Incompatibility of Myers Briggs Types

Myers Briggs compatibility

Besides Myers Briggs compatibility models, there are also several theories on the incompatibility of the types that emerged at the same time and have been long studied by psychologists and couple therapists in order to decide their viability. I will present three of them which appear to be the most popular. How reliable they actually are, is something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

Interaction Styles Incompatibility

This theory is based on the Interaction Styles model, which proposes four main categories in which the 16 types are grouped. It is based on four preferred ways of social interacting and it’s usually very helpful in explaining and improving team work dynamics. For more clarity I will summarize each of these categories and tell you where each type fits:

Chart-the-Course: INFJ, ISTJ, INTJ, ISTP
These types are usually talented at planning and determining a feasible couse of action for attaining a certain goal. They’re usually analytical and conceptualizing and shine at forseeing possible obstacles and outlining a good strategy in a variety of situations.

Get-thing-Going: ENFP, ESFJ, ENTP, ESFP
These types are natural motivators, great at energizing and involving people in a project. They’re upbeat, enthusiastic and open to new ideas and possibilities. Can be charismatic leaders with very expressive personalities and a desire to engage others in everything they do.

Goal-oriented, direct and efficient, these types are natural leaders who focus mainly on results and effectiveness. They are energetic action people, fast decision-makers and very aware of whatever needs to be corrected and improved. They shine at mobilizing resources, mentoring people and monitoring a project.

Behind-the-Scenes: INFP, INTP, ISFJ, ISFP
These types are usually talented at defining, claryfing and improving different aspects of a project. They are patient, reserved and prefer to work in the backgound, where they gather information, mine for new data and consult different sources in order to better understand the process. They do well in research and counseling.

The Interaction Styles incompatibility theory suggests that the following styles are very likely to experience great stress when interacting:

Chart-the-Course least compatible with Get-thing-Going
/ in other words: INFJ, ISTJ, INTJ, ISTP least compatible with ENFP, ESFJ, ENTP, ESFP

In-Charge least compatible with Behind-the-Scenes
/ in other words: ENFJ, ENTJ, ESTJ, ESTP least compatible with INFP, INTP, ISFJ, ISFP

McAlpine's “Opposing Personality”

This model is based on Beebe’s 8 functions theory and it states that incompatibility happens between the types with the same functions but opposite attitudes.

It has been verified by psychologist Ken Liberty through a live research that included several married couples, which revealed that the types with inverted attitudes (listed below) were having the most trouble getting along in the relationship. Liberty described them as “fighting every other minute”.

ESTJ least compatible with: ISTP

ESTP least compatible with: ISTJ

ESFJ least compatible with: ISFP

ESFP least compatible with: ISFJ

ENTJ least compatible with: INTP

ENTP least compatible with: INTJ

ENFJ least compatible with: INFP

ENFP least compatible with: INFJ

ISTJ least compatible with: ESTP

ISTP least compatible with: ESTJ

ISFJ least compatible with: ESFP

ISFP least compatible with: ESFJ

INTJ least compatible with: ENTP

INTP least compatible with: ENTJ

INFJ least compatible with: ENFP

INFP least compatible with: ENFJ

McAlpine's “Dynamic Opposites”

This is the second incompatibility theory proposed by McAlpine and is based this time on opposing functions. The preferred cognitive process of one type is the least-conscious process of the other, thus creating the opportunity for a lot of tension and misunderstanding. Here are this model’s incompatible types:

ESTJ least compatible with: ENFJ

ESTP least compatible with: ENFP

ESFJ least compatible with: ENTJ

ESFP least compatible with: ENTP

ENTJ least compatible with: ESFJ

ENTP least compatible with: ESFP

ENFJ least compatible with: ESTJ

ENFP least compatible with: ESTP

ISTJ least compatible with: INFJ

ISTP least compatible with: INFP

ISFJ least compatible with: INTJ

ISFP least compatible with: INTP

INTJ least compatible with: ISFJ

INTP least compatible with: ISFP

INFJ least compatible with: ISTJ

INFP least compatible with: ISTP

Here are some good books on Myers Briggs compatibility:

Just Your Type: Create the Relationship You've Always Wanted Using the Secrets of Personality Type

Lovetypes: Discover Your Romantic Style And Find Your Soul Mate

16 Ways to Love Your Lover

Wired for Conflict: The Role of Personality in Resolving Differences

Marriage Types

The Intimacy Factor: How Your Personality and Your Past Affect Your Ability to Love and be Loved

Intimacy and Type: A Practical Guide for Improving Relationships for Couples and Counselors


Anonymous said…
Where can I get a test that I can download and print out?
Caleb said…
Hmmm, that's really interesting because I'd heard that same-dominant-function-with-reversed-focus was the BEST combination. As such I've always thought that INFJ was the perfect match for me as an ENTP (Chose the F rather than the T partly to cover all our bases and counteract my apparent coldheartedness, and partly because I just love INFJs, both in theory and in practice)

But now this is telling me that that is exactly the opposite of what I shoudl go for! gaahhh
OG said…
Hi, I am really looking for some information about the type that I may potentially match well with long term - as an ENTP I read your blog and links and began to think "cut the crap and just tell me the answer" :-) As such, I wonder if you can advise, simply, there seems to be a lot of contradictory arguments...? Would be very much appreciated.
INTP said…
Hi OG,

The truth is it's not that simple to make sense of this bundle of theories. Besides, compatibility is not determined by Myers Briggs type alone, but a series of various factors (including social environment and intellectual ability).

I myself have developed one theory relating to Myers Briggs compatibility. It is the one based on the secondary function (you can find it in Compatibility for MB types part 1). So obviously if I had to advise you, I'd go with my own explanation. :)

In any case a general rule that seems to apply to compatibility issues is that often (but not always), people who share the same S/N and P/J preference tend to get along better.
OG said…
Thanks for taking the time out to get back to me.
Anonymous said…
ahaha,,,, INTJ most imcompatible with ISFJ, no wonder this person and I hate each other's guts.
Rodney said…
Caleb - Until recently, had a ENTP/INFJ relationship of 7 years, and a ENTP/ISFJ 8 year relationship before that. They both had good qualities.

INTP: This is a good post. Thanks for spending the time communicating all those different takes on compatibility.

It would be interesting to see if there's anything to marriage satisfaction and type. Who has this data though, and down to a more base question - do the types we're trying to describe though current typing describe enough?

The Big-five and Neo-PI have 5 and 6 dimensions of personality, but as near as I can see, nobody has been able to put them into a theory of types yet (at least one that intuitively 'feels right' like the MBTI or Enneagram).

Other than a couple studies like the following, it doesn't seem like science pays much attention to mating and personality:

Socionics IMO has the most interesting/detailed theory on how different personality types relate to each other. In that system, I should be seeking out my dual, an ISFP. Don't know many ISFPs, so it's hard to prove/disprove their duality matchup.
Unknown said…
Is there any research on gay men personality comptability? If so, please share. I am an ISFJ, so I wonder if I should still be looking for an ISFJ or ESFJ or ISTP or ESTP???
Unknown said…
Is there any research for gay men personality type compatibility?

Is it the same for straight people?

I am an ISFJ and wonder if my most compatible partner would still be an ISFJ/ESFJ or ISTP/ESTP or ENFJ or ISTJ/ESTJ.
Anonymous said…
How thick is this guy... At no point did anyone put a sexual perspective on this data till you asked, did u even read the original article. Stop probing for conversation here and go join a forum...
Ano said…
Anonymous said…
I'm an ISTP and probably interested on a theory of an ESTJ least compatible with ISTP, Estjs can be good for us. The other theory was about INFP, this is the most weirdest type ive ever met aside from I don't get them, I also don't know what they are emotional about but theyre nice.
JustAnIntj said…
I've actually experienced ALL you wrote the other way round and never read something as this about how compatible mbti types are for each other. I'm an INTJ and I haven't ever met an ENTP I didn't like, not even slightly.

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