Realist Vs Pessimist Vs Optimist Vs Idealist (An Introduction)

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This article will not only introduce each of the terms namely realist, pessimist, optimist and idealist but also compare them! The article will also touch upon the traits of each term and what their core beliefs are. The article will also provide some examples of realists, pessimists, optimists and idealists in the form of MBTI personality types.

Realist Vs Pessimist Vs Optimist Vs Idealist – Who Is Who?

A realist is someone who takes into consideration the risks, requirements and possible outcomes of a choice or decision we make while blocking out the desires or ego impulses we usually experience and that may make our decisions biased to an extent – they sometimes tilt over to pessimism which is defined as the attitude that things will go wrong and people’s desires or wished will not come true. 

On the other hand, an optimist is someone who has an entirely different attitude that is based on the strong belief that the future will hold good things. An idealist is another type of person who believes in achieving the perfect image of their desire – a perfect world or life. They are somewhat an extreme form of optimism.

In this article, we will take a look at each of the terms above and describe them in detail!

The 4 Friends – The Realist, Pessimist, Optimist And The Idealist

In this section we will take a look at four different types of approaches that people adopt in life!

The Realist – Accepting What Is In Front Of You

The realist is someone who takes an extra practical approach to life! They are often ruled by the reality principle which was discussed by Freud as well. The reality principle is what forces the individual to focus on what is apparent – the risks, requirements and consequences of a task or decision as opposed to the benefits and pleasures that can be obtained by following a certain course of action. 

Hence, the reality principle is actually at odds with the ego or ID which is what drives us to obtain pleasure. Freud often compared the relationship of the id and the ego to that of a horse and rider: The horse represents the id, ruled by the pleasure principle and providing the energy to race to satisfy needs and desires. The ego is the rider, constantly tugging on the reins of the id in order to steer a person to act in ways that are acceptable and appropriate.

  • Cautious
  • Risk Averse
  • Slow To Act
  • Focus On Problems Rather Than Benefits
  • Practical
  • Slightly Pessimistic

When it comes to people who are realistic, they will prefer less risky paths and be very analytical and careful – they will be the ones who will assume what can go wrong and hence caution everyone.

INTPs – True Realists

As introverts, INTPs are more focused on their inner world rather than the outer one. They will expend more time and effort to understand it through thinking, reflecting, imagining and other mental processes . They hence engage in behaviours that allow them to focus on their inner world of thoughts; they are seen as quiet, focused and in the state of ‘reflecting’.

INTPs prefer solitude because this helps them focus on what they love doing. Also, for most introverts, it is just too much of the effort to intermingle and interact with others. Sometimes it is awkward for them or causes them too much anxiety. At other times, it may be because they have to make much effort to focus on what to say or when to say as they take in too much information and find it difficult on how to filter it out. Nonetheless, they prefer spending more time alone rather than with people.

Such people give weightage to their thoughts and what seems structured or logical rather than the emotions they feel for others. Sometimes this can be insensitive and they find difficulty in understanding the emotional complaints or requests their loved ones have. 

INTPs are perceivers and this may explain why they are able to achieve so much in terms of their discoveries and contributions to the world. Such people are spontaneous; they prefer things that come and go rather than a structured boring plan. 


Pessimism is defined by the American Psychological Association as “the attitude that things will go wrong and that people’s wishes or aims are unlikely to be fulfilled.”

In essence, pessimism is just assuming things will go wrong eventually – if they go right then you get suspicious! Nonetheless, these types of people are the exact opposite of realists because even if something seems viable or possible they will deny it or assume something will go wrong in between.

If you are doubtful about whether or not you are a pessimist, then take a look at some red flags:

  • You feel surprised when things actually work out.
  • You don’t go after what you want because you think you will probably fail.
  • You always focus on what can go wrong in a situation.
  • You think that the risks almost always outweigh the benefits.
  • You experience imposter syndrome and undervalue your own abilities.
  • You tend to focus on your flaws or weaknesses rather than your strengths.
  • You often feel annoyed by other people’s sunny optimism.
  • You often engage in negative self-talk.
  • You assume that all good things will come to an end eventually.
  • You find it easier to live with the status quo than change things for the better.

ISTJs – Your Typical Pessimist

ISTJs are very organized and responsible! They prefer to have order in their environment and proper systems that can ensure smooth systems within which people exist and operate! These individuals are much dedicated to tradition and they will prefer to uphold values; they have a procedure for everything that they do. This is possibly because they are scared things will go wrong if left open!

Optimists – The Third Friend

The optimist is the friend who inculcates hope and good belief not only in themselves but others too. They have an inward peaceful as well as happy feeling that things will eventually turn out just right in the end. They look for the good in things and find opportunities in each situation!

The attributional style of these individuals is:

  • Internal: They take responsibility for the good and bad in life
  • Global: Whatever happens does not mean it is the end of the world – life has too much to offer
  • Stable: Good things will occur and stay

You are an optimist if:

  • You feel like you will succeed in the face of life’s challenges.
  • You feel that the future looks bright.
  • You think that even good things can come from negative events.
  • You see challenges or obstacles as opportunities to learn.
  • You feel gratitude for the good things in your life.
  • You are always looking for ways to make the most of opportunities.
  • You have a positive attitude about yourself and others.

INFPs – Optimistic Chaps!

Well firstly, they are smart to think over things and then talk about them. When in a fight, they are more likely to avoid friction not only because they have the habit of staying quiet but also because they are people who think before they speak. This way they can actually prevent themselves from hurting the other person and making the situation worse. 

Sometimes expecting too much and saying what you feel may be a bad thing. People who are introverts hence operate on the same frequency at which they understand that some things must be said while others not. This can prevent them from raising the bar of expectations too high and being wise enough to see when a certain topic should be discussed or not.

INFPs realize the power and beauty of imagination and dreams and this allows them to be creative and more interesting not to themselves only but to each other. How they think can become a good source of conversation for them compared to a person who senses and reacts or processes information. They would be more based on facts and not understand the fun in being so creative.

Although it is usually emotions that blur what is truly going on in relationships, they can also help solve problems that may be difficult to rationalize or understand. Yes it is not always possible to make sense of a situation and hence love and mercy are the only weapons two people have to keep themselves bound to each other. 


Idealists are people who have a strong desire to see every element of life in the best possible form – they genuinely want to make the world a better place for everyone and will strive hard to achieve this!

However, sometimes they will develop micromanaging habits and obsessive or perfectionistic tendencies. This is because they want everything – even the smallest details – to be perfect!

Nonetheless, these individuals are the visionaries who will carry on no doubt the hurdles they face.

INFPs are also a good example and fall under this category.


This article took a look at the popular terms of realists, pessimists, optimists and idealists and defined them in detail as well as provided examples of personality types that fall under them.


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