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What an MBTI Personality Test Can Reveal About Your Relationships

What an MBTI Personality Test Can Reveal About Your Relationships
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The MBTI Personality Test is an attempt by psychologists to categorize different personality types. The Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personal inventory that is meant to make the theory of psychological types described by Carl Jung understandable and accessible to people’s lives.[1]

But did you know that you can actually use this data to improve your relationships?

In this article we will describe the MBTI Personality Test, discuss what the different personality types mean, and talk about how you can use your personality type to improve the quality of your relationships.

What is the MBTI Personality Test?

The MBTI Personality Test is a short test (about 93 questions) that should only take about ten to fifteen minutes to complete.  A free version of the test can be found here. The official test can be taken here, but be aware that it will cost you $50.

The test consists of questions that ask you your preferences about how you interact with people and the world. There are four main personality types measured by the test: introversion vs. extroversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving.

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When you are finished the test, it places you into a category for each preference. Your personality type, then, is a four letter combo (i.e. INFJ). The web has lots of information for each personality type.

Meaning of different personality types

There are 16 different personality types (according to the test).[2] The frequency of each type varies, but it looks like the most common types are ISFJ and ESFJ.[3]

Each personality type has its own description, but each letter represents a different aspect of your personality. Here are what each of the letters stand for and what they mean:

  • Introvert (I) vs. Extrovert (E). An introvert is someone who finds social interactions to be emotionally draining. If you’re the type of person who needs some alone time to recharge after a party or social gathering, then you are most likely an introvert. An extrovert, on the other hand, finds social interaction to be emotionally fulfilling and they find themselves charged up by social interaction. (NOTE: Nothing about introversion or extroversion suggests you like or dislike social interaction, despite common misconceptions.)
  • Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N). Sensors focus on the present. They perceive things through the five senses and see everything as concrete, realistic, and literal. Intuitive people live in the future. They process information through patterns and impressions and see things as abstract, idealistic, and theoretical.
  • Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F). Thinking people are objective. They make decisions based on facts and are logical, rational, and impersonal. Feeling people are subjective. They make decisions based on principles and values and are passionate, empathetic, and caring of others.
  • Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P). Judging people think sequentially. They value order and organization and are decisive, organized, and structured. Perceiving people are adaptive and flexible. They are spontaneous and random thinkers and are adaptable and flexible.

It’s also important to note that many of these personality traits exist on a sliding scale. This means that you might at some point in your life be on one side of the scale and, at other points in your life, on the other side of the scale. Your personality changes through time and experience.

How to improve relationships with the MBTI Personality Test

When looking for relationships, I often recommend three things: know yourself, love yourself, and be yourself.

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1. Know yourself

This is where the MBTI Personality Test is useful. Take the test for yourself and figure out what personality type you are. Remember, this isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of thing.

Your personality can change in very subtle ways over the years. So, take it more than once.

2. Love yourself

Once you know your personality type, you can become more aware of who you really are.

One of the hardest things we can do for ourselves is treat ourselves with the same kindness and respect as we treat others.

How can you ever expect someone else to love you if you don’t love yourself?

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3. Be yourself

This is the most common dating advice, and people have been giving it for as long as there have been relationships.

The benefit of being who you really are is that you will attract people to you who are compatible with you. When it comes to dating, compatibility is a lot more solid than compromise.

Don’t compromise who you are just to be with someone.

What do you value most in a relationship?

It’s hard to summarize a person with just a word, but each of the Meyers-Briggs personality types has a single quality that they value more than others. Here is a list of the personality types and the traits they value most:[4]

  • ISTJ: Dedication
  • ISFJ: Safety
  • ESFJ: Enthusiasm
  • ESTJ: Teamwork
  • ISFP: Freedom
  • ISTP: Friendship
  • ESFP: Passion
  • ESTP: Choice
  • ENFP: Encouragement
  • INFJ: Soulmates
  • INFP: Acceptance
  • ENFJ: Support
  • INTP: Intellect
  • ENTJ: Excellence
  • ENTP: Autonomy
  • INTJ: Vision

Bottom line

Remember that this is an approximation based on psychology and other various personality traits. There are no surefire ways to make sure that you wind up in the right relationship.

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However, using the MBTI Personality Test is a great way to see how compatible you are with people.

If you are one personality type, you might find the value on the list that you think you’d be most compatible with. Look at all of the other types on the list to see which value stands out the most to you as something you’d like to have in a relationship.

For example, if you are an INTJ and value vision, you might also value Enthusiasm. So, an ESFJ personality type might be most compatible with you.

At the end of the day, this is mostly just a guide. At the very least you can get an idea for what personality type you have and discover a few things about yourself in the process.

Featured photo credit: Andrik Langfield via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

James Leatherman

The founder of Happymindsets.com and is passionate about personal growth, psychology, philosophy and science

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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