A woman stands in a forest having a conversation with a man.

You know that confrontation is a part of your everyday life, important for growth and one of the ways you can learn about yourself and other people.

But you don’t have to like it.

Pretty much everyone would agree that confrontation is uncomfortable, embarrassing, messy and confusing. But for some people,  it can be downright excruciating.

When your boss wants to go over your abysmal third quarter numbers or discuss a coworker’s complaint, and your first thought is to dodge the meeting, fake a sudden illness, or quit your job, you’re probably one of those people. There's a good chance you're one of the seven personality types who find direct confrontation so horrifying that they are willing to avoid it at almost any cost.

Myers and Briggs types that hate confrontation

Of the 16 Myers and Briggs personality types, Introverted Feelers are the most likely to avoid confrontation.

It's not that they lack conflict-resolution skills. It's just that, as Introverts, they prefer dealing with conflict one-on-one or through any other medium than in person or in public. Introverts will become quickly overwhelmed and balk in heated group settings.

As Feelers, they are going to come into any confrontation with a wealth of feelings. If the other person is also bursting with emotion, staying on track to discuss the core issue and find a logical compromise will feel impossible.

Put the two together, and you can see that Introverted Feelers may feel insecure in a confronting situation – especially one that puts them on the spot and doesn't give them time to prepare, plan or process.

ISFJ: Downplays confrontation

The ISFJ forms an umbrella over everyone in the room and will go out of her way to keep them safe and their needs met. Steady as she goes, the ISFJ places a high value on relationships and works hard to keep them in harmony and foster cooperation and stability. This personality type finds conflict extremely energy-draining and demoralizing.

If a confrontation is brewing, the ISFJ will become distressed, downplay the issue, change the subject, clamp down and build a wall of silence, or simply leave the building. They tend to blame themselves if there is a conflict with someone they love.

ISFP: Waits 'til things blow over

ISFPs are relaxed and unselfish caretakers. They prefer keeping the peace to confrontation, and will often defer to others, trivializing their own needs, rather than engage in conflict.

Accommodating and quietly supportive ISFPs will wait out the conflict in hopes of it blowing over in time. Ultimately, they can feel resignation and accept others’ choices. They will drop a relationship rather than attempt to bring someone around to their way of thinking or express their feelings.

INFJ: Tries to stops trouble in its tracks

INFJs nurture and support others and would never accept an invitation to a fight, let alone start one. Reserved and thoughtful, these personalities have a knack for diffusing tension, arbitration, and encouraging cooperation. They want to understand others and create unity. Confrontation contradicts those ideals and causes a lot of distress.

INFJs can read the emotions of others and will use their diplomatic communication style to focus on common ground instead of the differences in relationships. They are highly motivated to resolve conflict before it even begins.

INFP: Represses their own needs

INFPs have a head full of possibilities, and are often too concerned with the future to invest a lot of energy into disagreements. Because they are unconventional and nonjudgmental about the paths of others, they don’t see anything to be upset about.

When faced with a confrontation, the INFP will be flexible, accommodating and open-minded. But they tend to repress their own needs if they believe it will keep the peace or maintain harmonious relationships – preferring to simply let things go.

Enneagram types that hate confrontation

The Enneagram personality system dives deep into people's motivations and fears, including what might trigger each type into conflict and how they respond when they're backed into a corner.

Many of the types dislike direct confrontation. But the following three types are more likely to ghost a date or block an annoying client’s phone calls than deal with the situation.

Enneagram 9: Serial conflict avoider

Enneagram Nines are called "the Peacemaker" for a reason! These types will do almost anything to avoid confrontation, and that includes refusing to say 'no' to something they really don't want to do if it will help them avoid a disagreement.

Instead of engaging directly when conflict rears up in the room, Nines become the mediator, counselor or helpful observer. They will employ acceptance, forgiveness and inclusiveness in an effort to appear cooperative and easygoing. If this is not enough to avoid being directly confronted, they will procrastinate or run away from their problems.

Enneagram 5: Maintain strict personal boundaries

Enneagram Fives meet anything that sounds like confrontation with an analytical detachment. They are far more comfortable with data than people and they use the one to shield themselves from the other. In their efforts to avoid being overwhelmed by their own needs or the needs of others, they focus on the problem at hand and avoid the emotional burden of conflict entirely.

Remaining objective is the objective for a Five. By staying rational and calm and refusing to take a personal stance, Fives try to provide relevant facts, research and information that can help resolve the issue. While Fives are good at listening and coming up with thoughtful solutions, strict boundaries on their time and energy help them keep the overwhelm at bay.

Enneagram 4: Changes the topic

Enneagram Fours, the Individualists of the Enneagram, react to confrontation from a place of authenticity. Because they over-identify with their fear of being flawed, they take conflict very personally as a confirmation of their defects. And so, their first instinct is to withdraw from the situation as a type of self-preservation.

Type Fours want to protect their sense of uniqueness and will avoid any argument that might invalidate their inner world. They may try to deflect conflict by changing the topic or using humor to steer the discussion away from areas of disagreement. Cornering them with criticism might be met with intense combative outbursts as they try to defend their identity and lifestyle choices—even if that isn’t the problem. 

Jolie Tunnell
Jolie Tunnell is an author, freelance writer and blogger with a background in administration and education. Raising a Variety Pack of kids with her husband, she serves up hard-won wisdom with humor, compassion and insight. Jolie is an ISTJ and lives in San Diego, California where she writes historical mysteries. Visit her at jolietunnell.com