am an INTJ to my mom’s ESFP. In the Myers-Briggs typology world, we’re about as different as two people can be. However, she’s also exactly what I needed growing up — and even today. As a mom, her strength (ESFPs are queens of practical support) was my weakness (why can everyone else fold laundry with such ease?). Today, I can easily say she’s been my greatest supporter in life.
Maybe that relationship has informed my hidden psychology, because I often notice and appreciate others who can support me in similar, tangible ways, be they friends, partners or mentors. For me, it’s been just as important to learn my strengths as it’s been to understand the kind of support I need when I’m not feeling strong — so I can ask for it, seek it out and surround myself with it.
Also, understanding that support comes in many forms has helped me tailor what I offer to the people I love and care for in return. Through learning their beats as well as my own, I’ve learned a lot. Below, my best guess as to what helps you the most, according to your Myers-Brigg personality type.
INTJs need… practical help.
INTJs regularly have their head in the clouds, dreaming up theories, playing with metaphors, dissecting existing science and technology, etc. And you’re good at it! Often, it’s your job (or at least a really growth-oriented hobby). However, with your head in the clouds, you can often forget to do the little things, like organizing your kitchen, putting together that piece of IKEA furniture you bought a month ago or getting your mom a gift for her birthday. Sometimes, you just don’t know where to start. But it’s okay to admit you’re overwhelmed and ask your friends, especially your SJs. They’ll help you get your life together in a single afternoon.
ENTPs need… grounding.
ENTPs are the idea-chasers of the Myers-Briggs. You want to do a thousand things, often at the same time, but frequently end up not completing what you started (whoops). Although you need space to roam and freedom to explore, it’s essential to surround yourself with one or two close friends who encourage you to focus, to live out a single project and explore within its boundaries, and to finish what you started before starting something new. People who lend you the perspective and insight to hone your end goal will ultimately help you achieve more so you’re checking off boxes instead of just getting really close but failing to cross the finish line.
INTPs need… relationship guidance.
INTPs want to have functional relationships. You’re just not always batting a thousand when it comes to understanding the emotional needs of others, and you can sometimes lash out when you’re putting in a ton of effort and not getting results. This might be because you have a tendency to repress feelings in favor of surface-level niceties. In doing so, you fail to address the deeper emotional dynamics playing out in your relationships (sexual satisfaction, intimacy needs, hurt feelings, ugly truths, etc.). What does that mean? Well, everything that glitters isn’t gold — and a relationship without fighting might not be healthy if you’re not being emotionally honest. Being around friends and partners who help you confront your softer side openly can really enrich your life for the better and make your relationships stronger.
ENTJs need… help deciphering your feelings.
ENTJs aren’t always comfortable with how emotions impact decision-making — or how they can or should influence it. Logic is systematic; emotion is messy! Logic can be trusted; emotion is fleeting! Or so you might think. In terms of support, finding someone who can help you embrace emotion and use it to your advantage in navigating work, love and life is the kind of friend you need in your life. Someone who will quietly sit with you as you emote out loud, using your direct and reasonable communication style, and ask incisive questions. Find a friend or two with a high EQ. Therapy might also be a huge growth tool for you.
INFJs need… alone time.
INFJs are usually super friendly and thoughtful in social settings. You’re always off in the corner, giving life advice and support to those you know extremely well and probably those you don’t know at all. (It must be a vibe you give off.) The kind of support you need? For your friends and loved ones to understand when you’re maxed out and need to take a day (or full week) from social obligations. No contact, no exceptions. You often feel guilty for needing to take alone time to center yourself, so you need those who will alleviate that sense of responsibility with understanding and an open door. “No worries for missing my party!” your ideal friend might say. “I’ll see you sometime next week.”
ENFPs need… unconditional love and support.
ENFPs love to chase ideas, new people, novel experiences — basically whatever is inspiring them at that very moment. You struggle to find people who fully accept you in the way you accept them. Because you give so much, you are often surrounded by those who take a lot. In your closest relationships, though, it’s important that you find mutual love, kindness, support and understanding that’s unconditional in nature. You actually don’t need a lot of practical support; you just need your closest pillars to let you be your full, vibrant self, nab your own wins and make your own mistakes.
INFPs need… understanding and awareness.
INFPs are both painfully aware and incredibly supportive of others’ needs for authentic self-expression. You will always honor differences and seek to understand someone before you jump to conclusions. You will also try your hardest to be the best friend, daughter, partner, etc., you feel your loved ones deserve. You do these things because you deeply desire them in return. It’s the way you show how much you support those you care about, and you need to feel “seen” in return. In order to thrive, look for those with a capacity to understand and a willingness to listen to you when you articulate your needs (which can be so hard for you to do).
ENFJs need… depth and consistency.
ENFJs are remarkably confident and centered; you’ve probably been handling crises for decades. That said, there are dings in your effervescent armor. You can do small talk for ages if the situation calls for it, but need depth to feel fulfilled. On top of that, you tend to overthink just a teensy bit and require consistency in your relationships and friendships. Seek out those who have similar intimacy needs and those constants will be your rocks.
ISTJs need… daring encouragement.
ISTJs are always the first to step in and help, but usually the last to chase their own dreams. You usually know what you want and the necessary steps to get there, but the overwhelming reality of everything that might go wrong keeps you from going back to school, traveling to a remote country or investing in that big idea. You need people who see your capabilities clearly and talk up everything that might go right to counter the critical voices in your head. With those people, you’ll reach for more and have a support system whether you win or lose.
ESTPs need… to feel needed and valued.
ESTPs get a bad rap for living mostly in the moment and taking a lot of risks, which might seem careless to others. But your daredevil streak exists because, with your confident and practical skills, you can and often do pull it off; you are a supremely capable person. You don’t need a lot of outward support. However, in matters of the heart, you can feel a bit detached. You’re in the best possible place around people who feed your nurturing side, who force you to slow down and plan for the future. You also need to feel needed and valued for the care you bring your friends and family, whether that’s practical support or unrelenting encouragement. Those people actually help you feel your feelings, and those feelings ground you in the most satisfying ways.
ISTPs need… freedom to roam.
Most ISTPs know they’re not going to lead a conventional lifestyle. Whether you’re planning to run a marathon in every state or start down a life-consuming career path, you still appreciate the support of your friends and family. More than anything? You need others to believe that you know what you want — even if they don’t understand why. That kind of respect is the foundation of all your best relationships.
ESTJs need… an avenue for adventure.
ESTJs perhaps work the hardest of all the types, but they also need their fair share of escape to keep their sanity intact. You also appreciate your friends and family a ton, even though you wish you got to see them more. That said, you will take any opportunity for a weekend trip to the museum or a weeklong getaway to Morocco. If adventure and discovery await, you’re there. And there’s nothing you appreciate more than friends who will go along for the ride, all while spending quality time with you. It helps you unwind in the best possible way while still feeling like you can remain an active part of your loved ones’ lives.
ISFJs need… friends to lift them up.
ISFJs tend to struggle stepping out of their comfort zones and are greatly affected by others’ emotions. You are sort of the backbone of every friend group and family structure in that way, making sure everyone is happy and taken care of. And yet! Many of your nearest-and-dearest forget how wildly behind the scenes you are, and you’re otherwise too humble to mention it. But you need your friends and family to give you a boost out of that comfort zone; you need words of encouragement to remember how great you are, and sometimes physical support (like going with you to the job interview, the audition, etc.) to make sure you don’t back out. Surround yourself with the friends who elevate you and remind you how much you have to offer.
ESFPs need… a plan and a support system.
ESFPs are kind of big kids at heart. You’re playful and exciting, open and adaptable. But when it comes to planning for the future and setting goals? You typically know you’re capable of anything, you just need someone to help you define your exact mission and how to get there. Taking your goals one step at a time makes the process more manageable for you, and you’re good at it — but you tend to abandon projects that require intense, long-term planning. With that in mind, it’s important to hang around and consult those “big picture” dreamers in your crew; they’ll help you define your objectives and keep your eyes on the prize. And the rest of your squad? They can be the building blocks of your support system, because, at the end of the day, win or lose, you really do value some softness to fall back on.
ISFPs need… intimacy and help with execution.
ISFPs lead with their hearts, albeit quietly. You don’t always go around shouting your love, but you’d go to the ends of the earth to show your friends and family how much you care. All you ask in return is for true intimacy; to you, distance breeds secrecy, and you’d rather have the ugly truth than a pretty lie. In a more practical sense, you also do well when you spend time with others who kick your butt into gear. You actually know yourself deeply, know exactly what you’re good at and have a knack for determining what dreams will fill you up; you just struggle with the execution part. Friends who will help you — with financial plans to start your own business, with a reference for your MFA application — will be your next-door heroes.
ESFJs need… reciprocal caring.
ESFJs spend so much of their time channeling energy into those they love. And you love it. Being so selfless is an admirable quality, but you’re sort of willing to see the good in anyone, almost to your detriment. You frequently focus much of your time and effort on those who aren’t reciprocally invested in you. Becoming more discerning about who’s giving back to you in equal measure can really help you get the emotional support you need so your love tank isn’t on E. If your texts are outnumbering theirs to a remarkable degree, or you’ve asked to hang out the past six times, maybe save some of that energy for yourself.
Gif by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.