There are several kinds of people in this world: Those who embrace conflict as a crucial means of creating change, those who dislike conflict but have no problem engaging in it when necessary, and those who attempt to steer clear of it at all costs (*raises hand meekly*). And the Myers-Briggs personality types who avoid confrontation in relationships tend to have one thing in common: they'd much rather keep the peace than potentially rock the boat by bringing up their concerns or issues.
Given that conflict is a healthy and normal component of any partnership, it’s important to understand which category you and your SO fall under. And whether you know it or not, someone’s four-letter Myers-Briggs type can tell you a lot about how they approach and deal with potential conflict. While Extroverts often like to take initiative, Introverts spend far more time reflecting internally before taking any action, so they may be less likely to instigate a confrontation. Once engaged in a confrontation, the Thinking or Feeling preference comes out — Thinkers prefer to focus on purely the facts, while Feelers want to take some time to explore differences and evaluate needs. And the Judging/Perceiving preference indicates how someone makes decisions during a conflict, while Judgers are typically more focused on seeking a resolution and determining the consequences of the situation, Perceivers are more focused on the present and finding clarification while working through it.
None of these approaches is right or wrong. But trying to dodge confrontation completely can certainly be problematic. The fact is, while the following personality types make phenomenal partners for many reasons, they may just need a little extra nudging to feel comfortable sharing the things that bother them and addressing problems.
Warm, sensitive, and loyal, The Consul will do just about anything to make sure their partner remains happy. And part of that means making a concerted effort to prevent an argument from happening than have to participate in one and smooth things over (although they’re pretty good at the latter). Their conflict-averse nature stems from their desire to maintain a feeling of security and stability at all times. The Consul is also prone to seeking out approval from others — especially their significant other — and at times, they may even unknowingly compromise their own values, beliefs, or feelings in exchange for achieving it. And since approval is so important to them, they can have a hard time swallowing criticism.
All that said, the ESFJ’s sensitivity can come in handy during times of conflict. And when they are able to engage in confrontation, their knack for collaborating and compromising allows them to quickly and easily come up with a resolution that works for both partners. BTW — The Consul is typically super protective of their SO, so if someone else is somehow bothering or hurting the one they love, that's one situation in which they'll have no problem at all with confrontation.
There are a few reasons why The Defender tends to avoid confrontation — they’re slightly reserved and resistant to change, they struggle with emotional expression, and they have a tendency to take things very personally. Knowing that a confrontation can bring about criticism, which can be painful for them to take on, they protect themselves by dodging it however they can. ISFJs are also highly private people, and they tend to guard their feelings and deal with them internally rather than bringing them to their partner’s attention. As a result, their partner is sometimes left to guess when something is wrong.
The Defender is also immensely compassionate, however — they will always opt for understanding and empathy over judgement. And that’s a quality that’s obviously useful during a conflict. Giving an ISFJ plenty of positive feedback during a confrontation (to counteract any negative comments) can go a long way in making them feel comfortable.
Quiet, gentle and determined, The Advocate is the ultimate idealist with a big heart. If there’s one thing you need to understand about this personality type, it’s that it takes them some time to build enough trust with someone so that they can drop their guard. Only when they feel 100% comfortable and secure with their partner can they truly be vulnerable — which is why, at least in the early stages of dating, they may guard their thoughts and feelings and avoid confrontation. Additionally, INFJs may take criticism as a personal attack if it's not worded carefully and constructively. But on the plus side, this type is all about self-improvement, so if criticism is framed in the right way, they may be more willing to soak it in and act on it.
But it’s worth noting that the INFJ does have certain traits that can be beneficial during conflict. For example, this personality type is incredibly insightful, meaning they can easily make connections between events to get to the heart of a relationship issue. They’re also creative AF, and they can harness their innovative mindset to come up with solutions to any problems plaguing the partnership. The bottom line? INFJs are not likely to do the confronting, but once confronted, they can actually engage in conflict in a super productive way — as long as they feel safe, respected, and heard, that is.
Remember — just because these personalities have a hard time confronting you doesn't mean that they are incapable of working through a difference or difficulty in your relationship. Rather, these types are so focused on maintaining the status quo that they may choose to stay silent when a problem arises. Fortunately, building a strong foundation of trust and emotional safety can encourage them to be more forthcoming with their feelings, thoughts, and fears. In other words, by showing them that not only can you handle confrontation maturely, but that it will not shake your bond, you can make them feel increasingly comfortable being open and honest about whatever is on their mind.