There’s a reason The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman skyrocketed to the top of the best-seller list: Each person shows—and needs to be shown—love in a different way. As Chapman puts it, are you a “words of affirmation” kind of gal, or do you crave “physical touch”? Not sure? Your Myers-Briggs personality type could be the key to figuring it out.
Each type has associated cognitive functions (sensing, thinking, feeling, or intuition) that process information in varying ways. (Still need to figure out your type? Read this, then head back.) An ENTP, for instance, leads externally, with a broad, expansive view of patterns in the world, and so they often feel love by engaging in thoughtful discussions. An ISTJ, on the other hand, leads with a very quiet, personalized approach to preserving and carrying on traditions; as such, they’re often deeply sentimental.
Use this guide to figure out each type’s unique preference for feeling seen, understood, and appreciated—and you’ll be on your way to building even healthier romantic relationships.
Keep reading for more on how to love your partner according to your—and their—personality type.
ISFJs are the hopeless romantics of the Myers-Briggs types; they are quiet but steadfast in showing love. This means they will always show up—whether it’s to a big event or simply to dinner each night—and they always want their significant other to feel noticed, cared for, and content. On the flip side, they love when a partner acknowledges their needs, encourages their dreams, honors traditions, and makes an effort at romance. ISFJs are often reluctant to make big leaps, so they appreciate when a partner nudges them to go after a wild dream.
ESFJs love making others feel good, especially their partner, whether through verbal encouragement or kind gestures. They keep a watchful eye on their S.O.’s practical needs, are verbally and physically affectionate, and always make holidays and birthdays special. In return, ESFJs feel love when their partner provides a safe space for their worries, fears, and daily difficulties. ESFJs also appreciate a lot of quality time and verbal affirmation.
ISTJs are reliable partners. They show love through quality time, taking care of day-to-day needs, lending advice on interpersonal or work problems, and always placing their partner’s feelings above all else. To receive love, ISTJs are a little old-fashioned. They need words of affirmation and quality time with their partners, and they are also very sentimental—a love poem would totally make them melt.
ESTJs are all about gestures. They are the first to tell their partner they are proud of them (and have the cake and balloons to prove it) and what they appreciate about them, and they will serve as the consummate springboard for problems and ideas. They’ll step in to help out wherever needed as well; you’ll frequently find an ESTJ using their pro-activeness and smarts to make life easier for their significant other. ESTJs feel love when their partner goes out of their way to show them a little romance.
To show love, ESFPs really enjoy doing things for their partner. They also offer lots of encouragement. To show an ESFP love, be mindful of who they are and never try to change them, allowing them to be completely themselves without judgment. Plan for them, helping them to take charge of the less-exciting chores and tasks in their own lives. Be physically affectionate, playful, and laugh with them often.
ESTPs have a reputation for being charmers and flirts, but they can be softies, too. They often show love through action, meeting a partner’s practical needs, protecting their well-being, and showing ample physical affection. ESTPs appreciate when their partner is physically affectionate—so pack on the PDA—and will share in their hobbies. While this type doesn’t ask for much, they love when their partner helps keep them focused on life’s bigger plans.
ISTPs are the strong, silent type. They may not be verbally mushy, but they’ll do just about anything for the person they love. They typically show love by figuring out exactly what their partner needs, taking care of chores, and paying taxes (!!!). In return, you can show love to an ISTP by helping them achieve a goal or giving them space to work on a personal project, showing physical affection, keeping them organized, encouraging them, or saying “I love you” verbally.
ISFPs often seem like free spirits who can’t be tied down, but they really do want to commit to a significant other and fall deeply in love. To show love, they will listen thoughtfully and carefully to problems, be physically affectionate, and create cards and gifts that show just how well they know their partner. Adorable, right? To show love to an ISFP, focus on recognizing them for their individuality, know which words will make them feel seen and understood, and never try to change them or “tie them down.” In addition, show ample physical affection, occasionally take care of practical things like bills and laundry (which they really dislike), and give them space when they seem to need it.
To an INFP, love is when a person sees their uniqueness and allows them to be themselves—while also picking up on just how to make them feel seen and supported. (Think: Accompanying them on a trip home to see family or giving them an intricately-thought-out gift.) They also really appreciate when someone steps in to take care of practical concerns. In return, INFPs are very loving, showering affection in as many ways as they can.
When an ENFP truly loves someone, they show it in every possible way, from making their S.O. feel comfortable at a family event to picking up their favorite dinner on the way home from work. Not only are they loving caretakers and great partners, they’re also empowering cheerleaders. ENFPs feel love when they have their dreams deeply supported. They are also very sentimental—a surprise gesture or unexpected kiss goes a long way.
ENFJs bend over backwards to make sure their partners feel taken care of. An ENFJ will often show love through encouragement and will serve as an outlet when there are problems. They’ll also step in to take care of practical needs, or do something kind just to remind their partner they care. To show an ENFJ love, be emotionally available to them, plan ahead for a future with them (from dates to long-term plans), and be physically affectionate.
INFJs are loyal partners. They will sit through long discussions about hopes and dreams—as well as worries and fears. They also love physical affection, even if they don’t ask for it. To show an INFJ you care, make plans. (They love plans!) Also, remind them of their uniqueness, ask how they’re feeling daily, and engage them with their (oftentimes niche) interests.
INTJs experience love when they can see a future with someone. They need someone who understands how much they want deep connection in all intellectual, emotional, and physical ways and will show they care by planning into the future with them. INTJs don’t fall often, but they fall hard and try hard. When they love someone, they’ll learn from them and sense their needs, doing everything in their power to be a good partner—whether it’s helping with a project, lending advice, or initiating sex.
INTPs always lead with their minds. If you’ve infiltrated their head, you’ll infiltrate their heart, and they’ll show love by sharing their favorite hobbies, their deepest thoughts, their social circle, and their day-to-day life with you. In return, INTPs feel love when their partner engages their mind in debates and philosophical discussion, as well as gets to know their family and friends.
ENTPs have the capacity to give love in many ways, and often want to do that: They’ll step in to cook a meal for their partner, listen to them vent about work, or have a thoughtful discussion on a subject they know they love. To feel love themselves, though, ENTPs need to feel engaged intellectually, and their emotions can often be triggered through sentimental or nostalgic gestures. They also love excitement, so do try new things with them—in and out of the bedroom.
ENTJs are doers, first and foremost. They frequently show love by carving time out of their busy schedules to spend QT exclusively with their partner, helping them reach personal goals, and taking care of needs they know their partner doesn’t like to tackle. ENTJs appreciate when a partner plans ahead for them and merges their goals and lives onto one timeline. They don’t need a lot of verbal affirmation, but ENTJs really appreciate feeling appreciated.
Originally posted May 16, 2018. Updated September 5, 2018.