This week Jess interviews her sister and fellow co-founder of So Syncd, Lou, and her long-term boyfriend to explore an ISTP – ESFJ relationship. Lou, an ESFJ who is 27, and Charles, an ISTP who is 28, have been together for four years and are based in London. They would be the perfect match on So Syncd, our personality type dating app. In this interview, they talk about being best friends before dating, the challenges of an office romance and their daily dinner debate.
Jess says: “Lou and I are really close as sisters and I can tell you from experience that she’s a lot to handle but Charles does it very well!”
How the ISTP – ESFJ relationship started
While working full-time in London, Lou and Charles were also studying for the same Masters qualification in the evenings. Spending so much time together and working in the same office came with its difficulties. After breaking up for a short period, they got back together and are stronger than ever.
“We spent every day working together and then two or three evenings a week studying together and going to lectures,” says Lou. “We were doing a part-time Masters and obviously speaking a lot about the course. Then we really grew a good friendship in the first six months.”
At the time, Charles had just broken up with his girlfriend and Lou had a boyfriend so they started off as friends. “Given the amount of time we spent together, we soon became best friends very early in our ISTP – ESFJ relationship,” says Charles.
“Best friends that accelerated,” says Lou.
They both came to the realization that it was more than just friends about a year after first meeting. “We used to go out for work drinks quite a lot, and then we used to try and orchestrate it so that we went back to the office together afterwards,” says Lou.
“There was a bit of chemistry from the start,” says Charles. “We just happened to get along so well.”
The ISTP – ESFJ first date
The relationship progressed organically. “I think it went from friends to friends that got together to actually, we really, really, really cared about each other and we wanted to spend all our time together,” says Lou.
It’s tricky for Lou and Charles to pinpoint their first date because the relationship grew out of friendship. “We used to go for lunch and dinner all the time by ourselves so it was never really a big deal,” says Lou. “Charles would always come over and watch TV at my house. We literally lived a stone’s throw away from each other.”
Fortunately, Lou and Charles kept their relationship private from work colleagues for a while under the guise of being study buddies and simply workmates.
“We were quite young, very new into our jobs and we didn’t want to give off the air of skirting around the rules,” says Charles. “So we had to sort of try and be as good as we could really, but obviously wanting to…It was a challenge.”
Lou spells it out. “We had to keep our hands off each other.”
Once they stopped working together, it was a lot easier. “When I left the company it really blossomed into the relationship,” says Lou.
The ISTP – ESFJ initial spark
However, Lou does remember very clearly the first day that Charles turned up for an interview in her office. “I texted my girlfriends saying, ‘Oh my God! This really good-looking guy just left my office. I think he’s going to start working here.’ They remind me about this, which is really sweet,” says Lou although from the start it was much more about personality. “I really liked how we grew close as friends and loved how easy it was to be around Charles. Our good friendship just turned into the emotional connection.”
Charles had a different perspective on it. “I was new into an office space, at my first real job. And then in comes Lou, full of life, full of energy, asking me whether I want a cup of tea? Do I want showing around the office? Do I want any help?” says Charles. “So automatically, Lou’s kindness and energy drew me to that. Then combine that with her phenomenal good looks…she was beautiful. And then when we went out for drinks, and the real funny energetic side came out of her. That’s what drew me to Lou. We’ve been best friends ever since.”
Making the relationship ISTP – ESFJ official
Again, because of the slow burn approach to their relationship, it’s tricky for them to put a date on the first time they considered themselves a couple. “There was a time when I’d left the company and Charles was on a work night out and told our old boss that we were together,” says Lou. “So, our boss texted me saying, ‘Congratulations, I hear you guys are together.’ I was like, ‘Oh, well that’s news to me!’ But I called my mum the next day and said: ‘Apparently me and Charles are in a relationship.’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, I know! I’ve known for like two years.’ But then the best part is Charles actually had no idea he had said that [to his boss] anyway and didn’t remember it at all!”
Before being in a relationship, they had to behave differently to most new couples.
“Obviously we’d never been able to hold hands or be affectionate in public in case someone saw us on Oxford Street or out for dinner,” explains Lou. “I think when we started holding hands, that’s when it became more of a relationship, but we never really had the conversation.”
Myers & Briggs personality types
Learning his personality type was life-changing for Charles. “It was completely unknown to me until a couple of years ago and then, all of a sudden, Lou says you need to do this test and see if we’re compatible. I think I passed with flying colors! So that’s when I first discovered it.”
Lou had come across personality type testing at school and then again around five years ago when she started discussing it with her sister and co-founder, Jessica. “I came out as an ESFJ, which I related to very much. It literally describes me to a T,” says Lou. “And it was really good to find out that, without even knowing it, Charles and I were the perfect match.”
Understanding his personality better has helped Charles going forward. “I always thought previously before all of this…I knew there were introverts and extroverts and I always thought introverts were considered lesser, weaker, less confident individuals, but that’s completely not the case. I didn’t realize that if you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it’s all based around where you get your energy from. So for me, understanding my personality type really sort of gave me some answers to my whole character.”
It is widely thought that introverts do have a slightly harder time than extroverts on the whole because the world is largely set up for extroverts and extroversion is rewarded. However, as far as Lou is concerned, she sees Charles as one of the most confident people she knows. “I see Charles as very happy, very at peace, very secure. And that’s nothing to do with being an introvert or an extrovert. It’s just that Charles likes to recharge by himself. Whereas I recharge with other people,” says Lou.
Complementary introvert – extrovert personality traits
Both Charles and Lou say knowing their personality types has massively impacted their relationship. “The fact that I know I’m an introvert and I know Lou is an extrovert, it just explains a lot,” says Charles. “We’re able to understand what makes each other tick. We are both Sensors.”
Lou adds: “We think in the same way, but if Charles wants time alone, I completely respect that. And if I really need to go out and see friends, Charles is also happy just being like, ‘OK, we’ll have a great time. I’m going to spend the night in and watch TV.’ We’re very comfortable with that situation. And I think that understanding each other is the main thing that we both got from it.”
Complementary thinker – feeler personality traits
Their personality types define Charles as being more of a thinker and Lou as a feeler when it comes to emotions. “Lou is a passionate feeler,” says Charles. “So with every single thought that she is creating, it’s all backed up by the feeling that she has.”
Lou agrees. “I lead with my heart and not my head. And I think Charles is definitely more head but, I would say in terms of being a thinker, he is more towards the feeler side of a thinker.”
When they have disputes it is very clear that they approach the discussion from different viewpoints.
“When we do have our disputes, I will always think from a practical point of view, whereas Louella will always think from a feeling point of view,” says Charles. “And I think understanding where both of our points of view come from is really important because it backs up your whole thought process.”
Complementary judger – perceiver personality traits
Lou, as a co-founder of So Syncd, looks at other aspects too. “In terms of the judging and perceiving, I’m the planner. Charles is the go-with-the-flow a lot more than me,” says Lou. “And I just think that works so well. If I was with another judger, I know for me, that wouldn’t work. I like the way that Charles brings the unplanned into the relationship.”
One example of this is when they go on holiday – which they like to do a lot (pre-Covid). “Before we even step off the plane, there’s already a spreadsheet (created by Lou),”
explains Charles. “And on the day, if there’s something that I want to do, we’ll go and do it.”
It works well partly because they describe themselves as adaptable planners. They both love cooking and drinking good wine and that is a big part of their shared time together. “Apart from food and where we’re going to have our next bottle of wine, we love to fantasize about the immediate future,” says Charles.
ISTP – ESFJ conversation topics
Or the no-so-immediate future says Lou. “We like to talk about where we want to live in 10 years’ time or five years’ time.” Dinner debates though are a main topic.
“Well, we love food, and you know Lou’s the planner,” says Charles. Dealing with conflict is quite straightforward because of their personality match. “I would say my personality is not particularly confrontational. I am quite relaxed and chilled,” says Charles. “So, there isn’t a huge amount of conflict within our relationship.”
Lou feels that they have both grown up a lot in the past three years and they understand each other a lot more because of understanding their personality types. “Charles is not very argumentative. He is quite quiet if I just shout something out. He doesn’t really respond but he is definitely not shy of an opinion.”
ISTP – ESFJ conflict resolution
They come at problems from a totally different way. “We do have those odd occasions when a situation or a problem arises, and I will attack it from the thinking points of view and Lou will attack it from a feeling point of view,” explains Charles. “And we’re both quite passionate in the way that we think. That can sometimes cause conflict. But then, we’re getting better at talking through that. It’s safe to say that there’s not a huge amount of conflict within our relationship.”
Lou agrees that it is pretty conflict-free. “I think we’re just a lot better at talking through things and you’re a very calming influence on me in general. I would say I’ve calmed down a lot since being with you.”
Bringing out the best in each other
Lou describes Charles as sometimes being judgemental whereas Charles feels he is opinionated but she also loves how kind and caring he is. “I know that you show how much you care through actions rather than words, but I really can see that,” says Lou. “And I know that without a doubt, you will always, always have my back. But then I also like how honest you are with me. And you always tell it to me how it is. I really love how much fun we have together all the time. We’re on the same wavelength. We’re thinking in the same way. And I just always want to be around you. You’re my best friend. And I just really like who I am when I’m with you.”
Charles feels that Lou also brings out the best in him too. “Being an extrovert, Lou definitely brings out the more fun side of me, which I love. She pushes me out of my comfort zone, and makes me do things that I would never, ever dream of doing but, in hindsight, I absolutely love them. Lou is also the most caring and most loving person that I’ve ever known and the effort that she goes to, to make me feel loved is amazing. And yeah, I wouldn’t change her personality at all, because I think you make me the best version of me that I can be.”
Lou feels the same. “I also know that you make me the best version I’ve ever been of myself, in terms of patience, in terms of kindness,” says Lou.
The ISTP – ESFJ relationship challenges
However, Charles does have one personality tweak that he would make if he could. “I think Lou definitely has a defensive tendency,” says Charles. “When we do have our conflicts, I think Lou’s defensiveness comes out.” Lou would ideally like to get more of a reaction from Charles sometimes. “When we do argue, you don’t really say anything,” says Lou. “I think that can make me more annoyed and more frustrated.”
Charles agrees that he doesn’t respond particularly well to conflict.
Lou lives in hope that Charles will be a bit more romantic although she knows it is not part of his personality make up. “Maybe a bit of unexpected romance would be nice, like buying some flowers on your way home,” Lou hints.
The rocky start to the ISTP – ESFJ relationship
Their relationship had a rocky start, especially when they parted for a few months due to work pressures. “I was trying to be quite modern about the whole thing,” explains Lou. “I was on Charles’ profile on a dating app matching him with other people. And I matched with this girl on his behalf that he then ended up dating. That was really challenging for me. I thought I’d be really cool and modern and all that, but I really, really struggled with it. I got to a point where I was like, ‘I can’t be your friend because this is so painful for me to watch.’”
Charles found it particularly challenging. “I remember the conversation vividly,” says Charles. “Lou was quite frank and, she said, ‘I can’t be your friend anymore. You either choose me or you choose your girlfriend.’ And to be honest, I couldn’t think of my life without Louella being in it. So it came down to being a pretty easy decision. I chose Lou and I broke up with my girlfriend and the rest is history.”
Charles adds: “It devastated me to see her unhappy. And she is a very, very…you know, she’s got a lot of emotions. She wears her heart on her sleeve and it absolutely devastated me to see the, sort of the heartbreak that was being caused.”
During the time they broke up, Charles missed Lou and felt their relationship was meant to be. “The ease and the way that we interact and the… I really missed the true friendship [with Lou] and someone so close that you could talk about everything to,” he says. “Even though I did have a girlfriend at the time, I still didn’t have that same connection. I was supposed to have this amazing relationship with Lou.”
Complementary ISTP – ESFJ personality traits
When it comes to strengths and weaknesses Charles has given a lot of thought to this. “I bring in elements of calm to our relationship,” he says. “I also bring an element of rational thinking but I lack the energetic sort of outgoingness which Lou provides in abundance. She really makes me a better person.”
“I think we balance each other out in a good way,” says Lou. “I just love that even when we’re different, we’ve got the balance, but then we also just are thinking the same thing as well.”
The future of their ISTP – ESFJ relationship
Looking ahead to the future, the couple are about to move in together. “I’m most looking forward to Charles starting to pay rent because you basically live here,” jokes Lou. “It would be great to get some money off you!”
Charles is equally enthusiastic about their life together in the future – even including paying rent! “I am really excited about living with you,” he says to Lou. “I’m also really excited to see what happens with So Syncd. You’ve had some great traction, the podcast is going really well. It’s going to be a great journey.”
How to write your own love story
If you’re feeling inspired by this beautiful love story, sign up to So Syncd, the personality type dating app, for free today to find your perfect personality match.