It’s almost impossible to believe that a population of billions can be categorized into just 16 personalities.
However, that’s exactly what the Myers- Briggs Indicator does!
Even though people are different from each other in many ways, they’re believed to follow certain patterns when it comes to interacting with the world, taking in information, making decisions, and carrying out routine tasks.
These patterns are also known as people’s preferences and are identified through a series of questions; The result of which gives you your personality type.
However, if you’ve just taken the test and don’t know what the random 4 letters mean, or heard your friends talk about whether they’re ISTJs or ENFP, and you’re riddled with confusion, don’t worry!
Because in this article we provide a detailed explanation of what the 4 letters in the personality type mean, along with an overview of the 16 personalities.
So let’s dive right in!
How does the MBTI test work?
The MBTI assessment makes use of about 93 (American version) to 88 (European version) forced-choice questions.
These questions are used to identify people’s preferences in 4 main categories or dichotomies which then combine to form a person’s personality.
Each of these 4 categories is further divided into 2 which are each represented by a letter, making a total of 8 categories which are:
- Extroversion (E) and Introversion (I)
- Sensing (S) and Intuition (N)
- Feeling (F) and Thinking (T)
- Perceiving (P) and Judging (J)
A personality type is made when a person is assigned a trait from each of the 4 dichotomies. This personality’s name will be an acronym that is formed by combining the letters of the assigned traits.
For example, an introverted person who prefers intuition, feeling, and judging will be called an INFJ.
Keep in mind that most people aren’t fully introverted or fully extroverted (same goes for other traits), rather a percentage of both.
However, the trait that has a higher percentage at the end of the test is assigned in their personality type. So for example, a person who is 25% extroverted and 75% introverted will generally be considered an introvert.
Extroversion and Introversion
These traits describe how we engage with our environment.
Extroverts are people who prefer to focus on their outside world, rather than the inner one.
They love engaging with their environment, the people around them, and often seek their validation from external sources.
Introverts are the opposites of extroverts, preferring to trade a wild night out for a cozy solo evening in, instead.
Often associated with the words shy or reserved, introverts are simply recharged by their time spent in solitude.
Sensing and Intuition
These traits deal with how you view the world and process it.
Sensing types prefer to take the world in through their senses and focus on the pragmatic world right in front of them.
On the other hand, intuitive people focus more on reading between the lines and spotting patterns in their surroundings.
Feeling and Thinking
These traits describe how you make decisions in your life.
People with feelings trait place more importance on emotions and values when making a decision. A lot of their decisions aim to maintain harmony whether that’s within themselves or their surroundings.
People with the thinking trait prefer to make decisions based on logical and objective reasoning after considering the facts
Such people will most likely be seen making pros and cons lists and questioning how everything fits together.
Perceiving and Judging
These traits describe how much structure we require in our lives and how we tackle our daily tasks. This trait shouldn’t be confused with organization as both types tend to be organized in their own way.
People with the perceiving trait feel more comfortable when their work is flexible.
Instead of being tied down to strict routines and schedules, they prefer to keep their minds open to new and upcoming information.
On the other hand, people with the judging trait feel more comfortable when a strict regimen is followed where things are decided, rather than leaving them up to chance.
What is the difference between the 16 personality test and the MBTI?
Although, for the most part, they are quite similar, the 16 personality test combines the Myers Briggs indicator with Carl Jung’s theory and simplifies it.
The 16 personality test uses 5 dichotomies, essentially, in addition to the 4 present in MBTI.
It added an identity scale that identifies a person’s confidence in their abilities and is divided into turbulent and assertive.
The sensing trait is replaced with the word observant in the 16 personality test and perceiving is replaced with prospecting, although they imply the same meaning.
The Myers Briggs dives deep into the cognitive functions of each personality type as well whereas the 16 personality test is more simplified.
Lastly, the 16 personality test asks 113 questions in comparison to 93 from the MBTI test.
An overview of the 16 personalities
The 16 personality types have been divided up into 4 groups, each of which shares 2 common traits.
The Analysts ( Intuitive- Thinking)
INTP- The Logician
Also known as the thinkers or rational philosophers, INTPs are intellectual, creative, and honest people who are constantly inventing and looking for out the box ways to do things.
Although a bit socially awkward, as logical masterminds, they are also great at brainstorming and solving problems.
INTJ- The Architect
INTJs are judgemental critics and absolute masterminds
As highly driven and focused personality types who won’t t let anything come between their work, including relationships.
With an intimidating stance, they are not hesitant to speak up for what they believe in and might even come off as a little arrogant.
ENTP- The Debater
ENTPs are quick, witty, and curious visionaries who can spend hours immersed in their interests.
These charming individuals are intrigued by new people and won’t hesitate to strike up a conversation wherever they are. However, you won’t catch them immersed in a discussion about their feelings!
ENTJ- The Commander
With a strong work ethic, coupled with clear, set goals in mind, ENTJs are hard workers and leaders who are capable of doing whatever they need to do to get what they want, even if that means stepping over people’s toes!
They are strategic planners, great executioners, and especially skilled at charming people for their cause.
ENTJs can be stubborn and ruthless in their work and feedback, but they earn people’s respect, despite not being the most emotionally supportive type.
The Diplomats ( Intuitive- Feeling)
INFP- The Mediator
INFPs are thoughtful idealists and emotional healers who love making a difference in other people’s lives for the better.
They lead their selfless life with a strong moral compass, are very supportive of people in their lives, and are eager to try new things.
INFJ- The Advocate
With a reserved exterior and a bubbly interior, INFJs are shy, peace-loving, and very creative people who love finding deeper meaning in life.
INFJs want their lives to be meaningful and affect the people around them in all the best ways possible.
Charmers of people around them and great conversationalists, this introverted personality also has a really strong moral compass that leads them to do the right thing in life.
ENFP- the Campaigner
ENFPs are extremely kind, loving, and creative people who almost never say no to trying out new things.
They love spending time with people, while still holding onto their independence and seek a deeper meaning in everything in life.
Leading life with a strong moral code, ENFPs always look for the good in things.
ENFJ- The Progaonist
ENFJs are extremely social, loving, and caring givers who are focused on creating and maintaining harmony in their surroundings.
They are passionate about making a difference in this world. Even with an organized and goal-oriented mindset, they will always be ready to help out others around them.
The Sentinels ( Sensing- Judging)
ISFJ- The Defender
ISFJs are private, compassionate, and very dedicated people who have a strong urge to take care of everyone around them.
Although they might get overlooked at times, ISFJs’ presence is truly missed and appreciated in their absence.
ESFJ- The Consul
ESFJs are extremely in tune with the emotional needs of others, often putting their lives on hold to make sure everyone else is cared for.
They make endless compromises, sacrifices, and often suffer silently as long as it means that others are kept happy.
ESTJ- the Executive
ESTJs are opinionated speakers, socialists, and incredibly dedicated to their loved ones.
ISTJ- The Logistician
Also known as the Inspector, ISTJs are efficiency loving go-getters. They live by the book and believe in getting straight to the point.
Showing extreme loyalty to all relationships, but not being the best a displaying their emotions, ISTJs are the people at work who will make sure everything gets done.
The Explorers (Sensing- Perceiving)
ISFP- The Adventurer
ISFPs are adventurers, creators, and nurturers who march to the beat of their own drum. They focus on their own lives but always make sure others around them feel loved in their presence.
ISTP- The Virtuoso
ISTPs are mechanical thinkers who are curious about how everything works and tend to break everything down in their heads.
With a dangerous side, that’s drawn to risky behavior, this private personality type lives life in its own little bubble and can’t wait to put its ideas into action.
ESTP- The Entrepreneur
With a very vibrant presence, ESTPs hop from one activity to the next within moments! They are determined, playful, and enthusiastic.
These social butterflies are masters of making the most out of every moment. ESTPs are great at understanding different points of views and this makes them excellent negotiators!
ESFP- The Entertainer
Most commonly known as the life of the party, an ESFP’s life revolves around people.
With a genuine and care-free attitude, ESFPs are skilled at maintaining huge social networks and will more often be caught goofing around than putting on a serious face and getting to work!
Why take the MBTI Test?
While most people take this personality to see if they can match with their friends, a lot of people use personality types to find compatible partners and suitable career choices.
This test helps people recognize behavior patterns that they might not have noticed in themselves before.
People can use those behavior patterns to not only have a greater understanding of their character but also figure out where they might need to make adjustments, what strengths they can utilize, what weaknesses they need to work on etc, for a happier life.
Your type affects your communication style and learning style, and having more information about what you need in your life makes it easier to put yourself in situations that fulfill that requirement.
For example, most sensing types prefer hands-on learning whereas intuitive types don’t mind reading textbooks for hours learning through that.
Learning more about your type is also great for figuring out what type of counseling strategies work best for you, whether that’s at work or in a relationship.
It also influences how you prefer to interact with the people around you, whether you want to be paid attention to and stand out, or blend in with the crowd and not draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
As interesting as it is to learn more about your personality type, keep in mind that a personality test can only tell you so much information, all of which might not apply to you.
Even within the same personality type, people’s characteristics can vary depending on the environment they were brought up in and the life they lead.
People’s personalities are subject to change as they grow, however, there are certain characteristics which remain the same throughout and play a bigger role in your life!
Figuring out what these characteristics are and using them to your advantage can truly help you succeed in life!