But sometimes, what you think you want in a romantic sitch might not match up with what will actually work best for you. You say you want someone who'll join you for spin class, Netflix marathons, and everything in between, but your new beau's constant company is driving you insane. What gives?
Your Myers-Briggs personality type could be the key you need to unlock your particular relationship needs. (Don't know what your type is? Read this and come back!) Every personality is looking for something just a little bit different: ISFPs and ENTPs are deeply independent, for example, whereas ESTJs and INFJs prefer tighter bonds with their partners and more time spent together. What does your type need?
Keep reading to see what your Myers-Briggs type most needs in a relationship.
You value: dedication
This type's mantra may as well just be: “With hard work, anything is possible.” Just like the energy they put in at work and the value they place on friends and family, ISTJs are committed to their partners—and they need to find someone similarly dedicated to maintaining a strong relationship. Actions are everything to an ISTJ; consider them investments in a long-term future. Small efforts every day will encourage the ISTJ to keep their relationships strong.
You value: safety
ISFJs are used to feeling overlooked; they're often the shy, quiet bookworm in any group, or the (silent) die-hard romantic. But they do want to be noticed and actually fall hard for a partner who makes them feel safe and loved. You can’t dole out enough positive reinforcement for an ISFJ, so keep up the encouragement to let the relationship blossom.
You value: enthusiasm
Whether it’s helping a sick friend or organizing a school fundraiser, ESFJs do everything with gusto. But they often end up in relationships where they give, give, give out of hope and promise and won't accept it when a partner is simply not reciprocating in kind. ESFJs need to feel as though their partner is as committed and excited about the relationship as they are to fully be at peace. They need to hear ample words of encouragement and see an actual effort being put into making the bond work.
You value: teamwork
ESTJs are a “work hard, play hard” type, and while they will happily lead teams at the office, they want a true teammate in their romantic relationships. ESTJs prize being on the same page about long-term goals, and enjoy enthusiastic companionship for the hobbies and travels they love to pursue in their off time. ESTJs need to be straightforward—and avoid romantic games. They're honest and thoughtful toward their partner, and do best in relationships where there’s a ton of clarity.
You value: freedom
ISFPs are constantly at odds with themselves. While they prize love and companionship, and want a deep connection with any potential partner, they also want to roam free and explore the world. If an ISFP feels stifled, they’ll gradually break away. But at the same time, if encouraged to take personal time, they’ll want to bounce back to their partner soon after. The key is giving them room to choose.
You value: friendship
ISTPs aren’t ooey-gooey emotive types, and they’re unlikely to show signs that they’re “head over heels” for their partners. That said, they can make great ones themselves—steadfast, dependable, capable, and thoughtful. They prize balance overall, pursuing a holistic lifestyle. What an ISTP needs more than anything is a teammate and a best friend. They’ll stumble into love someday if and only if life is better with a single person than it is without.
You value: passion
This type hates being tied down. They’re more than happy to date and delay commitment, unless they meet someone who brings an extra spark into their already vibrant life. Naturally curious and quick to try just about anything, ESFPs don’t care what their partners are passionate about, just that they are passionate about something.
You value: choice
Of all the Myers-Briggs types, ESTPs are notorious for playing the field. They’re happy in mutually fulfilling relationships, but they're also more than willing to end something. For an ESTP to stay in a romantic partnership and feel satisfied, this highly independent type needs to feel like they’re really choosing to be “all in." And as long as an ESTP feels an absence of pressure, they’ll easily sink into a highly compatible relationship.
You value: encouragement
Everyone notices ENFPs. They are the leaders, out in front, gregariously rallying the troops and passionately advocating for their missions. But they're actually more unsure of themselves than they seem. What an ENFP needs most in a romantic relationship is someone who is the living embodiment of “home.” They look for someone who bolsters their confidence, reminds them how capable they are when they doubt, and is their safe space to retreat from the world
You value: soulmates
INFJs need two things in a romantic partner: a safe haven and a long-term plan. They are emotional investors; when they decide to bond with a friend or (especially) a significant other, they go into the relationship expecting it to last forever. They want to create strong emotional, intellectual, and physical connections.
You value: acceptance
INFPs are used to feeling misunderstood, even by friends and family. They have a kind, carefree, free-flowing public persona, but deep emotional and individualistic values power their every move. Most people see just what's on the surface and miss the underlying elements that make the INFP tick. What INFPs need most from a partner is true acceptance. They need someone who is patient as they open up, welcoming of their entire emotional spectrum, and encouraging of offbeat hobbies and dreams.
You value: support
ENFJs make everyone around them feel good, bending over backwards to make guests feel welcome at a party or cheering up a friend when they’re down. With all the help they lend others, though, ENFJs often don’t have the same social support in their personal lives. In a partner, they need someone who will step in to build them up. They appreciate an outlet for their thoughts and worries, as well as a best friend to soothe their insecurities.
You value: intellect
INTPs march to the beat of their own drum, and typically require a lot of alone time to pursue their interests. An INTP falls in love with the person who “makes sense.” To keep an INTP engaged in a relationship long-term, they need a mind mate; someone who is open to random philosophical discussions, who won’t mind listening to long tangents about new theories, and who is generally curious about exploring ideas.
You value: excellence
ENTJs are always striving to be the best and have the best, so of course this mentality extends to their relationships. Simple support and encouragement isn’t enough for this driven type; ENTJs want a partner who will push them all the time, call them out on their nonsense, and stand up to their strong will.
You value: autonomy
ENTPs are a whole lot of everything. They want to discover, and then learn. They want to become absorbed, and then detach. They want tons of mental stimulation from others, and then space to process it all. They also want to understand everything, but can’t always understand themselves. They need a partner who “gets” how they tick, how they explore the world in highly individualistic ways, and supports this autonomous operating mode. If a partner is too demanding, stifling, or needy, the relationship will become obligatory and the ENTP will lose interest. ENTPs need a trusting partner who is their anchor.
You value: vision
INTJs are notoriously picky about love—and they have a logical explanation for it: Finding your one love is hard, and that's the only kind of relationship this dedicated long-term planner is interested in. The INTJ needs to have a vision of the future with their partner, and that person needs to push them to be the best version of themselves. INTJs need to feel as if they are building a life with their partner, and that they want the same things. As long as they can see the end goal of long-term happiness as a feasible possibility, they’ll happily do whatever it takes.
Originally published March 22, 2018; updated January 24, 2019.
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