Find out how each Myers-Briggs® personality type gets misunderstood in romantic relationships. #MBTI #Personality #INFJ

How You’re Misunderstood in a Relationship, Based On Your Myers-Briggs® Personality Type

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Do you and your partner feel like you’re speaking different languages? Does it seem like you keep rehashing the same arguments again and again? Maybe your way of showing love isn’t the way your partner is accepting it. Maybe the way they want to receive love isn’t the way you naturally provide it. Relationships are a TON of work, but personality knowledge can help!

Today we’re going to dig into some of the most common complaints partners make about each of the personality types as partners. And then we’ll explain some of the misunderstandings surrounding those complaints so that you can have (hopefully) a happier and more understanding relationship as a result.

Let’s get started!

Not sure what your personality type is? Take our personality questionnaire here. Or you can take the official MBTI® here.

Here’s How You’re Misunderstood in a Relationship, Based On Your Myers-Briggs® Personality Type

MBTI relationship infographic #MBTI #INFP

The ENTJ

Biggest complaint about ENTJs? They’re too bossy or critical.

Here’s the thing. That problem you’re having? The ENTJ wants to solve it. If they sat and listened to you vent and offered you a pat on the back and an empathetic nod of support, they’d feel like a total failure as a friend or lover.

So what do they do? They try to fix the problem.

And what usually happens? They get lambasted for it.

ENTJs are human troubleshooters. Their goal as your partner is to help you circumvent obstacles and reach your objectives. If you come to them with a problem the most loving thing they can think of to do is offer solutions. And guess what that can look like? Bossy and critical sometimes.

Now maybe the ENTJ you’re dealing with is actually a humongous jerk. In that case maybe you should re-think the time you’re spending with them. Or you could tell them exactly what you need when you’re struggling. If you need someone to just shut up and listen, tell them! Without clarity on what you need or want, ENTJs will autopilot to problem-solving mode, and this isn’t always what their partners want.

Read This Next: How ENTJs Say “I Love You”

The ENFJ

The biggest complaint I hear about ENFJs is that they’re “clingy.” They want more connection than maybe their partner is comfortable giving.

ENFJs are the type that want to talk about their relationship. They want to know how you’re feeling, what your needs are, and they genuinely want to help make things work better for both of you. The more interaction they have with you, the closer they feel, and the closer they feel to understanding you and, therefore, being a better partner.

If you read that again you’ll see that I said “they (ENFJs) want to know what your needs are.” If you need space, more time alone, or to watch a movie that you don’t think they’ll like, tell them. Most of the time they’ll be more than happy to take care of your emotional and psychological needs, even if that means giving you space. Just don’t frame it like “you’re annoying and I need space.” But that goes without saying.

If the ENFJ in question acts hurt when you need a little more space, it might be that they’re worried about some other facet of the relationship. Maybe if they knew more about personality types (including your own) they’d understand that the reason you need space isn’t personal – it’s just that you’re an introvert, or you’re a thinking type who gets overwhelmed with a lot of emotional input over time. Make sure that you’re supporting your ENFJ partner in other ways and reassuring them of your investment in the relationship. Ultimately, this type craves honesty in the relationship so the more clarity you can provide about your needs and what you want in the relationship the better. Just try to honor their needs as well.

Discover More About ENFJs: Understanding ENFJ Feeling

The INTJ

The most common complaint I hear about INTJs is that they’re too stoic or unreadable. Many people interpret this as being “insensitive” or “cold.” Some partners cut the relationship short because they feel there is no intimate connection in place to hold them together.

But are INTJs really cold and insensitive stoics? Not so much.

INTJs feel deeply and intensely, however their processing of these feelings is very internal. Many INTJs harbor longings and passions that would surprise even the most ardent feeling type. But because they use a process called Introverted Feeling, they don’t always share those feelings verbally. They tend to assume that their bond is obvious through their actions and their loyalty.

An INTJ might feel ardent love and devotion to a partner, but stoically shovel that partner’s snow with nary a smile or a hug. Inside they’re thinking, “I love my partner and I hope this helps them.” While the INTJ is shoveling the snow, their partner might be moping inside about how distant they feel from the INTJ and how aloof he or she seems.

The best way to connect with an INTJ is to create an environment where they feel safe sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings. This might require some patience on your part as the INTJ needs time to process their emotions and figure out what they’re feeling before they can share it with you. You could ask your partner how they prefer to share their feelings, or how they prefer to receive love. If you find out that they show love through acts of service, you can see every act of helpfulness as a bold and passionate “I love you.”

Discover More About INTJs: The INTJ Cognitive Function Stack

The INFJ

The biggest complaint I’ve heard from partners of INFJs is that they are stubborn. As introverted intuitives, INFJs often have insights that they hold to unflinchingly. But are INFJs really certain that they’re right all the time? Are they closed off to any constructive criticism or alternate possibilities?

On the outside it might look like it to a more extroverted type. When presented with an argument, an alternate idea, or a criticism, an INFJ‘s first tendency is to withdraw. But this withdrawal isn’t about cutting off you (unless you were just a jerk to them). INFJs simply need time to take your input and sift it through their complex intuitive system before they can think of how to react.

And when they do come back with a response, it might be more than you were looking for. INFJs will look at your perspective from every angle, line it up against their other insights, consider the interpersonal elements at play, their logical principles, and then come up with a response. But when INFJs try to explain their insights, it can feel to them like they’re describing a mysterious inner image that doesn’t even have words existing in any human tongue.

Many INFJs feel that their ideas, so clear in their own minds, lose their power when verbalized. When an INFJ tries to explain their insights, or argue for their point of view, they often get frustrated with themselves because they can’t quite put it into words the way they see it.

So if you’re arguing with an INFJ, and they suddenly go quiet on you, don’t take it as a personal victory or a “door slam.” They just need time and space to process fully. And if they seem stubborn about an idea, try to understand that they’ve probably spent dozens of hours analyzing the idea before even verbalizing it to you. Feel free to present an argument or alternative, but do so with patience for their intuitive process.

Discover More About INFJs: 24 Signs You’re an INFJ, the Mystic Personality Type

The ESTJ

The biggest complaint I hear from partners of ESTJs is that they’re controlling or bossy. ENTJs and ESTJs often have the same complaints lodged at them from partners because they are both Extroverted Thinking personality types.

But is it really an ESTJs goal to control and boss around a subservient partner?

Not typically. Ideally, ESTJs want a partner who is an equal, someone they can respect and admire. They want to be able to share their lives with someone who is independent and capable, not someone they have to micro-mange or control.

The exceptions to this arise if the ESTJ is deeply immature, has a personality disorder, or some kind of psychological issue that’s causing them to crave control to a micro extent. But we’re not dealing with those kinds of ESTJs because that would take a whole book to get into.

ESTJs generally take control of situations if they feel like the other people involved need help, want help, aren’t reaching their goals, or are getting in their own way. ESTJs are human troubleshooters. They see inefficiencies and try to fix them – why? Because they love you, that’s why.

You want to save money for retirement? The ESTJ will sit down and look at the budget and calculate all the ways that you both can shed some needless expenses. This may look like “No more Starbucks for you!” but what it really feels like to the ESTJ is “I love you and want to help you save for your future, want to cut out Starbucks? If not, show me your reasoning.”

Many people think ESTJs are set on one particular path and aren’t open for ideas, when the opposite is often true. If you have good reasoning for disagreeing with an ESTJ, they’d love to hear it! In fact, ESTJs enjoy a good debate or a talk that will lead to better clarity and solutions for both of you.

An ESTJ wants to meet your needs and love you by helping you out, solving problems for you, or giving advice or constructive criticism. But they aren’t trying to control you; in fact, they typically resent having to control too many aspects of other peoples’ lives.

Discover More About ESTJs: 24 Signs That You’re an ESTJ Personality Type

The ESFJ

Friendly and supportive, ESFJs often make dedicated and warm-hearted partners. But some people complain that ESFJs are too gossipy or talkative. More introverted types sometimes complain that they feel coddled or overwhelmed by the extroverted nature of the ESFJ.

Are ESFJs gossipy chatterboxes who don’t know when to be quiet? Do they live to exert themselves on every area of your life?

Not so much. Although ESFJs do tend to be talkative, they strive to notice your cues to see whether you’re actually interested in what they have to say. If you notice someone chattering on and on without any attention given to your level of interest, it’s possible that they either (A) aren’t an ESFJ (B) are an unhealthy version of the type or (C) you’re faking interest so they’re continuing to talk and they don’t know they’re bothering you.

ESFJs, much like ENFJs, want to create harmonious and agreeable connections. They also want to know what your values are; what you care about as well as what you ethically agree and disagree with. They do this through verbal dialogue and reading your body language. If they’re taking it too far and you need a break, the last thing they’d want to do is keep talking. That would go against their desire for positive connection and harmony.

Some ESFJs gossip as a way to say “these are my values, those aren’t.” In a way, this type of gossip enables them to see whether they and you are on the same ethical page or whether you disagree. That said, gossip can become mean-hearted and cliquey if taken too far, so if you’re dealing with an ESFJ partner who’s doing that, it’s important to set some boundaries.

Also keep in mind that ESFJs want to give you a pleasant and supportive experience. If you need some space, kindly let them know! As long as you don’t make it personal (“I’m getting sick of your chatter and need to be alone!”) they will understand. You can even let them know about your personality type and why you need more alone time to process so that they know objectively it isn’t negative feelings drawing you away.

Learn More About ESFJs: Understanding ESFJ Feeling

The ISTJ

Loyal and hard-working, ISTJs often make highly dedicated partners. But many partners complain that ISTJs are too reserved and serious. Some ISTJs may have a difficult time expressing their emotions, while others find it hard to understand their partner’s emotional needs.

Is your ISTJ partner too serious and unreadable? Do they never seem to want to go out and have fun?

First of all, it’s important to remember that ISTJs have a rich inner life; just because they don’t share everything with you, doesn’t mean they’re not deeply feeling people. In fact, many ISTJs are very in touch with their emotions and may even be quite sensitive, despite their exterior persona.

That said, some ISTJs do find it difficult to express their emotions. If this is the case with your partner, it’s important to be patient and understanding. You could find creative ways to emotionally connect that don’t require an immediate response. For example, you could leave a sticky note on the mirror with a little love note on it. You could leave a blank sticky note next to it and a pen on the vanity so they can write a little note back to you. You could schedule a time every week to sit down and talk about your feelings and emotional needs. ISTJs are very dutiful to schedules so this often works well for them.

Additionally, try not to take their emotional distance personally; it likely has more to do with their personality type than it does with you.

When it comes to fun, ISTJs are no different than anyone else in their natural desire for it. However, spontaneity can leave them anxious and a little unsteady. Try to pick one night a week to go out and do something adventurous or fun. If they know what to expect and when they’re much more likely to be up for it! You could also have a conversation about the kinds of spontaneous fun activities they enjoy. They might surprise you!

Learn More About ISTJs: 24 Signs That You’re an ISTJ

The ISFJ

Gentle and supportive, ISFJs often make devoted and loving partners. But some of their romantic relationships suffer because their partners find them too cautious or traditional. Some people feel like they can’t be persuaded to try new things or take adventurous leaps.

Is your ISFJ partner too resistant to change? Do they never want to try new things?

As with most of these misunderstandings, there’s an element of truth in it as well as an element of falsehood. ISFJs do enjoy routine and tradition because it makes them comfortable and gives them a sense of security. But this doesn’t mean they aren’t up for trying new things and can’t see a situation from another perspective! But sometimes partners write them off without giving them a proper chance.

When it comes to persuading your ISFJ partner to try something new, be gentle and patient. They may need time to process the idea and come to terms with it before they’re ready to take the plunge. If they know what to expect then they’re much more likely to be excited to try something new! For example, if you want to visit a national park they’ve never been to, give them a few days to research the park, study the maps, and prepare. ISFJs are anxious about unexpected chaos, but they can handle new experiences if they have time to mentally prep.

When it comes to their perspectives and worldviews, ISFJs can have less traditional views than many realize. Each ISFJ is different and each has a very individual and nuanced inner world. Hardly anyone actually realizes the depth of an ISFJ’s thoughts and feelings unless they take the time to get to know them very well. So don’t write them off as too traditional or set in their ways without taking time to know them one-on-one first.

What ISFJs don’t like is when people argue against their ideas or beliefs in a condescending or pushy way. ISFJs, like all introverts, need time to think about new information and process it via their experiences, logical principles, and the facts they trust. If you’re patient with an ISFJ, state your sources, offer credible facts, and come to them with respect they’ll be much more likely to consider your perspective.

Learn More About ISFJs: 24 Signs That You’re an ISFJ, the Protector Personality Type

The ENTP

Creative and analytical, ENTPs enjoy pushing boundaries and innovating. But sometimes their argumentative attitude can rub partners the wrong way. In fact, many people complain that ENTPs argue simply for the sake of it or to appear smarter than everyone else.

Is this true? Are ENTPs a bunch of argumentative jerks that enjoy riling people up? For unhealthy ENTPs, sure, this might be typical. But for average to healthy ENTPs, getting to the truth of something and creating clarity is one of the ways they show they care.

ENTPs don’t want anyone to have convoluted or inaccurate thinking. In fact, ENTPs are terrified of having inaccurate thinking themselves. If they hate the idea of inaccurate thinking so much, they assume you do too. This means if you present an argument or a “fact” that is lacking data or is filled with bias, the ENTP will likely call you out on it. They want to help you refine your thoughts so they can be as clear and accurate as possible. This means they’ll likely push you, sometimes hard, to explain yourself better. They might also do this by offering a different perspective or view that challenges everything you thought you knew!

Does this mean that ENTPS enjoy riling you up? Not usually. It means they value you enough to want you to have clear thinking. In fact, many ENTPs are deeply uncomfortable with disharmony and discomfort in their close relationships. They just may not verbally express this discomfort. They also find arguing to be a fun leisure activity; much like an ISTJ might enjoy a round of golf. The idea that arguing is inherently combative or mean-spirited is foreign to them and they get frustrated when people interpret their thoughts as personal attacks.

Discover More About ENTPs: 10 Surprising Truths About ENTPs

The ENFP

ENFPs are passionate, idealistic people that see the potential in everyone and everything. They’re natural optimists and see the world for all it could be rather than for the bare reality of what it is. Some partners complain that their ENFP partners are “flighty” or “scatterbrained” pursuing a million possibilities, some of which lack a solid foundation.

It’s true that ENFPs have a lot of energy and ideas. They see endless potential for love, creativity, and growth. But there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface than onlookers realize. It can be easy for certain types (particularly Sensors or Judgers) to write off the enthusiastic, spontaneous nature of the ENFP as “flighty” but they should know they’re missing half the picture.

For the ENFP, exploring and talking about ideas is a process in generating and evolving. The more they talk, the more possibilities sprout and grow and multiply. Does this mean they want to pursue every single idea that sprouts in their mind? No. When ENFPs delve into their private thoughts, they typically refine which ideas are ultimately meaningful for them. If you only focus on what they say in the moment, then they may look like they’re seeing ideas everywhere. But they also need time alone to refine their ideas, tap into their true feelings, and prune off anything that doesn’t line up with their prioritized values.

An onlooker should realize that the verbalizing process of idea-generating is part of the genius of Extraverted Intuition, the ENFP’s dominant function. It’s not “flighty” it’s about innovation, making connections, problem-solving, and envisioning. Healthy ENFPs not only extrapolate ideas, they harness their thinking side to make those ideas work in the real world.

In short, let ENFPs brainstorm! This is what ENFPs were made to do. Without this form of genius, we wouldn’t have great creators like Walt Disney, Oscar Wilde, or Salvador Dali. If you feel you must remind them of some facts that might derail their ideas, do so with respect and empathy – not condescension.

Discover More About ENFPs: 24 Signs That You’re an ENFP, The Visionary Personality Type

The INTP

Analytical and innovative, INTPs enjoy delving into theoretical concepts they can refine and understand. But the world of emotions is one that often trips them up, especially in relationships. Many partners of INTPs complain that they are too distant or “oblivious.” But is this true? Are INTPs off in their own world – unconcerned with their partner’s feelings?

While it’s false that INTP‘s are unconcerned with their partner’s feelings, to the outside observer it might appear this way. In order to understand what’s really going on we need to take a look at the INTP’s mind. INTPs are dominant thinking types; this means they operate most confidently when they’re looking at logic or deconstructing systems and arguments to see how they all fit together. Thinking dominant types have inferior Feeling. This means that the world of emotional connection and “vibe” reading is often an area of insecurity or vulnerability. To attempt to read a partner’s emotions would feel awkward and embarrassing to an INTP on many occasions. This isn’t an area they typically feel confident in, even if they can tell that emotions are wafting through the atmosphere.

What partners need to recognize is that just because INTPs seem reserved or hesitant when it comes to emotional expression or empathy, this doesn’t mean that they lack empathy or heart. In fact, many INTPs have deeply romantic and passionate feelings that they simply feel awkward sharing until complete comfort is granted in the relationship. The truth is that most INTPs crave emotional connection, warmth, and a mutual sense of support and understanding. They often seek this in a partner and feel empty without it.

INTPs need partners who can help them feel more comfortable sharing their feelings and encourage them to express themselves emotionally. They also benefit from a partner who is patient and understanding, someone who can see past the INTP’s reservedness to the deep well of feeling beneath. With the right partner, INTPs can blossom into some of the most devoted, caring, and supportive individuals imaginable.

Discover More About INTPs: 24 Signs That You’re an INTP, the Prodigy Personality Type

The INFP

Idealistic and imaginative, INFPs bring a lot of heart and creativity into their relationships. To be honest, I didn’t really see too many complaints from partners of INFPs. The two that come up (albeit rarely) are that they are overly-idealistic and hyper-sensitive. Let’s explore these two tendencies below.

INFPs are idealists; they see the world as it could be and have a deep-seated belief that people are capable of limitless potential. The world as it is is often disappointing to INFPs. They see people filled with potential throwing their lives into materialism, pointless social media pursuits, iPhone games, and reality TV. To the INFP, people are capable of so much more than they realize, including their partners. They want to see their partner’s heart, know what they stand for, and see an inner integrity to do what is authentic. Maybe this seems overly-idealistic to some people, but with the right person, this belief can be the spark that catalyzes them to higher levels of self-awareness and personal growth.

However, idealism to the point of chronic disappointment and bitterness is possible for more unhealthy INFPs. INFPs who aren’t in a good place mentally may retreat from the world because in it they see no kindred spirits and only corruption. In their isolation they further their belief that the world outside is corrupt and hopeless. People in relationships with INFPs at this level of health may need to seek counseling in some form as a couple. Some disappointment at squandered potential is normal. But if an INFP is completely isolating and getting trapped in self-defeating behaviors and beliefs then counseling would be the best resort.

Sensitivity is another complaint that some partners bring up with INFPs. And again, this could be a misunderstanding or not, depending on the level of health the INFP is currently at. Unhealthy INFPs can be oversensitive and easily-offended to the point where their partner has to walk on eggshells. Average to healthy INFPs usually have a fairly thick skin and can take a bit of constructive criticism without having a bad reaction. In fact, they appreciate partners who are honest with them and don’t try to tiptoe around major issues. Authenticity means honesty, and INFPs at their best crave authenticity more than anything.

Here’s the thing, though. When you give criticism to an INFP, be sure to give them time to absorb what you’re saying. They might immediately back off or seem skeptical, even hurt, but they’re introverts. They’ve got to get alone and post-process events in order to understand what they means to them. If you’re looking for an immediate “you’re right, thank you” then you’ll probably be disappointed – but you would be with almost anyone if that’s what you’re looking for.

Discover More About INFPs: Here’s Why INFPs and INTPs Get Misunderstood

The ESTP

ESTPs are outgoing, fun-loving types that live for the thrill of adventure and competition. They have a spontaneous nature and enjoy giving their partners impromptu fun experiences. While most partners of ESTPs seem to enjoy these qualities, there are a few complaints that come up from time to time.

The biggest complaint that I’ve seen about ESTPs is that they are “shallow” or “insensitive.”

First, let’s take a look at the word shallow. It means lacking in depth, not concerned with serious or important matters, and superficially interested.

Now, let’s think about what it means to be shallow in a relationship. A shallow person in a relationship is someone who is only interested in their partner for superficial reasons. They don’t care about their partner’s inner thoughts or feelings, they just want to have fun and be entertained.

Let’s be fair to all personality types here. All 16 Myers-Briggs® personality types can be shallow or “deep” and they can all be selfish or unselfish in relationships. It all depends, naturally, on their level of maturity and psychological health.

ESTPs at their best are the ultimate realists. They focus on the facts of life and what they know through experience. They see life as it is and try to make the best of it. A tree is for climbing, it’s not a symbol of growth or new beginnings. A relationship is about support, chemistry, trust, and understanding – it’s not about mind-reading or some kind of spiritual psychic interplay (although it may feel like it at times, even to ESTPs).

But here’s the thing: Just because ESTPs focus on the facts of life doesn’t mean they’re shallow. In fact, many ESTPs are very interested in their partner’s inner thoughts and feelings. They just don’t tend to talk about these things as much as Feeling types would. As Thinking-Perceivers, they focus on how things (or people) work; they like figuring out the nuts and bolts of life. They figure that if you are going through something, that logically you’d let them know. They don’t want to play “mind reader” because that involves too much hypothesizing and guesswork and as Sensing-Perceivers they’d rather focus on what’s observable. But if you share your feelings with an ESTP partner, they will genuinely care about them (unless they’re just a massive jerk, which any personality type can be).

The reason some people think ESTPs are shallow is because they focus on experiences and observable facts more than ideas and concepts. This doesn’t mean they’re not interested in their partner’s inner thoughts and feelings, it just means they express their interest in different ways. Instead of talking about their partner’s disillusionment, they may try to uplift them with a trip to the beach or tickets to a concert. Instead of having deep heart-to-heart talks about the saddest moments of their lives, they may look for experiences that will help someone feel better.

Here’s the deal Feeling partners. If you want your Thinking partner to listen to you and empathize when you’re struggling, you need to just say it. Mind-reading isn’t something that anyone can do, and for Thinking types, they’re going to look for “fixes.” For the ESTP, that means fixing your outward experience. You’re sad? They’ll try to cheer you up with a good time. But ESTPs don’t want to offer you fixes that don’t work. That would be a waste of their energy! So you can save them a lot of time by saying, “Hey, I’m going through some stuff and I’m struggling. I just need you to listen to me right now, can you do that?”

If they know what you want ahead of time, they won’t waste their time (or yours) by trying to offer you a solution that would work for someone like them.

If you know what you need (support, a listening ear, empathy, a distraction) then you can let your ESTP partner know so that they don’t offer solutions that make you feel invalidated or unheard. Throughout this process you’ll likely find that the ESTP is more emotionally supportive and attentive than you realized!

Discover More About ESTPs: 24 Signs That You’re an ESTP, the Daredevil Personality Type

The ESFP

Action-oriented and fun-loving, ESFPs enjoy giving their partners good experiences and empathetic support. Many partners thrive in relationships with these friendly and engaging personality types. But for some, their energy and spontaneity can feel overwhelming. Some partners complain that their ESFP partners are “shallow” or “flaky.”

Let’s look at what being shallow actually means. I know we already described this in the ESTP section, but in case you scrolled down to ESFP without reading that section we’ll explain it again.

Shallowness is defined as “lacking in depth of knowledge, thought, or feeling” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Flaky is described as “not reliable in performance or behavior” according to Merriam-Webster.

So let’s start with shallowness. Are ESFPs inherently lacking in depth of knowledge, thought, or feeling?

To accuse ESFPs, as a whole, of this, is a fairly narrow and “shallow” view in general.

ESFPs are the experiencers of life. They’re also realists who strive to be objective and see the world exactly as it is. In a battle, you’d probably prefer an ESFP or ESTP on your side because they’re not going to get stuck in hypothetical musings or “what if” ponderings, instead they’re likely to take action as quickly as possible and react to what’s happening around them. Their detail-oriented nature also means that they’re likely to take in more observable data than other personality types.

Maybe some people think that makes them shallow, but I’d still rather have them by my side when a crisis strikes.

ESFPs are also types who value a mental process called Introverted Feeling. Though less obvious on the outside, Introverted Feeling creates an inner taxonomy of rich emotional experiences and values. This is the process that allows an ESFP to understand and empathize with others on a deep level. It also gives them an insight into their own motivations, beliefs, and values. ESFPs at an average to healthy level believe in living with integrity and will fight tooth and nail for what they believe in.

People who tend to label ESFPs as shallow are either dealing with unhealthy versions of the type, or simply don’t appreciate the natural wiring of this type. Some people see experiencers as less deep than people who sit in armchairs and analyze the meaning of the universe.

Now let’s talk about flakiness.

Flakiness generally refers to someone who cancels plans, doesn’t follow through on commitments, or is overall unreliable. If you feel like ESFPs as a whole are “flaky” then you’ve probably diagnosed an entire personality type based on the actions of one unhealthy ESFP you’ve known. Or you’ve bought into the stereotype that all Perceivers are flaky and unreliable.

ESFPs who are at a healthy psychological state will uphold any agreements that align with their values (responsibliity, trustworthiness, honesty, etc,.). They may procrastinate on a school paper and finish it up the night before it’s due, but chances are they’ll still do what’s needed of them, just on their own timeline. However, to a Judging type, their timeline can look flaky simply because it isn’t done ahead of time on a regimented schedule.

If an ESFP is chronically unreliable then chances are they’re struggling with something or they’re at an immature state of development. Flakiness is something that is not typical of this type as a whole unless they’re in a negative state of mind.

Find Out More About ESFPs: ESFP Cognitive Function Guide

The ISTP

Cool, calm, and analytical, ISTPs enjoy finding creative solutions to practical problems. They live in the moment and prefer to experience life through action rather than conversation. In relationships, the biggest complaint I’ve heard about this type is that they’re too aloof and distant.

While ISTPs crave autonomy and a sense of independence, if they are committed to someone they still can be deeply caring and supportive. So the question would be whether or not you’re dealing with a committed and reasonably healthy ISTP, an unhealthy ISTP, or an ISTP who isn’t actually committed to the relationship. If you feel them constantly pulling away, a conversation might be in order to determine whether they’re actively interested in continuing the relationship.

That said, there are many situations where ISTPs feel distant simply because their partner is a more extroverted, feeling-oriented type. Many opposites wind up in relationships (opposites attract isn’t a myth, after all), and sometimes those relationships can be strained because the couple hasn’t learned to understand and appreciate each other’s differences.

An extrovert thrives when they engage with people. Human interaction revs up their batteries and gives them energy and fulfillment. ISTPs, especially in emotionally charged situations, tend to feel more and more depleted, so they get away with themselves to recharge. Often the extroverted partner feels rejected, while the introverted partner is left at a loss as to how to explain that they need some time alone.

Another thing to recognize about ISTPs is that they are not feeling types. In fact, feeling is their inferior function. This means that communicating on an emotional wavelength can be an insecure experience for ISTPs; they may feel “stage fright” or vulnerable. So they may seem to avoid conversations about feelings, but in reality they just don’t know how to broach the subject.

What may surprise many partners of ISTPs is the realization that many ISTPs have deep and passionate inner feelings and they have the potential to deeply enjoy emotional connection. The key is to be emotionally connecting in a way that is understanding, patient, and non-judgmental. ISTPs need to feel safe to express themselves, directly, bluntly, cheesily, or in whatever way works for them in order to build up the confidence to broach emotional subjects more freely.

Learn More About  ISTPs: 10 Things ISTPs Look for in a Relationship

The ISFP

Mysterious and deeply-feeling, ISFPs often make quietly caring and attentive partners. They’re in touch with their emotions and they’re very loyal to the people they love. That said, some people claim that their ISFP partners are confusing or self-absorbed.

I can’t always explain why every single partner would make these complaints about this type, but I can explain why sometimes they may look this way without being so.

The crucial thing to know about ISFPs is that they are Introverted Feeling (Fi) types. They feel things deeply, passionately, and intensely, but the process is internal. You’ll likely see their feelings and values in their choices more than in elaborate diatribes or emotionally-charged conversations. However, those feelings are deeply-held and highly personal nonetheless.

Because the ISFP’s feeling process is so internal, it can be difficult to know how they feel about things at first glance. They may need some time to process and understand their own emotions before they feel ready or able to share them with you. This can make them seem like they’re holding back, but usually they’re just taking the time to check in with their introverted feeling process before saying something. These types also dislike pushing their values on anyone else and so they often quietly listen while others’ express themselves without giving a lot of emotional feedback. Some types (particularly FJ types) can find this experience disarming or confusing, because they’re looking for something more reactive in the moment.

As far as “selfish” is concerned, this tends to be a common misunderstanding of Feeling-Perceiving types. These types believe in living authentically and in alignment with their own set of values. This may rock the boat at times, but it’s honest, and that’s what matters to them. They aren’t going to be pretend to be something they’re not and to do so would feel completely ridiculous to them. Some types feel that ISFPs should try harder to “blend in” or go with the flow in order to appease the social atmosphere, but this isn’t how ISFPs operate.

It’s not easy being different, not even for ISFPs, but they feel that they should be this way in order to be true to themselves and honest to the people around them. If an ISFP is being real with you, know that it’s a sign of respect, not a sign that they’re putting themselves before you. To be “fake” would be an insult to everyone involved in an ISFP’s eyes.

Another characteristic of ISFPs is that they don’t like to push themselves on other people. If someone is talking about a problem to them, they believe in listening to the best of their ability. But they’re not going to jump in and try to solve the problem because they believe in respecting each individual’s autonomy. To jump in with a lot of advice and feedback would feel selfish to an ISFP. However, to certain other personality types, the ISFP’s quietness and lack of action may be seen as a sign that they don’t care.

So, if you’re dating an ISFP, don’t mistake their quietness for coldness and their introspection for selfishness. They may not be as expressive as some other personality types, but they feel things deeply and they’re extremely loyal to the people they love. Give them time to process their emotions and try to see the world from their unique perspective.

Learn More About ISFPs: 24 Signs That You’re an ISFP, the Virtuoso Personality Type

What Are Your Thoughts?

Discover even more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type,  The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via FacebookInstagram, or Twitter!

Discovering You eBook about the 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types

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One Comment

  1. This post is extremely helpful. It is calm, nuanced, and I like how you keep perspective: “they are ++++ and can seem xxxxx although all personality types can be xxxxx at times”
    Thank you for the tactful suggestions.
    I hope you know that every day you make the lives of so many people better, richer, less painful.
    Mindful wishes,
    Gabriela

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