I met with a friend for lunch yesterday (we both had breakfast for lunch…) and we were talking about personality types. She’s always thought she’s extroverted, but my knowledge of her – and the interest she has in exploring deep and meaningful conversations – made me think she’s an introvert.
She was curious, so we looked up the quick test I have on this site (A quick way to determine your personality type), and sure enough, she was one of the introverted types. It made me think though, about how to quickly determine what kind of MBTI (Myer Briggs Type Indicator) personality type without going through the test. It made me want to learn how to know what someone is just from observing them in action.
And so I found a website (Discover your personality type) that has all the different types as well as how to recognise each of them, and I decided to just put those small summaries into this page for reference. Something for me to study, and for others who might be interested in it too.
ISTJ – The Inspector
ISTJs have a serious, conservative air about them. They want to know and follow the rules of the game, and typically seek out predictable surroundings where they understand their role. You may find the ISTJ doing something useful even in social situations (for instance, organizing coats and hats at a party) as they’re often more comfortable taking charge of a task than they are chatting up strangers. When given something to do, they are highly dependable, and follow it through to the end.
ISTJs are practical and no-nonsense, and rarely call attention to themselves. Their clothes and possessions tend to be chosen based on utility rather than fashion, and they have an affection for the classics. ISTJs typically speak in a straightforward manner and have a good head for details. They are usually more enthusiastic about sharing factual information than exploring abstract concepts or unproven ideas.
ISFJ – The Protector
ISFJs are characteristically humble and unassuming, and rarely call attention to themselves. They can often be found offering assistance to others in a modest, understated way. They are loyal and hardworking, and often commit themselves to tasks and projects with the aim of being helpful to their families, friends, and communities. They are typically involved in social groups, but do not want the spotlight: they are more likely to be found behind the scenes, working diligently to fulfill their role.
ISFJs are oriented to relationships, but can be reserved with new people. They rarely disclose personal information quickly. They tend to be focused and aware of their surroundings, and relate details from their own personal experience. They often converse in terms of what has happened to them and what they have seen first-hand. They are compassionate listeners, and typically remember details about people. They often enjoy hearing the facts about others in the process of making a connection.
INFJ – The Counselor
INFJs often appear quiet, caring and sensitive, and may be found listening attentively to someone else’s ideas or concerns. They are highly perceptive about people and want to help others achieve understanding. INFJs are not afraid of complex personal problems; in fact, they are quite complex themselves, and have a rich inner life that few are privy to. They reflect at length on issues of ethics, and feel things deeply. Because Counselors initially appear so gentle and reserved, they may surprise others with their intensity when one of their values is threatened or called into question. Their calm exterior belies the complexity of their inner worlds.
Because INFJs are such complex people, they may be reluctant to engage with others who might not understand or appreciate them, and can thus be hard to get to know. Although they want to get along with others and support them in their goals, they are fiercely loyal to their own system of values and will not follow others down a path that does not feel authentic to them. When they sense that their values are not being respected, or when their intuition tells them that someone’s intentions are not pure, they are likely to withdraw.
INTJ – The Mastermind
INTJs are typically reserved and serious, and seem to spend a lot of time thinking. They are curious about the world around them and often want to know the principle behind what they see. They thoroughly examine the information they receive, and if asked a question, will typically consider it at length before presenting a careful, complex answer. INTJs think critically and clearly, and often have an idea about how to do something more efficiently. They can be blunt in their presentation, and often communicate in terms of the larger strategy, leaving out the details.
Although INTJs aren’t usually warm or particularly gregarious, they tend to have a self-assured manner with people based on their own security in their intelligence. They relate their ideas with confidence, and once they have arrived at a conclusion they fully expect others to see the wisdom in their perceptions. They are typically perfectionists and appreciate an environment of intellectual challenge. They enjoy discussing interesting ideas, and may get themselves into trouble because of their take-no-prisoners attitude: if someone’s beliefs don’t make logical sense, the Mastermind typically has no qualms about pointing that out.
ISTP – The Craftsman
ISTPs are typically reserved and even aloof. Tolerant and nonjudgmental, the ISTP calmly takes in the details and facts of their surroundings, noticing sensory data and observing how things work. They often tune into what needs to be done, taking care of the immediate needs of the moment in a modest, inconspicuous way. They tend to prefer action to conversation, and are often private about their personal lives. ISTPs are unlikely to “open up” to new people in a conventional way, but may connect with others by sharing an activity or working together to solve a practical problem.
ISTPs are good with their hands and often mechanical. They are typically attracted to hands-on hobbies like woodworking or crafts, and may be found tinkering with bicycles, computers, cars, or household appliances. They often have an intuitive understanding of machines and a remarkable ability to fix things. ISTPs have an appreciation for risk and action, and often enjoy thrilling leisure activities like extreme sports, motorcycling, or weaponry.
ISFP – The Composer
ISFPs can be difficult to recognize because of their tendency to express themselves through action rather than words. They may initially appear distant or aloof, but if you watch closely, you can observe their caring in the thoughtful things they do for others. They are carefully observant of the practical needs of other people, and often step in with quiet, unassuming assistance at just the moment it is needed. ISFPs prefer to take a supportive role and are rarely assertive or demanding of attention. They are typically tolerant and accepting of others.
ISFPs typically have finely tuned artistic sensibilities. They are sensitive to color, texture, and tone, and often have an innate sense of what will be aesthetically pleasing. They are often naturals when it comes to arranging something artistically, and enjoy the process of taking in the sensations around them. ISFPs focus mostly on the experiences of the present moment, and are rarely ambitious, preferring instead to enjoy the simple pleasures of life: friends, family, and sensory delights such as food, music, and art.
INFP – The Healer
INFPs may initially seem cool, as they reserve their most authentic thoughts and feelings for people they know well. They are reflective and often spiritual, and often interested in having meaningful conversations about values, ethics, people, and personal growth. Typically curious and open-minded, the Healer continually seeks a deeper understanding of themselves and of the people around them. They are passionate about their ideals, but private as well; few people understand the depth of the INFP’s commitment to their beliefs.
INFPs are sensitive and empathetic, and engage themselves in a lifelong quest for meaning and authenticity. The mundane aspects of life are of less interest to this type, and they are more excited by interesting ideas than by practical facts. They typically accept others without question, and may take special interest in offbeat points of view or alternative lifestyles. They often have a special affection for the arts, especially the avant garde, as they love experiencing new concepts in self-expression.
INTP – The Architect
INTPs are often thoroughly engaged in their own thoughts, and usually appear to others to be offbeat and unconventional. The INTP’s mind is a most active place, and their inward orientation can mean that they neglect superficial things like home décor or appropriate clothing. They don’t tend to bother with small talk but can become downright passionate when talking about science, mathematics, computers, or the larger theoretical problems of the universe. Reality is often of only passing interest to the Architect, as they are more interested in the theory behind it all.
INTPs are typically precise in their speech, and communicate complex ideas with carefully chosen words. They insist on intellectual rigor in even the most casual of conversations, and will readily point out inconsistencies of thought or reasoning. Social niceties may fall by the wayside for an INTP who is more interested in analyzing logic, and they may offend others by submitting their dearly held values and beliefs to logical scrutiny.
ESTP – The Dynamo
The first thing you notice about the ESTP is likely to be their energy. They’re often chatting, joking, and flirting with friends and strangers alike. They enjoy engaging playfully with others and amusing everyone around them with their irrevent sense of humor. They tend to keep people on their toes, never quite knowing what the ESTP will poke fun at next. ESTPs are unabashedly gregarious with people, but their interest in individuals may not last long; they are more likely to work a room, having a laugh with everyone, than they are to engage in depth with any one person.
ESTPs are comfortable in their physical environment and always looking for some action or activity. They tend to be the most naturally coordinated of all the types and are often found playing sports or engaging in various physical activities, especially ones with an element of danger. They are the stereotypical “adrenaline junkies” and may be found skydiving, motorcycle racing, or enjoying other extreme sports.
ESFP – The Performer
ESFPs are often the life of the party, entertaining and engaging others with humor and enthusiasm. They notice whether other people are having fun, and do their best to create a good time for all. Typically at home in their physical environment, ESFPs may take the lead in getting everyone involved in some active diversion. ESFPs are generally friendly and likable, but can be hard to get close to; although they tend to be very open, they are reluctant to be serious or to talk about anything negative.
ESFPs are tuned into their senses, and often gravitate towards pleasing colors and textures in their environments. They often carefully choose fabrics and decorations with which to surround themselves. This attention also often translates into their appearance; ESFPs are often dressed in sensuous fabrics or bright, dazzling colors. They are often up on the latest trends, and like to excite the people around them with new environments and experiences.
ENFP – The Champion
ENFPs love to talk about people: not just the facts, but what motivates them, what inspires them, and what they envision achieving in life. They’ll often share their own aspirations freely, and want to hear others’ in return. The ENFP is unlikely to judge anyone’s dream, and will discuss the most imaginative and outlandish of fantasies with warm, enthusiastic intensity. They love to explore creative possibilities, and nothing deflates them faster than talking about dry facts or harsh reality.
ENFPs often seem unconventional, and may come off as scattered; they don’t tend to be in touch with their physical surroundings. They often overlook the details, as they are more likely to focus on connecting with other people or on exploring their own imagination and self-expression. They have little patience for the mundane and want to experience life with intensity and flair. ENFPs often have an artistic streak, and may be artistic in appearance. Many have developed a distinctive and quirky personal style.
ENTP – The Visionary
ENTPs are typically friendly and often charming. They usually want to be seen as clever and may try to impress others with their quick wit and incisive humor. They are curious about the world around them, and want to know how things work. However, for the ENTP, the rules of the universe are made to be broken. They like to find the loopholes and figure out how they can work the system to their advantage. This is not to say the Visionary is malicious: they simply find rules limiting, and believe there is probably a better, faster, or more interesting way to do things that hasn’t been thought of before.
The ENTP is characteristically entrepreneurial and may be quick to share a new business idea or invention. They are confident and creative, and typically excited to discuss their many ingenious ideas. The ENTP’s enthusiasm for innovation is infectious, and they are often good at getting other people on board with their schemes. However, they are fundamentally “big-picture” people, and may be at a loss when it comes to recalling or describing details. They are typically more excited about exploring a concept than they are about making it reality, and can seem unreliable if they don’t follow through with their many ideas.
ESTJ – The Supervisor
ESTJs command a situation, with the sense that they know how things should go and are ready to take charge to make sure that it happens. They are task-oriented and put work before play. Confident and tough-minded, the ESTJ appears almost always to be in control. ESTJs appreciate structure and often begin to organize as soon as they enter a room. They want to establish the ground rules and make sure everyone does what they’re supposed to.
ESTJs are often involved in institutions: clubs, associations, societies, and churches, where they usually take a leadership role. They typically connect with others through sharing ritual and routine. Social interaction for ESTJs often means following an established tradition to engage with others in a structured way. ESTJs tend to respect and seek out hierarchy. They want to know who’s in charge, and will assign levels of responsibility if none exist. Once a structure is in place, ESTJs typically trust authority figures and expect obedience from people of lower rank.
ESFJ – The Provider
ESFJs may often be found playing host or hostess. They tend to take on the role of organizer without hesitation, and want to be sure that everyone is taken care of. Roles such as committee leader, event planner, and church volunteer suit the ESFJ well. They are typically engaged with their communities and work hard to do their part in maintaining the social order. ESFJs are interested in other people and like to know the details of their lives. Gossip is a favorite pasttime of many ESFJs; they love to share stories about the people around them.
ESFJs have a clear moral code that guides their behavior and their expectations from others. They often have strong opinions about how people should behave and the proper thing to do. Manners and other codes of social interaction are often of great interest to ESFJs. They may think in terms of black and white, right and wrong. They can be judgmental of others who they do not think are acting appropriately, but they have the best of intentions: they simply want everyone to follow the rules so they can all get along. The ESFJ wants things to be all right with the people around them, and may become very involved with others’ problems and concerns.
ENFJ – The Teacher
ENFJs are natural teachers, often found organizing people to take part in some educational activity. They tend to take charge of a situation, and guide a group towards those activities and experiences which will help them learn and grow. They intuitively see the potential in people, and with charisma and warmth, they encourage others to pursue greater development of their strengths. They are typically dynamic and productive, and are often visibly energized when leading others to discover new knowledge.
ENFJs are typically good communicators, talented at using words to connect with others. They are perceptive about people and enjoy talking about relationships. They often enjoy helping others solve personal problems and like to share their insights about people, their emotions, and their motivations. They are empathetic sometimes to the point of being overinvolved, and can become exhausted if they are surrounded by too much negative emotion.
ENTJ – The Commander
ENTJs are natural leaders, and often take charge no matter where they are. They typically have a clear vision for the future, and intuitively understand how to move people and processes towards that goal. They tend to approach every situation with the attitude of an efficiency analyst, and are not shy about pointing out what could be done better. For the ENTJ, their ideas are a foregone conclusion: it’s just a matter of time before they can move the players to get everything accomplished.
ENTJs are often gregarious, and seem to have an idea for how a person will fit into their grand scheme from the moment they are introduced. They are typically direct and may seem presumptuous or even arrogant; they size people and situations up very quickly, and have trouble being anything but honest about what they see. ENTJs are sensitive to issues of power, and seek positions and people of influence. They are characeristically ambitious, and often very engaged in their careers. More than any other type, ENTJs enjoy their work, and may even say that working is what they do for fun.
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