Love

Relationships: INFJs and SJs

This is the first of a 4-part series surrounding the relationships between INFJs and each of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types.

INFJs tend to work well with SJ partners, but the relationships definitely come with challenges if both partners aren’t able to compromise and make an effort to understand each other. These types tend to want similar things in relationships and share many of the same values. However, they are different enough to balance each other out and learn and grow from one another.

According to Just Your Type*, NFs with SJ partners are reportedly the least satisfied with their relationship out of all the temperament pairings (SJ with SJ partners reported the highest satisfaction). This is likely because SJs value tradition and commitment and NFs value passion and growth, and can feel stuck in a rut if their partner isn’t willing to consistently work towards bettering themselves and the relationship. Since their thought processes and decision-making factors are so different, the biggest issue these couples have is communication, as both have a hard time understanding their partners perspective.

INFJs with ESTJs

INFJs and ESTJs are initially attracted to each other because of their differences, but the relationship can turn unhealthy fast if the sensitive INFJ continuously gives in to the more assertive and decisive ESTJ for the sake of avoiding conflict. ESTJs are realistic and logical, so it’s difficult for them to understand the emotional depth of an INFJ. INFJs can view ESTJs as too critical and demanding. It’s important that an ESTJ in a relationship with an INFJ takes the time to listen and understand their partners’ feelings and not be overly critical about their ideas and goals, which may not always be “realistic” to the ESTJ. It’s equally important that an INFJ in a relationship with an ESTJ takes the time to listen to their partner’s opinions and take them into consideration when making decisions and to show love and appreciation through actions, like celebrating a work promotion by cooking their favorite meal.

INFJs with ISTJs

Since both INFJs and ISTJs are introverts, these types enjoy the comfort of having someone who understands their need for alone time. INFJs appreciate ISTJs for the practical skills they possess that NF types struggle with, as well as their loyalty and responsibility. ISTJs admire INFJs for their genuine compassion and warm nature. The frustrations between these types stem from different interests and communication styles. INFJs like ideas and constantly seek new ways of doing things, whereas ISTJs prefer routine. Change is not something that ISTJs take lightly, so INFJs need to be sure to give their ISTJ partners plenty of time to consider a new idea. ISTJs, on the other hand, should be sure to remain supportive of their partners’ ideas and visions, as well as patient and understanding of emotions and feelings.

INFJs with ESFJs

INFJs and ESFJs share the same first extroverted function — Extroverted Feeling (Fe). Because of this, both types are warm, empathetic, and emotional. INFJs and ESFJs in relationships often have a great emotional bond and truly want to work to better their relationship and make their partner feel cared for and appreciated. However, like other SJs, ESFJs are realists and have a hard time understanding the INFJs never-ending search for meaning and fulfillment in life. ESFJs tend to be super social and enjoy hosting and attending parties and events, which can be overwhelming for an INFJ. ESFJs can help INFJs be more down to earth and appreciate the simple pleasures of life, whereas INFJs can help ESFJs be more open to exploring new ideas and possibilities. Conflict can arise since both types are emotional, values-driven, and opinionated, so each type should be sure to calmly listen to their partners perspective without ridicule or judgment.

INFJs with ISFJs

Out of all the SJ types, INFJs probably have the most in common with ISFJs (which is why they sometimes even mistype as ISFJ). Both types have Extroverted Feeling (Fe) and Introverted Thinking (Ti) as their auxiliary and tertiary functions, which enables them to understand each other in many ways and communicate effectively. Problems can arise due to the major difference between their dominant functions. INFJs are future-oriented and see many possibilities, while ISFJs live in the moment and are content with consistency and routine. ISFJs can feel like the daily efforts they make to be a good partner go unappreciated, while INFJs can feel like their ISFJ partner doesn’t understand or support their goals and dreams. Since both types dislike conflict, they can often go too long without talking about important issues. For success in a relationship, ISFJs and INFJs need to remember that even though they are often on the same page, they don’t always understand each other, and need to vocalize concerns and problems as they arise. ISFJs can show appreciation for the INFJs future-oriented planning and ideas, and INFJs can show appreciation for the tangible things the ISFJ does to take care of their partner and family.

Are you in a relationship with an SJ? What are some of the benefits and struggles of your relationship? Do you have any other advice for these couples?

*For more information about type compatibility check out Just Your Type by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger. It was my main resource when writing this series and very helpful and informative!

Megan is an introvert and INFJ personality type who enjoys reading, researching, and writing about personality psychology and human behavior. As the founder of this blog, Megan wants to help other INFJs better understand their personality to improve their personal and professional lives.

7 Comments

  1. I am a female INFJ and my fiance (which I marry in two weeks 🙂 ) are a ISFJ. We work really well together and tend to go effortless through challenges other couples seems to battle they way through. We are both good listeners and listen to each others needs, experiences and dreams. Since we are very in touch with each others emotions we do however have the tendency to blame ourselves if the other one is unhappy, even when we know the unhappiness is a result of circumstances. I am aware of this trait it both of us and I know blaming yourself can causes further stress in the relationship. But I also know that blaming ourselves is due to our mutual sensitivity and our desire to act flawlessly in our relationships with loved ones.

    What is also interesting is that I can see our differences (the N and the S) in our daily efforts to uplift and support each other. His efforts will take a more practical approach like cooking dinner, doing dishes, preparing me a bubble bath or buying me flowers. My efforts will be more emotional oriented like heart to heart talks in which I try to comfort him, and showering him in hugs and kisses and messages of love and support throughout the day. It is not like our notions of support is always this way around, it just that I noticed that this is the way in which it comes the most natural to us.

    What I appreciated the most of my ISFJ, is the fact that he shares my desire for personal growth. I know that according to theorists SJ’s are not primarily focused on personal growth, but I must say that he is different in that aspect. Since I know many other STJ’s (including my brother and dad) which are very set in their ways and not so preoccupied with personal growth, I came to the conclusion that this is due to the F in the ISFJ. I also think his background played quite a big role in his desire for personal growth and bettering himself constantly. I previously dated a fellow INFJ, a INTJ and a ISTP and the latter was disastrous – primary due to the ISTP’s lack of sensitivity and lack of interest in personal growth. Today I am very glad I found someone which understands me, which differs from me enough to challenge me, but who also shares my livelong quest of finding meaning and growing while doing so.

    1. Sophia, that’s great! Thanks for sharing your experiences! It’s so wonderful to find people who understand us and want to grow with us.

  2. Thanks for this really helpful article. I am married to an ESFJ.

    We both share a concern for others and care for each other. My wife is much more a practical person. Her love gifts are more things like making you a packed lunch (and sneaking a chocolate bar into it) whereas I am much more about deep connection with people (which is really hard, as I’m still an introvert!). It’s ironic, because my wife is an extravert but who doesn’t really do the deep and meaningful, yet has much more access to people seeking it, whereas I yearn for it but can feel lonely and isolated.

    I’ve learned that to help her feel loved she needs practical things done and wants asked about things in her day like what she had for her lunch! In the early days of our relationship (before I knew about MBTI) I tried hard to change her into someone more like me. I now regret this and try to encourage her to be true to herself and be more sociable than I’d naturally want. She is great at giving me regular introvert time.

    Our danger is that both being J types, we can get stuck in a rut. She is more comfortable with routine than me, as my iNtuition seeks some variety, but we’re not good at unplanned spontaneity!

  3. So I am another INFJ who will marry an ISTJ exactly one year from today, 12/12/2015. We have some similarities to the narrative Sophia shared about her partner (ISFJ) she is about to marry. We both have to be “willing to vocalize concerns as they arise,” and we both have to take the time to understand where each other is coming from. We actually are a very good fit. We have compatible values and also have a similar life energy. It is so wonderful to be able to count on each other to do what we say we are going to do, without having to always provide a motivational energy to the other partner to move forward with daily tasks, and accomplish activities that are needed or desired. My finance’ is actually quite willing to make changes and do things just for the sake of variety (I love this trait). We both enjoy socializing and going out for adventure, and we both have a drive to take care of personal business and maintain our households (separate until after our wedding next year). We also seem to be able to negotiate mutual decisions and ways of processing issues without much disagreement or struggle between ourselves. The only time when I am aware of a lack (on my end) is when I could really use some emotional support to process feelings related to something…not always available. Thankfully, I am mature enough at my age to have other ways of meeting this need…and if I ask for support, he provides it the best way he knows how.

  4. This is really fascinating! I’m interested to see the rest of the series. Thanks for posting.

    1. Thanks Kristen! I hope to have the rest of the series completed by the end of February.

  5. This is really interesting. I’ve been in a relationship with an ISTJ and we’ve had a really interesting time sorting through some of our differences. The way we process information is so different as I make inferences and use my intuition and she takes things in more at face value. This also shows up in the F/T difference. I need more time to process my feelings before making decisions and she’s much more straightforward and direct. I have to admit that it’s a unique challenge to work through but there’s just so much that we share in terms of values, life goals, etc that I think we’re both willing to really push through the differences, to be stretched as individuals, and to learn how to meet each other’s needs.

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