread's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    MBTI
    ESFJ
    Enneagram
    3w2 so/sp
    Posts
    2,332

    Default

    If she is anything like me, it has nothing to do with control/manipulation. She just wants to be your friend. Being liked probably makes her feel secure. I would just draw boundaries, if her questions make you feel uncomfortable, say so. Unless she's really immature/hypersensitive hopefully she'll be lay with that. It might hurt her feelings a bit, but she should get over it. If she doesn't, that's her problem, not yours. But, obliging her small talk is polite and really won't hurt you. Sure, it might be annoying. But, everyone does something annoying so I would just tolerate it.

    Any idea what her enneagram is?
    Friends, waffles, work

    "The problem is, when you depend on a substitute for love, you can never get enough" - Louis Cozolino

    3w2 6w7 1w2
    *Gryffindor*


  6. #6
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    9w1
    Socionics
    INFj None
    Posts
    9,827

    Default

    Sounds like she's trying to be friendly. I'm not extroverted, but I don't consider very many things private and I forget sometimes that other people do. Or maybe I think stuff is private, but not a big deal because it's not like I'm the queen of England or something. I'm usually not going to go into specifics about my sex life, but just about everything else . . .

    So you probably seem kind of mysterious and she's curious so she keeps poking at you to see what she can learn. I wonder if it would work to talk about really boring stuff. Like go into details about yard work you did over the weekend or something you've been reading. Like, my sons will talk and talk about computer games they like and I have no idea what they are talking about and very little interest in the subject, so I want them to shut up and go away, even though I'm kind of chatty. I really don't want to know what happened in the last episode of UHC or about the specs of a computer game WWII tank. She might feel the same way.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  7. #7
    i love skylights's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    MBTI
    INFP
    Enneagram
    6w7 so/sx
    Socionics
    EII Ne
    Posts
    7,835

    Default

    I think she's trying to be friendly and get to know you. For ExFxs this kind of stuff usually makes us really happy and I think she's just trying to have you be really happy along with her. Admittedly to me it's a little hard to imagine how being quiet and work-focused during the whole day would be preferable.

    I would just gently lay it out for her that talking about yourself makes you uncomfortable, and you prefer to take it slow in terms of opening up. You might also want to say something like you have a hard time recovering from getting distracted so you try to focus on work issues while at work. If you can meet her halfway in terms of striking up conversation about work things when you have a little extra time, it would probably go a long way in terms of helping her feel good about coexisting with you. Maybe you could make a little peace offering like asking her a question about her day around lunchtime, or at the end of the day. I think she is mostly just trying to establish friendly rapport, and she may even feel like she's failing.

  8. #8
    Blind Guardian Haven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    MBTI
    ESFJ
    Enneagram
    2w3 so/sp
    Socionics
    ESFj Ti
    Posts
    1,076

    Default

    It's a really odd feeling liking someone and wanting to talk with them constantly, but feeling held back by rules and productivity. I think I always piss off the people I really like because I just want to talk to them all the time. I hope you find a solution because that will save both of you a lot of trouble.

    So she wants to be more involved in your life. Maybe you could find her a less intrusive way to do that, and that you can appreciate (not like "hey I need you to stand over there for a while"). I make no promises that this wont backfire horribly.

    I wonder if she's trying to pick your brain too, like maybe if she talks to you enough you'll start giving away secrets she can use to be more successful.
    {The Diplomat}
    Slytherpuff
    s|L|OAx
    Meow.

  9. #9
    Junior Member _lizzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Enneagram
    5w4
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thanks everyone! I think her Enneagram may be a 2 (Helper), but I can't say for sure.
    From what you all have suggested, I'm thinking the best thing is to try to talk to her during breaks. I'm not big on small talk, but I can ask her questions too and maybe that will help. At least that way, if there is something she's just dying to ask/tell me, she'll know she can wait until our break to say something.
    And if I don't want to answer something, I'll just be vague or tell her politely it's too private. We really are two extremes on the ol' introversion-extroversion scale. You just have to laugh sometimes.

Similar Threads

  1. I Need Help with My Future
    By OptoGypsy in forum Academics and Careers
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 03-06-2014, 03:49 PM
  2. Need help with my Enneagram
    By technomonkey in forum What's my Type?
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 04-12-2013, 10:38 PM
  3. Need help with my variant
    By louiesgonnadie in forum Enneagram
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-21-2013, 03:21 PM
  4. [ISFP] I need help with my isfp friend
    By maerzhase in forum The SP Arthouse (ESFP, ISFP, ESTP, ISTP)
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 11-02-2010, 11:12 PM
  5. [ESFJ] Need help with an ESFJ...
    By MDP2525 in forum The SJ Guardhouse (ESFJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, ISTJ)
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-24-2009, 03:18 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO