Finding Your Personality Type

Medically reviewed by Arianna Williams, LPC, CCTP
Updated April 30, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Personality tests are designed to reveal the details of our personalities, including our motivations, behavioral tendencies, emotional tendencies, how we think, and how we interact with others. Personality tests serve many practical functions, including helping hiring managers find ideal candidates or acting as a tool for therapists to help clients explore their personalities. 

Personality-type assessments come in many forms, from interviews to observer evaluations. The most popular is in the form of a questionnaire; the subject answers a series of questions regarding their situational preferences, level of agreement with a provided statement, and more. There are several personality quizzes available online, as well as professionally administered self-report inventories like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and The Big 5 Personality Test. 

It's important to remember that the personality descriptions within a personality type test are not meant to be absolute they only provide a broad overview of typical traits. People have dynamic, multifaceted personalities that may change with time and circumstances. Given this reality, you may receive some results from your test that seem completely accurate and perhaps others that aren’t.

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Knowing your personality type can be useful

What is a personality type?

The American Psychological Association defines personality type as “any of the specific categories into which human beings may be classified on the basis of personality traits, attitudes, behavior patterns, physique, or other outstanding characteristics.”

Personality types are often grouped into opposing categories for example, psychologist Carl Jung’s concept of the introvert versus extrovert. While these traits are categorized as opposing, people rarely fit squarely into one camp or the other but at a point on the spectrum.

The Myers-Briggs personality type indicator

Perhaps the most popular personality test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator categorizes personality types into four core sets of opposite traits. The traits are then combined to provide a more comprehensive personality profile. The four primary sets of traits include:

  • Thinking/Feeling
  • Sensing/Intuiting
  • Judging/Perceiving
  • Introversion/Extroversion

The 16 personality types referenced in the MBTI are labeled according to their combination of the eight basic traits above. Each personality type exists within a spectrum and has different strengths and limitations. Knowing the types that represent your personality can guide you in practical ways, such as with making large decisions or resolving relationship conflicts. 

The following are the 16 comprehensive types of personality in the Myers-Briggs system. It bears repeating that these are not definitive; each person has unique personality traits that may fit into these categories and some that may not. The personality types listed here are meant to act as a generalized model, not absolutes. 

ENTJ - Extroversion, intuiting, thinking, judging

According to the ENTJ model, individuals who fall into this category are decisive and frank adapting to leadership roles easily. They uncover inefficiencies and illogical thinking, replacing them with problem-solving systems. ENTJs prefer to focus on long-range goals. They love ideas and enjoy learning and teaching others.

ENFJ - Extroversion, intuiting, feeling, judging

An ENFJ is likely to be empathetic and warm. They care about the emotional needs of others. They're sociable and interested in helping people meet their highest potential. ENFJs may tend to respond to criticism and praise with appropriate actions. They are referred to as the protagonist personality type.

ESFJ - Extroversion, sensing, feeling, judging

ESFJs are also warm but also very conscientious. They're accurate and prompt in their work. They're often quick to notice others' needs and just as quick to respond with help. They like working with others and prefer a harmonious environment.

ESTJ - Extroversion, sensing, thinking, judging

If you have an ESTJ personality, you are realistic and practical. You're decisive, organized, efficient, and focused on results. Routine details are important to you, and you take care of them reliably. You're logical, using that logic in systematic ways to accomplish tasks.

ENTP - Extroversion, intuiting, thinking, perceiving

As an ENTP, you're quick, alert, resourceful, and outspoken. You're good at solving tough challenges and dealing with concepts. You read people well. A boring routine doesn’t suit you, so you look for new ways to do ordinary, repetitive things.

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ENFP - Extroversion, intuiting, feeling, perceiving

People with the ENFP personality type are warm and enthusiastic. If this is your personality type, you may likely notice the patterns in events and act on them. You may like to be recognized for your accomplishments, but you're also quick to notice the accomplishments of others. You're spontaneous and enjoy improvising.

ESFP - Extroversion, sensing, feeling, perceiving

With their outgoing and friendly manner, ESFPs love life, people, and comfort. They work with other people to create change. They're high in common sense and practicality, yet they like to have fun at work. They're spontaneous and adaptable. They like to learn in group situations.

ESTP - Extroversion, sensing, thinking, perceiving

If you're an ESTP, you are likely very tolerant of others. You're flexible but pragmatic. You stay focused on short-term goals. You'd rather solve immediate problems than grapple with concepts and theories. You're spontaneous and focused on the present. You like to learn by doing.

INTP - Introversion, intuiting, thinking, perceiving

You like to find logical explanations if you're an INTP. Your thinking is generally analytical, but you also favor theories and concepts. You're quiet but also flexible. You may be skeptical or critical, and you can maintain a deep focus. 

INFP - Introversion, intuiting, feeling, perceiving

As an INFP, you have a high degree of idealism. Your values are important to you. You're a loyal friend. You're also curious and adept at turning ideas into action. You try to understand those around you and enjoy helping them reach their personal best. You're adaptable and flexible, except when it comes to sticking to your values.

ISFP - Introversion, sensing, feeling, perceiving

ISFPs are quiet and sensitive, yet they're also friendly. If your personality type is ISFP, you stay in tune with the here and now. You like to work alone and on your timetable. You're loyal and value-oriented. You dislike conflict and avoid pushing your views on others.

ISTP - Introversion, sensing, thinking, perceiving

If you're an ISTP, you're tolerant and flexible. You observe problems as they arise and act quickly to solve them. You're fascinated by cause-and-effect relationships. You're also well-organized, efficient, and logical.

INTJ - Introversion, intuiting, thinking, judging

As an INTJ, you're an original. You enjoy putting your ideas into action and reaching your goals. You can see the long-range picture easily. When you decide to do something, you commit to the long term, organizing the project and following it through to its conclusion. You're highly independent. You expect a lot from yourself and others regarding performance.

INFJ - Introversion, intuiting, feeling, judging

Meaning is extremely important to you if you're an INFJ. You want to understand people's motivations. You're conscientious and committed to your values, and you want to do what's best for everyone. You're likely organized and decisive.

ISFJ - Introversion, sensing, feeling, judging

As an ISFJ, you're quiet, responsible, and conscientious. You honor your commitments. You're thorough and accurate in your work. In relationships, you're loyal and considerate. You truly care how others feel. It's important to you that your environment is peaceful and harmonious.

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Knowing your personality type can be useful

ISTJ - Introversion, sensing, thinking, judging

An ISTJ is quiet and serious. If you fit this personality type, you work hard to achieve success through dependability and responsibility. You're practical and realistic. You work steadily towards the logical solution you envision. You like things to be well-organized. You value tradition.

The Big Five personality factors test

Another popular personality type test, The Big Five operates on the idea that there are five main categories of personality traits: extroversion, agreeableness, openness to experience, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. Each category is measured on a spectrum. 

The Big Five personality factors are sometimes used by managers making hiring decisions. People who are high in conscientiousness and agreeableness tend to do well in their careers, or at least they have a great capacity to do so. Extroversion is helpful in certain careers, and openness to experience is a good type of trait to have if you're in a creative career field. Recent research has shown that the MBTI may be somewhat flawed, and critics say that some of the personality types may be better understood using the Five-Factor model of personality.

Whether you’re taking a personality test because you’re having difficulties in life or you’re simply curious, the results of your test can be misinterpreted. That’s why it’s important to talk about your personality test results with a counselor who can interpret them for you and help you understand how they apply to you and any concerns you may have. 

With the help of a trained professional, you may discuss how your personality will play into your career choices and relationship decisions. Analyzing your personality type in comparison with others, like a partner or family you may have difficulty with, can also help a professional examine your personality type compatibility. The results of your test can also provide insight into how you handle the areas in life you may be struggling with so that you can function better in situations that are uncomfortable for you.

Takeaway

If you’re ready to explore your personality type and how it influences the behaviors you exhibit in the world, the counselors at BetterHelp can provide you with helpful insight and practical advice. Online counseling is convenient, affordable, and as effective as in-person therapy for treating a host of issues. You can speak to an online therapist on your schedule via phone, text, online chat, and video chat about your personality type and how to apply it to your life.
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