Let's face it: There are some people with whom you just “click,” as if you fit together like perfect little puzzle pieces. Then there are the people who just leave you feeling totally puzzled, and chances are, dating one of those people would be a total disaster. While there are many ways to assess whether someone is a good match for you, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can provide powerful insight into the personalities with whom you’re least and
most compatible — and it can potentially help you avoid dating disasters.
Contrary to popular belief, compatibility is not about finding someone who syncs up with every one of your interests, or a total opposite who can help you achieve balance. Ultimately, compatibility depends on having some similarities but also having differences in other areas. Since the Myers-Briggs personality test can shed light on whether you’re more into introversion/extroversion, intuition/sensing, feeling/thinking, and judging/perceiving, it’s a handy resource for figure out who works well together.
And while the Myers-Briggs is essentially just a tool for evaluating someone’s “innate preferences,” as
Poppy and Geoff Spencer, LCPC, previously told Bustle, knowing someone’s Myers-Briggs personality type “is a huge plus when dating, especially when meeting first online.” As they explained, “The upside to all of the types is that they are not set in stone; they are preferences. We can learn and grow in our relationships by our willingness to further develop our own inferior and less dominant traits."
Every MBTI type has their own quirks, but here are the types least likely to make a compatible match right off the bat.
Architect (INTJ) & Consul (ESFJ)
Architects are ambitious, independent knowledge-seekers, and they’re typically far more interested in abstract ideas than socializing. Consuls are warm, social butterflies who are more interested in making connections with people and forging new relationships. Clearly, this isn't exactly an ideal match.
Here’s the thing: The fun-loving ESFJ can potentially help an INTJ to lighten up now and then, but an INTJ typically needs a lot of solitude and space — something that an ESFJ may not think to offer. This can lead to much frustration, as an ESFJ may not get the quality time and conversation they crave, and an INTJ may feel irritated by the ESFJ’s continual chatter. And when they do find time to talk, their opposing interests may lead to lulls in conversation. While the INFJ gets excited about ideas and theories, the ESFJ is more interested in discussing their everyday experiences.
The one thing these two types have in common? They’re both judgers, which means they’re typically very opinionated. As a result, these two stubborn personalities may find it challenging AF to come to a compromise.
Commander (ENTJ) & Defender (ISFJ)
Commanders and Defenders only share one trait, so it’s no surprise that they may have a difficult time coexisting peacefully in romantic relationships. The one trait that they do have in common is judging, which means that — while they’re both incredibly organized and skilled at goal-setting — they’re prone to digging their heels in during a disagreement.
Since one is an introvert and the other is an extrovert, they also may disagree about how to spend their free time. The ENTJ prefers being around others, as that’s what makes them happiest and most energized, while the ISFJ gets easily stressed out and downright drained by too much group socializing.
One of the reasons why a thinker and a feeler may experience some friction is that a thinker’s straightforward nature can come across as harsh to the feeler. Also, feelers tend to be more naturally affectionate, and when they don’t receive that kind of warmth and emotional connection in return, they may not feel fulfilled in the relationship.
Debater (ENTP) & Adventurer (ISFP)
Debaters and Adventurers are both pretty spontaneous and adaptable — they prefer to go with the flow, and are prone to procrastination. But other than the perceiving preference, they don’t have much in common. While the introverted ISFP may feel overwhelmed by the ENTP’s constant desire for interaction, the ENTP may feel as if the ISFP is closed off with little to share with them — and therefore, both can potentially end up feeling as if their needs are unfulfilled.
Likewise, the discrepancy between the sensing and intuitive traits can prove difficult for couples who cohabit. An intuitive type is not very motivated to keep up with everyday chores, because they’re often off in their own world pondering philosophical theories and future possibilities — which may exacerbate a sensing type, because it puts the bulk of the housework on them.
When a conflict arises, these two personalities have totally different approaches. The ENTP (a thinker) will prefer to use logic to solve a problem, while the ISFP (a feeler) will primarily be interested in expressing themselves emotionally. This can cause tensions to rise, because the ISFP may feel like their feelings aren’t being valued or considered, while an ENTP may feel frustrated by the lack of rationale in the argument at hand.
Protagonist (ENFJ) & Logistician (ISTJ)
A Protagonist thrives in groups, while a Logistician prefers to be alone or one-on-one and may clam up in group settings. An ENFJ is warm, compassionate, and emotionally driven, while an ISTJ is more reserved and practical. Clearly, these two types have far more differences than similarities.
Sure, they do share some traits — like their sharp organization and planning skills. That said, two judging personalities can make conflict resolution somewhat challenging. That’s because they both tend to be not only very opinionated but also unwilling to budge on their beliefs.
One of the ENFJ’s most powerful strengths is their ability to tune in to their partner’s needs, wants, and moods. However, they may have a difficult time bonding with an ISTJ on an emotional level, as the ENFJ can be a bit detached. It doesn’t come naturally for the ISTJ to share their innermost thoughts and feelings, which can be frustrating for the ENFJ, who craves that kind of connection.
Logician (INTP) & Entertainer (ESFP)
On the surface, Logicians and Entertainers appear to have common ground: They’re both easygoing, as well as highly adept at handling change. Unfortunately, they don’t communicate in the same way, which means it may prove difficult for them to resolve conflicts.
INTPs usually rely on logic and reason while working through problems, whereas ESFPs are led by their emotions — and this discrepancy may lead to misunderstandings. Plus, since the INTP is a thinker, they tend to be super blunt with their words, and the feeling-focused ESFP is prone to taking that criticism personally.
One of the main reasons why these types aren’t typically compatible is that they have a tendency to trigger each other’s worst fears. INTPs are easily freaked out when they face emotionally vulnerable scenarios, which they’re likely to run into very often with an emotionally driven ESFP. Meanwhile, the ESFP has a tough time coping with disapproval, and the INTP may not think twice before criticizing (as they can take it just as easily as they dish it out). The INTP views conflict as a necessary part of life, and approaches it with no fear whatsoever, while the ESFP may avoid conflict, and is eager to achieve harmony as quickly as possible.
Campaigner (ENFP) & Virtuoso (ISTP)
The Campaigner’s very existence revolves around emotions — it’s what they base their decisions and behavior on. Meanwhile, a Virtuoso is far more focused on facts than feelings. Obviously, this can cause some communication issues.
The ENFP is also known for being spontaneous and impulsive, while the ISTP is anything but. As a result, they lead vastly different lifestyles. The ENFP likes to fly by the seat of their pants, and the ISTP likes to make very calculated, practical decisions.
When an ISTP needs to confront their ENFP partner about an issue, they may come across as terse. The ISTP’s criticism isn’t intended to hurt the ENFP — but they’re all about problem-solving, so they’re more interested in presenting the facts and swiftly reaching a resolution. Meanwhile, the ENFP is rather sensitive by nature and may be quickly wounded by the ISTP’s straightforwardness. On top of that, the ENFP’s highly emotional expressions may prove exhausting for the ISTP.
Mediator (INFP) & Entrepreneur (ESTP)
Mediators and Entrepreneurs are both relatively chill, so they have that going for them. But unfortunately, they don’t have much in common beyond their perceptive nature and relaxed attitude toward life.
ESTPs are known for being extremely outgoing, and the reality is, an INFP simply won’t want to party as much as their partner. What’s worse, they may take it personally when their ESTP significant other hits the town without them. This can breed resentment between them when the ESTP may feel like they have to hold back their social urges to appease the INFP.
ESTPs (sensing) are more focused on the here and now, whereas INFPs (intuitive) are more likely to be future-oriented, which means they make decisions based on very different information. Additionally, the INFP can get caught up in obsessing over what the “right” thing to do is, based on their morals and values, whereas the ESTP is action-oriented and more likely to make quick choices based on whatever the immediate goal is. Unsurprisingly, this contrasting approach can put a strain on the relationship over time.
Advocate (INFJ) & Executive (ESTJ)
Advocates seek out change, while Executives are fairly resistant to change. ESTJs also tend to be conservative-minded and traditional, while INFJs thrive on innovation. In other words, the INFJ is always seeking out new ways to do things, while the ESTJ is wondering, “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?”
The outspoken nature of the ESTJ may prove offensive to an INFJ. The INFJ often needs a lot of emotional validation, which the ESTJ is not inclined to give without prompting — and as a result, the INFJ may not feel understood by their partner. Plus, the INFJ may get irritated by the ESTJ’s devil’s advocate tendencies. The ESTJ thinks they’re helping to solve the problem, but the INFJ just wanted a supportive ear.
INFJs are more likely to allow themselves to be emotionally vulnerable, and since ESTJs rarely reciprocate on that front, the INFJ may feel like they’re missing out on an important form of intimacy.
Defender (ISFJ) & Campaigner (ENFP)
Adam Hester/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Defenders and Campaigners have drastically different views of the world. An ENFP is an idealist who is committed to experiencing new things with their partner. They’re basically like Aladdin, and cannot wait to show you “a whole new world.” ISFJs, on the other hand, love their stability. They may not be ready to take a magic carpet ride with you. An ENFP shouldn’t take an ISFJ’s lack of enthusiasm to heart, they’re just not as good at expressing their emotional side — baby steps.
The good thing is both an ISFJ and ENFP take their relationships seriously. However, an ISFJ is very serious. They’re in it for the long haul, so if there are any signs of cracks in the relationship, they may call it quits right away.
If you want to make it work, an ENFP has to take it down a notch to not scare away an ISFJ. Give them some space whenever they need it. And an ISFJ has to start opening up a bit more, and realize that the long term is also built on more casual conversations as well.
Executive (ESTJ) & Protagonist (ENFJ)
Executives and Protagonists are both extroverts and judgers, which means they both love to be around others and tend to follow orders. While they may be the couple who’s always down to attend a party, the way they see the world is fundamentally different.
An ESTJ has strong values that they stick to. They’re very much a “what you see is what you get” kind of person, and don’t really change as a relationship progresses. An ENFJ is more about changing and evolving. They want to make the world a better place, and that includes their relationships. Where an ESTJ may want to stay the same, an ENFJ knows there is room to improve.
The biggest concern between these two is how they communicate. It’s as if a straightforward ESTJ is speaking a completely different language than an ENFJ, who wants to understand the full picture first. They’re also both eager to get their view across as extroverts. These two may be to ease the tension by taking a step back and trying understanding their different ways of communication, but they don’t tend to make a natural fit.
It's important to note that while these Myers-Briggs types may not seem compatible for a variety of reasons, there are exceptions to every rule. Every individual is unique, and therefore, so is every relationship. Just because two people don't have a ton in common doesn't mean they can't have a healthy, happy relationship — as long as they can accept and learn from their differences, while also using them as an opportunity to seek out self-growth.
Experts: Poppy and Geoff Spencer, LCPC, Myers-Briggs certified coaches Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.