Have you been around people and heard them describe themselves as INTP, ENFJ, or INTJ and left wondering what those letters meant? These letters are among 16 personality types based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a self-report inventory or evaluation that helps identify a person’s personality type and psychological preferences. Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers developed a convenient questionnaire based on Carl Jung’s (the father of analytical psychology) psychological types. This helps one explore and understand their personality and others deeply.
The MBTI inventory is one of the world’s most used psychological tools that offer in-depth and practical information on personality traits that can help in careers, relationships, and self-identity.
The Four Personality Designations
The MBTI questions categorize individuals into four personality categories based on how they gather information, their perception of the world, and their decision-making. Every person has a preferred quality in each category. These include:
Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I): This dichotomy describes how people interact and respond to the world around them. The terms may be familiar to most people, but in MBTI, they differ from popular usage.
Extraverts like focusing on the world around them. They are vibrant in social interactions and are usually action-oriented. They feel energized after spending time with others.
Introverts love their inner world and enjoy meaningful social interactions. They are thought-oriented and value their decisions and thoughts. They also feel recharged after spending time on their own.
Sensory (S) vs. Intuitive (N): This scale involves looking at how people gather information from the world around them.
Sensory types are attentive to the information they gather from reality, particularly from their five senses. They are detail and fact–oriented and enjoy a hands-on experience.
Intuitive individuals pay attention to impressions and patterns. They enjoy looking into the future, thinking about possibilities, and exploring abstract theories.
Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F): This scale focuses on people’s decision-making based on the information gathered from intuition or sensing functions. They look into facts and data concerning particular emotions, circumstances, and other people.
Thinking individuals place emphasis on facts and objective data. When decision-making, they tend to be logical, consistent, and impersonal. Feeling folks arrive at a conclusion based on the people and emotions involved.
Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P): This final scale focuses on how people act and deal with the outside world.
Judging individuals prefer firm decisions and structure, while perceiving folks are more open, flexible, and adaptable.
The Myer-Briggs 16 Personality Types
After completing the basic personality designations, one can be assigned to one of the 16 personalities depending on their personality designation. Each type is then listed by its four-letter type formula. The personality types include:
ENTJ Personality Trait: The Visionary
ENTJ means: Extroversion (E), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), and Judging (J)
ENTJ individuals are decisive and frank and tend to assume leadership readily, working to achieve goals and goal-set. They also use logic rather than emotions when decision-making, enjoy long-term planning, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational issues, and behave logically. ENTJs are talkative and energetic and also avoid displays of emotions. This makes them perceived as cold and distant in some situations. They like to take charge, pass knowledge to others, and can forcefully present their ideas to others. They prefer processes, day-to-day schedules, routines, and rules.
ESFJ Personality Trait: The Provider
ESFJ means: Extroversion (E), Sensing (S), Feeling (F), Judging
ESFJs are warmhearted, empathetic, supportive in behavior, and loyal even in minor issues. These individuals are conscientious and cooperative, notice what others need in their lives, and do their best to provide it for them frequently and sincerely. They prefer to be appreciated for who they are and not what they provide. ESFJs are determined, work harmoniously in their environment, and enjoy working with others to complete tasks timely and accurately.
They easily thrive and connect with others because they are social butterflies and enjoy organizing and hosting social gatherings. Diplomatic, empathetic, structured, and organized, and prefer to plan ahead to know what will happen. ESFJs like spending time with others and don’t spend much time on their own. They tend to trust facts over theories, making decisions on what is happening at the moment. They always try to do the right thing and avoid initiating conflict with others.
ENFJ Personality Type: The Advocate
ENFJ means: Extroversion (E), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Judging (J)
ENFJs are empathetic, warm, responsive, loyal, responsible, sociable, and genuine in their behavior and responsive to criticism and praise. They follow their intuition when making decisions, focus on how their actions will affect others, and take the initiative when making plans.
ENFJs are highly energetic, thrive in groups and love to build connections with others, and dislike spending too much time alone. They take the initiative, find potential in everyone, tend to talk more than they listen, and provide inspiring leadership. ENFJs trust their intuition, often use their gifts to guide others toward a better life, provide inspiring leadership, and are good at analyzing complex ideas. They prefer to make lists and schedules, follow a set plan, and like organization and preparedness.
ESFP Personality Type: The Entertainer
ESFP means: Extroversion (E), Sensing (S), Feeling (F), Perceiving (P)
ESFPs are very outgoing, friendly, lively, accepting, supportive, spontaneous, playful, and fun people with a passion for finding new adventures. Individuals with an ESFP personality are lovers of life, people, material comforts, flexible, and spontaneous. They also enjoy working with people to get things going and learn best by trying a new skill.
They are party-goers, love being the center of attention, and go with the flow. They prefer to spend less time on their own because they prefer to stay in the company of others. Entertainers are diplomatic and empathetic, prioritize emotion when decision-making more than facts and logic, and are more concerned with how their decisions will affect others. ESFPs rely more on opportunity than schedules and rigid planning. They have a keen eye for detail.
ESTP Personality Type: The Explorer
ESTP Means: Extroversion (E), Sensing (S), Thinking (T), Perceiving (P)
ESTPs think logically, practically, realistic, focus on the hear-and-now and specific details of a situation (observant, detail-oriented people). They often take a practical approach and focus on immediate results. They are generally bored with conceptual explanations and prefer to act energetically when solving problems. Explorers pursue action and adventure on a whim, avoid feeling “boxed-in” or controlled, and prefer learning through action and fixing mistakes on the go.
ESTPs are energetic, exciting, bold, and enjoy every moment, material, comfort, and style. They usually process externally with other people and love crowds whether they are conversant with them or not. Explorers enjoy being adaptable and care more about following the truth rather than making others happy. They tend to avoid schedules, and are more spontaneous and less aware of time.
ESTJ Personality Type: The Commander
ESTJ Means: Extroversion (E), Sensing (S), Thinking (T), Judging (J)
Commanders are realistic, practical, decisive and tend to listen to their logic when making decisions. They are result-oriented, quick in implementing decisions, and focused on getting results as efficiently as possible. They enjoy organizing projects and getting people to do things and can forcefully implement their plans. ESTJs are loyal, hardworking, law-abiding citizens, highly principled, and desire to lead. They tend to encourage others to follow logical standards and beliefs, which they also follow.
Commanders like planning ahead and making decisions on-the-now. They are very energetic and prefer to spend time with others rather than by themselves. ESTJs often listen to their heads rather than their hearts. They also follow set rules, processes, lists and listen to authoritative figures. They prefer to create and abide by schedules and plans.
ENTP Personality Type: The Debater
ENTP Means: Extroversion (E), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), Perceiving (P)
ENTPs are resourceful in solving new and challenging problems and reading other people. They are quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert, outspoken, bored by routine, and hardly similarly do the same thing. Debaters are apt to turn to one new interest after another and enjoy debating and thinking about issues from various perspectives. ENTPs are curious, expressive, and spontaneous in behavior and enjoy the challenge of thinking conceptually and analyzing things strategically. They are very energetic, thrive in other people’s company, avoid staying alone, and almost always interact and engage with those around them. They make logic-based decisions, care less about making people happy, and focus more on what is right. They see things in the bigger picture and overall viewpoint rather than details and specifics. At the same time, they enjoy solving complex, complicated problems and have great intuition. Debaters do not like routines and prefer flexible schedules and keeping their options open. They enjoy spontaneity and love surprise experiences. They do not like being held back by rules and regulations.
ENFP Personality Type: The Encourager
ENFP Meaning: Extroversion (E), Intuition (N) Feeling) (F), Perceiving (P)
ENFPs are energetic, warm, adaptable, enthusiastic, imaginative, and readily give appreciation and support. They enjoy meeting and getting to know new people and thrive in group settings. Encouragers tend to keep the peace by avoiding interpersonal conflict and readily give appreciation and support to those around them. They are future-focused and do not dwell on the here and now. This personality type tends to seek affirmations from others and generally process their thoughts externally.
ENFPs are spontaneous and keep their schedules flexible, allowing room for new opportunities and possibilities. They often rely on their ability to improvise and like to think up new, creative ideas and always enjoy sharing them with others. Encouragers process externally by sharing thoughts and love conversing with others. They also see life as full of endless possibilities. They are outgoing and dislike routines, schedules, and strict rules. ENFPs easily make connections between events and information quickly and enjoy figuring out how things are inter-connections.
ISTJ Personality Type: The Investigator
ISTJ Means: Introversion (I), Sensing (S), Thinking (T), Judging (J)
ISTJs are introverted, practical, matter-of-fact, orderly, realistic, responsible, and serious, and they love organizing and keeping things in order in their lives and homes. They are extremely thorough, dependable, value traditions and loyalty. Investigators are reserved, prefer to be quiet or on their own when in large groups, and prefer to spend time with smaller groups.
When they spend time with large groups or in social events, they tend to feel tired, so they withdraw to take their time to recharge. They are hard workers, practical in behavior, self-sufficient, and tend to decision-make based on the now and what they see as suitable. ISTJs are highly pragmatic, focus more on specifics rather than the bigger picture, and believe the truth, logic, or fact is more important than other people’s feelings. They have a strong work ethic, are logical thinkers over emotion, are structured, organized, and plan ahead. They prefer to follow processes, schedules, and rules.
INTJ Personality Type: The Intellectual
INTJ means: Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), Judging (J)
INTJs are analytical, confident, and ambitious in implementing their goals and ideas. They develop long-range explanatory perspectives, love to pursue knowledge, and are logic-minded and rational. They have high standards of competence and performance for themselves and others. They think independently, carry through a job when committed, and are problem-solvers. INTJs focus on the bigger picture, might ignore small details, and have a strong intuition. They also seek alone time to recharge, think introspectively, and prefer to follow a plan. INTJs tend to avoid large groups and tend to love to set and achieve goals.
ISTP Personality Type: The Detective
ISTP Means: Introversion (I), Sensing (S), Thinking (T), Perceiving(P)
ISTPs are curious, pragmatic, confident, tolerant, and flexible. Those with an ISTP personality type tend to be unpredictable and spontaneous and prefer to process information internally. They are quiet observers, but when a problem comes up, they act fast to find ideal solutions. ISTPs are self-sufficient, very reserved, prefer to be on their own, and are independent thinkers.
They analyze things, organize facts using logical principles, and favor logic and reason over emotional influences. Detectives are interested in cause and effect and like to study the world around them and seek to understand it. ISTPs are fact-oriented and base decisions on the here and now and on what makes sense. They love spontaneity, keep their options open, and adapt quickly.
ISFJ Personality Type: The Guardian
ISFJ Means: Introversion (I), Sensing (S), Feeling (F), Judging (J)
ISFJs are quiet, friendly, responsible, conscientious, humble, hard-working, enthusiastic, committed, self-sufficient, and independent thinkers. ISFJs ensure jobs are done to perfection, follow specific approaches, and strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment. Even though they prefer to stay quiet, they can be pretty social around groups of familiar people. Still, they need time to be alone to observe, re-energize and focus on the details of situations. They are considerate, concerned with the feelings of others, and loyal. They follow past experiences and make decisions based on what feels right rather than logical sense. They tend to follow their heart when making decisions. Guardians enjoy schedules, rules, processes, the end goal, structure, and organization.
INTP Personality Type: The Thinker
INTP Means: Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), Perceiving (P)
These personality types see the world in a fresh new way and objectively analyze problems without involving their emotions. They are quiet, withdraw frequently, objective, contained, flexible, adaptable, innovative, and seek knowledge. INTPs separate emotions from decision-making and look into the bigger picture while still missing minor details. They quickly solve complex, large-scale problems and are fast to detect factual inconsistencies.
They tend to prefer ideas to social interaction and prefer logical thinking rather than relying on emotions when making decisions. They like spending time on their own to explore their inner world and do not like being exposed to crowds since they may feel drained. INTPs do not like being boxed, prefer to keep their options open, and stay flexible and spontaneous. This enables them to take advantage of opportunities that become available at the last minute.
INFJ Personality Type: The Advisor
INFJ means: Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Judging (J)
This personality type tends to look for meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. They are determined, reserved, altruistic, and determined to make the world a better place. INFJs prefer working alone but still, keep close relationships with selected people. Advisors are organized and decisive in implementing their vision.
They like to develop a clear vision of what is best to serve the common good and are driven to understand what motivates people. They have firm values and prioritize their emotions, focusing on what they believe is correct rather than logical. This makes them highly empathetic. They prefer planning ahead and working hard to improve the lives of those around them. INFJs enjoy structure and choose to follow a schedule.
ISFP Personality Type: The Creator
ISFP Means: Introversion (I), Sensing (S), Feeling (F), Perceiving (P)
ISFP types like their personal space; although they connect with others, they need time to be on their own to recharge. They are quiet, friendly, sensitive, kind, creative, unconventional, and empathetic. They are adaptable and spontaneous, focus closely on the specifics of a situation, and prioritize emotion over facts and data.
They avoid schedules to allow room for last-minute opportunities and prioritize emotion when decision-making. ISFPs tend to challenge the need for tradition and rules and enjoy life in the present. They do not like disagreements or conflicts and won’t force their opinions or values on other people. ISFPs are committed to their values and to those important to them and are very loyal. They are attentive to detail, observant, and live in the present. They tend to base decisions on the now.
INFP: Personality Type: The Empath
INFP Means: Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Perceiving (P)
INFPs tend to be idealistic, reserved, and adaptable. They are loyal to their values and to the important people in their lives. They are very curious, quick to see possibilities, and often lost in thought. They enjoy their own company or being with a small group, seeking to understand others and help them reach their potential. INFPs are adaptable, catalysts for implementing ideas, flexible, and generally accepting unless a value is threatened. They basically follow their gut instincts, have strong intuitions, and think deeply about philosophical issues. This personality type makes emotion-based decisions, and can be very diplomatic. They also prioritize the big picture over small details and like to keep their schedules flexible and options open.