Conflict is the intertype relation considered to be the least comfortable and fulfilling psychologically. One's conflictor is the quasi-identical of one's dual, so they may seem similar at first glance, despite being polar opposites in terms of psychological compatibility.
In relations of conflict, partners' Ego functions correspond to the Super-ego functions of the other. This is similar to Super-ego relations except that partners' 1st and 2nd functions correspond to the other's 4th and 3rd, respectively (as opposed to 3rd and 4th). This means that each person conveys a large amount of verbal information to the weak vulnerable function of the other. This function is not able to digest such a large body of information in stride, and the person's thinking processes becomes disorganized and muddled. The difference in rationality also makes this relationship develop much more haphazardly and awkwardly than Super-ego relations.
In relations of conflict, two people belong to opposite poles of all four basic dichotomies (e.g. ISTJ which is irrational, introverted, sensing, and logical, and ENFJ, which is rational, extroverted, intuitive, and ethical).
At a distance, conflictors may find each other interesting, but as they become closer are sure to notice a fundamental difference in their motives and point of view. They can only sidestep this by limiting their relationship to the most formal and superficial interaction possible in a given situation (the most natural psychological distance for this relationship is very long). When interaction is unavoidable, uncomfortable misunderstandings or, most often, a sense of awkwardness and ambiguity usually result, even when both partners have the best of intentions. When actual conflict occurs, conflictors tend to repeat themselves over and over without ever making themselves understood; thus, they are often not even sure why the conflict exists in the first place.
Conflictors can have known each other for a very long time without having the slightest understanding of each other's motives. This makes true collaboration and intimacy difficult.
It is quite common for conflict partners at work or in other formal situations to make a point of being civil and friendly to the other and openly demonstrating their good will. In the process of doing this, they usually end up trying to engage one another's vulnerable function, but this only makes the other suspicious and withdrawn. Compare this to the suggestive function, which one readily allows others to engage and support.
Because of their disparate life goals, conflictors seldom have the same interests, but when they do discussion of these interests can provide a means of interaction formal enough to not be impeded by socionic factors.
- ENTP and ISFP
- ISFJ and ENTJ
- ESFJ and INTJ
- INTP and ESFP
- ENFJ and ISTJ
- ISTP and ENFP
- ESTP and INFP
- INFJ and ESTJ
Descriptions by various authors
Valentina Meged, Anatoly Ovcharov
The most difficult type of relations. Partners try to impose their own views on each other and don't want to accept value of one another. This leads to continuous suppression of one another. Partners notice the slightest flaws in each other and often exaggerate them. They often argue, disagree, don't listen to one another, don't accept each other's arguments. Even jokes and compliments are perceived incorrectly. All of this does not contribute to development of sensitivity, mutual attention to the needs and interests of another. Over time, the tension that originates in exacerbating conflicts and constant desire to move away, causes resentment. Such relationships are difficult in personal life and work. At the beginning, while dating and still maintaining some psychological distance, conflict partners are often sympathetic to each other, admire each other's strengths, talk about their interests, exchange their opinions. When they transition to more frequent and close contact, mutual irritation and misunderstandings arise. It is advisable to adhere to traditions and discuss all changes beforehand. Only careful attitude to each other can save this relationship.
I.D. Vaisband, publications on Socionics
Conflict partners constantly get on each other's pet peeves. This is actually good for self-discovery. Marry a dual – you will be happy, marry a conflictor – you will become a philosopher. For the most part, try to maintain psychological distance, remain polite, and make no attempt to pour out your heart! Of course, there can be no talk of harmony is close relations (e.g. family). In cases where partners can communicate at a distance, for example, both are members of a club, they can use the advice of one another and even to maintain long-term "distant" friendship if they treat each other with respect. When dealing at close range conflicts in these relations are inevitable.
O.B. Slinko, "The key to heart - Socionics"
These relations require maximum carefulness. Leading function of your conflict partner coincides with your most painful function. He, thus, produces a flood of information about those aspects that you don't pay attention to and don't mention. Communication with a conflicting partner places you under constant tension. There is a sense of impending explosion beneath the surface. Opposite encoding of information leads to a feeling that literally every word of one's conflictor is annoying and brings up internal protest. At times, relations seem to be improving, but at the most inopportune moment conflictor suddenly tells something hurtful to you. Conflict relations can transpire smoothly if both partners are aware of their incompatibility and maintain sufficient distance, carefully trying to maneuver around "sharp corners".
R.K. Sedih, "Informational psychoanalysis"
Partners usually find each other quite interesting. Among socionists the most wide-spread name for this type of relations is "conflict". This is justified only on low level of interaction when both partners are poorly developed and un-dualized. In this case, partners not realizing it will hit each other's weakest spots. This is a very difficult situation if both of them have to live together, sharing a room for example. Situation improves if even one partner is dualized. In this case partners can affect each other positively and even derive benefit from these relations. This aspect of interaction is satisfactory only if there is tolerance between partners. In socionics, there is a tradition to consider this interaction as the most harsh and uncomfortable for the individual. My own research has shown, however, that it is almost always not the case. Over many years of studying socionics, I have not found any cases of such classic conflict as described by A. Augustinavichiute. Our observations and some recent theoretical developments suggest that in general this type of relation falls into the same level of comfort as semi-duality and activation relations.
Laima Stankevichyute "Intertype relations"
When communicating, people automatically get into debates and often hit each other's most painful areas i.e. offend each other's vulnerable function. Both are saying unacceptable things in eyes of one another and both suffer through this. Logical types seem to ethical types too egoistical. Ethical types seem to logical types too frivolous, shallow, foolish, and even malicious. This is especially hard when people have to work together, because their methods and rhythm of work are very different. Introverts accuse extraverts that they do not keep to the schedules thus wrecking chaos. Extraverts accuse introverts of doing everything too slowly. When people know about types, they can divide work accordingly and not try to interfere with each other. Extravert should not try to push and activate the introvert; introvert should not try to slow down the extravert.
A.V. Bukalov, G. Boiko, "Why Saddam Hussein made a mistake, or what is Socionics"
Misunderstandings arise very easily in this type of relations. Due to how their functions are positioned, conflict partners are prone to thinking that the other is being difficult intentionally. At the same time, conflict relations are deceptive. At a distance partners attract each other with their unusual abilities, sometimes with beauty, originality of statements and behavior. Later, this is replaced by mutual bafflement, concealed resistance, and eventually open conflict. Moreover, as observations show, any reasoning or explanations don't improve these relations. The only way to improve them is to increase the psychological distance between partners. Communication is done best in presence of dual or activator of one of the partners. In family situation, these relations can lead to psychosomatic illnesses. After distancing from conflictor, the person feels considerably relieved. Under the pressure of external circumstances conflictors can forget about their differences for a while and work together in "same harness". These relations are dangerous by the fact that the conflict is often subdued, quiet. Introverted types won't show their feelings towards their conflicting partners, until they reach a breaking point in some situation.
Victor Gulenko, "Criteria of reciprocity"
Conflict partner immediately draws your attention via some unusual effect he has on you. If your areas of activity are separate, then communication is overall polite and amiable. Especially of interest are the methods which conflict partner uses to solve his problems. When trying to work more closely, his behavior starts to seem confusing. As a result of this, irritation builds up, which can lead to conflict if partners don't distance in time.
Binary signs of intertype relations
Disagreements a fueled even further with intervention of third parties. The root causes of conflict – complete opposition of the basic properties of the personality – are not removed when partners communicate one-on-one (this is impossible in principle), but can be curbed, disregarded for a time being, interiorized. Conflict relations grow more accommodating with maximum isolation from external influences.
Conflict partners can keep together only if they adhere to a system of discussing their tastes, habits, and intentions beforehand. In conflict relations, to avoid escalation into open conflict, partners need to have an outlet to discharge their internal emotional tensions. Conflict partners do not tolerate uncertainty and subtle hints. These relationships stabilize when they are founded on a solid, invariable rhythm of life.
Conflict partners usually are willing to demonstrate reasonableness and manage to stay together in spite of an apparent dissimilarity of character, but this is only possible with continuous suppression of internal negative emotions. Advice of conflicting partner seems deliberately misleading and illogical. There is a need to constantly restrain oneself to not retaliate and try to discredit him.
Conflicting relations inhibit any bold, original initiatives and quickly extinguish any "flights of imagination". They orient people at conservative, routine values. Partners beneficially work together only on already established and previously successful projects. These relations require a stable, strictly static environment. Conflict partners have a tendency to conserve exiting balance and very much disapprove of unexpected turns of events. Switching to new mode of existence is extremely difficult; it is seen almost as a natural disaster. Thus partners resist change at all costs, clinging to the old ways. Only after being sure that all connections have been broken do they look to a new course.
Associations are usually only short-term, during which the partners can significantly move forward. In other cases differences are reinforced. Internal tensions immediately makes itself felt when conflictors get closer, into which they are sometimes pressured by external circumstances. At best, the tension is relieved by mutual jokes and banter, at worst – a quarrel and forceful collision.
Advice on getting along
These relations cause the ever-present inner tensions. People brought together by these relations over time become anxious and irritable. In collaboration with your conflict partner, strictly divide duties among yourselves and carry them out according to a firm schedule/plan. Rationalization will help you keep internal nervousness and negative emotions at bay and channel accumulated energy into useful things of homemaking or leisurely nature.
It is recommended to use humor and jokes to uplift each other's moods. However, joke carefully and avoid sarcasm. Once you feel that the tension has reached a critical point, it is best that you leave the vicinity of your conflict partner (for example, go to a different room).
Do not allow any mediators into your relations. Household duties do together, but don't take up the same duty together. Avoid surprises, fancies, novelties, as your partner is likely to react negatively to them.
Keep fidelity out of a sense of duty, consciously suppress resentment and antipathy. Make it a tradition to celebrate the most pleasant moments of your relationship. Help each other in the most difficult moments. This way you will see responsiveness and effectiveness of these relations in the pursuit of mutual interests against outside pressure and adversity.
Ekaterina Filatova "Art of understanding yourself and others"
In this case, the energy of the powerful 1st channel of each of the partners can fall onto the weak 3rd channel (PoLR; Point of least resistance) of the other. The relationship is not a pleasant one.
It is clear that in these relations, partners can sympathize with each other only when they are at a considerable distance. Each is attracted by the strong function of the other partner, in the sphere of which he is most vulnerable and unsure of himself. Upon approach, partners sooner or later feel the pressure on their PoLR and, to avoid discomfort, increase the distance of communication (these relations are symmetrical).
Eugene Gorenko, Vladimir Tolstikov, "Nature of self"
The peculiarity of this relationship is that each of the partners unwittingly hurts the weakest and most vulnerable spot in psyche of another. This, of course, is very unpleasant to both. However, it is quite possible to maintain this relationship on a conflict-free level if you observe a certain distance. It will relieve partners of the collision and, therefore, help maintain completely normal relations.
Heteroverted - Symmetrical - Arrhythmical
These are relations of constantly developing conflict. Conflicting relations have the worst compatibility between partners among all other relations. However, it does not seem to be so obvious, especially in the earlier stages of development. Conflicting partners appear rather attractive, interesting and with impressive abilities.
Both partners are usually convinced that they can coexist and collaborate quite peacefully, but soon it becomes apparent that something is always going wrong, making their relationship problematic. Both partners may mistakenly think that the cause of these problems is minor and easily fixed and that all they need to do is to show a little bit more effort in understanding their partner.
Unfortunately, these attempts to continue pushing their relationship any further will soon provoke an open conflict between the partners. When conflict starts, partners hit each other with arguments exactly in the direction where they can cause maximum pain. In return, the other partner may counterattack even more aggressively. With every conflict these relations become worse and worse.
Although Conflicting partners show confidence where their partner is not confident, they are unable to protect and take care of each other's weak points. This regularly brings disagreement and disappointment into these relations. When after several fruitless attempts to establish a stable relationship the partners give up and break the relationship, they feel saved and released.