The Underestimated Ways You Show You Care, Based On Your Myers-Briggs® Personality Type

Have you ever felt like your gestures of affection fell on blind eyes? Or maybe you’ve been on the receiving end, confused by someone’s efforts to show you they care. In my experience as an MBTI® practitioner, I’ve seen time and time again that opposites attract, and that while the differences might spark intrigue and attraction initially, in the long run many couples fight and bicker because of differences they just don’t “get.” Some of these differences revolve around the way the types show and receive love.

But let’s not just talk about romance! These misunderstandings can show up in friendships as well as parent-child relationships. We all tend to show love in the way we’d like to receive it; but, thanks to different personalities, we all receive it differently. What you might think is encouragement might feel like it’s not hitting the mark for someone else. Many people feel like the ways they’re trying to be there for someone else are going unnoticed or are being underestimated.

Discover the underestimated ways each of the Myers-Briggs® personality types shows they care and shows love. #MBTI #Personality

Recently I surveyed my email list and social media accounts inviting people to share the ways they most like to show and receive love. The results were surprisingly different! Today we’re going to talk about how sometimes each of the 16 personality types gets completely misrepresented and misunderstood when they try to show their love to someone else.

Let’s get started!

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

The Underestimated Ways You Show Care and Support, Based On Your Myers-Briggs® Personality Type

Estimated reading time: 20 minutes

INTJ: The Strategic Solver

How INTJs Show They Care

INTJs are the people you want when you have a complex or abstract problem that you just can’t grasp. They are strategists with an eye for effectiveness and long-term progress. When invested in a relationship, they unleash their top-notch problem-solving skills and provide guidance for troubleshooting. However, their preference for practical solutions over emotional gestures can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. For instance, when an INTJ offers a detailed plan to help a loved one overcome a challenge, it might be misinterpreted as too impersonal or even “arrogant. Many people simply want emotional support, empathy, or even a hug, meanwhile the INTJ is trying to solve big problems and create intricate strategies as a way of solving the root problem and helping the other person reach a higher potential.

Believe me, I’m an INTJ, I’ve run into this misunderstanding so many times in my relationships and friendships. It’s not fun and it feels like you’re doing a massive amount of work for someone who just wanted something simple like a hug. It can feel like a slap in the face to try so hard to solve someone’s problem only for them to turn up their nose and call you arrogant or say “they only wanted to be heard.”

Signs an INTJ is Showing You They Care:

  • They’re trying to solve problems for you
  • They’re giving you space
  • They’re instigating deep conversations
  • They’re asking you questions
  • They’re giving you useful gifts

If you look at the above ways of showing care and concern, they may not look touchy-feely and emotionally supportive, but in their own way INTJs are trying to be emotionally supportive.

Find out more about INTJs: 24 Signs That You’re an INTJ, the Strategist Personality Type

INFJ: The Emotional Seer

How INFJs Show Love

INFJs, often known as mystics or counselors, have a gift for offering deep empathy alongside an uncanny insight into what’s going on behind the scenes. Their intuitive nature allows them to connect on a profoundly emotional level, providing comfort and understanding when you most need it. They have a knack for seeing the best in people and guiding them towards their true calling, making others feel deeply seen and understood. However, sometimes their empathy and their eye for potential falls on someone who doesn’t take it seriously.

The INFJ’s deep intuition and their reliance on feelings and potential can sometimes be misconstrued by more pragmatic types. Their insights, which can seem almost prophetic, are at times dismissed as being too “woo woo” or impractical. People might appreciate the emotional support but balk at the idea of taking significant action based on what they perceive as abstract or speculative advice. This misunderstanding can leave INFJs feeling underappreciated for their contributions or even dismissed and rejected.

Signs an INFJ is Showing You They Care:

  • Giving you words of Affirmation
  • Providing empathy
  • Offering affection
  • Listening w/o judgment
  • Opening up about themselves
  • Sharing insights and patterns with you

Discover more about the INFJ: 10 Extremely Annoying INFJ Pet Peeves

INTP: The Idea Generator

How INTPs Show They Care

INTPs express affection by offering new ideas and innovative solutions, hoping to help others in finding clarity and truth. However, they often face frustration as their intentions are misconstrued. Rather than being seen as helpful, they are sometimes labeled as arrogant, pedantic, and argumentative. INTPs genuinely want to help others and connect by meeting in the world of ideas, theories, and logic. They want “mind mates” to challenge them and to challenge as well. Yet their approach is sometimes misunderstood and undervalued in a world where emotional soothsaying is seen as more valuable in many relationships.

Signs an INTP is Showing You They Care:

  • They are listening w/o judgment
  • They make time to do favors for you (i.e. picking things up while out)
  • They work to find solutions to your problems
  • They take an interest in your unique tastes and quirks
  • They find you intelligent enough to debate with in a respectful manner

Find out more about INTPs: A Look at the INTP Leader

INFP: The Silent Supporter

How INFPs Show Love

Picture this: you’re with an INFP, and they’re not just there; they’re truly present. They’re like a cozy blanket of understanding, letting you pour out your heart without any judgment. These individuals are idea generators, sparking possibilities and helping you see new horizons you never imagined.

But here’s the problem – some people label INFPs as too “dreamy” or dismiss their suggestions as “impractical.” And their calm, quiet support? It is often misunderstood as “distant” by those expecting a louder, more expressive kind of help. It’s important to remember with INFPs that not all love is loud, showy, and overly-emotional. For the INFP, still waters run deep. What you might perceive as distant and dreamy is someone who is trying to be fully present for you while seeing a potential maybe you didn’t even know you had.

Signs an INFP is Showing You They Care:

  • They make an effort to listen without judgment
  • They provide empathy
  • They make you handmade gifts
  • They offer gentle affection
  • They give you space and autonomy
  • They’ll just “be” with you without expectation or chatter

Find out more about INFPs: 10 Famous INFPs Who Changed the World

ISTJ: The Practical Helper

How ISTJs Show Love

Actions often speak louder than words for an ISTJ personality type. Imagine this: you’re stressed about something, and instead of offering emotional support, the ISTJ quietly goes out to mow the lawn or fix your computer. While they believe they are expressing care through practical solutions, you might misinterpret their actions as being distant or distracted, especially if you were hoping for a comforting hug or someone to unpack your emotions with. This misperception can be frustrating for them as well as they genuinely are trying to provide support by lifting your burdens and simplifying your life.

One thing to remember with ISTJs is that they don’t naturally think of words of affirmation or cuddles and sweet words as the most useful form of emotional support (some might, but many don’t naturally go to this place). Naturally they try to solve problems, make things easier for you, take care of practical matters. By mowing the lawn, for example, they’re hoping to make your external world that much nicer so that you can relax and feel less stressed. By remembering the details of your life, your stories, likes and dislikes, they’re hoping to show you that they’re invested in who you are.

Things ISTJs Do To Show They Care:

  • Perform acts of service
  • Listen quietly
  • Do practical chores
  • Remember details of your life
  • Maintain loyalty to you
  • Give useful gifts

Want to know more about ISTJs? Read The Childhood Struggles of ISTJs

ISFJ: The Behind-the-Scenes Support

How ISFJs Show They Care

ISFJs, the unsung heroes of emotional support, often do a lot of work behind the scenes to make your day easier. Their efforts are often unassuming and uncelebrated. Their gentle care, though significant, frequently escapes recognition. Sadly, their quiet, soft-spoken demeanor is all too often overlooked. Many ISFJs feel that their subtle acts of kindness are merely absorbed into the fabric of everyday life, taken for granted as the norm, rather than appreciated for the genuine gestures of kindness they truly are.

ISFJs tend to show a lot of empathy and emotional support and validation for those who are struggling. They may also try to take care of details and provide small tokens that they’ve been paying attention (like going to Starbucks for your favorite coffee, etc,.). ISFJs form of giving love is often recognized as genuine, but sometimes people just take it for granted because it’s such a natural part of who the ISFJ is. If you have an ISFJ in your life this could be a wake-up call to stop and take notice of all those little details they’ve been taking care of or all the natural ways they’ve been showing you they care.

Things ISFJs Do to Show They Care:

  • Emotionally supporting
  • Listening
  • Preparing food
  • Hugs
  • Doing small, practical tasks
  • Remembering specific details

Find out more about ISFJs: Are ISFJs Rare? A Look at the Protector Personality Type

ISTP: The Fixer

How ISTPs Show They Care

The autonomous and quiet nature of ISTPs can sometimes be misinterpreted as insensitivity and distance by those who value more effusive displays of empathy, affirmation, or compliments. Their practical ways of showing concern may not always meet the expectations of people who expect more overt and emotionally expressive gestures. It’s important to recognize that ISTPs often express their care through practical actions and humor, rather than through verbal affirmations or emotional displays. The very fact that an ISTP is giving you their time says a lot; most ISTPs are fiercely protective of their own personal time and will only allow people truly important to them to have a piece of their space.

Things ISTPs Do To Show They Care:

  • Give respect
  • Provide affection
  • Fix problems
  • Help with tasks
  • Listen without judgement
  • Offer sincere compliments

Find out more about ISTPs: Understanding ISTP Thinking

ISFP: The Quiet Encourager

How ISFPs Show They Care

ISFPs are known for their caring nature, often demonstrated through their calm presence and focused listening skills. They work hard to create a space where you can authentically be yourself. And while some types will grasp their kind efforts, others may see them as simply being “too quiet” or “detached.” The subtle, understated presentation of the ISFP simply isn’t as showy, effusive, or reactive as certain types are hoping for. For instance, an ISFP might notice when you’re feeling down and offer a comforting gesture or sit with you in silence, giving you a chance to process your feelings with the quiet, non-intrusive support of someone who cares. But some people may misunderstand their quiet reserve and lack of words as lack of empathy or concern.

Things ISFPs Do To Show They Care:

  • Provide active listening
  • Make arts or crafts as gifts
  • Give physical affection
  • Be quiet and present with you
  • Pay attention to your quirks and interests
  • Take time out of their schedule to be together

Discover more about ISFPs: How ISFPs Say “I Love You”

ENTJ: The Insightful Advisor

How ENTJs Show They Care

ENTJs show love by sharing their insights and providing a clear direction towards achievable goals. For instance, an ENTJ may offer detailed feedback on a project to help someone improve and succeed. They show their care by asking probing questions that reveal the authentic self of individuals, while showing impatience towards superficial interactions.

While ENTJs aim to guide and support through their insightful advice, their approach can sometimes be interpreted as overly critical or dismissive of emotional aspects. People sometimes feel overwhelmed by the directness and intensity with which ENTJs communicate their suggestions, mistaking their goal-oriented feedback for a lack of empathy. This misinterpretation can create a barrier, preventing the genuine appreciation of the ENTJ’s intentions and the valuable, constructive advice they offer. Their natural inclination towards efficiency and results can overshadow their underlying motive – to see those they care about succeed and thrive.

Things ENTJs Do To Show They Care:

  • Ask questions
  • Spark deep conversations
  • Give affection
  • Offer gifts
  • Give advice and solutions
  • Maintain 100% honesty

Discover more about ENTJs: 10 Things You’ll Relate to if You’re an ENTJ

ENFJ: The Inspirational Guide

How ENFJs Show They Care

ENFJs are like your personal life coaches, always there to ignite your potential and push you to be the best version of yourself. They have a visionary and idealistic way of motivating you that can sometimes come off as “too much” to more down-to-earth types, or maybe even seem “woo woo” to some who like everything to be very practical. But all their efforts come from a genuine place of wanting you to grow and flourish.

Here’s an example: Imagine an ENFJ counseling their friend who is dealing with some work hardships. The ENFJ knows that this friend has always craved freedom and has lots of great business ideas. They encourage their friend to pursue this long-held dream of starting a business. Rather than solving the practical issues the person is dealing with at work or simply staying silent, they instead articulate vision of what the friend’s future could look like, filled with success, creativity, and fulfillment. However, the friend misinterprets this. They think the ENFJ is overlooking all the details that are frustrating them and instead painting this “unrealistic” picture of a future they can’t possibly attain. It feels too out of touch to them and it overlooks some of the immediate problems they’re facing. For an ENFJ, this misinterpretation can be deeply frustrating. It could feel like their genuine desire to inspire and uplift is being dismissed, overshadowing their intent to empower and support.

Things ENFJs Do To Show They Care:

  • Offer words of encouragement and motivation
  • Being responsive and present
  • Affirming and validating
  • Giving hugs or affection
  • Celebrate your achievements with enthusiasm
  • Instigating deep, profound conversations

Find out more about ENFJs: 24 Signs That You’re an ENFJ, the Mentor Personality Type

ESTJ: The Experienced Captain

How ESTJs Show They Care

ESTJs, with their pragmatic and results-oriented approach, often show love and care through actions rather than words. While they may not be the most vocal about their feelings, their commitment to duty, reliability, and making things better for their loved ones speaks volumes. To an ESTJ, being there for someone isn’t just about physical presence; it’s about rolling up their sleeves, getting to work, and providing real, practical solutions. It can also mean giving you “tough love” and pointing out how you’re getting in your own way sometimes.

Despite their best intentions, the ESTJ’s approach to showing love through pragmatic solutions and “tough love” can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. Their focus on logic and efficiency might be perceived as cold or uncaring, particularly by those who value emotional support and empathy over practical advice. When an ESTJ points out flaws or ways to improve, it’s genuinely meant to help, but it can inadvertently come off as critical or dismissive of someone’s feelings. This misalignment between intention and reception can cause friction, leaving the recipient feeling undervalued or misunderstood, despite the ESTJ’s deep commitment to their well-being.

Most Common Ways ESTJs Show Love:

  • Being there in actions
  • Giving hugs
  • Giving their time
  • Offering advice & troubleshooting
  • Fixing things
  • Being 100% honest

ESFJ: The Provider of Stability

How ESFJs Show Love

ESFJs, grounded in their care and concern for others, often demonstrate love through nurturing actions and steadfast support. They are the ones who remember your important dates, prepare your favorite meal to cheer you up, and are always there to lend an ear. Their language of love centers around creating a supportive and stable environment, where their loved ones feel wholly embraced.

However, the ESFJ’s unwavering commitment and their penchant for placing others’ needs above their own can sometimes be taken for granted. For individuals who prioritize independence or those not used to such consistent emotional support, the ESFJ’s attentiveness might be misconstrued as overbearing or intrusive. This misinterpretation is extremely frustrating and even hurtful for ESFJs, as their genuine intention is to make their loved ones feel valued and cared for, not to smother or control them.

Most Common Ways ESFJs Show Love:

  • Speaking words of affirmation
  • Giving affection
  • Providing unconditional acceptance
  • Prioritizing the other person’s wants
  • Giving time
  • Complimenting

ENFP: The Effervescent Explorer

How ENFPs Show Love

ENFPs are the quintessential free spirits of the personality world, filed with ideas, creativity, and a love for the hypothetical. They thrive on exploring endless possibilities and imagining what could be, often leading them to share these visions with those around them. While their ability to see and point out potential in others is genuine and comes from a place of wanting to inspire, it can sometimes overwhelm those who are more focused on the realities of their daily lives. To someone grappling with immediate challenges, an ENFP’s broad visions and innovative ideas might seem out of touch or overly ambitious.

This dismissal of the ENFP’s ideas is extremely frusrating, especially because we live in a world where many people are so caught in the weeds they don’t appreciate the big-picture possibilities taht the ENFP can provide. The (frequent) times their ideas are dismissed or met with skepticism overlook the fact that many ENFPs do indeed bring their ambitious dreams to life. The world has witnessed countless ENFPs who have turned their ideals into tangible realities, making significant impacts in various fields. When their visions are brushed aside without serious consideration, it undermines their capabilities and contributions, leaving ENFPs feeling misunderstood and undervalued.

Most Common Ways ENFPs Show Love:

  • Humor
  • Acceptance
  • Empathy
  • Affection
  • Sharing their own feelings
  • Noticing someone’s quirks & unique traits

Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an ENFP, The Visionary Personality Type

ENTP: The Visionary Trailblazer

How ENTPS Show Love

ENTPs are recognized for their quick wit, innovative thinking, and innate ability to see possibilities where others see obstacles. They are the debaters of the personality types, thriving on intellectual conversations and exploring new ideas. ENTPs often show love by engaging in stimulating dialogues, offering a fresh perspective, and challenging their loved ones to think outside the box. While their love might not always come in conventional forms, it’s infused into all of of their most meaningful interactions.

However, this method of showing love can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. For those not accustomed to the ENTP’s love for debate or deep questions, it might seem like they are being contrarian or overly complex. What is, in reality, a form of intellectual engagement and a means to explore ideas together can be misinterpreted as a lack of support or even confrontation. This can be especially challenging for individuals who prioritize emotional validation over intellectual exploration.

Most Common Ways ENTPs Show Love:

  • Providing useful help
  • Listening without judgement
  • Cheering up with humor
  • Affection
  • Asking insightful questions

ESFP: The Vibrant Entertainer

How ESFPs Show They Care

ESFPs live in the moment, striving to seek out possibility and create joy wherever they go. For ESFPs, love is all about sharing that joy and making their loved ones feel cherished and free to be 100% themselves. They do this by creating memorable experiences, giving affection, and staying as authentic as possible. ESFPs believe that life is to be lived fully and that sharing this zest for life with their loved ones is the greatest expression of love.

However, while some do appreciate the ESFP’s energy and authenticity, others shake their heads. Their spontaneous and sometimes unconventional approach to life can be misunderstood. Their desire to live in the moment and encourage others to do the same can sometimes be perceived as lack of seriousness or an evasion of responsibility. When ESFPs push the boundaries of conventionality, especially by being unapologetically real in a way that some might deem “inappropriate,” it can create friction. Yet, it’s essential to understand that for an ESFP, being real and helping others to do the same is one of their deepest way of showing love and acceptance.

Most Common Ways ESFPs Show Love:

  • Giving affection
  • Checking in
  • Validating & affirming
  • Humor
  • Planning fun experiences
  • Being 100% real and letting you be real, even if it’s “inappropriate”

Find out more about ESFPs: What It Means to be an ESFP Personality Type

ESTP: The Dynamic Realist

How ESTPs Show Love

Being an ESTP involves a complex blend of spontaneity and meticulous problem-solving that often goes unnoticed. These dynamic realists possess the unique ability to adapt swiftly to changes, making it seem effortless to go with the flow of life while also being masterful at solving problems as they arise. This adaptability allows them to create an environment where life is not just lived but enjoyed, with a focus on including their loved ones in their adventurous spirit and ensuring memorable experiences. However, the effort behind this seamless adaptation and problem-solving is substantial. It involves a constant analysis of the surroundings, a readiness to tackle unforeseen challenges, and an innate desire to enrich the lives of those around them.

For ESTPs, it can be incredibly frustrating when these efforts are not recognized or appreciated. Their spontaneous nature might give the impression that their actions are effortless or lack depth, when in reality, each decision involves careful consideration to maximize enjoyment and minimize difficulties for their loved ones. This misconception can lead to feelings of being undervalued, as the significant amount of work they put into making life enjoyable and seemingly “flowing” is overlooked. The challenge for ESTPs lies in bridging this gap of understanding, helping others to see the depth of their care, and the thoughtfulness infused in their actions, even if their method of showing love might differ from expectations.

Most Common Ways ESTPs Show Love:

  • Giving their undivided attention
  • Giving gifts
  • Being affectionate
  • Spending quality time
  • Making someone laugh
  • Coming up with fun experiences to share

Have a Thought or Opinion?

Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear what you think and if you have any suggestions for other people who share your Myers-Briggs® personality type.

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  1. All sounds true! I’m usually between INFJ and INTJ, but when it comes to romantic relationships, I’m definitely more like INTJ because I prefer to show I care with practical advice and giving space, not empathy or affection. Empathy is something I feel on the inside, not something I show. And I don’t feel empathy for everyone experiencing problems; I only feel empathy for people who I think are suffering through no fault of their own.

  2. As an INFP I think it’s not necessary that our gifts are handmade but heartfelt. And I feel like many people overrate the empathy of the INFPs. If we cared more, we’d do more. I also wouldn’t bet 10 cents on my listening without judgment skills.

  3. Bless you Susan. As a fellow INTJ, I have lost count of how many times my attempts to express caring have been kicked to the curb. Most never acknowledge or appreciate my “efforts”, until I move on and they rarely ever figure out why…………..

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