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Thread: INFJ and ESTJ Relationships

  1. #1
    Administrator Array highlander's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
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    Default INFJ and ESTJ Relationships

    What do you think about relationships between ESTJs and INFJs? The focus of this is really on romantic relationships but it also makes sense to discuss your experience in situations where these two types interact in a significant way – such as friendship, at work, etc.

    When it’s working – What are the joys and positive aspects of these relationships?
    - How compatible do you think these two types are in general?
    - Why are they attracted to each other?
    - How to they compliment each other?
    - How well do they understand each other and why?
    - What are they like together raising children?

    When it’s not working – What are the challenges when two people of this type are in a relationship?
    - What are some of the communication challenges they can have?
    - What are the biggest frustrations between these two types?
    - How can they take each other for granted?
    - What happens with things “go wrong” between these two types?

    Advice for couples – What recommendations do you have?
    - What things should each type do to facilitate better communication?
    - What advice do you have for each of the two types?
    - If you are an ESTJ, what advice do you have for the INFJs?
    - If you are an INFJ, what advice would you have for the ESTJs?

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  2. #2
    darkened dreams Array labyrinthine's Avatar
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    There is an inclination for this to happen, and I've known a few INFJs paired with ESTJs, but I think it would be incredibly rare for it to work. ESTJs are sooo external and forceful, and INFJs are so internal and accommodating. I can see the INFJ admiring the strength and assertiveness of the ESTJ, but I can't imagine an ESTJ understanding an INFJ. Their inner world would be completely alien to them. The chances of having a balance are slim.

    I don't have personal relationships with any ESTJs, but I've had a few students, both children and adult, who are ESTJs, and I have to work much harder to teach them because they need so much structure and absolutism. When given opportunity, I tend to transfer them to the more forceful teachers because I think there would be a better exchange of energy. It is really hard for an ESTJ to respect either the INFJ or the INFP because they don't have much use for dreamers, sensitivity, inward reflection, etc. I've had an ESTJ professor who had just about the least respect for me of any other professor. I typically let the overly forceful, structured types go do their thing, win their status, make their mark, and hope they just avoid or overlook me.
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  3. #3
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    May 2009
    1w2 so/sx


    My Mother is enfj and my dad is ISTJ. I am INFJ and dated someone who was an ESTJ.

    There are elements of this personality that I admire: decisiveness, organization, ability to think in the moment, ability to notice and plan ahead for practical detail, mastery in any area that is important to them, productivity, responsibility, and ability to deal with finances.

    As for the pairing, I think we work well together on projects; the INFJ takes care of big picture and pays particular attention to people elements, while the ESTJ is a driving force and notices practical detail. They generally are good at getting the INFJ to try new things, and care about hospitality and family, which INFJs also may be interested in. The estjs I know also enjoy travel, which is another point of commonality.

    I think the breakdown occurs in communication. INFJs have a need to understand what is happening to those closest to them because they are deeply invested. They are not great at knowing their own feelings in the moment and need processing time. They appear outwardly accommodating initially, but have a need to be understood and valued for those qualities by those close to them. There is often a lag in processing time, so their present interaction may be based on the one previous, and the experience in the past with someone accrue to form their overall impression and interaction with that person. They are sensitive, but find it difficult to say much about misunderstandings right when they happen and are more likely to try to accommodate first. They take opinions into account, but are unlikely to surrender themselves easily to others' solutions, particularly if they don't think the problem is sufficiently understood. To process information, INFJs have the need to express it verbally. Often estjs become impatient or weighed down negatively by this, not realizing that it is more productive than it looks and they are performing an essential service. INFJs are also likely to read negative messages into statements that weren't intended or to communicate with subtext that seems obvious to them, but isn't.

    By contrast, estjs are direct, in the moment and don't enjoy introspection, particularly on issues that are emotionally distressing. They may not know what fuels their reactions, nor want to talk about it if they do. In moments of extreme distress, they are more likely to isolate themselves, rather than find solace in those close to them. They are problem solvers and it is upsetting to be with a partner who either has problems they are not allowed to solve, or who can't address the issue when it happens. They have an ability to compartmentalize that is different from INFJs ( and sometimes is a great strength!), and an avoidance of what is perceived as someone holding them responsible for their negative feelings without offering a solution for fixing the situation. This can mean that conflicts go unresolved and in the absence of better information, the INFJ fills in the blanks they don't understand with incorrect information. Estjs have a need for order in their environment and emotional world, which INFJs are not great at delivering. Estjs also feel much better when they are control. As a result, the vulnerability that having a reciprocal relationship where they need the other person's help and they express that need is rare, leading the INFJ to believe they are seen as a junior partner in the relationship or that they have nothing useful to offer. This is especially hard, because infjs derive much of their energy from being useful to others.

    Because being understood and known is a bigger value to the INFJs, often they will feel like they understand their partner better than their partner understands them. I believe the key is not trying to remake one another and to look outside of the relationship for the elements that are important but are not the partner's strong suit. Most INFJs don't like the idea of doing this.
    Last edited by fidelia; 03-11-2015 at 10:04 PM.

  4. #4
    Member Array Chickennugget's Avatar
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    Hmmm... The reason why this Won't work is because the estj despises theory and the INFJ lives for it. Also, ESTJs don't change their ways often. Infjs are looking for change (I think...?)
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  5. #5
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    My Dad is an ESTJ. He is very black & white. Things are either good or bad. I can't help but argue and try to make him see the shades in between - I do not know if I get through.

    He is a great head of the household, he keeps everything well organised, working well, and preempts his family's needs before they even realise they need it. ("You've got a craft class on Wednesday, do you need to pick up supplies before then?" "Well, now that you mention it, I do.") He is very clever, organised and is never without something to do or achieve or tick off his list.

    I appreciate his organisation and leadership - I am quite happy following his lead, perhaps because I trust that he knows what he is doing, is good at it, and loves us and will always have our best interests at heart. Although sometimes his need to keep everything tidy, or stuff to be sorted out immediately does not gel so well with my own personal timeline (eh I'll do it tomorrow), so there would be some conflict over that.

    While now I am an adult with my own life, so I may be forgetting the angsty teenage years, I do not really recall ever feeling imposed upon or steamrolled by him. Usually it's more like, this is how he does things, he expects me to fit in with that. As a fairly malleable personality, for the most part I do not mind. That being said, judgement on everything and anything is usually quick and forthcoming, which I struggle with a bit - I am, I believe as a result, very hesitant to reveal personal things before they are finalised and certain, for fear of incomplete and imperfect things being judged.

    When he's having fun, he is silly and childlike in his humor, which, while infectious, is quite different to mine, so I rarely let loose and get into it like my ESFJ sister or ENFJ brother frequently do.

    I do not know how it would be as a romantic relationship, I suspect more difficult, due to the unevenness of personality. Unlike my mother who I see as much as a 'friend' as a parent now that I am an adult, Dad is still very much my parent, and I suspect always will be. I also do not feel like he really 'understands the true me' in the way that others do, we don't 'get' each other in any significant way, but we get along just fine regardless. Perhaps with less deep & meaningfuls, but hey, that's life.
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  6. #6
    hyggelig Array EJCC's Avatar
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    Based on my experience with five or so INFJ friends, two INFJ roommates, an INFJ boss, and an INFJ mother (yes that's a lot of INFJs -- used to call them my "INFJ Posse"):

    When it's working:

    INFJs and ESTJs balance each other out pretty amazingly -- big picture vs. details, objective vs. subjective, people skills vs. "I don't pay you to feel good" -- while still maintaining a shared set of core values, such as loyalty, civility, and service to others. ESTJs are great at helping INFJs sort out their internal Ni/Fe mess, whenever they need external input, because ESTJs are good at sorting the "relevant" from the "irrelevant" and are generally good at killing anxiety cycles with a cold hard reality check. INFJs are great at reminding ESTJs of the human component of just about everything they do, whether in the form of proofreading an email to see if it's too harsh, or encouraging them to view themselves and the world through a more forgiving lens.

    When it's not working:

    Communication breakdowns are pretty much inevitable -- though breakups/meltdowns/"doorslams" are not.

    INFJs will expect ESTJs to be able to read their Ni/Fe cues when ESTJs are completely blind to them. ESTJs will expect INFJs to raise their concerns as they arise, and to be honest about them, when INFJ processing time usually does not allow for that -- taking the ESTJ by surprise and immediately putting them on the defensive ("why did you wait until now to tell me this??").

    ESTJs will misinterpret INFJ requests for external input as "pointless complaining", and will problem-solve or play devil's advocate instead of validating the INFJ's feelings. ESTJs can be easily frustrated when their suggestions are not addressed and/or acted upon immediately. When repeatedly placed in this situation, ESTJs may feel like they are being used, as handling emotional situations is extremely draining to them. Meanwhile, INFJs will feel isolated and useless when ESTJs refuse to reciprocate with similar emotional vulnerability (seeing it as "weak" and "unnecessary"). This double standard may also hurt the INFJ's feelings.


    INFJs, recognize that ESTJs cannot read your cues very well, no matter how obvious they may seem. If you need time to think, tell them that you need time to think. If you need validation or someone to bounce ideas off of, tell them that. Recognize that that takes ESTJs a lot of energy, especially when the situation in question involves emotions running high, and be sure to thank them for helping out. (They also like follow-up, if you end up taking the ESTJ's advice. Makes them happy to see concrete results from their efforts.)

    ESTJs, make INFJs feel needed. Open up to them sometimes. They don't feel like it's a burden when you open up to them -- not only do they love it when you do that, but they BY FAR prefer it over the usual hurt-ESTJ modus operandi (hiding somewhere and refusing to communicate until the emotions are processed). Make sure they know that you appreciate them for what they contribute to your friendship/relationship. And recognize that they take as long to process facts as you do to process feelings (i.e. a long freaking time) -- and usually you'll never know exactly how your input contributed to their resulting actions. If you want to convince them of something, drop some evidence on their lap and leave it there. Don't beat that dead horse, as much as you may want to.
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