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Most and Least Compatible Personality Types

I have written many articles on personality types and how to go about thinking about them. Personality types are a very crude mental model to look at the world, obviously there aren’t 16 types of people in the world, and personality assessments will never be completely accurate. With this in mind, just because someone's personality is “least compatible” with yours, it doesn’t mean you don’t get along with them, it just means that you may have a higher likelihood of running into certain issues in that relationship. In this article I will be talking about which personalities are “least and most compatible”, why that is the case, and how to interact with those types. I will be using the Myers Briggs 16 personalities model.

Most likely the people who you are most compatible with are the personality types where you have the same middle letters (Sensing/Intuitive, or Thinking/Feeling) and opposite side letters (Introverted/Extroverted or Perceiving/Judging). What mostly makes the relationship “most compatible” is the middle two letters because it describes how you think. Having opposite side letters makes it easy to have a balanced relationship where both people can do what is natural to them and will balance each other out. The “least compatible” personality type is the opposite where you share the side letters and have opposite middle letters.

Why does this pattern make you “most compatible” with someone? As I mentioned in the beginning, these are very crude models and you shouldn’t avoid building a relationship with someone who is supposedly your “least compatible” type. You should just be aware of what common issues may arise. Having opposite middle letters will often lead to issues in communication. For example, a Thinking type may be confused as to why a Feeling type doesn’t just say what they think and take offense to statements they make that are direct. Feeling types may see Thinking types as unnecessarily terse, unaware and not sensitive to their emotional state. Intuitive types may get frustrated with Sensing types for focusing on details, seeing them as irrelevant in the big picture. Sensing types may be upset with Intuitive types for ignoring details that may be very important.

Now, why would having opposite side letters be beneficial? This is because the side letters dictate how you interact with others. So having an Introvert and an Extrovert together is often a good balance because two Introverts may leave both feeling stressed having to keep the conversation going, and two Extroverts may be talking over each other. Of course, this is just assuming the stereotypical behavior of both types. There are some extroverts that are soft spoken, but still derive energy from social interactions. And there are introverts that are very assertive, but socializing drains them. But mostly having an Extrovert and an Introvert will naturally lead to a balance in conversations that requires no effort.

Having opposite letters for Judging and Perceiving can be a strength and weakness in different scenarios. It can be beneficial in letting the Judging type learn to “loosen up” and be less strict in their schedule. Perceiving types can start to learn to be more organized as well. But this can be frustrating for both types as well because although it is helping them become more balanced, it requires them to change their natural behavior which is always hard.

So how should you interact with your “most and least compatible” types? One, don’t let your perception of who they are become ossified. People are infinitely complex and a rudimentary test online will not encapsulate that. The best thing to do is if the issues I describe earlier do arise repeatedly, recognise where they come from. Although there is much debate as to how much truth can be derived from personality tests, people do have natural tendencies. If you are a thinking type, and your friend is a feeling type, they will most likely occasionally be put off with your direct way of communication. Talk to your friends and family about their personalities, or to be more broad, their natural tendencies. Identify the natural tendencies between you and the other person and where they conflict.

When you run into certain issues repeatedly, the best thing you can learn to do is identify what went wrong and apologize. You and the other person will most likely not be able to change their behavior, and that shouldn’t be expected in a relationship. Just make sure to recognize what is causing repeated conflicts and not to blame it on the other person trying to make you upset or frustrated because that is most likely not the case. If you sense that conflicts lead to intense emotions, remember to pause and give each other space. You may choose to step out, because you can always reset by stepping back with a positive perspective, positive tone of voice or body language.

When working on anything important you need to have different types of people, specifically Sensing and Intuitive types. You can’t survive without a big picture goal to strive for, and nothing will move forward without sensing people to lay out detailed plans to actually get things done. Two Intuitive types can be visionaries however much they like, but good luck putting those theories into action. Sensing types can be focused very pragmatically on what needs to be done, but they won’t know how to move forward if there isn’t anything to aim for.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of not identifying someone as incompatible with you and then not trying to grow that relationship, because you will lose your opportunity to grow yourself and create more effective teams. These are common relationship frustrations and you may be more likely to have these conflicts with certain people and it is better to be aware of them than to not. Know that people can change and grow. Be patient with people. Just as you wouldn’t want someone to expect you to change your natural tendencies, don’t pressure others to do so. People are different, personality tests aren’t perfect, but they are a useful mental model for trying to learn about others' surface level natural tendencies as quickly as possible.


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