What I Love Learning from Judgers: A Perceiver’s Perspective

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on May 06, 2018

A well-rounded person learns from each personality type. I’m going to zoom in on Perceivers and Judgers for two reasons. First of all, a firm grasp on a few Judging traits is very practical, and Perceivers could benefit from assimilating some of their assertive, pragmatic methods of behavior. Secondly, most people don’t fully understand the difference between Perceiving and Judging. It will be simultaneously prescriptive and psychoeducational—an exciting two-for-one deal for counselors like myself.

Before we go further, I must set the urban myth straight. The “Judging” category does not mean “judgmental.” A “Judging” definition on a flashcard would state: “sticks firmly to decisions, detail-oriented, and desires structure.” In turn, “Perception” doesn’t actually mean perceptive. Its closer definition reads: “open-minded and spontaneous.”

I can’t say if it’s as simple for Judgers to learn from Perceivers. I’ve only ever been a Perceiver, peering over the line of demarcation to the side of pragmatic, assertive Judgers—where so many law students and executives hang out, planning their weekends by Wednesday and writing agendas for their vacations. It’s a vast land of schedules and quick decision-making skills—foreign territory to a spontaneous, indecisive human like myself. However, I’m a big fan of Judgers. Through their example, I’ve become a more well-rounded, spontaneous, indecisive human. So I’m here to share my gleanings with the rest of you.

1. Write Your Plans Down

In their whimsical spontaneity, Perceivers can be a little forgetful. They easily make plans with others and forget about them later, leaving their loved ones feeling unimportant and disregarded. Maybe you mark your calendars with only firmly-settled plans. So here’s a change —consider marking down the up-in-the-air plans as well. If you tell a friend you’ll call them later, put a reminder on your phone.

Perceivers often impulsively say “yes” to whatever invitation comes up, even if they agreed to something off-handed earlier. Remembering previous engagements is not our strong suit. If you have a habit of double booking, practice checking your schedule frequently. It can feel weird and stifling at first, but it’ll pay off.

2. Pick a Restaurant

Perceivers like to keep an open mind, waiting for the best possible option. Sometimes their open-to-all-possibilities mindset can go a bit awry. Have you ever seen two Perceivers try to pick a restaurant for dinner? We’ll go through every restaurant in the Zagat from our city and the next one over, hoping one person will name their preference.

If you’re a Perceiver, you may resonate with the difficulty in selecting one option in life. To feel good about a big decision, you want a pro-con list, external opinions, and a low-key sign from Heaven. Your open-mindedness makes you great for going with the flow and definitely fosters creativity. For balance, borrow the assertiveness and quick decision-making skills from Judgers. Offer your opinion when appropriate. Make suggestions. Dare I say, make executive decisions from time to time. Your open-mindedness probably won’t let you turn into a bossy, domineering person. So don’t be afraid to pick a restaurant.

3. Organize Your Living Space

Although not true for all Judging types, many Judgers are organized and tidy, particularly Introverts. The organization in their environment reflects the organization of their mindset. Everything has its proper place. Perceivers tend be somewhat more lax with their organization, which is a perfectly harmless preference. However, a huge step in personal growth is trying new behavioral patterns.

Marie Kondo’s famous and super chic book Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up elaborates how an orderly living space can foster a peaceful, organized mindset. Perceivers are open-minded people, which means a lot of loose ends. After a while, your mind can feel cluttered. If you’re inclined to start organizing your life more, try organizing your living space. Donate clothes you don’t wear to a charity you support. Organize your bookshelf (and rediscover all the books you want to read.) Practicing organization in one area of your life could improve your organization in other areas like scheduling, meeting deadlines, and coordinating responsibilities.

4. Try New Perspectives

Schedules and structure can be quite suffocating for a Perceiver. I personally think it comes down to a sense of lost control. We feel locked down when we have to make quick decisions and commit to them, and an open-ended plan gives us a sense freedom. Ironically, I think Judgers like firmly settled plans because it gives them a sense of control or self-guidance. A lack of structure makes them feel out of control.

If my little hypothesis is true, a sense of freedom comes down to perspective. If you need to embrace structure as a Perceiver, you may need to readjust perspectives—an action in which Perceivers excel.

Perceivers are excellent at looking at someone else’s point of view. Harness your strengths and practice looking from the Judger’s perspective. Train your mind to look for the benefits of detailed organization and firm decision-making. Does your anxiety decrease when you schedule out your week and write down a detailed to-do list? If so, journal about it. Do your friendships benefit from you taking initiative a little more? If so, bring mindfulness to your sense of positive self-concept. Practice a new perspective, and you may find that a structured lifestyle is freeing.

In short, it’s good practice to learn from positive traits of other personality types. Especially consider personality traits opposite to your personality type. Go beyond a cursory glance at their strengths and weaknesses. Trying new behaviors helps us achieve balance. Write down what you observe about Judgers— of any opposing personality type—and put them into practice. How do they act in social situations? Are they talkative or are do they listen better? Do they keep an open mind or make decisions quickly? Even if you don’t adopt new methods of behavior, perhaps you will appreciate them more or at least see them differently.

So my dear Perceiving readers, peruse the Judging lifestyle at your leisure and give it a go. Make a schedule. Create a timeline. Voice your opinions. Pursue wholeness and new experiences. Stand up on Robin Williams’ desk from Dead Poet’s Society “to remind yourself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”

Stephanie Dorais

Stephanie is a therapist, data analyst, and blogger. She enjoys practicing yoga, eating Pad Thai (but no bean sprouts), and watching exorbitant amounts of British television. She is a nationally certified counselor and inherently certified ENFP. She lives and practices in Virginia Beach, VA.

Find her on Twitter at @mindloftmag

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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.


Jara (not verified) says...

Great article, Stephanie!

"If you’re a Perceiver, you may resonate with the difficulty in selecting one option in life. To feel good about a big decision, you want a pro-con list, external opinions, and a low-key sign from Heaven."

This made me laugh because the information-gathering stage of making a decision would take an eternity if it were up to me! In my youth, I was like this:

Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me." (Judges 6:17)

I prefer the perceiving style of making decisions, but most of my early teachers and bosses are "Judgers" who trained me to do things their way and most of my official jobs and roles have required "judging" mindsets and skillsets to succeed: assistant, project coordinator, market researcher, auditor, judge (pollworker), delegate (elected official), general and marketing manager (retail), teacher (youth and adults), trainer, counselor, etc. Hiring (or voting for) me is always an act of faith for Judgers who must select me based on my potential to become a better "judger" in the role rather than on the reality of who I was in the interview. 

Yes, God has been low-key planning my life to go against my type since before I was born to develop balance in me and to demonstrate the benefits of the Perceiver style to Judgers (conflicting work styles in a group is a blessing!). He opens doors to opportunities that He approves and shuts doors to what is not in His plans for me. My decision-making process is much quicker now because I pray about everything as soon as I wake up (and throughout the day), then just do whatever God says (He has the best judgment of all!). And there are still enough surprises in my day to keep it interesting to me. ;-)

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
- Proverbs 16:9

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen."
(Jeremiah 29:11‭-‬12)

Guest (not verified) says...

Amen to that.

SHAWNA EDMISTON (not verified) says...

Great article and perfect reply! Thank you for the verses they are some of my favorite ones!

Jara (not verified) says...

Thanks and you're welcome, Shawna!

Gilbert Sylvain (not verified) says...

My first time reading your blog Stephanie. I enjoyed the pairing so much as I’ve just recently had a mutual and amicable breakup. The 4 month relationship between perceiver and judger just wasn’t there for us and fizzled. I enjoyed and appreciated her clean and structured habits but several quick decisions I did not appreciate as much. There was NO considering options. Moreover, I came to realize if I said maybe, it was not maybe. It was, ”you said you we're going to do that”!  The relationship between Taurus/Sagittarius was a wild ride, both very excited at the front with marriage plans(made by her of course) all made in the first month!   A final thing to mention that a significant age parity 60/44 seemed not matter overall except to other judgers of course. Lol. 

Rothgar (not verified) says...

Great way of looking at things - If you don't get it just watch https://youtu.be/w8fu-hq3S7A on YouTube.  Pretty powerful.  Thanx for the reminder, Stephanie!  Now I know why I feel so good when I actually make plan instead of just 'winging it' and why my wife is happier as well!

Marcia Reisz (not verified) says...

I've found that over many years my preferences have drifted from strong judger to milder judger. My job required I change gears quickly and to embrace interuptions. Also I went from a strong thinker to a more moderate thinker. Gaining people skills helped me make that change.  One can and will be influenced by environment, people and new information. If you let yourself adapt you will be more well-rounded.

Tawnya E. (not verified) says...

Hello, Stephanie,

I can't tell you how many times this EXACT situation has come up in my marriage to my husband.  I am a confirmed Judger and he is a renowned Perceiver.  Loose ends, spontaneous, lack of planning and go with the flow seems to be where I go nuts!  Not only is my husband this way, but so are my two children.


Going to a restaurant is like a root canal.  I usually decide where I can go and still participate, but my husband making up his mind is agonizing!!  For heaven's sake, it isn't brain surgery!  We have mostly narrowed down that decision by one person suggesting three places they would like to go, and the other one deciding.  However, that doesn't mean that decision is made easily.  I usually have to hear about ALL of the reason we can't do my first, second or their choice.


The living space example is another sore spot between us.  Now I am not a confirmed neatnik, but I don't enjoy living in a pig sty.  And nobody else seems to see it, but me.  (I say this as my son is currently driving home for the summer break from college.  I am bracing myself for the mess I am NOT looking forward to.)  After all these years, at least he is starting to clean a little more often, and in the kitchen it is a big help.


As much as I hate to admit it, his ways has rubbed off on me some and I am not so uptight about things not going the way I planned.  We do have a lot of fun together.  He puts up with me, when no one else would.  We are a good match, and the last 22 years must prove it<3



Kyila (not verified) says...

I am pretty much 50/50 even though I tested as 59% perceiver. I like structure in my life and make decisions easily for myself. I am fine with other people doing things differently and envy their spontaneity.  However, I use up all my organizational abilities at work and could really use more structure at home. I really need enough energy to Mari Kondo this place! This could be an age related problem as younger me had a very organized home!

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