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Question #1184831169Thursday, 19-Jul-2007
Category: ESFj Relationship
Hi I am a female ESFJ mother. I find it easy to make friends. I find it easy to confide in people, but I would never burden them with my problems. I would seek professional help ie a psychologist if I had emotional problems and an accountant if I had financial problems, etc. I was brought up to believe that you do not do business with friends as this can cause a huge strain on the relationship. I trust easily, but I enjoy friends that I can go out on the town with when I have the time and can only cope with a certain amount of one on one time. I have a large family and have 5 people who already depend on me and they love me and I am always there for them. I have found that lately I resent it when my friends start relying heavily on me as the person who they want to tell all their problems to. I feel extremely guilty that I cannot be there for them, but in the past before having children I know that my nature has been to put their problems in front of my own even to my own detrement. Once they start wanting to talk to me/see me every week for more than 2 hours at a time and only to speak for the whole time about themselves. I just can't cope. I don't know how to say no without hurting their feelings and I feel really mean. Q1.Are their any other ESFJs who feel like me? and Q2. How do you say no or stop them telling you their problems in the 1st place? I love being with people but would much rather talk to a sales assistant in a big shop so there are no expectations other than a friendly enjoyable conversation! -- Anonymous
Your Answers: 1+ 9+
A1 Hi, As a fellow ESFj I do completely understand what you mean. In the past I have found myself getting frustrated when friends seem to become more dependent or are going through a tough time and you feel they need your help more. I have lately come to the conclusion that it part of my type to feel this way. Dominant extraverted feeling wants YOU to fulfil what YOU perceive is the role of being a good friend, based upon societal norms. Unfortunately it does not take into account your own personal situation, or interests. If you let it take over then you end up stretching yourself too far without anything in return and because your Extroverted Intuition is weak you do not predict it happening. What I have found useful is to take a more impersonal look at my relationships, what I get out of them, and whether they are good for ME. This feels uncomfortable at first but it can help you understand the meaning of true two-way relationships and focus on those which really matter. Hope this helps -- karen
A2 I'm an ESFJ and just came from a lunch with 2 ENFPs and an ESFP. The lunch was (and always is) dominated by the ENFPs. Is this normal? I'm pretty annoyed and I always feel that they want me to solve their problems (both the ENFPs are real drama queens). -- Anonymous
A3 @A2 - I've seen this exact thing before, with the ENFp having lunch or whatever with the ESFj and wanting the ESFj to solve her problems. It makes sense, as ESFj-ENFp is a relation of Benefit, with ESFj as the Benefactor and ENFp as the Beneficiary. Which essentially means that the ESFj is able to help the ENFp (by providing Si, which the ENFp needs), but ENFp is unable to provide anything that the ESFj wants in return. So yes, it's pretty normal. -- Krig (INTj)
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A4 From the standpoint of an INFj I can tell you this, the description you wrote of yourself, the people who depend on you and your needy friends, is part of the "control issues" of being an ESFj combined with the "take responsibilty for everything" martyrdom guilt. Which believe it or not, can feel very condescending to be around. Don't take that the wrong way, ESFjs do not set out to hurt anyone. But by opting to withhold their hurts, fears and doubts, they place themselves on a plane of "perfection" and "strength." Which in turn, places everyone they interact with in a postition of "flawed" and "too weak to fix themselves." So, in the end, the friend who is paying attention, will realize that they are trying to have a give and take relationship with a person who only feels comfortable recieving superficial, "here today, gone tommorrow" energy. Did you ever think that maybe showing your friends that you don't have everything under control, or that you have your own emotional flaws as well, might free yourself from feeling guilty? Seriously, WHO is actually asking you to "fix them?" My guess would be very few. Most are likely just bouncing situations/feelings off of you to see if you have a different spin on it. But ultimately, they will DO whatever they CHOOSE to do, and it may have nothing to do with your input. I hope that didn't come across as harsh. It's just frustrating caring about ESFj's who seem hell bent on playing the martyr, instead of actually letting people know what their needs are. N. (INFj, with moderate access to her S and p) -- The Reluctant Mystic
A5 A4: I agree with everything you said. -- Simon the INFp
A6 I 100% agree with reluctant mystic only adding that ENFj have a similar trait too. Martydom is a role, like taking the role of a joker, victim, servant, etc, your masking one's true self. Frankly your acting insincere with your friends and yes having people depend on you is nice but the flip side is taking responsibility all for your self only takes away responsibility from others. As advice, you may want to reconsider what friendship really entails as acquiantences are often friendly, colliqual and sympathetic but will turn their back on you when you act unpleasant by denying them what they want, while a friendship entails embracing the ugliness and inadequicy of a person and finding contentment with that rather than acting contemptuous. They differ in a way that for a selfish person always acting friendly, sympathetic and upbeat makes sense in keeping with social norms of propriety and reciprocity but for a friend you do act selfless often without any beneficial returns - the happiness of your friend matters to your own happiness. In my opinion, by seeing people in terms of where they are in thier lives is better than immediately taking pity on them when they make shallow displays of turmoil that are really cries for attention - don't fall prey to a wolf dressed as a sheep. Instead of listening endlessly to their problems, make a statement: "are you still depressed from missing that promotion?" Tell them to stop living in the past - help them learn from their mistakes instead of being their crutch. -- Anonymous
A7 A6: Usually there are MANY factors influencing the dynamics of frienship. Personally, in friendship (or any relation for that matter including family, professional etc) I will give care, LOOK OUT for them and have best interest for them in their problems help them etc but it ALL comes with a price of THEM doing the SAME for ME. For me friendship means trust. I consider a person my friend when I can tell them ALL my problems to them and I KNOW theyre not gonna USE that information against me and will LOOK OUT for me. If I sense that they have OTHER incentives for being my friend I build a guard against them and doesnt go down until I sense they are being friends with me for no particular reason or because they like my personality and have fun talking to me. And trust me, my radars are pretty sharp (been detecting bull**** since I was a baby! ) When I make a sacrifice I do it CONSIDERING what theyre feeling and RESPECTING that, and when I'm the EXACT position as they were b4 and they just turn around and do the opposite of making that sacrifice. and to top it off do something purely for their BENEFIT and TAKE ADVANTAGE of information I had given to them giving them a CHANCE of TRUSTING them and then they start keeping SECRETS from me NOT LOOKING OUT for me for their own personal GAIN..... then (a) they dont deserve my friendship and MY good intentions and care for THEM (b) I'd rather stay away from them cuz theyre disturbinggg my peace! (c) I dont want to watch my back when Im around them cuz of reasons I mentioned earlier of them proving to me that I can NOT TRUST them. There are certain things that a real friend simply does NOT do. Its a breach of trust. Oh and what they have done to my other friends plays a MAJOR role too. I think the main reason I would want to stay away from a person is that I see ugly intentions in them not only in a couple events but like almost all their relations with people and having done NASTY things to completely INNOCENT people! I like to think that people are always improving and becoming good natured BUT when they wrong me or have the INTENTION or wronging me and then trying to COME OFF as being on good terms with me (and with eveyone else to impress someone(s) (the (s) because they like to shoot for multiple prey with ONE arrow)) for reasons OTHER than being on good terms with me OH hell no. And about the listening to their problems thing.. some people are more sensitive than others but usually what is worth empathizing comes from yes thinking about it, but sometimes "are you still depressed from missing that promotion?" depends on tone of voice and facial expressions cuz it could sound like "you should not be feeling what you are feeling" which isnt true because I think feelings shouldnt be judged or it could sound like "awww I'm kinda sad that youre still depressed! please dont be!" so that could be important. And I'd see what that person has done and said about people that had tried giving good advice like that in the past and then decide for or against it. But thats already included in my personal analysis of their character in my head sooooo I dont have to do it again. Ummm I dont think people consider their friends' happiness b4 their own unless the favor is returned ofcourse and family. So yeah reciprocity is of great importance because then people take advantage of you! But USUALLY thats not the case! -- stillmad
A8 response to A7: well what I want from a friendship is individuality, whereas demanding reciprocity comes across as rational egotistic self-serving bunk and here is a tid bit of info regarding protection: being protective does not bring peace. I find peace knowing the real dangers that threaten me and facing those fears instead of protecting myself from imaginary danger and avoiding what is unpreventable. Trust is vital for a friendship but so is tolerance and forgiveness. I disagree that you make trust so conditional for friendship because without trust there is tolerance and without tolerance there is forgiveness and without forgiveness there is redemption and without redemption there is faith and without faith there is resilence. I'll state my disagreement again in another way: reciprocity is a mechanical process - I'll tighten your screws if you lube my sockets. As for innocence that was lost long ago when I stop being a child. The only innocence I recognize is the law because ignorance of the law is not innocence. -- Anonymous
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