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Thread: Conflict ISFJ vs. INTP

  1. #1
    Junior Member Array lVly5tery's Avatar
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    Default Conflict ISFJ vs. INTP

    I am new to all this, so I wanted to see if I could get some advice. So I have a ISFJ girlfriend, and I have discovered that the way I give critique is not working well. I have the tendency to analyze and break down problems really far and then when I try to relay this information she feels really hurt and uncomfortable.
    How would I go about approaching this matter in a better manner? I think my ability to look at the problem piece by piece is highly important and has helped in the past, but I also don't want to make problems worse if we are fighting by detailing unnecessary personal problems.

  2. #2
    Karl's my name Array Trentham's Avatar
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    As the husband of an ISFJ:

    1. Don't confront her about any problems you have unless they are sorely affecting your way of life. In fact, try to keep all confrontations to a minimum.

    2. Listen to her. Yes, every little minute detail. She will appreciate your attention immensely.

    3. Try not to "give critique," as this will always hurt her feelings. Any criticism you level toward her directly WILL BE TAKEN PERSONALLY. She will perceive that she has failed in some respect as a girlfriend/human being and will dig even deeper into her Introverted Sensing to try and correct the issue her own. Furthermore, you may find that the solution she arrives at will be IRRELEVANT to the issue at hand.

    4. Work on taking a more relational, cooperative approach to solving mutual problems. It is very important to her that the two of you can collaborate in a peaceful environment free of criticism.

    5. Do your best to keep your hard rational (thinking/critical) side internalized.

    6. Try to remain optimistic at all times when dealing with her. An ISFJ can spot pessimism a mile off and will almost always react negatively to it.


    I must add that you need to acknowledge, right this minute, that this aspect of your relationship may never improve, regardless of how hard either of you works on it. If you are uncomfortable taking any of the previous steps I've outlined, you may even want to consider ending the relationship.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Array illume's Avatar
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    Trentham is quite correct in this matter..... The ISFJ I know can sniff criticism out as though he were a bloodhound on the trail. I have had no success with him in being able to express any sort of criticism, regardless of how well put. And I have a knack for dealing with everyone in a way that puts them at ease.... Well, almost everyone.

    ......As a matter of fact, I filter so much of what I say around him, I find myself wanting to avoid him altogether. What the hell good is that? If you can't be up front with someone, even in a friendly way, then it just isn't right to begin with.

  4. #4
    Member Array 30footsmurf's Avatar
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    I grew up in this dynamic. My father is an ISFJ. I thought he was a t, but it turns out, an F. Who Knew? I grew up in a family of F's which is probably why my F is almost as strong as my T.
    Advice I could give you is let her do things for you, but also express you're appreciation often, and take the things that seem to bring her down the most (for my pops it was a dirty house) and do things and come up with solutions for those problems. ISFJ's from my experience don't like to be wrong about anything. I get in arguments with my dad where I've clearly laid out everything but he doesn't want to feel wrong. If you could find a way to make things seem like her idea without her noticing that you're doing that it might make those more difficult communications a little smoother. And thats what its all about communication. Good luck brother, I chose the Marine Corps over living with my ISFJ father. I don't suggest it in case you were wondering.
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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  5. #5
    Karl's my name Array Trentham's Avatar
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    @ 30footsmurf

    You've spoken a great deal about your dad, whom I believe you had originally pegged as an ISTJ. I can see where an ISFJ (especially a male one) would be absolutely perfect for a career in the military. They deeply value tradition, duty, routine, details and clear expectations. They do take criticism to heart, but then go above and beyond any normal expectation to correct the problem and maintain the status quo at all costs. They don't tend to question authority, and in fact welcome a structured chain of command.

    It makes perfect sense!

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    Senior Member Array Stryfe's Avatar
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    I've been dating an ISFJ for a little over three years now. All of what Trentham said is good advice.

    As he mentioned you have to be very careful about criticism. If you do need to be critical then make sure you affirm her first. For example, "Honey, I really enjoy that thing you do with your tongue but could you be careful with your teeth?" works a lot better than, "When you're going downtown you're always hurting me with your teeth."

    Another approach is the indirect one. ISFJs are very dutiful. If you can slowly lead her to believe that the way you'd like her to do things is the commonly accepted way then she will come to accept it as her duty, which she will fulfill without fail.

    To be honest I have a hard time with it. I'm the type to just state facts, without sugar coating them in any way, I shock her often.

    The other thing to watch with ISFJs is they have certain expectations of how things are "supposed to be." It doesn't matter if there's no logical explanation for her expectations, just that you're meeting them. This can be a major clashing point between INTPs and ISFJs. INTPs evaluate everything to make sure it makes sense to them, if it doesn't then they simply won't do it, or they'll do it in their own way. ISFJs however don't evaluate a lot of their actions, many of them are based on what they believe are social norms and they will get quite upset if you aren't sticking to the norms.

    ISFJs don't see things the same way as we do and I don't know if they're capable of understanding how we work. However, if you can accept that and find a way to happily coexist with an ISFJ then you'll have someone who's absolutely dependable and loyal, and will make sure you're taken care of for the rest of your life. (She'll also make an excellent mother should you choose to have children).
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  7. #7
    Karl's my name Array Trentham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stryfe View Post
    However, if you can accept that and find a way to happily coexist with an ISFJ then you'll have someone who's absolutely dependable and loyal, and will make sure you're taken care of for the rest of your life. (She'll also make an excellent mother should you choose to have children).
    Yep. Leaving the negatives I've mentioned aside, I never have the first reason to question my wife's loyalty or her motives. I always know that she will be there and at least try to help things along any way she can. That's worth a great deal in a marriage.

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    Junior Member Array lVly5tery's Avatar
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    This advise is excellent; I had the opportunity to place it in action just last night. Persuasion through convention is Stryfe, your bit about needing to compliment first and then advise is spot on! And Trentham your list there is great. It's good getting advise from other INTP's. Am I the only one who finds this interaction (INTP to INTP) incredibly helpful?

    I had another question if you wouldn't mind. What would be your advice when she comes to me knowing there is something she is doing foolishly? Do the same rules apply?

  9. #9
    .plink and fluffly. Array aelan's Avatar
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    Just a tip that may help...

    In the case where she knows she did wrong, it is as much comfort she is seeking, that she's still accepted/loved, in a way.

    Hold her hands/hug her as you speak, it'll reduce the "critique" impact on her. Most of all, they just want to know that they're valued.
    And what there is between a man and a woman.
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