Entries for month: November 2013

You Can’t Keep ESFPs Down

We know two ESFPs, Rockley and Suzi, who are married to each other. This summer, my family has watched them go through a crisis, and we’ve had a chance to learn a lot about their type.
They found out that Rockley had cancer of the throat, which is dreadful news. They felt all of the grief and fear that any family would feel after such news.  

What amazed my family were the faces they showed to the world throughout the ordeal. Instead of behaving downcast and sad, they never stopped smiling, laughing, chatting happily and having fun with each other and their friends. 

After I first heard the news, I phoned Suzi. She was cheerful as she told me about the kind doctor who had diagnosed Rockley’s cancer, and their adventures in finding the best doctors for his treatments. 

A few weeks later, their three kids came home for a visit and to discuss the future. The whole family and some of their friends came to our house loaded with pizza boxes, bottles of beer and home made cookies. We sat in the back yard and talked happily about their plans to re-paint Rockley’s bedroom, find a deal on a Vitamix so they can make him liquid meals during his chemo, and the availability of a milkshake from Smoothie King made especially for cancer patients called “The Hulk.”

In the weeks that followed, people were coming to see them, and they were entertaining everyone. On the evening before he checked into the hospital for surgery, Rockley was partying until dawn with his family in their hotel room. 

A week after his surgery, they were all over at our house again for another fun get-together. Rockley, sitting there with a healing scar on his throat, excitedly told us about new computer programs he had found to help him work from home while he convalesces, and new people he had hired at the dance studio he owns. He had even found a way to make more money from all of these changes.   

He was taking part in several drug trials so he was on the phone making arrangements with the nurses and doctors in charge of those trials. His kids had spent the week cleaning out their parents’ bedroom and repainting it, and they were showing iPhone pictures of all of the bags of clothes they took to Goodwill.

In the weeks that followed, when he was undergoing chemo and radiation treatments, every time I called to get an update, Suzi had me laughing with some funny story about Rockley. A month into his treatments, he had so much energy from the steroids they were giving him that he was cleaning out their house and finding things they thought were lost for ten years. When he wasn’t doing that, he was watching re-runs of “The Big Bang Theory” and laughing his head off.

Even when he had to be admitted to the hospital with a blood infection, after Suzi told me the grim details, she told me what a lovely private room they had given him, and how it was like a luxury hotel.

When the chemo and radiation were finished, the doctor said he should take it easy. Suzi asked the doctor, “Does that include moving furniture, scraping fences and power washing the deck?” In order to get him to sit still, his son brought over a 4,000-piece puzzle of Times Square. “It’s all over my dining room table,” said Suzi, “We have no place to eat because the kitchen table is covered in his papers. I have got to get this man out of the house. You can’t string him up. That’s against the law.”

“Who were you talking to?’ my husband asked, wondering why I was in stitches on the phone. “It was Suzi,” I said. “We were talking about Rockley’s cancer.”

For this ESFP couple, cancer has been many things, but most of all, it’s been another reason to be with friends, meet new people, and learn new things and laugh. I don’t know what it’s like for them in the dark, when they’re alone. All I know is that I’m amazed by the genuinely sunny faces they show to the world, and I’m grateful for what they have taught me. Even when we’re facing the worst, life still has endless possibilities for positive experiences, and it seems that ESFPs will always remind us of that.


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Suprises (Or Not!!)

Every morning I open my e-mail. I suppose that experience always qualifies as a surprise since I never know for sure what will be in the inbox.  One morning I found a request from the son of a friend of mine.  He was organizing a surprise birthday party for his Mother but wasn’t sure how to get ahold of her friends to invite them. 

Would I please forward the invitation?  So I did, carefully eliminating his Mother’s email from the address lines…or so I thought…but of course, I missed one.  She got the email!

I felt awful.  No way to recover from this one.  Except of course, that there is. It turns out that she hates surprise parties. 

Her family used my mistake to have a conversation about the type of party she would really like to have and who to invite.  I would have missed some of her friends since our circles do not overlap. 

The party was lots of fun. Her husband jokingly shut the door in my face when I walked up the sidewalk, but then gave me a hug. Stories were told about my mistake.  

A few days later I was listening to a public radio show on travelling and memorable trips.  The travel expert was making the point that the most memorable trips are those in which something goes wrong – there’s a surprise. 

Yes, I do recall quite vividly being the victim of a theft on a train to Amsterdam, losing my purse with my passport, my money, my ticket, and my wallet photos, etc.

But it was the kindness of the police and the helpfulness of the KLM employees that helped me get through it and get on a plane a day later with an upgrade.  And when the purse made it back a year later via the U.S. Embassy with the things I most cared about inside, well, that was a wonderful surprise. 

One of the things I like best about traveling is that there are always surprises – a spectacular view, a special museum, an incredible sunset, a new experience (tandem bicycling), some interesting people, getting lost (and reoriented), and more.

On a recent trip, we came across a real surprise of a museum – the Grohmann in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Who knew that sculptures and pictures of people working could be so fascinating!  And the commentary explaining some of the work was incredible.

For example, in describing the work of a cooper (those barrel makers of yesteryear), there was a whole paragraph just about the sizes of the barrels and the particular name for each size.  I felt I was in another world.

And the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan…ever heard of an art museum where the washrooms are among the highlights and where you’re encouraged to visit both the men’s and the women’s? 

There are different kinds of surprises - some you welcome, and some you don’t. And there are different kinds of people. 

So, do Extraverts like surprises more than Introverts because surprises engage them quickly with the outside world? 

Do Intuitive types like surprises more than Sensing types because a surprise offers a new possibility? 

Do Perceiving types like surprises more than Judging types because surprises lend themselves to flexible approaches? 

What do you think?  Does your type like surprises?  Do you?


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