INFJs, INTJs and ISTJs are sometimes seen as less approachable. Here are three main reasons why, and how to fix that.

Approachability is an important topic for INFJs, INTJs, and ISTJs… and those who work and live with them. It’s usually a bit of a surprise to people of these types when they hear that others may not view them as approachable. Have you ever received that feedback?

There are three main reasons why your type can sometimes be seen as less approachable. First, your type tends to be more internal than other types. You’ve got a lot going on in your head. Secondly, your type also tends to be a bit more serious than many other types. And, lastly, your type is likely to be more focused than the other types.

Adaptability - Internal World

1. Internal

Like most introverts, your type has a rich inner world. This is where your best thinking occurs, and where you go to re-charge. On a scale of 0 to 100, your type comes out near the top of the scale for having a rich inner world with lots of thoughts racing through your mind and competing with the outer world for your attention. This isn’t true for everyone.

Adaptability - Serious

2. Serious

You know how other people tend to spend a lot of time at work chatting and connecting with their colleagues? Chances are, you accomplish more by lunch than these folks do by the end of the day. Being serious has lots of benefits, but one of the risks is that other people tend to leave you alone.

Adaptability - Focused

3. Focused

The last piece is how focused your type tends to be. We’ve found that your type experiences a huge burst of positive energy each time you finish a project. It’s a little bit addictive, isn’t it? It’s partly that zing of good energy that keeps your type focused, but it’s also to avoid that uncomfortable feeling you probably feel when a project is not finished. 

Approachability Strategies

When you add all three factors together – internal, focused, and serious – you can begin to see why some people may not see you as approachable as other types.

Here are three strategies to become more approachable:

1. Prioritize Connecting

The first one is to deliberately prioritize this area of your life. Dedicate specific time in your calendar towards this activity, and figure out ways to become more socially engaged with those around you, both at work and at home. That means spending time, very deliberately, in a casual setting, talking with other people about yourself, about what’s going on with them, and not talking about work. 

So if there’s a regular lunch outing people are going to, or a casual after-work environment, go to those things, and just make the connection. What you’ll find is that as people get to know you, they’ll want to get to know more of you, and they’re going to make that connection. People will find you to be interesting, fascinating (as you of course are), and they’ll want to spend more time with you. Challenge yourself to put this time in your calendar, with a goal of one to two hours per week on that activity.

Adaptability - Prioritize Connecting

2. Join a Cause

The second thing is to look for activities that allow you to be on a committee or board for a cause that you care about, where you get to work alongside people towards a common goal. What you’ll find is that over time working alongside these folks, you’re going to get to know them, they’re going to get to know you, and you’re going to build that muscle of opening yourself up and having that approachability come through.

Adaptability - Join a Cause

3. Bring Three Topics

Finally, here’s some advice that may seem a little strange at first, but hear me out: the next time you’re about to go to a social gathering, whether it’s a networking event for work, or just a social gathering among friends, write down three topics of interest that you would like to bring up at some point during that event. What you’ll find otherwise, if you don’t bring in that prepared topic, is that you’ll end up spending the whole time listening to other people about what they want to talk about, and you’ll often feel a little over-stimulated, which means you’re less likely to participate in the conversation, and people are not going to get to know you, they’re not even going to get to hear you a lot of the time. 

If you bring those three topics, and then you bring them up in the conversation, what you’ll find is that when you’re talking about something that’s naturally interesting to you, that you’ve selected in advance and put some thought into, it’s much easier for you to be extroverted. You probably thought about situations where that’s been the case for you. So try that out, bring in three topics, plan on talking about them. Now what you’ll find is that approachability has a huge impact on your ability to achieve your career potential, so hopefully some of these techniques will allow you to get there.

Adaptability - 3 Topics
Rob Toomey

Rob Toomey

President and Co-Founder of TypeCoach

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