Attraction and the MBTI


August 7, 2015 by philipbullitthughes

tumblr_m6g1785Nig1r01g4gAttraction is a funny thing. You might spend your whole life wondering why you feel pulled like a magnet to one person and completely repelled by another. Why one person laughs at all your jokes while another thinks you’re a lunatic. Many would chock this up as one of life’s great mysteries and leave it at that. Love can’t be explained, they might say. Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s just not true. In fact, attraction is really quite simple when broken down. Especially when using the Myers Briggs.

Before I go on, I think it’s important to note that there are exceptions to every rule, and while this might dispel some of the mystery, it’s not a perfect science. However, it is accurate for many.

It is often said that opposites attract. Is this true? The answer is yes and no. When it comes to interests and beliefs, like-minded folks do attract. However, when it comes to personality, we tend to gravitate toward our opposite. That is, except for in one category: communication.

imagesMost people want to feel a sense of balance. A chatty socialite might enjoy the company of the quiet bookworm because they’re such an excellent listener, and vise versa because the socialite might introduce them to new experiences. A highly emotional person might feel steady in the presence of a stalwart thinker, while the thinker might admire the feeler’s passion. A free-spirit might like the schedule-oriented person, while the free-spirit might help the scheduled loosen up a bit. But then there’s those other two letters, that N and S. While iNtuition and Sensing refer to the way one might process the world, it also heavily affects the way we communicate. Sensors see the world in a concrete way while iNtuitives see it in an abstract way. Usually, this is the area of the greatest discord or harmony in a relationship. We all have a deep need to feel understood, and if someone genuinely ‘gets’ you, it can be amazingly refreshing. Ss want to talk reality: sports, exercise, cooking, their involvement in a particular institution, and the like. Ns want to talk ideas: heaven and hell, theory and fantasy, the latest tech gadget or a book that spoke to their soul.

All that said, the formula for attraction is fairly simple:

E to I

F to T

J to P

S to S

N to N

So, for example, INFJs are well suited with ENTPs, ENFJ with the INTP, ISFP with the ESTJ, etc.

humorAs was stated earlier, it’s definitely not an exact science, but it is a definitive trend. The vivacious ENFP and the brainy INTJ are magically well-suited, and often find themselves together. The restless  ISTP and the practical ESFJ find common ground in their down-to-earth concerns. On the flip side, an INFP might feel like they can’t discuss ideas with their ESTJ partner, or the ISFP might feel like the INTP to be interested in fashion or the music they enjoy.

Perhaps the most common indicator of compatibility is S and N. Ns usually end up together and Ss usually end up together. However, this is not always the case, nor is it a deal killer. I’ve met many couples that are N and S and they are very happy. However, communication is usually the most challenging part of their relationship. The NF might want more depth from an SP, or the SJ might wish the NT didn’t have their head in the clouds, etc.

13123628-Funny-humor-silly-nerd-couple-on-retro-vintage-wallpaper-background-Stock-PhotoNow, if you are in the dating realm and feel as though you are beating your head against a brick wall, I have the following advice: if you’re an ENTP and just feel like there isn’t anyone out there who understands your wit, try dating an INFJ or ENFJ. If you’re an ESFP and the INFP thinks your jokes are in bad taste, try hitting on and ISTJ or ISFJ. If you’re an ISFJ and you wish someone would spice things up a little bit, then say yes when the ESTP asks you out. If you’re an INFP and the ESFP keeps making fun of the book you’re reading, maybe try standing close to an ENTJ or ENFJ. You might just like what you find.

10 thoughts on “Attraction and the MBTI

  1. Charity says:

    I’d suggest duals instead of completely different functions. ENTP/ISFJ, for example. The Ne/Si dynamic helps.

    Ni types are often driven nuts by Ne types, because Ne types are too scattered / entertaining of ANY IDEA, and Ni is fundamentally opposed to just entertaining any idea for its own merit.

  2. Qool Joey says:

    The INFP’s ideal match would be ENFJ. And INFJ for the ENFP… in an ideal world, NFs would probably be together.

  3. Grace (ISTJ) says:

    Very insightful article–this makes a lot of sense! For a while now, I (an ISTJ) have been dating an ENTJ (he’s pretty much an Ambivert, but he leans just ever so slightly toward E), and the S/N disparity is not at all an issue for us (it’s rather an “opposite” that we appreciate, similar to the ones you mentioned at the start of the article) but to each their own, I guess! However, I’m wondering if you’ve done any research relating MBTI to another psychological study, about how women tend to be attracted to men who are similar to their fathers? I would love to learn more, especially since my father is an INTJ (not so similar on the surface to my ENTJ partner, but very similar in terms of baseline MBTI). Thanks so much!

    • I have definitely heard the same thing! Likewise, I have heard men tend to be attracted to women similar to their mothers. I would say this definitely seems to be a trend. I’ll have to do a little more research to give a detailed response, but I think you’re spot on!

  4. I’m an INFJ married to an ESTJ…apparently a very rare combination, but it has worked well for 12 years now 😉 GRANTED, it was an interesting set of circumstances which resulted in us being friends first and I outright did not want to date anyone for a time due to those circumstances…once we became good friends and I understood him, as well as both of us being willing to work on communication, it has been wonderful. I feel that we complement each other…also, his trust in my abilities has enabled him to step back from trying to manage or control me, which would have been a deal breaker…that may be his normal tendency, but he has curbed it with me.

    • I am so glad you shared this. My parents are an ESFJ and INFJ combination. Believe it or not, SJ and NF pairs are more common than people think. The NF adds depth and understanding to the relationship where the SJ adds stability and reliability.

      I have a question though. Do you know the personality types of your parents?

  5. Mary Mercy says:

    WoW! I am attracted to the writer already! Lol

  6. Don9ja says:

    Wow!!! Nice aticle

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