Thought Catalog
November 3, 2016

How Mistypes Have Warped The Descriptions Of Each iNtuitive MBTI Type

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istockphoto.com / darkbird77
istockphoto.com / darkbird77

The MBTI is an incredibly unreliable assessment tool. As far as Jungian personality types go, it’s much safer to determine one’s type using cognitive functions. However, most people try to assess their type using an online quiz and end up identifying as a type that does not represent their true cognitive model.

In fact, most people who take an online quiz to assess their type end up with a result telling them they are an ‘intuitive’ type – as the tests tend to be biased toward ‘intuitive’ answers. As a result, a large range of people end up perpetuating false stereotypes about various intuitive personality types.

Below, the most common mistype for each of the intuitive types is listed, as well as an explanation of which stereotypes are being falsely attributed to the type as a result. Please note that this is far from a comprehensive list of mistypes. It simply lists the ones that occur most often for each iNtuitive type!

Jump to:
ENFP / INFP / ENFJ / INFJ
ENTP / INTP / ENTJ / INTJ

ENFP

People who identify as ENFPs are very often: mistyped ESFPs.

How this warps our understanding of the ENFP type:

Because the ESFP is an extroverted sensing-dominant type, ESFPs who believe themselves to be ENFPs tend to portray the ENFP as a much more extroverted and engaged type than the ENFP actually is. Whereas the ESFP is tuned into his or her environment at all times and is incredibly extroverted in nature, the true ENFP is quite often mentally checked out of his or her environment and is significantly less social than the ESFP. In fact, most true ENFPs strongly believe themselves to be introverts because of their massive need for alone time.

Whereas the ESFP often feels as though they’re suffocating if they are away from people for too long, the ENFP feels as though they’re suffocating if they’re around people for too long, as their dominant extroverted intuition function thrives on idea generation, not direct interaction with their external environment.

ESFPs also tend to be more emotionally expressive than the ENFP type, as their emotions are primarily based on what’s going on in their lives. The ESFP often shares their struggles and dramas freely with others, wanting input as to what others think of the situation (hearing other’s opinions also helps them to see the situation from other angles and come to a more informed conclusion as to what they should do about it).

ENFPs, on the other hand, tend to search for the root cause or underlying reason behind their emotions. Rather than sharing the concrete details of the situation at hand with others, the ENFP is more likely to seek out psychological models that help them to understand why themselves and others are acting and reacting in certain ways. Though they do feel things incredibly deeply, the ENFP takes on a more clinical approach to their feelings than the ESFP, who focuses predominantly on resolving the situation at hand in as direct a fashion as possible.

However, ENFPs are often misrepresented as a type that is expressive and dramatic about their feelings, since many ESFPs mistakenly refer to themselves as ENFPs.

INFJ

People who identify as INFJs are very often: mistyped INFPs and ISFPs

How this warps our understanding of the INFJ type:

Because INFPs and ISFPs are introverted feeling dominant types, they are incredibly emotionally intense, and experience their feelings on a deeply personal level. On the flip side, the INFJ is an auxiliary extroverted feeler, which means they are significantly more detached from their emotions than their IxFP counterparts. But because INFPs and ISFPs identify with the INFJ in an overwhelming frequency, we are constantly seeing incorrect stereotypes develop about how emotional the INFJ type is.

In reality, the INFJ is much more giving than they are emotional. The INFJ feels an almost compulsive need to give back to their loved ones and/or society in a meaningful way, but they are not tortured by their personal experience of emotions the way IxFP types are. In fact, INFJs tend to be highly adept at separating themselves from their emotions when need be, as they are intuitive dominant types first and feelers second.

Additionally, INFJs are very pragmatic long-term planners, unlike the INFPs, who are idealistic long-term planners. While the INFJ uses introverted intuition to attempt to predict what definitely will happen in the future, the INFP uses extroverted intuition to envision multiple various scenarios surrounding what could happen, preferring the exploration of these ideas much more than the execution of them.

While the INFP is wildly imaginative and speculative, the INFJ is significantly more grounded in reality – they want to know the future, whereas the INFP wants to invent it.

However, because so many INFPs identify as INFJs, it perpetuates the stereotype that INFJs are idealistic dreamers. While the INFJ does often get lost in their thoughts, their thoughts do not mirror the imaginative fantasies of the INFP type – they are more often considering how various courses of events are likely to play out, in an attempt to narrow down which one is most likely to happen and how they ought to plan for it accordingly.

Because so many IxFP types misidentify as INFJs, INFJs often develop a reputation for being incredibly emotional dreamers – when in reality, they’re much more intellectual and discerning than they are emotional and imaginative.

*Note: There are also a significant number of ISFJs who are mistyped as INFJs.

ENFJ

People who identify as ENFJs are very often: mistyped ENFPs.
How this warps our understanding of the ENFJ type:

Because ENFPs are extroverted intuitive dominant types, they are much more interested in exploring and understanding emotions than they are in managing them. On the flip side, ENFJs are extroverted feeling dominant types, which means that understanding the emotional world is a means to an end for them – they want to use their understanding to help others to change for the better.

Because many ENFPs misidentify as ENFJs, ENFJs may develop a reputation for being more explorative than they are grounded – when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. ENFJs crave long-term stability rather than continuous novelty, which sets them drastically apart from their ENFP counterparts. However, this trait is often brushed aside by ENFPs who believe that they are Js because they function best within a routine on a day-to-day but not long-term basis and generally are not disorganized.

In general, ENFJs are much more similar to their sensing cousins the ESFJ than they are to the ENFP – as the last-letter difference causes all of their cognitive functions to change. Though they’re intuitively understanding of others, this type is not a bundle of new ideas and projects like their ENFP counterparts – they finish what they start with precision, and they enjoy planning concretely for the long-term, rather than letting the plan constantly change.

INFP

People who identify as INFPs are very often: mistyped ENFPs.
How this warps our understanding of the INFP type:

ENFPs and INFPs share all of the same cognitive functions, so it’s easy to confuse the two types. However, ENFPs lead with extroverted intuition, whereas INFPs lead with introverted feeling. Therefore, ENFPs are most energized through the exploration of new ideas, whereas INFPs are most energized by the in-depth exploration of their feelings.

However, since so many ENFPs identify as INFPs, it skews our perception of what it means to be an INFP. ENFPs are significantly more experience-focused than INFPs. ENFPs want to have many novel experiences, in order to help them understand things from various angles. They are quick to jump into new adventures, which they must then withdraw from to reflect upon. On the flip side, INFPs wade cautiously and deliberately into new opportunities, as they wish to determine exactly how they are going to feel about them before jumping into them.

When ENFPs identify as INFPs in large quantity, they perpetuate the idea that the INFP is much more impulsive and action-oriented than they really are. INFPs look before they leap, whereas ENFPs do the opposite.

INTJ

People who identify as INTJs are very often: mistyped INTPs and ENTPs.
How this warps our understanding of the INTJ type:

Because INTPs and ENTPs are introverted thinking types, they are searching for indisputable and verifiable truths above all else. On the flip side, INTJs are introverted intuitives first and foremost, which means that they are much more concerned with determining how the future is likely to play out than they are with examining the reality of their present.

However, this distinction is complicated by the fact that INTPs and ENTPs pair their introverted thinking with extroverted intuition, a function that is future-oriented. However, extroverted intuition is much more speculative than it is discerning.

Whereas the INTJ wishes to narrow down the absolute best possible course of action for the future and then stick to it long-term, the INTP and ENTP types enjoy far-flung speculations about the future, which they entertain to fill in the blanks while they search for further conclusive truths about how the world is structured.

For example, when an INTJ looks at the future, he or she envisions exactly how they’d like their lives to play out (based on a set of deeply-held morals and ideals), and the specific actions they ought to take in order to move towards those objectives. When the INTP or ENTP looks toward the future, they envision multiple exciting opportunities they might take on, and consider how to logically manipulate their environments in order to get there. However, their focus is more farfetched and less focused than the INTJ’s.

You might say that for the xNTP types, life is a quest for logical accuracy and coherence, supported by an inventive, entrepreneurial flair, which comes and goes in bursts. For the INTJ, life is a quest for understanding but also consistency and efficiency – they seek to become highly knowledgeable about the world around them, but they lack the scattered entrepreneurial excitement of xNTP types. They are much more concerned with building a stable lifestyle that functions competently and efficiently long-term than they are with manipulating their environments to conform to their latest far-out idea.

Because so many INTPs and ENTPs self-identify as INTJs, INTJs develop a reputation for being more scattered and entrepreneurial than they actually are (this isn’t to say INTJs can’t be entrepreneurs – they certainly can! But it would not be one of the first words one would use to describe an INTJ’s personality). In reality, the INTJ type is quite focused on their long-term objectives.

Additionally, because INTPs have inferior extroverted feeling, INTPs who misidentify as INTJs often describe the INTJ type as incredibly cold, calculating and heartless. In reality, INTJs have their introverted feeling function third in their stacking, which means they are much more in touch with their emotional side than the INTP and tend to take personal morality quite seriously.

ENTP

People who identify as ENTPs are very often: mistyped ESTPs.
How this warps our understanding of the ENTP type:

Because the ESTP is an extroverted sensing-dominant type, ESTPs who believe themselves to be ENTPs tend to portray the ENTP as a much more extroverted and engaged type than the ENTP actually is. Whereas the ESTP is tuned into his or her environment at all times and is incredibly reactive to his or her environment, the true ENTP is quite often mentally checked out of his or her environment and is significantly less outgoing than the ESTP. In fact, most true ENTPs strongly believe themselves to be introverts because they are more interested in the world of ideas and invention than they are in the world that physically surrounds them.

Though both types are intellectual in nature, the ESTP tends to be a hands-on learner who wants to see the physical consequences of how something is going to play out in their immediate environment. On the flip side, ENTPs enjoy speculating about the bigger picture, and are more interested in the theory behind why things happen the way they do than they are in seeing them play out practically.

The ENTP sees the knowledge they acquire as a means to an end of manipulating their environment to their advantage – often through a series of entrepreneurial schemes they cook up. On the flip side, the ESTP experiences their external environment as it comes, using their introverted thinking primarily as a means of understanding what’s going on around them. The ESTP wishes to understand what is based on what they’re experiencing. The ENTP wishes to understand what could be based on what hasn’t been explored yet. The ENTP lives in a highly theoretical world, whereas the ESTP lives in a very concrete one.

When ESTPs identify too readily as ENTPs, they give ENTPs the reputation for being significantly more engaged with their environment than the ENTP really is. In reality, most ENTPs are so caught up in the world of ideas and theories that they strongly believe themselves to be introverts.

ENTJ

People who identify as ENTJs are very often mistyped: ENTPs.
How this warps our understanding of the ENTJ type:

Because ENTPs are committed to the point of obsessiveness when they are putting a new plan into place, they often assume themselves to be judging types. In reality, the ENTP and the ENTJ share zero cognitive functions in common and are vastly different in their perceptions of the world.

Whereas the ENTP is constantly chasing their next new exciting entrepreneurial scheme or plan, the ENTJ is incredibly focused on the long-term, and wants to find the one best plan that will work for them long-term (unless it becomes logical for them to ‘upgrade’ their plan down the road). On the flip side, the ENTP is fiercely engaged with whichever idea they’re working on at the time, but they seek variety in the long-term – wanting to try their hand at various different disciplines or ventures, and becoming bored if they do the same thing for too many years in a row.

To ENTJs, the execution of an idea or plan is the most exciting part – they enjoy actual organizing and following through on their ideas. On the flip side, the ENTP enjoys the conceptualization of an idea much more than they enjoy the day-to-day follow-through. So long as their target is always moving, the ENTP enjoys moving towards it. However, the ENTJ gains energy from the actual implementation and follow-through of their ideas – even if that follow-through takes them the rest of their lives.

Because so many ENTPs identify as ENTJs, it can cause our understanding of ENTJs to become warped. In reality, the ENTJ is much, much more similar to the INTJ personality than they are to the ENTP.

INTP

People who identify as INTPs are very often: mistyped ENTPs.
How this warps our understanding of the INTP type:

Almost every true ENTP out there has considered themselves to be an introvert at some point in time. ENTPs lead with extroverted intuition, a function that gains energy through the exploration of external ideas, but not necessarily through direct socialization. For this reason, the ENTP is perhaps the most introverted of all extroverted types, and they mistake themselves to be INTPs in high frequency.

When an ENTP portrays themselves to be an INTP, they portray the type as much more focused on ideas than they are on logic and accuracy. The ENTP certainly does search for logical consistency – and they place a large emphasis on it – but the ENTP is more interested in supporting their latest scheme or entrepreneurial venture with the logic at hand than they are in seeking it logic out for the sake of purely knowing it. Whereas the INTP never places their schemes above their commitment to understanding something objectively, the ENTP does not mind manipulating facts a bit in order to achieve what they want.

Overall, the INTP and ENTP types are incredibly similar. They share all four cognitive functions in common and look at the world in highly similar ways. However, the ENTP is significantly more focused on forming new ideas and plans, whereas the INTP is more significantly more focused on maintaining logical consistency. TC mark

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