What nobody told you about INFJ and ESTP

These 2 types harbour a hidden talent. But to tap into it, egos must be set aside.

Lucy the Oracle
11 min readMar 30, 2024
Photo by Ivan Tsaregorodtsev on Unsplash

First, a caveat (because this is the internet, and people take things out of context) — Am I saying other types don’t have a talent? What is it, pupils?


“Veeeery good! You all get a star”.

Honestly, if you find me patronising, it’s because you haven’t walked a mile in my shoes.

As always: I hope this article inspires other people who know more than I about other MBTI types to write about them and look for a hidden talent in other opposite pairings. Feel free to link to your findings in the comments.

First of all: don’t take labels literally.

Maybe you fit into the descriptions of either of these types I’m talking about, but don’t believe in MBTI “because it’s pseudoscience”. Does that sound like you? No worries: take it as a metaphor. As if I wasn’t talking about types but, say, flowers instead. “Oh, people who behave like this are violets. People who behave like that are sunflowers”. Same logic, and it’s a good parallel because flowers are good, they have a nice scent, they look beautiful, everybody likes them. Same with types, there isn’t a bad or a good one, all are good, we must simply garden properly to prevent either one from becoming a weed and killing other flowers.

We know it isn’t literal. We don’t need to dumb things down to keep the trolls quiet. Here in my blog I have a basic standard of decency I expect of my readers. Everyone is capable of it, all you need is critical thinking.

(Honest to god, if you’re worried about labeling things, there’s no need. You can comment the points that resonate with you in the article without using labels, or using your own. It’s all good. I won’t find it weird).

What’s more: some people won’t fit perfectly into either description but resonate strongly with some points nonetheless. Look… Maybe you are other type tangentially related. I don’t know. This isn’t a typology article. But can you please put this egotistic obsession with labels aside for a sec? Okay? Yes, thank you. Leave your ego by the door please, nobody is gonna steal it. You can pick it up again on your way out. So… There could be information for you here, regardless of which label you prefer. I hope you find it useful.

INFJ cares too much. ESTP doesn’t care enough.

The smothering mother and the unruly child, if you will. Yes, I went there. I’m calling one type childish and the other one annoying. This is not a drill, it’s meant to provoke you.

Better yet, it’s meant to provoke your ego. This section of the article will provoke your ego in case you haven’t followed the above instructions and left it by the door. “But Lucy, why be so harsh, I don’t know how to put it aside”, well this will teach you then. The people who DID leave their egos are not bothered. You’ll get there too if you trust me. (And if you don’t, why are you even reading? It’s a free choice).

Photo by Dustin Humes on Unsplash

I actually love the idea of a flower metaphor, I think I’ll roll with it. I’ll start with my own type, I’m ESTP if you can’t tell. I do actually plan a lot of my articles (the ones that include references, scientific or not), but this one I’m “birthing” out of seemingly nowhere, going with the good old ESTP stereotype.

When we speak of ESTP impulsivity, a lot of people who don’t relate say “oh but I’m impulsive too” and that’s fair enough, there are a number of ways to be impulsive, but I’m not exactly referring to shut-down-and-panic (a parody on “keep calm and carry on”). ESTP impulsivity isn’t a flaw or a defect. It’s best described as happy-go-lucky. That’s why my chosen metaphor is clover.

You see, I’m actually quite good at gardening. I won’t just parrot a superstition you’re tired of hearing — that clover symbolises luck. Instead, I’ll tell you one possible reason why the superstition became a thing at all: clover is invasive. It’s one of the plants listed as “ground cover” when you’re shopping at a garden centre. If you have spots in your garden where grass isn’t growing for one reason or another, you can try using clover because it’s lower maintenance and hardier. Alternatively, if you’re like me and dislike grass altogether, clover is one good way to start a meadow, because it will slowly take space and compete with grass without smothering tall flowers (or anything tall). In fact, clover doesn’t smother, period. It simply takes space in a way that looks natural or… Lucky.

You can look at it and see: the root system isn’t dense, it won’t climb other plants, it will spread more than it grows up (forever a child), and the leaves can be numerous but they don’t exactly block the sun from reaching its neighbour — namely grass. You can’t explain, at first impression, why the hell clover “wins” in the end, because it’s not even trying.

The secret is underneath it, in the soil itself. Like any “weed”, clover has adapted to thrive in a variety of soil quality that is wider than the one grass enjoys. In other words: if you give it fertilizer, it will feed, but so will grass. If you don’t fertilize, however, it will still feed very well like nothing happened… But grass becomes weaker. Hence, clover wins.

ESTP isn’t luckier than other types. These people simply understand that in order to get their place under the sun, they don’t need to take anything away from others. “The surroundings don’t need to adapt to me. I will adapt to them”, thinks the ESTP. And since most people are doing the opposite movement, to varying degrees of intensity — namely, “I’m going to worry about this, worry about that, control this, control that, overtake this, overtake that”, who wins in the end? The worrier? Yeah, I don’t think so either.

This creates an illusion of luck, but also feeds a certain sense of childishness. Dear ESTP, just because you found a loophole in the rules, or a gap in the market, or a potential nobody else is tapping into… It doesn’t fucking mean you should.

Grow up. Success doesn’t always equal fairness. Donald Trump is a good example of cautionary tale for ESTP. Everybody was saying “oh, no way, this guy is too on-the-nose with his idiocy to become president”, and he was simply like “watch me”. He succeeded! But at what cost? I mean, sure, his willingness to adapt to a scenario in order to get what he wants needs to be studied. It’s the stuff of geniuses. It goes to show people aren’t open-minded enough to consider the reality of what is or isn’t possible. Just because something is weird or dumb or unprecedented… Doesn’t mean it’s impossible! At the same time, though, the power to put this serendipitous “luck” to good use (instead of towards oppressing minorities) is on ESTP hands. This means it’s important for ESTP to grow up, take a look at the bigger picture, and really consider what they should or shouldn’t try.

After all, this is what’s up: ESTP, or clover people, are among the most open-minded. They seek experience for experience’s sake, just like a toddler. Don’t we often say that kids are pure, kind-hearted, innocent (in the sense of: having no attachment to malice)? Well, ESTP have a very good chance of becoming great role models because of that. But another piece of the puzzle needs to be found: intent and purpose.

Photo by Wyxina Tresse on Unsplash

Bindweed people, or INFJ, perhaps can help them out.

This plant is also considered a “weed” for its ability to spread without much help. With long taproots that are super hard to pull out, it’s very stubborn in staying and reproducing in one little space as much as possible. Bindweed will take over a corner of the garden without trying to explore new horizons much, but if anything dares trying to grow on that same corner, bindweed will smother it to death. Instead of coexisting for a while until the neighbouring plants, grass, etc “give up”, bindweed is taking no chances.

You see, clover doesn’t kill the competition (the grass), instead it waits for grass to die all on its own because of its inability to settle for less feeding than what it usually wants; meanwhile clover is like “oh, I can live with less. It’s no bother. Let me take over this vacant space here”. Bindweed, on the other hand, could do the same because it has the ability to do the same, but chooses not to. Instead, it worries about the plants that are growing tall. “Oh no”, says the bindweed. “I worry that these tall plants will get in my way. I fear that if we exist side by side, they will smother me. So I’ll go ahead, climb and smother them first to prevent that”.

INFJ, like bindweed, take an approach to life that involves trying to predict and prevent the worst. It’s the opposite of the lucky guy. What does someone do when they aren’t feeling lucky? Well, they try controlling their reality. Instead of experimenting with a little risk to see what happens, they have no tolerance for any risks “just in case” things go South. They crave order, predictability, and comfort. You can’t have any of these when you’re trusting your luck, can you? It’s a tradeoff.

The cautionary tale here is Hitler. A lot of people agree he was INFJ, so I’ll go with that. When Hitler rose to prominence, did he test the waters first to see what groups would naturally gravitate towards or away from him? Did he wait to see who to “feed” and who to “gradually discourage” based on the natural trends that already existed without him in Germany? No. He straight-up decided, upfront, that “this group is bad”, “this group is good”, “this group is neutral”, now “let’s organise society according to what we have predetermined, whatever it costs”.

Now, the above is nuanced. One could say, “well, Anti-Semitism in Germany predates Hitler”, and indeed it does. That’s where he and Trump become similar cautionary tales, for tapping into a pre-existing collective feeling (of hate, in this case). INFJ and ESTP share the same exact function stack, after all.

What I’m saying is (however horrible this sounds) someone like Trump wouldn’t automatically think of smothering anyone or any group to death in a confined corner deprived of resources. It can definitely happen as isolated cases, given some of the measures he implemented, but it’s a consequence rather than a pre-meditated end. Taking an educated guess here, I wouldn’t say extermination by force was the intent. After all, clover is happy to tell grass to go live elsewhere. It’s bindweed that turns its attention “towards” the perceived enemy and won’t rest until it not only loses, not only surrenders, not only begs for pardon, but also dies. Agonising. (Or alternatively, is humiliated. Let’s be real, not every INFJ cautionary tale involves a genocide. Sometimes this death is a metaphor, it’s just good old binding to weaken the threat).

You see, I chose Hitler as a cautionary tale, and maybe you’re clutching your pearls there and wondering “why”. Do I hate INFJ? Why chose someone objectively worse than the ESTP person? Well, no, I don’t hate any particular type. The thing is, INFJ gets the long end of the stick way more often than everyone else because of how moralistic and how much of a “good boy” (or “good girl”, or insert gender) they are perceived as. After all, who doesn’t approve of having a strong moral compass? Who doesn’t applaud idealistic “saviour” types who selflessly set out to help the world become a better place? And they do it not for money, not for glory or fame, not for any reward. They literally do it for its own sake.

Perhaps you’d agree that it’s admirable… As long as the INFJ in question is right and has the correct idea of what an ideal world looks like. They don’t always. Look at Hitler! He didn’t… But if I were to take a guess, I’d say he thought he did.

“Oh no, maybe I’m totally wrong”, the INFJ will think. Don’t panic! Between holding on firmly to this one set of beliefs that will never ever ever ever ever ever ever change — like bindweed holds on to the plants it wants to control — and having no fixed set of beliefs at all, exploring the world irresponsibly — like clover spreading itself thin… What I’m saying with this article, and what you should consider taking away from it (if you’re INFJ) is that perhaps there is a middle way.

The middle way

Perhaps bindweed people think, “if I change my mind, I have to change my way of life”. Meanwhile, clover disagrees and thinks “if I stop changing my mind, I stop living”. None is correct. But I’m talking extremes. Nobody is extreme. Right? Let’s hope so.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

You can’t literally make your bindweed teach your clover to start climbing or making a stronger statement with boundaries. Your clover also won’t teach bindweed to relax more and let a bit of sunlight through for something to coexist on its corner. Plants behave by instinct.

But you see, our egos also behave by instinct. Hence the comparison. You can’t change an INFJ ego, all you can do it acknowledge and silence it. You can’t change an ESTP ego either. Egos are very, very stubborn creatures inside of us. They have their function, but we can’t let them take the steering wheel of life.

INFJ is great at identifying morals and making a very definite commitment to them. But if they let the ego take front, this commitment to morals will be selfish and forget to account for the fact that different people have different morals and are still valid (because of their story, background, environment they’re dealing with, etc). ESTP, on the other hand, has a knack for using other people’s commitment to morals towards achieving goals. But if they let the ego take front, this will turn into opportunism and manipulative behavior, forgetting to have a leg to stand on in case things go South, or a stronger “core” to decide where to go in the first place.

The hidden talent both types can easily uncover is the gift of selfless service. Unlike popular misunderstanding, ESTP isn’t inherently selfish, and INFJ isn’t inherently selfless. These are just the masks worn by their egos. The egotistic mask of INFJ “selflessness” involves smothering, either to intentionally cause an agonising death (if it’s an enemy) or accidentally preventing growth (to a friend) by being too “my-way-or-the-highway”. On the other hand, ESTP people who operate too much on an ego level might perhaps end up believing they are in fact selfish and it’s okay because everyone is selfish. I know. I’ve been there. It’s not true. It’s ego. Let’s learn from INFJ and have “eyes to see” the higher values at play in the world, even though on a micro level things might look a bit desperate.

Both can achieve a stage in life where they become truly selfless at work (because let’s be real, you can’t be selfless 24/7. It’s allright). That’s due to their pre-existing potential, because neither personality type is coming from a place of avarice. Right? They have this very pronounced generosity for its own sake, doing what they do just to stick to their way of living. One (INFJ) in order to stick to their precious morals; the other (ESTP) in order to stick to their precious open-mindedness. None is like, “I will accumulate resources”. Instead, they freely give. That’s beautiful. But the ego must step aside first.



Lucy the Oracle

Oracle learner / spirit worker based in Ireland. Buddhist/polytheist. I don't read minds. I don't change minds. I don't sugarcoat. Take my message or leave it.