Do you ever feel like the people around you keep talking down to you rather than respecting your perspective? Sometimes people are condescending intentionally. Other times, people get condescending without even realizing they are doing so. This is especially true when it comes to contrasting personality types. Understanding how we might be inadvertently condescending to other types can help us to stop this bad habit.
Why and How Are We Condescending to Other Types?
Each of us is wired to understand and perceive the world through a unique lens. For example, INFJs perceive the world through Introverted Intuition and make decisions by analyzing information through Extraverted Feeling. This means that when someone comes along who perceives the world through Introverted Sensation and Extraverted Thinking they might naturally feel uncertain or skeptical. This same dynamic applies to each of the 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs system. When we see a situation through one particular lens and another person comes along looking through a different lens, all we can think is, “Don’t they realize how much they’re missing?” and we don’t even realize we might be missing a whole different perspective as well.
You May Have Grown Past Condescension
If you’re reading this and not connecting, chances are you’ve grown past this point in your life or you’re not identifying with the correct personality type. Many people mature past these moments of condescension. They may only relate to these descriptions if they look back at their childhood!
The Myers-Briggs® Personality Types and Condescension
ENFPs and Condescension
Open-minded and curious, ENFPs don’t usually strike anyone as the types to be condescending or patronizing. But when someone comes along who challenges their exploratory way of thinking they can become dismissive and guarded. Usually for ENFPs this happens when someone very traditional, by-the-books, and cautious enters the scene. ENFPs like to try things in new ways, experiment, innovate and imagine. They are drawn to novelty and a certain amount of risk. When they have to stop and take in information from someone who is more routine-oriented, traditionally minded, and concerned with rules and boundaries it can make the ENFP feel trapped or bored. As a result, they may unintentionally be dismissive of that person’s views.
Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an ENFP, the “Visionary” Personality Type
ENTPs and Condescension
You’ll find this description very similar to the ENFP’s description. ENTPs are drawn to exploration, change, and novelty. They enjoy thinking outside the box and coming up with non-traditional ways to solve problems. Because of this, when they are faced with someone who likes to do things “by the book” they are naturally skeptical. The traditional, rule-guided way of solving problems goes against their naturally skeptical, experimental way of thinking. People who fixate on nitty-gritty details can also seem like they’re wasting time to the ENTP. ENTPs are big-picture people who enjoy generating ideas and making things happen. But when it comes to zeroing in on the little details, they tend to feel exhausted and drained quickly. People who keep pressuring them to bring their attention back to the details can feel overwhelming to them. As a result, they may become condescending or dismissive of these types.
INFPs and Condescension
Sensitive and gentle, condescension isn’t something you’d normally connect to the INFP personality type. That said, everyone has a certain kind of person who just seems to be “missing it.” For INFPs, life is about imagination, compassion, and a deep understanding of one’s self. When someone comes along who is focused more on social expectations than looking inward, INFPs become wary. A person who looks outside themselves for guidance rather than delving into their own heart can seem shallow to an INFP. This is especially true if that person tries to enforce any kind of structure or “guidance” on the INFP. When they offer advice they might be met with stony silence or a surprisingly biting sarcastic remark instead of acceptance.
Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an INFP, the “Dreamer” Personality Type
INTPs and Condescension
Curious and analytical, INTPs try to keep an open mind towards people. But, as Walter Kotschnig once said, “Let us keep our minds open, by all means, as long as that means keeping our sense of perspective and seeking an understanding of the forces which mould the world. But don’t keep your minds so open that your brain falls out!”
For the INTP, viewing life from a logical, detached perspective is what makes sense. When people try to convince them to do something using emotionally-demonstrative language, they get skeptical. INTPs don’t know what to do with sayings like, “follow your heart, not your head” or “you just need to toe the line.” Any pressure to ignore their analytical side or think inside the box is likely to get a dismissive, possibly condescending response.
Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an INTP, the “Prodigy” Personality Type
ENFJs and Condescension
Warm and engaging, ENFJs seem to exude friendliness and acceptance to most personality types. And that, in itself, is where they can get condescending. It isn’t that ENFJs don’t mean well – in fact, they mean so well for everyone most of the time. But when someone comes along who wants them to make the straightforward, logical decision at the expense of other people’s feelings, it feels subversive to an ENFJ. These types try to be reasonable and logical, but if someone’s going to be hurt or adversely affected by something, they’ll usually look at other people’s feelings before the facts. This can lead to fiery arguments filled with righteous fury when someone asks them to disregard group needs or emotional harmony.
Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an ENFJ, the “Mentor” Personality Type
ENTJs and Condescension
Highly driven and intellectual, ENTJs are busy people with tight schedules and full to-do lists. These types like to tailor their lives around efficiency, progress, and intellectual discovery. They tend to get condescending with people who don’t seem to have a particular goal or vision for their lives. People who focus on small-talk and day-to-day details seem small-minded to ENTJs and they may find themselves inadvertently sighing when those people can’t seem to dive into deeper conversational territory. They also might find themselves being patronizing with people who make decisions with their heart instead of their head.
INFJs and Condescension
As intuitive dominant types, INFJs fixate on conceptual ideas and long-range possibilities. While this can be a good thing, it can also mean that they have little patience for people who live moment to moment. People who live in the present and don’t enjoy theorizing about the future can seem aimless to INFJs. People who focus on the surface details of life seem to be missing depth to an INFJ. As a result, INFJs may brush off the immediate concerns of some people because they see them as having no long-term significance. They may also assume that people are shallow when they focus more on the present than the future or more on the details than the underlying meaning behind things.
Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an INFJ, the “Mystic” Personality Type
INTJs and Condescension
As rational types, INTJs live for intellectual discovery and long-term goal achievement. They crave a profound yet logical understanding of the world around them. They also enjoy planning ahead and creating strategic roadmaps to accomplish their objectives. Because INTJs are so fixated on the future and on logical analysis, they can lose patience for people who seem wrapped up in day-to-day concerns. They may brush off the concerns of some people, seeing them as insignificant if they don’t have any long-term impact. They may also see very effusive, emotional people as being “cloying” or “over-the-top” even when they are just being their authentic selves.
Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an INTJ, the “Strategist” Personality Type
ESFPs and Condescension
ESFPs are energetic and enthusiastic and crave a life full of adventure and spontaneity. Because ESFPs are so adventurous at heart, they can be turned off by people who need to have a plan and schedule for everything. They may brush off others’ needs for structure, seeing it as unimportant and overly-cautious. They also may feel like certain personality types (particularly dominant intuitives) are too fixated on ideas and theories and are out of touch with reality. This can result in some patronizing statements on both sides during conversations.
ESTPs and Condescension
ESTPs crave lives filled with adventure, spontaneity, and new and novel experiences. Because they live moment to moment, they respond to life quickly and see opportunities easily. Their logical, down-to-earth outlook also makes them highly realistic. ESTPs tend to get condescending towards people who seem to be “armchair experts” on subjects. People who theorize about life rather than living it seem to be out of touch with reality and therefore untrustworthy. They also might seem patronizing to people who don’t move quickly or respond rapidly to changes in their environment.
ISFPs and Condescension
Free-spirited and gentle, ISFPs try not to be condescending towards anyone, no matter their chosen path in life. However, nobody is totally immune – even these kind-hearted types. Because ISFPs believe in marching to the beat of their own drum, they tend to get annoyed by people who are trying to live up to (what seems to them) as “arbitrary” outside standards. People who like to organize others “for their own good” seem oppressive to them, and they may lash out by becoming passive-aggressive or patronizing. They may also find highly complimentary people suspicious, and brush off people who seem to change depending on who they are with.
Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an ISFP, the “Virtuoso” Personality Type
ISTPs and Condescension
Grounded and analytical, ISTPs try to keep their thoughts focused on the practical needs of the here-and-now. They often have a sense of adventure and a keen eye for details. Because they’re so proficient in this area, they tend to struggle with people who seem to be driven by the mysteries of their hearts rather than the verifiable facts of the real world. People who exude a lot of emotional intensity or prefer the imagination over the real can seem perplexing and absurd to them at times. This is typically when their condescension shows up, although they try to adopt a “live and let live” attitude most of the time.
ESFJs and Condescension
Harmony-focused and practical, ESFJs are often the ideal hosts or hostesses. They care about making sure everyone in a group feels good and has their physical and emotional needs met. Because they are so concerned with group morale, they can be dismissive or irritated when people upset that. People who do their own thing without as much regard for group-feeling and harmony can seem disruptive even when they don’t mean to be. This is usually when ESFJs get condescending, often without even realizing it.
ESTJs and Condescension
Down to earth and efficient, ESTJs like having a direction and clear order for their lives. They naturally take the lead and can spot ineffective systems. For this reason, they balk at people who procrastinate or seem to trust “gut” feelings over facts. People who lack direction, purpose, or efficiency get on their nerves and tend to make the condescension leak out. ESTJs may feel like these people need to be managed or organized so that they can have a more productive life.
Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an ESTJ, the “Captain” Personality Type
ISFJs and Condescension
Condescension might be one of the last words you think of in connection to the ISFJ personality type. After all, they have Mother Teresa in their ranks! ISFJs are typically kindhearted, compassionate, and grounded. However, there are still tendencies that irk them and can eventually bring out a condescending, edgy attitude. ISFJs like having a plan, routine, and predictable order to their lives. People who drift through life without a plan tend to confuse them. They are also particular about the details of their lives. People who inadvertently disrespect those details (like putting a cold drink on a coffee table without a coaster) might make ISFJs inwardly cringe (especially if this is a frequently repeated habit). As a result, they may (as nicely as possible) try to tamper such perspectives if they feel like they’re getting out of hand and this can seem patronizing to other personality types.
ISTJs and Condescension
Organized, detail-oriented, and attentive, almost nothing can slip by an ISTJ. These types believe that a well-organized, consistent lifestyle is the most efficient one. After all, the more you know what to expect, the more you can be prepared and rule out catastrophes. Because ISTJs are so fixated on having a logical order to their lives, people who seem to fly by the seat of their pants distress them. They may get condescending with people who are unpredictable, inconsistent, or who are driven primarily by their emotional instincts. People who trust intuition over facts also baffle them and they may inadvertently be dismissive of their ideas.
Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an ISTJ, the “Detective” Personality Type
What Are Your Thoughts?
Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any insights or suggestions 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, The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, and The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!