All people have a social muscle they flex in different ways, and no matter how introverted or extroverted, selectively social, or endlessly energetic a person may be, everyone needs both social time and time to recharge in some measure. And, knowing your Myers-Briggs personality can help you decipher how to socialize best for your personality. (Don’t know what your MBTI is? Read this first!)
Some personality types save their social energy for just a few people, like INFJs. Other types, like ENFPs, absolutely crave the excitement and stimulation that comes from meeting entirely new people and figuring them out.
The bottom line here is there’s no right or wrong answer for how to socialize: You have to honor your own needs. What are yours? Read on to learn more about how you and those in your life prefer to interact.
How you like to socialize, based on your Myers-Briggs personality.
ISFJs are surprisingly social, within limits. You love planning parties for your closest friends, most of whom you’ve known a long time. You enjoy a big gathering from time to time, but you make quality time for your best friends every single week—maybe one or two people—as well as your partner. Other people bring joy to your life, but just a few get your consistent investment of time and energy.
ESFJs are all about social energy, which they derive from any number of activities. You love to spend time with a variety of different groups to fulfill your different needs. You love to learn, and you learn so much from people.
ISTJs are happy to hang out in a group, and they often enjoy relaxing with a drink or out at a party—once you get yourself out of the house, of course. But you live for socializing with your closest friends and family, as well as your partner. It’s hard for you to open up, truly and deeply. When you do, like with a significant other or a sister, you always gravitate back to them. They are home to you, and you love to relax over conversation with those you love.
ESTJs typically have big groups of friends. In fact, you sort of collect friends throughout your life, whether they’re from your childhood, college, travels or even past partners. Your schedule is always slammed, but you make time for all your friends regularly, if not consistently. You never forget someone special to you, and you show up for all major moments. Some people may think you spread yourself thin socially, but you spend infrequent quality time with everyone.
ESFPs know how to socialize well in the traditional sense—they’re quintessential socialites. If you have the chance to attend an event branded “F-U-N,” you’ll be there 30 minutes late, with a huge smile and a bottle of wine. But beyond the parties and mixers, you need to be surrounded by your closest friends and selectively socialize with them often. It’s a short list, like a bestie and a partner. But you want to see them every day, as much as possible, and you’d move mountains for their happiness.
ISFPs are paradoxes. You seem like the life of the party when you show up, and many mistake you as an extrovert before they really know you. Afterward though, you retreat from social life for weeks or months at a time. Because while you love going out, dressing up, meeting new people and having fun, you need to recharge solo to feel like you’re up to the task. And you never apologize for your own version of self care.
ESTPs have unfathomable social bandwidth. Many, many people list you among their closest friends, and somehow you make time for all of them. Whether it’s a sporting event, a party, or just an afternoon hangout, you hate being alone and gladly welcome as many people as you can into the fold. The big challenge of your adulthood is learning to exercise selective social investment as constraints on your time increase, as well as the ability to simply sit with yourself.
ISTPs like to socialize, but only if they have the energy for it. First and foremost, you’re an independent with few needs for extroversion. You like ample alone time and a lot of movement to feel like your best self. So, in a perfect version of reality, you’d wake up early, go for a run and a long hike, come home and relax for a couple hours, and then go to a party for around three hours. In most versions of reality, though, you go to work, try to get one head-clearing activity done after dealing with colleagues all day, and you show up to social events when it feels right.
ENFPs find people fascinating, and therefore, making time for friends is one of this personality type’s core tenants. Not only do you have a laundry list of people clamoring for your undivided attention—which you love to give—but you also indulge a compulsive need to meet new people. You are always up for a party if the room is full of complete strangers (unlike just about any other type in Myers-Briggs universe).
INFPs are often mistaken for extroverts. You have boatloads of friends, are usually down for a last-second adventure, and would never miss a wedding or a birthday or any other milestone gathering. But you retreat whenever you need alone time to reset, which is often. You’ll still slide out of the house with your one or two closest friends who understand you on a deeper level, but you also need time away from the crowd to reflect.
ENFJs have tons of friends, and they carefully curate their calendar to fit them all in (thoughtfully)! Since you also have a ton of interests, you like to consider which friends might want to do which specific activities—try that new Indian restaurant downtown, go to the opera with you, go to the poetry reading, etc. You thrive from seeing people feel balanced and happy, so you make the appropriate time for it.
INFJs selectively show up to group gatherings, as they are much more inclined to hang out with their best friends and significant other. You tend to funnel a lot of your extroverted energy into your nearest and dearest, leaving just a little bit of time for crowds. But to those select few who make the cut, you are a crucial facet of their lives; you bring a ton of introspection (and therapy!). Just make sure you’re having enough fun in the process.
Like everything else the INTJ does, socializing has to fulfill a purpose. You’ll attend a party if friends you haven’t seen in a while are going to be there. You’ll go on a date to maintain your relationship. You’ll fly home for your mom’s birthday, so she knows she is loved. You spend a ton of time on your own, and you revel in it—but you never forget that life is about the people you surround yourself with, more than whatever project you’re working on.
INTPs typically like to be social one or two nights a week, but they tend to spend more time on their own personal projects and developing a few special relationships. You are a quality over quantity person when it comes to your friends and the types of events you attend with them. You’d rather go to a basketball game with a close pal who’s also a huge fan than hit a bar close to home with a large group of acquaintances. You don’t need a lot of friends; you simply make the extra effort for the good ones.
ENTPs are endlessly social when they’re “on,” and somewhat reclusive when they’re not. The reason for this is that you love your friends and you don’t like to let people down—so much so that you socialize your way into burnout. You are at your best when you’re selective about the events you attend and the people you see, from week to week. Play it by ear, do what feels right, and press pause when you feel tired.
ENTJs have more energy than most types, but they typically funnel the vast majority of it into work. That said, you are a casual socializer who prioritizes the most important things. If you have spare time, you’ll usually join an already-planned night out with friends or midweek dinner party. But you’ll actually make time for a significant other, your immediate family, and maybe your best friend. These few are often all the social energy you reliably need.
Now that you know how to best socialize for your personality, are you ready for more Myers-Briggs intel? Here’s how you like to have sex, based on your MBTI profile. And here’s the most common stereotype for every Myers-Briggs personality.
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