3 Things Every Judger Secretly Has to Deal With

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on August 19, 2019

With Perceivers described as indecisive, freewheeling, impulsive types and Judgers described as focused, organized and dependable, you'd think that Judgers had it made. After all, the Judging side of the fence is where the lawyers, executives and Marie Kondo hang out, all pushing the "Inbox Zero" movement and telling us that radical organization is life-changing in its ability to increase productivity and lower stress.

The dirty little secret? It's actually a bit rubbish being a Judger. Here's why.

1. We Never Have any Free Time

Full disclosure: I'm a really strong Judger. My latest Typefinder result has me down as 81 percent Judging and only 19 percent Perceiving, and my "orderly" facet is off the charts. This means I'm a big fan of to-do lists, monthly planners and goal setting. At work, I have all these sheets of paper setting out exactly what I need to achieve that day, marked out in one-hour blocks that I color in when the job's done. Nothing makes me happier than a logging off for the day, having colored all the blocks on my to-do list bright blue.

Except, my list never does get colored in because I'm forever writing something new into it. There's a space between 12pm and 1pm on Thursday? Who needs lunch? Let's use that time to schedule some LinkedIn posts, I've not done that in a while. A one-hour window on Friday night at 8 pm? Let's organize some cleaning tasks! (And then get frustrated when I'm just too exhausted to get the vacuum cleaner out. At 8 pm on a Friday night).

Do you see the problem here? We Judgers get so caught up always having a time and a place for everything that we never actually have any free time. If we see a window, there's a fair chance we're going to organize something into it. It's hard for us to justify doing something just for pleasure because if we can't tick it off our to-do list, what's the point?

2. We Don't Always Organize Very Well

Perceivers organize their life based on energy. If they're feeling up to completing something on their to-do list, they'll do it. If not, then the task can wait until they're in the mood—at which point they'll rock that action item like a boss.

Judgers, on the other hand, organize their lives based around time. We plan to do things in a specific order at certain times of the day, and we usually have a good idea how much time we want to allocate to the task. Even if we're not feeling motivated to "check emails" as the first action item of the work day, we'll do it because that's what we have planned. Going off plan is okay every now and then, but trying to run a whole day like that throws us completely off track. 

What's wrong with this approach? A couple of things. When you force yourself to do something you are not up for doing, it means you do it with a bad heart. You deny your authentic preferences just because your plans are set in stone, and that makes you resentful and grumpy. Another problem is priority. If you're fixated on completing your to-do list in a structured, predetermined way, then you might not get the most important items done on time or make time for the unplannable stuff, like the boundary-pushing things that kids do.

Judgers know that not every task is created equal, and even the best-laid plans can go awry. Of course we know this—we're not stupid. But sometimes, order becomes a tyranny. I personally get frustrated and passive aggressive when people disrupt my well thought-out plans, especially if their own lack of planning caused the situation. It can ruin my day I feel so disrespected.

3. Making Decisions is a Massive Burden

For Judgers, decision fatigue is real. Having to make decisions all the time is exhausting and we don't always want to shoulder that burden. For any Perceiver reading this, let me ask you, how many times have you relied on a Judger for decision making? How many times have you asked your partner to choose what you're having for dinner that evening or what you should at the weekend? How many times have you forced them to make decisions through your own inaction?

These may seem like small decisions but they all place a measure of responsibility on your Judger beyond the burden of making the decision. Because, you see, we now have to make the right decision—one that works for everyone who may be impacted by it. Wise Judgers don't just assert their own opinions, despite what people may think. Rather, we gather all the information, establish a list of scenarios and weigh up the pros and cons of each possible solution before moving forward with the best decision. We want to get things right and we feel a massive pang of guilt if the plan goes wrong or if someone suffers because of it. 

Does that sound like domineering behavior to you? The stereotype of Judgers is that we're tyrannical and overbearing. Yet in reality, all we want to do is make the right decision. It's unfair to criticize us for our "controlling behavior" when nine times out of ten, we were co-opted into making the decision in the first place. Many of us feel completely exposed—vulnerable even—if people are not unified towards the decision we made, and that adds a whole new tier of peril to decision making. INFJs will know exactly what I'm talking about here.

Here's a secret few people realize: Judgers feel much less anxious about winging it if someone else has done the planning. That way, if things go wrong, we don't have to worry about letting everyone, and ourselves, down. In fact, it's our moral responsibility to be flexible and help rescue the situation. The truth is, Judgers like to slip in and out of decision roles. If you want to care for your Judger, could you maybe make a decision every once in a while? 

Jayne Thompson

Jayne is a B2B tech copywriter and the editorial director here at Truity. When she’s not writing to a deadline, she’s geeking out about personality psychology and conspiracy theories. Jayne is a true ambivert, barely an INTJ, and an Enneagram One. She lives with her husband and daughters in the UK. Find Jayne at White Rose Copywriting.

More from this author...
About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


solafunmi says...

Wow!!!! Jayne, thanks so much for this write up!

I wish I could frame it and put it up in my office and at home! Just so people know I am not actually crazy.

It really really captures some of our struggles. The description couldn't have been more apt!

If I ever doubted I was a serious 'Judger' this definitely cleared things up. ?

Applesandcinnamon (not verified) says...

Alright Jane! You nailed it

Greg Wochlik (not verified) says...

Very good article, very accurate.

I had a very good laugh at:

" I personally get frustrated and passive aggressive when people disrupt my well thought-out plans, especially if their own lack of planning caused the situation. It can ruin my day I feel so disrespected. "

As an INTJ, I get severly frustrated if someone else's lack of planning impacts my day. Sometimes, like at work, you can't tell them where to get off. You just have to bottle it and suck it up.

I read somewhere: "Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency!".

On the topic of decision making: currently I'm sitting home without a job (software developer, long story). I hate having to always make the decision "what do you want for dinner?" Often I have an idea what I want to eat; often I open the freezer and see if there is something in there. But, completely out of character, I often leave that decision to someone else. They know my tastes, and in 98% of the time they get it right. As an engineer, sometimes "random" is good.


Nancy Ternasky (not verified) says...

Good morning!  I love the organizational and tidying up side of my personality but have never been one to make boxes to color in (although I, too, would pick the color blue!). Primarily because I don’t want to use up time coloring when I could be cleaning out a cupboard.


a question I have had for some time is the affect of age and aging on personality types.  As a young woman I took the MBPI and was so confused - then eventually realized that summed up the rest of my life, too.  As an older adult with tons more life experiences and hours of self analysis it became the master key to understanding everything!!  I’d love to see something that references that progression.

And BTW:  I’m a mindful and happily awakened 69!! 

Charles Horvath (not verified) says...

I liked Nancy's comments about the effect of ageing on personality. I agree with her about the wealth of life experiences and the abundance of self analysis that as an older person I have been through. (I am in my 80th. year and am looking forward to many more to come.)

The other point that comes to mind is the innumerable insightful thoughts that come to mind over time. These also helps shape personality.

My question is, have these factors been studied and if so, what are the findings?

Donna Rose (not verified) says...

Thank you!  Thank you!!  Thank you!!!  I have been having a difficult week and this answered my reactions to situations. 

Linda Miller (not verified) says...

Thanks for the good article!  You made me so happy that I'm a P!


Kim T (not verified) says...

As an INFP who is surrounded by J's at home and at work, I disagree with the sentence "we now have to make the right decision—one that works for everyone who may be impacted by it"...  My experience is that J's have such a strong need to make a decision that ANY decision will do, even if it's not a good one.  I find J's will make a decision too quickly for the sake of it because they can't bear that something is still open-ended. 

On the other hand, I find I am more concerned about making "the right" decision the first time, and therefore am able to hold the tension to gather more information. That is a real strength I have learned to respect in myself and I don't mind pushing back when there isn't enough information yet to make a good decision.  

Otherwise, you have written an excellent article.  I completely agree with your view that the need to make decisions can be tyrannical master and I often feel sorry for my J friends who have no peace and are almost pathologically driven to get stuff done for the sake of getting stuff done.  And you are absolutely right that when stuff needs to get done you definitely need J's on your team!   There are strengths in both, and mutual respect for the strength of the other type goes a long way.  ☺

Carol A L (not verified) says...

From a constant list maker, thanks for allowing me to feel 'normal' - well at least a judger's normal!

Now I know why I make plans and constantly prepare for that free time to follow my interests, but never actually get to the point where there is nothing more I HAVE to do.

Andrea F (not verified) says...

Might it be that because you are less familiar with 'free time' it is easier to go with the known and get that customary satisfaction hit from working in the known?

Perhaps if you put some design and structure (plus thought) into exploring 'free' time you could learn how to enjoy it.  Even do frivolous stuff - just for the experience and comprehension.

Then you could explore deliberately.  Allow the unknown to emerge to become known to you.  With that knowledge you could organise to reduce the time-eater activities and develop systems to deliver more ease and flow.

'Before mastery chop wood and carry water.  After mastery use the chainsaw and plumbing...'




Janessa K (not verified) says...

BAM! Aaaaand mike drop. Could not have nailed me on the head any better if I had tried to explain it myself. These are the exact issues I deal with every single day. I struggle with decisions, to the point of anxiety attacks. And forget about someone asking me to do something for them if I am in the middle of completing my "list"....the horror! I have learned to be more flexible at work out of necessity, but my family knows better.

Thank you for such a great article. Making copies, and handing them out as explanations, or warnings, depending on how you look at it LOL!

Sandi Verfurth (not verified) says...

I think it might be the fact that you are an INTJ that makes you feel the need to make the right decision rather than it being just a J thing.  I have several ESFJs, ENFJs, and one ENTJ in my life in addition to my INTJ husband.  My INTJ husband is the only one who agonizes about being right more than anyone else with the ENTJ coming in at a very distant second.  But the ENTJ along with all of the ESFJs and ENFJs are the masters of the phrase, "That's good enough."  I also hear a lot of, "I don't know; it doesn't really matter.  Just choose."  Or my one friend who is an ESFJ and is a principal is constantly reminding me that it's easier to change once you're moving but analysis paralysis gets you nowhere.  My entrepeneurial ESFJ friend tells me to just make a decision, even if it's wrong, just to get the ball rolling.  Maybe it's more of a TJ thing than just a J thing to agonize over the right decision.  I know ISTJs and ESTJs who agonize like this.

Also, your tone in this article seems kind of exasperated.  Maybe I'm just reading into it, and if I am I apologize. But if you were exasperated when writing this, then maybe you shouldn't write articles when feeling that way? Lol. It seemed kind of scolding to me.  But I'm a freewheeeling, sensitive, overly-independent ENFP, so maybe that's why I took it that way.  We're so good at picking up vibes that we can pick them up when they're not even there.  Whatever the case, thanks for taking the time to write it and for all of the deep thought that I know you put into it.

Share your thoughts


Myers-Briggs® and MBTI® are registered trademarks of the MBTI Trust, Inc., which has no affiliation with this site. Truity offers a free personality test based on Myers and Briggs' types, but does not offer the official MBTI® assessment. For more information on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® assessment, please go here.

The Five Love Languages® is a registered trademark of The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, which has no affiliation with this site. You can find more information about the five love languages here.

Latest Tweets

Get Our Newsletter