A reader of this blog recently emailed us with questions about what it was like living with a person with a strong ENTJ personality type. Seems the partner of the reader was so career-committed that the reader was faced with extended periods of separation in the future. The ENTJ member of the partnership was, at least in our interpretation, putting career ahead of the partnership.
As we have mentioned in prior of posts, we are an ENTJ-INFP couple. For what it is worth, the two of us have both taken various forms of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment over the years and have always gotten the same results. Is Still Here always tests as an ENTJ. Still Here Too always tests as an INFP. Also, for what it is worth, we are a heterosexual couple. Is Still Here is male and Still Here Too is female.
Let’s start with Is Still Here. Why start with him? Well, after discussing his personality type, it should be obvious. As we have said, he always scores as an ENTJ. However, he shows a fairly strong I tendency along with the E part. What is complicated about this is that E and I are Extroversion (E) and Introversion (I). If you can get Is Still Here to really open up, he will admit to you that he can really feel like two people; quickly vacillating between feeling very open to people and the world to feeling very internal and introspective. There are times when people are noticeably shocked by the sudden change from seeming boisterous and engaged to seeming almost sullen and withdrawn. It is often mistaken for a mood swing but is really just a change in thought pattern to very deep internal reflection.
The Myers & Briggs Foundation Website offers the following descriptions:
ENTJ: Frank, decisive, assume leadership readily. Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.
INTJ: Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance - for themselves and others.
Almost a bit bipolar isn’t he. Well not really. But this is probably not a bad description of his real personality. Most of the time, he is a true ENTJ. But sometimes, he is a more introspective INTJ. The change can be sudden.
For what it is worth, ENTJs are often referred to as “The Executives” and INTJs are often referred to as “The Scientists”. Wierdly accurate.
And what about Still Here Too. She test as an INFP. Is Still Here, who has a habit of analyzing things and generally treats every subject as an academic test (he cannot help himself) believes she must also have some significant ISFP traits.
The Myers & Briggs Foundation Website offers the following descriptions:
INFP: Idealistic, loyal to their values and to people who are important to them. Want an external life that is congruent with their values. Curious, quick to see possibilities, can be catalysts for implementing ideas. Seek to understand people and to help them fulfill their potential. Adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened.
ISFP: Quiet, friendly, sensitive, and kind. Enjoy the present moment, what’s going on around them. Like to have their own space and to work within their own time frame. Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them. Dislike disagreements and conflicts, do not force their opinions or values on others.
Still Here Too feels Is Still Here is correct that she has some traits of ISFP because this is how she feels, especially “Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them”.
For what it is worth, INFPs are often referred to as “The Idealists” and ISFPs are often referred to as “The Artists”.
It may be a little dangerous to assume that how two people will interact with each other can be totally determined by their MBTI types, but there are some people who do just that. Our personal experience suggests there is very little reality in the approach. Honestly, if we had allowed our MBTI types to influence whether we committed to spend our lives together, we would not have done so. Before we were married, we were counseled by the priest who performed the ceremony. As part of this counseling, he had us take an MBTI type evaluation. He actually was somewhat concerned about the possible ENTJ-INFP personality mismatch.
When we first met, there was a near instant connection. We were both strongly drawn to each other physically. Very strongly drawn to each other. This strong physical attraction has not weakened over the years. It is more than just a strong sexual attraction. It is a physical rightness that we feel when close to each other. And there is a very, very strong sexual attraction that also remains undiminished.
We were both drawn to each other’s extreme intelligence. Beyond any elitist leanings we deserve to have, we very quickly learned just how much we were interested in the same things in life; our strong interest in the same forms of art, our love of nature, our love of literature, our taste in fantasy science fiction, our love of TV series that the asshole networks always cancel, how we would rather spend our free time just doing things together rather than running off with our separate friends.
This is not to say that we have not had to adapt to each other’s personalities.
Many times, Is Still Here will take the lead in making a simple decision. That is what he does. Still Here Too is usually very willing to let him do so. But there are times when Is Still Here genuinely wants to know what Still Here Too desires. The following conversation (argument?) has probably happened at least once a week over the last forty years.
Is Still Here, “Would you like to go to XYZ?”
Still Here Too, “If you would.“
Is Still Here, “I just asked if you wanted to?“
Still Here Too, “It is OK if you want to.“
Is Still Here, “I didn’t ask about me, I wanted to know if you would like to go?“
Still Here Too, “It is fine with me, if you want to go.“
Is Still Here, “It doesn’t sound like you want to go?“
Still Here Too, “No, it is fine.“
… several minutes later …
Is Still Here, “Why won’t you just tell me if you want to go or not?“
Still Here Too, “I don’t want you not to go just because of me.“
Is Still Here, “I only suggested it because I thought you might want to go.“
Still Here Too, “Well, I am a little tired. Why don’t we just go home.”
You see, sometimes we still don’t read each other right. Is Still Here makes a suggestion, Still Here Too wants to go along because she wants to please Is Still Here, Is Still Here is looking for a direct answer that is not there. You would think he would have learned how to read the response after so many years. We get through the misunderstanding because we really do love each other enough to know that it is just the way we are. Afterwards it seems a little silly. And it probably will keep happening.
Sometimes Is Still Here will bend Still Here Too to his will because feelings are most important to her and she wants him to be happy because that is what makes her happy. Perhaps it is a win-win outcome, but we must be careful. Is Still Here has tried to learn to be mindful that this happens. When he does not, it is easy for internal tension to build up in Still Here Too. No matter how much happiness she receives from making Is Still Here happy, there are still desires and wishes of her own that must be fulfilled. More often than not he is successful in remembering to take care of Still Here Too’s own wants. But that are times he misses. Luckily there are many fewer times than those he does not miss.
But in the end, for all the silly little misunderstandings, there is so much understanding, so much agreement, so much in common that Is Still Here and Still Here Too cannot imagine being apart. As different as they may be, as much as people may have been surprised when they first got together, this is a coupling that is and will last. Perhaps ENTJ-INFP couplings are not supposed to be easy. This one would be hard to break.
Is Still Here & Still Here Too