Sheriff Andy? How Different Personality Types Get Cranky and Fuss

By Jack Speer | September 4, 2013

Sheriff Andy (600px)

Do you remember this face? Sheriff Andy Taylor

It’s Andy Griffith/Sheriff Andy Taylor in the TV series about fictional Mayberry, North Carolina in the 60’s—it was on reruns for decades after that. Among people who discuss type, we may need someone like Sheriff Andy when we get fussy.

We need a soothing voice like Sheriff Andy—and that sure couldn’t be me. As an ENTJ, I can still clear a room when I open my mouth, and when everyone has left, I always ask, “Was it something I said?

There wasn’t a lot of violent crime in Mayberry, but healing hard feelings and avoiding divisive spats was a big job for Andy. You had diverse townspeople like Deputy Barney Fife, Floyd the barber, and Goober who fixed cars down at the gas station. There were always things that came up and egos flared. They didn’t mean to always fight; they were all just odd and saw things differently.

What was special about Sheriff Andy was that he respected everyone and listened, even to the oddest people with the strangest point of view. He even respected Otis Campbell, the town drunk, and Sheriff Taylor’s own prickly, shrill voiced, excitable deputy, Barney Fife. Sometimes we lack that kind of respect for differences when we’re talking to people about type, People who don’t agree with us just lack the credentials, or haven’t seen the light.

Type theory is designed to bring us together by helping us to understand how we’re different. Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs looked for a tool to bring about world peace when they found Carl Jung’s theories and put them together into an assessment. But as we all know, it’s not just about the data—it’s about the right heart and caring.

Sheriff Andy and GooberDon’t get me wrong. Controversy helps us all learn if we know how to handle it. For years Extroverts wanted to make Introverts into Dale Carnegie hand-shakers and backslappers. Now Introverts are saying, not only do I not want to be an Extrovert, you guys are much more like a pathology than a preference. You can’t stay still, shut up, and get something done. Feelers want to fix Thinkers and make them less Cro-Magnon. Thinkers attack Feelers as wanting to play a banjo and dance while Thinkers solve the real problems.

Then people get really fussy about the valid way to determine type. Which assessment determines type the best? Shouldn’t the person being assessed be the one who really determines what type he/she is? There are the people who want to know whether the assessment really represents what Jung thought. Then there are scholars and practitioners who like to delve into the endless complexity of type, and what affect Introverted Feeling is likely to have on a person who had pancakes before 9 in the morning.

According to the story, Jung found differences interesting. That’s a rare quality today. It’s a rare person who is more interested in probing why a person takes the position they take rather than attacking what they are sure is their faulty logic and asking them if they were raised by wolves.

I think when we get cranky; it’s interesting to see how different personality types do cranky. Here are my thoughts.

How the Different Personality Types Get Cranky


ISTJ The ISTJ gets cranky when discussion does not reflect reliable past data, time honored systems that work reasonably well, and recognized authority.
ISFJ The ISFJ gets cranky when the discussion is too theoretical and does not give an opportunity to those in the group who might be hurting or in need.
INFJ The INFJ gets cranky when the discussion lacks forward vision of a better future.
INTJ The INTJ gets cranky when the intellectual model is contradictory and lacks elegance.
ISTP The ISTP will look for the opportune movement to tell a good story during the debate to get people cooled down—but they can just leave if the discussion is too theoretical.
ISFP The ISFP will be distracted by the debate and will cope with it by thinking of something more interesting and beautiful.
INFP The INFP will have brilliant contributions to the discussion, skillfully affirm those in the discussion, and suddenly disappear.
INTP The INTP is the type most interested in type, who will tease out the details and the different components of type and write a skillful paper on some aspect of type.  But don’t look to them to build consensus out of chaos and controversy.
ESTP The ESTP won’t get cranky at all.  They will warmly connect with each person in the room and understand each person’s point of view.  Then they’ll announce they need to leave early to deliver a media release on the group that’s in town.  But if they ever DO get cranky, watch out!
ESFP The ESFP will be cranky if after a long day’s discussion everyone doesn’t want to go to happy hour and dinner.
ENFP The ENFP, the type with the 2nd highest interest in type, will probably be a calming effect on the other cranky people in the group, although being conflict averse, may not be able to achieve agreement.
ENTP The ENTP is normally not the cranky type, but may make the whole group cranky with a barrage conflicting ideas and a contrarian stance.
ESTJ The ESTJ will get cranky if the discussion is too theoretical, has no obvious purpose, and leaves him or her feeling trapped.
ESFJ The ESFJ will get cranky if the discussion gets too conflicted and sloppy, and nobody is taking notes.  Where’s the to-do list?!
ENFJ The ENFJ will get cranky if all opinions are not heard and the group does not grow as a result.
ENTJ The ENTJ will get cranky if his or her ideas do not dominate the discussion and there is no strategy to apply it globally.

Most people who give a point of view about personality type almost always have a good point to make.  Let’s listen to each other and use it for what it was created—to help people caught in the trap of being human to get along better.