Dating can be hard. Long relationships can be even tougher. And don’t get me wrong, I love snuggling on the couch with my significant other while catching up on Walking Dead and eating kettle corn as much as the next gal, but finding that special someone usually isn’t easy.
There are so many things we could cover when it comes to Myers-Briggs and romantic relationships, but we’re going to try to keep this series of blogs on relationships and dating focused on in-depth, helpful information that goes beyond “Who should ENFPs date” (because to be honest, it doesn’t work that way and we’ll explain why). We’ll cover the specific MBTI personality preferences and how they might affect your love life, and then move further into how similarities or differences in certain MBTI types often play out in romantic relationships, and what each of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types would probably love the most from a significant other.
Also, for those of you who may be seeing signs of Valentine’s Day around the corner (or hanging on a giant 20 ft. banner inside your grocery store…) and thinking about a gift of your significant other, check out our last blog post called Gift Suggestions for All 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types.
Now, back to dating. There are things you look for on the surface level first when you meet someone who’s a potential romantic interest – a genuine smile, someone with similar tastes or interests, isn’t driving a Rolls Royce but also isn’t riding a skateboard as the primary mode of transportation (unless, you know, you skateboard too). These initial impressions and first meetings are the things that might get you to a first date (or maybe you just swiped right), but then you start to find out more about that person and things just aren’t clicking. Their body odor is overwhelming, you can’t stand Sunday football, he keeps tapping his fork on the table for no apparent reason when there’s a lull in conversation.
Or, maybe things do end up going well. Maybe you stop seeing other people and begin to spend more time with each other. Maybe the first dinner date and second coffee date turn into after-work drinks together and then into a Saturday exploring your nearby metropolis or a wooded area and then you’re talking about your values, your dreams for the future, or laughing together about how the Pokemon Go craze keeps popping up at random locations.
Then one night you casually ask if they know their Myers-Briggs personality type. You know your Myers-Briggs type (let’s say you have preferences for INFJ), and generally have a good self-awareness around your preferences, strengths and blindspots. “ESTP,” your pretty-much-perfect-until-now significant other responds.
Does this mean you’re destined to a lifetime of fighting over weekends plans and being dragged to social outings until you’re ready to collapse? Does this mean your significant other can’t understand why you get excited talking about the future or is bored to death when you share your thoughts about what connections you’ve made between relationships with your future in-laws?
But before you start listing your four-letter MBTI type in your Coffee Meets Bagel profile, let’s talk a little bit about these loaded four-letter words: MBTI and L.O.V.E.
The Myers-Briggs assessment is a powerful personality tool that can help you become more self-aware, improve your communication, help you know your strengths and help you see your own blind spots, give you hints about how you’re motivated, inspired, what you value, and in general has an endless amount of knowledge to be gained when it comes to learning about people. That includes people you are in romantic relationships with. In fact, the MBTI assessment is actually used commonly in couple’s therapy and premarital counseling. But, if your profile reads “Introverted Intuitive Feeling Cat Person who loves to plan her weekends seeking fellow INFJ to share life’s greatest mysteries with,” you’re going to be missing out on a lot of potentially fulfilling and amazing relationships.
The better way to think about it is that there’s potential in relationships with ANY Myers-Briggs type, and what you should be focusing on beyond the other person’s four letter type is what’s the best way to get to understand who this other person is and how they naturally prefer to approach life.
Knowing your and the other person’s Myers-Briggs type can be an advantage when you first start dating. Often when you are first getting to know someone, you come to them in a way that they need you to be or want you to be, versus showing who you really are. We’ve all done it before. They like Sunday Football – you love football (ok, maybe you love Superbowl food and when Beyonce performs at half-time, but that totally counts!). By the way, the psychological term for this fascinating behavior (when it’s done subconsciously) is called mirroring. Knowing and sharing your four-letter MBTI type is a great way to share who you really are (not just first-date you) and for the other person to share who they really are too and how you might be able to see eye-to-eye on certain subjects, but also to see areas of life that different perspectives arise that you might be able to complement each other on.
While the four-letters of the MBTI personality type can also help you better understand future conflicts you might have, it’s important to talk about similarities and differences and how you can use this information about your type while moving forward in your relationship. And we’ll tell you more about exactly how to do that in the next blog next week!