Now that I’m on a blogging roll (NOT a blogroll, ha ha), here’s my take on the various personality types that I’ve lived with, worked with and studied with. Given my own inclinations I have also included thoughts on how those personality types may see me. Please take all of this with a pinch of salt as obviously not everyone can or should be stereotyped this way. Also bear in mind that MBTIs do change over time, and within each type there are different levels of maturity. So there is hope for us all.
My favourite type of friend, classmate or colleague to get things done. Just hesitate a little or step out to the washroom during a discussion – and voila! The ISTJ has decided to do it for you. Punctual and precise, things run like clockwork with an ISTJ in charge. No routine or detail is too mundane. Just don’t throw the less experienced ISTJs into the deep unknown. (Reflection: They probably think I should focus on getting stuff done instead of hypothesising or socialising so much.)
Love them, hate them – can you feel both emotions at the same time? With ENTJs, the answer is yes. Professional and ambitious to a fault, they are extremely hard on you because they are just as hard – if not harder – on themselves. This tends to take a toll on their health. Most of them are painfully blunt at pointing out problems and how to fix them – but they appreciate people who are bold enough to call them out as well. Unfortunately, in unconfrontational cultures that does not happen and they end up wondering why others get passive-aggressive with them instead. They love commandeering troops with the sincere aim of making the project or organisation better, although not everyone may buy into their mission if they feel trodden over. (Reflection: They think everyone they care about could have been *so* much better that it frustrates the hell out of them. They should consider loving people the way they are instead of always trying to change them. They should also realise that to get others to change, they need to change first.)
The life of the party. Great at socialising and improvising in uncertain or unexpected situations. Not so good at being punctual, meeting deadlines and doing mundane but necessary tasks. Won’t follow instructions if they don’t personally believe in it. Sometimes talks too much relative to the actual amount of work done. But overall, someone you won’t mind getting stuck with on a delayed flight for a few hours. (Reflection: They probably think I am too much a stickler for structure and should try to have more fun)
Strong teamwork ethos. Assertive, direct and unafraid to call people out if they aren’t pulling their weight, because ESTJs have already given their 110%. Type A personality that constantly worries if their grades are going to suffer when other team members don’t perform. Being near them in a high-pressure environment is probably not good for your vascular health. When they socialise with you, they usually have a purpose for doing so. They value orderliness, punctuality and all other forms of structure. (Reflection: They probably don’t think I am ‘high energy’ enough – with reference to Trump versus Bush! Every breath that I take that isn’t directed to improving the project is seen as a waste of effort – even if there are other things in life worth focusing on as well)
Possibly the most intelligent type I’ve worked with – and I have encountered several altogether at school and work. The most mature INTJ I know is patient, reads people well and makes long-term decisions while producing very strategic pieces of work and being able to coach others. All the INTJs I know have excelled academically and technically, and are great at directing and driving high quality projects to completion within deadlines and defining clear roles for each team member. However, the less experienced ones come across as arrogant, insensitive and only being able to see things from their perspective because they tend to keep to themselves or a very close group of likeminded friends. They are initially unaware of the negative impact caused but do attempt to address their shortfalls when raised to their attention – although it makes them very uncomfortable. (Reflection: They know I’m not as smart as them but have also identified one or two areas I am better than them in, thus preserving some semblance of respect for our relationship. A couple of INTJs have directly told me as much – and I appreciate their frankness)
The personality type that some of my MBA classmates used to joke about for not having a strong sense of direction and being too involved in social activities. The three ESFP friends I know are really fun to be with, creative in their own ways and indeed lead lives less ordinary. (Reflection: Of all the types I’ve felt that I haven’t been judged by ESFPs. They’re just so open to other people being different, having their own definitions of success. They make great friends even though they often appear then disappear out of my life)
ENTPs and INTPs
I lumped them together because I only know of a few of both types in total. I find NTPs open-minded and enterprising without being too judgmental. They do tend to be late with appointments and deadlines, but they don’t hold it against others who do the same thing to them. Given their easygoing nature, they tend to have a wide network of friends. Comfortable with uncertainty and creating their own path, away from the crowd. (Reflection: It’s hard to tell what their views are about me – we usually get along as we like to talk about ideas and possibilities. However, they probably feel I could have considered more options and pushed harder to realise some of our grander plans)
My fellow ENFJs are few and far between – probably because they’re good at camouflaging themselves to suit the situation. Warm, caring, people-oriented, they usually do well socially – but there is a tendency to be too caught up in the needs of others and the desire for harmony, even in situations where some conflict is needed to keep things on track. Insecure ENFJs are also emotionally needy and could spend too much time wondering what someone really meant when they said something earlier on. They can also unintentionally come across as micromanaging, through their desire to help others in every small way – whether or not that person wants help. (Reflection: We need to take a few steps back and rediscover what our own values and goals are, instead of only thinking of what others want and trying to fit ourselves around them. Also, when it comes to the crunch, just bite the bullet and take tough action!)
Sweet, sensitive and idealistic – you may think all INFPs are fluffy wooly sheep, but they are not. Deep inside lies a backbone of steel – violate their values and you will see a different side of them that’s willing to fight to the end. You would also think that this is a rather feminine type but I know two well-balanced males at school and at work who are INFPs. (Reflection: Supposedly the best match for ENFJs but I haven’t really worked much with any known INFPs. Maybe they think I talk too much and aren’t in touch enough with my own values)
[Update 26 March 2016: How could I forget our dear I*FJs!]
Stable and consistent, ISFJs make great friends for the long term. They are loyal and quick to offer help if something’s gone wrong. Two of my ISFJ friends are among the first people I would call on for support. They can hold on to certain views quite firmly and are unlikely to waver, even when they find themselves in the minority. (Reflection: ISFJs seem to accept me pretty much as I am, although they do have strong reactions when they feel their values are being challenged)
INFJs are neat, presentable and perfectionistic. They are model students and diligent employees but are humble about their achievements and can even be hard on themselves when they see areas for self-improvement. They can also be idealistic even as they live in a world they know is far from ideal. The INFJs I know have a quiet but creative streak in them – they are in some way involved in the arts scene and are pretty good at what they do. They just don’t like to brag about it. (Note: More INFJs required to strengthen my sample size – don’t be so shy)
I am not aware of other personality types I’ve come into close and frequent enough contact with, to write about them. If you’re someone I know well but whose personality type I haven’t covered, please let me know! Once my sample size is large enough (say n = 3!) I will add my thoughts to this post.