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Personality Type Compatibility: In Dating Love and Relationships

Many of you may have already heard of the Myers-Briggs®, or MBTI® for short. You see it everywhere — in memes, at work, and in dating profiles.

Our ability to understand our own personalities has the potential to solve many of our greatest problems in dating — improving compatibility, dating efficiency, mutual understanding, and self-confidence and self-acceptance.

As the co-founder of Boo, the personality-based dating and social app, I want to share with you everything that personality types have taught me about love, dating, and compatibility.

Personality type compatibility revealed

Compatibility Guide

Regardless of how much you already know about your personality type or where you are in your relationships — whether single, dating, or in a relationship — I hope that the lessons I’ve learned from years at the forefront can help you save time and help make easier what can otherwise be a difficult process.

Here is my ultimate compatibility and dating guide. How to use the 16 personality types in love, dating, and compatibility.

Dating is hard. Relationships are hard.

Love and dating are two of the biggest centerpieces of our lives. It’s the nuances of which we stay up all night talking about with our closest friends, what delights us with the greatest joy and anticipation, and what brings us the greatest heartbreak and sadness.

The unknowns of love, dating, and attraction have confused and tormented people throughout time and universally across cultures. How many times have we thought about whether someone else likes us back or how to act in front of someone we like? Or why someone wasn’t into us or why it can be so difficult to understand one another?

From the very beginning, we’re thrown into the trying world of dating and relationships with no knowledge and experience. After many heartbreaks and failures, we eventually learn and become better, but never fully understand.

Love isn’t random

When I first learned about the 16 personality types, I was shocked by the accuracy of the personality descriptions. It felt like being able to clearly see the intertwining threads of the universe. As I understood more about each personality archetype and found examples of each from people in my own life, I started to notice the patterns. I also noticed that certain personality types often attracted one another.

I came to the radical realization that love isn’t random. But in fact, very predictable.

I realized personality types could help who you’d be attracted to. Not only that, but personality types could help us identify potential strengths and weaknesses, how to know if someone likes you, what someone is likely looking for in a partner, what they’re attracted by, pet peeves, likely interests, love languages, potential conflicts, ideal dates, and many more.

Imagine just skipping out on all the bad parts of dating — all the time on dating apps spent swiping, texting, scheduling, just to eventually go on bad dates with people you had no chemistry with. Or finding out you’re not very compatible with someone after weeks, months, and even years into dating, only for differences in values and personality to become insurmountable and fail the relationship. Imagine dating without all of the above uncertainty, self-doubt, and heartbreak. A more humane and educated way of dating than trial by fire.

Imagine finding your soulmate in the very 1st person you meet

It was these goals and ideals that led me down the journey to helping the people I knew to find and keep love easier, and eventually, in founding Boo.

A tailored approach to dating

Not only did I realize personality types are important with regard to efficiency in dating, but also that they can empower singles to become better at dating in a way that hadn’t been possible before.

A new way of dating that reflects the individuality of people.

There’s no shortage of dating advice on the Internet. What we’ve historically been very good at is creating principles that are generally true in the world of dating, but to varying degrees of accuracy to different people. Dating advice has generally ignored the reality that everyone is different and responds to things differently.

Of course, there are probably psychological aspects to dating that are probably universal, like confidence, wealth and status, personal hygiene, and having a good-looking face.

But it’s hard to generalize dating advice for what you should talk about on a date — celebrity gossip or deeper concepts? How much small talk? What kind of date should you take them on? Dinner and a movie or something more outside of the box? What are the behavioral cues they’re looking for that show you share their values and perspectives? How do you know if they like you? Is being weird and subtle their way of telling you they like you? Or should you expect overt advances to mean anything?

We can use personality types to help answer these questions.

Why share the secret sauce on compatibility?

The 16 personality types aren’t new. Neither is using it in dating and relationships. We’ve always had dating sites that incorporated personality compatibility to some extent. But they always kept their matching “algorithms” secret.

When we started Boo, we wanted to do it differently. We make it available publicly for everyone to know and understand, even if that means subjecting our matching system to criticism and being used by competitors.

I believe people deserve to know how it works, almost like a fundamental human right.

What is so beautiful about the framework is that anyone can use it to make sense of themselves, their relationships, and many of their struggles in dating. I came to realize that we all encounter at some point, challenges in our dating and love lives. And many of our struggles are not unique; they’re shared by the same personality types. You’ll know you’re not alone, that there isn’t necessarily anything uniquely wrong with you, but with the right person and self-awareness, magic happens.

We wanted to democratize this knowledge, so anyone can be an expert on love and dating. You can be the nerd who never understood love, yet find confidence in yourself and understand how to find and attract the right person for you. Or you could be someone struggling with self-doubt after a breakup or rejection. Or someone who just can’t seem to find the right person after years and countless dates.

I felt like we could help a lot of people to find clarity.

Here’s how it works.

The algorithm of attraction

Some people say opposites attract. Others say you are attracted to similarities. Which is true? And how do you make sense of this paradox?

The answer I’ve come to learn is, both. We tend to be attracted to people that are opposite of us in just the right ways, yet similar to us in the ways most important. Someone who will effortlessly love, appreciate, and understand you for who you naturally are. Someone who is everything you’re not, yet feels just the same.

The 16 types framework enabled a way for us to break down a personality into its components and identify the dimensions in which being similar or opposite leads to attraction.

16 types brief introduction

If you’re new in your understanding of the 16 types, you can find my introduction to the type letters and how to recognize anyone’s personality type here. The 16 personality types can also be a controversial topic. If you believe the framework belongs with horoscopes as complete BS, you need to read this article explaining why it isn’t.

In short, there are four letters in a personality type, each representing a dimension of personality, a preference for how you perceive the world. Each letter is one of two options (E/I + N/S + F/T + J/P). They stand for Extroversion (E) or Introversion (I), Intuitive (N) or Sensing (S), Feeling (F) or Thinking (T), and Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

The personality types we tend to be attracted to follow a shockingly simple pattern. So simple you almost can’t help but admire nature’s design and the beauty of its simplicity.

Your most compatible types (in no particular order)

Opposite 1st letter.

Opposite 1st and last letter.

Opposite 1st, 3rd, and last letter.

That’s it. There are of course exceptions, but for most people, you will likely find yourself more attracted to these personalities, whether it be in dating, friendship, or at work.

You can think of each of these types of personality pairings as different flavors of compatibility, with each its own sets of pros and cons. Like a spectrum varying between more similar to more different, but all compatible.

Example INFJ Most Recommended Compatible Types

Compatibility Type #1 — The Kindred Spirit — Opposite 1st Letter, Same 2nd, 3rd, & 4th

The first kind of compatible personality type is the personality most similar to yours in values and ways of thinking. They’re like you, but the extroverted or introverted version. We tend to be naturally drawn toward people who are opposite to our own extroversion or introversion.

Pros:

Like kindred spirits, they share many of the ways you perceive the world, deal with problems, values, and lifestyle choices.

Better communication and mutual understanding.

Cons:

Because of your similarity, you could leave blindspots in the relationship that none of you naturally like to deal with, which could lead to tension.

You could find yourself competing to provide value in the relationship in the same ways, so you’ll need to take turns relinquishing control to the other person (if you’re both Judging types) or take turns making plans and organizing (if you’re both Perceiving types).

Examples of this relationship dynamic include:

  • Steve Jobs (ENTJ) and Laurene Powell (INTJ). Steve Jobs once said about his relationship, “it just gets better and better as the years roll on.” His right-hand man was also an INTJ, Tim Cook, whom he eventually chose as his replacement as CEO of Apple.
  • Elon Musk (INTP) and Grimes (ENTP)
  • Donald Trump (ESTP) and Melania Trump (ISTP). ESTPs are usually reluctant to settle down, and it takes someone special to make them do so. I can’t speak to the quality of their current relationship, but it means something that they selected for each other in the first place.
  • Daenerys Targaryen (ENFJ) and Jon Snow (INFJ) [Game of Thrones]
  • Romeo (ENFP) and Juliet (INFP) [Romeo and Juliet]

Compatibility Type #2- The Opposite Half — Opposite 1st & 4th Letters, Same 2nd & 3rd

The second kind of personality type where we see compatibility is those who have opposite their 1st and last letters, but share the two in between. Extroversion and introversion from the example above is one of the most influential dynamics behind attraction, but also when you add on opposite Judging and Perceiving. You’ve heard this story love story before — one person is more organized, controlled, and put together (Judging), and the other more spontaneous, passive, and care-free (Perceiving).

Pros:

They feel like your opposite half, completing you in ways that feel complementary. IxxJ types will find ExxP types charming as they lighten the mood and help them get out of their shell. ExxP types may find companionship and a greater sense of security in stable IxxJ types. ExxJ types will find IxxP types willing to let them do what they enjoy most, being in charge and taking the lead. IxxP types will find ExxJ types helpful in taking the load off of what they’d usually just prefer to let someone else do, as well as motivating themselves to be more driven or goal-oriented.

Each will feel needed and appreciated in the ways that they both naturally are, while on a deeper level, sharing common values and principles.

Cons:

Compared with the Kindred Spirit pairing, you’ll have more differences that you’ll have to reconcile and compromise. IxxJ types may find ExxP types too free-wheeling or reckless. Likewise, ExxP types may find IxxJ types too constraining or controlling. ExxJ types may find IxxP types lazy or unmotivated. And IxxP types may find ExxJ types too demanding or naggy.

Examples of this relationship dynamic include:

  • Barack Obama (ENTP) and Michelle Obama (INTJ)
  • Matthew McConaughey (ENFJ) and Camila Alves (INFP)

Compatibility Type #3- The Missing Piece — Opposite 1st, 3rd & 4th Letters, Same 2nd

Generally, the most important is sharing the 2nd letter in your type, either you’re both Intuitive (N) or Sensing (S). It is the preference that indicates how you view and perceive the world, by intuition or by your senses. This will most determine how likely you are to naturally vibe with someone on a very deep level. All the other letters could change and you would still be relatively compatible.

Pros:

These personalities feel a lot like the missing parts of ourselves. In the INFJ example, an INFJ is reserved, respectful, and controlled while the ENTP is outspoken, direct, and spontaneous. INFJs can count on ENTPs to provide a more objective view on an issue when they may be caught up in their feelings. ENTPs will teach INFJs how to say no and be more direct, while INFJs will teach ENTPs how to be more in touch with their feelings and develop empathy. ENTPs will be appreciated for their rigorous intellect and spontaneity, and they’ll look to INFJs as their rock and emotional compass. Chemistry is natural and immediate.

Among our top 3 compatibility pairings, the personalities in this personality pairing are the most different from each other, so they’ll help each other to grow in the ways they typically neglect or aren’t very good at.

Cons:

Being more different includes more challenges and means more compromise is needed. Sometimes these differences in values can be harder to reconcile when conflict arises.

Examples of this relationship dynamic include:

  • Will Smith (ENFP) and Jada Pinkett Smith (INTJ)
  • Bill Clinton (ENFP) and Hillary Clinton (INTJ)
  • Elizabeth Bennett (ENFP) and Mr. Darcy (INTJ) [Pride and Prejudice]
  • Tony Stark (ENTP) and Pepper Potts (INFJ) [Marvel’s The Avengers]
  • Christian Grey (ENTJ) and Anastasia Steele (INFP) [50 Shades of Grey]

(This relationship dynamic is used very often in modern-day fiction.)

Limitations

I’ve found this algorithm to be incredibly true and predictive in my personal life, with friends and family, and with others. However, the more I learned, the more I realized there are caveats and exceptions to these symmetrical rules. I think most people go through this journey of discovery feeling like they know everything in the beginning to progressively realizing that reality can be more nuanced. It’s important to understand that there are caveats and exceptions.

#1. There are other successful personality type pairings than just the most commonly compatible ones

There are also other personality type pairings that occur quite frequently in the wild. On Boo, we mark these personality types as having “potential.” Depending on which personality type you are, there will be other personality types that you’d likely find yourself dating naturally. This also follows a general pattern, but it also varies depending on your particular personality type.

#2. People within the same personality type can be different

Personality types are great at helping us to segment people into 16 reasonably accurate categories. But because there are only 16, there will be differences between people.

In general, it’s important to be well-rounded.

What do I mean by well-rounded? It means you are self-aware of your weaknesses and have grown to keep them in check. You represent the best of the stereotypes of your personality type, and less of the worst. It’s typically something we all do naturally as we grow older. But some people are also naturally more well-balanced. Relationships with these individuals are more likely to be successful and with a greater number of personality types.

I’ve always thought about our life’s personality trajectory and end goal as a race to a convergence to the middle. It’s less about identifying what our ideal personality is, but rather how far each of us develops all aspects of our personality based on our natural preferences. Like Steve Jobs (ENTJ) learning how to become a better manager of people (developing his Feeling side), or Elon Musk (INTP) learning to become a more natural public speaker (developing his Extrovert side) and self-motivated and organized (Judging), problems that plague many less-developed INTPs, but ones that Elon has overcome.

Like in the kung fu metaphor of becoming a master, personality self-growth is about mastering the best of multiple contradictions, learning to be powerful as a tiger yet flexible as a snake.

#3. People within the same personality type have different preferences

INFJs won’t always like ENFPs or ENTPs, etc. They could also like ISTPs, INFPs, or INTPs, among others. The reality is some of us don’t follow the “standard” pattern of attraction with everyone we meet. Just as some people are more attracted to different types within the 3 most compatible types, people can even have preferences outside of these compatibility types. Introverts can be attracted to other Introverts, and Extroverts can be attracted to Extroverts, among others.

And when these cases do happen, they tend to be similar to the most compatible type pairings, with maybe 1–2 letters off. This happens because it could be that the other person had a bit of the elements that make the Top 3 Most Compatible Pairings attractive in the first place— opposite Extroversion/Introversion, opposite Judging/Perceiving, or both of these in conjunction with opposite Feeling/Thinking. Unfortunately, you could meet someone you’re attracted to in the beginning, but end up not working out when you both realize you have inherently different values and antagonistic personalities. Sometimes it works out because both people are willing to put in the work to compromise and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes it doesn’t work out because they decide it’s not worth it.

The good news — there is someone for everyone

What I love about this philosophy around compatibility is that it helps us realize the truth that no matter how idiosyncratic, weird, or awkward we view ourselves to be, there is someone, some personality type out there that already views you as the perfect match. Some will view your personality flaws as dealbreakers. Others will view them as tolerable in light of your best traits, even just what they were looking for.

You can be an ENTP that talks too much about your intellectual wanderings, loves a good dirty joke, and maybe even forgets to wear the same socks every day, but you’ll find a home in a quirky INFJ who would love to hear your theories about the universe. You could be an ISFJ that might have been criticized for being too stifling in a prior relationship, but perfect for an ESFJ that shares your values of tradition, family, and security.

When things don’t work out, it’s often not your fault, nor the other person’s. You don’t have to doubt your principles, beliefs, or your self-worth, you just need to have faith that you haven’t met the right kind of person.

Each personality type has its own mating call 🐥

Personality type isn’t just something you think about after meeting someone to determine whether you’re compatible. It’s something that’s rooted deep inside of each of us and manifests itself in everything we do — our facial expressions and intonations, personal style, the way we speak, career choices, and our behavior.

Sometimes it’s just not your fault if you’re trying to attract someone that’s just not into you. People take in your vibes in an instant from all the characteristics I mentioned above and determine subconsciously that you’re not the type they’re looking for. Like how some people have “things” for funny people, or strong personalities, or quiet and mysterious, or soft and deep, or artsy, etc.

But at the same time, it’s also beautiful and elegant how the different mating calls of each personality type fall together in line with the algorithm.

They attract each other naturally just by being themselves.

It seems we were designed to naturally attract each other’s most compatible types. For example, you could be a quiet and soft-spoken INFP that may come off as too pensive or weird for incompatible personality types, but just the kind of person that will melt an ENFJ, ENTJ or ESTJ’s heart and cold exterior. Likewise, the ENFJ/ENTJ/ESTJ’s take charge and competent demeanor will attract INFPs who often feel they lack direction. Or you could be an INTJ that plays very hard to get and even pretend to not like someone when you do but will drive an ENFP crazier to find you and adopt you as their introvert pet, pursuing you anyways.

Like a key to a lock. The right mating call blueprint coded in our natural behavior.

There is no perfect relationship

When I first learned about compatible personality types, I thought humankind had finally found the cure to breakups and bad relationships. I believed that as long as people are “compatible,” relationships would be frictionless. As I’ve learned more over the years, I realized this thinking was hopeful but naive, and I see it often in people who are just learning to apply the personality framework in their lives.

I learned eventually to my dismay that there is no perfect relationship. Even when compatible personality theory has stacked all the odds in your favor, you will still run into problems, communication difficulties, challenges, misunderstandings, need for compromise, anger, sadness, pain, and everything else, in your relationship. And “compatible” relationships can and do end.

So what then is the point to matching people based on this system if relationships are going to be difficult anyway?

Partly, there’s a difference between “good and synergistic most of the time but difficult sometimes” and “headbanging-ly excruciating most of the time.” Our goal is to avoid the latter.

But in hard times of a compatible relationship, people can forget what it was about the person that attracted them in the first place. If you end up in a relationship with a compatible type, the reality was that out of every other person you came into contact with, worked with, or had a conversation with, you still chose your partner over everyone else at the time. If you were to have met a non-compatible personality type, you probably wouldn’t have been attracted in the first place. They just wouldn’t have had that “it” factor that you like.

Think about all the kinds of personalities and people you’ve met in your life that you are never attracted to. Or even passionately detest. Imagine if you had to meet these people through trial and error on dating apps before you actually met someone you half-liked?

And I think that’s what using personality in dating is about. It’s really about predicting who you’re likely to be attracted to and making that more efficient.

And once you are together, it’s up to you to put in the effort to understand, respect, and appreciate each other and your differences. Compatible types are simply more likely to have a stronger foundation of shared values and perspectives to make sustaining a relationship easier.

To me, it felt like a bittersweet ending. After researching far and wide for the answers, I climbed to the pinnacle of the mountain of knowledge and experience. But when I had found enlightenment, I came out in the end realizing something different than what I started out looking for.

I came to respect that it wasn’t about finding the one best personality type who is “most compatible,” but rather realizing that it only matters so much as it makes mutual understanding, respect, and appreciation easier.

When I first started out, I wanted to believe that compatible personality types never had any real problems. But they do. And it’s important you understand these expectations when you do meet someone who is compatible.

But at the same time, I shouldn’t have been so surprised. This reality is so emblematic of the authenticity and transparency of the 16 personality framework—that everyone, and I mean everyone, has their strengths and weaknesses. And nobody is perfect. It only follows that no relationship can be perfect.

No matter how “compatible” a relationship pairing is, there will always be challenges, just different challenges, depending on who you choose. But hopefully, easier challenges that occur less often.

I really hope the lessons here about our compatibility “algorithm” can help you with your dating and love life. Dating is hard. Relationships are even harder. But it can be easier.

If you haven’t used personality types in your dating life yet, it’s time to unplug from the Matrix. Or plug into a better one.

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