When an INFJ meets an ESTP, some special chemistry must be at work for them to enjoy time together. These Myers-Briggs types are exact opposites.
The INFJ (I) is introverted—a private person. The ESTP (E) is sociable and outgoing. INFJs rely more on intuition (N) than concrete facts to reach conclusions. ESTPs use their sensing (S) function to get information from the immediate environment. INFJs take action based on their feeling (F) function, evaluating the impact of their decisions on others. ESTPs pride themselves on their ability to reach decisions based on logic (T). Finally, INFJs like to bring closure to situations, a judging (J) function. ESTPs like to keep decisions open-ended. They’re happy-go-lucky about appointment times and deadlines—unlike INFJs, who arrive places on time and meet their deadlines.
If it’s true that opposites attract, that surely must be the case for INFJs and ESTPs.
Introverted (I) INFJs approach friendship in a quiet, thoughtful way. They are comfortable alone or with one or two close friends. ESTPs can be found wherever the action is.
While both types have a sense of humor, INFJs lean toward subtle, dry wit whereas ESTPs paint their humor in broad strokes. Some INFJs find the bluff approach of ESTPs a bit much. ESTPs often find INFJs a little boring. Both types like to laugh, but they find their humor in different places.
The intuitive (N) INFJ observes what’s going on—requiring a limited amount of concrete information to guess where events are headed and determine what decisions to make. INFJs rely on hunches. And they’re usually on target. They’re more interested in the meaning of events than in the events themselves. Sensing (S) ESTPs wonder how their INFJ friends can jump to conclusions based on so little evidence. It seems crazy to them. The fact that the INFJ is often right is an unexplainable mystery.
INFJs are big on romance and physical intimacy. Their introversion, intuition and feeling traits set them up for it. For ESTPs, love has less to do with intimacy than it does with finding a fun partner with whom to share life’s adventures.
While the INFJ is cautious in the first stages of a relationship due to fear of rejection, the ESTP is the opposite. Winning an exciting partner is a challenge—in fact, it’s one of the main objects of romance. Because ESTPs would rather make romantic moves on the ski slopes than in the bedroom, the INFJ can get disappointed in the relationship. ESTPs are generally not creative or passionate lovers.
Unlike most INFJs, ESTPs are risk takers, whether the risks are physical, financial or intellectual. They’re willing to play for high stakes in the hope of high rewards. They especially enjoy looking for loopholes or unusual pay-offs relative to the time or money invested.
To the INFJ, this is foolhardy. The pipe dreams of the ESTP seem risky to the INFJ and frequently the product of poor judgment. In a partnership, this can cause trouble over time. ESTPs tend to lay themselves open to con schemes. INFJs are usually too intuitive to fall for them. The question is, can an INFJ get an ESTP partner to listen?
When a partner ends a relationship, it’s a bitter pill for the INFJ to swallow. In contrast, an abandoned ESTP will be unhappy for a while but soon decide that life is too short for grief and sadness. ESTPs know how to cut their losses and face new challenges.
INFJs are enjoyable to live with, offering the family intimacy as well as intellectual stimulation. ESTPs are fun to live with, too, but for different reasons. Their spontaneity keeps things lively and their practical orientation to life makes sure that things get done.
While INFJs have no trouble taking action when it’s appropriate, they do think before jumping in. ESTPs are more likely to fly by the seat of their pants. If the family dog escapes from the yard and runs off, the ESTP is in the car immediately, patrolling the neighborhood and calling the dog’s name. “Bruno! Bruno! Where are you?” The INFJ, thinking before acting, recalls that Bruno has a doggie friend one block away. Acting on a hunch, he or she calls the neighbor. Sure enough, Bruno is scratching at the chain link fence where his friend stands waiting, tail wagging.
ESTPs know how to anticipate the needs of partners and children when it suits them. Occasionally, though, they’re so direct that feelings are hurt when they overlook ordinary courtesies. INFJs may have to overcome their conflict-avoidant style to point this out to the ESTP for the good of everyone involved.
As parents, INFJs and ESTPs work in harmony. Both have realistic expectations of their children. They don’t need to see straight A’s when report cards come home as long as the children are applying themselves and working toward goals that are productive and make them happy.
INFJs aren’t the tidiest people in the world, but they’re better than ESTPs, who tend to live in cluttered home environments. That’s because ESTPs have so much going on at once—much of it requiring supplies and equipment. However, they may keep certain areas of the house organized enough that they can find the right thing when it’s needed. The parts of their home that are orderly usually relate to their hobbies or special interests.
ESTPs often try to talk family members into risk-taking sports such as hang-gliding, white-water rafting, or downhill skiing. They tire of safe domestic routines. Attacking the unpredictable gives them a rush. INFJs aren’t as adventurous and may balk at the suggestion of sports that threaten life and limb.
Secrets of Success
An important bond for the INFJ/ESTP couple is the love they share for children, close relatives, friends, and even pets. They may have different perspectives on the world, but at least they share the rose-colored glasses of affection.
In the intimacy of their partnership, they should realize that a little give and take is in order. INFJs do well to expand their social activities with ESTPs, spending time as a couple with friends and relatives. ESTPs need to pay attention to the emotional needs of the INFJs, at least some of the time.
* * *