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Talking About Meyers-Briggs,And Personal Interactions….

We all know I’m a big fan of the Meyers-Briggs personality inventory, largely because I’ve yet to find a psychological test that describes me as well as this one does. It’s also fairly spot-on with describing many people I know. I’ve “typed” most of my close friends over time, and have found it ironic that certain people with whom I share certain relationship/friendship-oriented traits and challenges end up having the same personality type.

Somehow, a discussion about M-B types got started on my FB page this evening, and it led me to this site, which is pretty comprehensive about providing details regarding each type of personality. The link above is to the page for my type, ENFP, but all 16 are listed. It’s a good starting point if you don’t know much about what your type supposedly says about you.

One of the more interesting features on the page, though, is the Relationship Pairing section. The idea is that there is no compatible or incompatible type of person for someone, but that each type has a natural relationship with each of the other 15 types (16 if you include relationships between two people of the same type), each with its own set of benefits and challenges. If you buy into the whole Meyers-Briggs thing extending to how people interact in work and personal relationships, this tells you your “ideal” relationship with a person of another type. It doesn’t necessarily follow that the more similar letters you have, the closer your relationship will be.

For a while, I’ve noticed I seemed to have a love/hate relationship with INTJs. I am initially very attracted to people of this personality type (even if I don’t know they are of that type), but the friendship or relationship tends to be characterised by a lot of drama, arguing, or inability to communicate on the same level. I have at least two friends I like a great deal and have been in my life for a long time, but I suffer with the same emotional/communication issues with both. We always work through things because for all our differences, there’s actually a high level of understanding…but it’s a complex communication dynamic. I have a former INTJ friend who ended our friendship over our inability to communicate in a manner that wasn’t heavily emotionally charged. INTJ friendships and relationships are challenging for me, yet I seem to seek them out without meaning to.

On the other hand, I have a relatively new friend who describes himself as an INTJ, but with whom I have none of these issues. Most of the time, we have a really high level of tolerance, understanding, compatibility, and ability to discuss feelings with one another, something I do not share with other INTJs. It is odd that we communicate as peacefully as we do, and have as much in common as we do. I believe he may be closer to an INFJ.

So, because I was curious, I looked up my thing with certain personality types, and how we’re supposed to get along, and why it’s so frustrating, communication-wise.

Apparently, the INTJ is my “Pedagogue”, defined as a relationship where each is both the other’s mentor and student: has a “parent to child” feel. This explains why most of my INTJ friendships are with people I find extremely intelligent, may have been romantically or spiritually drawn to at some point, and by whom I constantly feel challenged and rejected, something that both exhausts me and drives me to seek that person’s approval even further. I often feel a connection and a disconnection with this type at the exact same time.

Meanwhile, the INFJ is my “Contrast”; a relationship defined by point and counterpoint on each function. Three of my closest friends are INFJs, although the relationships haven’t been entirely conflict-free. They are, however, some of the strongest relationships in my life, marked by a seemingly easy level of emotional understanding and the ability to talk for hours. Two of these are the type of friends with whom I’m so close, I’ve wondered at various points in time, “Is this who I’m supposed to end up with?”

A friend that I play trivia with is someone I joke is the quiet version of me; although we’re very different, we think on the same wavelength. We have the same annoying habits of interrupting people and thinking tangentially and getting carried away from the point of things. We can complete one another’s sentences, get on the same train of thought very easily, and know what the other person means through seemingly random words or gestures. We’ve had maybe one disagreement that lasted for all of 5 minutes in all the time we’ve known one another. Not surprisingly, he is an INFP, very close to me on the personality spectrum. Our relationship? We’re meant to be “Pals”, people who work and play well together, and have minimal natural type conflict.

The Guy I Am Currently Dating is quite opposite of my personality type, an ISTP. Our relationship is defined as a “Novelty”, something I didn’t necessarily like hearing, until I saw the definition was “intriguingly different; interestingly so.”. That’s not such a bad thing; I like intrigue and interest.

However, there are some instances where the test is just plain wrong. An old friend of mine, one with whom I naturally get on extremely well with little effort, who rarely offends me or hurts my feelings despite being both rational and direct, identified himself today as an ESTP. M-B describes our relationship as an “Enigma”, someone who is a puzzle and foreign in every facet. I find this couldn’t be further from how we interact; we actually understand one another quite easily. He mentioned perhaps he should take the test again, and I’d agree. ;) It doesn’t get everyone correctly. *laughs*

The question is, if each type has a different relationship, which is most likely to be compatible with you in terms of love, romance, or long-term relationships of any sort?

Here’s what I learned about me and my personal relationships: “Although two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy relationship, ENFP’s natural partner is the INTJ, or the INFJ. ENFP’s dominant function of Extraverted Intuition is best matched with a partner whose dominant function is Introverted Intuition.”

So, yeah…those friends I fight with, feel challenged by, sometimes engage in relationships that are emotionally draining or end in chaos, but still can talk to for hours on end and relate to without effort…well, those are really the people who are most naturally suited to be in my life. It’s the ones I gravitate towards almost by instinct, no matter how little sense it seems to make.

It seems I actually do really well with finding people who are intuitive matches for me. They’re often the friendships that are confusing on some level, because they don’t always end up as platonic that should be. I have “history” with most of my INTJ and INFJ friends, but in the end, they’re still some of my closest friends and confusing relationships. They are the people who either stay in my life through everything, or leave slamming doors and hurling hurtful condemnations that aren’t ever forgotten. Only time ever tells which it will be.

But I’m glad the test doesn’t know everything, because it never would have matched me up with The Guy I Am Currently Dating, and we’d have missed out on a whole lot. :) Sometimes, novelties last a really long time…*laughs*

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