Unmistakable Signs You're Dating a Perceiver

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on April 18, 2016

Perceivers are the laid-back, adaptable all-rounders of the personality type world. They don't stress when things go wrong and have an easy time adjusting to change. Members of this free-wheeling type are typically more tolerant of people's differences than their Judging cousins, and often find themselves drawn to relationships with people from all corners of the personality spectrum.

If the person you're dating demonstrates the following behaviors, chances are you've got a Perceiver on your hands.

1. They are always changing plans

If there's one thing you need to understand about Perceivers, it's that they like to play things by ear. They feel pressured if you try to force structure upon them or fail to leave room for inspiration. Changing the plan comes naturally to Perceivers, so don't be surprised if your other half calls you up half an hour before your romantic dinner date and suggests that you go to a raucous party instead.

2. They stress like mad when you ask them to pick the restaurant

Waiting until the last minute to make a decision is commonplace for Perceivers as they need plenty of time to weigh up the options before they make a decision. Judgers know that they will never get a table at the coveted restaurant unless they book early, but to a Perceiver, there might always be that last little bit of information that throws up a new, more exciting opportunity. At some point, they'll get energized to make a decision. Until then, it's probably best to back off.

3. They don't show up on time

In the Perceiver's world, being punctual has a leeway of several minutes. Expect plenty of "ish" when it comes to planning your dates; 6-ish could be 6.30 pm or even 7 pm and that's just fine with them.

4. They make the worst shopping partners. Ever

Perceivers take ages to make a buying decision and still worry whether it was the right one. A shopping trip will probably go on for hours with lots of hand wringing when they see something better or less expensive than the item they (eventually) purchased. You know you're in a relationship with a Perceiver when, weeks after the shopping trip you hear them say, "Oh no, it's $5 cheaper here. I knew I should have waited!"

5. They make any activity last twice as long as it should

Perceivers can make a half-mile walk last an hour. They can set out to pick a few items of clothing off the floor and before you know it, they've reorganized their entire closet into a state-of-the-art, color-coordinated clothing filing system. "Just a few minutes" has a habit of turning into several hours with a Perceiver, because somehow their projects take on a life of their own. And all the while you're sitting downstairs wondering if there's a super-late showing of the movie you were supposed to see.

6. Their favorite word is maybe

Did you enjoy the movie?

Judger: Yes.

Perceiver: Maybe. I'm not sure. What did you think of it?

7. They put off doing chores

Judgers like to work before they play. They finish term papers way before the due date, clean the kitchen as they cook, and put things back where they belong. Perceivers play first, work later. They start studying for tests at the last minute. They leave cups, jackets and soda cans strewn all over the house and never do the washing up until the end of the meal (or later if possible). This is because, to a Perceiver, almost everything is more important than chores. But don't mistake their messiness for lack of focus. Even if their home or work space looks chaotic, the Perceiver knows exactly where everything is.

8. They won't answer your calls right away

Some Perceivers are not great at getting back to people promptly, if at all. NPs in particular seem to have a hard time with returning calls, emails and text messages. In fact, they forget stuff so frequently that you will quickly build up a storybook of humorous anecdotes about the time your significant other forgot their luggage on a road trip, or the cooler on a picnic. Your Perceiver isn't being inconsiderate though; it's just that they get sucked so deeply into the creativity vortex, there's no room left for the everyday details.

9. You have a lot of fun

Judgers can get stubborn and myopic in their views. There's a chance that they will suck all the fun out of a date if they leave no room for spontaneity. Dating a Perceiver means that you have to go with the flow, even if it's just a spur of the moment detour along the scenic route. Chances are, you'll come to look forward to the unexpected and have some spectacular, fun-packed experiences along the way.

How about you? Are you dating a Perceiver? What did they do to clue you in? Please comment below!

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.

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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.


Guest (not verified) says...

Wow-this is spot on for the np I am dating!

ExistentialJeny (not verified) says...

Excellent points ;) I scored a J in university, but somehow always knew I was a P. I used to beat myself up about the "curse" side of being a P, being judged by judgers all the time who thought I was being inconsiderate. I've come to find that my P-side is actually full of a mysterious hidden grace that I wouldn't change for the world & only those who really care about me will seek to understand that beautiful mystery & love me for it, even the Js who are kind enough to open their minds & ears to another perspective & listen. Being a P takes huge compassion by the individual as well as those around them. But, Js have their downsides too (it just may be harder to see), which many Ps already seem to have patience with.
With a P, a J can have their control over planning most things & the P will often go along & add their creative suggestions. This can be more harmonious then other combinations: J-J or P-P

Guest (not verified) says...

Sounds like me!

Cindi (not verified) says...

As a strong "J" who was married to a strong "P", this list was spot on. Please note the word "was". Every marriage has challenges, but this one aspect of our personalities made living together impossible. In the beginning, he loved the fact that I was always on top of everything and responsible. I loved his spontaneity and fun loving spirit. Like cards, what started out as two hearts and a diamond quickly turned to a wish for a club and a spade.

Guest (not verified) says...

So on point. This is exactly who I am. Before (until about 2 years ago) I was classified as J, knowing that I wanted to do shopping - eg. buy sugar (at this store because it is cheaper than that store) and milk (at the other store) etc. Shopping was "da-da-da-get-back-home". And now I spend about 7 hours doing my weekly groceries. My INTJ friend sometimes goes shopping with me just to keep me on track.

Guest (not verified) says...

hahaha!! this was so true. I'm anINFJ, but one of my best friends, who is an ENTP had a laugh at this. We both agreed that it was very true, especially the 'maybe' part.

amira.firdaus says...

Hi Jayne,
Loved reading this! I am not in a relationship with an INFP, but I am one, and your post describes me almost perfectly!

I especially enjoyed the bit about picking a restaurant and INFP making awful shopping partners...hee heee

I hate shopping. I can never decide. Apart from groceries, pharmacy or stationery runs, buying anything else can be torture - for me and the unfortunate sales person who unwisely decided to attend to me. Sometimes I end up with a purchase simply because I feel bad for the sales staff waiting for me to decide.

If I want to shop, I always go alone because I'd feel bad about dragging someone with me as I agonize, rationalize, think through, second guess, etc etc etc over a simple purchase.

Also, the bit about stretching a few minutes into a few hours. Yup! I decide to do a simple task and end up with a project.

By the way, for all of you non INFP's who are tearing your hairs out over our endless change of plans, tardiness, and messiness, on behalf of us all I offer my/our apologies. And our heartfelt thanks to you for putting up with our quirks.

But we promise to reward you with compassion, support, and loyalty. And if you every need a favour or a helping hand, you know we'll drop everything to be there for you.


Mousumi (not verified) says...

After reading this I feel I can relate to quite a few traits but not all. I am very good with shopping, make decisions faster but first explore options, no, I do not take time to select a restaurant. I would want to know your choice of food or ambience... And I know the place! But yes, in some aspects like would want to explore multiple options as against being fixated with one. My house would be clean and in order all the time and while I would not beat myself up before an exam, but I would know what it is that I will be reviewed for.... And I would build upon from there on. 

I differ with the comment that it's tough to live with a perceiver because I feel they are the best if dealt with compassion. Yes, they are extremely loyal, compassionate and ready to take risks. When a J fails, another J can only criticize. But a P will encourage you to start again and take another chance. So I feel if compassion is there in a relationship a J and a P are the best combination. While one thinks they know all and are right, the other moves along but has options to be explored. They are full of wonderful creative ideas which a J can never even think! 

And yes, when you know you need a shoulder, a P is always there for you :) 

Though I feel I am a combination of both, I am very happy to be more of a P :) 

asiansinthemedia.com (not verified) says...

Am I late to this party or what? I was actually searching for articles about perceiver dating perceivers and how well they bring procrastination to a whole new level but I was stuck reading and chuckling at "Your Perceiver isn't being inconsiderate though; it's just that they get sucked so deeply into the creativity vortex, there's no room left for the everyday details." lol My husband (SP) kills me every day for calling me a blank space. I always have to remind him that I am deep in my thoughts and there is no room for his basic bitch fest. I'm NP by the way. We have fun but nothing ever gets done 

Lara H (not verified) says...

I’m curious if these descriptions are more true for NPs than SPs (or maybe for IxxPs vs ExxPs?) The description rings true for my INTP hubby but not for my ESFP (I think) mom. Of course, life experience and upbringing can always be a factor... not to mention differences in the cognitive functions.... It’s an interesting article! ?

Gabriel du Violon says...

Wow, this perfectly fits my ESTP uncle!

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