Want to Understand if Your Partner is a Good Fit Based on the Myers Briggs Types?
Communication and relationships are complex for sure. But what if we use the Myers Briggs hack to dig deep into how our partner is wired? The MBTI framework builds on Carl Jung’s theory of personality types. It describes four pairs of opposites, like our two opposite hands, which represent:
- opposite ways or directing and receiving energy
- taking in information
- making decisions and coming to conclusions based on that information
- approaching the outside world
Just as people tend to rely on one hand more than the other, they tend to prefer and rely on one opposite in each pair more than the other. Our type preferences are inborn and the experiences we have had in our lives shape how we use them.
While type preferences influence the behavioral habits we develop, type theory suggests that in any situation, we have a choice: to use our innate preferences, or decide that it’s more appropriate to use the non-preferred opposite.
An important caveat is that the Myers Briggs assessment indicates your preferred way of doing certain things; it does not indicate your ability to do those things. (It is not designed to measure emotional maturity, intelligence, psychological or mental health illnesses.)
All personalities have strengths and most have some blind spots.
- How people prefer to be approached (E–I: Extroversion–Introversion))
- How people prefer to take in information (S–N: Sensing–Intuition)
- How people tend to make their decisions based
on the information gathered (T–F: Thinking–Feeling)
- When people prefer to make decisions (J–P: Judging–Perceiving)
To determine if your date has a preference for an Extroversion or an Introversion (E-I), a simple exercise would be to
notice if he/she pauses or reflects during your conversations. Most “I’s” like to pause/reflect. “E’s” are usually eager to jump right to the next thought.
‘Want to know if your partner has a preference for Sensing or Intuition (S-I)? Observe if they seem to like a detailed sequential way to take in information or if they enjoy making connections.
A preference as a Thinker or Feeler (T-F)? A thinking preference person will focus on tasks and a feeling preference person will focus on relationships.
A preference for Judging or Perceiving (P-J): A judging preference person will seek closure and use words ending in “ed:” decided, planned, concluded. A Perceiving preference person will appreciate “ing” words: planning, deciding, concluding.
To understand each of the 16 types, see the brief overview below.
The “heart” or core type preferences of the “SF” has these commonalities:
1. ISFJ: a) this type values someone who listens to them, (active listening) and likes to have mutually shared experiences in conversations and activities. Not rebels, yet family-oriented, ISFJ’s are guided by tradition and law and if there were only one word to describe them, it would be kindness. b) date idea: plan or host an extended family reunion and witness how your partner radiates.
2. ISFP: a) a flexible feeling type, the ISFP likes to be adventurous. b) date idea: attend a captivating art exhibit and afterwards you and your sweetie share your favorite parts. If you both have a “P” for an end letter, (and you really want to attend this art show), make a conscious effort to get tickets ahead of time. Or, surprise him or her with a weekend getaway to an undisclosed secret location.
3. ESFJ: a) warm, friendly and approachable, this type likes to be both supportive of others and thrives on cultivating relationships. b) date idea: plan to head to a fun upscale party where the latest trends are apt to be in full force; your partner will be energized and excited to share that “party high” with you.
4. ESFP: a) likes being of service to others and is loyal to boot. b) date idea: throw a “cause” party where you and your date offer something back to the community or someone you care about who could use your help.
The core of the “ST’s” have these commonalities:
5. ISTJ: a) this type likes a partner who is straightforward in their approach, says what they mean, and gets right to the point without too much sentiment. Acting too informal might be off putting, yet a thoughtful decision is sexy. b) date idea: art gallery visit, but first research artists you both are interested in.
6. ISTP: a) appreciates efficiency and what makes sense, while enjoying reflection and process time. Rushing this type to hurry up and decide what to do is a turn off. b) date idea: Planning way ahead, (at least a week out to allow for reflection) a visit to a botanical garden with a stringed quartet or a book lecture at a local wine or coffee shop.
7. ESTJ: a) practicality and sharing valuable information captivates this type; the way to his heart is through his head. b) date idea: tickets to a PGA golf event or Opening Day tickets to his favorite baseball team.
8. ESTP: a) this partner is energized by logically comparing facts and having the time to reflect and process these enticing morsels of information. b) date idea: museum visit, lecture or symposium.
The “heart” or core types of the “NF’s” have these in common:
9. INFJ: a) shared values is paramount to the NF’s core. The INFJ will do almost anything to support you if he/she also shares the same passion. Be sure to allow time to dig deep to listen as they share their opinions. b) date idea: discover their favorite cause (Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, Oceanic Causes) and plan a date or a weekend where you two contribute to really make a difference.
10. INFP: passionate, creative, and altruistic, this dating partner sees the good in all people and things, including you. Because they have the I and P around their core type, they do not clearly define their inner workings that drive their passions. Rather, their creativity inspires them to express themselves in artistic and symbolic ways. b) date idea: attend a poetry reading or a community play.
11. ENFJ: authentic leaders and future focused, ENFJ’s love to connect with people and have an enormous passion to help others become their best selves. If your partner is an ENFJ, you’re in, because this personality type “gets” the 16 types better than most. They believe in you, even if you don’t. b) date idea: create a group activity where all feel included: attend a paint party, or host a themed party with a killer theme that’s super creative.
12. ENFP: This type is a “good time Charlie.” They love to seek meaning beneath the surface and thrive on identifying creative possibilities for the future. As a dating partner, the ENFP will go with the flow, however, they do need their freedom. Routines zap this type’s creative energy, so changing up the day-to-day schedule is essential. b) date idea: If your last type letter is a J, plan a surprise hiking trip, a spontaneous getaway, or even a challenging creative project: a 4-session cooking class that they can have fun with.
The core “NT’s” have these common traits:
13. INTJ: a) they value respect and innovation, and have no problem challenging opinions and facts. INTJ’s are both curious and relentless in their pursuit of intellectual topics, although please note that they are uninterested in the drama you have with your bff. He will tell you straight up if your opinion or idea is valid. (It probably isn’t.) b) date idea: Attend a speaking event where he can ask questions and even challenge the speaker.
14. INTP: a) intellectually gifted, this type flourishes by living in their heads. Logic, reason, and more logic and reason drive this type. If you are dating an INTP, adapt your thinking accordingly. b) date idea: have a small dinner party where you invite some brilliant thinkers, philosophers, teachers and open the intellectual floodgates.
15. ENTJ: a) this type is a great leader and uses their reason and amazing logic on every decision, as if it might be presented to a jury. ENTJ’s are strategic and tactical to a fault. So passionate, they will list their rationale on why you should dine at the steak house versus another restaurant, and their reasoning is so sound, so compelling, so detailed, that you scratch your head and wonder why you even suggested that little Thai restaurant in the first place. b) date idea: give your ENTJ a goal-oriented event: a hockey game, or a football game where he can mastermind and plan the tailgate and all of the logistics.
16. ENTP: a) this type says what’s on their mind and doesn’t mind not using a filter. Honesty is a bedrock of this cohort, although they also like to figuratively poke the bear. Verbal jousting appeals to the ENTP, and in a dating relationship, understand that they like to play the devil’s advocate. Don’t take stuff personally. b) date idea: take a long walk and (from an emotionally detached stance) you pose questions on six or seven topics that are controversial or intellectually stimulating. Allow him the space to share his beliefs, without any call to action.
Knowing your Myers Briggs type is essential, and recognizing your dating partner’s type is even more important. The Myers Briggs personality tool gives you the reasons behind why your INFP date sometimes seems to brood. (He’s just reveling in his reflection time.) While the types are just preferences, you can you can further develop your less dominant type to bring harmony to—and enrich—your dating relationship.