Each personality type has the potential to do amazing or terrible things. In most of my articles, I write about the positive attributes and strengths of healthy personality types. However, each type has a weakness – a tendency to use their type in a negative way. With personal growth and type development, these bad habits can be broken, but it usually takes time and effort! So what’s your type’s bad habit? Let’s find out!
Remember, a lot of people are mistyped and are under the impression they are a different personality than they actually are.
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Estimated reading time: 19 minutes
Here’s the Bad Habit Each Personality Type Needs to Break
ISTJs can become major perfectionists about their projects and tasks. They can get so obsessed with the details and making sure everything is exactly right that they lose sight of their end goal and end up getting stuck in paralysis or anxiety. They can also become so focused on doing things the way they’ve always been done, or the way they’re comfortable with, that they ignore new angles, innovations, and possibilities that could improve their work.
Possible Solutions: Work on implementing your auxiliary function, Extraverted Thinking, to get out of a cycle of perfectionism or detail-focus. Think of the most efficient way to accomplish your task and break the project down into bite-size, manageable pieces. Get outside opinions and help with this if you’re feeling frozen or unable to focus. Take a moment to consider any new ways of completing your project that might improve things. Gradually, during stress-free times, take small steps to incorporate intuition and innovation into your life. This can be as simple as trying a new hairdo, generating a list of possibilities for what you want to do this weekend, or pausing to pay attention to your instincts about things, even if they don’t seem concrete enough for your liking.
ISFJs can become so focused on not being seen in a negative light that they become obsessed with details about their lives, their appearances, or their projects. Making a mistake, letting others down, or having a minor detail wrong can feel paralyzing to them. They can experience a lot of social anxiety and overwhelm and may lose touch with what’s personally important and meaningful to them.
Possible Solutions: Take a break to get in touch with your own personal values. Get out a piece of paper and a pen and write down “I want/I need” statements to define what it is you really seek in life. Imagine yourself 20 or 30 years from now…what would have really mattered? Would it matter that you made a perfect impression at dinner or that you made some mistakes? How could you use mistakes as lessons instead of roadblocks? Think about what you really want as a legacy in life and that will help you to get past feeling paralyzed by details or other people’s opinions of you. If you suffer from social anxiety, counseling is always a good avenue to try as well.
As an ESTJ you are highly motivated and driven to take action. However, sometimes this can backfire and you can jump to conclusions or rush to take steps too quickly. You may become inflexible when you make up your mind about something because backtracking seems inefficient. You can become so tied to doing things the way you’ve always done them that you discount other people’s ideas if they seem too unusual.
Possible Solutions: Consciously pause before making a decision to consider the concrete details, facts, and history of what’s happening. I know you can feel restless when there is ambiguity or a decision is left hanging, but it’s important to make sure you’re getting in touch with your auxiliary sensing function before rushing to decide. When you feel yourself making snap-judgments, pause and take a moment to thoughtfully consider other perspectives. Ask other people who are different from you how they experience life and try to stay open-minded to their perspectives. Practice trying things in new ways – for example, once a day, stop and ask yourself if there’s an alternative way you could accomplish something that you are doing.
ESFJs love to get to know people and empathize with them in meaningful ways. That said, sometimes they can take this too far and become overbearing and intrusive without realizing it. They tend to feel that they need to “organize” the atmosphere and can be pushy or get irritated with people who they feel are upsetting overall harmony. They can also become so focused on the needs and desires of other people that they lose sight of their own needs and wants. This can lead to burnout over time.
Possible Solutions: It’s important for ESFJs to realize that a certain amount of disharmony is part of life. Remind yourself that you don’t have to be the “social glue” that holds every group together. Give other people the space to be themselves before trying to make any decision or effort to alter their opinion or stance on something. For example, if you’re at a gathering and someone seems pessimistic and detrimental to the overall harmony of the room, pause to remember that you don’t have to be responsible for their feelings and that it’s okay to just acknowledge how they feel without trying to change it. Get bits of alone time each day to consider what’s important to you. Make a list of “I Needs/I Wants” and focus on your personal goals rather than goals that are related to other people.
ISTPs like a lot of alone time to analyze and categorize information. They can get so absorbed in their own thoughts that they see people as annoying distractions. They can become grumpy and overly-critical towards others as a result and lose-sight of the impact they have on them. In their effort to have complete accuracy in everything they do, they can fail to complete projects or make decisions because they get stuck over-analyzing everything looking for a level of accuracy that is unattainable.
Possible Solutions: You like to have a logical framework and category for every piece of data that you take in. Sometimes the process of re-working your blueprint to accommodate new data can be exhausting and time-consuming and you can get stuck in a place of perfectionism and non-productive analysis. Take a moment to tap into your second function, Extraverted Sensing, to get out of this phase. Identify the resources you have right now and the physical space you’re in to solve a problem. Notice the world around you in detail. Focus on the objective, verifiable facts for a moment. Get up and go outside for a while. Then come back to the data you have and see if there’s a new perspective you can incorporate. Remind yourself that you don’t have to have perfection in your framework at all times or it can stop you from actually living. During stress-free moments, pause to consider how you could positively impact someone else. Text someone to let them know you appreciate them, bring a co-worker a cup of coffee, think about the needs of the people you care about and how you might help them.
ISFPs have a very strong set of inner values and are usually dedicated, helpful, supportive individuals. However, if their feeling function runs the show without the balance of sensing, or if their feeling function is warped, they can become inwardly judgmental and outwardly passive-aggressive. They can become oversensitive and opinionated, but instead of directly confronting a problem or stating their opinion they may just stew on their frustration with others.
Possible Solutions: ISFPs who identify with the above statement should try to make sure they are respecting and accessing their sensing function on a regular basis. Stay aware of what’s happening around you, enjoy a new recreational activity, and when you find yourself forming an opinion, think about the objective facts you know to be true. Value and honor your feelings, but don’t be afraid to express them to someone and ask for clarification or feedback. Ask people with differing values why they believe what they do and listen and try to understand their perspective. You don’t have to agree with them, but this process can give you greater empathy and knowledge of those who value very different ethics and viewpoints. When you are upset with someone, let them know what they did to offend you. This can be hard, but being honest and open will bring you resolution much faster than harboring hurts inside will.
ESTPs have a skill for enjoying the moment and seeing opportunities in real-time. However, their desire for action and stimulation can mean that they are easily bored, distracted, and restless. They may have a hard time holding down commitments or finishing projects because there are always fun, interesting distractions to explore.
Possible Solutions: When you feel yourself getting bored or looking for a distraction, use your thinking process to carefully consider the outcome and consequences of what you are about to do. Try to think of a creative way to make your task more enjoyable. If you’re working on a laptop, perhaps you could take it to a coffee shop, or if you’re trying to make a long-term decision, think it over while rock climbing! Think about what you’ve started and find a way to make progress with that before venturing into something new. If you’re not sure if this is the best choice (maybe the new opportunity actually IS better), try to solicit some opinions from people you trust and respect. The overall goal should be to slow down, look at the most likely, realistic outcome of switching gears, and decide logically what makes the most sense. Give yourself occasional breaks to do something fun, but don’t let those breaks derail you from your goals.
ESFPs are fun-loving, realistic, enthusiastic individuals who have a gift for making the most of every moment. However, because ESFPs like a high level of action and stimulation in their life, they tend to find themselves getting easily bored and restless. To deal with this, some ESFPs become fixated on thrill-seeking, getting attention, or switching gears and leaving a project or goal half-completed.
Possible Solutions: When you find yourself getting bored or restless, take a moment to check in with your values. What’s personally important to you? What are your values and desires? What decision is in line with your desire for integrity? As an ESFP you have a deep desire to be authentic and to have integrity and congruency in your life. Would this new activity or possibility be in line with that or will it derail you from what you really value and want in life? If you find yourself feeling a need for attention just remember that the spotlight won’t give you long-lasting satisfaction. Take a moment to turn to your loyal friends and lasting relationships and appreciate their companionship. Take moments to enjoy stillness and peace. If you are feeling stifled by a big project, take micro-breaks to get a change of scenery, then come back to the project refreshed and energized. If you need help breaking the project down so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming, ask a friend if they can help!
INTJs are big-picture thinkers with a skill for strategizing and innovating. One of the struggles they deal with is having a very singular vision and impatience for anything that gets in the way of realizing that vision. They are usually smart, but knowing this can cause them to ignore other people’s views because they see them as distracting or a waste of time. They can appear judgmental and condescending as a result.
Possible Solutions: INTJs are good at switching perspectives. While you may see where another person is coming from, you may not take the time to appreciate their logic or the value of their opinion. All you might see is that they are interrupting and you just want them to leave you alone (believe me, I can relate!). If you have the time, try to be less impatient with others and allow yourself to be more curious about their thinking. If you can’t deal with an interruption, try to respond tactfully to them and re-schedule a time to hear their perspective when you’re not busy. When you feel like giving advice or criticizing another person’s opinion, pause to think about how you could do it tactfully. Practice being self-aware and notice when you are being too hasty to dismiss someone else’s view. Remember that not everyone will have the same ambition or vision as you do, and allow them to choose their own way in life without reproach (unless they are a harm to themselves or others).
INFJs are visionary and imaginative individuals with a strong foresight into upcoming events. However, sometimes they can get so caught up in envisioning a future possibility or idea that they lose sight of what’s happening or needed in the present moment. They can become impractical and distracted and get irritated by anything or anyone that pulls their attention away from their vision.
Possible Solutions: Getting wrapped up in the future or in an idea is what you do best, so it’s important to make time for that. But don’t let it consume you completely! Take time to check into your feeling function. How could you pause and show someone you care about them? If you feel like you do this all the time to your own detriment, then make sure you’re making time for ideas and peaceful thinking. Structure your time so that you have a set time for quiet and peace, and a set time to be involved with people. Make sure that you’re not losing sight of your own practical needs – people with dominant intuition (like you) can lose sight of drinking enough water, eating enough food, or getting enough sleep. Don’t let yourself be unhealthy – take care of yourself! And don’t lose touch with your wonderfully empathetic feeling side either.
ENTJs are visionary, ambitious individuals who strive to be competent in everything they do. However, sometimes they can be so intolerant of other people’s perceived incompetence that they become judgmental, critical, and dismissive. They may show an arrogant, condescending persona to others without realizing they’re doing it.
Possible Solutions: When you’re about to critique someone or call them out on something, take a moment to pause and consider their perspective. Your auxiliary function, Introverted Intuition, is good at shifting perspectives, but you can become so focused on “getting things done” that you bypass this function. Is there a value to their way of doing things that you’re not seeing? If there isn’t, then try to think of a tactful way to critique that doesn’t de-value them as a human being. Pausing before forming conclusions is a good way to tap into your understanding of others. Remember that there are 15 other personality types and they are all going to come at a problem from a different perspective. Some of those perspectives will clash with you more than others, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong.
ENFJs are warm-hearted, visionary, empathetic people at their best. Unfortunately, they can also become so focused on improving the lives of others that they become intrusive. Some ENFJs aren’t intrusive, but they can get so caught up in taking care of the needs of other people that they lose sight of their own desires and personal needs.
Possible Solutions: When you’re about to make a suggestion to someone or lead them in a direction that you believe is best for them, pause to consider if you’re interfering. Is this a situation they should handle themselves and learn from? Are they becoming overly dependent on your guidance or maybe even irritated by it? It’s important to honor other people’s decisions and paths in life unless, of course, they are really doing something detrimental to themselves or others. But analyze the situation first before stepping in. If this isn’t a problem for you, but you find yourself burned out by taking care of the needs of others, then take time for quiet each day. Practice saying “No” to commitments or tasks you can’t handle. Make a list of your personal wants and desires, even if they don’t seem really profound. As an ENFJ you can get so caught up in big, life-altering ideas, that the little stuff that makes you happy gets ignored. Take time for simple pleasures like a walk in nature, listening to a song, or reading a book now and then!
INTPs are innovative, analytical individuals who enjoy being alone to process thoughts and theories. However, they can get so caught up in internal analysis that they procrastinate or stall on projects, eventually veering into another project altogether. This is frustrating for them because they want to achieve their goals, but can get stuck seeking perfect solutions where there aren’t any.
As an INTP, you are constantly refining your inner “database” to include new, accurate data. The more information you take in, the more you have to customize and refine your database. While this is an excellent quality, you need the help of your auxiliary process, extraverted Intuition (Ne), to see how to bring all that data out into the world. Refining your intuition doesn’t just mean coming up with a million ideas (although that’s a propensity of Ne), but it means focusing on bringing those ideas to closure. When you’re working on things you tend to be a perfectionist, so it’s important to differentiate between important and unimportant imperfections. Practice finding solutions that are “good enough” so that you don’t get caught in a loop of seeking perfection, getting distracted with a new idea, seeking perfection in that, and then getting drawn into yet another idea. Practice trusting your instincts. Remind yourself that you are a logical person and that procrastination and leaving half-finished projects everywhere isn’t logical. Simply reminding yourself of this can help you to stay on track. Also, create step-by-step milestones to achieve your goals so that you can stay motivated and feel like you’re getting somewhere.
INFPs are passionate individuals who believe in promoting good and adhering to their personal values. However, sometimes they can become inwardly self-righteous, self-absorbed, or judgmental of anyone who doesn’t hold the same values or who tries to argue with them about their beliefs. Other INFPs can become very focused on their dreams and ideals but then feel lost as to how to implement those ideas in the real world.
INFPs are the most well-rounded when they develop their auxiliary process, extraverted Intuition (Ne). This mental process helps them to be more open-minded, more willing to see context, and more curious about others’ views. When INFPs don’t develop this process they tend to become more narrow in their views and judgments. Ne asks “What about these other perceptions? Am I missing something here?”. INFPs can work on this by talking to people with different values and beliefs and asking them about their views. They can learn to stick by their values but maintain a gentle, open-minded relationship with others. Healthy INFPs want to make a difference in the world in conscientious, non-forceful ways – promoting harmony and positive ideals.
If you’re an INFP who struggles to bring your ideas to fruition, you might want to work on developing your thinking process. This should only be done in small doses and during non-stressful times for the best result. It can be as simple as taking a big goal and breaking it down into steps. It could be reorganizing your room to make it more efficient for your daily needs. It could be thinking of an important idea and then stating all the arguments someone might have against it. If you feel yourself getting stressed doing these exercises, then take a break and come back to it later. Exercising your thinking process shouldn’t be a hugely time-consuming activity, but if you regularly exercise it during calm times in your life, you will become better at organizing your time to achieve your goals.
ENTPs are visionary, outside-the-box thinkers who are drawn to novelty and new ideas. Unfortunately, many times this means that they leave projects half-finished and are easily distracted by alternate ideas and possibilities. Sometimes they can be condescending to people who are more traditionally-minded, seeing them as beneath them in some way.
Possible Solutions: Your type is the most mature when you develop your auxiliary process, Introverted Thinking (Ti) alongside your dominant process, extraverted Intuition (Ne). This process helps you to critically analyze ideas and implement them only when you’ve given them logical evaluation. It helps you to weigh the pros and cons of an idea before jumping into it recklessly. As you develop Ti you might also find that your feeling function becomes more mature. This allows you to inspire other people and tactfully consider their positions before being critical or condescending. Developing your thinking process is usually pretty easy because you naturally have a strength here. Some ways it can be done would include thinking about what you say and using the most precise words possible to say it. It could mean examining your behaviors by looking into your personal history to discover the roots of your beliefs and principles. It could mean playing strategy games and looking for the underlying structures and logic of the moves involved. Giving yourself regular alone time to evaluate your decisions is an important part of staying healthy and balanced.
ENFPs are imaginative, inspiring individuals who are usually very forward-thinking in their views. Unfortunately, many ENFPs struggle to maintain focus and finish projects because they are easily distracted by new ideas and possibilities. They can struggle with procrastination or novelty-seeking at the cost of forsaking some of their goals.
Possible Solutions: Your type has a dominant mental process called extraverted Intuition (Ne). This process is all about seeing connections, relationships, and possibilities. In order to bring your ideas into reality and not get stuck in procrastination, it’s important to develop your feeling process. Take regular moments to get alone with your values and consider what’s really important to you. Quiet your surroundings and evaluate your ideas, focusing on your goals, your beliefs, and what you actually have to work with. Doing this on a regular basis will help you not to become a prisoner to your intuition, jumping from one idea to the next without the compass of your own values to direct it. As you develop feeling you may also want to find bite-sized ways to develop thinking. Take a big goal, for example, and break it down into bite-sized, manageable steps. Doing this during stress-free times can help you to become more balanced and productive.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Have you found any solutions for dealing with the struggles of your type? Let us know in the comments!
Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
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