• The LMC Group

MBTI Types Under Quarantine

by Stephanie Carnes, certified MBTI consultant


Conflict resolution, communication, change, and motivation are all influenced by your #MBTI personality type, so knowing your type and the types of the people you work with can be immensely helpful in a work setting.


Right now, however, most of us are not in our typical workplaces—we are quarantined at home with roommates or our families, or we are trying to keep in touch with loved ones who are not with us. #Extraverts who are used to being out in the world and interacting with lots of people are trying to get used to life at home, while #introverts feel like the world is oriented toward them for the first time. Personality theory can help us understand each other and communicate better if we know how each type behaves in a crisis--in this case, the #COVID-19 #coronavirus.


If you are still going into your workplace because you are part of an essential industry, please know how much we appreciate you. You can benefit from understanding personality type in crisis as you interact with your coworkers during this stressful time.


MBTI personality theory shows that under extreme stress, most of us revert to our “inferior function,” which is close to the opposite of how we normally act. So if you are surprised by the ideas and behavior of people around you, it is likely their response to stress. We’ve included some ways you can help others who are struggling.



ESTJ


Strengths

ESTJs assume their natural leadership roles in a crisis and are willing to help. They are efficient and motivated.

Challenges

This type is troubled by lack of control and the heightened emotions of others around them. This can cause them to be somewhat abrupt if people aren’t cooperating, and they will be frustrated by disruptions to routine.

How to help

Under extreme stress, this type will become uncharacteristically sensitive and even emotional. Don’t respond to them with emotions, and don’t rush them to feel better. Help them break down their problems into manageable chunks.


ISTJ

Strengths

During a crisis ISTJs will follow the rules and guidelines and gain satisfaction from getting things done. Usually, they will stay calm.

Challenges

They will be unsettled by disarray and the lack of time to themselves. Crises often call for the need to change and innovate, which is not always comfortable for an ISTJ.

How to help

When they have hit their limit, ISTJs may become overly dramatic and think the worst of everything. Give them some space and try to do something active with them. Put them in charge of something detailed and predictable. Don’t ask them to brainstorm solutions, which will emphasize their out-of-control feelings.


ISFJ

Strengths

ISFJs will be concerned about loved ones and will do whatever they can to make sure they are safe—even if they have to be a bit pushy! They are focused on preparation for what is to come.

Challenges

This type tends to be worriers, and the stress can cause them to feel a lot of tension and pressure. They are uncomfortable when facing a lot of unknowns.

How to help

When things are bad, ISFJs may feel overwhelmed and unable to move forward. They can be unnaturally negative. Send them inspirational quotes and memes, which they will find calming. Remind them of times they have overcome hardships in the past, and let them share their fears while you reassure them.


ESFJ

Strengths

With their primary motivation to care for friends and family, ESFJs can become very focused in a crisis. It may take them a while to appreciate the seriousness of the situation, but once they do, they are reliable and caring.

Challenges

This type struggles with tense situations and tends to focus on flaws (theirs and others) under stress. You’ll also notice that they are increasingly sensitive.

How to help

ESFJs have natural optimism, but under great stress they become very pessimistic. Share funny memes or binge classic sitcoms with them, and suggest they take time outside. Let them talk, but don’t try to erase their feelings with logic.


ESTP

Strengths

In a difficult situation, ESTPs want the facts. They believe that if they understand everything, they can respond appropriately. They hate the idea of the crisis controlling them.

Challenges

ESTPs are usually risk takers: they are the skydivers, the extreme sports athletes, and the kid in your neighborhood growing up who jumped out of his second-story window. The rigid structure and inevitable monotony that are parts of a quarantine will be very difficult for them.

How to help

The high-spirited ESTP may become depressed during an ongoing crisis. Introduce some variety into their days, and encourage them to try new things, to the extent that they can. Don’t respond emotionally to them, and don’t push them to talk. Once they do, you can help them break down the issues they are dealing with.


ISTP

Strengths

Count on ISTPs to be calm and fairly unemotional in a crisis. Their ability to take things in stride can be a source of comfort to others.

Challenges

Some ISTPs are so laid back that they will not respond to a serious event until the last possible moment. The rigidity and, let’s face it, the boring nature of quarantine, not to mention the emotions of others, can be irritants.

How to help

At their lowest, the usually relaxed ISTP may become emotional, either sad or angry. This will surprise people who know them well. Make sure they have their alone time and don’t insist they talk about their feelings. A lot of ISTPs will enjoy reading mysteries or solving puzzles.


ISFP

Strengths

If you are quarantined with an ISFP, you probably are finding that person pretty easy to be around. ISFPs are caring and non-judgmental and look for ways to have fun. They are also good problem-solvers and can quickly see new ways of doing things.

Challenges

Under stress, ISFPs resist demands being placed on them. They too will find restrictions to their lives frustrating and confining. They may also be troubled by the fear of loss.

How to help

The normally-sunny ISFPs may become overly critical and negative. It’s okay to validate their feelings and remind them of their strengths. Don’t offer solutions while they are anxious; wait until they are calm.


ESFP

Strengths

ESFPs are charming, fun-loving, warm, and talkative—very good quarantine companions! Their primary concerns are the safety and happiness of others.

Challenges

If you know an ESFP who is quarantined alone, be sure to contact that person regularly—this type has a hard time with solitude. ESFPs will miss the spontaneity of their normal lives and feel agitated by the lack of control they have over what happens.

How to help

Struggling ESFPs tend to become overly dramatic and even a little immature when the restrictions become too oppressive. Spending time outside will allow them to feel freer, and although this could be said of all types, they get a lot of joy from pets. They like praise, so give that freely, and let them talk, even when they are irrational.


INFP

Strengths

INFPs are empathetic idealists, so they will work hard to make any group they are part of peaceful and encouraging. In a crisis, you can count on them for support and help. They have a high level of personal integrity.

Challenges

INFPs focus on what is going on around them, and they interpret their environment using their intuition. They are prone to anxiety anyway, and a difficult situation increases it. If things become too stressful, they may retreat and isolate themselves.

How to help

Under great stress, INFPs will become cynical and self-centered. They will fixate on potential problems and be overwhelmed by the everyday details. Try to get them involved in a project and remind them of their strengths. Don’t offer advice unless they ask.


ENFP

Strengths

One of the most likeable of the personality types, ENFPs are the life of the party. Their sunny optimism, warmth, and humor will lift the spirits of people around them. They are also creative problem-solvers.

Challenges

The lack of outside stimulation and rigidity of quarantine can be stifling to the ENFP. Their intensely social nature may clash with more introverted family members who don’t always want to be part of the latest ENFP scheme.

How to help

ENFPs can become oversensitive and negative if they feel pushed to their limits. Ensure they have plenty of contact with others, and encourage them to take care of themselves through exercise, time outside, and meditation. They won’t want to rehash details, but when they are calm, they will appreciate a listening ear.


INFJ

Strengths

INFJs in your life may have realized the severity of the coronavirus outbreak before many others, so attuned are they to future events. They are compassionate and good at coming up with innovative solutions.

Challenges

During a crisis, INFJs will be frustrated by disruptions of plans and the need to focus on the present. Their ability to look into the future can also cause them to worry.

How to help

Under pressure, INFJs may try to calm themselves by spending too much, sleeping too little, and eating too much. Depression is common for this type. Suggest they go for walks, spend time in nature, and read, and try to keep their environment calm.


ENFJ

Strengths

Your ENFJ friend, family member, or coworker will project manage the crisis. ENFJs are great leaders: they are focused and driven, but they also care deeply about the people who are affected.

Challenges

ENFJs thrive on appreciation, which isn’t always forthcoming in challenging situations. If their plans are ignored or not implemented, they will feel disappointed.

How to help

ENFJs under stress may lose their can-do, positive attitude and indulge in criticism. To help them get back to their typical selves, ask them to watch a funny movie with you or find a change of scenery—even if that’s the yard in front of your house!


INTJ

Strengths

INTJs will use their whip-smart brains to do research on how best to manage the crisis. They will find the best solution and the most expedient way to implement it. An INTJ is rarely unprepared.

Challenges

INTJs often lack patience for what they see as incompetence. If people don’t go along with their plans, they may feel angry. Too many people in their environment may lead to sensory overload.

How to help

INTJs are so committed to their plans that they may become obsessive and unable to listen to objections or other approaches. Their logical demeanors may become irrational. Try to lighten their load so they don’t feel all of the responsibility for decisions. Make sure they have time to themselves in calm surroundings.


ENTJ

Strengths

ENTJs, natural leaders, do not panic in a crisis and will make sure they are as prepared as possible. They are protective and not afraid to assert themselves to take care of others.

Challenges

They will be annoyed if people don’t accept their solutions, and they will resist following anyone else. Other people’s emotions will set them on edge.

How to help

At their wit’s end, without the typical tools they use to get things done, ENTJs will become overly emotional. Don’t smother them with emotion or judge them for feeling the way they do. Get them involved in coming up with solutions for problems, something they love to discuss.


INTP

Strengths

INTPs will reserve judgment and process information before jumping in to make decisions. They are unlikely to panic or overreact. They will keep their emotions to themselves.

Challenges

This type will push back on their loss of autonomy. They will be bored by repetitive tasks and frustrated by the emotions of others. INTPs do not like feeling controlled.

How to help

If INTPs’ inferior function is in control, they will become emotional, which will surprise people who know them. If you want to help, don’t ask how they feel unless they bring up their emotions. Let them be alone if they want to, and don’t correct them when they express things irrationally.


ENTP

Strengths

ENTPs love research, and they will work to understand the complexities of the crisis. They remain calm and don’t want to escalate emotions or fear. A crisis will spur them to try to help as many people as possible, often using their trademark senses of humor to raise spirits.

Challenges

Lack of creativity and stimulation affect ENTPs significantly. They will be annoyed if people try to micromanage them, and they may overextend themselves because they want to help so many people.

How to help

Extreme stress makes ENTPs turn inward. They become more reserved and more focused on their own issues. Find ways for them to be creative, which will feed their souls. Don’t try to solve their current problems, but you should discuss plans for the future with them.

Want to find out your personality type and the types of the people around you? Contact Stephanie Carnes at stephanie@lmc.group.



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info@lmc.group I 603-217-5045 I 83 Hanover St., Ste 24, Manchester, NH 03101