“The ‘FJ’ types might get irritated with the ‘TJ’ types when the latter start to mess with the group dynamics, such as when the INTJs get into the conversation and say exactly what they honestly think, which may not always be pleasant,” he explains. “The ‘NF’ and the ‘NT’ types try to get an understanding [of] where the other is coming from… to an extent. They still complain about each other."
Sao considers these meetups therapeutic, as participants get a chance to vent about how family, friends, and coworkers of dissimilar types can’t understand why they act the way they do.
“When we get together in the MBTI group, it is like we finally get to express our frustrations,” he says. They often workshop career and personal problems together, and the process usually reveals something about their types.
“The rest of us think ‘Wow, your behavior reminds me of so-and-so of the same type of yours,’” Sao says. “Which is great, because then we can help you out with your issue, since we have everyone's experiences to work off.”
Sao says he once met an ENFJ girl who had an INFP boyfriend. Without knowing much about them, Sao guessed that her boyfriend didn’t share his feelings with others. Rather, he brooded about them when he was alone. And Sao guessed that the ENFJ girl wanted him to verbalize his feelings.
According to Sao, she told him that his description was dead-on. He advised that she give her boyfriend more time to process his feelings but encourage him to be open sometimes for her sake.
* * *
Conflicts between types are, apparently, quite common.
Manju Pradhan, a counseling psychologist who frequently uses this test with patients, says that having the most uncommon female type (2 percent of the population and less than 1 percent of women, according to the Meyers and Briggs Foundation) makes it difficult to be an INTJ woman.
Pradhan points out that INTJs are often socially clumsy. They play devil's advocate and introduce opposing ideas in order to learn, and many find this off-putting. In a society that encourages women to be nurturing rather than logical, INTJ women can be made to feel like outcasts.
“[They're] ostracized for being perceived as unconventional, robotic, and seemingly impersonal,” Pradhan explains.
Pradhan sought out MBTI meetups to meet others like her. But getting involved had an unexpected benefit: Pradhan has found she's better able to deal with people who are different from her.
“If I notice that, as an introvert, my friends may seem more invested in organizing large gatherings and paying attention to the sports event at the restaurant's television bar, I realize they are simply being their natural selves, not undermining our friendship,” she explains.
Pradhan runs workshops to teach others about how other types see the world. She once had participants role-play a job evaluation between a supervisor (INTJ), and employee (ENFJ).