Understanding the 16 personalities in MBTI is a valuable tool that can offer you deep insights into yourself and others. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) framework categorizes individuals into four key dimensions: Extraversion (E), Sensing (S), Thinking (T), Feeling (F), and Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). This knowledge is essential for self-awareness, understanding strengths, weaknesses, and natural inclinations. It helps us to make choices that align with our personality & optimize for personal growth.
Furthermore, knowing the 16 personalities & the 8 cognitive functions themselves, also allows for appreciation of diversity and understanding others on a deeper level. By recognizing people’s preferences & perspectives, individuals can develop greater empathy and compassion towards those who approach and interact with the world differently. This enhances communication, conflict resolution, and building harmonious relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and romantic partners.
In this article we will cover some of the basics as far as history, MBTI dichotomies (categorization), and a brief overview of each of the types. If you want to learn more about any of these types, be sure to bookmark this site as we will be deep diving into more specific topics such as comparisons, compatibilities & type-specific advice.
History Of The Theory
Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, developed theories on personality, including concepts like introversion and extraversion. His work emphasized individual differences and the integration of the conscious and unconscious aspects of the psyche. Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers were inspired by Jung’s ideas and created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a psychometric tool that categorizes individuals into 16 personalities based on preferences in four dichotomies: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. The MBTI helps individuals gain insights into their strengths, weaknesses, communication styles, and decision-making approaches.
The MBTI has been widely used for personal development, career counseling, and relationship counseling, among other applications. While it has faced criticism & rightly so, it remains a popular framework for understanding and appreciating individual differences in personality, building on Jung’s original theories and providing practical tools for self-discovery and understanding others.
The 8 Cognitive Functions Categorized
While most sources will teach the 4 dichotomies, we believe they can introduce unneeded confusion into the system. This is especially true when it comes to judging, perceiving, and what connotes extraversion & introversion.
Below is a much more simple & accurate approach that’s based on the individual functions & positions in the function stack – not on the 4 letter personality type. The drawback of the traditional MBTI way being that the lack of functions does not offer a deeper explanation to the inner works or the WHY. It tends to over-simplify the types & reads more like a horoscope.
The 8 function model on the other hand, breaks down the individual personality type into 8 facets which are much more observable, accurate, and allow for more nuance. This is akin to studying the inner machinations of what makes a person tick, why we do what we do, and what our natural inclinations are.
Intuition essentially relates to a person’s inclinations towards conceptual thinking. This can take the form of pattern recognition, predictive abilities (cause & effect/consequences), planning, and is overall a future-based perceiving function. Perceiving meaning that it’s how we take in or observe the world conceptually as opposed to in a 5-senses type of way.
Introverted Intuition, also known as “Ni”, is all about a person’s own desires for themselves & their own future. It can come off as “wanty” or driven to attain their vision. Those who have Ni in their function stacks require choices & personal freedom is a value their hold in high regard.
Extroverted Intuition or “Ne” on the other hand, is less focused on a single vision & more “go with the flow”. We associate this function heavily with archetype or trope awareness, metaphysics, the collective unconscious (the interconnectedness of it all), and creativity on all levels. It’s also linked to a person’s predictive ability & often finds itself warning the Ni user of possible consequences.
While intuition can get overly theoretical, future focused, or “”woo-woo”, the sensory functions are opposite. Sensory functions are more matter of fact & concerned with what is & what was as a form of perception or observation.
Introverted sensing or “Si”, is a function that overlaps many facets of life. Some of the primary concerns of Si are: loyalty, endurance, duty, discipline, comfort, stability, and memories.
Depending on how high the function is in an individuals stack, different types will require more comfort or be able to sustain discomfort for longer durations. Similarly, unwavering discipline can be developed in types with this function.
Si is considered slow and patient, and can be represented through the fable “Tortoise & The Hare“. Most importantly, Si is all about a person’s own personal experience through the 5 senses & their recollection of the past via memories.
Extroverted Sensing aka “Se” is the opposite. It’s not so concerned with the past, as much as the present moment. It’s about quick reflexes, courage, affecting change in the physical world and taking action now! Se is also awareness of physics & is highly valued in fields such as sports, engineering, & hobbies that are based on performance. Se users are highly attuned of the experience they are giving to others and for the most part seek attention, however, it’s the Si user who decides to give them that attention.
The past 4 cognitive functions were all about gathering perceptions or observing the world as an individual. These next 4 however, are more related with decision making, either through a logical framework or through value-based decisions.
Introverted Thinking types, those with “Ti”, are traditionally labeled as smart or “geniuses” in the academic sense. This function allows for someone to go many layers deep on a single topic to process information, find workable solutions, and discern the facts for themselves. It’s the function for deep thinkers, those with original thoughts, and those considered to be thought leaders.
Extroverted Thinking or “Te”, is the anti-thesis of Ti. It’s much less concerned with its own conclusions & draws facts from the collective via statistics, common sense, and best practices. Those with this function are geared towards rational thinking that’s quick & has breadth, although it can lack in its depth. One final distinction is that Te users tend to lean more towards achievement & success, while the Ti user is more concerned with being accurate & being the smartest person in the room.
In terms of decision making, the Ti user will use their own facts & logical findings to decide on a proper course of action. This is why it’s considered a “source” or “introverted” function. Te users however, are more extroverted in the sense that they make their decision based on outside sources, for example, when using statistical data or referencing authorities on the topic.
Finally, we have “Feeling” which is the second set of decision making functions. To a thinker, these might seem like an irrational way of going about practical problems and choosing the best path forward. However feeling functions are based on personal morals (Fi) or group ethics (Fe).
Introverted Feeling aka “Fi” is tied to conscientiousness or doing the right thing when no-one is looking. People with Fi are more aware of their own personal feelings on a matter and what they consider to be good or bad. When used in decision making they will use their own personal value structure to weigh the choices. Furthermore, because it’s an introverted function, it can come off as a bit selfish because it will not weigh in the opinions of others on the matter. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be aware of.
It’s also important to note that Fi, as well as Ti, are both “identity functions” which means a persons sense of individuality will be based on what they think about the most or what they like & value the most.
Extroverted Feeling, “Fe”, is the final function & is related to group harmony, sociability, and emotional intelligence. If Fi is Sympathy, then Fe is Empathy & being able to harmonize or deal with the emotions of others.
It’s a very important function to have & serves well to be diplomatic with others, to care for them, or understand what they are going through. Notice it’s all about the feelings of others, and that comes from Fe’s extroverted inclination. It’s not so much what the individual is feeling or values, but what the group as a whole feels is important.
The 16 Personality Types & Their Personality Traits
INTP – Ti, Ne, Si, Fe
The INTP archetype has one of the greatest capacities for thinking outside the box via their Ti hero & Ne parent which is constantly searching for deeper meanings.
They’re able to solve complex problems that require deep layers of logical analysis & they see the issue from a multitude of perspectives.
Their lower 2 functions revolve around needing to be comfortable at all times & being able to contribute to a “tribe” or group they belong to.
Their introverted sensing child lends itself to reminiscing about the past which also attributes to having great memory & they can be very caring underneath their cold & logical outward appearance.
ENTP – Ne, Ti, Fe, Si
The ENTP personality type is a bit more outgoing than the INTP, more of a rogue and sometimes enjoys trolling others.
They’re masters of seeing the connections in all things via their Ne hero & are able to develop complex systems or solve problems with the help of their Ti parent.
Despite coming off as argumentative at times, they do have Fe child which makes them very innocent in the sense that they ultimately like to get along with everyone.
They also value comfort & can suffer from nostalgia or keeping a consistent schedule.
ISFJ – Si, Fe, Ti, Ne
The ISFJ is strong, solitary, and known to be some of the hardest workers due to their endless endurance that comes from their Si hero.
Despite coming off as cold at times or needing their own space, they can hold a high degree of emotional intelligence via their Fe parent.
However, they tend to consider themselves more as thinking types due to their Ti child and love to solve puzzles or deep dive into topics of interest in their free time.
They are all about duty, dependability, & being an immovable mountain, however, they can struggle with their more “go-with-the-flow” function of extroverted intuition.
ESFJ – Fe, Si, Ne, Si
The ESFJ personality type is self-confident & one of the top socialites of the bunch which can make friends anywhere they go.
They love to care for others, are masters of social interaction, & are able to keep positive group harmony with ease.
They are also duty based & can take their responsibilities very seriously.
Due to their Ne child, they’re endlessly asking others what they want in order to give to them & make them happy.
Finally, they aspire to be recognized as smart & knowledgeable, if only they would slow down a bit to process their thoughts.
INFJ – Ni, Fe, Ti, Se
INFJs can be intensely focused & driven people, although typically towards charitable or philanthropic ends.
They often consider themselves quiet observers or as empaths & that rings true due to their Fe parent.
Much like the ISFJ though, they also like to consider themselves thinking types because of their Ti child & love to solve a good puzzle.
Their lower Se function can make them come off as shy or perfectionistic in their appearance but once over it, they’re able to perform in anything from sports, dancing, singing, or simply be the center of attention.
ENFJ – Fe, Ni, Se, Ti
The ENFJ personality type is akin to chatty Cathy. They love to socialize much like the ESFJ & seemingly know everyone from somewhere.
Their Ni parent give them awareness of what they want out of life but they also know how to have fun along the way because of their Se child.
They love novelty, are always in on the latest trends, and love to perform ( especially in music).
Speaking of music, many aspire to be great scholars in their field & we see many of them getting into band leadership roles.
ISTP – Ti, Se, Ni, Fe
ISTPs could be considered buff nerds. They’re intellectuals first & foremost, however when they develop their Se parent, they can deep dive into subjects such as nutrition, bodybuilding, and engineering.
They love having freedom of choice due to their Ni child & we see many enjoy hobbies such as rock climbing, camping, & practicing survival skills.
Despite being solitary, they also have a deep longing for connection that comes from their Fe function at the bottom.
ESTP – Se, Ti, Fe, Ni
ESTP’s are your typical Chad or Kyle. ESTP’s like to chug monsters, and light their hair on fire.
Their Se hero allows them to be superstars on the football field and they regularly uphold their group’s core values (cool kids club).
These types can make friends with anyone and they were likely the most popular jock in high school.
When they get older they can develop a sense of direction in their lives but awareness of consequences can feel like an everlasting struggle.
INFP – Fi, Ne, Si, Te
INFP’s can be considered “highly sensitive persons” and have a complex system of personal values.
They can express their deep emotions of Fi through art, music, and design.
Their Ne makes it difficult for them to choose the right path however, and makes them critical of others’ poor decision making.
Their Si child gives them an innocent quality, and they often collect stuffies and squishmallows.
Through their Te they might secretly aspire to enter a corporate job & work in a high status position, enjoying the luxuries & privilege that come along with it.
ENFP – Ne, Fi, Te, Si
The ENFP personality type lives a chaotic lifestyle. Their Ne hero allows them to process and understand out of this world concepts & they can see connections everywhere they look.
They might be seen as woo-woo, hippies, or be drawn to psychedelic experiences & aesthetics.
Their Fi makes them super caring of others feelings, and places great importance on talking it out or seeking counseling.
Their Te makes them like to tinker with how things work, and they may try their hand at starting a business based around what makes them happy.
Through their Si inferior, they grow strong through life’s struggles, and always carry with them the heavy burden of the past. They also have some of the strongest loyalty to their pack.
ISTJ – Si, Te, Fi, Ne
ISTJ’s are some of the most patient personality types. They can work hard and sacrifice much out of duty to their families or work.
They always seem to talk about how different things were back in “their day”.
They are knowledgeable about fixing things and understanding how things work, especially in the fields of economics, tax systems, and bureaucracies.
Their Fi child is quiet and keeps to themselves. This can come off as cold at times, but they’re very conscientious & always seek to do the right thing.
Finally, despite being very rigid & stuck in their ways, they do have a sense of flow & are able to move freely when they aspire with their extroverted intuition function.
ESTJ – Te, Si, Ne, Fi
ESTJ’s are great problem solvers & excel in business due to their heroic Te which is great at finding the most efficient way to do things.
Their Si parent gives them the strength to pull through any hardships, and have the patience to count on the good times to come.
Their Ne child loves to give to others & are not afraid to consider all of the what-ifs. You can ask them for anything and they will find a way to make it happen.
ESTJ’s are very protective over their emotions. They have traditional values and typically don’t associate with those who don’t align.
INTJ – Ni, Te, Fi, Se
INTJ’s are so difficult to read! They are so closed off you don’t know what is going on in their heads.
This type can be in their own intuitive world of meaning and connections. Through their Ni, they make big plans and with Te parent, learn all they need to know to make them come true.
They really are the jack of all trades!
Their Fi child makes them adamant on becoming the best version of themselves, and they never settle for less.
With their Se aspirational, they can be quite talented at playing the guitar, craftworking, and looking fine.
ENTJ – Te, Ni, Se, Fi
ENTJ’s are the CEO archetype which are always on the go.
These types love systems and are great problem solvers.
With their Ni parent, they can find a plan of action for any business and with Se child, execute quickly while improvising along the way.
Their Fi function is an emotional soft spot that must be protected at all costs. Don’t hurt their feelings please!
ISFP – Fi, Se, Ni, Te
ISFP’s are mysterious & closed off individuals that require a lot of alone time. They may be hiding behind a pair of large sunglasses or an eccentric hat but always seeking a venue of self-expression.
ISFP’s are alienated by their tendency to draw strong emotional meaning from the world which can make them great artists. Thus, these are highly sensitive types.
Their parent function allows them to have a capacity for aesthetics, painting, design, or musical performance.
Once they find a goal, they are hooked on for good, and nothing can come in their way of achieving it.
Their inferior Te makes them irritable around people who have more respect and recognition than they do. However, once they learn to utilize networking, they can earn the status they so desire.
ESFP – Se, Fi, Te, Ni
The ESFP personality type is the life of the party. They are super extroverted and love the loud external stimuli of the outside world such as fireworks, parades, and concerts.
You often see ESFP sticking out of the crowd with many tattoos, fresh haircuts, or diamond studs.
Their Fi parent is protective over his own and others feelings while being self assured in their own core values.
They may embark on business endeavors throughout their lives, having many side hustles.
Later in life, they may notice strange coincidences happening in their life and begin seeking religious guidance or settling down a more narrow path with their introverted intuition.