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Breaking Down Myers Briggs: What Is Judging vs. Perceiving

Andrea writes on various topics from dating, couples, astrology, weddings, interior design, and gardens. She studied film and writing.


According to Myers Briggs, our personalities are configured based off four different spectrums. The last letter of your Myers Briggs personality score comes from the judging and perceiving scale. This can be one of the easier expressions to find in people partly because it is generally expressed externally. Judging personalities tend to care more about being clean, sticking to rules, keeping deadlines, and overall etiquette.

A perceiving personality will dress more eccentric, be less inclined to care about hygiene, and see deadlines as malleable. Both sides of the scale have their pros and cons. INTP is considered the smartest of MBTI, so don't discredit the perceiving types just because it might seem like they are a mess. They tend to be open to creativity, easy to get along with, and curious.

One of the biggest differences between judging and perceiving types is how they make decisions. Judging types are more decisive; they want to make a decision as soon as possible. This is a personality quality that craves efficiency. Judging types get that things need to be done in order for them to happen, but perceiving types see where there is pointlessness getting into rule making.

Perceiving types usually have very interesting and authentic perspectives. They may take longer to make a decision and prefer knowing all the possibilities before making an assertive yes. Perceiving types can come off as hating decisions, and they may tell you it's because they hate letting go of other options before knowing what that option could have given them.

Judging Personalities

Judging personalities are not critical of other people, at least... not exactly.

They tend to want to have all their crap together. They can be distracted by messes, so they'll want messes cleaned up before approaching more important details. Judging types tend to be strong communicators about their needs, thoughts, and what they feel should be shared. Some can have an avoidance of conflict -- but if you were to compare an INFJ and an INFP, the INFJ is more comfortable with conflict than the INFP. Conflict brings up a great deal of anxiety for an INFP who just wants people to get along and love each other. INFJ is guided more by wisdom and discernment, and so if they see something is going the wrong direction and they have the chance to intervene for the better, they'll try to do it as best as they see fit.

Judging types are typically easy to spot. Their clothes will be clean, they'll look put together, they'll match, and seem in good order. Some of the strongest business types are J personalities, like ESTJ, ENTJ, INTJ, and ISTJ. They are duty fulfillers, goal oriented, and often ambitious. They like to live life to the fullest and get antsy and stir crazy if they haven't done something fulfilling in awhile. The FJ people have a strong desire to keep their relationships healthy. ESFJ and ENFJ are almost always in relationships, whether they will admit it or not. INFJ is looking intensely for the perfect mate and may hold off longer on getting married compared to other FJ cousins.

Depending on other letters in the personality matrix, a J personality will be a hard working person that you can depend on to do a good, complete job. Sometimes they may need a push to be more creative, but if you can speak to their other qualities, such as N, S, F, or T -- they'll step up to the plate. All J personalities crave routine to some degree. You can make them really anxious by putting them into too much chaos. For some J personalities, this could be hard for them because they love rules so much. INFJ, yet again, is a weird one in this bunch. INFJ will pretend its perceiving and act like a P because they don't want to appear Type-A.

The most dominate, aggressively traditional J personalities are those with a thinking or feeling dominate function. Technically, and this is confusing, those with intuitive and sensing dominate functions are considered... perceiving personalities as a whole, regardless of whether they have a J or P preference. Confusing, I know. So this may explain why an INFJ seems a great deal more relaxed than ENFJ, which is dominated by extroverted feeling. Those dominated by sensing or intuition with a judging or perceiving preference may fall more toward the middle of the spectrum for J or P.


Perceiving Personalities

Perceiving personalities usually have an interest in the arts, have some hipster edge to them, and don't mind trying new experiences. Perceiving personalities are not as stubborn about rules. They may try things that would be too much of a stretch for the judging types. Perceiving personalities are more likely to dabble in drugs, take a non-traditional way to life, go camping, and traveling with only a backpack and a set of clothes. Perceiving types treasure authenticity. They don't like to do what has been set in stone just for the sake of following a rule. They think that rules can be transformed, made better, and that grace is more important than legalism. Perceiving types can be more open minded.

Perceiving personalities think outside the norm, whether they do so intentionally or not. They like for there to be as many options available as possible. They get bored if you pound their brains in with too many rules. They probably feel some amount of disgust at meetings. They might see it as a waste of time or boring. They tend to dance to the beat of their own drum. They may show out dramatically if they get really bored in the middle of class. They like to dabble in a variety of things, open several doors at once, and leave things messy so they can scour through it later. This personality tends to be artistic, creative, kinesthetic, and sensual. They typically offer more mundane and organizational tasks to their J peers. They like people who are offbeat with them. They can when stressed forgo basic hygiene, basic chores, and all around... will be a big, stinking mess. A lot of hippies are P personalities, and enjoy jobs outside the regular corporate world.

If a P personality is stressed out, you may want to encourage them to shower and clean their homes. They can forget their health and fall victim to bad, if not horrifying habits. They can get too relaxed about rules and end up hurting themselves and others who are nearby. Perceiving personalties can neglect or avoid conflict until it manifests in their physical appearance. They would prefer to go with the flow, make passive-aggressive comments, or avoid any and all discomfort. This is partly because addressing conflict is associated with being decisive, a skill that isn't at the top of their stack of trump cards.

Addressing conflict means killing certain opportunities or intervening with the natural flow of events. This can be hard for a perceiving type, especially F types. Many perceiving people would do well with a judging mate. Always consider the dominate and secondary functions; those are key in dating. All personalities do well with opposite judging-perceiving preferences. Myers Briggs likes to set people up with different preferences, especially extroverted-introverted and judging-perceiving. Of course, people are going to find out what makes more sense for them in the long run. MBTI is only a guide, not a definitive answer.


When it comes to personalities, other factors come into play on why a personality functions the way it does. What motivates an INFJ is different from an INTJ, even though it would be subtle since both are dominated by introverted-intuition. An INFJ and an ESTP have less in common, and therefore will appear to have very different motivators and philosophies on life. An ESTP might scare an INFJ who is much more introspective, and the ESTP might get bored of an INFJ who would never jump out of an airplane with only a parachute.

Different personalities can help you to better understand the world, but personalities are going to automatically get along with certain people better than others. When you have certain common ground, especially temperament, you have a better chance of making things happen. Sometimes if everyone is the same, it does quite give the group dynamic the right spark to bring something together. We need different personalities around us to balance us out and make for a better, more enriched experience. Think of it like baking a cake. If all you had was sugar and a stove... you're not going to end up with a cake at all. You need the cocoa powder, eggs, flour, vanilla, and everything else that makes it nice. To make a cake you need some ingredients more than others... which might explain why certain rare personalities, like INFJ or INTP, are hard to find.


Jason White from Canal Winchester, OH on April 21, 2016:

This was a good read. The Myers-Briggs test is one of my favorites and it is usually very accurate. I think a lot of people are confused by the J and P. This article helps make a clear distinction between them.

Sourav Rana on April 12, 2016:

Great method to spot the difference between judging and perceiving personalities. True that some people stick to rules while others prefer being free. Nice info thanks for sharing it serenityHalo

Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on April 12, 2016:


Why thank you! Hopefully, you it'll all make sense and be a fun experience.

Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on April 12, 2016:


I'm a lot functioning J. We need people who keep everything in order.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 12, 2016:

Very interesting! Now it's time to (try to) figure out my self and the people I know who may belong to either group!

Sukhneet Kaur Bhatti from India on April 12, 2016:

I am the one who is judgmental always. Anyways, nice information, thank you for the share.

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