Your MBTI® stress questions, answered

5 min. read

When our very own Melissa Summer and Michael Segovia went live on Instagram to chat about stress and personality type, they covered a lot of ground—including a special Q&A session.

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Your MBTI<sup>®</sup> stress questions, answered

Posted 19 April 2023 by
Vanessa, MBTIonline Contributing Writer
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When our very own Melissa Summer and Michael Segovia went live on Instagram to chat about stress and personality type, they covered a lot of ground—including a special Q&A session. For the full scoop, be sure to catch the 40-minute replay or read the recap. In the meantime, here are some of the most impactful takeaways from the Q&A:

Q: My boss and I seem to have opposite personality types. He backtracks on the instructions he gives, and doesn’t react well when I question him about it. Would it help if I knew his personality type?

A: If you and your boss are willing to learn and share your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality type with one another, it’s good information to know. In fact, the MBTI assessment is a great tool for the entire team. The caveat is that each person must be open to concepts like growth, compromise, and self-awareness. This usually involves an effective, respectful leader who is willing to have those conversations.

That said, it’s still a boss-employee relationship. There are certain areas where you may need to flex your preferences. Michael also mentioned that when you’re under a lot of stress, it’s harder to flex. So that’s why it’s important to work toward a place where you and your boss can understand each other a little better. The MBTI assessment can uncover any misunderstandings or blind spots—and help you both grow from there.

Q: I’m an INFJ studying a major I don’t like. I need to cope with it for now. How can I keep going?

A: Here’s some encouragement: any type can do anything. Try to get laser-focused on the few things you do like about what you study and see if that helps. If you still feel unfulfilled, you may need to engage in some deep reflection (and difficult conversations). In the end, we all deserve to find careers that make us truly happy.

Michael said he’s worked with people who followed the career path they were “supposed to” and once they retired, finally admitted they never really enjoyed it. That’s a lot of time to dislike what you do.

Consider a resource like MBTIonline Careers, which matches your MBTI type to occupations that best fit your unique personality.

Q: How can an ENTP prevent stress?

A: Find people who will listen to you. As an ENTP, your favorite function is extraverted Intuition. This means you see lots of possibilities and have a steady stream of new, innovative ideas. But you get stressed when those ideas get shut down. One way to prevent this is to have a core circle of people who will listen to your ideas without judgement. But you need to be really clear and let them know you don’t need feedback at this point.

Michael pointed out that one of the markers of people who prefer Extraversion is that you often don’t know what you think or feel until you hear yourself say it. Honor that by not keeping your thoughts/feelings bottled inside. Just be sure to communicate your needs before you start discussing your next big idea.

Q: I work with an ESFJ. What stresses them out, and how can I help?

A: Harmony is a big deal to ESFJs. They might feel stressed if the team dynamic lacks order and camaraderie. Conflict is also tough for them. So if they think people at work don’t like them, they get really stressed. One way to help is to let them know how important they are to the team. Just make sure you’re genuine in your affirmations. Try to pinpoint specific things you admire about them, and communicate those things in an honest, appropriate way. Another tip: ESFJs prefer Sensing (that’s what the S stands for). When you communicate with them, use details and facts instead of big-picture ideas.

Q: What are some stress remedies for ISFJs?

A: Learn how to pick your battles. ISFJs value schedules, organization, and harmony with the people around them. When those things are compromised, stress starts to set in. If you’re an ISFJ, try to let the people in your life know what stresses you out—and what you need to not feel that way.

Michael pointed out that people with a preference for Judging (that’s what the J in ISFJ stands for) often live with ongoing stress because they want to organize everything around them. But the reality is you can’t organize the entire world. You can honor your needs and pick your battles at the same time. Michael’s partner (an ISFJ) gets stressed when Michael leaves his shoes by the couch or misplaces his keys. To prevent more of this kind of stress, his partner set up a system so those things don’t happen as often.

In turn, Michael has learned to appreciate those organizational qualities in his partner. Stress prevention like this would not have happened if Michael’s partner didn’t communicate his needs in the first place.

Q: What is the typical leadership style of an INFJ?

A: INFJs like big-picture concepts and future possibilities. We know the best leaders—no matter their personality type—are the ones who can flex to the needs of their team. So while INFJs often have a solid five- or ten-year vision, it may be a challenge to communicate that vision in a way that opposite personality types understand. Melissa (INFJ) leads a team of people who also prefer the same kind of big-picture vision she does. Here’s what she said about her experience:

“As a whole team, we all prefer Intuition, so we really need to make sure to look at the details and flex to that other side too. One of the things I found is that I’m a very empathetic leader, and I’ve heard that a lot of people who prefer INFJ are very concerned about the people they lead. We may be leading people on the team, but we want to make sure that everything is OK with them, that everyone feels good about the work they’re doing, and that there’s no conflict within the team . . . There are times when this causes a little bit of stress because I probably worry too much about it . . . I had someone on my team who left because she found a different position and I was probably more upset about it than I needed to be . . . but I took it very personally, almost like it was a break-up. And that was partially just a learning experience for me.”

Michael reminded everyone of this pearl of wisdom: the best part of our personality type can sometimes become the biggest crutch when we’re under stress. More on that, here.

One major thing you need to reduce stress: Communication

Ever heard the saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know”? A huge part of stress reduction and prevention rides on how communicative you’re willing to be. Once you let people know what stresses you out, you can work together to mitigate it. And you can return the favor for them. Stress is a natural part of life, so it’s not going to be perfect. But it can always get better.

If you’re struggling with chronic stress and can’t seem to find a way out, here are two resources Melissa and Michael mentioned during the video:

  1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  2. The American Institute of Stress