The balance between P and J

Todd and I have regular talks about our relationship and the current state of things. It is like our way of cleaning house, it’s an upkeep of our relationship. I mean what happens when you don’t keep up with your cleaning? Eventually it catches up with you and things get out of hand, you have a real mess on your hands. This is one of the reasons our relationship works and we rarely argue.

One of the talks we have every so often revolves around his “J” and my “P” and keeping the balance between the two.

Some background,

I am pretty vocal about being an INFP according to the MBTI. What this means,

  • Introversion (I): How do you relate to the world and focus your energy?
  • Intuition (N): How do you perceive information?
  • Feeling (F): How do you make decisions?
  • Perceiving (P): How to you orient yourself to the outside world?

Some of the main characteristics of the INFP personality include:

  • Loyal and devoted
  • Sensitive to feelings
  • Warm, caring and interested in other people
  • Strong written communication skills
  • Prefers to work alone
  • Values close relationships
  • Focuses on the “big picture” rather than the details

Although I have always fallen close to the middle between introversion and extraversion I do identify as an introvert. I get my energy from quiet alone time and although I enjoy social activity and interacting with the public, it can drain me. I also identify as an HSP which plays a role in my energy levels and how it is easy for me to sometimes feel overwhelmed.

Todd is an ISTJ. I knew this even before he decided to take the test one day. What this says about him,

  • Introversion (I): How you direct your energy and relate to the world around you. ISTJs prefer spending time along or with small groups of close friends.
  • Sensing (S): How you take in information from the environment. ISTJs prefer to focus on the details rather than thinking about abstract information.
  • Thinking (T): How you make decisions. ISTJs make decisions based on logic and objective data rather than personal feelings.
  • Judging (J): How you orient yourself to the outside world. ISTJs are planners; they like to carefully plan things out well in advance.

Some of the main characteristics of the ISTJ personality include:

  • Focused on details and facts
  • Realistic
  • Interested in the present more than the future
  • Observant, but slightly subjective
  • Interested in the internal world
  • Logical and practical
  • Orderly and organized

Although our energy levels come from the same place the way we view the world, decision making and aspects of conducting daily life differ for the two of us. It has been helpful that we are both not only self-aware but that we also understand the other person’s point of view well so these differences have never been an issue. We balance each other well and have even helped the other to lean more towards the middle in certain aspects of our lives rather than being polarized.

Case in point, is his “J” and my “P” as I mentioned earlier. I am a pretty solid P which translates to being a bit haphazard, poor attention to detail (being a bit oblivious/clumsy), and an over all some what care free attitude about things. Todd on the other hand is organized, structured, quite meticulous and has an acute awareness of his surroundings.

I have been known to leave a bottle of nail polish (sealed of course) out on a table top for days after painting my nails. I don’t even notice it. It is as if the bottle has become one with the table, it no longer exists to me. It might be a week before I notice again and remember to put it away. This is the type of thing that would make Todd tick because in contrast he is highly aware of the fact that the bottle has been sitting there for days untouched and it does not belong there. We have made huge strides in this area since we first started dating, moving in together helped a lot. I have become more organized, which I needed and now appreciate so much, and Todd has learned to let go a bit. It has definitely benefited both of us to be with someones from the opposite personality type.

On the other hand, for couples who are not in tune with their differences and able to talk about them objectively and constructively being from two different personality types like this may not work at all. It’s really about knowing who you are, being true to that but allowing yourself growth opportunities. I like being an INFP, I would not change any part of it but I am also grateful that I am able to find balance and am able to appreciate others different qualities for what they are as well.


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