Myers-Briggs Column Week 3: Who am I? A Match Made in Hell

Bryony Glover 31 January 2014

(To work out your personality type, read my article ‘Who Am I? A Guide to Myers-Briggs Personality Typing’ or go to http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp to take the test. It’s remarkably accurate).

They’ve been going out for a year today. It’s a miracle they’ve made it this far. And now Sara (ENTP) and Harry (ISFJ) have very different ideas about their anniversary. In fact, they have very different ideas about pretty much everything…

As an ENTP (“The Performer”), Sara is part of about 3% of the population. Creative, enthusiastic and always generating ideas, ENTPs can be hilarious – if controversial (think Ricky Gervais). As Perceivers (spontaneous and open-minded), they are unlikely to buy an anniversary gift weeks in advance. In fact, the ENTP will probably buy a jokey whoopee cushion/plastic turd/something equally amusing the day before, which may seem hysterical to them, but is unlikely to fulfil any deep emotional need of their partner. Nor will they have any qualms about postponing the candlelit dinner if football training comes up on the day. And when they do finally celebrate, if their partner tentatively suggests over rosé wine that they can see the relationship lasting a long time – who knows, maybe forever – ENTPs may well run a mile.

For the ENTP, then, the ISFJ (“The Protector”) couldn’t be a worse choice. Gentle, unassuming and 12.5% of the population, ISFJs are deeply committed and loyal – not a good match for the ENTP who, excited by anything new, is likely to change partners frequently. Fights are inevitable. And when they happen, the ISFJ, as a Feeler, will personalise everything, often giving in quickly just to avoid the conflict. Even in the bedroom things aren’t likely to be much better. As a Sensor, the ISFJ will appreciate candles, smells, soft music and softer furnishings. As a Judger, they may well want sex on a schedule. The ENTP does not. At 10pm on a Saturday night they might be tired, busy, or far away in their world of creative possibilities. For them, something imaginative or even daring right before lectures is likely to be far more desirable (and all the while, of course, the obliging ISFJ will be wondering how they’ll get to the Sidgwick site on time).

Of course, both ENTPs and ISFJs can be lovely people, and delightful partners. Just probably not with each other. Heed this warning if so far you’ve felt unlucky in love.