16 Compassionate Personality Types

What Is Compassion?

Compassion has been described as having feelings regarding the suffering of others. A compassionate emotion often comes with some active motivation or desire to help alleviate another person’s suffering. But one can feel compassion without acting on it for various reasons, so action is not an absolutely necessary part of compassion. For example, a counselor might feel compassionate empathy for a client and yet see therapeutic value in allowing the client to resolve their issues without an active intervention from the counselor.

Compassion is derived from Latin and means “to suffer together with.” So there is some sense that a person who is feeling compassion experiences another person’s pain on some level. And it’s a stage beyond empathy, which is more passive and involves understanding and sharing in the suffering but not to the degree that there is some motivation to help actively alleviate the other person’s suffering. So it might be said that compassion develops out of empathy.

Compassion and Personality Types

Many factors can influence compassion, including life experiences, culture, and family influences. However, it should also be noted that it is generally thought that benevolence can be learned, regardless of other compelling factors. So as we approach the subject of compassion and personality types, we want to emphasize that personality type alone does not define how one expresses compassion, nor is one limited to the qualities of their personality type when it comes to altruistic feelings and behaviors.

It should also be noted that personality traits can influence a person’s expression of compassion in many ways. We are just highlighting a few of the more apparent patterns, and by no means are we suggesting that these are the only ways that personality factors can come into play when considering compassionate feelings or expressions.

However, that relatively stable part of ourselves that we call personality has some degree of influence on everything that we do, and feeling and showing compassion are no different. Knowing more about how we respond to the world can help us maintain that influence on compassion. That is what we hope to catalog here today.

Analyst Personality Types

The Compassionate Architect (INTJ)

What Ignites Architects’ Compassion: While this personality type’s expression of compassion is certainly not limited to the following, Architects (INTJ) are likely to feel compassion toward someone who is suffering despite putting in their best effort and trying to be authentic and accurate. In addition, they are more likely to want to help those who have demonstrated integrity and yet still face challenges.

How Architects Show Compassion: Architects will likely show compassion by finding intelligent ways to alleviate suffering. Their solutions are apt to be strategic and practical.

For example, if looking at a food desert that lacks grocery stores, Architects might go beyond building markets that could potentially exploit the community. Instead, they will likely design a comprehensive and sustainable plan that includes growing and producing food locally, staffing markets with local people, and building a financial infrastructure that will grow with those resources being fed back into creating food security for the area. Dropping lunch on someone’s doorstep might be seen by Architects as sometimes necessary, but it’s mostly a Band-Aid solution.

The Compassionate Logician (INTP)

What Ignites Logicians’ Compassion: Logicians (INTP) are likely to be curious about the welfare of other people. These personalities are apt to start with an intellectual understanding. But as they grow in knowledge, they will likely see the humanity behind the details, motivating them to act.

How Logicians Show Compassion: Logicians typically want to approach suffering from a problem-solving perspective. This does not mean that they are unfeeling – only that they will not be as likely to depend too much on their feelings for motivation. Instead, they will explore the cause of suffering from its roots, dissect all the various pieces of the problem, and look for a logical solution. This can feel uncaring and mechanistic compared to more conventional answers that start by throwing money or time at someone else’s pain. Still, from a Logician’s perspective, it is likely no less of a way to heal wounds and may, in fact, be seen as a more permanent solution by people with this personality type.

The Compassionate Commander (ENTJ)

What Ignites Commanders’ Compassion: Commanders (ENTJ) are likely to respond compassionately when a person or a group of people are doing their best to remain resilient in the face of challenges. They’re likely to be compassionate if they see an underdog working valiantly to resolve a problem.

How Commanders Show Compassion: It’s unlikely that Commanders will come from a warm, fuzzy place when caring for others. This may confuse those who rely heavily on seeing emotions when gauging a person’s commitment to helping. However, this doesn’t mean that Commanders aren’t entirely on board. On the contrary, if they arrive to help, they are probably laser-focused on finding a solution.

These personalities are less likely to offer direct aid and more apt to try to find a method to empower those who are suffering. This might include giving advice and encouragement, providing examples, or even setting up training. A Commander could have been the first person to say, “Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach them to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.”

The Compassionate Debater (ENTP)

What Ignites Debaters’ Compassion: Debaters (ENTP) will likely come to compassion from a more intellectual place than most personality types. However, this doesn’t mean that they are devoid of feelings. It’s just that they are likely to start by understanding the suffering of others. Their emotions will catch up once they have convinced themselves that the pain is substantial.

How Debaters Show Compassion: Debaters will likely approach the suffering of others by encouraging open discussion and exploring all possible solutions to alleviate the pain. It will not necessarily be their style to provide emotional comfort. But they’ll still be available whenever they can be to those who are suffering.

Debaters will likely take on the role of a very objective counselor, offering different perspectives and various solutions to help the sufferers rebound from their challenges. They may have to avoid turning their intervention into an argument about how to handle a bad situation. However, should Debaters avoid weighing in too adamantly, they will likely provide some effective reparative measures for those they feel compassion toward.

Diplomat Personality Types

The Compassionate Advocate (INFJ)

What Ignites Advocates’ Compassion: Advocates (INFJ) are generally attuned to the suffering of others, so the question almost becomes, “What doesn’t ignite Advocates’ compassion?” Perhaps the highest point on the list of things that touch their heart is people suffering from unfairness or injustice. While Advocates frequently focus on individuals in pain, they are often moved by larger social problems affecting society and groups.

How Advocates Show Compassion: Advocates generally have great empathy and will likely show that they understand the sufferer and their pain. Their intuition will help them delve deeply into a person’s distress. Their response will probably include getting closer to those who are in pain, emphasizing authenticity, and having regard for the personal growth of all involved.

However, any reaction to suffering by Advocate personalities will probably be tempered by a concern for the greater good. Many tough moral decisions might be involved when Advocates wish to show compassion. For example, when does giving money to a needy stranger on the street make a problem worse, if the recipient uses it to harm themselves or others? Advocates will likely feel compassion for those who are needy but may feel more morally comfortable directing them to a soup kitchen.

The Compassionate Mediator (INFP)

What Ignites Mediators’ Compassion: Like most Diplomats, Mediators (INFP) are usually somewhat attuned to societal suffering. However, they’re more likely to feel compassion if there’s a personal element, such as a name or the face of an individual representing a whole group. Although it may not be true for every Mediator, they’re more likely to respond to suffering if they know a name or see a specific face. For people with this personality type, it’s about an individual in pain, even if they represent a group in distress.

How Mediators Show Compassion: Mediators tend to be extremely sensitive and capable of deep empathy. As a result, they are likely to be very warm and comforting in their approach to helping others deal with their pain. In addition, Mediators will probably approach someone needing compassion in a very nonjudgmental way. While they will undoubtedly respond to the practical needs that arise in a difficult situation, they will enhance their contributions with emotional comfort and inspiration.

The Compassionate Protagonist (ENFJ)

What Ignites Protagonists’ Compassion: Along with the typical matters that appeal to a Diplomat’s heart, Protagonists (ENFJ) will likely be moved by a drive to help people and communities meet their potential. They have a passion for helping people get better, discover more purpose, and find happiness and fulfillment.

How Protagonists Show Compassion: People with this personality type typically take their time understanding and empathizing with those who need compassion, rather than starting with a more impersonal, mechanistic approach to solving a problem. They will likely not define those in need by their difficulty, but rather look to know the whole person whenever possible.

Once they know who they are dealing with, Protagonists will typically want to step in and help develop the skills, attitudes, or resources needed for those involved to thrive. But they likely won’t share these skills from a position of authority. Instead, they will approach a sufferer as an equal and invite them to participate in whatever Protagonists represent. Even if a significant structured organization is involved, these personalities will try to make it feel more personal. It’s likely not so much about egalitarianism as it is, more simply, about affirming the humanity of the sufferers.

The Compassionate Campaigner (ENFP)

What Ignites Campaigners’ Compassion: Campaigners (ENFP) are inclined to feel deeply about the plight of disconnected or isolated people because they are invested in social connection and relish the impact of other people in their lives. This overlaps with the typical Diplomat’s concern about social injustice and different types of cultural disenfranchisement.

How Campaigners Show Compassion: Campaigners will likely see themselves as allies of the downtrodden. They strive to build a connection with those who need one, and they do so with their natural ability to empathize with others. They typically have a high degree of curiosity, which guarantees that they will listen carefully to what others say. They will likely be more proficient than most at noticing metamessages like body language, eye contact, and microexpressions.

Campaigners generally exude warmth and are accepting, which benefits those who feel uncared for or unloved. They also tend to be flexible and can easily keep up with the changing moods or distresses of those who they show compassion toward. Campaigners’ ability to remain attuned to others will generally help those in need feel cared for and understood.

Campaigners are another personality type for whom compassion is rarely about anonymous people blended into a group. Instead, they will likely dedicate themselves to specific individuals in profound and meaningful ways.

Sentinel Personality Types

The Compassionate Logistician (ISTJ)

What Ignites Logisticians’ Compassion: Logisticians (ISTJ) may not always connect with the emotions of others. But they will connect with a sense that others’ lives are in turmoil for whatever reason. A sense of painful chaos in a person’s life will likely raise Logisticians’ desire to help restore order. They will probably be touched even more if the person in distress is doing the best that they can.

How Logisticians Show Compassion: People with this personality type are not likely to be very expressive in their sympathy or empathy toward others. That doesn’t mean that they are unfeeling. It’s a matter of style. Logisticians will show compassion by getting their hands dirty and helping people bring order and constancy back to their lives. This offering can take as many forms as there are problems in the world.

One of the things that Logisticians offer those in pain is their loyalty to the people and things that they care about. Sometimes all that anyone in pain needs is to know that somebody will be there. Logisticians may not always exude warmth, but they are models of steadfastness. These personalities will offer stability and consistency when it is most needed.

The Compassionate Defender (ISFJ)

What Ignites Defenders’ Compassion: Defenders (ISFJ) are most at home nurturing others. As a result, they have a natural compassion for the people they care about. Individuals with this personality type are as likely as anyone to have terrible life experiences that set up biases against people, affecting their level of compassion. However, when all things are equal, Defenders are likely to favor showing kindness in any situation where a person is suffering. So what ignites Defenders’ compassion is almost any situation where they see what they understand to be suffering.

How Defenders Show Compassion: Defender personalities are likely to be a good model for how to show compassion. They are generally levelheaded and will often pay attention to the practical needs of those who want for kindness. However, they still have much to offer by way of softer emotional soothing and comfort. They can be experts at showing tenderness and caring on a feeling level.

One thing that Defenders may need to watch for is abandoning self-care when others need help. Unfortunately, they often put the needs of others above their own. They can be selfless to a fault, and it’s good for them to have a capable support team of compassionate people to watch their backs.

The Compassionate Executive (ESTJ)

What Ignites Executives’ Compassion: Executives (ESTJ) are another personality type that is not likely to approach the suffering of others from a highly emotional place. This doesn’t mean that they don’t care. It simply means that they see the world through a particular lens. They are more likely to address suffering if their moral code or tradition highlights the nobility of doing so.

Executives might also respond more readily if they see someone who has done all that they can in life to stay on the straight and narrow and yet has come across challenges beyond their control. Executives are likely to identify with the diligence of such people and perhaps experience more empathy in those situations. That isn’t to say that they don’t show compassion unless people “earn it.” It’s a matter of degree and the natural tendency to identify and sympathize more with like-minded individuals.

How Executives Show Compassion: Don’t be thrown by the lack of emotion. Executives can be very handy to have around when there is a need for compassionate action. But, of course, the key word when it comes to Executives is “action.”

Individuals with this personality type are likely to organize with great skill whatever is necessary to provide essentials for the people needing compassion. It might be anything from organizing counseling sessions to finding sources for financial aid to ensuring that the sufferers’ everyday needs are met.

The Compassionate Consul (ESFJ)

What Ignites Consuls’ Compassion: Consuls (ESFJ) tend to be community-minded and can be moved to compassion by those who are alienated from others. In addition, this same quality endows them with a solid sense of altruism, and most Consuls are likely to see helping others as a group obligation.

Consuls also have a strong sense of tradition. If they belong to a culture where showing compassion is valued, their hearts will likely be even softer.

How Consuls Show Compassion: Consuls are generally empathetic and will know what to say to soothe and comfort individuals experiencing distress. They tend to be warm, engaging people who specialize in getting things done and showing great responsibility. That combination can be an absolute comfort in a time of need.

Often when people are suffering, they feel alienated from those who aren’t. Consuls might help others by trying to bring them into a community that can supply practical and emotional support. These personalities are also likely to have a strong network of friends and colleagues they can call on to lend a hand when needed. Bringing suffering people home to an embracing community, whether that means returning those needing comfort to an established relationship or starting a new one, is likely to help alleviate much of their pain.

Explorer Personality Types

The Compassionate Virtuoso (ISTP)

What Ignites Virtuosos’ Compassion: Virtuosos (ISTP) are famously hands-on problem-solvers. While they are not confined to responding to challenges in any particular way, they are more likely to react compassionately to people who are suffering from practical problems that can be solved with concrete solutions. People with this personality type also have strong feelings about things being measurably fair. So suffering because of unfairness may be another thing that evokes sympathetic feelings and actions.

How Virtuosos Show Compassion: On the emotional front, Virtuosos might offer someone in distress a calm presence as they get busy trying to find real-life and real-time solutions. While it’s not true that Virtuosos are devoid of feelings, many of them can compartmentalize emotions and bring mostly rational action. This can be a helpful attitude during a crisis.

Virtuosos are likely to offer help while at the same time remaining uniquely conscious of the boundaries of those who are suffering. Virtuosos typically have a strong sense of their own emotional boundaries, so they extend that sensitivity to others and are likely to become only as involved as is comfortable for the person in distress. Sometimes helpers begin to share the pain of those they are trying to help and identify too strongly with the sufferers. Boundaries can be crossed. The gift that Virtuosos bring is knowing when what they’re offering is enough and then allowing the sufferer space.

The Compassionate Adventurer (ISFP)

What Ignites Adventurers’ Compassion: Typically, Adventurers (ISFP) are sensitive people who feel intensely, so there is likely to be a lot that moves them emotionally. They are very empathetic and probably connect strongly with others who share the same challenges that they do. They are also likely to be very compassionate toward animals and children.

How Adventurers Show Compassion: Adventurers are often gentle souls whose presence alone can offer comfort and encouragement. They can be that soft shoulder to cry on that is sometimes needed during stressful times. Their empathy helps them connect with those who need someone who can relate to their pain.

That said, Adventurer personalities are likely to also have a practical side, which can be expressed as acts of kindness offered when they are most needed. Moreover, their acts of kindness will often go beyond mere gestures of sympathy and extend to genuine care that addresses real needs.

The Compassionate Entrepreneur (ESTP)

What Ignites Entrepreneurs’ Compassion: Like many problem-solvers, Entrepreneurs (ESTP) are likely to be moved when they see situations where pain can be alleviated by people behaving rationally and offering mostly practical solutions. When underdogs are distressed needlessly, Entrepreneurs are likely to respond quickly. They will find fulfillment in helping the underdogs rise above their challenges.

How Entrepreneurs Show Compassion: Having problem-solvers on board can be incredibly helpful when life goes south. Even though Entrepreneurs aren’t likely to be very warm and fuzzy during such times, they will probably explore options until they have a handle on what needs to be done. Individuals with this personality type tend to enjoy risky and novel solutions, so their expression of compassion can be unusual, but it’s likely to also be distinguished by its practicality. They may, at times, find amazingly creative solutions.

Entrepreneurs are also known for their skills in networking and making connections. Such contacts can be helpful when resources are needed to assist someone in distress. Entrepreneurs likely know someone who can provide aid or, at least, know somebody who knows somebody. A connected chain of knowledgeable individuals can be a powerful tool in a crisis.

The Compassionate Entertainer (ESFP)

What Ignites Entertainers’ Compassion: By combining their zest for life and genuine concern for others, Entertainers (ESFP) strive to make a real, positive impact on the people they care for. People with this personality type are all about connecting with others, and they are likely to respond to vulnerability and the emotional distress of others on an individual, heart-to-heart level.

How Entertainers Show Compassion: These affable personalities will be a comforting presence just by being who they are. They are likely to combine comfort with a hefty dose of hope as they show empathy and a sense that life is still beautiful even amid the pain.

Entertainers are also likely to help restore a person to their community if a crisis involves any sense of alienation. They are the personality type most likely to notice someone at a gathering who is standing alone and seems lost in the crowd. Helping a distressed person feel like a part of society again can be positively impactful. Entertainers will use their love of social interactions as a healing tool that can be most helpful for the lonely and disenfranchised.

Know Your Personality Type to Care for Others

One of the most significant benefits of knowing your personality type is that it can make you more compassionate. Exploring your combined traits can help you build healthy and meaningful relationships by understanding how your personality type interacts with others.

Self-knowledge and an understanding of the differences in others fosters the ability to listen, communicate, and solve problems better. Generally, those who know how they and others tick can better approach people with compassion instead of judgment. As a result, they can become the person needed when the call for compassionate understanding arises.

Your Turn

Do you see a connection between what makes you feel compassion, how you express compassion, and your personality type? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.

Further Reading