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How to Fight Fair by Personality Type

Updated on July 1, 2016
Ms Dee profile image

Deidre has a Masters in applied linguistics and translation for her 20 years overseas, then she worked as a certified provider of the MBTI®.

We are more likely than not to have a different view or perspective than most any person we relate to. Simple disagreements therefore happen all the time. More often than we like, the simple disagreements quickly become terribly complicated.

Are you like me in that the complicated disagreements tend to happen over and over again with certain people in your life? Here are some tips on how to break this cycle when we get stuck. These were suggested by Judy Provost, director of Personal Counseling at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.

Evenly matched fighters


Here in this chart are the terms most commonly associated with the model of personality development created by Isabel Briggs Myers, the author of the world's most widely used personality inventory, the MBTI or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®.

Myers concluded there were four primary ways people differed from one another, which are defined elsewhere. She labeled these differences "preferences", which are represented by the following dichotomies.

Four primary ways people differ from each other


When our type doesn't match the other person's type, we may find we fight about how we fight more than what we're really fighting about. Consider these ways each of the four dichotomies gets stuck in a complicated disagreement when confronting each other, and then how to get unstuck and fight more fairly.


Extravert vs Introvert


The Extravert wants to confront the problem now. However, the Introvert wants to withdraw to try to understand it; figure it out. Should they confront the problem before the Introvert has figured it out, he or she in confusion will lose the argument and so just have to start it up again later. On the other hand, the Extravert becomes frustrated or even panicky by the wait for the Introvert to "figure it out", so he or she tries to corner the Introvert into dealing with it now.

UNSTUCK - Fighting Fair

The Extravert gives the Introvert advanced notice, like "I'm having a problem with X-issue. When can we talk later about this?" In return, the Introvert says, "Sure, just give me an hour to think about it," (or some minimal amount of delay time).

Should the quarrel suddenly come up without time to say this to set a later time, it is the Introvert who'd best tell the Extravert that he or she needs time to think, but will get back to them soon.

Sensing vs iNtuition


The iNtuition type wants to discuss the patterns of the relationship, what it means and where it is going. They make broad generalizations saying something like, "You're too negative." The Sensing type wants to argue the specific facts, saying, "Tell me exactly what I said that was so negative." Or, he or she may bring up individual incidents that contradict the generalization the iNtuition type makes; like, "Just last Sunday I said something positive!" The iNtuition type will then think the Sensing type is just nit-picking, and the Sensing thinks the iNtuition type is reading too much into things.

UNSTUCK - Fighting Fair

It tends to be easier for the iNtuition type to "play" at being a Sensing type than vice versa. He or she can rehearse ahead of time, or work out on paper, how to present their case in a linear, concrete style listing out the facts of the issue; at the same time trying to avoid any embellishments or abstract language. The Sensing type can then ask for clarification on what is presented, "Wait a minute, you skipped something, it seems," instead of getting confused over all the complications and generalities.


Forgiveness and Blame

Thinking vs Feeling


The Feeling type starts the argument by revealing feelings, then insists the Thinking type respond revealing his or her feelings, also. The Thinking type, however, responds with what he or she thinks, instead, leaving the Feeling type thinking it's a hold-out. Or, the Thinking type starts the argument with a thought, then rejects the Feeling type's feeling response as irrelevant to the argument, or immature.

UNSTUCK - Fighting fair

First, each allows the other to react in their own way. Then later, after some time has passed, each does a communication check with the other. The Feeling type responds to what the Thinking type presents, saying, "If I were in your place, I'd feel X-feeling." The Thinking type accepts the Feeling description and responds, It looks to me like this-Y and that-Z is happening." These tactics give each of them a chance to rephrase the problem in their own style, while at the same time respecting the style of the other.


Judging vs Perceiving


The Judging type demands that the Perceiving type make a definite decision or choice right there on the spot: "Are you willing to commit yourself to a decision or not?" The Perceiving type avoids a definite reply and tries to play both sides keeping the options open. "Right now I have a leaning toward this and yet don't want to let go of the other option, yet." Or, the Perceiving type will agree to something, but not treat the decision as final, changing their mind several times down the road.

UNSTUCK - Fighting fair

Don't make demands, Judging types! It causes the Perceiving types to feel trapped or caged in, and they'll want to rebel. Instead, put your question in more of a data collecting mode: "What are the pros and cons of our getting this car?" You're more likely to get a little closure if you begin with an opening.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

Understand that Judging types aren't really asking for your signature in blood, Perceiving types! They just need to know that there is some kind of plan in operation that will lead to a decision. So, make your information gathering process sound and make apparent to them that a plan is in the making. "Over the next three weeks, I'm going to do some hard thinking about this, and we should discuss it at least each weekend." Then, keep the Judging type informed of all the information you gather and engage him or her some way in the information gathering process.

© 2010 Deidre Shelden


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    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      7 years ago from Texas, USA

      wba, aha! So she extraverts her Feeling function (values) and you extravert your iNtuition function (ideas and possibilities).

    • profile image 

      7 years ago from upstate, NY

      Hi Ms dee you know I'm an INFP and my wife I discovered to be an ENFJ.-WBA

    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      7 years ago from Texas, USA

      Hello wba! So glad these make sense and you have found an application to a situation in your life. That's where it counts :).

    • profile image 

      7 years ago from upstate, NY

      These scenario's really make sense. My wife is an extraverted judging type and I'm an Intraverted Perceiving type. Our arguments following your script with a lot of accuracy. She wants to tackle our differences right away, while I like to sit back and try to figure things out. It's kind of funny that this makes the extravert nervous, I'll have to remember that!-WBA

    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      7 years ago from Texas, USA

      Good to get your feedback, Karen! Let me know any further thoughts on what more you'd like to see along this line. Not sure if you mean along the line of marriage relationship, or also including the personality dynamic in relationships. Thanks!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the great post. Very difficult to spend your life with someone. I’ve struggled with it for years with my wife. I stumbled upon this blog like I did yours. Thought their insight may be useful:

      Thanks for the post! I’d love to see more like it.

    • Ms Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Deidre Shelden 

      8 years ago from Texas, USA

      Wow, Dream On, this really IS amazing! Yes, I know the feeling of being really BAD STUCK. Sounds like you've been trying hard all you can. Sure! I'll listen. Try my email at my profile page?

      This thrills my heart, carrie450! Hoping for you and your important person.

      It sure can be tricky, DiamondRN, to do. May you find what you need to be able to this, and enjoy less stress.

    • DiamondRN profile image

      Bob Diamond RPh 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      I have to admit that if I could just learn to keep my mouth shut, until I've had a chance to calm down, I would have a lot less stress in my life, Ms Dee.

    • carrie450 profile image


      8 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      This hub may help me immensely. I have a time such as this with one important person in my life who I consider very difficult to understand. I'm so happy that I read this hub. I will bookmark and read it as often as I can. Thank you.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      8 years ago

      Sometimes life is more than amazing.This is one of those times.I can not even begin to explain how perfect this hub is in my life.I have been recently faced with a situation that no matter how hard I try to come up with a right answer I am a sitting duck.I don't like that feeling and I couldn't figure a way out.I have waited for over a month looking for ways and trying different solutions.None have worked.It comes down to our different personality types.Now I am on the road to recovery and progress.I would love to share the whole story if you ever want to listen.But for now I am excited,thrilled with the anticipation that this will work.I will know within the week.Thanks so much and I have been laughing with how the solution is so simple but was just as complicated as it can be.Have a good night.


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