Mastering Jungian Typology: A Deep Dive with Michael Pierce

Hello personality enthusiasts! We had the honor to be able to have Michael Pierce to do a public session for the Singapore Typology Community. Michael Pierce is a Jungian researcher and well-known figure online with his substantial work published under the book “Motes and Beams”. I hope his beautiful analogies and philosophical analysis can help many beginners to move from simple personality quizzes to the beautifully nuanced world of Jungian Typology.

If you like Michael, check out his popular YouTube channel @MichaelPiercePhilosophy or purchase his book at

Video Transcript

Michael:  “You’re about to join me down the rabbit hole of this more complex, advanced system known as Cognitive Function Theory or Jungian Theory. So, we begin with Perception and Judgment. These appear in the MBTI test as a dichotomy pair. In Jung’s Theory, they serve a bit of a different role. Perception simply refers to how you perceive the world. It takes in information and it doesn’t categorize it, it doesn’t make any judgments about it. It is only interested in what the things are that are being perceived and are coming into the personality, into your mind. Judgment, as it’s been laid out here, assigns some sort of value to these things. It categorizes them, it judges them. So these two are opposites, but they’re complimentary. 
Perception has two flavors, or there are two kinds of perception, and in the same way, there are two kinds of Judgment. There are slightly different theories about precisely the correct way to justify splitting them into two flavors, but for our purposes, we’ll just take it for granted and say Perception has two flavors. One is Sensing or Sensation. That’s the perception of what is actually there, the here and now. It has to do with the present, and it also has to do with concrete objects, a lot of the time. Whereas Intuition is a perception of the future, of underlying patterns, of the possibilities of things. That’s how I often try to refer to it. So Sensation is almost like a more direct line to the object, whereas Intuition tends to go around it to things that are implied by the object. So, Sensation is generally very concrete, down to earth. Intuition is very creative but can also be very head in the clouds about things. Those are two ways of just perceiving the object.
Judgment also has two kinds: Thinking and Feeling. It’s important to note that we use the terms Thinking and Feeling in a very different way from how they are more precisely used in Jung’s Theory. But as Ching has laid it out nicely here, Thinking is judgment of the quantifiable, and Feeling is judgment of the unquantifiable. There’s a correspondence, at least in my theory, my approach to it, between Thinking and Sensation and Feeling and Intuition. Thinking has to do with judging things in terms of rigid categories and logic, whereas Feeling has more to do with values, ethics, how you and other people are feeling. So that’s sort of the distinction.
Okay, so now we have four functions, and note we’ve just sort of built them beginning from Perception and Judgment, and we’ve built our way up to Sensation, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling, which again you would recognize those from the MBTI, the Myers-Briggs test, and other tests online.”

The Dichotomy of Extraversion and Introversion

Michael:So now we’re going to do the division game again. We’re going to introduce a new dichotomy, Introversion and Extraversion, and by doing that, we will multiply the four functions into eight cognitive functions. 
Extroversion is an attitude. It’s a focus on what we call ‘the object’. So I perhaps should have started with this, but just so you understand the terminology, the object is anything that is not you. It is the thing that you are focusing on, in order for anything to happen in psychology, you have to have an object and you have to have a subject. The subject is the mind, the subject is the person or the being that has the psychology going on inside them, as it were. And for every subject, there needs to be objects that that subject can think about and can focus on. For Extroversion, there is this, as it were, outward turning and outward focus towards the objects that are out there in the world. And Introversion is a turning inwards to the way that your own subject is. So in some sense, Introversion, you could say, is making an object of your own subject. But I don’t want to start getting into loops of language and so forth. The more important thing is the outward motion versus this inward motion.
And so we can split up Sensation and Thinking, and Feeling and Intuition via Extroversion and Introversion. So we would get extroverted sensation, introverted sensation, extroverted thinking, introverted thinking, so forth. 

You’ll notice in the little chart up here, they are abbreviations. So Fi would be Introverted Feeling. So the F is for Feeling, the T is for thinking, the S is for Sensation, and the N is for Intuition. Even though intuition starts with an I, it’s abbreviated with an N so it doesn’t get mixed up with Introversion. And then each of those has a little I for Introversion after it or a little E for Extraversion after it. So that’s the notation and how that works. It’s a lot faster to just write, say, Fe rather than Extroverted Feeling because that would get a lot of letters on the page.
So finally, we have eight cognitive functions. And now what we’re going to do is we’re going to arrange these functions in order to get 16 different personality types. Let’s just run over what these cognitive functions are and how they work.”

What is “Sensation”?

Michael:There are two kinds of Sensation: Introverted and Extroverted. I’ll start with Extroverted Sensation. Going by our definitions, Extroverted Sensation would be sensation but directed outward, as it were. It is directed to objects in the here and now. Somebody who is using Extroverted Sensation is someone for whom that is the dominant function they prefer to use. There tends to be a very, as it were, carpe diem, YOLO, living in the moment, thriving on uncertainty. People who are Extroverted Sensing types in my experience thrive in situations where there’s a bit of chaos, and it can stress them out as well, but they’re often much better than introverted types at dealing with that because they’re just going moment by moment. They see what concretely is happening around them, and they just keep track of everything and flow in order to adapt to what is happening in the moment. So, you know, emergency workers, firefighters, police, a lot of people who have to deal with emergency situations. It doesn’t just have to be that. You can still find them in more academic disciplines at times, though that is usually through focus on other functions. So that’s Extroverted Sensation, very in the moment.
Introverted Sensation reverses that in an interesting way, because the sensation is directed inwards. So Introverted Sensation people, not in a political sense at all, per se, but there’s a kind of conservatism, they’re much slower and more removed from the outside world, as compared to the extroverted sensor. It is perception of the here and now but brought inwards. 

My mother, for example, is a dominant Introverted Sensation type, and she has a very sensitive palate. She usually does a lot of the cooking. She prefers to do the cooking because she can cook the things right. And every time we sit down to dinner, she will eat the food and she will be comparing what she is tasting here and now with these sort of ideal sensations that she has in her own mind. And she compares those sensations to that ideal sensation, and it’s that ideal sensation which is more real for her than the sensations in the here and now. And so she will taste and say, “This tastes like it has too much salt. This shouldn’t have as much salt as it does at the moment,” whereas I’m sitting there, and I’m like, “Oh, this is a salty dish“. But for her, it’s like, “No, it’s more salty than the way it should have salt”. And if you’re clever, you might notice there’s some relation with judgment, which I don’t really have time to get into that right now, but it’s a valid observation. So anyway, you get a conservatism there. It’s not “live-in-the-moment”. 
One of the other things my mother would do is when something flashy or wild or very quick would happen, she would take a moment and she would just say, “I’m just processing what just happened”. And she’s processing the sensory aspect of it. So they all also will often be very good journal keepers, very meticulous, able to remember all of the details and repeat those back.

What is “Intuition”?

Michael:So now we move on to Intuition. We have Extroverted Intuition, which is a perception of implications and possibilities brought outwards. It is a focus on ideas and possibilities. Almost like they’re juggling a lot of different ideas at one time. But more importantly, it’s the fact that those ideas are out there. A better way of putting it is it’s almost like ideas are actual objects for them that exist outside of themselves and exist on their own. So the result of this is that ideas tend to diverge for them. From one observation, you can derive ten new and distinct ideas from it. So there’s this branching out, and it very quickly can turn into a kind of chaos for them. But it’s very, very fruitful because they will see all of the ways you can split up one topic into different topics. 

Introverted Intuition does sort of the opposite. Introverted intuition, because it turns inwards, has a tendency to see similarities between things to a certain extent and to say, “This idea is really just this idea if you put them next to each other.” You can sort of collapse things into each other. From 10 observations, you derive one sort of vision or one underlying principle. 
Extroverted Intuition is almost like, you have one point, and then you draw an infinite number of lines through that one point to show all of the different ways you can diverge from that one point. Whereas intuition or introverted intuition, you have say 10 points, and then you try to draw a line of best fit, if you know that from algebra, you try to draw a single line that sort of averages out all of those individual observations, and that is the single idea which is then kept in Introverted Intuition. 
So kind of like with Introverted Sensation where I mentioned this notion of having ideal sensations that you kind of use to organize the sensations in the outside world, similar idea with Introverted Intuition, but with ideas, you have sort of a single idea that you are relating things back to. So Extroverted Intuition is stereotypically… it doesn’t necessarily look like this, but stereotypically, lots of different ideas. Very kind of scattered brains, running all over the place, whereas introverted intuition is like, “I have the eyes that stare into your soul,” you know, kind of like the chess grandmaster or something like that.”

What is “Thinking”?

Michael: “Thinking is judgment that is based on logic and facts, and it’s broader than that, but that’s the quickest way to explain it. So Extroverted Thinking is very goal-oriented. It’s very, “I want to accomplish things out there in the world. I want to organize the actual materials or people or resources that I see outside of me. I want to work with the external facts of a situation. Here’s where we should go with something. Here’s how we make things more efficient.’”
Ching: “Everyone always has this mindset that Extraversion means party animal, you know? So when I meet someone and I say, ‘Oh, I think you have a very strong Extraverted Thinking,’ they often say, ‘Oh, I’m not an extrovert. I’m just doing all the work in the background,’ but it is precisely the fact that they are doing all the work that is the Extroversion, and that is the Jungian definition of Extroversion that is that we don’t really use nowadays.”
Michael: Thank you, Ching. Yes, that’s a very good point. It’s important to leave aside some of your preconceptions about what Extroversion and Introversion mean in order to properly understand these. You can get people who will seem very introverted in a colloquial sense, in an everyday sense, but the way that their mind actually functions would be described better by one of the extroverted functions. Perhaps, and as we shall see soon, everybody has extroverted sides and introverted sides. It’s just a matter of how they are arranged in relation to each other. So it’s never as simple as whether  you’re a party animal or you want to stay home and read books. 

So that’s Extroverted thinking, very pragmatic. Introverted Thinking, again, we have this idea where it’s almost the thinking idea inside of one’s own subject which takes precedence over the facts out there. So there’s a focus on refining logical ideas, refining and making those ideas perfectly precise, pure mathematics almost all the time. That’s where you’re going to find more Introverted Thinking types. But they’re much more interested in the theory and in making things logical and consistent, and then taking that theory and then after the fact applying it to what’s going on out there. 
They’re always much more interested in making the definitions and ideas more precise. Rene Descartes, a French philosopher, he’s famous for saying, “I think, therefore, I am”. That is very introverted thinking because what he literally did was said, “I can’t trust any of my external knowledge of the outside world because, you know, it’s possible that I am deceived or I’m hallucinating or I’m dreaming or something. All I can trust, and what is more real for me, is my own thoughts, my own principles that I’ve developed.” This is very introverted thinking. So that’s how those two go. You kind of have this difference between theory and practice, which would be a very general way of differentiating them.”

What is “Feeling”?

Michael: “Finally, we have Feeling. Extroverted Feeling is a feeling which is sort of directed outwards. It is objectified. Extroverted Feeling will generally be much more naturally outwardly expressive. It will be in tune with what expressions are the most socially acceptable or most harmonious to the needs of the group. 
Ching wrote a nice little thing, actually, a very nice little description here: “Each individual is one Mosaic of a beautiful group dance, and everyone needs to play their part.” That’s great. The dance especially is a great way of putting it because you have this notion of the need to not focus on how you’re feeling or your own feelings, but to harmonize with the group and to try to promote the feelings of the group as a whole. So you see there’s this movement outwards in terms of one’s ethics. When someone has dominated Extroverted Feeling, there will often be this sort of blurring of the line where they will be literally feeling what they think should be felt. And if they’re not feeling what should be felt, then they’re like, “Something’s wrong. If I’m not crying at a funeral, something’s probably wrong. This isn’t how you’re supposed to feel objectively in this situation”. They also don’t say certain things to certain people because they think they’re just going to screw everything up. 

Introverted Feeling is where the feeling is directed inwards. You have to get past some of the connotations of the language because when I say they’re much more focused on how they are feeling, it sounds as though they’re self-absorbed and selfish. And from the Extroverted Feeling perspective, they are. From that perspective, that’s what’s going on. But then that gets challenged when you find that some of the most empathetic and self-sacrificing people I’ve met have been Introverted Feeling types. And that’s because it sort of messes with the selfishness-selflessness division. 
Introverted feeling is that feeling which is internal or individual to you. If you’re crying at a funeral because you knew the person and you had a personal connection with them and you are genuinely, like, this is how I feel regardless of how everybody else is feeling, that’s good because that indicates that you are more in alignment with your own feelings and your own soul. But if you’re just crying at the funeral because that’s what you’re supposed to do, then that’s like, who are you? You’re like an empty shell. I once had an argument with a friend of mine who wasn’t a dominant Introverted Feeling, but they had that in there as one of their major functions, and they were always asking me, like, “So, how do you feel about this or that controversial issue?” And I, being more Extroverted Feeling, was always like, “I don’t really want to answer that .. What’s more important is how are you going to react to how I feel about such and such”. As far as my feelings go, those just seem so ephemeral and so kind of unrelated to the topic… and it would turn into just us arguing over whose feelings are right, and that wasn’t useful. But that wasn’t how she thought about the things. So, that’s your crash course in the eight functions.“

How are cognitive functions organized to form personality types?

Michael: “The way that the functions are organized in a personality is that you have four function slots. You have the dominant function, you have the auxiliary function, the tertiary function, and the primitive or inferior function. We’ll start with the dominant. 

The dominant function is the one that most defines you and the way that you tend to think. It’s the one that you use the most. Nicely compared with walking here, which I know is drawn from the book. Thank you, Ching. Yes, it’s the most easy and natural thing for you to do. In some cases, it can be so natural that the person will not even notice that that is definitely their mode of thinking, and that can actually sometimes be a bit of a challenge in typing people or at least in self-typing. But in any case, that’s sort of the easiest one to understand in a lot of ways.
But in order to function as a person in general, you can’t just have one function, because you need multiple ways to see and to situate yourself in reality. So you have to start off with the auxiliary function, which compensates for your dominant function. So there’s always a bit of opposition there. The auxiliary function nicely compares to swimming; it requires more effort to do it, but you can do it, and it’s very useful for you to orient yourself in society. 
For example, I believe my dominant function is introverted intuition, so that’s what I sort of just do in the background all the time naturally. My auxiliary function is Extroverted Feeling. That is what helps compensate for my Introverted Intuition so that I’m not just sitting in my room, staring, and reading a text and trying to understand the secrets of the universe. I can actually go out and buy food and act like a normal human being. That’s a silly way of putting it, but more importantly, I associate it with my ability to situate myself in relation to other people and also a concern with social harmony.”
Ching: “The Fe auxiliary really helps you in a teaching role because you’re always focused on translating that vision to something that’s palatable to the people we are speaking to, or tailoring it specifically to the people you are talking to.”
Michael:Exactly, yes. It’s not the thing that you’re naturally doing; it’s something that assists your dominant function with what it wants to do.
Then you get the tertiary function. The tertiary function is something that you are very interested in, but you may not realize that you’re not actually the best there ever was at it. There can often be a bit of overestimation of one’s abilities with the tertiary function. It’s like the term here, the action metaphor, is lusting. Though you might associate it more with infatuation or fascination, you’re attracted to it, and yet it’s one-dimensional in your understanding of it, which sometimes can be a benefit. But you’re not actually, if you go up against somebody who is dominant in that function, it often becomes clear where the weaknesses lie or where the naivete lies, where the lack of cultivation there lies. 
So my tertiary function is Introverted Thinking, and you can see this, say, in my book where I’m creating these strict structures that are very Introverted Thinking, very logical, and they build one thing after the other. So my natural tendency would be to say, “Wow, it’s like I’m an Introverted Thinking type. I’m the master at ‘logic’ and figuring things out.” And then you compare it with my father, who is an Introverted Thinking dominant type, and he is an actual mathematician, and he can manipulate concepts and logical concepts in a way that is just completely out of my league. But in a way, he’s much more… he would not make some of the bold leaps that I make in Introverted Thinking precisely because he’s more of a veteran with it. So there’s a trade-off there. So that’s sort of scratching the surface of auxiliary and tertiary. I hope that maybe helps to differentiate them a bit.”
Ching: “Oh, maybe just one point I can add to that. So, in Chinese, there is a phrase that goes “showing off in front of a master”. I use this phrase to help people differentiate between dominant and tertiary because basically when the first person, you know, who uses the tertiary function meets someone who is using it in a dominant way, they would be exactly that phrase where you are showing off in front of this master.”
Michael:Yeah, I really like that because that’s exactly what happens, that’s actually a very good phrase.”
Ching:And also, I can think of some examples. For instance, there’s a friend of mine who is an ENFJ, and she said her boyfriend is an ESTP. The ESTP’s tertiary function is extroverted feeling, making him a super party animal and a social butterfly. He’s always friendly, saying “Hey, what’s up?” to everyone and making everyone laugh. My ENFJ friend feels that he doesn’t need to be that friendly to everyone. In fact, she believes he may encourage inappropriate behaviors or enable the wrong people to become popular by focusing on only one aspect of the tertiary function.” 
Michael:Yes, that’s very good, and in some sense, there is a descending order of maturity to the functions, is another way of characterizing it. The dominant function is your most mature function, the auxiliary function is pretty mature, but it’s almost like the assistant to the hero. The tertiary is much younger, much less experienced, and finally, you get the inferior function, which is the least experienced and often the most… all-or-nothing, in a lot of ways. You compared it to tiptoeing, which is very nice, difficult, and low payoff. One may get away with suppressing and ignoring it altogether. It can be a worthwhile challenge if one wishes to turn all weaknesses and blind spots into strengths and also a source of unusual elegance. 
So all of the functions have a function, which is the most directly opposite to it. The dominant function represses its opposite function, and its opposite function thereby becomes the inferior function. So introverted intuition is opposed to extroverted sensation, because extroverted sensation has to do with the actual objects outside of me, whereas introverted intuition has to do with the ideas inside of me. So you have this repression between the two of them, and yet it’s sort of a yin-yang, complementary association between them because you can’t have one without the other. 
You get a similar opposition between the auxiliary and the tertiary, where you’ll have somebody who, say, with the ESTP example that Ching gave, the ESTP is much better with Introverted Thinking, and they’ll use that in order to organize their life and give themselves principles of action. But especially as they get older, they’ll become more infatuated with Extroverted Feeling and almost think that is more important and want to associate more with that than with the introverted thinking, which they’re much better at. So, there’s this element of natural ability, self-awareness, engagement. 
That’s sort of the organization for the different types. So you get 16 types, in which each type has four functions, and these different slots. The reason that there are only 16 types built from eight functions is because of the natural oppositions I mentioned, where if you have Ni as your dominant function, you must have Se as your inferior function. That’s just they always go together in that way. And you can… if you have a perceiving function as your dominant, then you have to have a judging function as your auxiliary. So you get these natural oppositions, and in this almost very geometrical, mathematical way, it works out, so you only end up getting 16 distinct types.”

Exploring Attachment Styles: A Guide to Better Relationships

Do you ever wonder why you get so attached to potential partners so quickly? Why you bend over backwards to make them happy, even when they seem distant? At the core, you likely yearn for a relationship where you can truly be yourself without fear of being “too much” or not “enough.” If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with one of two issues – getting too invested too quickly, or keeping others at an emotional distance. Both can leave us frustrated in relationships when desires for closeness aren’t balanced with needs for independence.

The root of such relationship difficulties often traces back to differences in attachment styles – ingrained patterns that shape how we emotionally connect with others. Whether you find yourself constantly longing for approval, naturally hesitant around intimacy, or somewhere in between, awareness is the first step towards positive change. This comprehensive guide will help you recognize your attachment style, which is the key to breaking out of this pattern and navigating relationships more effectively. 

The Four Attachment Styles

 According to psychologist John Bowlby, there are four primary attachment styles formed in childhood: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant. Each style results from our early life experiences with caregivers. The attitudes and responses of our first attachments – our parents or guardians – lay the foundation. When children have attentive caregivers who respond consistently and warmly to their needs, they are likely to develop a secure attachment style. Caregivers who are absent, rejecting, or inconsistent may lead children to develop one of the insecure styles – anxious, dismissive, or fearful. 

Fast forward to adulthood, and these ingrained childhood attachment styles are awakened when romantic relationships become emotionally intimate. Our early programming kicks in, and we unconsciously default to the same attachment patterns, even if they no longer work. We continue responding from the emotional blueprints carved out in our first relationships. Let’s take a closer look at the four attachment styles and how they impact our relationships – for better or worse. 

The Secure Attachment Style

The secure attachment style is often considered the gold standard of attachment styles, characterized by individuals who have a positive view of themselves and others. According to research, 50 percent of the population has a secure attachment style. Such individuals feel comfortable with both intimacy and independence, forming healthy and balanced relationships. They typically have a strong sense of self-worth and believe in their own capabilities. They are confident in expressing their needs while also being attentive and responsive to the needs of their partners. 

Secure individuals have a natural inclination to provide emotional support and comfort to their partners. They offer a sense of stability and reassurance, creating an environment where both partners feel seen, heard, and validated. This emotional availability and responsiveness cultivate a strong sense of intimacy, reliability, and trust within the relationship. As a result of these characteristics, those with a secure attachment style often experience stable and satisfying relationships. 

While individuals with a secure attachment style may still face challenges and occasional relationship conflicts, their secure foundation allows them to navigate these difficulties with resilience and adaptability. The secure attachment style serves as an inspiring model for cultivating healthier relationship dynamics, even for those who may currently identify with other attachment styles.

The Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment Style

The anxious-preoccupied attachment style or often simply known as anxious attachment is characterized by a strong desire for closeness and intimacy, coupled with a fear of abandonment. Estimates suggest that 20 percent of the population possesses an anxious attachment style. Individuals with this attachment style often seek constant reassurance and validation from their partners, yearning for a deep emotional connection. However, their fear of rejection and abandonment can create challenges within their relationships. 

Individuals with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style tend to have a negative perception of themselves. They may struggle with self-doubt, insecurity, and a fear of not being worthy of love. As a result, they often seek external validation to soothe their anxieties and boost their self-esteem. This constant need for reassurance can lead to clinginess, possessiveness, and a strong emotional dependency on their partners.

Communication for those with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style is often marked by emotional intensity and a tendency to overanalyze. They may frequently seek clarification and confirmation of their partner’s feelings, fearing any signs of potential rejection. This hyper-vigilance can strain the relationship as they constantly seek validation and reassurance, leading to repetitive questioning, jealousy, and heightened anxiety.

Individuals with this attachment style may have difficulty managing disagreements and may fear that conflicts will lead to the dissolution of the relationship. As a result, they may avoid conflict altogether or become excessively anxious and emotional during conflicts. The fear of abandonment and the need for constant reassurance can amplify their emotional response and hinder effective resolution.

The Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment Style

Anxious-preoccupied and  dismissive-avoidant attachment style are two sides of the same coin. They are both the result of ineffective and extreme emotional regulation, where the former seeks constant validation while the latter disassociates and tries to drown out emotions all together. Often simply known as avoidant attachment, it is characterized by individuals who exhibit emotional distance and a strong inclination towards independence. Research estimates suggest that around 25 percent of individuals are dismissive-avoidant, making it the second most common attachment style. Those with this attachment style often struggle with forming deep emotional connections and may find it challenging to rely on others. 

They tend to have a positive view of themselves but a dismissive and avoidant attitude towards others. They often prioritize self-reliance and autonomy, valuing independence over emotional intimacy. They may downplay the importance of close relationships and prefer to maintain a level of emotional distance to avoid feelings of vulnerability or dependency.

Communication for individuals with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style can be marked by a preference for logical reasoning and a tendency to minimize emotional expressions. They may struggle to fully express their own emotions and may have difficulty understanding or empathizing with the emotions of their partners. This emotional distance can create a barrier to deeper emotional connection and understanding within the relationship.

Conflict resolution can be particularly challenging for those with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style. They have a tendency to withdraw emotionally or physically during conflicts, seeking solitude as a means of self-protection. They often struggle with addressing emotional needs or may downplay the significance of conflict, dismissing its impact on the relationship. This avoidance of conflict and emotional disengagement can hinder effective resolution and create further distance between partners.

The Fearful-Avoidant Attachment Style

The fearful-avoidant attachment style, also known as the disorganized attachment style, is characterized by conflicting desires for closeness and independence. According to research, it is the least common attachment style, found in only 5 percent of the population. Individuals with this attachment style often experience internal struggles and mixed emotions when it comes to forming and maintaining relationships. 

Those with a fearful-avoidant attachment style often have a negative view of both themselves and others. They may struggle with trust and may have experienced past traumas or inconsistent caregiving, leading to a fear of both intimacy and abandonment. As a result, they may exhibit ambivalence and unpredictability in their relationships, experiencing a push-pull dynamic of seeking closeness while simultaneously fearing it.

Communication for individuals with a fearful-avoidant attachment style can be marked by confusion and uncertainty. They may have difficulty expressing their needs and emotions clearly, as they may feel torn between their desire for connection and their fear of vulnerability. This conflicting internal struggle can result in mixed signals, emotional distancing, and difficulties in establishing effective communication patterns with their partners.

When it comes to conflict resolution, such people may oscillate between avoiding conflicts altogether or becoming overwhelmed by intense emotions during conflicts. This ambivalence can lead to a fear of rejection and a reluctance to address relationship issues head-on, further complicating the resolution process and potentially perpetuating cycles of unresolved conflicts.

Impact of Different Attachment Styles on Relationships

Different attachment styles can significantly impact relationship dynamics and satisfaction. In relationships where both partners have a secure attachment style, there is a strong foundation of trust, effective communication, and emotional support. These relationships tend to be characterized by mutual respect, healthy boundaries, and a sense of security. Partners can rely on each other for support and navigate challenges with a sense of resilience and understanding. Securely attached people are often very good at forming long lasting relationships.

However, when partners have different attachment styles, challenges may arise. For instance, when a person with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style is in a relationship with someone who has a dismissive-avoidant attachment style, it can create a cycle of pursuit and withdrawal. The anxious-preoccupied individual may crave closeness and reassurance, while the dismissive-avoidant individual may resist emotional intimacy, leading to a pattern of emotional disconnection and frustration.

Similarly, relationships involving a person with a fearful-avoidant attachment style can experience intense fluctuations between the desire for closeness and the fear of abandonment. This can create an unpredictable and emotionally volatile environment, making it challenging for both partners to establish a sense of stability and security.

Can a Secure Attachment Style be developed?

The key for healthier relationship patterns are for partners to work towards developing a more secure attachment style. The good news is that your style is not set in stone. While our early experiences with caregivers play a significant role in shaping our attachment style, it is not the only factor. Later life experiences, such as positive romantic relationships or therapeutic interventions, can help individuals develop a more secure attachment style.

With awareness and effort, an “earned secure attachment” can be developed. Just like a skill you can develop over time, you have the power to cultivate a more secure attachment style. It is a personal growth process that starts with self-awareness and continues with intentional efforts. Reflect on your own attachment patterns and how they show up in your relationships. Identify any patterns or triggers that contribute to feelings of insecurity or emotional challenges.

Another effective approach for personal development is being in a relationship with a secure partner. Regardless of whether you lean toward anxious or avoidant tendencies, there’s much to glean from observing how a secure partner maintains healthy communication and boundaries. The key is to approach this with an open mind and avoid hastily labeling the emotionally stable partner as boring or uninteresting, since many mistakenly equate emotional highs and lows with genuine love.


Every attachment style comes with strengths as well as areas for growth. While challenging at times, recognizing unhealthy patterns and unconscious beliefs within yourself is the first step to overcoming them. Reflect on how your style affects your relationships, seek perspectives from loved ones and be open to improving communication and compromise. As you practice these skills, even deeply ingrained attachment patterns can evolve over time. Anxious types can learn to balance dependence and focus on self-worth. Avoidants can overcome defenses and open up to true intimacy. Whatever your attachment style, learning more about yourself and others holds the potential to transform your relationships into ones filled with trust, warmth and fulfillment.


INFP – The Mediator’s Guide to Dating & Relationship Compatibility

INFPs, also known as “mediators” or “healers”, are one of the 16 personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Guided by a strong inner moral compass, INFPs are altruistic and sensitive individuals who truly value authenticity in themselves and others. While they may appear quiet and reserved on the surface, there’s an entire world of imagination, dreams, and deeply held values thriving within them. When it comes to relationships, INFPs long to connect with someone who speaks the language of ideals and vision, sees past surface realities into the profound truths beneath, and is willing to share in life’s poetic beauty. 

Finding like-minded souls who can truly understand them and share their vision of authentic living is no easy feat for these dreamy idealists. Naturally, some personality types align well with INFPs, while others may encounter challenges understanding their ways. Let’s explore how different types interact with and relate to INFPs, and the possibilities and limitations of these relationships.

INFP’s Bonds with Fellow NFs (Intuitive-Feelers)

Of all personality types, INFPs tend to be most drawn to other NFs – those emotional idealists who share their depth, empathy, and vision for a better world. Let’s explore the dynamics and compatibility of INFP with each Idealist type:

  1. INFP and INFJ

INFPs and INFJs are highly compatible due to their shared disdain for shallow relationships and their shared capacity for experiencing emotions on a meaningful level. Both have introverted personalities, and understand the value of space and alone time. They have a mutual understanding of intuition and are able to pick up on subtle cues and unspoken feelings, allowing them to connect on a deeper level than many other personality types. Moreover, INFJs’ organized approach can also bring a sense of stability and structure to the sometimes dreamy and idealistic nature of INFPs. 

However, there may be a few potential areas of conflict between them. INFPs tend to follow their hunches without worrying too much about where they lead to, whereas INFJs are more concerned with closure. This can lead to INFPs seeing INFJs as rigid, and INFJs seeing INFPs as impractical. They also lack conflict resolution skills and tend to avoid confrontation rather than talking about the issue. That being said, both types are highly understanding of each other’s needs and emotions, and can definitely get past these bumps in the road.

  1. INFP and ENFJ

Though different in expression, INFPs and ENFJs both share a core desire to connect with others in an authentic and meaningful way.  Both types share assertiveness and warmth, and they are driven by a desire to be helpful to others. INFPs, with their empathetic nature, have a natural ability to mirror the emotions of others, which can help ENFJs reflect on their own feelings and priorities when they become overly focused on fixing external problems. On the other hand, ENFJs, with their confident and outgoing leadership qualities, are instrumental in helping INFPs manifest their visions by translating ideas into actionable steps. At their best, the INFP provides the dream while the ENFJ helps turn ideas into reality.

The tension in this pairing may arise from the ENFJs’ high energy levels overwhelming the more introverted INFP. INFPs value their individuality and alone time and may see their emotionally expressive ENFJ partner as too clingy. However, with INFPs showing a little more visible signs of affection and communicating their feelings to their partner, the relationship is likely to be balanced and strong, rooted in mutual compassion, understanding, and a sense of comfort.

  1. INFP and ENFP

This highly compatible relationship between INFPs and ENFPs stems from their shared cognitive functions (that are arranged in the opposite order). Both types are adaptable and creative thinkers, but INFPs lean towards independence and reservedness, while ENFPs are generally more outgoing. ENFPs need someone to be spontaneous with, and hence, appreciate INFPs’ laid-back attitude and their willingness to go with the flow. ENFPs encourage curiosity in INFPs and provide them a supportive environment for exploring their visions, ideas and hunches. In turn, INFPs help ENFPs be more reflective, and stay grounded and connected to their core values and emotions. Together the INFP and ENFP feel they have found someone who truly understands their experience of the world. 

When there are wide differences in an INFP’s and ENFP’s values, it can create challenges, as both types hold their principles strongly. However, open communication and understanding can help them navigate these issues and strengthen their relationship. 

  1. INFP and INFP

The relationship between two INFPs can be incredibly harmonious and fulfilling, as they possess a deep understanding of each other that surpasses any other type. Sharing the same hobbies and creative interests, they have a profound appreciation for the ideas and emotions expressed by their partner. They support and encourage each other’s intuitions and love exploring new ideas and unconventional thinking together. The fact that both are independent individuals contributes to their compatibility. They are two mirrors reflecting each other’s hopes, dreams, vulnerabilities, and complexities. Through shared values and deep empathy, they embark on a journey of self-discovery and mutual growth.

However, these strengths can also become weaknesses when it comes to conflict resolution, as both may struggle with expressing their true feelings, leading to unresolved issues and potential resentment over time. Additionally, day-to-day tasks and responsibilities may pose a challenge, as neither INFP is particularly inclined toward mundane routines. Compatibility may also be affected if both individuals become too rigid in their beliefs, clinging stubbornly to their own notions of right and wrong. Nonetheless, open communication, the division of routine tasks, sharing their inner worlds, and expressing appreciation for one another can help create a strong and fulfilling partnership between two INFPs.

INFP’s Interactions Beyond the NF Realm

While not outright incompatible, the remaining types often have a little harder time grasping the essence of the INFP and may ultimately frustrate their search for depth and meaning:

INFP and Sensing Personalities

Some sensors find themselves in delightful harmony with INFPs, while others may struggle to bridge the gap between their perspectives. Initially, the practical and grounded nature of sensors can help offset the idealistic and imaginative tendencies of INFPs. For example, sensing types often excel in tasks that require attention to detail and following established procedures. When paired with an INFP’s imaginative and creative nature, this combination can lead to a more well-rounded approach to problem-solving and goal achievement. 

This can be great in a workplace setting, but in personal relationships these differences in approach and priorities may start to create friction over time. Sensors may grow frustrated with what they perceive as the INFP’s indecisiveness or their focus on emotions and abstract ideas rather than practical matters. Those who excessively prioritize immediate sensory experiences may struggle to understand the “head-in-the-clouds” nature of INFPs. Similarly, INFPs may feel stifled or restricted by the sensors’ emphasis on the present, their fixed routines and conventionality. These contrasting preferences can lead to a lack of understanding and dissatisfaction within the relationship. 

INFP and NT (Rational) types

The Rational temperament in the MBTI encompasses four types: INTP, INTJ, ENTP, and ENTJ, all of which share the traits of being intuitive (N) and thinking (T). While some sources argue that NF-NF pairings yield the highest compatibility, several authors contend that the Idealist-Rational pairing is truly the match made in heaven, where the hearts of NF meet the minds of NT. This combination offers a substantial foundation of mutual understanding and shared values, as their Intuition creates a strong connection. Additionally, each type can learn from and be captivated by the differences they bring to the relationship, further enhancing their compatibility.

INFPs’ relationships with the Rational types can vary depending on the context, particularly in workplace and personal life. In the workplace, the dynamic between INFPs and NTs can be especially complementary and beneficial. INFPs’ strengths in empathy, creativity, and understanding emotions can harmonize with the analytical and logical approach of the Rational types. INFPs often bring a fresh perspective and innovative ideas, while the Thinking (T) element of Rational types contributes critical thinking and strategic problem-solving skills. Moreover, both types have a mutual appreciation for abstract ideas and insights due to their Intuition (N) function. The combination of these different strengths can lead to effective collaboration and well-rounded outcomes.

When it comes to their personal relationships, some Rational types may have trouble getting along with INFPs in the long run. While INFPs operate according to their internal sense of ethics and desire for authentic relationships, NTs prioritize logic and practicality over emotional considerations, which can directly clash with the sensitive and idealistic nature of INFPs. INFPs may not mind it too much in the workplace, but in personal relationships they may frequently feel criticized and misunderstood, unable to bridge the divide between cold logic and human needs. However, the relationship can still be a source of growth and learning, with Rational types gaining insight into the emotional realm and INFPs benefiting from their partners’ logical analysis and thinking.


INFPs’ compassionate and intuitive nature can be a source of deep understanding and empathy, and they are at their best when these qualities and their deeply held values are truly appreciated by their partners. Hence, this type typically finds great solace and similarity with other NF (Idealist) types. For the more adventurous INFPs, pairing with NT (Rational) or sensing-dominant types can present valuable opportunities for fresh perspectives and personal growth. The S-N difference, however, might be the most significant barrier and point of disappointment later on in the relationship, as INFP is the type that places a great deal of values on depth and abstract thoughts that a sensing partner might not be able to meet to a satisfactory extent. 

Overall, compatibility goes beyond personality types alone and requires open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to embrace differences. The key to successful relationships lies in recognizing the unique strengths and challenges of each personality type and embracing the opportunity for personal and collective growth. 

INFJ and INFP – Relationship Compatibility

Have you ever met someone who seemed to just “get” you from the very beginning? For INFPs and INFJs, that connection can feel almost magical. Both types are deeply empathetic, introspective, and committed to personal growth. It’s easy to imagine that these two personalities would be the perfect match. However, like any other pairing, there are several differences between them, leading to unique challenges that they have to navigate. How do these similarities and differences play out in real-life relationships? Let’s take a closer look.

But first, let’s have a quick overview of INFJs’ and INFPs’ cognitive functions, which will serve as a reference throughout the article. Cognitive functions are the mental processes- the bricks that build the house which is your personality! Even though they have only one letter different, INFJ and INFP actually share zero common cognitive functions (in the top 4)! There are a total of eight cognitive functions with each MBTI personality type having a unique sequence  of the functions. Simply put, the top or dominant function has the strongest influence on our thoughts and behaviors followed by auxiliary, tertiary…. The top-four cognitive functions of INFJs and INFPs are:

DominantIntroverted Intuition (Ni) – relies on abstract connections, speculates about potential and potential implications. Introverted Feeling (Fi) – relies on value judgment – a deep understanding of personal values and beliefs, and a desire to live in congruence with them.
AuxiliaryExtraverted Feeling (Fe) – relies on sensitivity to the emotional states of others  and feelings of harmony with the world. Extraverted Intuition (Ne) – relies on abstract possibilities, generates novel ideas about what things can be.
TertiaryIntroverted Thinking (Ti) – uses personal framework of technical knowledge and skill to prevent/avoid/solve problemsIntroverted Sensing (Si) – relies on sensory details, processes concrete details via comparing/contrasting with past experiences.
InferiorExtraverted Sensing (Se) – maintains direct relationship to the world via physical sensations. Extraverted Thinking (Te) – relies on knowledge of external systems, uses empirical data to make effective decisions

For a more detailed explanation and examples for each cognitive function, click here

Now that we have a better understanding of their cognitive functions, we can examine how these functions interact to create the foundation of great INFJ-INFP relationships. 

What draws INFJ and INFP to each other?

INFJs and INFPs share a lot of similarities, which is why they are often considered to be highly compatible. Some of them include:

  1. Emotional compatibility

INFJs and INFPs are highly compatible due to their shared capacity for experiencing emotions on a deep and meaningful level. Both types possess a strong sense of empathy and prioritize emotional connection in their relationships. INFJs utilize their Extraverted Feeling (Fe) function to intuitively understand the emotions and needs of their partner. They often place their partner’s feelings above their own, striving to maintain peace and harmony in the relationship.

Meanwhile, INFPs use their dominant Introverted Feeling (Fi) function to remain true to their own emotions while simultaneously empathizing with their partner by understanding their emotions. Since INFJs’ Feeling function is directed outwards, they can quickly realize how others are feeling but often have trouble identifying their own emotions. INFPs help them explore their feelings by mirroring them, and provide them a safe space to express themselves without any fear of judgment. 

  1. Intuitive connection

Both INFJs and INFPs share a deep connection through their intuitive nature. INFJs have dominant Introverted Intuition (Ni), which provides them with sudden flashes of insight into the meaning of things, sometimes in the form of images, words, or even symbols. This can be perceived as strange or confusing by other personality types, but INFPs can easily understand and appreciate their thought process, and don’t ask for logical justifications for their insights. INFPs’ auxiliary function, Extraverted Intuition (Ne), allows them to make connections between different ideas and things in their environment and make predictions. Although their Intuition is directed outwards, they can still relate to the unexplainable sense of just “knowing” about something.

This mutual understanding of intuition creates a profound level of communication and empathy between INFJs and INFPs. They are able to pick up on subtle cues and unspoken feelings, allowing them to connect on a deeper level than many other personality types. This makes them highly compatible in both friendships and romantic relationships.

  1. A shared disdain for shallow relationships

INFJs and INFPs share a strong aversion to shallow relationships. They prioritize deep and meaningful connections and are often dissatisfied with superficial interactions. As intuitive feelers, they crave authenticity and are drawn to others who share their values. This shared disdain for superficial relationships creates a strong bond between these two personality types, allowing them to build a relationship based on trust, emotional depth, and a mutual desire for genuine connection.

  1. Balanced planning and exploration:

INFJs and INFPs complement each other’s tendencies towards action and contemplation. INFPs inspire INFJs to take a more relaxed approach to their day-to-day life and enjoy the journey rather than focusing solely on the destination. On the other hand, INFJs motivate INFPs to come up with concrete plans and take action towards achieving their ideas. Together, they can strike a balance between dreaming and doing, creating a harmonious partnership.

INFJs, being a “J” type, are naturally inclined towards closure, planning, and getting things done. They tend to be perfectionists, always striving for the best solution to a problem, and often stressing about getting everything done on time. In contrast, INFPs, being a “P” type, are more focused on exploration and trying out different options. They enjoy seeing where the plan takes them, and are not as worried about sticking to a strict schedule. This is where they balance each other out. INFJs help INFPs pare down their ideas and options to the most suitable ones (using their Ni), and INFPs prevent INFJs from getting caught up in planning and overlooking opportunities for exploration (using their Ne).

  1. Respect for boundaries

INFJs and INFPs both have introverted personalities, and they understand the value of space and alone time. They understand that personal space is not a sign of disinterest or dislike, but a necessary part of recharging and reflecting. They appreciate each other’s need for solitude and respect it, without feeling neglected or hurt. They can match each other’s energy and wavelength, creating a harmonious balance in the relationship. Being introverts, they also prefer meaningful conversations over small talk, which deepens their emotional connection. 

  1. Shared interests and preferences

INFJs and INFPs share a lot of common interests and values, which makes them compatible partners. They both tend to have hobbies that involve creativity and introspection, such as reading, writing, painting, or playing music. They also share a preference for people who are thoughtful and empathetic, and both tend to value deep and meaningful connections with others over superficial ones. In terms of their social lives, both INFJs and INFPs tend to prefer a small circle of close friends rather than a large group of acquaintances, and they generally prefer quieter, more low-key activities over loud, crowded events. 

Additionally, both types have deep appreciation for art and the meaning it brings to life. Last but not least, they both tend to be non-materialistic, valuing meaning and depth over material possessions and superficial glamor. These shared values and interests create a strong bond between INFJs and INFPs, making them a natural match for one another.

Potential conflicts in INFJ-INFP relationships

While INFJs and INFPs share many similarities that make them compatible, their different approaches to processing and expressing emotions can create potential areas of conflict, such as below.

  1. Prioritization of values

While both INFJs and INFPs prioritize values, they differ in their focus. INFJs tend to prioritize social values and harmony (Fe) while INFPs prioritize their individual values and feelings (Fi). This difference in focus can lead to conflicts, especially when it comes to decision-making as a couple. Conflict can also arise when it comes to issues that affect the broader society. INFJs may be more willing to compromise their individual values in the interest of social harmony, while INFPs may get defensive and feel more strongly about sticking to their personal values, even if it means going against the norm. These differences in prioritization can lead to misunderstandings and disagreements between the two types. 

  1. Communication challenges

Both INFJs and INFPs struggle with expressing their own needs and emotions in a clear and direct manner. INFJs may expect their partners to anticipate their emotions as they do for their partners, leading to unrealistic expectations and potential conflict. On the other hand, INFPs may become defensive and withdraw from conflict, leading to unresolved resentment. These communication challenges can put a strain on the relationship and make it difficult to maintain a healthy and fulfilling partnership.

  1. Pursuit of knowledge

Another potential area of conflict between INFJs and INFPs stems from their different approaches to seeking knowledge. While both types are idealistic and passionate about their beliefs, INFPs tend to have a more free-form approach to intellectual exploration, following their hunches (Ne) without worrying too much about confirmation. In contrast, INFJs are highly focused on testing and confirming their ideas and theories (due to their Ni). This divergence in approach can lead to misunderstandings, with INFPs potentially seeing INFJs as rigid and unyielding, and INFJs seeing INFPs as impractical or lost in a dream world.

  1. Stress Responses

Both INFJs and INFPs have different stress responses, which can cause conflict in their relationship. INFJs tend to resort to their inferior function Extraverted Sensing (Se) under stress, leading to self-indulgence in sensory pleasures like binge-eating, smoking, drinking, or watching TV for hours, while ignoring their responsibilities. On the other hand, INFPs under stress tend to resort to their inferior function, Extraverted Thinking (Te), overwhelmed by an urge to organize their surroundings and frantically “fix” things. 

This can cause conflict between them when INFJs give in to their desires and engage in sensory activities. As a result, INFPs may perceive them as irresponsible or selfish, which could lead to resentment. In the same way, when INFPs become critical, extremely focused, and tend to blame others, INFJs may view them as overpowering or harsh, which can cause tension and disagreements in their relationship.

Keeping the spark alive: Tips for a healthy INFJ-INFP relationship

To improve your relationship, it’s important for both INFPs and INFJs to remember that the other person is sensitive and has their own unique needs. INFPs should be willing to open up about their thoughts and feelings, which will help INFJs feel that the relationship is healthy and intimate. INFJs should be mindful of INFPs’ strong values and avoid pressuring them to conform to their own beliefs. Instead, they should approach inquiries with a non-judgmental tone.

When problems arise, it’s important for both INFJs and INFPs to communicate openly and calmly, focusing on the behavior or action rather than attacking the person. They should avoid letting problems fester and seek to resolve them together, with empathy and understanding.

Finally, it’s important to have interests outside of the relationship, to avoid becoming overly focused or dependent on each other.


In conclusion, the INFJ-INFP pairing is a truly fascinating and harmonious relationship dynamic. The combination of the INFJ’s deep intuition and insight with the INFP’s profound empathy and authenticity creates a deep connection that is both rare and beautiful. These two personality types have the ability to understand and appreciate each other on a level that few others can reach. While there may be challenges along the way, these two personality types have a lot to offer each other, and can create a deep and fulfilling connection if they’re willing to communicate openly and work together. 

However, the journey doesn’t end here. To enhance their connection and better understand themselves and each other, INFJs and INFPs in a relationship should continue to explore their personality type in more depth. You can check out the detailed INFJ and INFP type descriptions on our website, and additional valuable insights into your own and your partner’s personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses. Armed with this understanding, INFJ and INFP partners can learn how to support each other in more customized ways and navigate the intricacies of their relationship more effectively.

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The instructor is a good facilitator and managed the workshop professionally and answered all my questions.  He was great at helping me to translate the theory into application… What really got me going was your assessment of my type and how I perceived myself.   That comparison helped me a lot and was a great way to get me thinking about who I am.

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Are you an INFJ or INFP? Decoding Your True Personality Type

Do you live with one foot in the physical world and one in the realm of imagination? Are you an empathetic and introspective person but struggle with explaining to others the rich inner landscape of ideas and emotions within you? If so, you may find yourself caught in the INFJ/INFP tug-of-war – two of the most idealistic personality types under the Myer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) system.

As sensitive souls and visionaries, INFJs and INFPs share some similarities in both letters and outward behaviors, and may appear nearly interchangeable on the surface. However, as we delve deeper into the analysis of their cognitive functions, we find that they have significant yet subtle differences, from how they process information and make decisions to how they handle their own and others’ emotions. Gaining insight into these differences can be a profoundly rewarding experience and help you embrace the gifts of your unique personality.

What are Cognitive Functions?

When it comes to differentiating between such similar personality types, understanding their cognitive functions is the key as they provide a more nuanced and precise understanding of the inner minds of each type.Cognitive functions are the mental processes used by individuals to gather information and make decisions. There are 4 cognitive processes: Feeling, Thinking, Intuition and Sensing, and they can be either introverted (directed inwards) or extraverted (directed outwards), resulting in 8 cognitive functions. 

In the MBTI framework, each type is characterized predominantly by the relative dominance of 4 functions: a dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior function. Much like our dominant hand versus non-dominant hand, we have a greater level of confidence and comfort using our dominant function compared to the ones lower in our functional stack. The further we move down the stack towards our auxiliary, tertiary and then inferior function, the less control and awareness we have over its influence on us. To understand better how the cognitive function stack is determined for a particular type, you can read the detailed guide here.

Understanding the cognitive functions of INFJs and INFPs is like uncovering the hidden gears that drive their unique personalities. Each type has a unique stack of cognitive functions, which are explained below.

DominantIntroverted Intuition (Ni) – relies on abstract connections, speculates about potential and potential implications. Introverted Feeling (Fi) – relies on a deep understanding of personal values and beliefs, and a desire to live in congruence with them.
AuxiliaryExtraverted Feeling (Fe) – relies on sensitivity to the emotional states of others  and feelings of harmony with the world. Extraverted Intuition (Ne) – relies on abstract possibilities, generates novel ideas about what things can be.
TertiaryIntroverted Thinking (Ti) – uses personal framework of technical knowledge and skill to prevent/avoid/solve problemsIntroverted Sensing (Si) – relies on sensory details, processes concrete details via comparing/contrasting with past experiences.
InferiorExtraverted Sensing (Se) – maintains direct relationship to the world via physical sensations. Extraverted Thinking (Te) – relies on knowledge of external systems, uses empirical data to make effective decisions

For a more detailed explanation and examples for each cognitive function, click here.

Distinguishing Between INFJ and INFP

Now that we have a better understanding of the cognitive functions that INFJs and INFPs use, we can examine how these functions shape their personalities and lead to the following differences in their behavior and preferences. 

  1. Analytical vs Artistic Thinking

One of the primary differences between INFJ and INFP is how they approach the world and process information. INFJs take a more analytical approach, using their dominant Introverted Intuition (Ni) to understand the purpose and meaning of things, narrowing down possibilities to the most suitable ones. They look outside in, searching for the underlying patterns and themes and observing how different parts work together to form a cohesive whole. 

On the other hand, INFPs lean more towards artistic and creative thinking. Guided by their values and emotions (due to their Fi), they look inside out, focusing on how they feel about things rather than their intended purpose or meaning. Furthermore, their Ne, which is exploratory in nature, also helps them generate multiple possibilities and ideas, allowing them to approach problems from a creative and imaginative standpoint. 

  1. Decisive vs Exploratory Decision Making

Another difference between INFJ and INFP is their approach to decision-making. INFJs tend to be decisive and efficient in reaching a decision. They meticulously analyze, and pare down all the available options to reach their desired goals (using their Ni, often supported by their Ti) without any perceived waste of time or resources. This makes them strategic, thoughtful, and observant in their decision-making approach.

On the other hand, INFPs have an authentic love and appreciation for exploring new experiences, and aren’t necessarily fixated on finding the one “perfect” solution. They tend to generate a plethora of ideas using their Ne, often throwing every possible option at the wall to see what sticks. Their satisfaction comes from the process of uncovering possibilities that extend beyond the present reality, rather than the decision itself. This approach to decision-making is marked by an open-minded and exploratory mindset that values creativity and imagination.

  1. Absorbing vs Mirroring Emotions

INFJs are highly attuned to the emotions of others due to their Fe, which makes them expert social chameleons. They have a remarkable ability to read the room quickly thanks to the input from their Extraverted Sensing (Se), discerning subtle changes in others’ tone, body language, and behavior, and adapt their own behavior to promote social harmony. However, this ability to absorb others’ emotions can be overwhelming and often leaves INFJs struggling to differentiate their own feelings from those of others.

On the other hand, INFPs’ Introverted Feeling (Fi) is more focused on their own values, morals, and emotions. They are not likely to alter their behavior to please others, as they prioritize their own feelings and authenticity. INFPs can still very well understand what others are going through by putting themselves in their shoes, but they only mirror the emotions of others rather than absorbing them. This makes it easier for them to maintain a healthy emotional distance and not get overwhelmed by the emotions of others. This emotional clarity also allows them to remain true to themselves and their values, often leading them to pursue creative outlets where they can express themselves freely.

  1. Community-Oriented vs Individualistic Relationship Orientation

INFJs and INFPs approach their relationships with others in very distinct ways. INFJs, due to their Fe, are community-oriented people, guided by a vision of how relationships and society ‘ought to be’. They tend to take on a more active and assertive role in relationships, seeking to build connections and harmony, and facilitate communication. This, combined with their ability to value shared experiences of the group, often also leads them to be chosen for positions of authority and leadership roles by others, even if they do not actively seek them.  

While INFJs have a stronger desire to build community, INFPs prefer more intimate connections. INFPs lead with their hearts, following their personal values and beliefs (due to their Fi). INFPs approach relationships with an idealistic and personalized focus. They prefer intimate one-on-one connections, built on profound emotional understanding and shared values. However, they may struggle with setting clear boundaries and asserting themselves, which can lead to difficulties in expressing their needs and built-up resentment.

  1. Developing a “Sensor’s Eye” vs a “Thinker’s Mind”

Personal growth and development are important to both INFJs and INFPs, but their paths to achieving it can be quite different. Due to their inferior functions, they may struggle in certain areas and experience unique challenges. Inferior functions represent an aspirational but weak or “tip toeing” part of one’s personality. People rarely notice their inferior functions under normal conditions. However, when stressed or fatigued, these weaker functions emerge in unintended and disruptive ways. People are said to “be in the grip” of the inferior functions in this situation. Healthy INFJs and INFPs see their inferior functions not as weaknesses but opportunities to grow. Through conscious dedication, what was once a liability can be transformed into a source of strength and depth. 

INFJs pursue growth through cultivating their inferior Extraverted Sensing (Se) function. In the grip, the dark side of Se takes hold, inducing escapism through overindulgence in sensory pleasures. INFJs may binge watch TV, overeat, or become shortsighted in pleasure-seeking, which they regret later when the stress subsides. To strengthen Se, INFJs must gain awareness of this unconscious tendency and learn control. Moreover, INFJs prioritize their personal insights and “gut feelings” over concrete details. Healthy INFJs aspire to strengthen Se by cultivating awareness of the external world, and being more present and responsive to external sensory stimuli. What seemed abstract must become visceral. Through practice and patience, INFJs can develop a “sensor’s eye” able to see beyond concepts to practical realities. 

In contrast, INFPs nurture their Extraverted Thinking (Te) to develop mastery. When in the grip of Te, INFPs tend to get hyper-critical of themselves and others, frantically solving problems or nitpicking processes. They must tame their urge to organize or “fix” everything when stressed through hypercriticism or forced efficiency. Healthy INFPs aspire to strengthen Te through developing a pragmatic “thinker’s mind.” Te demands analyzing information objectively, stepping away from personal values to evaluate options rationally and decisively. For INFPs, it means moving away from imagination to implementation by formulating feasible strategies and evaluating resources effectively.


Now that you know the key differences between INFJs and INFPs, where do you stand? Take some time to reflect on which tendencies feel most natural and authentic to you. Remember, self-discovery is a lifelong journey and determining your personality type is just the beginning. It can be a powerful tool to help you embrace your strengths and chart your own path in life. For INFPs, recognizing your idealism and depth of caring can help you set boundaries when needed and express your authentic feelings. Similarly, if you are an INFJ, understanding your empathy and desire for harmony can guide you towards finding balance and connecting with your own needs.

If you still feel conflicted, take the next step and read the detailed descriptions of both the INFJ and INFP personality types. It will provide you with a framework to explore the depths of who you are – and who you want to become. Use this knowledge as a springboard to continue your growth, follow your purpose, and build authentic relationships where your gifts are truly appreciated.

Executive (ESTJ) – Type Description

ESTJ is one of the 16 Myers & Briggs personality types, characterized by extraversion, sensing, thinking, and judging. ESTJs, also known as the “executives” or “supervisors”, are natural-born leaders who thrive in organized and structured environments. They are practical, efficient, and dependable, always striving for excellence in their endeavors. ESTJs have a strong work ethic and sense of duty, and take their responsibilities seriously, whether it be in their personal or professional lives. They are confident and assertive, and they have a natural talent for organizing and delegating tasks to ensure efficient execution.

ESTJs are known for their decisive nature and their ability to make tough decisions with clarity and efficiency. They value rules, tradition and order, and expect others to adhere to them as well. They have a no-nonsense approach to problem-solving and are not afraid to confront challenges head-on. They are confident in their abilities and have a natural talent for leading and motivating others to achieve a common goal. ESTJs are also known for their loyalty and dedication to their friends, family, and organizations, and they will go above and beyond to ensure the success of their team or group.

Cognitive Functions of ESTJs:

To gain insight into the characteristics of ESTJ personalities, it is helpful to understand the dominant and auxiliary cognitive functions that drive them. According to the MBTI system, each personality type has a set of cognitive functions that they use most frequently, which leads to consistent patterns and characteristics. For ESTJs, 

Dominant Te: Extraverted Thinking (Te) function relies on empirical data and understanding of external systems. People who have a dominant Te function are logical and analytical in their approach, focus on objective data, and prioritize rationality over personal feelings or emotions.

ESTJs use their dominant Te to take control and organize the external world around them. This function gives them the ability to make quick and efficient decisions and plans by utilizing all the information available to them, rather than being passive in their approach. It helps ESTJs in finding practical solutions to problems, streamlining processes, and achieving tangible outcomes. 

Auxiliary Si: Individuals who use the Introverted Sensing (Si) function have an organized internal world and a highly accurate memory of past experiences and sensations. ESTJs use their auxiliary Si to create categories in their minds to sort and keep track of important information and data, processed by their dominant Te. By remembering their past successful experiences and following the same strategies and behaviors to recreate those experiences, they are able to create a sense of stability and predictability in their lives.

Due to ESTJs’ focus on these dominant and auxiliary functions, their Intuition and Feeling functions are less developed, which can lead to a lack of intuitive or abstract thinking (Intuition), understanding and expressing emotions, empathizing with others, and understanding the emotional impact of their decisions on others (Feeling).


Like all personality types, ESTJs also have their own unique set of strengths, some of which include the following.

  • Strong leadership skills: ESTJs make great leaders due to their ability to efficiently manage people and resources. Their Te helps them see the best course of action, make quick logical decisions in the moment, and take charge to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Efficient and result-oriented: ESTJs’ Te and Si work in tandem to make them efficient and result-oriented. Their Te helps them analyze information objectively, and identify what works and what doesn’t. Their Si provides them with a structured approach to problem-solving, helping them implement proven strategies for achieving tangible results. 
  • Direct and honest communication: ESTJs’ Te influences their direct and honest communication style. They value logic and rationality over emotions, preferring to address conflicts and issues directly rather than avoiding them, which can lead to effective resolution and progress.
  • Appreciation for rules and structure: ESTJs’ Si contributes to their appreciation for rules and procedures, which are often based on proven methods and past experiences. They are committed to upholding standards and maintaining order by adhering to laws, regulations, and ordinances.
  • Dedicated and reliable: ESTJs’ diligent approach to upholding standards and their unwavering commitment to their responsibilities make them extremely reliable and trustworthy, both in their personal and professional lives. 


ESTJs may have some potential weaknesses that could impact their personal life, relationships, as well as their performance in their workplace. These weaknesses may include the following.

  • Judgmental: ESTJs create mental categories of what is right and what is wrong based on their past experiences (due to their Si) and may be judgmental of those who deviate from these norms. They may try to impose their ideas of morality on others and can be intolerant of different perspectives or lifestyles.
  • Discomfort with emotions: As logical and rational thinkers, ESTJs may find it challenging to navigate or express their own emotions and understand the emotions of others. They have a weak Feeling function, leading to difficulties in connecting with others on an emotional level.
  • Rigidity and inflexibility: ESTJs can be stubborn and resistant to change, often holding firm to their own opinions and beliefs, due to their Si. They may struggle to adapt to new or unexpected situations and can be inflexible in their approach, insisting on their own way of doing things.
  • Bossy and commanding behavior: ESTJs are natural-born leaders with strong organizational skills and a desire for efficiency. However, their assertive and authoritative nature may come across as bossy or overbearing, which can be perceived as controlling or intimidating by others.
  • Struggle with relaxation and perfectionism: ESTJs often have high expectations for themselves and others, driven by their strong work ethic and sense of duty. They may struggle with perfectionism, constantly striving for excellence and finding it difficult to relax or engage in leisure activities.

Career choice

ESTJs thrive in structured environments that value rules and regulations, set clear expectations, and require strong leadership and decision making skills. Some suitable careers for them include:

  • C-level executives: ESTJs’ strong leadership skills, ability to make tough decisions, and natural inclination towards organization make them well-suited for executive or managerial roles in various industries. They can excel as CEOs, COOs, CFOs, or other C-level executives, as well as managers in different functional areas, driving organizational success.
  • Financial Analysts or accountants: ESTJs’ logical thinking and ability to manage resources make them suitable for careers in accounting. They can excel in roles that require analyzing financial data, creating budgets, managing expenses, and ensuring compliance with financial regulations.
  • Project Managers: ESTJs’ result-oriented nature, combined with their excellent organizational skills, makes them ideal candidates for project management roles. They can effectively oversee projects, allocate resources, set goals, and ensure timely completion of tasks.
  • Government administrators: ESTJs’ ability to create order, coordinate teams, and uphold ethical standards makes them suitable for roles as government administrators or civil servants. They can oversee government operations, enforcing policies, and serving the public interest.
  • Military or law enforcement officers: ESTJs possess a strong sense of duty, affinity towards rules and regulations, and the ability to maintain discipline, all of which makes them well-suited for careers in the military or law enforcement. 

ESTJs may face challenges in careers that lack structure, involve frequent changes, or do not have clear rules and regulations. Creative or artistic fields, counseling or therapy careers that require high emotional intelligence, entrepreneurial ventures with high risk, research or academic fields with ambiguity, and non-profit or advocacy work involving conflicting values or ethical dilemmas may be less suitable for ESTJs.


ESTJs in relationships tend to be very honest and straightforward right from the start. They know what they want and they are not afraid to communicate their expectations and boundaries clearly. They look for a partner who shares their values, interests, and goals. When they find the right person, they put in the effort required for the relationship to succeed, and efficiently manage any issues that may arise along the way. 

While ESTJs may not be the most romantic or emotionally expressive partners, they make up for it with their dedication and stability in the relationship. As a way of showing affection, they often take on the role of a protector or provider in their relationships, striving to ensure that their partner and family are well taken care of. In order to have fun with their partners, ESTJs tend to rely on familiar experiences and activities that they enjoyed in the past, thinking their partners will enjoy them as well.

ESTJ parents may struggle with being overly strict or controlling at times, but they also provide a stable and structured environment for their children to thrive. They often emphasize the importance of education, tradition, duty, and hard work, and strive to instill these values in their children from an early age.

In conclusion, ESTJs are a practical, efficient, and dependable personality type that values structure, order, and tradition. They are natural leaders who excel in management and organizational roles, and have a strong sense of responsibility towards their obligations. While they may sometimes come across as rigid or inflexible, they are capable of adapting to changing circumstances and are always focused on finding practical solutions to problems. All in all, ESTJs are pillars of perseverance and leadership, and their unique strengths make them an essential part of their organizations and communities.

Caregiver (ESFJ) – Type Description

ESFJ is one of the 16 Myers & Briggs personality types, characterized by extraversion, sensing, feeling, and judging. ESFJs, also known as the “caregivers”, have a warm, caring, and empathetic nature. They are friendly and outgoing, and they take pleasure in ensuring that everyone is having a good time. They are highly attuned to the needs of others and are great at picking up on people’s emotions and moods. Despite their sociable nature, they are not just surface-level acquaintances. ESFJs form meaningful, long-lasting relationships and are dependable when others require assistance or someone to confide in. 

ESFJs are considerate and responsible towards others and understand that their actions can have an impact on those around them. They possess a clear sense of morality and may find it perplexing when others behave in ways that conflict with their values. ESFJs are also well-organized and are great at following rules and procedures. They are loyal not just to their friends and family, but also to their employers and organizations. They are the ultimate team players and will do whatever it takes to ensure the success of their group or organization.

Cognitive Functions of ESFJs:

To gain insight into the characteristics of ESFJ personalities, it is helpful to understand the dominant and auxiliary cognitive functions that drive them. According to the MBTI system, each personality type has a set of cognitive functions that they use most frequently, which leads to consistent patterns and characteristics. For ESFJs, 

Dominant Fe: Individuals who have dominant Extraverted Feeling (Fe) function use it to gauge the emotional atmosphere of a group and evaluate the impact of their own behavior on others. They gather information about others’ feelings and thoughts based on subtle cues such as tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions. Based on this information, they adjust their own behavior and actions accordingly in order to create a more positive and harmonious environment. Dominant Fe helps ESFJs to be sensitive to others’ needs, to be tactful in their communication and to be able to empathize with others.

Auxiliary Si: Individuals who use the Introverted Sensing (Si) function have an organized internal world and a highly accurate memory of past experiences and sensations. ESFJs use their auxiliary Si to create categories in their minds to sort and keep track of important information, gathered by their dominant Fe, related to people and their relationships with them. By remembering their past positive experiences and following the same behaviors to recreate those experiences, they are able to create a sense of stability and predictability in their lives.

Due to ESFJs’ focus on these dominant and auxiliary functions, their Intuition and Thinking functions are less developed, which can lead to a lack of intuitive or abstract thinking (intuition), strategic planning and rational decision making (thinking). 


Like all personality types, ESFJs also have their own unique set of strengths, some of which include the following.

  • Sociable: ESFJs are naturally sociable and enjoy being around people. They are skilled at reading others’ emotions due to their Fe, and can adapt their communication style to suit different personalities and situations. They are warm, approachable, and skilled at making others feel at ease.
  • Dutiful and responsible: ESFJs are known for being hardworking and reliable, as they have a strong sense of duty and responsibility. They take their obligations seriously and strive to fulfill them to the best of their ability. 
  • Practical and methodical: ESFJs are highly practical and methodical individuals who leave nothing to chance. They carefully plan and organize everything to effectively manage day-to-day tasks, and ensure that everything is done efficiently.
  • Loyal and trustworthy: ESFJs are known for their commitment to their personal and work relationships. They value loyalty and faithfulness in others and strive to demonstrate these qualities themselves. They are seen as dependable and trustworthy friends, partners, and employees.
  • Empathetic and sensitive: ESFJs have a strong sense of empathy and are skilled at connecting with others on an emotional level. They are sensitive, warm, and caring individuals, and make excellent team players who foster a positive and supportive work environment.


ESFJs may have some potential weaknesses that could impact their personal life, relationships, as well as their performance in their workplace. These weaknesses may include the following.

  • Sensitivity to critique: ESFJs struggle to separate their personal worth from their work and can be sensitive to criticism. They strongly believe in their established ways of doing things due to their Si, and can see critiques as an attack on their personal beliefs and values. 
  • Validation-seeking behavior: ESFJs have a tendency to tie their self-worth to the praise and acknowledgment they receive from others. They may seek validation by fishing for compliments and may feel demotivated when they don’t receive the recognition they believe they deserve.
  • Judgmental: ESFJs create mental categories of what is right and what is wrong based on their past experiences (due to their Si) and may be judgmental of those who deviate from these norms. They may try to impose their ideas of morality on others and can be intolerant of different perspectives or lifestyles.
  • Overly nurturing: ESFJs may have a tendency to be too caring and nurturing, to the point where they neglect their own needs. They may shower others with attention and help, even when it’s not needed, which can lead to burnout and exhaustion.
  • Resistance to improvisation: ESFJs may be hesitant to step out of their comfort zone and may be resistant to change. They may prefer to stick to familiar routines and ways of doing things due to their Si, which can limit their adaptability and creativity in problem-solving.

Career choice

ESFJs excel in careers that involve working with people and require a high level of responsibility, dependability, and attention to detail. Some suitable career paths for ESFJs include:

  • Healthcare: ESFJs are compassionate, empathetic, and have a natural inclination towards helping others, which makes them well-suited for careers in healthcare, such as nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or social work.
  • Education: ESFJ teachers are adept at creating a supportive and encouraging classroom environment that helps students feel comfortable and confident. They take pride in their students’ success and are motivated by the sense of fulfillment that comes from helping them reach their full potential.
  • Customer Service: ESFJs have excellent people skills and enjoy interacting with others, which makes them ideal for customer service positions, such as customer service representatives, hospitality and tourism, and sales.
  • Administrative roles: ESFJs are dependable, organized, and detail-oriented, making them well-suited for administrative roles such as executive assistants, project coordinators, or office managers.
  • Law Enforcement: ESFJs’ sense of duty, attention to detail, and commitment to justice make them well-suited for careers in law enforcement, such as police officers or correctional officers.
  • Human resources: ESFJs make great HR managers due to their natural talent for reading people, managing conflict, and finding practical solutions to problems. They are committed to upholding company values and have a strong sense of fairness and justice, making them great at this role.

ESFJs may find careers that involve working independently or require a high degree of analytical or abstract thinking challenging. Careers such as research, entrepreneurship, or roles in technology may not be as suitable for ESFJs as they typically prefer to work in structured and organized environments.


ESFJs are known to be extremely devoted and loyal partners, always looking for someone who shares their values and beliefs. They often prefer traditional gender roles in relationships, and once they feel they have found the right person, they quickly start envisioning a future together, often planning for the long term. However, ESFJs can be influenced by social status and others’ approval, which can sometimes affect their choice of a partner.

ESFJs excel at managing practical aspects of life, such as finances and day-to-day tasks. Stability and predictability are important to them, and they need to feel that their partner is fully invested and supportive of their goals. They thrive in relationships where they feel valued and appreciated, but can become needy if they do not receive this validation. They are also uncomfortable with conflict and may compromise on their own beliefs and feelings to keep the peace in their relationship, which ultimately leads to unhappiness. 

ESFJs are compassionate but firm parents who are deeply invested in their child’s lives and decisions. They are willing to go above and beyond to provide their children with all the necessities and resources they need to succeed. Consistent in their parenting style, they provide a stable environment for their children to thrive in. While they take immense pride in their child’s successes, they may feel a sense of personal failure when their child doesn’t meet their expectations. However, they are deeply attuned to their children’s feelings and needs, always available to offer emotional guidance and practical support. 

In conclusion, ESFJs are nurturing and empathetic individuals who prioritize practicality and stability in their personal and professional lives. They are natural caregivers, who are devoted to their families, friends, and communities, and take great pride in providing for their loved ones. While they can be sensitive to criticism and conflict, they are skilled at managing practical aspects of life, and excel in careers that involve working with people. ESFJs serve as an inspiration for their unwavering commitment to the people and causes they care about, and their desire to create a world that is safe, secure, and harmonious for all. 

Entrepreneur (ESTP) – Type Description

ESTP is one of the 16 Myers & Briggs personality types, characterized by extraversion, sensing, thinking, and perceiving. ESTPs, also known as “entrepreneurs” or “doers”, are known for their spontaneous, assertive, and daring nature. They are action-oriented individuals who thrive in high-stress situations and are always looking for the next adventure. ESTPs enjoy being the center of attention and possess a natural charisma that makes them great communicators and motivators. They have a witty sense of humor, but can be a little blunt at times which may rub others the wrong way. 

ESTPs are highly skilled at thinking on their feet and improvising in difficult situations.  They are quick to observe any changes or shifts in their surroundings, and pick up on subtle cues in people’s tone, behavior, or body language. They prefer to deal with situations head-on, and they may not always sugarcoat their words or actions. They value efficiency and results and are not afraid to break the rules or challenge authority if they feel it will lead to a positive outcome. However, their impulsive nature can also lead them to make hasty decisions or act without thinking, which can sometimes lead to negative consequences. 

Cognitive Functions of ESTPs:

To gain insight into the characteristics of ESTP personalities, it is helpful to understand the dominant and auxiliary cognitive functions that drive them. According to the MBTI system, each personality type has a set of cognitive functions that they use most frequently, which leads to consistent patterns and characteristics. For ESTPs, 

Dominant Se: Extraverted Sensing (Se) directs an individual’s focus on the concrete details in the external environment, prioritizing  immediate physical experiences. It is about being present in the moment, taking in information from the environment through the five senses, and responding to it in a spontaneous and adaptable way.  Dominant Se individuals often act on their impulses as soon as they arise, figuring things out as they go instead of planning too far ahead.

Auxiliary Ti: Introverted Thinking (Ti) allows individuals to analyze their thoughts in a logical and systematic way, and identify any inconsistencies in their own reasoning. Ti as an auxiliary function helps ESTPs critically evaluate the information they gather through their five senses (Se). It controls their impulsive tendencies by determining the best course of action in the larger scheme of things, allowing for a balance between spontaneity and practicality. 

Due to ESTPs’ focus on these dominant and auxiliary functions, their Intuition and Feeling functions are less developed, which can lead to a lack of intuitive or abstract thinking (Intuition), understanding and expressing emotions, and empathizing with others (Feeling). 


Like all personality types, ESTPs also have their own unique set of strengths, some of which include the following.

  • Decisive and Action-Oriented: ESTPs have a can-do attitude and are known for being decisive and action-oriented. They respond well to their physical environment and know how to maneuver the world around them.
  • Bold and Competitive: ESTPs are efficient, clever, bold, and are willing to take risks to achieve their objectives. Their mental toughness and sense of competition make them driven and relentless in pursuing their goals.
  • Observant and perceptive: ESTPs have a keen sense of observation and can easily pick up on subtle details using their dominant Se. They are able to read people well and understand their motivations, which makes them effective communicators and negotiators.
  • Sociable: ESTPs are outgoing and enjoy being around people. They have a natural charisma that makes them popular and well-liked. They are comfortable in social situations and are easily able to make connections with others. 
  • Practical and innovative: ESTPs have a natural talent for finding practical solutions to problems. They are innovative and resourceful, using their bold and quick thinking to come up with unique solutions.


ESTPs may have some potential weaknesses that could impact their personal life, relationships, as well as their performance in their workplace. These weaknesses may include the following.

  • Uncomfortable with feelings: ESTPs tend to prioritize objective data over subjective experiences, and may feel awkward in emotionally charged situations. They may struggle to express their own feelings or connect with others on an emotional level. When attempting to offer comfort or support, they may struggle to find the right words or come across as cold or uncaring.
  • Blunt and insensitive communication: ESTPs have a tendency to be brutally honest and come across as insensitive or callous when expressing their opinions. They may also pry into others’ personal lives without realizing they are crossing boundaries, which can cause tension with others, particularly in the workplace.
  • Impatience: ESTPs are highly driven individuals who prefer to work at a fast pace. They may become impatient with those who do not think as quickly or struggle to keep up with their energetic approach. Their need for speed can make it challenging to work effectively in teams or with colleagues who have a different working style. 
  • Resistance to rules and authority: ESTPs find it tedious to follow rules and protocols, preferring to find their own way to achieve results. This can lead them to break rules and disregard authority, which can have serious consequences in professional and personal settings.
  • Short-sightedness: ESTPs are hands-on and prefer to focus on the present moment rather than thinking about long-term consequences of their actions. This impulsiveness can lead to risky behaviors and decisions, potentially harming not only themselves but also their organization or team.

Career choice

ESTPs, with their energetic and action-oriented nature, tend to excel in careers that allow them to apply their practical skills and think on their feet. Here are some suitable career options for ESTPs:

  • Entrepreneurs: ESTPs make great entrepreneurs due to their ability to spot opportunities and take calculated risks. Their Se gathers information from their surroundings and identifies emerging trends, while Ti evaluates the viability of these ideas and develops effective strategies. 
  • Marketing and sales representatives: ESTPs are excellent communicators and have a talent for persuasion. Se allows them to pick up on subtle cues and tailor their sales pitch to each customer, while Ti helps them analyze the effectiveness of different strategies. They also enjoy the challenge of exceeding sales targets, making them natural performers in this role. 
  • Detectives and investigators: ESTPs have a natural curiosity and a keen eye for detail due to their dominant Se. As detectives or investigators, they can use their analytical skills to solve complex cases and bring criminals to justice. 
  • Paramedics/EMTs: ESTPs thrive in high-pressure environments and can think quickly on their feet. As paramedics or EMTs, they can process information rapidly and improvise quickly, making them excellent in emergency situations to provide medical care and save lives. 
  • Sports coaches: ESTPs have a competitive nature and enjoy physical challenges. As sports coaches, they can use their enthusiasm and tactical skills to train athletes and guide them towards success.

ESTPs may struggle in careers such as accounting, law, data analysis, or research that require extensive planning and structured work environments. They may also find careers in counseling or social work challenging, as these fields require a high level of empathy and sensitivity.


ESTPs are fun-loving and flirtatious in relationships. They enjoy keeping things exciting and trying new things with their partners. They may become bored or frustrated with a partner who can’t keep up with their energetic lifestyle, and they are quick to recognize incompatibilities and move on if necessary. Although they may struggle to understand their partner’s unspoken feelings and emotions, they are perceptive of changes in mood or behavior and try to respond accordingly.

In conflicts, ESTPs tend to focus on practical solutions rather than delving into the emotional aspects of the problem, which may lead them to appear cold or unemotional to their partner. However, they are also willing to go the extra mile to make their partner’s life easier without much drawing attention to it.

ESTPs can be great parents due to their flexibility, spontaneity, and high energy levels. They enjoy engaging in different activities and adventures with their children and encourage them to learn through hands-on experiences. They want their children to succeed and encourage them not to be afraid of trying out new things. However, they may struggle with enforcing strict rules and structure, as well as emotionally bonding with their children. 

In conclusion, ESTPs are lively, spontaneous, and practical individuals who enjoy taking risks and seeking new experiences. They are quick thinkers, action-oriented, and natural problem-solvers who are fearless in the face of challenges. While their focus on logic and practicality can sometimes lead to them overlooking emotional needs, they are highly perceptive and responsive to their environment and the people around them. With their energetic and adventurous spirit, ESTPs inspire others to live in the moment, embrace change, and take risks to achieve their goals.