INFJ Meets ESFJ

When an INFJ and ESFJ are drawn to each other, the attraction becomes obvious fairly quickly— although the ESFJ is usually the more transparent of the two and is likely to make the first overtures. INFJs are generally cautious until they’re sure of a relationship.

ESFJs are generous and outgoing, giving without any thought of return. If someone expresses a need, they’re among the first to try to satisfy it. They place a high value on harmony. They’re at their best organizing people for family, community or work events. INFJs are generous, too, but they’re reserved and shrink from being in the public eye.

As traditionalists, ESFJs rely on tried-and-true methods of solving problems. For this reason, they can overlook newer, better approaches that are obvious to others—a habit that may prove annoying for inventive friends and relatives who are reluctant to endanger their relationship with the ESFJ by being critical. This is especially true of INFJs, who usually have innovative ideas but are too tactful to hurt the feelings of less adventurous folks.

Friendship

ESTJs are steadfast friends. They will disrupt their work schedules to accommodate others. If a friend’s car is in the shop, the ESFJ doesn’t hesitate to provide transportation. But when the ESFJ is in the same boat a month later and a friend isn’t willing to reciprocate, hurt feelings are likely to result. Underneath it all, ESFJs need evidence that others care about them, too.

Sometimes ESFJs go to lengths that aren’t healthy in order to make others happy. Being warm and sympathetic is a top priority. If INFJ and ESFJ friends go to a restaurant that serves delicious French pastries, the overweight INFJ might say, “I can have the entrée, but don’t let me have any dessert!” When they’ve finished the main dish, the server comes around with a tray of petit fours. The ESFJ sees the look of longing in the friend’s eyes, knowing that the friend will regret the indulgence later on. What does the ESFJ say? “Go ahead. One dessert can’t hurt you.”

Romance

ESFJ partners are drawn to the rich imaginations and agile minds of INFJs. Falling in love is a totally absorbing experience. If an INFJ encourages the relationship, ESFJs show their affection with gifts, notes, and other symbols of commitment. Even when doing extra favors is inconvenient or expensive, ESFJs go out of their way to satisfy a partner’s desires. Some ESFJs may be more in love with love than with their partners per se.

Unfortunately, ESFJs are not always aware that a relationship is starting to fail. Their outgoing, optimistic natures may lead them to believe that everything is fine. In the meantime, the INFJ may continue a partnership that’s going downhill without airing his or her dissatisfaction. If the truth be known, the INFJ may not want to risk losing the intimacy with the ESFJ without another prospect standing in the wings.

This can be devastating for ESFJs who didn’t see the signs. They tend to deal with these crises by looking for their own mistakes and shortcomings. They think about the times when they were less generous or thoughtful than they might have been, even though this assessment may be baseless. They suffer a period of lowered self-esteem.

Family

In their efforts to keep family life harmonious, both INFJs and ESTJs often sweep problems under the rug rather than air them and resolve the conflict. Partners who swallow their irritation and/or underestimate their own needs tend to wear themselves out or become resentful. They need to risk the good will of others by saying “no” sometimes.

While ESFJs are easygoing and warm at home, they usually have set ideas about social matters—unlike unconventional INFJs. Their expectations are tied to tradition. Often they’re the ones in charge of family get-togethers such as Thanksgiving dinner. Also, they generally take responsibility for buying birthday, anniversary, and holiday gifts.

INFJs don’t understand all the fuss about family celebrations. They’ll go along to keep the peace, but they don’t want to be drawn into a lot of complicated arrangements. They can’t fathom why anyone would like to collect so many people around them over the holidays. INFJs prefer intimate gatherings with just the immediate family present.

ESFJs are involved in school and community activities more than their reserved INFJ partners. They plan educational or character-building social activities for their children, such as after-school sports. The children may accompany them to events at retirement communities or volunteer at animal shelters. INFJs are less group-oriented and have more reserved ways of demonstrating their ideals and desire to help others.

Secrets of Success

When an INFJ and ESFJ stay together and adjust to each other’s styles, they often find that each benefits from the influence of the other. ESFJs help INFJs expand their social horizons and avoid becoming isolated. With their warm personalities, ESFJs attract a circle of friends that can prove stimulating to the INFJ. INFJs can bring more warmth and intimacy to the relationship by initiating activities they share as a twosome, often strengthening their bond.

 

 

INFJ Meets ENFJ

People of the INFJ and ENFJ Myers-Briggs types usually make compatible friends and partners. It makes sense when you look at their shared traits: intuition, feeling, and judging. The two types differ only in their tendencies toward introversion and extraversion, and that’s not all bad. The introverted INFJ is likely to encourage the ENFJ to spend time together so they can enjoy each other’s company in private. The ENFJ, in turn, promotes participation in social activities and group events. This is good for the INFJ, at least some of the time.

Friendship

Like ENFJs, INFJs have a sixth sense for the needs of others. As friends, they often work on projects that involve helping people. The difference between the two is that the INFJ isn’t as obvious or demonstrative. The interpersonal skills of ENFJs make others want to join them. The INFJ is there to back up the ENFJ’s efforts. ENFJs are quick to show their gratitude to friends and co-workers and are generally well liked. INFJs are more reserved. It takes effort for them to show their emotions.

ENFJs and INFJs enjoy activities that require teamwork, especially service work. INFJs do, too, but they’re not as outwardly enthusiastic and verbal. While ENFJs often find themselves pushed into leadership positions at work and in the community, INFJs are happy to let them have the spotlight. They’re satisfied to serve their ENFJ friends as consultants and collaborators.

Both INFJs and ENFJs have strong personalities, radiate authenticity, and rarely betray their ideals. Both are skilled verbally, the INFJ more in writing than speaking. They have an eloquence that helps bring people together in a common cause. They enjoy working together.

Romance

When an INFJ and ENFJ are attracted to each other, it’s all they can think about. However, the ENFJ is usually the one to make the first overtures. INFJs are cautious and fearful of rejection. ENFJs bring gifts to the new partner, write e-mails, and arrange romantic evenings out. They like to talk about the relationship. INFJs are glad to hear the things that they, too, would like to say but are too shy to express.

Being idealists, both types tend to avoid acknowledging the normal ups and downs of a relationship. They may sweep problems under the rug when they should be handled openly. Resolving conflicts can clear the air. Both parties can learn new information that enables them to interact more meaningfully in the future.

Neither the INFJ nor the ENFJ wants to hear anything negative about their partner from friends. Both are sure they’ve made the right choice and don’t want to be told otherwise.

If a partner cheats on them or breaks up the relationship, they suffer considerably. They’re ashamed that things didn’t work out and feel that they’re somehow at fault. The split is likely to be more painful for INFJs than for ENFJs, who are more capable of moving on because of their outgoing nature.

Family Life

If an INFJ and ENFJ decide to build a home together, their family life is likely to be active and happy. They generally make considerate partners and parents. When they’ve brought work home from the office or have personal chores that need doing, they’re willing to put them on hold to meet the needs of their partners and children. As a result, the children may find it easy to impose on their parents. ENFJs, particularly, need to be careful about letting family members take advantage of their easy-going nature.

Both types spend a good deal of their spare time reading. They encourage their children to enjoy books, taking them to the library and often reading to them at bedtime. They like attending educational events as a family. On the way home from a movie or play, ENFJs are likely to engage the children in conversation about the plot and characters. It pleases them to encourage their children to observe the world intelligently. INFJs, being more introspective, enjoy the exchanges but may not have a great deal to contribute.

If family problems arise, the parents may avoid discussing them at first, due to their aversion to conflict. When things get serious enough—and the happiness and comfort of others are at stake— they will bring the family together to resolve the issues. Both are good at fostering a cooperative and amiable home environment.

Secrets of Success

While the INFJ and ENFJ have a lot in common, they should realize that their privacy needs differ and should be respected. The INFJ needs time alone to read, work at the computer, and putter around the house. Some INFJs need the freedom to take retreats by themselves. On the other hand, the ENFJ is an outgoing person who needs to participate in group activities. The INFJ should participate frequently to strengthen their bond.

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INFJ meets ISTJ

It’s fair to say that any two people with this combination of Myers-Briggs traits are likely to have adjustment problems if they’re to function smoothly together. While they are joined in their preference for privacy (introversion), this isn’t enough to make them compatible. Both have a preference for judging, as well, but they use the function in dissimilar ways due to their other trait differences.

The INFJ is introverted (I), intuitive (N), feeling (F), and judging (J). The ISTJ shares the introverted, judging traits, but is a sensing (S) and (T) thinking type. How do INFJs and ISTJs get along and where do they run into trouble?

Friendship

ISTJs are one of the most responsible of the sixteen Myers-Briggs types, but they can be inflexible. Although INFJs are responsible, too, their drive to meet obligations is softened by concern about the impact of their decisions on others.

ISTJs focus on objective details. They are bound by rules and regulations. INFJs are more comfortable with complex, subtle intellectual considerations. This difference can put them at odds. The ISTJ may view the INFJs as freethinkers, oblivious of convention. INFJs may consider ISTJs to be narrow-minded and rigid.

Another difference in their personalities relates to the way they gather information before making decisions. ISTJs rely on concrete details. They miss nothing and take nothing for granted. INFJs are more imaginative. They’re willing to trust their hunches as the basis for action. They feel that this is justified by the fact that their intuition is so reliable. As friends, INFJs and ISTJs can get impatient with each other because they think so differently.

INFJs are impatient with themselves, but tolerate the idiosyncrasies of others, at least openly. ISTJs, being quite sure of everything they think and do, can be demanding companions. INFJs sometimes find this hard to deal with.

Romance

While ISTJs make loyal partners, they are seldom outwardly sentimental, rarely putting their feelings into words. To them, the fact of their commitment is enough. This can be frustrating to INFJ partners, who like to hear words of affection. Without verbal evidence of a partner’s loyalty, INFJs can feel ignored or unappreciated.

Because ISTJs are traditionalists at heart, they usually conform to stereotypes of their gender. Females engage in conventional female activities, such as cooking and decorating, while males are more “macho”—preferring to watch football or tinker with their cars. They are protective of their female partners, figuring that it’s expected of them. They know how to make the masculine moves that the culture approves of—opening doors, pulling out chairs, and so on.

Family Life

ISTJs are happy to undertake routine responsibilities in the home—mowing the lawn, cleaning the kitchen, getting the children to school on time, and so on. On the other hand, INFJs seldom enjoy activities that involve regularity or what they define as drudgery. They prefer creative tasks, such as decorating rooms in the house or planning dinner menus. While the differences between the types can be complementary, they may cause friction when the two types are collaborating on the same task. When painting a room, for example, the ISTJ is likely to prefer a light, neutral color such as eggshell, while the INFJ may want to experiment with maroon. Neither can understand the other’s choice.

Because ISTJs love tradition, they go all out to celebrate important family events. Everyone is expected to show up and participate. Absentees are likely to have a guilt trip laid on them. INFJs find the ISTJ’s enthusiasm for get-togethers hard to understand. Being intuitive types, they aren’t conventional and don’t see the point, especially if they’re not fond of some of the people involved.

While both types enjoy their home life, ISTJs are neater and tidier. They prefer subdued, tasteful decor. Things are put away. The yard is neat and orderly, with no extravagant landscaping. Here they part company with INFJs, who are chronically untidy—although they do clean up after themselves when prompted. INFJ tastes in decorating are more elaborate and inventive. They’re so caught up in creative projects that messes are inevitable. Pleasure takes priority over neatness.

When children are involved, ISTJs enforce the regulations they learned while growing up. Family roles are clear. Fathers and mothers make the rules and children follow them. INFJs are not bound by tradition. They make up things as they go along. This free-wheeling attitude can be frustrating for ISTJs.

Secrets of Success

The INFJ, being capable of more insight than the ISTJ, may need to make the greatest adjustment in the relationship. However, when major conflicts arise, it’s important for the INFJ to explain to the ISTJ in concrete terms what he or she needs and why. Abstract reasoning frustrates most ISTJs. When handled patiently and given down-to-earth reasons for requests, ISTJs who were once difficult partners may become more spontaneous and tolerant.

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How INFJs Can Lose Out

 

 

 

People of every Myers-Briggs type can carry their preferences too far, with unhappy results. This usually happens when the person is under pressure or stressed. INFJs are no exception. They are introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging creatures—sometimes a recipe for overreaction.

As gifted as INFJs are, life isn’t easy for them. With their tendency toward introversion they’re alone inside their heads a lot—not always a safe neighborhood. Their intuitive preference (N) causes them to be idealists, and the circumstances of life are seldom ideal. Their emotional tendencies (F) can cause them to inflate slights or mistakes. Because of their judging function (J), they may exaggerate imagined consequences. These tendencies sometimes cause INFJs to overwork one or more preferences in an attempt to control difficult situations.

Idealism

When INFJs are too caught up with their vision of life, they may ignore the facts. Even when the evidence contradicts their conclusions, they persist. As a result, they may not know when to cut their losses and move on. Their fruitless search for the ideal causes them to suffer.

A useful antidote is reliance on trusted friends and relatives for feedback. Others may be able to offer helpful reality checks. INFJs are persistent, stubborn folks and it’s sometimes hard for them to release their grip.

Tact

Because of their thoughtful, compassionate natures, INFJs aren’t always forthright about dealing with work or relationship problems. Following the adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” they remain silent and allow resentments to build up. When they finally blow up—if that happens—others can’t figure out what happened to the quiet, tactful INFJ they thought they knew.

The paradox is that tactful confrontation comes naturally to INFJs. If they stop to realize this, they may feel more inclined to give helpful feedback to others. By clarifying issues, INFJs pave the way for better relationships with friends, co-workers, and family. Often, their listeners are grateful for the insights and the opportunity to improve matters.

Focus

The judging (J) preference of INFJs gives them focus. It motivates them to complete projects, make decisions without delay and meet commitments on time. They’re reliable folks. Because they have so much faith in their hunches, however, they sometimes act prematurely.

When buying a used car, for example, an INFJ may feel justified making the purchase after merely looking the car over and taking a test ride. If the price is right, having a mechanic check it out seems like needless trouble. So the INFJ buys the car. Later, when it develops engine trouble, the person may regret the hasty decision. If the buyer had been an INFP, not an INFJ (that is, a P, not a J), he or she would probably have taken this precaution. Unlike INFJs, INFPs don’t reach decisions lightly. As perceivers (P), they aren’t satisfied with limited evidence.

INFJs sometimes bypass details to get a job done. They don’t like postponing decisions, waiting for more information. An INFJ invited to work on a project with an ESTP may fail to check on the person’s track record before agreeing to collaborate. INFJs have a tendency to say, “Things will probably work out fine.” Later, they may be exasperated at the ESTPs tendency to talk too much (E), inability to see the big picture (S), disregard for the impact of their work on others (T), and tendency to be late for deadlines (P). Completing the project on time with goodwill intact may be difficult.

Getting Back on Track

When INFJs are relaxed, comfortable with themselves, and back on track, they’re able to use their visionary gifts to best advantage, find creative ways to work and express themselves, and continue to pursue their worthy goals with ease and confidence.

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INFJ Meets INFJ

 

When two INFJs find each other, they’re lucky. After all, only one in one hundred people is an INFJ.

INFJs have many desirable personality traits. They are kind, generous, and helpful to others. When friends or even strangers are in trouble, INFJs hurry to the rescue. They’re ready to offer creative solutions or hands-on support.

Whatever their relationship, they can depend on each other to behave with integrity—whatever the setting. What they do is consistent with their ideals. While the two don’t make a fuss about their standard of ethics, it’s apparent in everything they do.

The reluctance of INFJs to accept praise is partly due to the introverted nature of their personalities. Their desire to avoid the spotlight reflects their need for privacy. In general, they’re at their best concentrating on their ideas and inspirations—not engaging in social niceties.

Friendship

INFJs usually forge lasting friendships when they’re lucky enough to find each other. If they have a common objective, they’re almost sure to work together harmoniously. They’re so persistent and stubborn in their pursuit of goals that they almost always achieve them. INFJs are formidable as a team. If they meet resistance, they only get more determined. Working together, they’re highly respected because of their quiet strength and ability to support each other. Even at play, they’re a delight to be with because they’re so companionable, honest, and usually good-natured.

Because of their shared introversion, they tend to prefer each other’s company with no one else around. When they’re enjoying themselves, they’re sometimes unwilling to invite others into the inner circle. They would do well to make friends with a few extraverts who can encourage them to share their fun or work. Spending time exclusively together can cause them to stagnate without their realizing it.

INFJs are a pleasure to collaborate with when they don’t get too driven. They are clear-thinking, intelligent, and witty. Together, INFJ friends are keen observers of the human scene. It’s hard to put much over on them, because, by the time they share their insights with each other, they’ve usually covered all the bases.

Romance

When two INFJs become romantically attached, they may feel shy about showing their affection at first. They aren’t big risk-takers in the business of romance. At first, they make subtle gestures to encourage the object of their affection. They’re cautious about expressing their feelings for fear of rejection.

If INFJs seem aloof, it’s because they do such a good job of hiding their feelings. It isn’t easy for them to make their emotional needs known. When two INFJs recognize these qualities in each other, they generally have the patience to fish for clues. Eventually they reveal themselves.

Once two INFJs are fully in touch, they’re delighted with the treasure they’ve found. Both have rich imaginations and quick minds. They inspire each other to grow and develop without being controlling.

If, for some reason, the INFJ/INFJ match isn’t working well, the dissatisfied partner may postpone a separation because the intimacy is so important. In cases where one is married and the other isn’t, trouble may be the result. Since INFJs are loyal and ethical, they’re unlikely to leave a marriage partner. If they do, they experience guilt and remorse. This isn’t good for any relationship.

When two INFJs break up, both suffer. Neither forgets the other. Some longing will always remain. INFJs are focused, intense human beings.

Home Life

INFJs are idealists as partners and parents. They desire harmony, sometimes avoiding family conflicts that should be resolved by direct means. When disagreements arise, INFJ partners do well to find privacy and quiet time to discuss them. Because they’re complex people with subtle feelings, conflicts need to be sorted out carefully. Bold confrontations tend to backfire and cause resentments.

As parents, INFJs encourage their children to develop a number of skills and get a good education. They will sacrifice considerable time and money to this end. If the children appear rebellious, uncooperative, or difficult for any reason, INFJs try hard to discover the source of the problem. As long as the children put forth genuine effort and appear to be making good use of their intelligence, the parents are mostly happy.

The INFJs’ home has an abundance of books, sports equipment, musical instruments, and other paraphernalia scattered around as evidence of the couple’s many interests and hobbies. The more they can share these as a family, the happier they are. At the same time, each needs personal space where he or she can have privacy.

The homes of INFJ couples are sometimes neat and organized, sometimes cluttered. It depends on how caught up they are in current hobbies and interests. Keeping an orderly environment feels good, but it’s not top priority. Their surroundings may be cluttered but their minds are extremely organized.

Secrets of Success

INFJs have a strong attraction for each other. They’re also intense and focused. To keep their relationship healthy, they need to preserve their needs for personal privacy while, at the same time, cultivating social outlets. They should give each other the space needed for individual pursuits but spend time with friends, too.

INFJ Meets ISFP

 

 

As one of sixteen Myers-Briggs types, the INFJ is introverted (I), intuitive (N), feeling (F), and judging (J). A little different from the ISFP—who shares the introverted (I) and feeling (F) traits but not the intuitive (N) and judging (J) traits.

Both have a need for some privacy to collect themselves and regroup. If the INFJ says to an ISFP partner, “I think I’ll go out and straighten up the garage,” the ISFP is likely to interpret this as a need for time alone and say “Good idea,” rather than “Want me to come?” Or, if the ISFP heads outside with watercolors and paintbrush, the INFJ probably won’t offer to tag along. They both treasure their private space.

Their feeling (F) function makes them sensitive to each other’s needs—another Myers-Briggs trait they share. In fact, they base most of their personal decisions upon the impact they’ll have on others. Before making any large purchases, accepting invitations, or making important choices, they consult their partners.

Of course, feelings still get hurt sometimes. After attending a party where the couple doesn’t know many people, the INFJ may comment, “My feelings were hurt when you left me stranded at the buffet table.” An ISFP partner doesn’t retort, “Well, can’t you take care of yourself?” He or she is more likely to say “Gosh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you felt that way.”

Their shared traits of introversion (I) and feeling (F) make them understand each other’s tendency to be shy. They realize that both are too critical of themselves, tending to undervalue their skills. The positive aspect of this is that they can offer mutual reassurance.

Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)

An important difference between the INFJ and ISFP lies in their intuitive/sensing (I/S) functions. Intuitive types rely on their hunches to make decisions. They don’t take in all the details that the sensing person does, but they can draw sound conclusions without them. The sensing type has a watchful eye and misses nothing. In their world, decisions should be based on facts, not hunches.

Driving home from a meeting, the sensing person may say, “Did you see the Rolex Jason was wearing and the Vuitton case he was carrying?” The intuitive partner may answer, “I thought something was up when he kept looking at his watch and opening his briefcase. What a show-off!”

Perceiving (P) vs. Judging (J)

The couple’s differences in perceiving (P) and judging (J) can sometimes cause friction because the INFJ makes decisions more impulsively than the methodical ISFP. Perceiving (P) types like to postpone closure as long as possible, being more comfortable with open-ended situations.

Shopping for a printer, the INFJ may be satisfied with the prices and ratings on Amazon and be ready to order online. Not the ISFP. “I want to see what the print-outs look like,” says the ISFP. Or, “Maybe we can find a better price somewhere else.”

Unless the INFJ appreciates the ISFP’s need to keep decisions open-ended until the last minute—and until the ISFP understands the INFJ’s impatience for closure—they may be in for some frustrating moments. Because of their judging (J) function, INFJs rarely miss deadlines and are always on time for appointments. ISFPs, as perceivers (P), are inclined to make deadlines by the skin of their teeth and be anywhere from five to thirty minutes late for social events.

Falling in Love

Falling in love is a major event for both INFJs and ISFPs. In the first stages of an affair, they’re seldom separated, immersing themselves in each other’s company. If the relationship continues, they’re usually loyal partners. One may even change careers or relocate for the good of the partnership.

INFJs and ISFPs are good at entertaining each other with their wide-ranging interests and taste for adventure. Together they make take up new activities such as camping, art, or gourmet cooking. Of the two, the ISFP is inclined to be more graceful and athletic because they enjoy the feeling of their bodies in motion. They often excel at physical activities requiring both sensitivity and strength, such as dancing and figure skating.

The main problems that INFJs and ISFPs face usually stem from their tendency to avoid disagreements. They may fail to stand up for or even recognize their own emotional needs. If the air isn’t cleared and resentments are allowed to develop, the relationship can be damaged to the point where one or the other strays, looking for a more agreeable partner. This can be devastating for the person left behind, as both types are naturally vulnerable to rejection and prone to self-criticism.

INFJ Meets ESTP

When an INFJ meets an ESTP, some special chemistry must be at work for them to enjoy time together. These Myers-Briggs types are exact opposites.

The INFJ (I) is introverted—a private person. The ESTP (E) is sociable and outgoing. INFJs rely more on intuition (N) than concrete facts to reach conclusions. ESTPs use their sensing (S) function to get information from the immediate environment. INFJs take action based on their feeling (F) function, evaluating the impact of their decisions on others. ESTPs pride themselves on their ability to reach decisions based on logic (T). Finally, INFJs like to bring closure to situations, a judging (J) function. ESTPs like to keep decisions open-ended. They’re happy-go-lucky about appointment times and deadlines—unlike INFJs, who arrive places on time and meet their deadlines.

If it’s true that opposites attract, that surely must be the case for INFJs and ESTPs.

Friendship

Introverted (I) INFJs approach friendship in a quiet, thoughtful way. They are comfortable alone or with one or two close friends. ESTPs can be found wherever the action is.

While both types have a sense of humor, INFJs lean toward subtle, dry wit whereas ESTPs paint their humor in broad strokes. Some INFJs find the bluff approach of ESTPs a bit much. ESTPs often find INFJs a little boring. Both types like to laugh, but they find their humor in different places.

The intuitive (N) INFJ observes what’s going on—requiring a limited amount of concrete information to guess where events are headed and determine what decisions to make. INFJs rely on hunches. And they’re usually on target. They’re more interested in the meaning of events than in the events themselves. Sensing (S) ESTPs wonder how their INFJ friends can jump to conclusions based on so little evidence. It seems crazy to them. The fact that the INFJ is often right is an unexplainable mystery.

Romance

INFJs are big on romance and physical intimacy. Their introversion, intuition and feeling traits set them up for it. For ESTPs, love has less to do with intimacy than it does with finding a fun partner with whom to share life’s adventures.

While the INFJ is cautious in the first stages of a relationship due to fear of rejection, the ESTP is the opposite. Winning an exciting partner is a challenge—in fact, it’s one of the main objects of romance. Because ESTPs would rather make romantic moves on the ski slopes than in the bedroom, the INFJ can get disappointed in the relationship. ESTPs are generally not creative or passionate lovers.

Unlike most INFJs, ESTPs are risk takers, whether the risks are physical, financial or intellectual. They’re willing to play for high stakes in the hope of high rewards. They especially enjoy looking for loopholes or unusual pay-offs relative to the time or money invested.

To the INFJ, this is foolhardy. The pipe dreams of the ESTP seem risky to the INFJ and frequently the product of poor judgment. In a partnership, this can cause trouble over time. ESTPs tend to lay themselves open to con schemes. INFJs are usually too intuitive to fall for them. The question is, can an INFJ get an ESTP partner to listen?

When a partner ends a relationship, it’s a bitter pill for the INFJ to swallow. In contrast, an abandoned ESTP will be unhappy for a while but soon decide that life is too short for grief and sadness. ESTPs know how to cut their losses and face new challenges.

Family Life

INFJs are enjoyable to live with, offering the family intimacy as well as intellectual stimulation. ESTPs are fun to live with, too, but for different reasons. Their spontaneity keeps things lively and their practical orientation to life makes sure that things get done.

While INFJs have no trouble taking action when it’s appropriate, they do think before jumping in. ESTPs are more likely to fly by the seat of their pants. If the family dog escapes from the yard and runs off, the ESTP is in the car immediately, patrolling the neighborhood and calling the dog’s name. “Bruno! Bruno! Where are you?” The INFJ, thinking before acting, recalls that Bruno has a doggie friend one block away. Acting on a hunch, he or she calls the neighbor. Sure enough, Bruno is scratching at the chain link fence where his friend stands waiting, tail wagging.

ESTPs know how to anticipate the needs of partners and children when it suits them. Occasionally, though, they’re so direct that feelings are hurt when they overlook ordinary courtesies. INFJs may have to overcome their conflict-avoidant style to point this out to the ESTP for the good of everyone involved.

As parents, INFJs and ESTPs work in harmony. Both have realistic expectations of their children. They don’t need to see straight A’s when report cards come home as long as the children are applying themselves and working toward goals that are productive and make them happy.

INFJs aren’t the tidiest people in the world, but they’re better than ESTPs, who tend to live in cluttered home environments. That’s because ESTPs have so much going on at once—much of it requiring supplies and equipment. However, they may keep certain areas of the house organized enough that they can find the right thing when it’s needed. The parts of their home that are orderly usually relate to their hobbies or special interests.

ESTPs often try to talk family members into risk-taking sports such as hang-gliding, white-water rafting, or downhill skiing. They tire of safe domestic routines. Attacking the unpredictable gives them a rush. INFJs aren’t as adventurous and may balk at the suggestion of sports that threaten life and limb.

Secrets of Success

An important bond for the INFJ/ESTP couple is the love they share for children, close relatives, friends, and even pets. They may have different perspectives on the world, but at least they share the rose-colored glasses of affection.

In the intimacy of their partnership, they should realize that a little give and take is in order. INFJs do well to expand their social activities with ESTPs, spending time as a couple with friends and relatives. ESTPs need to pay attention to the emotional needs of the INFJs, at least some of the time.

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INFJ Meets ESFP

 

What happens when an INFJ meets an ESFP? Is there an instant attraction? Do they repel each other like two magnets?

Looking at their personality traits, you’d think they have little in common. When an early attraction persists, it’s cause for wonder. Usually, the bond is associated with their shared feeling (F) trait.

Introversion (I) vs. Extraversion (E)

The first big difference lies in the INFJ’s need for privacy vs. the ESFP’s preference for social contact. On the introversion/extraversion (I/E) scale, the inwardly focused nature of INFJs causes them to be reserved and, in extreme cases, reclusive. They dislike crowds and need considerable time alone. They’re worn out by prolonged social interaction. In contrast, extraverts are social butterflies. The company of other people energizes them. Being left alone too long makes them feel anxious and disorganized.

When an INFJ and ESFP are getting ready to go to a party, the INFJ may say, “Do we really have to go? I’d rather stay home and watch the Ferris Bueller movie again.” The ESFP is likely to reply, “C’mon, the party will be fun. We’ll see old friends. If you’re bored we can leave early.”

To which the INFJ responds, “I can promise you, I’ll want to leave early. And I know you. You won’t.” And so it’s likely to go.

Intuition (N) vs. Sensing (S)

The difference in Myers-Briggs traits can be more divisive for the partners in terms of their intuitive (N) vs. sensing traits. The well-developed intuition (N) of INFJs gives them a talent for interpreting the meaning of events around them on limited evidence. Their hunches are usually well-founded. To the sensing (S) ESFP, this makes no sense. ESFPs draw conclusions based on what they see and hear in the immediate environment. They’re less concerned about the meaning behind people’s actions than they are with the actions themselves.

On the way home from the party mentioned above, the ESFP may say, “Wow, did you see the ring on Jill’s finger? I guess they’re getting married after all.” To which the INFJ may respond, “I don’t know, they looked pretty tense with each other. I wouldn’t count on it.”

The ESFP thinks, “What? A ring is a ring! We all know what that means.” The INFJ thinks, “Ring? Who cares about the ring? I can tell there’s trouble in that relationship.” Mostly likely, the INFJ is right.

Perceiving (P) vs Judging (J)

INFJs and ESFPs are also worlds apart on their perceiving (P) and judging (J) traits, especially if they tend to be at extreme ends of the scales. Perceiving ESFPs are easy-going and fun-loving. If they’re a little late for an appointment or miss it entirely, oh well. Manaña is the name of the game. Not for the INFJ. To be late is almost a sin.

When frustrations arise in a relationship, they’re often due to P/J differences in the decision-making styles of the two types. ESFPs like to delay decisions until the last possible moment. In their view, there’s always more information to be gathered. They’re less concerned about bringing decisions to a close than enjoying the ride. INFJs prefer closure. They want to sign the contract and whip out their credit card. They’re more interested in reaching their destination than enjoying the scenery along the way. In old Type A—Type B terms, the INFJ is a Type A and the ESFP is a Type B.

When an INFJ/ESFP couple decide to buy a refrigerator, the INFJ goes to the computer, looks up comparative data and prices, and consults Consumer Reports for  recommendations. By the time the partners walk out the door the next day to shop, the INFJ has already decided on a refrigerator, including the make and model.

Not so fast, says the partner. We’d better look around. They visit every appliance store in town before sundown, and still the ESFP hasn’t made a decision. They’d better go back on Sunday, the ESFP says. The INFJ is going crazy. Before they left the house that morning, the INFJ knew which refrigerator they should buy. He or she would like to wring the partner’s neck.

Feeling (F) vs. Thinking (T)

Vive la feeling! At least the two types have this preference in common. Both are concerned with the other’s emotional comfort. They’re careful of the impact of their words, actions, and decisions upon the other. Both are kind, compassionate people.

Their feeling trait helps them work through the incompatible aspects of their personalities. The ESFP member of the couple is optimistic, playful and fun-loving. Of the two refrigerator shoppers, he or she takes the most outgoing, enthusiastic view of life. The INFJ is more focused and driven. Because they love each other, they make allowances and put effort into getting along and enjoying each other’s company. They give each other wiggle room.

The balance is important. If the INFJ is too demanding and insists that the partner make a choice by noon on Saturday based on Consumer Reports data, the person may pay later. The first time the refrigerator makes a funny noise, the ESFP will say, “See? I told you we should look around more.”

The secret of a successful INFJ/ESFP relationship lies in the couple’s tolerance, compassion and mutual enjoyment of life together. Their feeling function—their love for each other—is a major factor in the growth and stability of the partnership.

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Differences Between Introverts and Extraverts

Most of us think we know the difference between introverts and extraverts. Introverts seldom go anywhere, right? They’d rather stay at home and read a book. Extraverts are party animals. Wherever the action is, that’s where you’ll find them. Introverts don’t talk much. Extraverts talk all the time.

To some extent, this is true. But there’s much more to it than that.

Introverts don’t just find a hole somewhere and sit in it, protected from the outside world. They’re recharging their batteries, collecting their thoughts, and getting their feelings organized. When they’re in the outside world, they’re certainly able to be friendly and talkative some of the time. But after a while they tire out. They need privacy to regroup, think things over, and decide what it all means. If they’ve been let down by a friend, they want to mull the matter over before talking about it. Not extraverts. Too much time alone makes them antsy. When left in solitude for a long period, they get irritable. They need to talk to other people. It’s how they get their energy.

If you send an introvert and an extravert to a party together, you can almost count on the introvert suggesting they leave early and the extravert wanting to stay until the lights are turned out. The difference? The introvert is being depleted of energy. The extravert is recharging.

Here are some of the hallmarks of the two types:

Introvert

• Gathers energy from thinking and reflecting in private.

• Needs plenty of time alone.

• When in social settings, comes across as reserved.

• Is drained by prolonged exposure to groups, at work or anywhere else.

• At parties, talks to only two or three people, preferably previous acquaintances.

• Suspicious of people who seem too glib.

• Doesn’t reveal personal information readily.

• Dislikes being interrupted while concentrating on something.

Extravert

• Comes to life in group settings. Mixes easily in crowds.

• Needs the stimulation of social activities to function effectively.

• Knows a lot of people and considers many of them friends.

• Can work and function in noisy, busy settings.

• Isn’t distracted by the TV, radio, or conversations of others.

• Tends to dominate conversations, especially with introverts.

• Approaches strangers as easily as friends.

• Discloses personal information readily.

• Needs frequent attention and affirmation from others.

Subtleties of Introversion and Extraversion

Carl Jung, the Swiss psychoanalyst whose work on personality types opened up the field of personality typology in the early 1900s, introduced the concepts of introversion and extraversion. These ideas were further developed by Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs, creators of the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory.

As the words introvert and extravert are used these days, they miss some of the subtleties of the original Jungian terms. Now, people think of introverts as shy, withdrawn people. They think of extraverts as talkative, outgoing types. Jung intended the words to indicate not where a person’s actions are invested but the source of their psychological energy.

Extraverts focus their attention on people and events in the external world. Introverts focus on their inner world. As personality preferences, one is no better than the other. Both are simply ways that people construct meaning from their experiences.

It’s important to remember that the functions of introversion and extraversion are preferences, not rigid personality characteristics. While introverts may be reserved and quiet most of the time, they’re quite capable of being talkative and outgoing when a topic comes up that interests them. The same is true if they’re talking with close friends about subjects of mutual interest.

Speaking from personal experience, I have friends who swear that I’m an extravert. They’re wrong. Nothing pleases me more than checking my calendar and finding that I have no appointments that day. However, when I do have appointments and they engage my interests, I look like an extravert—outgoing and enthusiastic. What I’m not interested in are meetings devoted solely to social interaction.

Are extraverts always talkative and outgoing? Not necessarily. While they are energized by the company of others and enjoy contributing to conversations, they are capable of being quiet observers. The defining factor is where their attention is focused. Extraverted news reporters, for example, may have little to say while watching and recording a public event. While they are absorbed in filming, recording or taking notes, they may be mostly quiet and observant. As soon as these extraverts have done their jobs, however, they’re likely to feel a need to talk with others about what they’ve witnessed. Introverts, on the other hand, will process the information internally first and talk about it later.

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INFJ Meets ISFJ

INFJs and ISFJs are alike in many ways. They’re introverted, feeling, and judging. They differ only on the intuitive/sensing dimension of the Myers-Briggs Inventory. Both types put much of their energy into helping others and share a drive to make the world a better place. People can count on them in times of trouble.

Although INFJs and ISFJs have high ideals, they’re modest about them. They prefer to make their values apparent in their actions. This is partly due to their introverted personalities and desire to avoid the spotlight. Seldom do they call attention to themselves or demand recognition for their achievements.

The main difference between INFJs and ISFJs is that INFJs are more perceptive. They pick up on the motives of others quickly. Because they’re so sharp at spotting phony behaviors in people, their judgments are sometimes harsh. On the other hand, ISFJs are somewhat naïve. They have a hard time understanding power-hungry people or those with self-serving motives. They are bewildered by greed and unkindness as it’s so foreign to their natures. INFJs and ISFJs complement each other because they meet somewhere in the middle. INFJs protect ISFJs from their gullibility, and ISFJs are models of tolerance.

Quiet and unassuming, INFJs and ISFJs aren’t easy to get to know, but people close to them value their friendship.

In Love

Both INFJs and ISFJs take romantic relationships seriously and are attentive to their partners’ needs. In their speech and demeanor, they’re tactful and kind. At the same time, their introverted natures make them cautious about expressing their feelings for fear of rejection. These two types may be so cautious in their approach to romance that more extraverted partners get impatient with them. INFJs and ISFJs have a tendency to hold back on the playful aspects of their personalities until they know people well.

INFJs and ISFJs sometimes remain in partnerships that are no longer working. The thought of leaving a relationship makes them nervous and insecure. When either of these types is left by a partner, they’re deeply hurt. Typically, their self-esteem suffers and they go through a period of painful self-examination. If they don’t turn to friends for support, they’re slow to regroup and move on. Some grow quiet, trying to appear composed and stoic to the people around them.

At Home

The homes of INFJs tend to be more cluttered than those of ISFJs. An abundance of books, crafts supplies, musical instruments, and other paraphernalia lie around the house, allowing INFJs to pursue their hobbies at a moment’s notice. While they would prefer a tidy environment, housekeeping has a lower priority than having fun. When family members complain about the mess, however, INFJs will pick up after themselves.

ISFJs’ homes are usually neater, as they’re more prompt about attending to home maintenance and domestic chores. Sometimes their sense of responsibility prompts them to take on more than they can handle. They may complain about their workload in a martyred sort of way, but then turn down offers of assistance from family members. To accept help makes them feel inadequate and guilty.

Celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries are important to ISFJs, who are more traditional than INFJs. To get the most enjoyment out of such events, they participate enthusiastically in the preparations—cooking the holiday meal, cleaning the house, and so on. This is one way they show their commitment and love.

Both Myers-Briggs types take their parenting responsibilities seriously. For them parenthood is a lifelong commitment. Protective and patient, they’re likely to set aside their own needs to be sure their children are taken care of first. They give them every opportunity for a good education, for example. While ISFJs tend to encourage their children along conventional career lines, INFJs are more broad minded. They’re tolerant of unusual extracurricular and career interests as long as their children put forth genuine effort.

INFJs and ISFJs desire harmony above all. They want their partners and children to be happy. As a result, they sometimes sidestep family conflicts that should be resolved for the good of everyone.

At Work

INFJs and ISFJs need careers that are consistent with their values and desire to serve others. ISFJs are generally satisfied with conventional careers that focus on short-term goals and hands-on attention to detail, while INFJs feel fulfilled only when their intuition and creativity are called into play and they’re involved in long-range planning and problem-solving.

Both personality types are averse to conflicts and stress in the workplace. INFJs can become rigid and uncommunicative in a competitive or intense work environment. Eventually, they look for another job. ISFJs are likely to keep trying, working harder in the hope that the situation will improve.

Growing Older

INFJs and ISFJs enjoy their retirement years if they’re free of financial worries and have leisure time to pursue their interests. INFJs, once preoccupied with world problems, become more relaxed as they grow older, leaving many of their worries behind and enjoying the present. They’re likely to decide that the state of the world is the next generation’s problem.

ISFJs, always more now-oriented than INFJs, also enjoy being released from the time-consuming obligations that characterized their working years. With age, they become less self-critical and more extraverted. Their give their own needs and desires higher priority than they once did. Still, being of service to others remains important.

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