Dear Dad, Back to the ‘letters!’

by Elouise


Back to my INFJ letters, and David’s shocking discovery that there are MORE like me out there!  No wonder we’ve had to work hard to get along.

People with my personality profile are sometimes called ‘The Counsellor.’ People like David, ‘The Inspector.’  Need I say more?

Actually, I do.  I’m an INFJ; David is an ISTJ.  That means we’re introverts (I), and we prefer a planned, organized approach to life (J).  David knows his letters because he was in a clergy group that studied their personality types.

I think you and David have the same personality type: ISTJ. 

Here’s what I’m certain about.

You and I are introverts (I). I’m sure of this. We aren’t social butterflies. In fact, we shy away from social gatherings full of chit-chat and schmoozing.

You and I also prefer an organized approach to life (J).  We want things settled, not left hanging. We don’t enjoy interruptions, and sometimes tend to get lost in our work.

I’m fairly certain about the following, but not 100%.

I think you are an ISTJ, as is David. Here’s what the SF part looks like:

S is about focus.  You tend to focus on the present and on concrete information gained by observational data (touch, taste, smell, etc.).

  • I prefer to focus on the future (N), looking for patterns and possibilities.

T is about making decisions.  You tend to make decisions primarily on logic and on objective analysis of cause and effect.

  • I prefer to base decisions primarily on values and on subjective evaluation of people-centered concerns (F).

So you see, it isn’t just that I’m female. It’s that I’m wired differently than you are. Men can also be INFJs.

I think my NF drove you as crazy as David’s ST sometimes drives me. Here are two examples of ways I might have driven you crazy.

  • Intuition:  I have a difficult time focusing on the present as though it were isolated from everything that came before and will possibly evolve in the future. If something isn’t “correct” or “right” today, that doesn’t mean I’m not headed in the right direction! In fact, it’s cause for celebration that we can see a trajectory here!  I have great confidence I’ll reach the desired outcome someday, based on progress thus far. When? I don’t know. The fact that I missed the mark right back there doesn’t mean all is lost! In fact, it’s a sign that I’m making progress because I now KNOW where and how I missed the mark back there. Don’t you see it, too?
  • Feeling: I’m motivated by the way things impact people short and long-term, not by logic or even an analysis of cause and effect.  How do we know your decision will have the desired effect? It might make things worse! When I need to make a decision, my mind immediately jumps to how this will impact people. People are way more important than logic, aren’t they? My way may seem murky because we don’t know if it’s the ‘right’ decision. Maybe we never will. Yet we can’t assess anything until we know the outcomes for everyone involved. I don’t hate data; it’s important. Even more important are the stories behind and in the data. Without knowing them, how can I evaluate the data fairly? It seems simple to me. Don’t you see it, too?

Yes, I tend to be ‘verbose.’ Well, you and David have your own ways of being verbose. Like a faucet I can’t turn off.  Very Verbal Men! That’s why I’m happy to be a Very Verbal Woman!

I can’t deny or hide who I am. Each of us is needed in this world. I’m learning to honor that about you, not just about David. I don’t want to misjudge you. I do, though, believe more was going on in our relationship than either of us understood years ago.

I’m sure you remember the Cascade Garden at Longwood.  The gorgeous photo I enclosed reminds me of all the bromeliads you grew and tended over the years!

Love and a hug,

© Elouise Renich Fraser
Photo credit:  DAFraser, April 2012
Bromeliads in the Cascade Garden, Longwood Gardens PA