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Myers-Briggs type and friendship – three ways to improve your relationships

Posted 08 Feb 2021 by Melissa, MBTI Marketing Manager
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Leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, we have one question for you:

Could your relationships be better? 

Not just your romantic relationships, but all your personal relationships. When life gets busy, it’s easy to let important relationships fall by the wayside. And friendships are no exception. 

So, in honor of our best buds, our significant others, our loved ones and our family, we’re serving up a 4-course series of blogs all about relationships. And whether you know your MBTI personality type or not, this series will help you to improve your recipe for those personal relationships.

All it takes is a can of self-awareness, a dash of insights and a hint of action.

Ready? 

Myers-Briggs Personality Type and Relationships – Friendship

You’ve probably had at least one great friend on your life.

Someone who you loves you at your best and supports you when times are the hardest. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ve had that friend for a good amount of time, and you’ve seen each other through big life events like graduations, weddings, birthdays and more. But what makes a good friend? There’re certain qualities we all look for in friends, but then there’re other things that we might want in a friend that others wouldn’t go for.

Psychology Today says there are 13 traits that make people good friends. Among them are trust, honesty, being supportive, and dependability. And those are great qualities to have, but they’re not the things that make your friendship with someone else unique. 

In addition to friend-worthy traits, friendship often stems from common interests, values, similar senses of humor or similar viewpoints.

Or a combination of all of the above. 

As someone who prefers INFJ, I have a lot of friendly acquaintances, but only 1-2 good friends at any time. For me (and for a lot of people who prefer Introversion), my alone time is so valuable to me that most of the time, I’d rather work on solo hobbies than spend time with other people.

But once in a while, I’ll meet someone who I seem to click with. People who I enjoy spending time with as much as I enjoy being alone. 

According to our experts, people who prefer Introversion, Intuition, Feeling and Judging (INFJs) are usually very empathetic as friends, with the ability to deeply understand and share other people’s emotions (making them good listeners and also why many refer to them as “counselors”). You can read more about the INFJ personality type here, and specifically you can read about INFJs and relationships here.  

My sister prefers ENFJ, and while we can both socialize well any event, I’ve always been amazed at how easily she makes friends.

And maintains friends.

She’s energized by spending time with people and her bubbly personality and carefree, light demeanor and naturally optimistic viewpoint are a few of the qualities that tend to draw people toward her.

ENFJs are usually described as fun, energetic, considerate and expressive. Being future-oriented and focused on people, they’re usually really good at helping and supporting other people to achieve their goals. Read more about ENFJs and friendships (as well as other types of relationships) here

All MBTI personality types are capable of being good friends.

But it’s the uniqueness of your personality and how that interacts with other people's needs that make your friendship valuable to other people. 

ENFPs, one of the most common personality types, are also often seen as warm, bubbly and energetic. However, if you compare ENFJs and ENFPs as friends, you’ll see that ENFPs usually have a more diverse group of friends. ENFPs love to hear other people’s stories, and often they’ll learn things from the people they’re friends with that others might not have noticed.

Interested to see what your MBTI type says about you and your relationships? Take a look at the list below:

Myers-Briggs personality type and favorite functions

If you’re looking at the favorite function (also called dominant function) of each of these personality types, that’s where you’ll notice a difference between ENFJ and ENFP personality types.

It’s just one letter at the end that’s different (Judging vs. Perceiving), but that last letter actually indicates a bigger difference in personality – what part of their personality each person extraverts and what part they introvert.

We all introvert part of our personality and extravert another part, according to the Myers-Briggs personality framework based on Carl Jung's psychological theory. The part of the personality that’s extraverted is the part that’s going to be shown to people, and especially to friends and other relations.

For ENFJs, their favorite function is extraverted Feeling. This meetings that the Feeling preference – concerned with values and how other people are affected – is going to be what ENFJs shows outwardly and expresses verbally most of the time. It’s the part of their personality that’s most developed.

Almost like their personality’s super power.

For ENFPs, their favorite function is going to be extraverted Intuition. Here, the Intuitive preference – the one focused on patterns and connections and future orientation – is going to be what the ENFP shows outwardly to other people and expresses verbally most of the time.

For all MBTI types, the favorite function is the part of the personality that’s most developed and the easiest for the person to use, because it’s like the default setting of their personality.

Personality and friendships

When it comes to friendships, really any type can be friends with any other Myers-Briggs type. But the more you learn about MBTI type, the more you’ll start to notice patterns. It’s no surprise that if you search for memes about Introverts and friendship, you’ll find something along the lines of “Introverts make friends by being adopted by an Extravert.” In all relationships, often opposites attract because we find in other’s something that we feel is lacking or not as strong in ourselves.

As people with introverted preferences are drained by spending time with other people and small talk, it makes sense that they’d often have friends with extraverted preferences who can pick up the socializing when the Introvert’s battery starts to run dry. And even though they’re energized spending time with people, that doesn’t mean Extraverts don’t need any alone time.

They just need less.

And sometimes for them, spending time in the Introvert’s more quiet setting is just the bit of downtime they want before meeting up with other people.

And just like romantic relationships, friendships take work. Maybe not as much work as other parts of your life, but there is some effort required in coordinating time to spend together and keeping in touch if phoning a friend isn’t your first instinct when you have free time. And no matter your Myers-Briggs type, and different points in your life it can be harder to make genuine friends that at other points.

“Extraverts struggle to make friends because while they seem talkative, they might not go deep with people,” says Danielle Bayard, a friendship coach and author of Give it a Rest: The Case for Tough-Love Friendships in this article with NBC news

“Introverts struggle because their energy comes from being alone. Those with social anxiety struggle because they are in their head and second guess themselves.”

3 Ways to improve your friendships

So, in honor of friendships and continual self-improvement, here are three things you can do to improve your friendships:

  1. Go on a friend date (virtual or not). 
    Spending time with friends is really investing time in a friendship. And it’s often easy to let friendships fizzle because life gets busy and neither of you is making spending time with the other person a priority. So whether you’re meeting up for a walk during lunch time or scheduling a phone call on a Sunday, make an effort to invest some time in one (or more) of your friendships.
  2. Put down the phone/tablet/digital device. 
    Yes, this is harder in the pandemic age when Zoom calls and Facetimes are all the rage, BUT despite our devices helping us connect with people further away, studies show that they also hinder meaningful time spent with other people who are nearby. So the next time you spend time with a friend, suggest you both put away your digital devices for the time you’re together. If it’s a call from someone important, by all means, take it. But don’t let scrolling through status updates take your attention away from the person sitting across from you.
  3. Take an action to tell a friend “I’m thinking of you”
    One of the problems with friends as life situations change is that often both people don’t want to feel like they’re bothering the other person. But reaching out in a way to show a friend you’re thinking about them is usually a pleasant surprise for the person on the other end. Whether you mail a postcard, send a GIF or start a phone call with “hey! I was just thinking about you and thought I’d call to say hi…”, usually that action is met with positive friendship reinforcement. 

Do you have any tips to be a better friend? If you know your MBTI type, what type of friends do you usually look for and find yourself having? Share the friendship love on our Facebook or Instagram pages and let us know your thoughts!