Misconceptions and Stereotypes of Judging and Perceiving Types

JPI first learned about Myers-Briggs® as a Freshman in college, and I remember reading about the first three letters of my type, INF.  I thought that these three preferences made a really deep, caring individual who is intuitive about the needs of people, and I was feeling pretty darn good about being this INFJ character.  Then, I read that I was a Judging type, and I decided I must have one screwed up and confused type!  I mean, here is this sweet, caring person who judges people!  I really hoped that I wasn’t a walking oxymoron (or any other kind of moron, for that matter), and I was fortunate to have someone around to set me straight.  I was also fortunate to be set straight on the semi-joking idea I developed, early on, that P stood for Perceiving, procrastination, and patience.

In our US society, J characteristics are often prized because we are so focused on getting things done on time and in an orderly fashion.  We are so often production focused!  These same qualities are typically prized in educational settings, such as college, and I think Perceiving types may mistakenly be seen by many in our society as less reliable or less dedicated than Judging types.  That being said, Judging types may be seen as rigid and demanding by Perceiving types.

The fact is that Judging and Perceiving types can both be reliable, do good quality work, and complete projects on time.  Each type can also benefit from balance, in an effort to create the best possible product, and each type can learn to embrace and use its natural preferences and gifts to be successful.  I hope, as you read the following misconceptions and clarifications of Judging and Perceiving, you will take a good look at your own views on J and P, as I did, and learn to value each side of the dichotomy.

Perceiving types procrastinate, and Judging types do not. You might be thinking that I am going to say that Perceiving types do not procrastinate, but the truth is that everyone procrastinates! Not wanting to do something will make all of us put off the task. Perceiving types probably get the reputation for procrastinating because they are often what is referred to as pressure-prompted. This means that Perceiving types often get a burst of creative energy right before a deadline, that allows them to get large amounts of work done just in the nick of time... sometimes seconds before a deadline! In other words, perceiving types often thrive under pressure. Often, Judging types will report procrastinating on tasks and squeaking them in at the last minute of the day before or morning before they are due. I hope you can see from this that both types can complete projects well and on time!
Judging types are judgmental and Perceiving types are not.Being a Judging type has nothing to do with passing judgment on others. In fact, the J-P dichotomy is actually a way to indicate whether an individual shows his or her Judging preference (Thinking or Feeling) or Perceiving preference (Sensing or Intuition) to the world. So, Judging types show their decision making preference to the outside world, and Perceiving types show their information gathering process to the outside world. If you read the descriptions of J and P, this makes total sense! Judging types put out into the world the importance of deciding on matters, while Perceiving types put out into the world their desire for more information. Of course, am not saying that judgmental people do not exist, but that characteristic is not a property of a particular type.
Perceiving types are good in a crisis, and Judging types struggle with crisis.Certainly, Perceiving types gain respect in crisis situations because they are known for their abilities of being adaptable and going with the flow. It is true that Perceiving types often perform well in a crisis because of their ability to live in the moment. That being said, Judging types can also be great in crisis situations. Judging types, especially with experience in handling crises, will often build beautiful little gems called contingency plans! These contingency plans, if you will, are planned spontaneity. Personally, I think the best response to crises is to team up the strengths of different types. Then you get a great mix of structure, planning, adaptability, and the ability to act in the moment.
Judging types are great at making decisions, while Perceiving types put decisions off forever.Judging types do often have a love of making decisions as early as possible because of the freedom of not having those decisions hanging over their heads. Also, Perceiving types are known for sometimes putting decisions off, in the hopes of gaining information that will lead to a more informed decision. That being said, Perceiving types will often make decisions quickly when there is a need to do so, such as in the aforementioned crisis situation. Truthfully, the best decisions are made when our Judging preferences (T or F) and our Perceiving preferences (S or N) can work together and balance each other. All good decisions need a proper amount of information and the ability to pull the trigger. On a final note, I guarantee you, whether you live in a household of Js, Ps, or both, you are no stranger to the occasional, total lack of willingness that both sides encounter in the quest to decide where to go for dinner... "I don't know. What do you want?"
Perceiving types don't make lists, but all Judging types do.I love describing Judging and Perceiving in group settings. I often mention that many Judging types add things to their list that were not originally there, just so that they have something else to check off! Every time I make that comment, I look around the room to see one or two glowing faces who wholeheartedly agree with me and come to think that J is the best letter in the alphabet! That being said, some Js make mental lists and never write anything down, and many, many Ps write lists to help themselves keep obligations, etc. in order. While this is certainly not always the case, many Js describe list making as a joy, while many Ps describe list making as a coping mechanism. So whether you are a J or a P, feel free to take out your highlighters and color code, or beautify, your lists with pride!


I hope, after reading this, that you will think twice before assuming the Perceiving member of a group is going to fail to turn in work or that the Judging member of the group wants to take over the world!  I have no doubt that many of you already take these considerations into account, and I hope they have enriched your lives, as they have mine.  If you have questions or stories about the Judging and Perceiving preferences, I would love to hear them!



  1. Jeffrey

    Our MBTI is a “baseline.” It is our preferred methods of interaction, they are not limitations. We can, and do, expand upon them. We just tend to favor those traits and tendencies that we consistently have gotten the best results with as we grew up. I am an ENTP, for example. This describes a general set of characteristics that I will tend to prefer over all others. It does not prevent me from learning how to incorporate other characteristics, it just explains where I am by “default.”

    1. Sadie (Post author)

      Absolutely! Type is about your comfort zone and your natural preferences. It is not about shoving you in a box and slapping on the lid. 🙂 Society and daily life often require us to preform outside of our preferences, and we can build skills in those other areas. We also tend to explore our, shall we say, non-preferences after the age of around 30. MBTI is about your natural “home base”. Thanks for your insights!

  2. Pingback: Myers-Briggs®, Time Management, and Procrastination | Personality Playbook

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