Finding Your Real Myers-Briggs® Type

It’s so easy to take a pseudo-Myers-Briggs® test on the internet. You can click through a quick quiz, get your result and think, “Wow, I guess that does sound like me.” A few weeks later, you might stumble across another short quiz and take it again. Maybe you get a different answer and the description still sounds like you. Now you’re wondering whether this whole Myers-Briggs thing is all it’s cracked up to be, and if it is, then why were your results different?

This is one of the reasons Myers-Briggs tests have come under fire from critics who don’t really understand how the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) is supposed to work. They look at the short little quizzes with generic feel-good results, and say it’s too simple and unreliable. But if you dive into the theory behind Meyers-Briggs, and especially cognitive functions (click here for an introduction to type functions), you start to realize how helpful the MBTI can be as a tool for understanding yourself and other people.

One of the principles of Myers-Briggs theory is that people only have one type, which stays consistent throughout their lives. You grow and develop within your type, but you don’t change from an INFP to an ENFJ to an ISTP or any other combination of letters. So with that in mind, how can you find your true type with so many conflicting results floating around?Finding Your Real Myers-Briggs® Type |

Take A Good Test

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.

If you can’t take the official MBTI, there are a few decent substitutes out there on the internet. My favorite by far is Personality Hacker’s Genius Style test.* They ask for an e-mail address, but it is free. One of my favorite bloggers, Susan Storm, also recently released a test. You can click here to take that.

Similar Mind’s Jungian test is another I’ve recommended (note from May 2017: recent changes to the test questions may skew results. You might want to try HumanMetrics instead). Some people really like the test from 16Personalities, but it’s not my favorite. These tests all give you a series of questions which are designed to learn what cognitive functions you use, then give you a four-letter test result.

I’d recommend starting with the Personality Hacker test, and then taking one or both of the other tests to compare results. Try not to read the full results of one test before you take the others — you want to take each one as unbiased as you can. If they all give you the same result, that’s a pretty good indication you’ve found your personality type. If they’re different, though, it’s time to start reading.

Compare Results

Now that you have one or more personality type results, start reading descriptions of your potential personality type(s). Here are some excellent resources:

Read the descriptions for each of your type results. Even if you only got one result, it’s a good idea to look at similar types that use some of the same cognitive functions. Here are a few guidelines for which other types to look up based on your test results.

If you test as an …

  • Introvert, read about the type which is opposite you on the J/P scale. The J/P preference describes how we interact with the outer word through our extroverted function, so an IJ type actually leads with a perceiving process and an IP type leads with a judging process. This can affect test results.
  • EJ, take a look at the type opposite you on the S/N scale. The tests found that you lead with an extroverted judging/decision making process, but might not have accurately found your introverted secondary process.
  • EP, take a look at the type opposite you on the F/T scale. The tests found that you lead with an extroverted perceiving/learning process, but might not have accurately found your introverted secondary process.
  • SFJ or NFJ, read results from ENFJ, INFJ, ISFJ, and ESFJ. These types all use Extroverted Feeling, and can often be mistaken for each other. Shy ESFJs and ENFJs can be mis-typed as introverts, and outgoing ISFJs and INFJs can be mis-typed as extroverts.
  • NT types, read the type opposite you on the E/I preference. ENT- types, especially ENTJs, are among the most “introverted extroverts” and might mis-type.

Think About Stress

Most tests look at your primary and secondary function — the driver and co-pilot processes that lead in our personality. This makes sense, since other functions are less well developed and we don’t use them as much unless we’re stressed. When we’re trying  to discover our true type is, though, how we react under stress is a good indication of which type matches us best.

Good type descriptions will also talk about the inferior function. An excellent book on this topic is Was That Really Me? How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality* by Naomi Quenk.

Keep In Mind …

No personality test result is going to be a 100% perfect match. You’re looking for the one that fits you best. You will find elements of other descriptions that sound like you, but there should be one that fits better than the others. Pay close attention to descriptions of how your type uses cognitive functions. Descriptions of INFJ and INFP types, for example, sound similar but they lead with very different mental processes.

Good luck on your journey of self discovery! There’s a plethora of resources out there that can help you, including type-based Facebook groups and forums where you can talk with people of different types to see how they think. And if there’s anything I can help with, just ask!

*indicates affiliate links

Featured image credit: StockSnap via Pixabayy


12 thoughts on “Finding Your Real Myers-Briggs® Type

  • Love this! I have been trying to explain this for a long time in my blog, and you did it so well in just one post! I shared it on my facebook page. It always bothers me when people say they switch between two different types, so I love that you address this 🙂 I also test as INFP or INFJ depending on the test and the day. I had to study Fe and Fi and the inferior functions of both before I knew for sure I was an INFJ. I am all about Fe – unfortunately sometimes:) I can’t bear it when there is disharmony going on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks 🙂 I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while and was pleased with how it came together.
      Yeah, I get frustrated with my Fe as well. Sometimes it feels like an emphatic superpower, but more often I think perhaps picking up on others’ emotions is more trouble than it’s worth 😛


    • I don’t think we are stuck in one type our whole life. Life experiences and various circumstances can develop some functions and mute some others. This is obviously not done in a matter of months, but in years. You can take the same test (and preferably not the online free one but the original one with 89 questions with a professional) in a few years, depending on how your life experiences “reinforced” or ” broke” some functions, making you operate more into the opposite. Nothing is constant. However, you obviously won’t be an ESFJ if you were an INTP or vice versa. Just a very few preferences in dichotomies change, and this, during a very long period of time. I know a lot of people who were typed differently with time, I was an INTJ in my younger years (typed for my second job) and INTP now. I very frequently switch from INTP to INTJ and vice versa (with P/J very borderline), but I think I am more Ti Nthan Ni Te. It is also very important to emphasize that the INTJ shadow functions are INTPs primary functions and vice versa, maybe this might give a clearer explanation.


  • I came out as Memory/Effectiveness –
    Endlessly responsible
    Maintain systems and keep things going

    Suspicious of new concepts and solutions
    Can be prideful and unbending
    May get stuck in a rut

    Interesting but some of the questions didn’t quite fit either way. But it’s an interesting conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Not really on topic, but it seems like similar minds recently changed several of their statements from general topics to ones dealing with immigration… It will definitely skew results…
    I most often test as INFP, but I’m not totally sure because I feel like I get my energy from being with people, and my depression is worse when I spend too much time alone, so maybe a shy ENFP…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know that. I’m looking at it now and those questions seem so out of place. I’ll edit this post to make a note of that for new readers. Thanks for the heads-up 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve gotten INTJ for all of the tests most of the time (with a few exceptions), so when I read about the Inferior Sensing types, it really helped to sort things out as my final confirmation factor.

    Liked by 1 person

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