Part one: A preliminary theory
The MBTI was always about preferences, not a rigid system of this or that. I want to put this here, at the top, because it seems to me that there are a lot of people who don’t understand that every MBTI type has all of the eight cognitive functions. We are all cast in the same mold, so to speak.
Therefore, when I speak about someone being a feeler, or someone else being a thinker, I am talking about their preference, and am not saying that they don’t ‘feel’ or ‘think’ at all. In the end, the MBTI can never be more than a (flawed) guide to your personality and to the personalities of the people that you meet in life. It is not exactly scientific. That said, I find it to be very useful when navigating the social waters of the world, and I think that it can help all of us deeply in growing and nurturing out personal relationships.
I find the MBTI to be especially useful when it comes to love and dating. While I believe that every one of the 16 types can have a great relationship with every other of the types, I also think that one should be cautious with moving forward with certain combinations.
But, but but…I am only just beginning to develop my MBTI Dating Theory, though, so take everything I say here with a grain of salt!
Basically, I am a big fan of finding someone with the same core values as yourself, but there are also certain limits to that. On one hand, Two INTPs would be great together because they would see the world in a very similar way, but on the other hand similarity is also a limiting factor for personal growth and self-discovery, two of the most important aspects of life, if you ask me.
Conversely, two people can also be too different to be a good long-term match. Personality traits that seem thrilling in the beginning can turn out to be a nuisance in the long run.
So far, we can therefore conclude that some cognitive differences would be preferable, but that too many differences might result in both partners being unfulfilled in the relationship. The solution seems to be to find something in the middle of the two.
As a general rule, I would like to be able to say that NTs and SFs don’t match up well, but am not one-hundred percent sure about this yet. According to this theory of opposition, by the way, NFs and STs would also be bad matches for each other.
How do you reach these conclusions?
Good question, thanks for asking!
Well, according to MBTI theory, NTs tend to approach relationships in a logical and abstract manner while SFs will approach relationships in a personal and concrete manner.
And what does this mean?
Well, it means that the two subgroups live in very different realities.
Stereotyping, SFs focus on the immediate reality as they see it and are not very analytically minded. SFs are very hands-on and practical people who get things done. Typically, they will do well in people-oriented environments where interpersonal skills are highly valued.
NTs are stereotypically logical and objective about the world, and they therefore do better in areas like science and engineering.
While NTs and SFs will often find each other to be fascinating they are therefore (in my opinion) not very suited for a relationship with each other. They are simply too different.
Building on this, it is my belief that NTs will do best with either STs or NFs. So if we take a look at the picture below, we can conclude that any of the four subgroups would do best to stay away from dating the group diagonally opposite to their own.
As an INTP myself, I used to believe that no sensor would be a good choice of partner for an NT. But according to the rough sketching of my new theory, STs could be, and they might even be preferable to any of the other types.
Like SFs, STs are doers, but due to their T they will tend to base their actions on more similar considerations to the ones NTs make. In terms of spare time interests (an important part of any relationship) STs will tend to enjoy technical / real-life things that require analysis while NTs will be more drawn to theoretical systems that require analysis. In lack of better wording, both are ‘intellectual’ pursuits, and while different, these types will connect with each other through their mutual lust to gain knowledge.
NT and NF relationships
While a conversation between an NT and an ST would be quite technical or objective of nature, a conversation between an NT and an NF would focus more on the N, and therefore be more abstract and creative of nature. NFs are not as interested in theory as NTs are, but they share a common interest for the abstract and otherworldly. With yet another risk of sounding very cliched, an NF might love the Harry Potter movies while an NT might love Star Wars or Star Trek. Both would love The Lord of The Rings and Game of Thrones, but for different reasons. Only NTs and NFs truly get these fantasy type kind of things, and I therefore consider them a natural pairing.
A general advantage of an F plus T pairing is that they will be able to support each other in their weaker emotional or analytical sides. You could also turn this around, of course, and suggest that the F-T divide will be a reason for arguments in the relationship. In every relationship – taking type into consideration or not – the future success of the relationship depends more on each individual’s level of maturity than on anything else.
An intermediate conclusion (sort of)
As an NT, I’ll get a very different relationships from being with an ST than from being with an NF. With the ST I’ll have deep objective discussions, while I’ll have deep creative discussions with the NF. Both are fulfilling in their own way.
But what about the SF? You kind of left them out of this post?
I know, I know, I did. To make up for it, the next section will be about the SFs. I already stated above that SFs and NTs are not good relationship material according to my MBTI dating theory, so I won’t pair them up.
SF and NF relationships
SFs are always the life of the party. NFs can be the life of the party, but will often be caught up in their own head due to their N. So as I see it, SFs can bring NFs out of their shell while NFs can teach the SFs a thing or two about creativity and spirituality. I will venture to say that many SFs aren’t much aware of their emotions even though they are Fs. They are to busy doing stuff for being so. NFs are VERY aware of their emotions and I therefore think that a good and fun partnership can come from a pairing between SF and an NF.
SF and ST relationships
Since about 75 % of the general population are sensors, this general pairing should be quite common out there in the real world, and with good reason. SFs and STs are both practical people, and both enjoy doing more than thinking about things. At the moment I don’t have much more to say about this pairing, though, since sensors are still somewhat of an enigma to me. But yes, I think it is a good pairing.
A real conclusion (or a to be continued…)
So about now someone with more than a rudimentary knowledge of the MBTI would intervene, and ask me why I haven’t talked about the cognitive functions yet?
Well, because I am still in the process of learning about them. It could be that my whole theory will fall once subjected to the scrutiny of cognitive analysis. I don’t know. But we will find out with time.
For this same reason I haven’t talked about individual types yet. It almost goes without saying that all of the NT types aren’t great matches with all of the ST types. Only some are. I will expand on the theory in another post. For now I can say that I think (mature) Js go well with (mature) Ps and that (mature) introverts go well with (mature) extroverts, both for several practical reasons. Applying these rules to my theory, the best possible partner for an INTP like myself would be an ESTJ or an ENFJ.
Anyway, I think I have gone on long enough for now and will therefore end the post here. I will try to expand on this new theory of mine in future posts.
If you know about the MBTI and have an opinion about all of this, please comment on this post! I really need the input and appreciate any comments immensely.
If you don’t know about MBTI but somehow still managed to get this far, go here and take the test, then return to this post and put your type in the comments. Thanks!
As always, if you liked this post, please feel free to like, comment or share it. Thank you so much.