Some of the best qualities of Feeler personalities -- the “Fs” of the Myers and Briggs personality system -- are their kindness, empathy, and their ability to think about others. Feeling personalities follow their instincts and trust their emotions to guide them in their professional and personal lives. That’s one of the reasons why they have such beautiful, lasting relationships.
Unfortunately, putting others first and working to maintain politeness and tact can make it hard for Feelers to stand up for themselves and ask for what they need.
Here are some ways for Feelers to get that extra boost of assertiveness, so they can fight just as strongly for themselves as they do for the people they love.
1. Find the right communication style
Everyone has a communication style where they feel they can best articulate their needs and wants. For some, that can be a simple conversation with a loved one; for others, writing things down in a letter or a personal journal makes it easier to understand and explore what their feelings are.
When you find the form of communication that makes it easiest to say what needs to be said, operate there. If being assertive is outside of your comfort zone, find a place where you do feel comfortable, whether that’s in a small group, over the phone, or even via email. Playing to your communication strengths can help you access the confidence you need to ask for what you want.
2. Discuss your needs and expectations in advance
Feelers have a habit of saying that everything is alright, even if it isn’t. They do this from a burning need to keep the peace.
The problem is, if your needs at home or at work are not being met, it could lead to resentment that won’t resolve itself on its own. If you’re worried about confronting an employee or partner about an issue down the line, you can mitigate some of the frustration by making it clear what the expectations are in advance. For work, this can mean setting a standard workflow and deadlines for your employees. At home, an upfront conversation about household work, childcare, and finances before issues occur can make all the difference.
3. Focus on individual relationships
It can be challenging enough to confront a single person about an issue you may be experiencing, but it’s significantly more difficult to feel confident in a group. So take a moment to find the one person who can help you to work through the problem. Take them aside to discuss things alone.
Separating an ally from the group can help to make you feel like you’re on a more even level. This can make compromise and collaboration easier than going into battle with many opposing voices.
4. Balance your friendliness (to fit your position)
Your friendliness is one of the reasons people love you. You’re always kind and can really see things from other people’s perspectives, which is a great skill in life that will get you far.
It’s important, however, to make sure that your friendliness and emphasis on tact are befitting of the role you need to play. If your employees are not delivering projects on time or your child is having behavioral problems at school, a friendly approach can mask your authority and prevent you from being taken seriously. Don’t discount empathy and kindness, but allow yourself to focus on the job or position in the moment. Save the friendliness for a more appropriate time.
5. Try to come to your own conclusions
Because you’re a fan of keeping the peace, you are likely to fall into the easy trap of agreeing with others in the group merely because you want to keep everyone happy—and that’s not a bad thing! You’re always looking out for others and it’s something to take pride in. Still, it’s important that you make decisions not just based on what will make others happy and fulfilled, but what will make you happy too.
This can be anything from picking out the film you actually want to watch, to deciding which clients the company should pursue. When you come to your own conclusions, you are both taking value in yourself and your choices and you’re showing others that you’re willing to stand up for what you believe in.
Of course, there are times for compromise and times for being assertive. But when you have a better sense of what you want, you’ll be able to work with others for the good of the group and the good of you, too.
6. Plan in advance
Because Feeling personalities are primarily led by emotion and instinct, when confrontation or discussion does finally occur, you may find yourself rambling or taking the long way to a point. This usually happens because you’re trying to be delicate and avoid hurting another person’s feelings. While the intention comes from a place of kindness, it can ultimately affect your confidence and you may end up walking away without feeling the issue has been resolved.
That’s why it’s a good idea to plan the conversation in advance. Make notes in your head or on paper about the topics you’d like to discuss, or even some of the words you would like to use, so you don’t have to worry about finding the right word in the moment (which can be challenging).
If you give yourself a guide toward the resolution, it will be much easier to reach. And you can still maintain a kind and friendly approach throughout the conversation.
7. Do the things that make you confident
While it may not seem like it from the outside, even the most confident people still struggle in unfamiliar situations or around people they don’t yet know. If you’re looking to develop the kind of confidence that makes it easier to go after the things you want and to stand up for yourself, that begins by doing the things that you know make you feel confident.
Put on your favorite outfits, dance in front of the mirror, make a great cheesecake or spend some time in the garden. When you feel like you’re doing a good job in one area of your life, that begins to show up in other areas of your life as well. Soon, it will feel natural and easy to show confidence at work or at home. With confidence comes the abilities to ask for what you want and to fight for what you need.
8. Value yourself
At the end of the day, the most important truth for the Feeler to remember is that you have value. It’s both natural and admirable for you to want to put others first. But if you’re constantly putting the feelings of those around you before your own and you’re basing all of your decisions on how they might benefit the collective, then you’ll miss out on great opportunities. You might even end up creating rifts in those relationships you work so hard for.
Yes, other people are important and there is always room for tact, empathy, and kindness in the world. But it’s just as, if not more, important to be your own cheerleader and advocate as well. Stand up for your good ideas, ask for what you need from your partner, be a parent first and a friend second to your children, and create an effective dynamic with your employees. When you trust your own opinion and follow your own instinct, you contribute something totally special, unique, and valuable to the world.