What We Underestimate Most in Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type

Here’s the skill you're underestimating in others, based on their personality type.

Look beyond each type’s stereotype. Unsplash

Each personality type has developed a reputation for harnessing a specific set of strengths. ENTJs are praised for taking charge. ISFPs are admired for their creative vision. ENFPs are known for their ability to inspire those around them, and ISTJs are appreciated for their hardworking attitude. However, each personality type also has a set of less commonly discussed skills that tend to get looked over in the personality community.

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Here’s the skill you might be grossly underestimating in others, based on their personality type.

ESFP: Their Resourcefulness and Intelligence

ESFPs are known for being outgoing, excitable and adventurous. What they’re less known for is being sharp, entrepreneurial and resourceful. These types can spot a killer opportunity a mile away and they’re masters of connecting themselves to the resources they need to make their plans come to fruition. While ESFPs regularly receive credit for their social skills, their resourcefulness and entrepreneurialism are often incredibly underestimated by others.

ESTP: Their Inventiveness

ESTPs are often stereotyped as the daredevil bad boys of the personality community. And while these types can harbor a rebellious streak, they can also harbor a keen entrepreneurial one. ESTPs often stay on the cutting edge of new technological trends and are just as quick as their intuiting counterparts to formulate new inventions. These types are naturally wired to observe, understand and apply creative thinking to their existing knowledge base. We undoubtedly have many of these quick-thinking types to thank for some of the greatest advancements of our time.

ISTP: Their Intellectualism

ISTPs are known as impulsive adrenaline junkies who live their lives on the edge. However, many ISTPs relate far more to the traditional NT stereotypes of being intellectual, analytical and studious. These types approach each new topic that sparks their interest with an intent to research them thoroughly and comprehensively. Many ISTPs would sooner be found in a library than dangling off a cliff’s edge. The intellect of this type is severely and regularly underestimated.

ISFP: Their Intuition  

ISFPs are known for being passionate, creative and artistic. But a lesser-known facet of their personality is the deep, intuitive connection they feel to the world around them. ISFPs are keen observers of their environments, which means they’re also quick to recognize patterns and predict events prior to their unfolding. These types can often call out people’s motivations or desires with an uncanny accuracy that is usually attributed solely to intuitive types. But these types have earned a reputation as the most intuitive sensors for a reason. Their emotional intelligence combined with their careful observation and analysis puts them a cut above the rest in terms of intuiting abilities.

INTJ: Their Idealism

INTJs are often stereotyped as ruthlessly logical and efficient. While these traits can certainly be a part of the INTJ’s personality, they almost always work in conjunction with their deeply-embedded sense of moral responsibility and idealism. These types harbor keen visions about how they’d like to improve the world, and they work tirelessly to make their ideals a reality. While we’re quick to label NFs the dreamers of the personality community, INTJs can give any NF type a run for their money when it comes to their ability to visualize and actualize their ideals.

INTP: Their Thoughtfulness

INTPs are portrayed as being somewhat avoidant and socially aloof. But what’s lesser-discussed about this type is the intense concentration and thoughtfulness they bring to each encounter. Contrary to their tuned-out stereotype, INTPs bring a great deal of concentration and presence to their interactions. They take their investments (emotional or otherwise) seriously. They take particular care to express themselves clearly and portray their thoughts honestly. Anyone who knows an INTP well would be hard-pressed to label them as completely aloof or avoidant.

ENTJ: Their Emotional Intelligence

ENTJs are often stereotyped as the ruthless, inconsiderate ladder-climbers of the personality community. What these types are lesser known for is their incredible ability to read, respect and relate authentically to others. These types may trust reason over emotion when it comes to decision-making, but they nonetheless possess an astonishing sense of emotional intelligence that allows them to connect meaningfully with most people they meet. These types are living proof that logic and empathy are not always at odds with each other.

ENTP: Their Community-Mindedness

ENTPs are best known for their creative, entrepreneurial nature. But they are less known for their keen ability to bring people together in a meaningful way. Well-developed ENTPs make for natural leaders who intuitively understand how to harness and unite the strengths of the people around them. In fact, it’s this very trait that often helps this type excel at their creative and entrepreneurial ventures.

ENFP: Their Philosophical Insight

ENFPs are often stereotyped as fun-loving social butterflies who are always jetting off on a new adventure. In reality, ENFPs are deeply philosophical individuals who spend a great deal of time reading about and reflecting upon the meaning of life. These types often have incredibly profound insights to offer regarding the human condition, which they discuss and dissect with others in depth. Contrary to their fun-loving reputation, ENFPs take life quite seriously, and their insight is often underestimated.

INFP: Their Analytical Abilities

INFPs are known for having incredibly deep feelings, which they often express patiently and eloquently. What’s less known about this type, however, is the thorough and rigorous analysis they apply to the formation of their personal values. These types take care to explore many different viewpoints, understand the issues they care about deeply and stay informed about the topics they feel personally invested in. These types tend to be known for their emotional intelligence but overlooked for their analytical inclinations.                                          

ENFJ: Their Visionary Streak

ENFJs are known for their caring and giving nature, but they are under-appreciated for their keen ability to analyze social issues in depth and formulate powerful visions of a better future. These types are incredibly capable of formulating ideas for great change, which they use their people skills to harness and communicate. While we think of ENFJs as selfless and personable, we often grossly underestimate what’s brewing beneath the surface of that kindness and which ground-breaking visions they’re capable of nurturing and sharing.             

INFJ: Their Reason  

INFJs are often stereotyped as highly sensitive and deeply in tune with their emotional atmosphere. And while these traits aren’t absent from the INFJ’s psyche, they almost always come second to what the INFJ does best, which is perspective shifting and analytical reasoning. INFJs are intuitives first, which means their natural state is one of contemplation and analysis. Many people would doubtlessly be shocked to find out that these empathetic types can actually be quite cold and detached in their initial method of reasoning. They seek truth and understanding at all costs. And in order to arrive at the truths that will help them to make things better for others, they must first understand every perspective they can conceive of—even the cold, inhumane and detached ones.

ISFJ: Their Insight And Depth

ISFJs are known as nurturers and givers, but they’re also incredibly deep thinkers, who devote a great deal of time and effort into understanding the human condition. These types are practical in nature but complex and nuanced in their thoughts. They consider new perspectives deeply and often come to profound conclusions about the nature of life and love. While these types are givers and nurturers at heart, they’re deep and contemplative thinkers in nature—a trait that is often overlooked by others. 

ESFJ: Their Practicality

ESFJs are known for being warm and caring people, but their practical nature is often overlooked and undervalued in the type community. Indeed, these types can often rival their thinking counterparts in their ability to plan, conserve resources and manage their lifestyles effectively. These types are often extremely strategic when it comes to allocating their time, money and energy. While their motivation for being practical may differ from that of their thinking counterparts, they can certainly keep up in terms of base practicality.

ESTJ: Their Generosity

ESTJs are often stereotyped as cutthroat professional climbers who will stop at nothing to attain their goals. And while these types are certainly ambitious in nature, what’s often overlooked in their type descriptions is the immense loyalty they feel toward their loved ones. To those in their inner circle, the ESTJ is an endlessly generous type who will do almost anything for the benefit of their family and close friends. Their heartless stereotype certainly doesn’t fit in all situations, as anyone who’s loved by an ESTJ can attest to.

ISTJ: Their Intellectual Inclinations 

ISTJs are known for being hardworking, diligent and dutiful. But what they’re less known for is their keen intellectual streak. These types take care to research the topics that interest them incredibly thoroughly. Thanks to their natural thirst for knowledge and attention to detail, many ISTJs make excellent scholars and academics. While these types are certainly dutiful, they are often underestimated for their hearty intellectual inclinations.

Heidi Priebe is a personality psychology writer who focuses primarily on the Jung-Myers model of psychological type. She is the author of five books, including The Comprehensive ENFP Survival Guide and How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type. Follow her on Facebook @HeidiPrebe or argue with her on Twitter @HeidiPriebe1

What We Underestimate Most in Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type