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INFP and ESTJ Compatibility: Relationships, Friendships, and Partnerships

How compatible are INFP and ESTJ patterns of communicating, thinking, and working?

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In this article, you’ll find a comparison of INFPs and ESTJs across five important personality domains: Interpersonal/Communication Style, Emotional Style, Intellectual Style, and Organizational Style.

One important note: the following comparisons cannot be made simply by comparing the cognitive functions (letters) of each personality type.

For this analysis, TraitLab gathered data about personality traits from thousands of participants who identified themselves as a particular type in the 16 Personality or Myers-Briggs framework.

The comparisons here show the average similarities and differences between INFPs and ESTJs. However, remember that all personality types are oversimplifications. For an assessment of your unique position in these areas, you’ll need a personalized assessment that doesn’t rely on personality types.

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INFP and ESTJ Interpersonal and Communication Styles

Your particular style of communicating and interacting with others can be described fairly well by two dimensions: assertiveness and warmth.

Assertiveness describes your tendency to assert yourself, lead, and influence others in social situations, while warmth describes your tendencies to empathize and put others’ needs ahead of your own.

People with the same personality type often share some similarities in assertiveness and warmth. In the graph below, you can see where most INFPs and most ESTJs fall along both of these dimensions.

First, take a look at where people in each type, on average, fall in this interpersonal space.

INFP and ESTJ comparison across interpersonal dimensions
A comparison of INFPs and ESTJs along interpersonal dimensions. The blue dot shows the average position of INFPs, and the blue circle shows where roughly 50% of INFPs fall in interpersonal space. The orange dot and circle show similar positions for ESTJs.

INFPs often respect others, conform to expectations, and ask for guidance. At their best, they are loyal and reliable, and encourage others to guide and help. INFPs may be overly clingy, gullible, and have difficulty expressing anger, even when appropriate. At their worst, they will try to please others too much, put others’ needs ahead of their own, and allow others to take advantage of them.

ESTJs are assertive, competitive, and like a good challenge. At their best, they are bold and confident leaders who are willing to take unpopular action. ESTJs may be overly proud, boisterous, and willing to manipulate others to achieve their goals. At their worst, they can be narcissistic, overly focused on their own needs, and lack empathy for others.

One notable difference between many INFPs and most ESTJs is in your interpersonal warmth. Like many INFPs, you are more likely on the warmer, friendlier, more empathetic side of the spectrum. Compared to you and other INFPs, ESTJs’ interpersonal style can sometimes feel distant, cold, and uninterested in your wants and needs.

Another important difference between you and most ESTJs is in your relative assertiveness or passivity in social situations. Like many INFPs, you are often on the more passive, reserved side of the spectrum. In some cases, this is a perfect compliment to ESTJs’ more dominant, assertive style, and the two of you can make an effective team. However, you may find that you need to put extra effort into making your opinions heard when working with ESTJs.

INFP and ESTJ Emotional Styles

Another characteristic of your personality is your emotional style — your tendencies towards different kinds of moods. There are two dimensions that influence emotional style: arousal and valence.

Arousal describes your relative energy level across different situations. Those with high baseline levels of arousal tend to be generally more alert, active, and engaged, while those with a lower baseline are more reserved, subdued, and inhibited.

Valence describes whether these moods tend to be positive (pleasant) or negative (unpleasant). People with a more positively valenced style are more likely to experience emotions like joy, enthusiasm, satisfaction, and serenity. People with a more negatively valenced style are more likely to experience sadness, frustration, dissatisfaction, and anxiety.

The graph below shows where each type, on average, usually sits in this emotional space.

INFP and ESTJ comparison across emotional (affective) dimensions
A comparison of INFPs and ESTJs along emotional (or affective) dimensions. The blue dot shows the average position of INFPs, and the blue circle shows where roughly 50% of INFPs fall in interpersonal space. The orange dot and circle show similar positions for ESTJs.

INFPs have a tendency to be quiet and inhibited. Compared to most people, they can easily drift into gloom and melancholy. They see the glass as half-empty and have a more skeptical outlook and a hesitant approach to life. For better or worse, INFPs tend to notice the negatives in most situations. In stressful times, they are more likely to withdraw quietly and retreat inward, rather than share their frustration with others.

ESTJs tend to be energetic and enthusiastic across most situations. They take on new challenges with excitement, confidence, and a sense of adventure. ESTJs are usually more optimistic than most people, and they generally feel like they can handle what life throws at them.

As with most INFPs, you tend to be more reserved, inhibited, and quiet than most ESTJs. Between the two of you, you are more likely to need more personal space, solitude, and time to decompress. While you can tolerate long periods of calm and quiet, your ESTJ counterparts often craves more engagement and excitement. In the best cases, an ESTJ can pull you out of your comfort zone and get you out into the world, while your quiet nature helps to balance out their intensity.

Another difference between INFPs and ESTJs in their typical emotional valence, or their tendencies towards positive and negative emotions. You and most INFPs tend to fall on the more negative side. Compared to most ESTJs, you and most INFPs typically experience more negative emotions like sadness, worry, frustration, and impatience. ESTJs have the opposite pattern, and they tend to gravitate toward positive emotions like enthusiasm, joy, and contentment.

These emotional differences can be subtle, but they may color how INFPs and ESTJs process new information. You and most INFPs are quicker to see the negatives and consider what could go wrong, while ESTJs might receive the same news with excitement and optimism.

INFP and ESTJ Intellectual Styles

Your intellectual style describes how you receive, process, and pursue different kinds of information. Differences in intellectual style are captured well by two dimensions: ideas and aesthetics.

Ideas describes your appetite for new information and your interest in complex, challenging material. People high on the ideas dimension have an appreciation for complexity and technical details. People lower on ideas are less interested in learning for learning’s sake, and they prefer to simplify complex topics down to the essential details.

Aesthetics captures your relative interest and sensitivity to aesthetic information and its emotional impact. People higher on the aesthetics dimension usually have strong artistic interests and a deep appreciation for beauty in many forms. Those lower on aesthetics tend to value practical application over artistic merit and usually adhere to more conventional standards of beauty.

In the graph below, you’ll see where INFPs and ESTJs, on average, fall in this intellectual space.

INFP and ESTJ comparison across intellectual dimensions
A comparison of INFPs and ESTJs along intellectual dimensions. The blue dot shows the average position of INFPs, and the blue circle shows where roughly 50% of INFPs fall in intellectual space. The orange dot and circle show similar positions for ESTJs.

INFPs are idealistic, creative dreamers. They tend to be interested in the nuances of emotional and artistic experiences, looking for patterns and meaningful insights. INFPs are comfortable with ambiguity and abstract concepts, focusing on the big picture rather than technical details. They often practice some form of creative expression and are likely to hold a few unconventional, eccentric beliefs.

ESTJs are practical realists. They focus on building practical skills and essential knowledge and are less likely to spend time learning for learning’s sake. In addition, they usually value conventional, tangible accomplishments over artistic expression and rarely feel compelled to develop a creative outlet.

As an INFP, you and most ESTJs are down-to-earth, straightforward thinkers. You’d both prefer to stick to the essentials and focus on practical issues, and you try to avoid overcomplicating matters. When you and your ESTJ counterpart are together, your conversations are more likely to revolve around concrete details, facts, and conventional topics rather than theoretical or philosophical ones.

Another difference between INFPs and ESTJs is their relative interest in aesthetic, artistic, and emotional experiences. As a INFP, you are more likely to value artistic expression and unconventional ways of thinking, while your ESTJ counterpart is more practical and traditional. INFPs tend to reflect more on emotional experiences, looking for patterns and connections, and they are more receptive to eccentricity and fantasy. In contrast, ESTJs often avoid reading too deeply into their emotions, and they can be dismissive or skeptical about unconventional ways of thinking.

INFP and ESTJ Organizational Styles

Your organizational style describes your habits around organization and planning. Your organizational style influences how you structure your time and physical space. Differences in organizational style fall along two dimensions: industriousness and orderliness.

Industriousness describes your persistence, need for achievement, and intensity of focus. People higher on industriousness usually organize their behavior around a few important long-term goals. People lower on industriousness are usually more focused on the present and will more easily change their focus when new opportunities appear.

Orderliness describes your need for regularity, order, and structure in your environment. People higher on orderliness prefer tidy, organized physical spaces, detailed schedules, and reliable routines. People lower on orderliness can tolerate more disorganization and prefer a more spontaneous, unstructured approach.

The graph below shows the average position of INFPs and ESTJs along these dimensions of organizational style.

INFP and ESTJ comparison across organizational dimensions
A comparison of INFPs and ESTJs along organizational dimensions. The blue dot shows the average position of INFPs, and the blue circle shows where roughly 50% of INFPs fall in organizational space. The orange dot and circle show similar positions for ESTJs.

INFPs thrive in unstructured environments with fewer constraints and more room for improvisation and serendipity. They generally focus on enjoying the present rather than preparing for the future. INFPs highly value spontaneity and the flexibility to change their mind, and they resist setting hard deadlines or rigid expectations.

ESTJs are usually systematic and highly organized. They like setting big, long-term goals and then creating detailed plans to accomplish them. ESTJs are generally good at ignoring distractions and making steady progress through consistent routines and habits.

Like many INFPs, you and most ESTJ often differ in your need to achieve explicit goals and use your time productively. While you embrace the here and now, your ESTJ counterpart is often thinking about and planning for the future. When you are keeping your eyes out for new, interesting opportunities, ESTJs are usually working away with their heads down. This difference between your present-oriented mindset and their future-oriented one can create occasional tension. However, this difference also helps you balance the other out at times. Your ESTJ counterpart often needs you to break them out of their need for productivity and efficiency while they can provide you with additional focus and motivation.

A second difference between INFPs and ESTJs is in their relative need for routine, structure, and order. You and most INFPs are more comfortable with an unplanned, spontaneous approach to life, while your ESTJ counterpart often wants plans, schedules, and well-defined procedures. ESTJs thrive on routine and predictability, whereas INFPs find the same level of organization to be overbearing and constraining. These differences in tidiness, punctuality, and comfortability with deviating from social expectations can be a consistent source of conflict between the two of you.

How to identify your closest personality type

Most people have complex personalities and don’t fall into a single personality type.

With TraitLab’s comprehensive analyses of your traits, strengths, and interests, you can see how your personality compares to all 16 types. Start building your personality profile by creating a free account today.

INFP compatibility with other types

For comparisons between INFPs and other types from the 16 Personality typology, visit any of the type pairings below:

INFP Compatibility with Other Enneagram Types

For comparisons between INFPs and other Enneagram types, visit any of the type pairings below:

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