What do our personality types mean in regard to our dating habits and preferences? And how can we use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator index to find our “perfect match?”
The 4 Temperament Types
The 4 temperament types are basically broader categories of personality type that explain larger themes in how you think and approach things, which can provide helpful guidance during your dating journey.
Rationals approach dating like a science project. “They’re interested in experimenting with the dating process, questioning norms, and efficiently finding the best mate possible. Not surprisingly, their approach can put some people off,” says Molly Owens, CEO of Truity which develops personality assessments and compatibility tests based on the MBTI theory. Rationals need to remember to show their softer sides and focus on their emotions while dating.
Idealists look for deeper understandings and authentic connections while dating. They want someone to stimulate their mind and make them feel deeply appreciated. (Hi, me!) “Some Idealists get the reputation of being ‘too picky,’ but they're really just looking for something truly special,” says Owens. “Idealists can be a great companion to the Rational because they share the Rational's tendency to question things but are more in touch with their emotions and values.”
Artisans are the most fun to date because they’re spontaneous and love to have playful, spontaneous dates rather than meeting at a boring coffee shop. “Artisans may be the least interested of all the types when it comes to commitment, but they're usually practical. As long as it's working, they're happy,” says Owens. She notes that Artisans can be attractive to Idealists and Rationals, but they may have trouble understanding each other. They tend to work better with the Guardians (see below).
Last but not least, the Guardians are the most orderly and responsible of the 4 temperaments. They put their effort into dating “the right way” with manners and attention to protocols. They’re super practical, too, meaning they’ll probably have a checklist of what they will and won’t accept in a potential partner. “Guardians can't be pushed in dating, but you can rest assured that when it's time for the relationship to move forward, they’ll be right there to make it happen on the most perfectly timed schedule,” says Owens. Because Guardians sometimes need a little more fun in their lives, they can make great partners for Artisans.
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A Breakdown of the Myers-Briggs Letters & Their Compatibility
E or I
According to Amy Schoen, a dating coach who uses the MBTI theory with her clients, Es are typically more social than Is. Es tend to want to be the last to leave the party, whereas Is are the first to usually leave, which can be an issue if they don't speak up for their needs. “Depending on if [you’re] an I or E informs how [you] would seek a partner,” she says. “Es can go easily to meetups and social venues to meet people. Online dating has been the best way for my I clients to meet suitable people for dating.”
N or S
An N or S is all about how you process information. Ns are big picture people who make quick decisions, whereas Ss are detail-oriented and need to research every little thing before making a choice. Schoen notes that this thinking-style mismatch can be frustrating to one another if there’s a severe difference.
T or F
Ts and Fs focus on the head vs. the heart dilemma. Whereas Ts are very analytical and make decisions about what makes logical sense, Feelers make decisions that feel right according to their heart. “Ts can seem heartless to Fs, and Fs can seem too emotional for Ts,” she adds. Opposites do attract, though, depending on how strong of a T or F you are and what you need in a partner.
J or P
Js and Ps are all about time orientation. Js want to have a game plan for the future. The Ps would rather go with the flow and see how they feel when the time comes. “Getting a P to commit can be challenging. The Js are the planners in the relationships, and tend to be more commitment oriented. Ps take longer to get to the altar,” Schoen says. She sees bigger issues with Js dating Ps due to this conflict of preference with time and commitment (which are obviously 2 major factors in relationships).
How To Use Your Personality Type To Find The Right Match
Seek someone who balances you out. We tend to seek partners who have different strengths than us, so you may want to find someone who balances your weaknesses. For example, Schoen says that the Introvert likes the Extrovert, who paves the path for social interaction in the relationship. The Perceiver needs the Judger to make plans and make sure things get done on time. The Thinker may like having a Feeler as the softer side of the relationship, and the Feeler may want to have someone help make unemotional decisions.
According to Owens, the following personality type pairings tend to be the most compatible couples:
- INTP and INFJ
- ENTP and ISFP
- ESTJ and ISFJ
Know what you want and need. Keep in mind that you don’t want to lean on someone to balance you out too much, though, because this can get exhausting or lead to dependency issues. “The Myers Briggs as well as other personality assessments can help us know more about ourselves and how we are in relationship with our life partners and all our significant relationships,” says Schoen. “Having an understanding of yourself and the other types gives you a way to communicate with one another, especially if you’re dealing with a very different type than yourself.”
So if you fall in love with someone with a different personality type, that’s OK. Just know what you will and won’t accept, and never settle for less than what you truly need.
Keep an open mind. There’s no exact science to Myers-Briggs dating compatibility, reminds Owens. The best way to use personality typing in dating is to use the descriptions of the preferences and the types to think about what you really want in a partner on a personality level. This will help you go deeper (beyond surface qualities) to really think about who you are looking for, she says. Ultimately, Schoen says, “It's about going into a relationship with your eyes open. We need to know what we’re signing up for.”
Do you know which personality type you are? If you don’t, then pop on over to the MBTI 16Personalities site to take the test. Once you find out which type you are, you can figure out what you might need from your potential partner and how you may be more likely to find them, whether that’s at a bar on the weekend or from the comfort of your phone on a dating app.