Do you ever feel like your brand of helpfulness goes unnoticed? Perhaps you’ve read a lot of articles about personality types, but only certain types are described as being kind and compassionate, while others are referred to as “cold” or “logical.”
Did you know that every single personality type, if healthy, wants to help others?
Did you know that there’s no one right way to be helpful?
I don’t care if you’re a feeling type or a thinking type, a sensor or an intuitive, each personality type has the capacity for kindness. In today’s article, we’re exploring the unique ways that each of the 16 types likes to reach out and help others. As you read this I hope you’ll be able to identify your own style as well as understand the ways that the people you love might be trying to help out!
Table of contents
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
This type helps you by showing you the potential you didn’t even realize you had. They pinpoint gifts and unique skills that you bring to the table that you might have been blind to before. Opening up possibilities for you is their superpower. They’ll also be the friend that encourages you to stick up for yourself when you have a tendency to be a pushover. Someone trying to guilt you into doing something you don’t want to do? Your ENFP friend will nudge you and give you a special look to remind you that you’re worth standing up for.
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This type helps you by showing you the limitless nature of life. Feel like you’re trapped? They’ll show you a window of opportunity you never realized was there before. They also love to help you troubleshoot complex problems or existential questions. Whether that means unpacking the logic of a particular religion or dealing with a broken iPhone, they’re interested in solving problems and clearing up confusion for the people they care about.
Quiet and non-intrusive, the INFP will help you by quietly affirming your values and individuality. They will gently encourage you to seek out your own pathway, and be there for you when you travel a road that lies far beyond the beaten path. Though they have very clear values they want to live out, they believe everyone has to find their own way. Holding space for you to understand yourself, helping you clarify your values, and honoring your experience is something they are masters at. They also can help you to see unique possibilities and inspiration for the future that you might not have realized before.
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They may seem enigmatic and reserved initially, but the INTP really wants to know about your unconventional ideas, your plans, and what makes you tick. They enjoy helping people by challenging them to think critically. To the INTP, a well-lived life is one that is spent in the search for truth and meaning. They hate seeing people waste their time on half-truths and unsatisfying societal pressures. They’ll inspire your imagination and your mind in order to help you think for yourself and rid yourself of unreasonable, inaccurate thinking.
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Relational and empathetic, the ENFJ wants to get to know you deeply to understand where you’re coming from and where you’re going. They want to know your life stories, your big ideas, and what’s important to you. When they’ve gathered all this information they will help you to see your unique potential, the dreams and visions you could achieve, and the value that you have to bring to the world. Encouraging you to grow and hone your strengths is something that ENFJs excel at. This is probably why ENFJs are often labeled, “The Teachers.”
These types challenge you to think outside of the current moment and see the implications of the path you’re currently on. Bold and fiercely logical, they enjoy intellectual exchanges and trailblazing pursuits. They will help you to refine your plans, strategies, and thought processes. When you’re overwhelmed by a daunting project they’ll step in and break it down for you so that it seems manageable. Giving constructive criticism and streamlining projects is a skill that tends to come naturally to them. They are also deeply loyal and will be quick to defend you against a bully.
These types feel called upon to render service to humanity, and they have a near-psychic awareness of the unspoken dynamics between people. This empathy gives them the ability to nurture and care for people in an emotionally supportive way. Curious about the wiring of people’s minds, INFJs enjoy putting together the pieces of someone’s mental experience. They thrive when they can offer insight, affirmation, and non-intrusive compassion to people. They also have a gift for helping others actualize a goal or find the future implications of a current decision.
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Insightful and intellectual, INTJs help you by giving you a sense of structure, order, and clarity in your life. When life feels overwhelming, they can help you logically sort out your problems and find effective solutions. Concerned with fairness and honesty, they’ll be the person who gives you the tough-advice that ultimately changes your life for the better. These are often the types that help people in broad, global ways. For example, trying to fix the justice system rather than directing all their time into one specific case. When INTJs see injustice, they try to help by fixing the entire system that’s creating the injustice so that as many people can be helped as possible.
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As defenders of personal freedoms, ESFPs help by sticking up for you when other people try to force you to conform. Adventurous and open-minded, these types want each person to be free to find their own road in the maze of life. They’ll help you stand up for what you want, say no to what you don’t, and be present with you when you feel confused or ambivalent. They will also help you in tangible ways; taking you out for a fun night when you’ve been down or bringing you a hot meal and a movie when you’re feeling sick.
The fearlessness and gregariousness of the ESTP make them popular friends. They enjoy helping people in practical ways; whether that means fixing your computer or helping you drive on a last-minute road trip. They’ll also help you to fully immerse yourself in the joy and opportunity in the present moment. Is there a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in your neighborhood that you’ve never tried? They’ll take you there. They’ll turn the song on the radio louder and belt it out just to make you laugh. Their cleverness also shows up when you encounter a complicated real-life problem. These types can help you sort out the logical consequences of the available options and refine the problem to make it clearer.
Sincere, creative, and pragmatic, ISFPs help you to feel authentically heard. They try to create a safe space for people to express themselves, and when the talking is over they’ll offer empathetic yet practical advice. However, they’re not likely to give away “fluffy” feel-good platitudes. They’re the kinds of people who really zone in on the core issues you’re dealing with. Sometimes their advice is affirming and sometimes it’s the “tough-love” that’s really necessary. But you can count on them to be real with you. They also strive to help people in hands-on ways, whether that means bringing a hot meal when you’re depressed or showing up during an emergency and having your back.
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ISTPs feel a great sense of accomplishment when they can help people in tangible ways. Rather reserved by nature, it can be easy for others to assume that they simply don’t care. However, they are more likely to show their concern through action rather than words. They’ll help friends out when they aren’t sure how to accomplish a task, fix something that’s broken, or get out of a crisis situation. ISTPs can help you parse through a problem and sort out the possible consequences of each option. They are skilled at leveraging various options to find the one with the most pros rather than cons. Helping a friend or loved one to find clarity is something that they excel at.
Dedicated and consistent, the ESFJ helps people to find a sense of belonging and steadiness in a world that often seems chaotic and disruptive. Nurturing but no-nonsense, ESFJs are likely to help people in practical ways. If you need a ride somewhere, a hot meal, or you need someone to organize a social event, they are usually willing to help. They also enjoy listening to people’s concerns and troubles and offering relationship advice. Organized and realistic, their naturally diligent but friendly nature is a steady source of security to many.
ESTJs help others by taking charge of chaotic situations and making sense of things. Natural managers, they prize being dependable and organized. If there’s an overwhelming project you’ve got to do, they’ll help break it down and plan it out with you. If you’re not sure how to present an argument in front of an audience, they’ll help you refine your points and give you some pointers to stay focused. When they’re not in work-mode, they also enjoy finding ways to make their loved ones laugh. Playing games, cracking jokes, and getting a smile out of someone they love gives them a great sense of joy. They also enjoy helping out in hands-on ways; whether that be organizing a pancake breakfast, fixing your car, or showing up to get you out of a sticky situation.
Gentle but sensible, ISFJs help people to get a sense of stability and security in life. Not only are they deeply empathetic, but they are also highly in tune with details that provide a sense of comfort and normalcy to life. Whether that means bringing you chocolate and your favorite movie when you’re getting over a break-up or organizing the dishes in your cabinets so you can find them easier – they try to make life feel manageable and pleasant. They also enjoy listening to your problems and finding shared experiences so that they can help you to feel that you’re not alone.
No-nonsense but devoted, ISTJs help the people they care about by making sense of life for them. Establishing order, troubleshooting, and breaking down large tasks into user-friendly segments are all things they excel at. They’re also highly dependable. If you’re a friend or loved one, they’ll be there for you when you’re in a tough spot. Car broke down on the side of the road? They’ll show up to help you out. They’re also skilled at helping you when you’re not sure which option to pick. For example, if you need a new computer but you don’t know which one to pick, they’ll help sort out the options and narrow them down to the best options. Their eye for detail and practicality makes them good at finding the best possible choice in a list of options.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you have any insights or experiences to share? 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!