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ESTJs are very enthusiastic people who are driven to fulfill their obligations and duties, especially toward their families. If they are religious, they put God first, family second, and friends third. They put forth a tremendous amount of effort to meet their obligations and duties, according to their priorities. They are dedicated and committed to their relationships, which they consider to be lifelong and unalterable. They like to be in charge, and may be very controlling of their partners and children. They have high esteem for traditions and institutions, and expect that their partners and children will support these as well. They have little patience and need for dealing with people who see things very differently from the ESTJ.
Each type has traits and behaviors that can strengthen their relationhips. Most ESTJs will exhibit the following strengths with regards to relationship issues.
The first step in overcoming our weaknesses is identifying them and recognizing them in our own behavior. Once we've done that, we begin to naturally correct our weaker behaviors in real-time. ESTJs may recognize some or all of the following behaviors that can negatively impact the health of their relationships.
"To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive - to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before." —Rollo May
When an ESTJ says "I do", you can bet that they will put forth a tremendous amount of effort and energy into fulfilling their commitment to the relationship. They seek stability and security in their lives, and once they have made a commitment, it is lifelong and unalterable. They bring with them into the relationship a strong and dependable nature, which is oriented in traditions and security. They are highly energetic people, who never seem to lose their energy when performing duties and fulfilling obligations.
ESTJs usually feel very strongly that they are right and that if everyone else would listen carefully to what the ESTJ has to say, then they would understand the way things really are, and the world would be a better place. Such a strong, confident self-image is an asset in many ways, but can also be a detriment in close interpersonal relationships, if the ESTJ's partner does not feel valued for their contributions as an individual. This is a potential pitfall for ESTJs, who should try to be aware of the fact that other people have things to offer, even if they do not exactly follow the ESTJ's way of thinking. If it's not possible to do this on a larger scale, the ESTJ should perhaps focus on this area with respect to their partner's contributions.
Sexually, the ESTJ is likely to be robust, enthusiastic, and athletic. They will tend to be traditional, and to expect sexual encounters on a relatively scheduled basis. They're likely to approach intimacy as a physical experience of closeness, rather than as an opportunity to express and receive expressions of love and affection. The ESTJ will probably have to work on remembering to express their feelings verbally, but their partner's appreciation will make it well worth it for those who do.
In many ways, ESTJs are Guardians and Protectors by nature. They enjoy shielding and protecting their families, and are usually quite good at it. Their partners will appreciate and enjoy the benefits of the ESTJ's efforts in this respect, but they may also resent the more controlling aspects of the ESTJ's personality, which goes along with their strong desire to shield their loved-ones. The ESTJ may consider it their duty to instruct their spouses how to behave or what attitude to take in certain situations, which may not be appreciated.
Conversely, the ESTJ freely gives approval and affirmation when they are happy or impressed with their partner's behavior. Whether positive or negative, the ESTJ's expression can be taken at face value, because these individuals are very honest and forthright about what they think.
ESTJs enjoy spending time with others socializing, and are likely to strongly desire that their partners also take part in these social activities. They are especially interested in any event which is associated with the family, work, or any organization which the ESTJ is part of. Since they are social creatures, they're likely to bring an emphasis on socializing to the relationship - but only after all of their work is done.
ESTJs are not naturally in tune with what others are feeling, and they may even tend to be very unobservant in these respects. This can cause problems with partners who have a Feeling preference, who may feel hurt or neglected by the ESTJ. If these feelings are pointed out to the ESTJ as an important dynamic of the relationship, rather than harbored internally by the Feeler, the ESTJ is likely to attempt to be more aware of their partner's feelings and emotions.
The ESTJ gladly performs their duties in life, and wants to be appreciated for doing so. This is the greatest gift that their partners can give them - gratitude.
Although two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy relationship, ESTJ's natural partner is the ISTP, or the INTP. ESTJ's dominant function of Extraverted Thinking is best matched with someone whose dominant function is Introverted Thinking. The ESTJ/ISTP combination is deal because it also shared the Sensing way of perceiving the world, but the ESTJ/INTP combination is also quite good. More on ESTJ compatibility
"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth...
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable." —Kahlil Gibran
ESTJs take their parenting responsibilities seriously, and enjoy the roles and duties which they are consequently presented with. The ESTJ sees parenthood as a natural state, and welcomes the opportunity to fulfill their basic obligation to pass on their genes, and to raise children to be responsible, independent adults.
ESTJs usually expect that parents should be parents, and children should be children. There is likely to be that parent-child barrier between the ESTJ and their kids, and they are likely to expect that their children will treat them with respect and honor. They will have no patience for extreme deviation from this basic rule.
ESTJs also do not have much tolerance for inefficiency or messiness. They dislike to see mistakes repeated. Consequently, ESTJ parents may have a difficult time with their children who have Intuitive or Perceiving preferences. They are extremely practical, and have no understanding or value for the creative imaginations of highly Intuitive children. They will also have little patience with the unstructured, "go with the flow" attitude of their Perceiving children. This impatience with other types is a potential downfall for the ESTJ which may manifest itself in an ugly way if the rift occurs with their own children. The ESTJ should remember that what is right for them is not necessarily right for their children.
ESTJ's need for authority can lead them into overly-controlling and demanding behavior with their children. This sort of thing is rarely positive, and is something to be resisted.
Whatever difficulties an ESTJ may experience with their child, they will always accept that child back as their own. They are strongly driven to fulfill their duties, and see parenting as one of these "must do" obligations.
Children of the ESTJ will usually remember them as dependable, reliable, strict, traditional, and always willing to sacrifice themself for the sake of their children.
Although ESTJs typically put their family above their friends, they do enjoy and value their friendships, especially those of long-standing. ESTJs can be quite fun when they're enjoying themselves. They especially like to be around people who share their interests and pursuits, and are likely to spend free time with friends pursuing some activity or hobby — probably athletic or sports-oriented. They're likely to socialize quite a bit with their own family members, and with people who belong to the same organization or institution as the ESTJ.
ESTJs are usually status-conscious, and will respect others who they feel have acheived a high degree of success in our society. Although ESTJs have very high standards for behavior, and believe that they know what is appropriate and best in any given situation, they're likely to be less controlling with those who they feel are powerful individuals.
ESTJs will have little patience with people who seem frivolous or extremely untraditional. Conversely, those who live entirely in the current moment (Sensing Perceivers) may not appreciate the ESTJ's strong judgments, which may seem overly traditional to them. ESTJs are likely to bond well with other ESTJs, and with people of any type, if they share a common interest or goal.
ESTJs tend to be enthusiastic, sharp, and witty. They like to hear good jokes, and enjoy telling them as well. They're valued by their friends for being dependable and upbeat, and easily engaged in various pursuits.
The ESTJ is generally very opinionated, and likes to appear authoritative and in charge. They may temper this tendency when around other ESTJs whom they value. Around other types, this tendency may cause them to be abrupt and direct, to the point where they inadvertantly step on people's toes.