So much has been written about whether opposites attract or difference is the key but in real life it is all about understanding the differences, accommodating and managing them. This section will help you see where the potential for conflict exists between personality types and help you manage it.
The INTP is deep, private, difficult to know and extremely independent. They focus on things that interest them most putting off completing tasks until the last minute as the routine bores them. INTPs love logic and an indicator of being an INTP is obsession with logical correctness. An INTP will struggle with emotion, great at reading situations but less good at reading people.
People focused and action oriented the ESFJ is driven by a sense of duty. Cooperative and helpful, ESFJs are pragmatists, disliking anything woolly, preferring practical solutions to people issues and they will work hard to make this happen. Incredibly organised and great planners the ESFJ can become overly controlling in their desire to help sometimes believing their way is best.
There is no perfect type and in the same way there are no perfect matches. We can all learn to adapt and modify our behaviour if we choose and this section is therefore not designed to suggest particular specific matches but to demonstrate areas of similarity and difference so that a true understanding can happen and thus reduce the risk of misunderstandings.
Being around them
The INTP is very independent, deep and private yet can at times seem totally outspoken because of their directness of communication and economy of words speaking only when there is something to say.
ESFJs are cooperative, sympathetic pragmatists who dislike anything ethereal or woolly as they prefer practical solutions to people issues and they'll work hard at planning to making this happen.
Dealing with emotions
INTPs find emotion difficult as they are at heart logical, analytical and objective with no time for anything they see as 'fanciful.' They will not be motivated by someone saying, 'please,' or by emotional pleading.
The ESFJ is emotional but will tend to deal with the emotions of others in a practical way making sure there is a clear plan and it is followed. However the ESFJ may not like anything they perceive as criticism.
Openness and sharing feelings
The INTP will find it difficult to share their feelings, although they will be blunt and outspoken regarding their thoughts. In moments of single-minded concentration, the INTP will appear aloof and detached.
ESFJs are extremely talkative and will voice their feelings easily, including clearly telling others what they should do and also have their own strong views on issues which are important to them.
Drivers and values
Sceptical and difficult to know the INTP is wary of close emotional involvement as emotions tends to be slightly outside their own life-space and if someone gets too close too soon they close down.
ESFJs are driven by a sense of duty, of being at the centre of things and making sure that everything is taken care of with a clear plan of action and that people are following this, in detail.
Building stronger relationships
Learn what INTPs are like in a relationship. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.
Get along better with an ESFJ. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.
Some people seek harmony, some see conflict as simply robust discussions, some people are emotional, some more factual. So there is no right or wrong about this and what we are trying to do is help two different people each understand how the other might deal with conflict and what it will mean for the relationship.
Initial response to conflict situations
Rational argument, logic and intellectual theory are the routes to the ‘heart’ of the INTP who will have no problem taking the hard decision, as long as it is the 'right' decision, one based on logic and evidence.
Because of their natural ‘take charge’ style, the ESFJ will want to diffuse conflict and ensure that harmony is created. This will be done with a no-nonsense, factual common sense approach.
Issues they'll fight on
INTPs are relatively easy-going until something violates a principle. Then they can become outspoken, inflexible and unreasonable, switching from reserved to actually enjoying the heated drama.
Down to earth and practical the ESFJ feels that social obligations and responsibilities come before personal fun or relaxation and they will work hard to ensure that harmony is creative and maintained.
Conflict style / communication
Blunt and to the point, the INTP will rarely let emotions get in the way and will use logic and data to make their point. Those who are more emotional may find them at such times a little cold and harsh.
Under pressure the ESFJ may become quite parental in their desire to control and create harmony. They are the natural people organisers and although emotional will feel it’s their duty to sort things out.
How they feel after
As they are more deep and private the INTP will happily debate, using all their intellectual and logical abilities, before withdrawing back to their own world, not hard feelings, no feelings at all, it was a chat.
For the ESFJ it is about the end result: did the problem get sorted, are people happy now, was the plan followed? For themselves on occasion the ESFJ can feel that other people do not appreciate them.
Dealing with conflict
Some types dislike and avoid conflict, whereas others use it to solve problems and get things done. Understand how an INTP deals with conflict in our practical tutorial.
We all bring something different to the team and we all agree that difference and balance are good things. However when someone is different from us we might not understand them so well so in this section we allow you to compare the differences at work, how these might manifest themselves and how best to manage them.
Contribution to the team
Although quiet the INTP will come to the fore at analysing problems and evaluating ideas using their superb judgement and serious, unemotional nature to ensure the team makes balanced decisions.
The ESFJ will ensure the team is protected from mistakes, and will focus on the people issues and the detail. They are painstaking, orderly, duty-driven, conscientious and fretful to get it right.
INTPs need those around them to be proactive and not keep coming to them with questions. They like arguments and actions to be well thought through and will excel at ensuring this is the case.
As the ESFJ has the twin focus of getting things done and taking care of the people they will make sure that everything is planned and that the team are equipped and ready to drive for closure.
The INTP will not fit snugly into a typical structure. They value independence, of thought and action and they need their space: to think, to be free from other people to work in short bursts of energy.
As the ESFJ is driven by a sense of duty, they will take their roles seriously and work long and hard to get it right. They may get bogged down in detail and have to lift their heads to see the wider context.
Attention to detail / focus
The INTP does not like too much detail, preferring a broad-brush stroke approach. The simple, the obvious bores them and anything they see as trivial or unimportant will be pushed away.
The ESFJ will want a plan and closure, they do not like loose ends or anything they perceive as impractical. Great at follow-through they may struggle with anything woolly, or not clearly getting the intended result.
If it holds their interest the high critical thinking ability of the INTP and their shrewd judgements means they can analyse and distil even the most complex problems and cut to the core of what needs to be done.
The strength of the ESFJ is their focus on people and detail, not in coming up with the original ideas. They will be super organisers and excel at getting people to stick to the plan and making things happen.
Getting the best and motivating
Find out how to get the best out of an INTP and what motivates them in our practical tutorial. Are they more motivated by the task at hand, or by the people around them?
Get the best out an ESFJ and learn the way to motivate them. Are they more motivated by people, or by the task at hand? Find out more in our practical tutorial.