When it comes to conflict, each personality type has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Some of us are good at peacemaking, but on the flip side, we might make peace too soon and leave things unresolved. Some of us are good at recalling facts and specifics, but we might overload someone with all the facts we have and not stop long enough to hear their perspective. This article is going to give some quick and easy tips for engaging in conflict in smart, productive ways.

Introverts in conflict with Introverts:

  • Let yourself speak up about important issues. Don’t smother what you’re thinking and push it away because it’s too frustrating to vocalize it. Write it out if you need to, but make sure to address it.
  • Be aware that you both are probably harboring more thoughts and/or feelings than are being said. Be patient with each other and realize there’s probably more to the picture than what is being vocalized.
  • Realize that this is a stressful situation for both of you. Give each other time to think things over. You might have mentally rehearsed what you are saying and prepared, but they might not have. As an introvert you know how important it is to have time to reflect on what’s happening and form your opinions. Give the person you’re speaking with time to think things over.

Introverts in conflict with Extraverts:

  • Write out your thoughts and/or feelings before entering into a conflict or argument. Be brave and commit to being heard. Even if you have to read out your thoughts on paper, do it, and stand up for yourself.
  • Understand that many extraverts tend to “think out loud”. They may speak before fully coming to a conclusion. Don’t assume that they are 100% attached to everything they say before they’re finished talking. Re-phrase how you interpreted what they said to be sure you got it right.
  • If they are dominating the conversation, don’t be afraid to put your foot down and demand to be heard.

Extraverts in conflict with Extraverts:

  • Take turns voicing your disagreements and opinions without interruption. Take notes if you need to, but don’t rehearse what you are going to say while they are talking. Practice actively listening.
  • Avoid repeating yourself or “beating a dead horse”. Try to sum up what the problem is and try not to ramble too long and eventually confuse or overwhelm the person listening to you.
  • Write “bullet points” of your thoughts before you speak so that you can stay on track and stay more concise.
  • Realize that the other person might be “thinking out loud” and may not be fully attached to what they are saying. Before jumping to conclusions or getting defensive about something, make sure you’re clear on what they really meant.

Extraverts in conflict with Introverts:

  • Keep in mind that if they are quiet, they may not be ignoring you and you don’t have to “fill up the space” (this isn’t an issue for all extraverted personality types, just some). Give them a chance to formulate what they are going to say and be okay with silence.
  • Avoid repeating yourself or going off on a lot of related rabbit trails of thought. Try to keep some “bullet points” in mind of what the problems really are, or sum up the issues that you are having. Then give them a chance to think.
  • Realize that if they are forced to respond without time to reflect they may not be fully happy with their responses.

Intuitives in conflict with Intuitives:

  • Disagreements can happen because you both perceive things differently. Make sure you have an accurate understanding of what the other person really means before responding.
  • Resist ignoring or bending facts to prove your point.
  • Balance your intuitions and insights with a knowledge of what has really happened and what the objective realities are.
  • Resist the urge to extrapolate so much that you might lose your point or confuse the listener.

Intuitives in conflict with Sensors:

  • Avoid focusing only on the big picture or impressions. Focus on the facts and bring specifics to the forefront of your discussion.
  • Help the person you are speaking with to see the future implications of the details he or she is bringing to the table.
  • Try to listen carefully to what the other person is really saying without reading into it too much. Clarify what they mean so that you don’t move forward on a misunderstanding.
  • Respect their need to discuss facts or specifics in detail, even if it might seem boring or beside-the-point to you. There might be an important detail that you have overlooked!

Sensors in conflict with Sensors:

  • Don’t overload each other with specifics, details, and facts. Try to stay away from being redundant.
  • Think about the future implications of what you are saying before you say it.
  • If you disagree on the details of something, stop and check the facts to make sure you are being accurate.
  • Be aware that if you are an SJ type (or in conflict with one) there might be past experiences and patterns coloring your current experience. What are those? Are those experiences creating a bias within you? Are those experiences important in the context of the current conflict?

Sensors in conflict with Intuitives:

  • Be aware that they are likely to focus on the big picture and future implications of everything. Try to listen thoughtfully, but if they’re veering too far away from reality, keep them grounded and specific. Remind them of the facts.
  • Try to grasp the implications of what they are saying.
  • Don’t interrupt them with details that are irrelevant to the main point of the discussion.
  • Understand that they may “zone out” if you spend a lot of time leading up to the main point with lots of details. If possible, start with the big picture, then fill in with details as needed.
  • Don’t be condescending if their ideas seem far-fetched to you. Many intuitives are able to grasp future possibilities in very insightful ways. While they are not always right, try to keep an open mind just in case.

Thinkers in conflict with Thinkers:

  • Don’t get so competitive that you lose sight of the point.
  • Recognize that even though you might be wrapped up in a debate, you and the other person both have feelings and emotions that could be clouding your judgment. Remember, thinking and feeling types are both emotional. Also be careful not to say things you’ll regret later.
  • Remember that some thinking types process “out loud”. They may not be totally committed to what they are saying. Try to clarify what they really mean before debating it.

Thinkers in conflict with Feelers:

  • Remember that feelers are more likely to take things personally than thinkers. Pause to consider how to tactfully address what needs to be said.
  • Don’t get so wrapped up in debating and winning an argument that you steamroll over their feelings or values. Say “I’m sorry” if it needs to be said.
  • Respect their personal ethics and morals. Certain beliefs and feelings can’t be explained with logic, but that doesn’t mean those beliefs and feelings aren’t valid.
  • Appeal to their sense of right and wrong, ethics, and the feelings of the people involved.

Feelers in conflict with Feelers:

  • Don’t give up on the conflict or wrap it up too quickly just as a way to avoid conflict. Say what needs to be said.
  • Some feeling types can get confused during a conflict because they over-empathize with the other person. Make a list of the facts or important issues so that even if you find your resolve fading, you know there are certain things that need to be addressed no matter what.
  • Remember that conflict can be a good thing and is the basis for many improvements and positive changes. Don’t avoid it at all costs.
  • Make sure you’re pausing to make sure that you aren’t letting biases or emotions cloud your judgment. Be as fair as possible.

Feelers in conflict with Thinkers:

  • Try to remember that thinkers can be critical without meaning it in an insulting or personal way. They are wired to see flaws and errors and will point them out even if they care about you or respect you.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed or pushed into a debate against your will. Stand your ground and remember that inter-personal or intra-personal intelligence may not be able to be proven, but that doesn’t make your position invalid.
  • You might try to end the conflict prematurely because you are over-empathizing with the other person. Make a list of the facts or important issues so that even if you find your resolve fading, you know there are certain things that need to be addressed no matter what.
  • Remember that conflict can be a good thing and is the basis for many improvements and positive changes. Don’t avoid it at all costs.
  • Make sure you’re pausing to make sure that you aren’t letting biases or emotions cloud your judgment. Be as fair as possible.

Judgers in conflict with Judgers:

  • Restrain from rushing to a resolution. As a judger you hate leaving things open-ended or without a conclusion. As a result, you might try to “hurry up” the conflict process before really analyzing it thoroughly.
  • You feel better if there’s a clear timeline. To avoid rushing to a conclusion, lay out the problems, and then schedule a time to discuss a resolution. This lets you leave things open for further analysis and reflection while still having the comfort of a deadline.

Judgers in conflict with Perceivers:

  • Be patient and allow space and time to explore different information or angles. Understand that the perceiver will likely want more “information-processing” time than you will.
  • If your colleague or partner is going off onto too many unrelated topics, try to keep them focused on one topic at a time.
  • Understand that if you rush a perceiver to come to a conclusion they may not be totally satisfied with it.

Perceivers in conflict with Perceivers:

  • Help each other stay focused and not to veer off onto too many other subjects. Try to keep to one point at a time.
  • Perceivers are good at coming up with win-win solutions. Use your creativity to negotiate in a friendly way.
  • Don’t procrastinate away the conflict. Commit to yourself that you will address it and follow through on that commitment.

Perceivers in conflict with Judgers:

  • Realize that the judger will likely want closure as soon as possible. Sometimes this can lead them to being impatient. This may make them appear angrier than they really are.
  • Try to stick to one topic at a time.
  • If you need time to think over the information, schedule a time to come back and address it. Don’t leave the judger “hanging” with no idea if or when the conflict will be resolved.

What are Your Thoughts?

Do you have any suggestions or advice to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Susan Storm is a certified MBTI® practitioner and lover of all things psychology-related. She is the mom of five beautiful children and loves using her knowledge of personality type to understand them and others better! Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to learn more about type!

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