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Table of contents
Estimated reading time: 21 minutes
When ENFPs are feeling down they tend to lose their typical enthusiastic, possibility-seeking nature. They can develop a sort of “tunnel vision,” feeling that the future holds no hope and all their ideas will inevitably fail unless they get one goal accomplished perfectly. During this phase, ENFPs need encouragement for what they have done well in the past. They despise platitudes or empty praise. They need empathy, active listening, and concrete examples of how they’ve succeeded in similar situations previously. Sometimes they will need extra space and time alone to sort out their thoughts and feelings.
If an ENFP needs encouragement or motivation towards a goal, inspire them with a picture of the future. Join them in their imagination and let them elaborate on their creative ideas. Validate their vision and let them know what they mean to you personally. Encourage them to stay on track by occasionally asking them about their project and how it’s going. Continue to let them know that you can’t wait to see how it turns out! This sense of accountability and motivation can help ENFPs to finish what they start rather than get sidetracked by a new, alternate possibility.
“The best way to cheer me up is to listen with empathy and validate my feelings with comforting words, help me gain perspective of the bigger picture, and then get me to laugh at myself or the situation in a light-hearted way. Also, ice cream.” – Caitlin Hawekotte, MBTI® practitioner and Coach
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When ENTPs are stressed or depressed, they can become unusually withdrawn and critical. They may feel like they can’t access their normally innovative nature. Possibilities feel hidden to them and there’s a sense that their imagination and creativity have gone to sleep. One of the best ways to encourage ENTPs in this phase is to give them some space and time to process what’s happening to them. This may not “seem” like encouragement, but outward praise and comfort can actually make them feel worse. They often prefer to be alone for a while. However, when they re-emerge from their isolation it can help them if you remind them of how they’ve handled similar situations in the past and succeeded. Showing them through actions that you have faith in them is more encouraging than words most of the time.
If an ENTP needs encouragement towards a goal or achievement, what they want most is someone to join them in their vision. Let them elaborate on the possibilities with you! Show an active interest in their speculations and ideas. If they feel uncertain of themselves, let them know you believe in their abilities. Ask them if they need help staying on top of the steps needed to accomplish their goals. Many ENTPs report that they appreciate “accountability partners” who help them stay on top of their projects and who encourage them to finish what they start.
“I don’t take praise very well. It’s usually superficial, and ENTPs are the masters of delivering superficial praise, so we don’t bite on it in return. Our internal hyper-self-criticalness requires the encourager to be someone we respect or an authority we acknowledge.” – @TundraVision, Twitter User
When INFPs are feeling gloomy they tend to withdraw from the world around them. They often need space to emotionally process what’s happening to them. Friends who make an effort to be with them in their frustration without pressuring them to feel better are valued. They don’t want to be “forced” to look on the bright side and they hate to be rushed through their emotions. An INFP would appreciate someone who invites them to talk about their feelings, even if they’re negative, and assures them that they won’t be judged. A delicious snack doesn’t hurt either!
If an INFP needs encouragement in a project or goal, it’s important to verbally acknowledge their vision. Validate their ideas, their perseverance, and let them know that you have faith in them. Let them know what their idea or project could mean to people in a personal way. Ask them if they need help organizing the project so that it doesn’t seem overwhelming. Many times INFPs have grand, complex ideas but get lost when it comes to breaking their vision down into sequential steps.
“Say this: “Tell me all about how you feel and take as much time as you want. I enjoy listening to you.” This is very hard to find. I can’t even pay a therapist for this since talk therapy seems to be out of favor. Failing this, a distant 2nd would be to take me to the beach.” – @iammom4rs, Twitter User
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INTPs who are struggling with disillusionment often need space and time alone. They don’t want to be inundated by questions or frantic encouragement. They often feel like they can’t analyze things as clearly as usual when they’re stressed. They feel overwhelmed with emotions that confuse and maybe even embarrass them. Having to be around people, especially intrusive people, during this time can be maddening for them. After they have had some time alone, it can be helpful to have their frustration validated. Simply letting them know that you can understand their perspective is helpful. Verbally affirming their choices (if you agree with them) is important. They also tend to feel a sense of relief if they can be excused from some non-essential obligations.
If an INTP needs encouragement or motivation in a goal, it’s important to not inundate them with a lot of advice or input. This can make them lose their focus. Simply show enthusiasm for their idea and actively listen as they talk about it. Ask questions. Let them know that you believe in them and their abilities. Be attentive. Sometimes when they have an idea they know the process and the logic of what they’re doing, but they can struggle with presenting it to others. If they need help with “selling” their idea or sharing their vision with others and you have a gift in that area, perhaps you can team up with them in this aspect.
“When I’m down or discouraged, I’d rather not talk to anyone if all they can say is “it’s okay,” or “everything will be okay,” because I see no point. I’d rather they avoid talking to me about it at all or talk about other stuff and let me sort it out on my own. I rarely tell others about my ongoing problems and ask for advice anyway. Usually, I tell others about a problem after I’ve solved it.” – @risaachaaan, Twitter User
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When ENFJs are struggling in life or chronically stressed, they can become more isolated and detached than usual. They may be especially self-critical, finding ways to blame themselves for all the issues they are dealing with. They can also become obsessed with details, trying to find solutions or “fixes”. When ENFJs are in this phase it’s important not to come along and offer MORE solutions (this will only make them feel worse). What they need is someone to pull them aside and offer support. Simply letting them know that you are there for them, they can say whatever they want to say, and no matter how it sounds you will listen without judgment is extremely encouraging. ENFJs are one of the only types who really want people to draw closer to them under stress rather than leave them alone. Show them you’re there. Don’t nitpick what they say because they’ve probably done enough of that already. After offering support and letting them vent, sometimes having a laugh or getting a change of scenery is encouraging for them.
If an ENFJ isn’t depressed or stressed, but needs encouragement towards reaching a goal then your strategy should be different. Join them in their vision, plan with them, dream with them. Let them know that you have faith in their abilities and ask them if they need any help with the details. Check in regularly to ask how things are going to show that you support them in their efforts. Show them the personal implications of accomplishing their goal – how it will impact others, how it will improve the world, how it aligns with a value of theirs.
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When ENTJs are discouraged in life they tend to pull away from people and isolate themselves. They become fixated on accomplishing tasks, but the more stressed they are the more mentally “fuzzy” they become. Often it seems like they’re losing control of their emotions, something that makes them feel helpless and irritable. What they don’t want is someone wandering around asking them how they feel or pestering them with questions. They need space and time to work things out. When confronted during an extremely stressed phase, ENTJs can become especially reactive and angry. They don’t like this part of themselves and will regret it later, so they prefer to be left alone. However, this doesn’t mean you should just ignore a discouraged ENTJ. While they’re taking some time to sort things out, look for a project that you can help with. Is their kitchen a mess? Are there some manageable responsibilities you can cover for them? Simply showing small acts of service will show them they’re supported and not alone in their struggle. It’s also helpful to let them vent after they’ve had some space to sort things out. Let them know you’d be happy to listen if they want to talk, and that you won’t judge or interrupt them.
If an ENTJ isn’t discouraged but just needs some motivation to reach a goal, then ask them how you can help. Show them in a tangible way that you’re there for them. Talk about the future – let them show you their vision and how they plan to get there. Believe in them. ENTJs usually don’t struggle with motivation, but they feel frustrated if the people around them seem disinterested or doubtful of their capabilities. They enjoy talking about their goals with people who will discuss the long-term benefits, the procedure, and the strategy of how to make something work. ENTJs enjoy having their competence affirmed, so this is a great way to do that.
“I do not like to be encouraged or cheered up. If I feel down about something, it means someone that I love is hurting or I failed in a task. Either way, I need extraverted-sensing activities (walking, exercise, driving) alone until the overwhelmingness of the feeling subsides and my thinking can get back to attack mode.” – @bama_buck, Twitter User
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When INFJs are feeling disheartened or stressed, they withdraw from people and become more distant and detached. They often feel like the emotions of everyone around them are overwhelming and even small noises can seem abrasive. It’s important not to be critical of INFJs during these phases because they’re likely already criticizing themselves internally. Give them some space and quiet to sort things out. Don’t judge them or punish them for needing some space. After some time alone ask them if they’d like to talk. Assure them that you’re there to listen as long as needed and you’re not there to make judgments or admonish them. Show empathy, give them a hug (if you have a close relationship), offer them something to eat (this was mentioned by many INFJs I surveyed.) Get outside with them and take a walk in nature or go for a drive and listen to music. Sometimes simply getting a change of scenery can help them to sort things out and find new inspiration and joy.
If an INFJ isn’t stressed or discouraged, but simply needs motivation or encouragement in a goal, then your plan should be different. Hear them out, ask them about the future they see, get excited with them! Sometimes INFJs have a clear vision but are not sure how to get there. If you have skills with organizing ask them if they’d like any help putting together a plan or arranging the details of their idea. Check in regularly to see how their project or goal is coming along – this can help them to feel motivated and inspired to stay on task.
“These are things that encourage me: Compliments on my appearance, expressions of confidence in my wisdom, and encouragement to trust my insights. Going on a fun outing involving yummy food or taking pictures is also good. Also hugs and fun conversations.” – Hannah Joy
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INTJs who are discouraged or overly-stressed tend to behave in one of two ways. They can either: (A) Isolate themselves and attempt to find a “vision” or strategy out of the situation that’s getting them down, or (B) Behave counter to type and become uncharacteristically impulsive, indulgent, and thrill-seeking. They often feel that their vision or awareness is convoluted and messy. When INTJs are in this phase, it’s important to give them some space. They need time away from people to try to sort out their mind and calm the swirl of thoughts jumbling around inside of them. Try to cut out noise, dim bright lights, and otherwise calm the atmosphere around them. If you know of any unnecessary responsibilities that they can be excused from, see if you can help by getting them out of those.
If an INTJ isn’t stressed or discouraged but needs encouragement in a goal or project, then your strategy should be different. INTJs want to know that you believe in them, have faith in them, and will stand by them. They want someone who will join them in their vision and will let them describe it in detail. They want to see your support in active listening. They also tend to feel encouraged when their competence or originality is affirmed.
“The act of trying to cheer me up tends to make me irritated/angry. I’d rather be left alone until I can work through it on my own. Being encouraged is very different from being cheered up to me. Encouragement entails genuinely believing in me and helping me see my capabilities in tangible way.”
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When ESFPs are anxious or discouraged they tend to become scattered and distractible in their thoughts and actions. They feel like their normal focus is pulled in a thousand different directions. They can also feel more anxious about the future than usual. Simply listening to them without interjecting solutions or criticisms is helpful. Open communication where they are free to express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings is essential. Getting some time outside and in a new location can also be helpful – the new sights and sounds can help them to feel re-inspired and energized.
If an ESFP isn’t discouraged but just needs encouragement towards a goal, then your method should be different. Ask them about their values, “What’s important to you about this goal?” “What are you hoping to get out of this?” Let them explain the reasons why they’re interested in achieving something. Simply giving them the space to talk about this can help them to stay inspired. Ask them if they need help coming up with a plan or setting priorities. Talk about potential obstacles and see if you can find solutions so that those obstacles can be circumvented. Check in on progress, provide encouragement, and above all, show that you believe in their abilities.
“What cheers me up is doing an activity like bowling, or attending a concert with my family or friends. I just want to have fun and get out of my head for a little bit. And then just feeling supported instead of judged is really what encourages me.” – @just_okay, Twitter User
ESTPs who are feeling discouraged or overly-stressed tend to need an outlet for their energy or frustration. They feel better if they can release some of their tension by exercising or getting out and moving. If the stress continues to build they become more reclusive than normal, more pessimistic, and less open to new possibilities and experiences. When ESTPs are in these phases it’s important to give them time alone to sort out their thoughts. Afterward, they may seek out company and/or input from you. During these times they want to be listened to without someone interjecting their critiques or solutions. Using humor, without minimizing their frustration, can also be very helpful. Vague platitudes tend to annoy ESTPs, however, so you should steer clear of those. Also, refrain from asking repeatedly how they are feeling.
If an ESTP isn’t discouraged or stressed but needs motivation or encouragement towards a goal, then your approach should be different. Ask them about their goals, show genuine interest, and ask for an example of what it will be like when that goal is achieved. Recognize achievements with them – give them an idea of some way you could celebrate when a benchmark has been achieved. Show your excitement for what they are doing and also give positive reinforcement by continuing to ask about the project (without nagging) over time.
“The thing that’s the most encouraging to me is when someone recognizes my hard work or effort, whether it’s in accomplishing a task or helping someone. When I’m trying to accomplish something, I need space and time to work things out. Don’t push me to do something in someone else’s way because I like to customize how I do things based on the research I’ve done and the experiences I’ve accumulated.” – Daniel Storm, an ESTP
When ISFPs are disheartened or disappointed they tend to seek out space and time alone to sort through their thoughts and feelings. Being peppered with questions or repeatedly asked how they feel about things can make them tense unless they’ve had time to process their thoughts on their own first. They will seem more quiet, rigid, and reclusive. If you’re speaking with them when they’re discouraged try to be friendly without being too expressive or overbearing. Let them know you’re there for them and that you’d be happy to listen for as long as they need to without giving any judgment. Show empathy for their feelings and consideration for the fact that they are unique. Don’t compare their troubles to someone else’s, don’t offer a bunch of solutions, just affirm their feelings if you can.
If an ISFP needs encouragement towards a goal or idea, then your process should be different. Show excitement and enthusiasm for their plan, and ask if they need help organizing it. Many ISFPs are good at the creative part of a process, but they can get stuck on organization and nailing down an effective timeline for completing a project. Offering to help with this can be an encouragement to them. Show that you have faith in their abilities and give them confidence by reminding them of times they’ve accomplished similar objectives in the past.
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When ISTPs are demoralized or frustrated they tend to become more true-to-type. They isolate themselves and focus on accumulating data or solutions. Sometimes they take out their frustration through recreation, gaming, or exercise. When they’re stressed or down it’s important not to inundate them with questions or “feel-good” platitudes. Give them space, be calm, and be very direct about anything that might need to be done (without being pushy). If there are any physical details that you can take care of for them this also helps – whether that means washing the dishes, turning down your music, or making some progress on a task that you both are handling. If you’re a significant other, giving them a massage or some form of physical affection is also appreciated.
If an ISTP needs encouragement in a task they’ve undertaken then your process should be different. Show curiosity about their idea, and express your support and faith in what they are doing. Show interest in the plan, the course, and the goal. Let them know you’re there for behind-the-scenes help if they need it and show your enthusiasm for the finished product.
When ESFJs are discouraged they want to know that they are supported and they’re not alone. They tend to become more controlling and anxious when they’re stressed. They feel that if they can create some sense of order and harmony in their outer world that everything will sort itself out. But often what they really need is some encouragement to express what’s inside themselves. A friend who can sit with them and really listen to their heart will be a huge encouragement to them. They also want to feel like the people around them are competent. Taking care of a responsibility or letting them see that some progress is being made on a task will help them to feel less overwhelmed. Being able to laugh with them (not at them) is also a great way to help.
If an ESFJ needs encouragement in a goal, then being there for them and showing support is essential. They tend to be good at planning and organizing, but they may not feel motivated if there is a lack of enthusiasm or support from others. Regularly checking in and showing affirmation for their progress helps them to feel even more motivated to keep going. They also enjoy creating checklists and marking off progress, so working on some exciting visual progress charts can be exciting and motivating for them.
When ESTJs are stressed or disillusioned they want to feel like their environment has some sort of order or structure. They tend to become more rigid and/or controlling, looking for ways to fix everything in their vicinity. They often are propelled into stress by situations that are out of control or by feeling like they’re getting nowhere on a project that’s important to them. During these times it’s essential for people to be calm and patient with them – don’t be condescending, critical, or passive-aggressive. Help them to see where progress is being made, or better yet, show them through actions that you want to help. Clean up around the house, put things in order, or simply get them a drink of water and a snack. Humor also tends to help these types, as long as it’s not humor made at their expense!
If an ESTJ needs motivation towards a goal, then simply acknowledging their efforts and showing enthusiasm for their plans is usually enough. They tend to be very motivated and goal-oriented individuals, but they will feel less inspired if the people around them don’t show acknowledgment for their contributions or efforts.
When ISFJs are stressed or discouraged they tend to become more withdrawn and anxious. They often imagine terrible things playing out in the future or envision worst-case scenarios. In an effort to counteract their discouragement they may seek comfort in familiar favorites; favorite movies, songs, snacks, books. They often need some time away from people so that they can sort out their thoughts. If you’re trying to encourage an ISFJ in this phase, be sure to give them space while also extending support. Remind them of times that they have encountered similar experiences in the past and succeeded. Give them empathy and allow them to vent. Be sure not to criticize their thoughts or anxieties. In this process, it’s more important that they are allowed to get their feelings out of their system. Once they’ve expressed their feelings they can usually process things more clearly. Show that you’re loyal and dependable and supportive of them.
If an ISFJ needs encouragement in a goal or project then they need to know that you believe in them. Show support, affirm their strengths and help them when they need confidence or extra moral support. ISFJs tend to downplay their strengths so it’s vital for friends and family to give specific compliments to them about what they do well. It’s important to be specific with ISFJs. Vague, generalized compliments will likely be brushed aside with a self-deprecating smile. Specific compliments, facts, and references to past experience will be highly valued.
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When ISTJs are feeling stressed or gloomy they tend to seek more time to themselves. They often feel that their hard work isn’t appreciated or their insights will be ignored. During these times they tend to become especially anxious or focused on worst-case scenarios. During these phases, they need to have their space and privacy respected and they need some time alone to sort things out mentally. If they are with you in person then try to be patient, calm, and reasonable. Don’t overwhelm them with questions and don’t critique their shift in behavior. Remind them of times they’ve overcome similar struggles in the past, show them your support by taking care of some of their nitty-gritty responsibilities, and affirm their strengths and show appreciation for their hard work. Remember that ISTJs are very private people and don’t typically want to reveal a lot of their emotions to people who aren’t especially close to them.
If an ISTJ needs encouragement in a project they’ve undertaken then your approach should be different. Listen to their plans and offer steady support. These types tend to be sequential and methodical in their work, and they are often self-directed so they don’t typically need a lot of outer motivation. That said, they still appreciate it when people show enthusiasm for their accomplishments and check in and really listen to their progress and congratulate them on goals achieved.
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