We’re all familiar with the timeless narrative of the odd couple – the one that tells us that opposites always attract. Perhaps, it was the reason you decided to date someone who was organized and meticulous while you left clothes on the floor and your kitchen cried out for help. It definitely explains why you chose the life of the party over a reserved, bookish guy.
We all have always believed that women are from Venus and men are from Mars. We’ve seen it too – the couple next door who despite major differences made their marriage our own “goal”. But is it always true that “opposites” attract?
Would you choose an exciting opposite over a reassuring confident?
Over the years, researchers and psychologists have set out to find out what makes for the most successful relationships.
However, some of the most thought-provoking studies seem to have employed the MBTI system to determine whether some personality types are more compatible than others. This system is built upon the idea that our structural differences in thinking, decision-making and coordinating our lives can be recognized by examining our preferences in four different areas.
WHAT IS MBTI PERSONALITY TEST
The Meyer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a system designed to categorize people’s personalities into four different types. It was developed by mother and daughter duo, Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Meyers to make Carl Jung’s theories on psychological types more comprehensible and manageable.
The data derived from an MBTI personality test is not only used to determine what career suits you best but also how to improve your relationships.
The MBTI personality test takes just about ten to fifteen minutes to complete and costs a maximum of $50. They are basically questions that ask you about your interaction with people and the world around you.
Upon completing the test, you will be placed into four different categories based on your preferences. These four categories combine to form a four-letter code that describes your overall personality.
THE MBTI PERSONALITY TYPES
According to the MBTI model, there are sixteen (16) personality types; each varying in frequency and degree. The personality type assigned to you describes you in detail. However, each letter from the four-letter-code represents a different aspect of your personality. Here is what the letters stand for:
1. Introverted (I) versus Extroverted (E)
This category refers to where you channel your attention and draw your energy. Introverts generally find public life and social interactions to be emotionally draining. They are more focused on their private world from which they generate thoughts, ideas and feelings.
They draw energy from solitary activities and quiet reflections. Extroverts, on the other hand, are people-centered and are more focused on the external world from which they draw their energy.
2. Sensing (S) versus Intuition (I)
This category refers to how you process information. Sensors basically focus on the present. They perceive things through their five senses, taking things as they come and seeing things as literal, practical and realistic. Intuitive people on the other hand focus on the future.
They recognize patterns and impressions and see things as abstract, theoretical and idealistic. Sensors are realistic while Intuitive people are imaginative.
3. Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F)
This category refers to your decision-making process. Thinkers are more objective and logical. They base their decision-making on facts or data. Feelers, on the other hand, are subjective and emotional. They make decisions based on their values and ensure that such decisions don’t jeopardize their relationships.
4. Judging (J) versus Perceiving (P)
This category refers to how you choose to organize your life. Judgers always prefer organization, structure and coordination. They are decisive and love sticking to plans. They also feel accomplished when they complete tasks and beat deadlines.
Perceivers, on the other hand, love a spontaneous and flexible lifestyle. They are adaptable and think randomly. They love being able to choose from a variety of options and are always open to possibilities. They often get bored by structures and laid out plans.
MBTI PERSONALITY TEST AND COMPATIBILITY
There is a complex link between personality types and compatibility. But despite this complexity, psychologists have found that personality research can boost your chances of finding fulfilling relationships. Research based on the Meyer Briggs Type Indicator test has revealed that the factors responsible for blissful relationships are just the same factors that we have always known: common values and interests, good communication and the ability to resolve conflicts peacefully.
It was also found that the more category preferences a couple had in common, the happier they were likely to be. Summarily, while opposites are more likely to attract, sustaining a relationship requires that couples have a considerable number of things in common.
A 1981 study revealed that differences in the Extroverted/Introverted category preferences led to the most conflict in relationships, especially when it was a combination of an extroverted woman and an introverted man.
The result of this study may however not apply to modern realities since conversations on gender quality have replaced the old school concept of the man being the more outspoken and dominant partner.
The category most likely to play a big role in whether or not two people get attracted to each other is the Sensing/Intuition Scale. Studies conducted by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Meyers revealed that people tend to be drawn towards those with whom they share the same preference in this category.
Sensors are drawn towards sensors while intuitive people are drawn towards those who are intuitive. This is because they tend to understand each other better; they see the world the same way and practically feel that they speak the same language.
While the Sensing/Intuitive category seems to determine attraction, long-term compatibility is another matter entirely. The last two scales; Thinking/Feeling and Judging/Perceiving play a very important role in determining long-term compatibility.
This is because they have a significant impact on how couples communicate and organize their lives. Where preference differences exist in these two categories, they are more likely to cause frictions due to miscommunication and contrasting goals in the relationship.
Although research has shown that the more similar a couple was, the more satisfaction they derive from their relationship. However, some combinations with fewer similar preferences were found to have worked well just fine. Here are just a few examples to illustrate this finding:
ANALYSIS OF COMPATIBILITY
- Sensing Judgers (ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ, ISFJ) recorded a 79% satisfaction rate when paired together with other sensing judgers.
- Intuitive Feelers (ENFJ, INFJ, ENFP, INFP) were reported to have a satisfaction rate of 73% when paired with each other. This is because intuitive feelers are the most likely of all personality types to be open to communication and are more invested in their relationships.
- Unfortunately, the most common pairings amongst the couples studied happened to be the Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving (NFP) types (ENFP, INFP) and the Sensing, Thinking , Judging (STJ) types (ESTJ, ISTJ). These pairings recorded only 42% satisfaction rate. This is because the NFP partner is likely to see their STJ partner as traditional and domineering while the STJ partner is likely to see their NFP partner as chaotic, impulsive and undependable.
- However, partners who only had a “feeling” preference in common were able to make up for their other differences in preferences. For instance, When Sensing Feeling Judgers (ESFJ AND ISFJ) were paired with Intuitive Feeling Perceivers (ENFP and INFP), they recorded 86% satisfaction in their relationship. Also, when SFJs were paired with Intuitive Feeling Judgers (ENFJ AD INFJ), they had a 67% satisfaction rate.
- In some cases however, similar type preferences recorded the lowest satisfaction. When Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving (ESTP and ISTP) types were paired together, they recorded only a 33% satisfaction. This is because STPs are the least likely of all personality types to be concerned or invested in their relationships. Similarly when Intuitive Thinking (ENTP, INTP, ENTJ, INTJ) types were paired together, they recorded only 59% satisfaction rate in their relationships. This is because NTs are the hardest to please and the most likely to nag their partners.
MBTI PERSONALITY TYPES AND RELATIONSHIP STRENGTHS
|PERSONALITY TYPE||RELATIONSHIP STRENGTH|
|ISTJ – The Logistician||Commitment|
|ISFJ – The Defender||Listening|
|INFJ – The Advocate||Sensitivity|
|INTJ – The Architect||Healthy Confrontation|
|ISTP – The Virtuoso||Respect|
|ISFP – The Adventurer||Appreciation of Beauty|
|INFP – The Mediator||Support and Acceptance|
|INTP – The Logician||Bravery|
|ESTP – The Entrepreneur||Spontaneity|
|ESFP – The Entertainer||Emotional Strength|
|ENFP – The Campaigner||Devotion|
|ENTP – The Debater||Communication|
|ESTJ – The Executive||Decisiveness|
|ESFJ – The Consul||Reliability|
|ENFJ – The Protagonist||Growth|
|ENTJ – The Commander||Willpower|
Conclusively, while it is true that couples paired with similar partners recorded more satisfaction; psychologists emphasize the core values that make for a successful relationship; good communication, similar interests, and the strength of the couples’ friendship.
While these values are easier to maintain when couples have similar personalities, couples with different preferences who support and try to understand each other often will not only maintain these values but also find their relationships satisfying.
But first of all, you need to know yourself, love yourself and be yourself all the time. So go take that personality test.