Skip to content

Knowing Me, Knowing You: Exploring personality type and temperament – Malcolm Goldsmith

August 20, 2018

KMKYI’ve used this time and time again in spiritual direction. Easy to read, it helps us understand ourselves and our colleagues.

The M.B.T.I. can help you discover why you think and behave in certain ways, and why other people respond to you as they do. It can help you identify your major strengths – what makes you do some things better than others – and it can help you make more of those aspects of your personality that may be lying dormant and under-developed. The M.B.T.I. can be helpful in improving all kinds of relationships – whether you’re at home with your family, at work with your colleagues, or perhaps on a course studying for an exam. It can also be helpful in understanding the life of the Church; why people have different ways of responding to God, both emotionally and intellectually; why some are attracted to a particular kind of church; and why some prefer to pray in one way and not in others. In all these areas of life, the M.B.T.I. has proved itself an invaluable means of achieving a deeper self-understanding. It can also lead to a greater sense of self-worth and a richer and more realistic appreciation of other people.

Quotations:

The ENFJ and prayer: Dominant F; Auxiliary N; Third preferred S; Least-preferred T
ENFJs are natural leaders in groups, and people look to them for support and guidance. They have a warmth and an openness to people which also characterize their prayers. They seldom experience anguish in prayer, but rather are able to relax in the knowledge of their acceptance by God. Whilst not given to prolonged periods of silence or contemplation (because as Extraverts, they find that experiences with people in the world are their principal reminders of God), they can nevertheless appreciate the place of silence and solitude rather more than ENTPs and ENTJs.
They are often good at leading worship, having the ability to combine social activism and a concern for the world with a sense of detachment and an awareness of God’s presence and healing power. They are inclined to find traditional prayer rather restricting, but do not necessarily rebel against it. They are willing to accept the many varieties of prayer and religious experience that other people present them with, and have an inclusive and broad approach to spirituality.

As Thinking is their least preferred function, they tend not to agonize over prayer, or analyse it or argue about it — although when they do address some of the real problems raised by prayer, they are often able to explore the issues with honesty, expressing their doubts, but all within the context of their assurance of God’s love and acceptance. Their general rather laid-back approach can have overtones of laziness, and they need to be aware of the fact that there is a place for struggle within prayer! There is also a place for specifics, and ENFJs need to ensure that their prayers do not become too generalized.

The ENTP and prayer: Dominant N; Auxiliary T; Third preferred F; Least-preferred S
ENTPs are always looking for a challenge, they want to discover new and ingenious ways of doing things and they dislike routine and convention. They like broad, overall sweeps, disliking detail, and these tendencies form the basis of their spiritual formation. They get bored with routine patterns of prayer quickly, and only really come alive when there is something new and challenging on the horizon.
They are self-critical, and often wonder if they pray at all, with their T forever raising doubts and their N always looking for new possibilities. They can enjoy exploring new dimensions of prayer but these need to be contemporary and not just new to them. That is, they can become bored with exploring traditional or classic forms of spirituality. They are open to the idea of giving time to prayer, and may enjoy the use of music, but they are always ready to admit that they have moved away from prayer into something else as the time passes!

ENTPs need to pay more attention to detail, and to be morc aware of the present realities rather than future possibilities. They may find it difficult to experience personal satisfaction in prayer, and should be prepared to ‘stick with it’ rather than give up. They need to be less self-deprecating about the authenticity of their spiritual life.

The ISFP and prayer: ISFPs enjoy prayer: it is a liberating experience for them, often Spirit-filled, and can be expressed with music and colour and movement. They can feel things very deeply and are often artistic and members of close-knit prayer groups or congregations. They are open to charismatic worship, and can feel stultified by too much insistence on tradition or formalism.
ISFPs expect to develop a deep and personal experience of God, and their prayer life is a voluntary and spontaneous response to that experience. They recognize specific answers to prayer, and they are attracted to specific actions, such as the laying on of hands, or the posture of their body in prayer. They lay special emphasis on thanksgiving and rejoicing.

They may need to develop a more consistent approach to prayer, and be more open to the critical reservations of others. Although they are spontaneous and flexible, they may need to allow their iNtuition to suggest different approaches, and they also need to allow other people to travel along different paths recognizing that their own understanding and approach will not be appropriate for everyone. They may need perseverance in prayer, and to operate on a broader canvas and include in their prayers subjects and concerns which are rather less intangible or immediate. Perhaps a piece of theological study might be taken on as a prayerful activity.

Spirituality Introverts like time for space and quiet. They appreciate meditation and contemplation in ways which Extraverts can find quite difficult. For Introverts a Retreat is a source of refreshment, and prayer is an exercise in stillness and self-abandonment. Listening, looking, adoring. . . stillness, quiet and an openness to time . . . these are the essential ingredients of an Introvert’s spirituality. Words are seldom necessary, and prayer can be just as effective when alone; indeed, the presence of other people is often an unwelcome distraction. Someone summed up their prayer before a crucifix as being an experience of: ‘I look at Him, and He looks at me’.

Extraverts, on the other hand, often feel that they are unable to pray, and they feel uneasy when prayer is being discussed. They are much happier when they can become involved in some form of ‘Gospel-action’ and they probably need help in realizing that their thinking and action might well be a form of prayer in themselves. Retreats and Quiet Days can leave them feeling ‘outsiders’, and somehow ‘second class’ when it comes to spirituality. The fact that I took a transistor radio on my ordination retreat was not only because of a desire to keep in touch with the Test Match, but also because my thinking and praying needed the stimulus of the outside world and yet, many years later, I still carry with me a slight sense of guilt that I was not able to free myself from worldly distractions. Or were they distractions? Might they not perhaps have been the raw material of prayer?

There is a passage in the Apocrypha in the Book of Ecclesiasticus, (Chapter 38) which, when talking about people going about their daily tasks says:
But they will maintain the fabric of the world
And in the handiwork of their craft is their prayer
— now that is good news to the Extravert!

In public worship, Extraverts may, in their prayers, invite people to be silent for a moment or two. That is what they mean, and the moment or two is seldom long enough for the Introvert. Conversely, when Introverts invite people to be silent, the period is likely to be experienced by Extraverts as being interminable, and their minds will be occupied with trying to work out when it will come to an end!

Because we need to be able to operate both as Extravert and Introvert, where appropriate, we need to work on recognizing what is happening when we pray. Identifying those situations which are helpful and those which are problematic may mean that we can begin to assess whether the tension emerges from the Extravert Introvert axis. In the growth to maturity, some people find that although they are Extravert, they can become re-charged by focusing upon introvert needs; similarly, some Introverts find that being exposed to extravert activity can, at times, enrich their own inward journey.

Perceivers may well find traditional and set ways go stale on them after a time, and they will be on the look out for new experiences and more flexible patterns. They will not dismiss the traditional, but will want to see it as available to them amidst a whole set of other options. They may well operate within a traditional context, but every now and then make ‘improvements’ which may irritate others who are affected by them; this will be to the total surprise and incomprehension of the Ps, who see nothing strange or unacceptable in their variations and modifications. The sense of being ‘led by the Spirit’ makes complete sense to a P, and so services may last rather longer than normal on occasion; Ps need to come to terms with their need for discipline and orderliness.

Sensing is a perceiving function and therefore it has to do with being open and receptive. Sensing spirituality is based in the present moment, and it has the capacity to pay attention to the here-and-now, to the environment that surrounds us, and is sensitive to external stimuli such as sound and smell, sight and touch. ‘The sacrament of the present moment’ sums up Sensing spirituality.

It is often simple and straightforward, and doesn’t like too many abstractions and formularies. This carries an inherent danger that Ss are prone to over-simplify complex issues, and may, therefore at times have a suspicion about ‘theology’ seeing it as something which obscures that which is, at heart, basically simple, being open and receptive to God.

Sensing spirituality tends to have a clear pattern, and can be very obedient (— the very word ‘obedient’ coming from a Latin word concerned with hearing!). Thus, there may be a clear loyalty to the Bible, or to the church, and this is accepted and doesn’t need to be agonized over or subjected to a multitude of possible alternative theories or viewpoints.

Sensing prayer is simple, open and sincere: ‘In God we live and move and have our being’. Sensers often like the liturgical patterns of prayer, and the Eucharist with all its symbolism, is very important to them; a late evening prayer like Compline, in a quiet chapel with one or two candles may also be especially conducive to Ss.

Posture is important to many of them, and symbols and visual aids such as candles, flowers or pictures can often help Ss in their prayers. Music can help them to relax and reflect, and a time of prayer looking at a candle with a Taizé chant in the background can be very acceptable; incense is appealing as it engages the Ss’ sense of smell in their devotional life — something which an iNtuitive may find much more difficult to understand.

A weekly lunchtime series in a city-centre church encouraged people to become aware of their bodies, to concentrate their minds on their breathing, and to listen to the multitude of sounds around them. Participants were then invited to take their shoes off, and in silence walk very slowly around the church, feeling the stones beneath their feet, listening to the sounds of silence and being aware of the colours and shape and texture of the walls and furnishings. Many of the people who came to this series found it to be of enormous help, and they returned to their work refreshed and invigorated.
Sensers like to know where they are going, and they like clear instructions. There are a high proportion of Ss in our churches, and therefore the symbols we use, the music, and the general sensual ambience is of great importance (that is one reason why people complain when it is cold!). St Mark’s Gospel is said to relate to Ss because of its immediacy and direct style.

Feeling spirituality is personal and subjective, and it yearns for intimacy — both with God and with fellow members of the congregation and other believers. Personal gestures like glances or touch are important to Fs, and for them the offering of a sign of peace provides an ideal opportunity for expressing and receiving love and concern. Feelers can be very vulnerable, and they take upon themselves the blame for disharmony; they can thus identify with the idea and theme of a sinful people who necessitated the death of a loving saviour. They are the sort of people who say ‘Sorry!’ when someone else bumps into them!

Feelers have a deeply personal spirituality, and the story of the journey to Emmaus resonates with them ‘Did not our hearts burn within us?’. Phrases like: ‘The heart has reasons which the mind knows not’ are very apposite. Their understanding of God revolves around images such as shepherd, father, mother, bridegroom, faithful husband or wife, and adjectives such as compassionate, good, loving, forgiving. Feelers know that God’s capacity for forgiveness is infinite.

They want to share their faith in a loving and accepting environment, and the church is seen as a family, and sharing and joy ought to be its obvious characteristics. The I—Thou relationship with God is crucial, and prayer is seen as one of the ways of deepening the intimacy of such a relationship. The story of the Prodigal Son speaks volumes to Fs, and they will tend to focus upon St Luke’s Gospel, with its sensitive approach to women and outsiders, and its concern for healing and wholeness.

A sense of value can be noticed in their approach to prayer, which is often ‘meditation through intercessory prayer’, and shared with others in some form of corporate prayer. There may also be a treasuring of the Eucharist, which emphasizes and symbolizes intimate relationships within the context of the presence of God. Feelers are able to empathize with others, and very often enfold them in their prayers with genuine concern. For many people, this is a very appealing characteristic of the church — ‘I didn’t know so many people cared’ is a familiar comment made by people who have only recently joined a particular congregation.

Feelers need to find meaning and significance in their lives, and they want to be assured that whatever they do makes a difference, and that each person has a unique contribution to make. The belief that God has a loving relationship with each individual person and that s/he fits into some overall, harmonious plan — even though s/he may be sinful, or simple — is basic to their understanding of the spiritual life. Feelers need to be assured of this every day, and so daily prayer and quiet are essential, for without it they fade away or dry up like a thirsty plant in a parched land.

The ESFP and prayer: Dominant S; Auxiliary F; Third Preferred T; Least-preferred N

People of this type tend to be very popular; they are good communicators, good fun and natural leaders. They bring this gregariousness into their spiritual life, and are evident in prayer groups and in leading worship, particularly with young people and in less formal situations. They may be drawn to charismatic worship, or enjoy visual aids, music or a variety of external stimuli. They may well prefer the occasional burst of high- intensity prayer to the ongoing, formalized structure preferred by some other types. Thus special rallies, or all-night vigils or weekend conferences may mean more to them, as they can engage their whole selves in such activities, and worship God with their personalities and their activities, as well as with their mind and heart.
ESFPs expect to receive clear answers to their prayers; they look for miracles and are not disappointed. They tend not to be over-impressed by logic and the minutiae of theological discussion and prefer a practical and straightforward approach to faith. They can find healing services and devotions dealing with suffering and brokenness particularly meaningful.

They need to spend time reflecting upon the richness of Christian tradition and allowing themselves to be open to experiences which are not their own. They may also need to develop a larger time-perspective and learn how to ‘rest in God’ without needing to be active and personally involved in everything.

Suggestions to Extraverts

First of all, appreciate yourself as a person who can get along with others, who can get things done and who likes action and vitality. Appreciate yourself is the most important advice that can be given to anyone. Like all other Extraverts, you also need affirmation from others; there is nothing wrong with this, so don’t be afraid to ask for it if it is not forthcoming!

When dealing with Introvert types try to be careful to respect their needs and not to ‘assault’ them with your out-goingness. Try not to invade their privacy: accept the fact that they are different from you and that they re-charge their batteries in different ways. Don’t expect Introverts to come up with information without you asking for it; you need to draw them out, giving them time to consider your questions — and their replies.

As Extraverts tend to think aloud, recognize that your first words on a subject may not be your final ones; they are what you see them as, first words. Introverts, though, operate in a different way and they may assume that you have given as much thought to your words as they themselves have to theirs, which will probably not be the case.
Extraverts need to remember to listen; they are prone to be inveterate talkers. They are also likely to come over to Introverts as overwhelming, intrusive and demanding; try to hold back a bit and don’t feel that you have to fill every space, and remember, silence can be golden!

Recognise that as an Extravert you often do your best work when thinking aloud, so  use this to your advantage. Try to work alongside people with whom you can check out your ideas — but remember, you may need to learn to listen to them as well, for perhaps they need to check their ideas out with you too.

Remember to work on your least-preferred function, give it a chance to develop, and recognize what your introverted auxiliary has to offer. Allow yourself time to be quiet and reflect, there is also a place for introversion in Extraverts. Be grateful for all the good things that Extraverts can enjoy and ensure that you make the most of them.

Suggestions to Feelers

Appreciate yourself for being a friendly, caring person with a strong sense of personal values and a great desire for harmony and friendship. In a world that tends to place economics and money above people you have an important contribution to make: your special gift of insight into how people feel or might be affected is greatly needed and appreciated.

You need to continue to affirm people, but make sure that your affirmation is appropriate. There is an enormous difference between a friendly look coupled with a word in season and constant gushing. You will need to come to terms with the fact that harmony is not always possible in all situations, that sometimes conflict is inevitable and it can be creative and (good news to you) therapeutic. You will also need to come to terms with the fact that not everyone will like you all the time. Whatever you do, it will not please everyone! This is a hard lesson for Feelers to come to terms with, and it does not help to start blaming yourself and trying to convince yourself that if you had done something else then the situation would not have arisen, and then perhaps all would have been well, and you would have been liked!

You need to realize that when Thinkers make impersonal comments, they are not criticizing you as a person. A critical comment about your work, your point of view or your hat does not mean that you are no longer accepted in your totality as a person, neither does it mean that you are not loved or regarded, and it does not mean that some other part of your work, some other views you have expressed or that your other hats are also being criticized.

Try to stand outside situations rather more often. Identification with others can be a great gift but it can also be a trial not only to others, but also to yourself; admit it! Just because you are a Feeler, it does not mean that you cannot be logical and objective; and remember, that if you are, then Thinkers will appreciate you even more!
You may need to state your wishes rather more clearly. Feelers have a great capacity for burying their own desires, and they are prone to seek the role of sacrificial lamb. They can also be extremely manipulative. Think about taking assertiveness training. When you do state your own wishes, or opinions, try to keep them brief; Feelers have a tendency to repeat themselves as they are so concerned to make sure that they have been understood.

Don’t assume that everyone else is as aware of feelings as you are, but do remember that other people may have different value systems which are just as important to them as yours are to you. Be thankful for your gifts of caring and sensitivity, there will always be a need for people who can befriend, or who want to understand others; peacemakers are in short supply in many situations.

The ENFJ and prayer: Dominant F; Auxiliary N; Third preferred S; Least-preferred T
ENFJs are natural leaders in groups, and people look to them for support and guidance. They have a warmth and an openness to people which also characterize their prayers. They seldom experience anguish in prayer, but rather are able to relax in the knowledge of their acceptance by God. Whilst not given to prolonged periods of silence or contemplation (because as Extraverts, they find that experiences with people in the world are their principal reminders of God), they can nevertheless appreciate the place of silence and solitude rather more than ENTPs and ENTJs.
They are often good at leading worship, having the ability to combine social activism and a concern for the world with a sense of detachment and an awareness of God’s presence and healing power. They are inclined to find traditional prayer rather restricting, but do not necessarily rebel against it. They are willing to accept the many varieties of prayer and religious experience that other people present them with, and have an inclusive and broad approach to spirituality.
As Thinking is their least preferred function, they tend not to agonize over prayer, or analyse it or argue about it — although when they do address some of the real problems raised by prayer, they are often able to explore the issues with honesty, expressing their doubts, but all within the context of their assurance of God’s love and acceptance. Their general rather laid-back approach can have overtones of laziness, and they need to be aware of the fact that there is a place for struggle within prayer! There is also a place for specifics, and ENFJs need to ensure that their prayers do not become too generalized.  Knowing Me knowing You – M. Goldsmith & M. Wharton (SPCK 1993)

Suggestions to Judgers

Appreciate yourself for your organizational and planning skills, your dependability and loyalty and your commitment to finishing a job once you have begun it. These are all gifts upon which the whole of our social fabric depends.

Judgers need to have things ordered and under control; this can be liberating to others, or it can be tyrannical! Be aware of what you are doing to others, and in particular to the fact that you can drive Perceivers crazy. When making decisions try to involve others, and make sure that you have not acted too quickly. Have you explored other possibilities? Are there other conclusions which could be reached? Does it have to be settled right NOW? Try not to jump to conclusions; Judgers can sometimes give the impression that consultation is a farce this is particularly apparent in family situations, when dealing with children, and in some team situations at work.

Recognize that your need for control and order may spring from your own inner insecurities, it may not be so much a strength as a weakness. Try to relax more, and take time off. If you are too busy, then plan for time off and put it in your diary. Try to remember that the world, society and Grubchester Cricket Club will not fall apart if you don’t have everything sorted out. Few things depend solely upon one person, and it is a fact of life and death, that no one is indispensable.
When one of your plans falls through, it is all right to be upset. Looking at it this way gives you the opportunity to start on a new plan. When working with others recognize that they may have their own time scale and plans, so try to allow them to contribute, and allow yourself the luxury of changing your mind.
Reflect on some of the good things which have happened in your life which took you by surprise. Think of people you love but who are ‘impossible’ in terms of meeting deadlines or organizing things, and recognize that there is more to life than orderliness and decisions. Try asking the Perceivers in your family or at work to contribute to the decisions that you have to make, although recognize that this won’t come easily to you but that it could be worth the effort.

Very often Judgers can give the impression that they have no doubts, and that they are certain in all their views; try sometimes to share your doubts or your hesitations, you will take people pleasantly by surprise.

You have real gifts in being able to make decisions and in being the sort of person people can rely upon. It doesn’t always mean that you will be in a leadership position, but very often you will, and if your leadership is allied to imagination and sensitivity then you have a very great deal to offer.

The ENFP and prayer: Dominant N; Auxiliary F; Third Preferred T; Least-preferred S
ENFPs tend to be imaginative, friendly, and enthusiastic, and they bring these qualities to their spiritual life. They are often unconventional and do not always find the traditional patterns and approaches of the church meaningful. They are not overkeen on routine and small details — preferring instead a wide and flexible approach — and they can become impatient with too great an emphasis on routine.
They are unlikely to spend long periods in silence or in solitary prayer, and will find shorter, intense periods of prayer more congenial especially when linked to a particular person or crisis. Their natural warmth and interest in people means that their prayers can be very supportive of others, and they will tend to identify with the subject of their prayer, sharing in the pain or joy of the situation. Their dominant iNtuition means that they grasp possibilities, and being Perceivers they are flexible and open- ended. This, together with their auxiliary Feeling means that they can have a sense of the authenticity of their spiritual journey, even though it may not follow conventional lines.

As they grow older they may need to explore less, and be happier settling into a more patterned form of prayer, and they may wish to become rather more reflective and less active.

Suggestions to Perceivers

Appreciate yourself for your flexibility and adaptability, for your spontaneous approach to life and your capacity to cope with the unexpected. In times of rapid social change such as ours, these are very considerable gifts.

Perceivers must recognize that they tend to drive Judgers round the bend! They cannot cope with your approach to deadlines, your tendency to procrastinate, your apparently cavalier attitude towards serious things and your scepticism of established order and hierarchical structures in fact, with all those things which make it so interesting to be a Perceiver. Instead of shrugging your shoulders and explaining that that is their problem, see if you can meet them at least a little way down the path. Plan extra time so that you can really be on time with some things; give yourself early deadlines and endeavour to meet them (even if you are late, you might make the actual deadline). Learn some time-management techniques, and try to establish some routine in your life. Try to make some decisions quickly, though you will probably need to practise this!

Try to throw something away every day: Perceivers are great hoarders, and if they are also iNtuitives, their rooms, office, home or car might well contain enough material for half a dozen other people! Try to reduce the vast number of options that you have; see if it is possible to evaluate them and draw up a list of priorities. Recognize that the most immediate is not necessarily the most important. Perhaps you need to be more assertive, and could benefit from assertiveness training. Try to say ‘No’ rather more often and make fewer promises.

Perceivers are easily deflected from the task in hand; recognize this and set yourself some simple, manageable objectives. For instance, as a Perceiver, I have had to discipline myself not to go and make a cup of coffee each time I reached the end of writing one of these sections.

Perceivers know that it takes considerable skill to manage a complex life without a plan something that Judgers will never understand. Enjoy the interesting life that being a Perceiver brings with it, enjoy the variety of interests and diversions that come your way, and recognize that, with just a little bit of discipline and routine the Perceiver’s lot is, indeed, a very happy one.

The ENTJ and prayer: Dominant T; Auxiliary N; Third Preferred S; Least-preferred F

ENTJs are highly dependable, organized and logical. They are often found in leadership positions, and they fit easily into bureaucratic structures. This same pattern of orderliness and resistance to change replicates itself in their prayer life. They are likely to value the well-tried-and-tested forms of prayer and spirituality of the church, and those forms of prayer that they learned when they were younger. They are suspicious of, and resistant to, too much emotion in prayer, and they tend to dislike experimental liturgies and changes within the normal way of doing things. They respect tradition.

They are often good at leading public worship, bringing to it dignity, a sense of calmness and an awareness of centuries of Christian tradition. They have an assurance about the faithfulness and dependability of God, and approach their prayers with a sense of duty and an awareness of the majesty and sovereignty of God. They are unlikely to spend a great deal of time in silent or in solitary prayer.
They could benefit from becoming rather less tied to formal patterns and forms of prayer, and allow rather more specific subjects to be mentioned and focused upon. They also need to work at allowing their prayers to be more person-centred, recognizing the friendship of God and the possibilities for healing and restoration of those who are broken. Flexibility may well be a problem, and they need to allow themselves to experience different forms of worship, different kinds of music and to be open to the possibility of different kinds of religious experience.

Extraverts and Introverts relating to each other

An Extravert and an Introvert living together can provide a good balance between talking and listening in a way that suits both preferences: Extraverts love having someone to talk to and Introverts are good listeners. An Extravert was asked what he did to ensure that he had a good date when meeting a girl for the first time. He was surprised by the question and replied ‘I just turn up!’ — whether or not the date turned out equally as well if the girl was also an Extravert was never revealed!
Extraverts often choose Introverts for partners, as they provide them with a balance of peace and quiet, and similarly, an Extravert can provide vitality and a sense of outgoing for an Introvert. Extraverts like initiating and leading, and Introverts prefer to follow. Working well together, this partnership can enjoy both breadth and depth. If the Extravert is male and the Introvert is female, this fits the sexual stereotype of our society and helps ease social relationships; if it is the other way round, society finds it more difficult, and the women are sometimes seen as being ‘pushy’ and the men as being ‘hen pecked’, such observations may or may not be correct.

Extraverts and Introverts often provide good company for each other, opposites very often do attract. The Extravert can help to provide a reality check for the Introvert, whilst the Introvert can provide some depth and objectivity for the Extravert. They can both be a great help to the other in developing their auxiliaries.

Problems can arise though when Extraverts talk too much for their Introvert partners or companions, or when Introverts want more privacy and quiet than the Extraverts are prepared to tolerate; there is always a danger that one (or both) remains unfulfilled. They need to recognize that they each re-charge their batteries in different ways, and Introverts need to realize that Extraverts need more affirmation than they do.

Introverts tend to think things through on their own) and then come up with their views. They may be reluctant to change their minds on something which they have pondered over for a long time. This is difficult for Extraverts to understand, for they tend to express their views and preferences early, before they have given them overmuch thought. The reluctance of Introverts to change their mind can be interpreted by Extraverts as stubbornness, and the extra pressure that they then exert can lead to Introverts becoming even more determined, for they feel that something which is important to them has come under threat.
Extraverts can overwhelm Introverts with too much talk, and can exasperate them by saying the same thing three times over but in different words. The Introvert is inclined to tell them that they heard them the first time! Conversely, because Introverts ponder things internally, they can often think that they have communicated something when they haven’t; they may never have mentioned it at all, only thought that they had, or they may have mentioned it once without registering that it had not been picked up by the Extravert. Extraverts can also feel ‘left out’ of the thinking process: they like to share their thinking, explore ideas and fine-tune or completely alter their conclusions. Introverts come up with the finished goods and can unwittingly hurt the 1xtravert who feels excluded and discounted.

Extraverts can deny Introverts sufficient time to process their thoughts and expect quick, provisional answers, whereas Introverts tend to shy away from hasty or provisional judgements. Also, because Extraverts tend to think aloud, they may well come up with ideas or views which upset Introverts, who then tend to duck away into their shell and don’t hear later views or ideas expressed by the Extraverts which may be modifications of the original ideas. It might be a good idea for Introverts to ask ‘Is that your considered opinion, or are you just thinking aloud?’ — a lot of misunderstanding could then be avoided!

An Introverted American man was driving through central London. It was taking all his concentration, and being an NT as well he was particularly concerned to do it well. It didn’t leave a great deal of spare capacity for him to engage in conversation, but for his Extraverted partner London traffic was no great problem and she had a seemingly limitless amount of time and space. Just when he was negotiating Hyde Park Corner his partner asked ‘Where do you think our relationship is going?’!
Judy Provost, the director of Personal Counselling at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida has drawn attention to the different ways in which types have disagreements’. Extraverts, according to Judy Provost, tend to want to sort the problems out immediately whereas Introverts prefer to withdraw until they understand what is happening. If they confront the problem now, the Introvert will probably lose the argument because they are confused, and may well start it up again later when they have clarified things in their mind. If there is a delay in sorting it out, then the Extravert gets frustrated and will tend to try and corner the Introvert and insist on thrashing it out now. Provost suggests that the best way forward is for the Extravert to give the Introvert some warning for example: ‘I’m having a problem with this, can we talk about it later?’ thus giving the Introvert time, and the Introvert can help in this process by agreeing, and suggesting that they come back to it in an hour or so.

Sensers and iNtuitives relating to each other

At their best iNtuitives can generate great new ideas which Sensers are able to make happen, and they are able to complement each other in a most stimulating and mutually satisfying manner. When things are not working well though, the Senser can be irritated beyond measure by the iNtuitive’s lack of interest in putting things right, mending the lamp or decorating the bedroom, and the Senser can appear to the iNtuitive as being someone who is constantly nagging or pointing out problems and faults!

Sensers are often good homemakers, and can be appreciated for that by iNtuitives who like an attractive home base but often do very little about establishing it. On the other hand, the Senser can appreciate the iNtuitive’s ability not to get bogged down by practical problems and their gift of being able to have bright new ideas. INtuitive partners are also good to be with because they tend not to notice the greying hair, the additional pounds or extra wrinkles although they can also be a source of despair by having little sense of dress, and caring little about such an omission!

Sensers can help the iNtuitives to enjoy the here and now, and iNtuitives can help Sensers to look forward to the future. It has been said that an iNtuitive—Senser relationship provides the balance between the dream and the chequebook!
INtuitive types may not notice noise levels, or smells .. . and this can be difficult for Sensers, whereas Sensers may not always appreciate how important dreams and hopes for the future are to iNtuitives, and they can trample on their sensitivities without realizing it.

Communication can be quite a problem between the two, and if mutual respect breaks down then Sensers can be interpreted as being rather dull and boring and iNtuitives can be written off as intellectual snobs, daydreamers or just plain eccentrics. When it comes to disagreements, there are likely to be problems with the content of the argument rather than with the process. INtuitive types want to explore the patterns of the relationship, what it means and where it is going, and they see things in broad terms. Sensers, however, want to deal with specifics and argue about ‘facts’.

INtuitives think that Sensers are nit-picking and they, in turn, think that iNtuitives read far too much into things. If there is a healthy respect between the two then there can be a complementary array of gifts which is both powerful and practical.
Dorothy, a Senser is married to Martin an iNtuitive. A bedroom curtain rail had collapsed and Martin, who possessed no DIY tools whatsoever, chose not to notice this until Dorothy could stand it no longer and tackled him about getting it put right. On closer inspection they discovered that plaster had come off the wall and that they couldn’t just screw the rail back up. This provided Martin with an interesting problem which he could put his mind to, and he came up with the bright idea of plugging the gaps with polyfilla and inserting screws into it just before it set so that they would be held securely. Satisfied with this solution, he explained it to Dorothy, who got out the step ladder and put up the curtain rail accordingly!

Thinkers and Feelers relating to each other

Thinkers and Feelers can offer each other complementarity: the Thinker bringing some objectivity into the home and the Feeler providing the personal awareness and tenderness. The Thinker can do some of the ‘tough’ things, and the Feeler can be persuasive, conciliatory or enthusiastic, depending upon the situation.

More negatively, the Feeler may not always appreciate the logical and ‘cool’ approach of the Thinker, who may, in turn, experience the Feeler as being altogether too gushy and sentimental. There will be a fine balance to be reached between the one’s desire for harmony and the other’s capacity for criticism. The Feeler may not receive sufficient affirmation from the Thinker, who may well belittle his/her need for it, and there may be a tendency for the Feeler to assume the responsibility for any problems or failures in the relationship and the Thinker will let him/her!

When the relationship works well, Thinkers and Feelers provide a good balance to each other, but when problems arise there is the possibility of the Thinker making a critical comment, which the Feeler then takes personally, feels hurt about and expresses in an emotional way. The Thinker cannot cope with emotional outbursts and therefore withdraws and becomes even more analytical!

When they argue, the Feeler expresses his or her feelings, and wishes the Thinker to do so as well, when s/he then responds with a thought rather than a feeling this is interpreted as a cop-out! If the Thinker begins the argument, an idea is expressed, if this is met with an emotion rather than with another idea then the Thinker dismisses the response as irrelevant. A way through this impasse is for them each to express their point of view, and then try and put themselves in the other’s shoes and say, ‘If I were you, I would want to put it this way . .

Judgers relating to Judgers

These relationships achieve a great deal: things are planned well, organized and, if possible, delegated. Few things are left to chance, and people around them who are not Judgers can feel over-organized, or overwhelmed even. Both people work well in structured situations, and it is likely that they have worked out endless systems to ensure the smooth running of the home. They will rely upon each other a great deal and know that the other is reliable.

Judgers enjoy making decisions, and both will be looking for ‘closure’ in as many situations as possible. There is always the possibility therefore that decisions are made too quickly before all the possible alternatives have been explored or all the information considered. They can also over-simplify complex issues; sometimes this is helpful, but it can be a dangerous route to follow. They can become very rigid in their opinions and lifestyle, and may miss a lot by not allowing themselves to be spontaneous and flexible. Commitment to work may mean that much enjoyment is foregone and a great deal of pleasure missed. As parents, Judgers may be too strict with their children, and develop too many expectations of themselves, their partners and their family; this can be very burdensome.

By planning and structuring their lives Judgers can create time and space to do a great many things, and their lives can be full and interesting. They can, however, get into power struggles over who will make the decisions when this happens they may make a plan to sort out who makes what decisions in which particular areas!

Suggestions to Introverts

Appreciate yourself as a person with real depth, who is interesting to get to know. As you keep your best to yourself, you must work on extraverting your auxiliary so that the outside world has something to observe and latch on to.

It probably comes as a relief to discover that it is quite natural for you to have difficulties in relating quickly and easily to the outer world of people and events, of action and interaction. There is nothing wrong with you! Extraverts, remember, have need for social interaction and so they ‘arrange’ things so that their style of behaviour appears to be the norm.

As an Introvert there is always a danger that you think that you have said things and communicated rather more than you actually have. You may have spent a long time thinking about something and working things out in your head, but unless you actually tell someone, no one will know. It may seem a strange thing to say, but Introverts should endeavour to smile more. They often fail to show their feelings or affection, and whilst at times this can be a considerable strength, life is seldom as serious as many Introverts tend to suggest by their body language.

In relating to Extraverts you may have to explain your need for privacy and time to think. They will not immediately realize this, as Extraverts tend to do their thinking whilst they are talking rather than sorting things out in their mind first. So you may need to tell them that you are thinking as they might easily conclude that they have said something wrong if you are quiet and then they try to fill the gap with more words. Another thing about Extraverts: they tend to need affirming, and it would be good if you could learn to express appreciation to them on a regular basis.

This may be quite difficult: if you could find an Extravert with whom you could talk things through it could be of considerable help to both of you. It would enable you to understand the Extravert environment better, and would give you practice in expressing things in ways which they can understand. It may seem unfair, but the onus is on you if you want people to understand something that is important to you. If you live with an Extravert make sure that you still have some capacity for extraversion left in you when you get home from work. Don’t disappear into your own private world the moment you walk through the door!

Above all, be grateful for the strengths and gifts which come with being an Introvert. You are able to handle solitude, you can have remarkable depth, and you have a great deal to offer to other people.
The INFJ and prayer: Dominant N; Auxiliary F; Third preferred T; Least-preferred S
INFJs are susceptible to religious experiences, perhaps even mystical experiences, and they place a strong reliance upon their inner life and sense of inner direction. They have a tendency to be individualistic in their approach to prayer, and they may like to be reflective and contemplative in their private devotions. They may well have a broad, inclusive approach and will have a natural concern for people and for human situations. They probably have a dislike for too formal or repeated prayers, and will be unmoved by too many words, much preferring to be left on their own, to explore quietly the inner meanings of prayer and its effectiveness in a world of pain and need.
Symbols and poetry might be of particular value to them, and they might find that keeping a spiritual journal allows them to explore the many dimensions of spirituality. Their exploration will be that of a participant rather than that of an observer.
They may need to be earthed more and to focus upon specific situations and specific people, and they may need to pay more attention to posture and to their own involvement as a person. They may need to work on being rather more tolerant, and they will need to learn how to compromise, and conciliate more. They need to be easier on themselves, give themselves permission to be imperfect, and allow themselves to take time off and not feel guilty about it! Perhaps they need to enjoy life a little more, not be quite so serious about themselves and their faith and life in general.

Return to the home page

Advertisements
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: