Facing strong opposition to our ideas and beliefs can be daunting for anyone and can make staying resolute in our position a challenge. In some situations, we may choose to stand our ground, refusing to concede defeat, no matter the social, professional, or personal costs. In other situations, we may feel compelled to back down, perhaps out of consideration for others, a desire for cooperation, or simply because of personal discomfort or exhaustion.
But are there some personality types who consistently choose to stand their ground, regardless of the situation? To investigate this question, we asked our community whether they agreed with the statement, “You frequently stand your ground in the face of strong opposition.”
A strong overall majority agreed (78%), but there were some significant divisions in the results, especially between the Mind and Identity aspects. Extraverted personality types were 14% more likely to agree than Introverted types (83% vs. 69% agreeing, respectively), and Assertive types were 14% more likely to agree than Turbulent types (85% vs. 71%). Within the Roles, there was also a notable division within the Nature aspect, with Thinking personality types agreeing at a rate 14% higher than Feeling types (86% vs. 72%).
Which personality types are the most adamant about standing their ground, and which tend to yield when faced with opposition? Let’s examine the data in further detail below.
Analysts (88% agreeing)
Analysts replied with the strongest rate of agreement, no doubt because of their Thinking trait. Types with the Thinking trait form opinions rationally, through careful consideration and logic. Valuing logic so highly, these personality types believe that if an idea has gone through an objective, logical thought process, it must be right – and therefore they are not willing to let go of it easily, least of all for emotional reasons. Confident in their own correctness, Analysts often see no reason to back down or compromise.
Diplomats were the second-most likely Role to agree, which may seem at odds with their reputation as peacemakers. But Diplomats are also the most idealistic of the Roles, and if they find themselves in a situation where their core principles are being threatened, they will defend them vehemently. At the same time, their Feeling trait makes them more sensitive than Analyst personalities to the emotional aspects of an argument and more concerned about the feelings of those involved. Because they value social harmony, they choose to compromise and cooperate more often than Analysts do, accounting for their lower rate of agreement.
Sentinels and Explorers (74% and 72%)
Sentinels and Explorers share the Observant trait, which makes them more focused on facts and reality as they’ve always known it. If they have sound facts and pragmatic reasons to back up their case, these personality types will stay resolute in the face of opposition, but if they find themselves in a debate over theoretical ideas or future possibilities, they’ll feel much less comfortable standing their ground than Analysts and Diplomats would.
Sentinels are particularly averse to conflict and are also goal-oriented, so they may prefer to seek a functional, productive solution that can move things forward. Explorer personalities like to live in the moment rather than get caught up in time-consuming debates. Content to be individualistic, they’re happy to walk their own path, without needing others to agree with them. In both cases, these Roles are not likely to want to waste a lot of time and energy arguing.
People Mastery (88% agreeing)
As previously mentioned, Extraverted, Assertive personality types were the most likely to agree that they frequently stand their ground in the face of strong opposition, and these are exactly the traits that define People Masters.
As Extraverts, People Masters possess excellent communication skills and are very comfortable expressing their opinions, even when they face opposition. These personalities also have a knack for understanding what motivates other people, and they are often able to use that skill to drill down to the reasons behind others’ disagreement and find persuasive ways to bring them over to their side. Additionally, because of their Assertive Identity, they’re not likely to get carried away in their emotions during an argument, and they might not even worry too much about what will happen if they lose.
The personality type that best epitomizes this is the Assertive Debater (ENTP-A), so it’s no surprise that they agreed with our statement at the highest rate (95%). Never afraid to make themselves targets for disagreement, Debaters live to argue, often taking positions they don’t actually believe in just to test the resolution of others or the merits of the idea. And they will absolutely stand their ground to the bitter end, always working to defend and advance their convictions and never wanting to concede defeat.
Confident Individualism and Social Engagement (79% and 78%)
It’s quite interesting that Confident Individualists and Social Engagers were nearly tied in their responses, because they have opposite traits: Confident Individualists are Introverted, Assertive personality types, while Social Engagers are Extraverted, Turbulent types. When types in these Strategies are faced with strong disagreement from others, their Mind and Identity traits work almost in opposition to each other, ultimately balancing out the degree to which they choose to stand their ground.
Confident Individualists have the strength of their Assertive Identity and the confidence in their convictions to stand their ground in the face of opposition, but as Introverted personalities, they’re averse to the excitement and drama of arguing with other people. They don’t relish intellectual sparring or get satisfaction from defending their views the way Debaters do. For them, such conflict is tiring. Highly self-reliant types, Confident Individualists may sometimes prefer to agree to disagree and go their own way instead.
Social Engagers, on the other hand, are naturally willing to engage other people in stimulating ways – as Extraverted personality types, they thrive on doing just that. But when they find themselves in contentious situations, their Turbulent Identities may kick in, triggering self-doubt that weakens their resolve and causes them to second-guess their opinions. Furthermore, Social Engagers are deeply concerned with what others think of them, and if they feel that persisting in their argument may threaten their social standing within a group or make others judge them unfavorably, they often won’t want to take that risk.
Constant Improvement (65%)
While a majority of Constant Improvers agreed with our statement, they did so in the lowest numbers. The combination of Introvert and Turbulent personality traits tends to make Constant Improvers uncomfortable in any type of social situation, but especially ones in which others are challenging them, which will cause them to feel self-conscious and emotionally stressed. That makes sticking up for themselves or their ideas difficult. These personalities can certainly muster the will to do so, particularly if they feel passionate about the issue at hand, but many might prefer to seek some other route to avoid direct conflict, or they may simply acquiesce in order to end the disagreement.
Turbulent Defenders (ISFJ-T) agreed the least of any personality type (51%). This may seem counterintuitive at first, since Defenders’ name implies a natural willingness to defend or stand up for things. But whether or not they choose to stand their ground in the face of opposition probably depends a great deal on the situation.
Defenders’ strength lies in helping and protecting other people on an intimate level. If the well-being of those close to them is somehow at stake, Defenders will absolutely step in and defend them. But if the matter at hand deals with some broader issue or theoretical concept, they’re less likely to see the point in getting involved. Turbulent Defenders are also quite emotional and don’t always handle the negativity of conflict or criticism well, taking things too personally. These personalities would generally be more comfortable in a supporting role than front-and-center in an argument, and they’d also prefer to work toward harmony and solutions where everyone wins than to persist in creating a divisive environment.
Given the influence of the Extravert, Assertive, and Thinking personality traits on the results of this survey, we can conclude that those of us who are socially confident, logical thinkers are generally more likely to invest the time and energy in regularly standing our ground against strong opposition.
Others among us certainly have the strength and ability to do so, but may prefer to choose our battles, standing our ground at all costs only when it really matters, and avoiding conflict as much as we can the rest of the time. While we hold our convictions dearly, we may look for alternative solutions or cooperative compromises, both to reduce our own stress and to help those around us be productive and positive.
Do you frequently stand your ground in the face of strong opposition? How do you think your personality type plays a role? Let us know in the comments below.