People have been trying to use personality types to find their perfect romantic match since typology first became popular. In a previous posts about Myers-Briggs types and love languages, I talked about how falling in love — and staying in love — with someone is so much more complex than simply matching personality types. Sometimes when browsing personality type forums, I’ll come across posts from people asking how to find and attract a someone of a specific personality type (often it’s an ENTP asking for step-by-step instructions to win an INFJ, which I find hilarious). It’s like some of us think that if we can just find someone who is our ideal type-match, then we’ll be happy because we caught the mythical “compatibility” creature.
Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase on that website.
Now, I do have some personality types I find more attractive romantically than others, but it’s not always the types I’m “supposed” to like according to Myers-Briggs or Keirsey theories. Even Isabel Myers was happily married to a man who her theory said should have been incompatible. An understanding of love languages and a mutual willingness to understand and work with each other is one piece of the puzzle. Another is something I just learned this week from Personality Hacker.*
The “Genius System”
Personality Hacker was founded by Antonia Dodge and Joel Mark Witt, who use what they call the “Genius system” to divide Myers-Briggs types into four groups based on the last two letters in a person’s type. In terms of function stacks, this means they group types based on whether the type introverts or extroverts their Judging function. The groupings end up looking like this:
- “Harmony” — Extroverted Feelers (ESFJ, ISFJ, ENFJ, INFJ)
- “Authenticity” — Introverted Feelers (ESFP, ISFP, ENFP, INFP)
- “Effectiveness” — Extroverted Thinkers (ESTJ, ISTJ, ENTJ, INTJ)
- “Accuracy” — Introverted Thinkers (ESTP, ISTP, ENTP, INTP)
According to a new article on Personality Hacker, each of these groups look for and expressed love in a unique way. Most people would tell an INFJ to look for a relationship with an ENFP or an ENTP and avoid their opposite type, ESTP. This system stays that an ENFP and and ENTP express love in completely different ways, but ENTPs and ESTPs are actually very similar in how they love. That would explain why some INFJs find ENFPs really attractive, while others prefer ESTPs or ENTPs. It’s not so much about matching two specific types, as it is about finding types who express love in a way you relate to and understand. This Genius style take on the MBTI adds an intriguing aspect to the subject of personality types in relationships. You can check out the Personality Hacker podcast on how each type says “I Love You”* for a full explanation, but here’s my brief take on what this means:
Types of Love
“Harmony” types, who use Extroverted Feeling as their first or second function, feel loved when they are connected, safe, cared for, and accepted as their authentic selves. They express love in a similar way, by encouraging the people they love and keeping in touch with them. They are primarily concerned with harmonious relationships and emotional connection.
The types who use Introverted Feeling, “Authenticity” in the Genius System, highly value honesty in relationships. They feel loved when they know someone is being real with them and is supportive of their own authentic expressions. Authenticity types express love by giving people space to be themselves and being willing to work through problems in the relationship.
“Effectiveness” types, those who use Extroverted Thinking, value independence in relationship. They want to know that the person who loves them is supportive of their goals and can be trusted to function on their own. They are loyal and protective towards those they love, and give them room to be themselves.
Those who use Introverted Thinking, “Accuracy” types, feel loved when they are respected. They want to know that the person who is in love with them thinks they are impressive and that the relationship makes sense. In return, they are protective, non-judgmental, and strive to bring the best version of themselves to the relationship.
Ultimately, typology is simply a tool we can use to understand each other. When we understand ourselves and the people around us, we have a better idea of what we’re looking for in a romantic relationship. I think that’s really the best way to apply Myers-Briggs theory to romance. We can’t just say that all INFJs’ ideal match is an ENTP — people are far more nuanced than that, even within a type. But the better we understand how we’re wired and what makes us feel loved, the more likely we’ll be able to recognize whether a potential romantic partner would be a good or a bad match for us.
This is one of the things Debra Fileta talks about in her book and blog True Love Dates. You have to know yourself before you try to get to know other people in a romantic context, otherwise you have no idea what you’re looking for in a relationship. So maybe the first thing we should do when looking at the Genius System types is find which group we fit into. If we know who we are, we’re one step closer to knowing what we want.
*indicates affiliate links
6 thoughts on “Looking For Love With The MBTI”
I’ve found it’s best to be friends with people in all the types — you naturally find the types you jive with or conflict with that way. And, of course, to remember that one person of a specific type is not going to be exactly like another person in that same type. The type is the paper; we are the artists.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I love the analogy of painting our unique lives on our personality types
I’m not entirely sure how the Genius System pairs people together. Assumedly we would want to pair with someone different than us. Because I’m an introverted thinker, I tend to like other introverted thinkers which I why I love the TPs in fiction and real life. I’m not as focused on personality type as I once was, which is probably a good thing, because I don’t want to head out into the world, searching for a man with one type and one type only. I could miss my ideal match that way because God often has other plans than my own. Sometimes I wonder how good it is that we know so much about personality types and if any of it is truly accurate.
I don’t think the Genius System gives a recommendation for which types pair best together. That may be part of their paid seminar on relationships, but from what I’ve seen the Genius System is more about encouraging each type to recognize how they love, and then either looking for a romantic partner whose type loves in way you feel compatible with, or using your understanding of type to strengthen a relationship you already have. They don’t say something like “Harmony pairs best with Accuracy,” but rather find someone you’re attracted to and learn how to love them.
I’ve also been worried about being fixated too much on one type. I know which types I prefer, but I also know that a willingness to work together and understand each other is more predictive of happiness than matching MBTI types. So I’m trying to focus on looking for that — someone I could develop a close relationship with based on mutual understanding, shared faith, and love rather than one specific type.
Generally, it is suggested that we marry people with our functions, but in a different order in order to strengthen one another’s functions as we get older. No wonder I’ve always had a thing for ENTPs…
I’ve always loved STJ types though too, particularly the ESTJs. They have a wicked sense of humor and are fun to “mess with.”
But, if the Good Lord ever sees fit to curse a man with me, I’m sure He has it all figured out which one would the best match for me in the long term. I just wish I didn’t have to, you know, go LOOKING for him by dating a whole bunch of other guys first. =P
Wow, thanks for the new perspective on mbti romance!
I’m an INFP guy currently dating an ISFJ girl and I loved her warm, gentle and kind behaviour, which are traits I value. But when I read articles on mbti “compatibility” and “ideal matches”, most of them told me that intuitives shouldn’t be with sensors, and that my ideal match is supposed to be an enfj (based on mirror function stack or something). So, I became confused whether I am with the wrong person and that somewhere out there there is an enfj who I’m “supposed” to be attracted to. I panicked and even started to recall all the enfj people I’ve known recently.. thoughts started spinning in my head.. “let’s see.. well, there was this guy in college.. but, um, I’m heterosexual so that’s not an option.. then there was this girl who claimed she was enfj, yes we did connect well on some aspects.. oh shit, should I have dated her? But I wasn’t physically attracted to her, nor she did she have a similar lifestyle to me on some aspects.. so not her.. then what am I supposed to do? Break up with my current isfj girl and go looking for that imaginary enfj girl who I’ll get attracted to and tick all the boxes? How am I even supposed to find one? Walk up to a girl who looks a bit extroverted and say “Hey there! Would you by any chance happen to be an enfj? I am infp, your ideal partner if you are indeed an enfj. Please confirm fast, I’ve got to propose to you and we are supposed to live happily ever after?”..damn, this is too much pressure!”
So, you get what I’m trying to say. I’ve attempted to put my thoughts down in a light hearted manner but I was seriously getting depressed. Then, I read somewhere that my ideal match is supposed to be an estj (same functions in reverse order or something). This is when I started to realise that maybe this whole compatibility theory is not reliable. There always seems to be a way to justify any compatibility based on cognitive functions (same functions, mirror functions, opposite functions, aspiring functions, and what not). And now when I read this genius theory I am even more relieved.
So, I am concluding that maybe my isfj relationship is not so bad. In a creative way, and being the cognitive functions enthusiast that I am, I came up with my own justification of my compatibility with the isfj.. she mirrors my dominant function (fi) with her auxiliary function (fe) and she shares two of my other functions in different orders (ne and si). As for the notion that intuitives need to be with other intuitives, I don’t agree because if two intuitives keep discussing future and abstract theories and possibilities and other intuitive mumbo jumbo then who will take care of practical matters such as running a house and taking care of kids? Much better that one partner be a sensor to keep the intuitive partner grounded, in my opinion.
So, sorry for the long post but I really needed to convey how I ended up following a combination or middle ground of different compatibility theories, haha! The bottom line is that I want to be with this girl!