We all feel down and out sometimes, and having friends who are there for us can make all the difference, whether we need a simple hug, a friendly ear, advice, or a firm push in the right direction. But how good are we at returning the favor when our friends are the ones who need cheering up?
To find out which personality types are more likely to throw a tow rope and tug their friends out of an emotional ditch, we asked our readers whether they agreed with the statement, “You do not let your friends dwell on negative thoughts.” A very strong overall majority (82%) agreed, confirming that most of our readers are more than ready to step up and elevate their friends’ bad moods, but we can see some notable differences among specific types.
Respondents who possessed the empathetic Feeling trait (89% agreeing) were more likely to agree than those with the Thinking trait (77%). Extraverted personality types, focused as they are on the external and social world, also excel at cheering people up and agreed with our statement at a rate of 88%, compared to 81% of Introverts.
Let’s examine the results in further detail below.
Diplomats (90% agreeing)
Cheering up a friend requires at least a superficial understanding of what they’re going through, and a Diplomat personality would argue that you can be even more effective when you connect with them on a deeper emotional level. So naturally, Diplomats, with their core Feeling trait and signature sense of empathy, agreed with our statement more than any other Role.
Diplomat personality types care about their friends and often feel their pain like it’s their own. A Diplomat would be very likely to offer a shoulder to cry on, to point out a brighter path, and to lend a helping hand. This instinct is enhanced by their Intuitive trait, which enables them to dispel negative thoughts by imagining other possibilities and focusing on the future, rather than on the past or present circumstances that are bringing their friends down.
Assertive Campaigners (ENFP-A) agreed at the highest rate of any personality type (93%). Known for always looking on the sunny side of things, Campaigners are a prime example of Feeling, Intuitive types who may literally lead their friends, or even whole groups of people, away from negative thoughts. Starting from a place of heartfelt empathy, they can inspire and elevate others through imaginative, sincere positivity.
Consider the late Robin Williams, a Campaigner personality type known for his masterful use of humor. In his films, he often tackled tough situations and difficult emotions with humor, something that he was all the better at because of his ability to empathize with his characters and his audiences.
Sentinels are usually very reliable, emotionally stable people. Because of their Observant personality trait, they’re always seeking to create stability and security, so if a friend is down in the dumps, they’ll be quick to offer sensible solutions. While that pragmatic approach may be helpful for solving problems, it may not work as well in the moment for cheering someone up, compared to the creative, energetic optimism of Diplomat personalities.
Turbulent Logisticians (ISTJ-T) tied with Turbulent Virtuosos (ISTP-T) (see below) as the personality types least likely to agree with our statement (66%). Fact-minded and practical as they are, Logisticians, especially Turbulent ones, might feel awkward or even intimidated in the face of their friends’ emotional troubles. They can sometimes be judgmental about others’ problems too. Even if they have caring connections with their friends, it isn’t as easy for them to relate outwardly as it is for many other personality types, which may make cheering someone up feel like a difficult undertaking.
As open-minded personality types who are good at improvising, Explorers can help their friends find positive alternatives to negative thoughts in many ways, whether by convincing them to believe in themselves or by taking them out to experience something new. An Explorer might just grab the hand of a depressed friend and pull them off the couch to go do something fun – a quick recipe for an attitude change.
Turbulent Virtuosos, as one of the personality types least likely to agree with our statement (66%), have a reputation for being less sensitive than most other types to the emotions of those around them – but that doesn’t mean that they don’t care about their friends. Rather, they may just be unsure of how best to help them. Virtuosos tend to be optimistic, spontaneous people who are unlikely to spend much time dwelling on anything, least of all negative emotions, so they find it harder to relate to those who do.
For instance, one can’t really picture Clint Eastwood, a famous Virtuoso, sitting a friend down with tissues and hot cocoa for a heart-to-heart conversation. He’s more likely to advise his friend to buck up and get over it. Still, even though it may not feel comfortable or natural, the majority of Virtuoso personalities will find a way to cheer up their friends, likely by way of an active and exciting shared experience.
Although they were the least likely of any Role to agree, a strong majority of Analyst personalities still said that they do not let their friends dwell on negative thoughts. Analysts’ core Thinking trait means that they can’t help but see the logical reasons why something went wrong in the first place, which can hamper their empathy. Even so, Analyst personality types are quite dedicated to their friends. They’re more likely than any other Role to try to solve their friends’ problems for them, rather than sympathize with them.
People Mastery and Social Engagement (89% and 87% agreeing)
The strong agreement rates of the People Mastery and Social Engagement Strategies demonstrate that the Extravert trait is another important factor for this topic. Extraverted personality types tend to be more socially inclined and seek engagement with the outside world, including active roles in their friends’ lives.
Both People Masters and Social Engagers want to be involved. They are likely to step in where they think they can do some good. They can’t stand to watch their friends be unhappy and will work to change their negative state, and they find it easier than Introverted personalities do to pull their friends out of their internal turmoil and into a lively atmosphere or entertaining activity that will help cheer them up.
Confident Individualism and Constant Improvement (81% each)
The Confident Individualism and Constant Improvement Strategies responded at a lower, but still high, rate. If anything, the deep care that Confident Individualists and Constant Improvers show for their friends may be tempered by timidity brought on by their Introvert personality trait.
Other people’s emotional troubles can sometimes seem scary to Introverts. These personalities may adopt a turtle-like approach to chaos around them. Nevertheless, their connection to their friends can draw them out of their shells to offer support that cheers their friends from their negative thoughts.
The personality types most likely to refuse to let their friends dwell on negative thoughts were those in possession of the Feeling and Extravert traits. These traits combine to make some people more likely to – and naturally capable of – pulling their friends up into the sunshine of happier thoughts. They have the ability to easily connect socially, as well as emotionally, with their friends and to be a positive influence.
If the majority of respondents across all personality types agreed, does that mean that the 18% who disagreed just let their friends wallow in misery? Probably not. We can take many different approaches to offering our friends comfort, not all of which require deep emotional connections, superficial distractions, or problem-solving strategies. There may be times when friends need to experience and process their negative thoughts, rather than shy away from them, and some situations simply take time to resolve.
What about you? Do you let your friends dwell on negative thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.