MBTI and Relationship Compatability

Key Lime Pi asked: Are there certain combinations of types which make for better friendships or romantic relationships? Could a person develop him/herself in new ways by befriending someone of a drastically different type?

No and yes. This is my personal take on this question.

I believe that if two people of any type are mature and well rounded, the can and will get along well in relationship regardless of how different they are. When it comes to immature people, there will always be problems in a relationship no matter how similar the two people’s types are.

(Because of this belief, I won’t be answering type-specific-ideal-relationship questions. For example: how compatible are ISFPs and ENFJs in a relationship? I’ll leave that to the tumblr idiots).

As to your second question, everyone you associate with has an effect on you. The more mature you are, the less affected you are by negative influences of people around you. If you’re less mature, you’re going to be more affected. Need an example?

Last year I lived with a semi-mature ENTP, mature INFJ, and an immature ESFJ and witnessed the following.

The semi-mature ENTP made quick friends the immature ESFJ and quickly deteriorated in maturity. The ENTP started going to the ESFJ with moral questions, and because the ESFJ didn’t care about morals, would tell the ENTP to do whatever the ESFJ was doing. They both became remarkably like the other. The ENTP became more wild, dated merely for the sexual pleasure, stopped caring about grades (previously a straight A student) etc.

The ESFJ, by association with me (INTJ), started to pick up my dark sense of humour even though at the start, he was quite disturbed by it.

Meanwhile, they left no affect on me. I simply watched as they influenced each other, occasionally pointing it out to them as amusing situations presented themselves.

Because both I and the INFJ were relatively more mature, we had selective influences on each other, but were not affected by the ENTP or ESFJ. The INFJ reminded me to be kind, and I reminded the INFJ not to take feelings so seriously.

11 thoughts on “MBTI and Relationship Compatability

  1. Hello :) I was an ENTP but a while after I developed an eating disorder I became an INFP. Is this simply coicindence or is it related?


  2. This is really interesting. I’m an INFJ and have been with my INTJ husband for eight years. We get along so brilliantly, people often comment on how alike we are, but actually we’re very different in some ways.

    I would say I’m a pretty typical INFJ, but you probably wouldn’t be able to guess my husband was INTJ unless you knew him really well, as he comes across as a very laid-back joker when around other people. He certainly doesn’t conform to the stereotype of being ’emotionless’, and while he is very clever he isn’t particularly academic. But he is definitely more logical than me and doesn’t express his feelings as openly. Unlike me, he also doesn’t care at all what people think of him, so doesn’t usually stand on ceremony or care about being polite. For instance when he is ready to leave a party he will just bluntly say “I need to go now, bye!” and leave straight away, even when someone is trying to continue the conversation. I kind of admire that! I always have to continue talking to be polite, but inwardly resent it. I like how direct he is, although it can come across as rude sometimes!

    I think we work very well together-I find that he helps me calm down when I’m being irrational and blowing things out of proportion. I’m very scatterbrained, so sometimes I rely on him to organise me. I often make decisions based on my gut instincts and let emotion cloud my judgement, so I really appreciate his objective perspective. In turn I’ve helped him to be more sociable and express his feelings more. He used to over-analyse everything I did and said, looking for patterns in my behaviour, then he would get confused if I did something ‘out of character’. I had to explain to him that I’m not always logical-sometimes I say one thing and do another. Sometimes I change my mind or do things for no good reason. Most humans don’t work like computer programs and he finds that very odd!

    I think we make a great team because we’re both introverts who need our down time, but we can also blend pretty seamlessly with a group of extroverts when we want to. When alone together, we are completely at ease and can really be ourselves, as both of us can retreat into our own heads without feeling the need to make conversation. We also have a lot of silly, goofy fun together that maybe people wouldn’t associate with either of our types, as both are seen as quite serious.


    • What an excellent example of the INTJ/INFJ relationship! it’s quite common and falls under shared perception/different judgement, but hearing it from your perspective (a personal one rather than broad objective one) really highlights how complementary different judgement processes can be.


      • Ironically, there are people who say my writing is either too broad and objective or that it’s too personal. I’m not saying you’re one of those people, just commenting on an irony.


        • I was referring to my own writing with that aside; but said irony makes me think about how a reader’s Type effects how one’s writing is perceived.

          I imagine that when one shares Fi values writing can seem very personal, when Te shares Ni worldview it seems broad, sweeping, and objective. However, when this worldview is described with Se can be overladen with facts, details, and asides like my writing.

          It makes me contemplate how others values are reflected in their writing, and how I love intuiting one’s Type from their writing more so than any other source. It’s precisely why I’m confident you’re INTJ.


        • I knew you were referring to your own writing. Your comment simply reminded me that my existence and everything that I do winds up being a paradox.

          I suppose the NiFi does have something to do with that though. Good thought.

          Writing does tend to be a dead giveaway when it comes to people’s types, which is another reason why it’s easier to type fictional characters from books than from film.


  3. Your answer was helpful, thank you. I can see how individual maturity affects a person’s relationships no matter what type they are. Generally, the people I choose as friends are fairly similar to me in personality and maturity level, but I do have a good relationship with my ESTP younger sister although we’re complete opposites, both practically and regarding cognitive functions.


  4. I definitely agree with Arvid in that two people of any Type can form meaningful relationships (from friendship to romantic), but there has been empirical evidence for greater (easier) compatibility between certain types. But I want to make it crystal clear before I go into detail about this that you should NOT solely seek out the most compatible Types to become involved with (interestingly, I’ve noticed that those who use differentiated Fe tend towards this sort of behavior naturally but don’t generally have this science underpinning their choice of company) for two reasons:

    1. You really miss out on the beauty of diversity with human personality and a solid chance at greater development.
    2. I have observed this use of the Type eventually leads towards division and sectarian antipathy between opposite Types.

    I realize my first reason for not reducing human relationships to a sort of horoscope compatibility system is largely subjective (Fi) , but I hope at least the second one provides a more objective reason to avoid this. Nothing is more off-putting than when I hear a group of students in a Dining Hall talking about how stupid those SPs are, how boring those SJs are, and how NTs are the only people worth knowing – please..

    As for compatibility, we tend to be most compatible with those who share our conscious functions but have the dominant and inferior couplet reversed. For example, xSFP/xNTJ is a very common observed relationship (both friendship and romantic) due to the dynamics of their conscious functions. This type of coupling falls under shared perception/shared judgement and has the easiest time getting along with each other assuming both are relatively mature. I cannot stress maturity enough with this as it’s VERY easy for people of this Type dynamic to rub each other the wrong way assuming they aren’t.

    The second most compatible pair is shared perception/different judgement, and some easy examples of this are xSFP/xSTP, xNTP/xNFP, xNTJ/xNFJ, etc. The reason for this pairing is because as Jung noted judgement functions are rational, meaning they are subject to change, refinement, and our control. (I want to point out that shared perception doesn’t mean both people prefer the same perception in the dominant couplet, but that they prefer the same perception axis in either order.) Thus, if two people share the same perception but differ in judgement they can reconcile the differences in how they interpret and value information.

    It’s easier to understand what I meant by that last sentence if you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone who doesn’t share your perception. Regardless of your guys’ judgement, there will be a greater propensity for miscommunication and confusion since perception is irrational and outside our control. A great example of this is the miscommunication I used to have with an xNFP friend. Whenever we used to work together she would eventually start commenting on how there is a “tension in the room” when I would correct her mistakes. Her Ne loved entertaining the possibility that me correcting her mistakes meant that I thought she was slow, stupid, and unfocused, and that I – by implication – was being haughty, arrogant, and condescending. This would then confuse me because to Se comments like, “No we want to base the weight of our investment in each security according to X – not Y.” or “No that’s not what I said, I said X” just indicate that she made a mistake and I wanted to correct her. Se especially does not care to entertain multiple interpretations of what one (in this example “I”) says to others, so when she used to say things like this I would immediately discount her statements as either insecurity or delusion (this is before I knew my Type and hers; inferior Te rears is ugly head).

    Now imagine having to deal with that sort of miscommunication with your friends and loved ones; even when you know about Type it is still a challenge to recognize differences in perception ALL the time.

    In any case, just try to understand where the person is coming from function wise and let that be a guide to how you interact with them. You’ll find that you can get along with practically anyone and can find love with those who are different.



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