The chances are that you know someone who is generally quiet and kind, but who might surprise you with strong, incisive and persuasive ideas and opinions about issues they feel strongly about. These people are extraordinarily attuned to the needs of others and don’t seek confrontation or conflict. when you speak to them, they will surprise you with their rich thoughts and ideas, yet they are not interested in status, power, or positions of authority. If you know such a person, you have met the ‘Mother Teresa’ or ISFJ (introverted-sensitive-feeling-judging) personality.

Key traits

Lookout for the following:

  • They are the people’s person and will dedicate their lives to serving others who are in need.
  • They are passionate about what they believe in, and won’t shrink from rallying others to fight against social injustice.
  • They don’t get involved in causes for selfish reasons, but are driven by ideologies about what is right and just.
  • They regard it as their purpose in life to serve others, and will often rush to the scene or a tragedy or disaster to help.

Positives

  • They make the most consistently considerate, loyal and sympathetic friends and colleagues.
  • If you are in a fix, need help, or in the midst of some disastrous situation, you can always rely on your Mother Teresa friend for sincere, selfless support.
  • They will go all out to support others in need, without letting the world know about their efforts or expecting praise.
  • Although they need to be idealistic, they will find pragmatic ways to reach their goals in personal life as well as at work.

Negatives

Can there really be any negatives to the Mother Teresa personality? I am afraid so:

  • Extreme types find the give and take of ordinary friendships unsatisfying, and would rather part ways with those who don’t make them feel needed.
  • Sometimes they are mistaken for being outgoing and spontaneous because of their ability to communicate easily and form pleasant relationships with anybody.
  • They can have a hard time curbing their zeal and enthusiasm, which can alienate other people and put undue stress on themselves.
  • Since they tend to be enthusiastic about tasks that are important to them, they can quickly deplete their inner strength, and will uncharacteristically withdraw from social life for some time.

How do I deal with one?

Here are some things you can try:

  • Sensitive and attuned to their work and other people’s emotions, they’d rather try and steer clear of offending others. However, if they can’t avoid conflict, then they are likely to deal with it head on, which could cause them a great deal of stress.
  • They can be easily offended if you, as a friend or colleague, don’t acknowledge their support and sympathy. So, it’s good to reassure them every now and again to let them know that, although you may not express your gratitude for their efforts openly, it doesn’t mean you don’t value their friendship.

Am I one?

You know you are if:

  • You have a way with words and can easily establish friendly, warm relationships quickly with anyone.
  • People like talking to you because you listen well and pick up their cues.
  • You can recall personally meaningful events or conversations with great detail and clarity.
  • People’s lack of consideration for others bothers you tremendously.
  • Social status, high office, and being seen with high profile people doesn’t appeal to you; you will fight for a cause, and not for status.

How can I stop?

  • Schedule some time alone for yourself at regular intervals, otherwise, you will burn out.
  • Learn to come to terms with the fact that you cannot rescue everyone.
  • Don’t fret about the fact that issues like world hunger, poverty or social injustices won’t come to an end tomorrow.

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