How Each Myers-Briggs Type Contradicts Their Own Stereotype

Though Myers-Briggs psychology attempts to veer away from stereotypes, it’s almost impossible to avoid developing them. Each type necessitates a range of labels – but some fit better than others. Here are a few stereotypes that arise from Myers-Briggs psychology that don’t quite check out upon closer examination.



Stereotype: ENFPs are hyperactive social butterflies who never stop spewing off about their feelings.

Reality: ENFPs have intuition and thinking as their extroverted functions, meaning they’re much more comfortable posing questions and debating ideas than they are talking about their feelings. They are also highly reflective and need more alone time than any other extrovert – many ENFPs actually initially assume themselves to be introverts!


Stereotype: INFPs are fragile emotional snowflakes who cannot deal with facts or hard logic.

Reality: Though INFPs certainly prefer using emotion over logic, they are more than capable of getting things done when they need to. This type can actually be incredibly resourceful and organized, as they will go to any lengths necessary in pursuit of what they believe is right. As a highly pensive type, INFPs are quite focused and often even mistype as judgers.


Stereotype: ENFJs are emotionally invasive and never stop probing others about their feelings.

Reality: ENFJs are actually quite adept at setting boundaries and respecting the privacy of others. If they are asking you highly personal questions, it’s not an act of exploitation – it’s because they genuinely want to help you resolve a problem and require a better understanding of where you’re at in order to do so.


Stereotype #1: INFJs are rare snowflakes who are wildly unlike any other type and are incredibly difficult to understand.

Reality: Though they are statistically the rarest type, this does not mean that INFJs are the most creative or the most individualistic type (that would be INFP on both counts). In reality, INFJs have extroverted feeling, which means they’re highly in tune with social norms and value fitting in with a group above expressing their individuality. They are statistically rare in the sense that their specific combination of cognitive functions is uncommon, but this does not mean that they are the misunderstood artists of the world (Again, that would be INFPs or ISFPs).

Stereotype #2: INFJs are the natural counselors of the world, who want nothing more than to care for and nurture you.

Reality: Though they certainly do care for others, INFJs can often come across as cold if you don’t know them well. They lead with introverted intuition, which makes them infinitely more interested in analyzing big-picture problems than helping you sort out your relationship issues – they are empathetic to a fault but they’d usually rather be analyzing than empathizing.


Stereotype: ESTPs are too impulsive to be reliable or faithful.

Reality: ESTPs see what they want and they go for it – which means that when your interests are aligned, nobody will be more devoted or attentive than an ESTP. This type can certainly be impulsive, but their extroverted feeling keeps them in line with how their actions affect others and once they make a commitment to someone, they are often quite adept at seeing it through. “I don’t want a relationship,” means, “I don’t want a relationship.” But on the other hand, “I do,” means, “I do.”


Stereotype: ISTPs are daredevil adrenaline-junkies who live, breathe and sleep extreme sports.

Reality: Though ISTPs are highly sensory-oriented, their first mode of information processing is introverted thinking – meaning they’re much more interested in discovering how things work than they are in simply experiencing them. Some ISTPs have a tendency toward extreme sports but others are too rational to justify the risks of such activities – they prefer staying safe over risking their livelihood at the mercy of their auxiliary function.


Stereotype: ISTJs are unbearably rigid and set in their ways.

Reality: Though they do enjoy the tried-and-true method above the experimental ones, many ISTJs are incredibly analytical by nature. They are constantly taking in new facts and measuring them up against each other for practicality and efficiency. If a new method beats out an old one, they have no trouble swapping it out and bringing on the new.


Stereotype: ESTJs are bossy know-it-alls who only want to control the people around them.

Reality: Though ESTJs do tend to err on the side of know-it-all-ism, they do so as a genuine attempt to help the people they care about. This type is not malicious or spiteful – they simply see the most efficient way to do something and want to share. This type actually cares quite deeply about the people they’re close to and always wants to help them achieve the best results possible.


Stereotype: ESFJs are shallow and petty, only caring about the latest gossip and who’s dating who.

Reality: ESFJs lead with extroverted feeling, which mirrors the values of those around them. This means that if they are raised in an environment that values education, analytical analysis and personal growth, they will take on those values with a passion. ESFJs are only as petty as the people around them – their natural first instinct is to be supportive and inclusive to a fault.


Stereotype: ISFJs are neurotic and uptight – they are desperate to secure a partner and have a family as quickly as possible.

Reality: Though ISFJs do tend to make excellent parents, they’re not all in a rush to shack up and pop out a few. Their first function is a perceptive one (introverted sensing), which means that their feelings come second to their interests. Because they aren’t dominant judgers, this type also isn’t neurotic as a rule. On the contrary, they can often veer toward type B personalities – they’re more interested in keeping the peace than getting exactly what they want.


Stereotype: ESFPs are shallow, one-dimensional party animals who are only interested in having a good time.

Reality: ESFPs are incredibly emotionally intelligent – they can dissect peoples motivations and desires with incredible accuracy and employ their findings effectively. This type is highly observant and can figure out just about any system or pattern that they put their minds to – their realism works to their advantage and makes them infinitely sharper than they let on.


Stereotype: ISFPs are superficial and flakey.

Reality: Of all the sensor types, ISFPs are perhaps the most intuitive and spiritual. This type is highly observant and highly analytical – they are even apt to confuse themselves with intuitive types. Though they may appear to be off in la-la land regularly, the ISFP’s mind is always reeling – they are constantly analyzing what’s going on around them and what it means on a deeper level.


Stereotype: INTPs are emotionless and socially awkward.

Reality: INTPs are incredibly deep thinkers and correspondingly deep feelers. They are just as capable as (if not more capable than) any other type when it comes to experiencing deep emotions – they just aren’t as keen to express them. In the same vein, INTPs are not socially awkward by default – they are definite introverts but they are more than capable of developing their extroverted intuition to interact with the world around them. Enjoying social interaction and being capable of it are two different things.


Stereotype: ENTPs have no follow through and cannot commit to anything for the life of them.

Reality: Though they do flit quickly between ideas, ENTPs are highly motivated to achieve and they possess impressive follow-through when they set their minds to something. They don’t care much for externally imposed attention to detail but when they’re self-motivated to get something right, they’ll cross every I and dot every T until it’s exactly how they imagined it.


Stereotype: ENTJs are alpha personalities who will squash or betray whoever it takes in order to get to the top.

Reality: Though they certainly are top dogs, ENTJs take social relationships incredibly seriously and would never want to tarnish their good name by going against their word. They can also be surprisingly sensitive when it comes to sticking up for the underdog and will often go to great lengths to ensure that they are giving fair and equal treatment to all.


Stereotype: INTJs are narcissistic know-it-alls who think that everyone else is intellectually inferior to them.

Reality: INTJs are indisputably aware of their own intelligence – but they’re also radically open-minded. This type is constantly taking in new information and deciding how each new piece fits into the puzzle that they’re assembling in their mind. They want to see a situation from all possible angles – which means they want to hear your take on it, even if they don’t necessarily agree with it off the bat. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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