The Key to Successful Communication between Intuitives and Sensors


Whether you’re a Sensor or an Intuitive, you have a ‘comfort zone’ of conversation. On top of that, your tendency will be to gravitate to the same ‘comfort zone’ as other people who share your learning style. If you’re in a relationship with someone of a different learning style, what’s the secret to explaining your preference and – even more importantly – identifying where they’re most comfortable?

Watch this short, 13 minute webinar to learn what (I believe) is the most helpful key to successful communication for both learning styles:


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Showing 26 comments
  • Jeremy

    I go from Bessie is a cow to a strong logical argument for existential nihilism in a very short period of time.

    • Stacey

      Thank you…very informative.

    • JD

      I’m happiest on the rung below ‘bessie the milk cow’ which is ‘the bessie the cow with registration number #435-5657’, because there are definitely many milk cows named Bessie, and the term ‘milk’ cow could mean several things….

      Thanks for the video, its helping me see why I am failing to connect with my N husband when we try to discuss scientific topics together.

  • David

    I too am an iNtuitive (INFP) with a sensing spouse. It occurred to me that I may be able to just reverse the frequency of Why-What For questions with the What-How questions. When I want to talk to a sensor, come out of the clouds, from atop my tower of babel (HA!) and talk about the stuff that actually has form and mass, er, I mean the plants and animals, wait, I mean talk about the cabbage and horses, oh yeah! The Grandmas coleslaw and Zephyr the wonder pony (yes, I know ponies and horses aren’t the same species).

    I did wonder something else though. Do the other personality characteristics contribute to the altitude on the tower? I would imaging that NFs are more in the clouds then NTs and STs are probably more grounded than SFs? Just guessing.

  • symara ann kaslov

    Antonia, I have always been interested in peoples personalities, but I have taken more of an astrology route. During class, I would often spend my time analyzing and trying to guess my teachers zodiac signs, and on several occasions I was able to guess them correctly. As for the MBTI, While it fascinates me, as so does the eneagram, Im having so much trouble figuring out my type. on the free tests, i keep typing as an ENFP, allthough I have my doubts. my mind seems to go back obsessively back and fourth between ISFP and INFJ. Although I don’t think of myself as a stereotypically empathic, I am and have been drawn to various spiritual teachings since I was young. Astrology discovered me when I was 11 and I was able to reconstruct my birth chart by “guessing” my time of birth. I can definitely Identify with being an Overthinker and It makes me think that thats my 10 year old introverted thinker in the back seat. What im having trouble grasping about the INFJ is the Harmony component. what I perhaps need help understanding is how that manifests aside from interpersonal relationships. I feel like its hard to gauge the harmony component, because im not often interacting with people, and especially not the same people on a regular basis.
    I also wonder if I can be an ISFP. Although I don’t practice art consistently, I find that I appreciate it very much. I actually attended an art highschool when I was younger. One of my first aspirations was to become a fashion designer which sounds very ISFP. In addition, I feel that music affects me strongly. One of my favorite things to do is to go out and dance to live music. I absolutely revel in the experience of becoming one with the music and moving my body in a way that feels pleasing. but when I dance, I a m not trying to create anything, or even express myself really, It just feels cathartic to me. I was wondering if you could put up more information in the ISFP section. I find that there is alot more information and resources for INFJ. I would like to know more about the ten and three year old functions for ISFP. with that said, I defiantly resonate as a compulsive over thinker, someone who is very stuck in my head, and I feel like it often thwarts me from taking action

  • Alyssa

    Thanks so much for your insightful quick tips for successful communication. I am an ESFP and my fiance is an ENTJ. We both have an understanding of personalities and grace for the other’s way of thinking which helps avoid many challenges, but I definitely still struggle with the abstract vs concrete daily conversation. Your point about intentionally asking iNtuitives ‘Why’ and ‘What if’ questions was a lightbulb moment for me. I will definitely start putting that to practice!
    Love the work you do with PH!

  • Maham

    You don’t really mean what you said in the end did you? Intuitives and sensors can’t have great relationships, it’s like baring your soul, for both of them.

    • G

      I totally agree with you. As an intuitive it’s awfully difficult to communicate with sensors.

      You can adapt to them but they seem unable to adapt to us in the same way.

  • Alice

    I would love more feedback on how intuitives can better connect with sensors. This seems to be a major sore spot and area of misunderstanding in my relationship with my mom who’s ISFP (I’m INFP). I can see her shut down when I start talking about abstract theories or ideas I’m interested in. We both love traveling and animals, so I try and focus on those topics when we’re talking… Any other recommendations on how an intuitive can be more engaging for sensors?


    • Carrie

      Alice, I am an INFJ and I too would love to learn how to communicate better with sensors, hence the reason I am on this page. Most of my family are sensors and I find it difficult to relate to their concrete, as I see it, black and white reasoning, but I would like to learn. Thanks for your comment.

      • Gabs

        OMG I’m on the same boat; INFP here.

        I hope she does one about how to awaken your sensing. Or how to tolerate the fact that sensors usually fail at communicating with us so much that it’s hard not to feel like society is simply not made for you.

  • Alan

    I think the pyramid could make sense but is mostly based on the fact that abstract communications are based on concrete languages. So it looks like you need the bottom part of the pyramid to reach the top.

    However I’m not sure that it applies to the concept of abstract/concrete thinking.

  • Peggy

    I think this is a great model and I realize you borrowed it from the book. Just thought I would point out, I am an intuitive and totally get the ladder concept. However, since sensors are so concrete and literal, I believe a model that was horizontal instead of vertical would work better. Being higher vs lower on the ladder might feel like an insult to someone who is a more literal thinker. I might be wrong, but I am an administrator over approximately 20 people – every single one is a sensor. I’ve had to learn to understand the way they perceive things. This just stood out to me.

    • Tracey

      Agreed. The higher/lower language and the fact that it is a vertical model makes me kinda itchy. Or, if it’s going to be a vertical model, wonder if the ladder would make more sense as a pyramid, where the sensing/concrete ideas provide the solid foundation necessary for the intuitive/abstract above it.

      I guess I’m still struggling with trying to understand whether S/N are preferences on either end of a spectrum or if N is actually more evolved. And if N is somehow more evolved, is it due to being in the minority and being apt to excel at both ways? Or is it a state that is somehow objectively more evolved?

      As a sensor surrounded by mostly intuitives in my daily life, I’m often inclined to feel all alone in holding down the fort and keeping everyone from constantly reinventing the wheel. I’m amazed at how often I have to “fill in” missed details and anticipate consequences where the Ns in my life seem to have blind spots or poor memory of past failures, and they often get themselves into trouble by not fully vetting their ideas before implementing them. I do think that sensors can absolutely benefit by “growing up” the ladder, but I think it’s dangerous to assume that intuitives have mastered all the steps on the way up, when often it would benefit them to “grow down” and make sure they have a solid foundation for their ideas.

      Hope any of this made sense. I am sort of new to personality type theory and know I have a lot to learn. I love your site and podcast and am exploring my way through.

      • Charis Branson

        Thanks for your comments! You both bring up an interesting idea. I can see how the Ladder Concept could be off-putting to some.

        I really like the simile of the pyramid that Tracey recommended. Not only does the Sensation world provide the foundational structure for Intuitives, but it also represents how many more Sensors there are compared to Intuitives.

        Based upon your Sensor perspective, Tracey, maybe we should call it the Tower of Babel. Since those at the top can sometimes have their heads in the clouds. 😉

      • Lisa

        This was a lovely comment, thank you. As a Sensor, I often feel “less than” the Intuitives. No doubt this is my own growth step to work through, but this brings such a great perspective to the conversation.

      • Robert E Lee

        You sound like an estj, ha ha

        • Brooke INFJ

          I guess I am the only one completely thrown by the leap from “Bessie the cow” to “money”. Bessie to beef steak would have been just as ghastly but would require less of a leap for me.
          As long as a feeling, living creature eauals “money” in anyone’s eyes, intuitive superiority complex or no, the sensors have won.
          No offense to the nice sensors in the comments.
          But the inherent, and pretty overt, hierarchy built into the ladder model stood out to me too. Very “Animal Farm” yikes.

  • Michael


    Great model. Thank you for the webinar.

    So sensors like concrete examples..but what sort of topics do they like to talk about? Just stories of the past? Maybe an imagined future in vivid detail?


  • CandyTurner

    Antonia ~

    Brilliant response. I also have a habit of shutting down as soon as something is said that goes against the grain. Applying your advice will help me listen more and educate myself. I may never be convinced that turning 50 is an automatic milestone for becoming sickly and getting on a pill merry-go-round, but I’ll get a clearer understanding of the mindset of a person that believes that, and may possibly come up with an approach that’s not offensive.

    Thanks for your clarification!
    Candy Turner

    • Kirsh

      Elodie is going straight into the baby name scieton of my brain :DIf it were not my name, I would call my daughter Laura. I just like it a lot 😀 The boyfriend is determined to name any future kids with Irish names. The hell we are – they are so hard to spell! It’s hard enough confusing foreigners with his name – Fionntan (actually pronounced Finn-tann). Saying that my sisters Irish name Nuala (New-ala) is pretty straight forward

  • antonia

    Janet – Thanks for the well-wishing! Piper has been a real eye-opener for me in many ways.

    In response to your comments about not watching the webinar, considering you took the time to articulate them here, I’m assuming you’re open to me introducing an alternative perspective.

    Not to veganism, of course – this is not a blog on nutrition and diet, nor am I an expert on the subject.

    However, I do consider myself an expert on human models and systems of thinking. Over the course of coaching people in both achievement and happiness, I’ve noticed a pattern develop.

    We all have the ability to take in information without making judgments. We all have the ability to make judgments and determine the value of that information. And, while we frequently do these things so close together in chronology that it almost feels simultaneous, they are actually two very distinct mental processes that are happening inside of our minds. That is to say, we can take in information without EVER evaluating that information, and we can make snap judgments without actually taking in new information.

    My observation has been that those who make the best, most sound evaluations and judgments do so after fully taking in information and seeing a complete picture before evaluating or judging it. They have the most well-rounded, thoughtful beliefs and are generally the most grounded and centered.

    When people don’t do this – when they jump to conclusions at the first sign of something offending a pre-selected belief – they often end up down a road which starts with confirmation bias and ends with what could be called a Reality Distortion Field – a bubble for seeing the world only as the person wants to see it.

    Interestingly, in this particular example, the illustration I used has nothing to do with agenda or social opinion on farm animals. It’s simply the illustration used by H.I. Hayakawa – the writer of the book I reference in the webinar – to help one understand how humans process varying levels of abstraction, and where they like to ‘hang out’.

    As an Intuitive, it makes sense that you would see principles and ethical implications in many places other people may take for granted. That’s part of what defines you as an Intuitive! Never give that up, and never apologize for it.

    However, be careful not to bow out of conversations too early and/or stop taking in information, even if you suspect it will contradict a well-loved belief or position. In fact, SEEK information that does so. Sharpen the sword through the check-and-balance system of differing opinions! In doing this, you will be the best version of an Intuitive that you can be.

    Thanks for your support!


    • G

      Hi Antonia, is there any chance of maybe you doing a podcast or article/presentation on how to best help Intuitives (INFP here) not get so down when it comes to engaging in this fast paced world where all that seems to matter is money, profit and production and there’s an ever increasing disregard for depth of thought?

      I feel like as an intuitive I’m able to go down the ladder in my conversations and approach.

      However I struggle to not get bogged down by sensors constantly dismissing values, principles and depth.

  • janet

    Congratulations on the birth of your baby, Antonia. What an exciting time for you – and good that you were able to make this video at a time that is most likely very busy for you. .

    I Reallydo Wish, however, that you didn’t use a cow, farm animals, and $$$$’s in your illustration.

    I am a vegan who just last night attended a lecture in Toronto where the author (Will Tuttle- an intuitive trailblazer) addressed the Very ISsue of ‘commodifying animals for money.

    In the book – ‘The World Peace Diet’ (said to be ‘the most important book of the 21st century – was #1 on Amazon – and whose author received ‘the courage of conscience award.) – and the lecture – he talks about our history –
    -10,000 years of oppression of women –
    -how our health (and also the health of our children) — is being completely compromised, –aniimals are seen as objects to be abused and consumed,
    and our environment destroyed, – through use of animals for food and their milk –
    (which is meant for their babies) – and reductionism in this his way. .

    This is a subject most dear to my heart, and – because of all of the above – i can’t watch the video, because – can see where it is going before i even watch it.

    Looking forward to your next (hopefully more neutral) video or instruction,
    I find what you both are putting out there to be resonating, helpful and thought provoking and I thank you for thinking of this – putting it all together and doing what you are doing for intuitives!!!

    • janet

      Hi, Janet here… another layer “up the ladder,” I have found health by being basically eating raw vegan!
      Since I was raised raising animals for meat etc, as well as gardening, I know that from the “ladder rung we lived on,” we loved our cow & cared for her as a family member (Daisy, not Bessie!!)

      Janet, try going into the abstraction mode and realize that one person’s (cow slave) is another family’s pet… so watch this for its example, not for the cultural connotations!
      Good luck! It was worth watching~

      • janet

        Hi Janet,
        Thanks for recommending that I put to one side the ‘fact’ that all cows ‘organic’ or not (unless they are family pets) are ‘cow slaves’ and –just look at the video – illustratively. Appreciate your comradery, Janet!!

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