Are You a Perceiver or a Judger?

The last pair of eight Myers-Briggs preferences are Perceiving and Judging. They relate to how people organize their lives. Perceivers are more spontaneous and adaptive than Judgers, and Judgers are more structured and organized.

People have some misconceptions about Perceivers and Judgers because of the labels they wear. Perceiving has little to do with perception of events; everyone possesses this ability. Judgers are not necessarily judgmental (although they may be). Both traits have their advantages. Which trait the individual chooses for any given situation depends upon the circumstances.

The Perceiver, although often late for appointments, may be spot on time for an airline flight—knowing that the doors will close if they don’t arrive by the deadline. The Judger, although normally on time for all events, may decide to arrive late at a party that promises to last all night. Their orientation all depends on the circumstances.  The Perceiver is capable of meeting deadlines without last-minute frenzy, and the Judger is capable of missing one from time to time.

This discrepancy between the two types is often the cause for resentment. Judgers who have made social arrangements with the habitually late Perceiver may come to see the person as disrespectful of his or her time. The Perceiver may see the Judger as compulsive and picky for no good reason. They have different views of clock time. On the same note, Judgers may start assignments early, scheduling time for the work so that it’s done in plenty of time. Perceivers are likely to stall on the project, resulting in a bind as the deadline approaches. Yet, by some miracle, they are almost never late. They make it just under the wire. The two types can make each other crazy.

Perceiving and Judging are just one pair of opposites among the four pairs that comprise the Myers-Briggs Inventory. The others are Introvert (I) vs. Extravert (E), Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N), and Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F). Everyone exhibits one of each pair of traits. For example, you might be an INFJ. That means you’re Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.

Below are some of the differences between Perceivers and Judgers:

Perceiving Types

  • Perceivers get distracted easily. They can run to the garage for a screwdriver, and then halfway down the driveway forget the purpose of their errand.
  • They get bored with routine. Rather than take the same route home very night, they may experiment with new routes. They love to explore the unknown.
  • They don’t plan their tasks. They wait to see what the job demands. For this reason, they’re often accused of being disorganized.
  • Perceivers have to depend on last-minute surges of energy to make deadlines. Usually they manage it, but the chaos they create tends to frustrate others.
  • They believe that creativeness and spontaneity are more important than tidiness. They would prefer to have the materials around them organized, but flexibility and responsiveness are more important.
  • They make work seem more like play than work. If it isn’t fun to do, it probably isn’t worth doing.
  • In conversations, Perceivers easily change the topic by going off on tangents, changing the subject to anything that enters their minds.
  • Perceivers like to keep their options open, not pinning themselves down about most things. After all, something better might come along and then they’d be regretful.

Judging Types

  • Judgers feel like they’re always waiting for others to show up. They seem to be the only people who respect appointments.
  • They know that the world would be a better place if everyone would shoulder their responsibilities without shirking.
  • Judgers like closure on issues. They don’t dawdle making purchase decisions and feel best when they’re pulling out a credit card to close the deal. Perceivers like to look at all the options first, enjoying the feeling of open-endedness.
  • In a discussion, Judgers may be accused of being angry, when they’re just expressing an opinion.
  • They like to finish assignments in plenty of time, even though they realize they have to do parts over to get them right.
  • Judgers try to work and live in an orderly environment. Messiness interferes with their competency. Everything has a place in their homes and offices.
  • They thrive on lists. They often make to-do lists first thing in the morning. Then if something comes up that must be done, they add it to the list just so they can cross it off.
  • Judgers have a place for everything and they feel uncomfortable unless everything is in its place.

Differences in the Perceiving vs. Judging function may cause more interpersonal tension than any of the other preferences. The following words describe the Perceiver: flexible, adaptive, open, tentative, spontaneous, and tardy. The Judger is resolved, decided, controlling, structured, definite, and scheduled. It’s no wonder they can grate on each other’s nerves in close quarters.

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