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Common flashpoints between types and tips for improvement

Common flashpoints

In each of the four preference scales there are specific tensions which can often become flashpoints in relationships between people of opposing preferences. In each scale it is very easy for the tensions to degenerate into name-calling and outright conflict. As you will see, being aware of the difference and understanding that the other is not deliberately setting out to annoy you is often enough to allow respect to flourish and to get both parties in a frame of mind where they can look for win/win solutions.


The tension between extraverts and introverts tends to be related to the type and frequency of communication and issues to do with privacy and personal space:

Tips for extraverts in dealing with introverts: Remember that introverts find too much contact with others draining and need time to reflect to feel balanced and healthy. This need is not a rejection of you nor a judgment on your relationship. Minimise interruptions and respect their privacy. Do not talk about the I’s personal issues to others. Learn to live with silence and not see it as something to be filled.

Tips for introverts in dealing with extraverts:

Remember that extraverts often have a need to talk things through so that they can work out their views.
You may not think that it is worthwhile but sometimes being prepared to listen, even if you are not contributing very much can be helpful for Es. Also remember that Es often don’t know what you need in terms of private time and space and that you may have to make your needs clear to them.

The tension between sensing types and intuitives tends to focus on the type of information both need and their general approach to practicalities.


Tips for sensing types in dealing with intuitives:

When N’s disregard your need for facts and details it can often make you feel insecure and stressed. The N will often be unaware of this as they don’t share this need and you may need to spell it out for them. Realising that this is genuinely an area of weakness for this otherwise competent N, can be helpful as can doing what you can to help them get a better grip on handling sensing information. Equally you must be prepared to accept their need to generate possibilites and ideas without the continual constraint of looking at practicalities.

Tips for intuitives in dealing with sensing types:

When S’s press for information which is precise, factual or detailed you often feel stressed, irritated and hemmed in. The S will be unaware of this as they find it easy to pay attention to this kind of information and you may therefore have to spell out  your difficulties and frustrations. You may also need to state your need to spend some time in speech or in writing generating possibilities, theories or ideas without the continual constraint of looking at practicalities.

The tensions in relationships between thinkers and feelers often boil down to issues to do with criticism and praise and differing views on conflict.

Tips for thinkers in dealing with feelers:
It is important for thinkers to realise that feelers often need more positive strokes from other people than Ts because they do not have a preference for an objective method of evaluation. In other words, they may need to know other people think they are doing well. All that is often needed is to express gratitude, appreciation, admiration or whatever. Sometimes it is just a question of giving the F more attention. Feelers can feel very hurt by conflict or criticism which is overly harsh. Choose your words carefully and make sure you express your positive feelings as well as focussing on what’s negative.

Tips for feelers in dealing with thinkers:

It is important for feelers to realise that Ts can be very independent-minded and believe that they can evaluate their performance. If you are the type of person who believes that everyone thrives on praise be careful. Thinkers may feel patronised by this. It can also be helpful for you to realise that thinkers usually believe that “criticism leads to improvement” and that they often think their critical comments are helpful rather than destructive. Trying not to take things too personally, can be useful when you are in a relationship with a thinker.


The tension here is usually over the Js’ need for order and control versus the Ps’ desire to be flexible and keep their options open.

Tips for judgers in dealing with perceivers:
It is really important to remember that what  irritates you about this person is the downside of what you probably like. In other words, the flexible, open, easy-going nature of this person inevitably means they are not as tidy, organised or in control as you are. Don’t tell them it is “just as easy to put things away as you go along” or whatever and do try to help them where you can with organisation. It is important to remember, however, that they are never likely to accept your standards or have your need for organisation and that you may have to compromise along the way and give up on making them more like you. If you need something done give them a deadline. 

Tips for perceivers in dealing with judgers:

It can be very easy for Ps to be dismissive and even rude about Js’ need for order and control. It is important to accept that Js finds it difficult to function in the way that you do. Just as you find it difficult to keep your focus on organisation it is difficult for them to let go of the need for control. Is there anything they can do to help you with some of the more important tasks you are neglecting? One of the things that they should know is that Ps often only complete tasks when they have a deadline.


© Carol Craig

MBTI, Myers-Briggs, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries; OPP Ltd. has exclusive rights to these trademarks in the U.K.

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