If you’re into personality tests, you’re probably familiar with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI. It’s one of the most popular personality assessments out there! And, personally, it’s my favorite.

But, it can be confusing, especially for newcomers. So, today, I’m breaking it down for you.

MBTI Letters Explained

The Myers-Briggs uses 4 different letter-sets to describe a person—I or E, N or S, T or F, and J or P. Your type, then, will be a consist of 4 letters, one from each set, making 16 total personalities.

Of course, you can go online and take the personality test, but if you understand the letters, you can just as easily determine your MBTI on your own.

Introverted vs. Extroverted 

The first aspect is probably the one people understand the most. It explores how we get our mental energy. 

MBTI - I vs E

If you’re Introverted, you may prefer being alone or with a small group of people. Socializing can be exhausting or draining for you.

This doesn’t mean you’re anti-social, though. In fact, introverted people can be easily mistaken for extroverts if they’re outgoing or friendly. Rather, introverts simply find highly social activities more taxing. 

Extroverted folks, on the other hand, are the opposite. Extroverts find being around people more energizing and seek out social activities more readily. They also tend to be more enthusiastic and excitement driven. 

Sensing vs. Intuitive

The second aspect deals with how we view the world and process external information. 

MBTI - S vs. N

People who lean towards sensing are more realistic and practical.

Sensors tend to rely on observable facts to understand the world and their experiences. They’re also more detail-oriented and focused on the present. When facing a problem, they want practical, actionable solutions. 

Those who lean towards intuition prefer to focus on the bigger picture. Rather than looking at tangible facts, they’re paying attention to underlying messages—things that could be up for interpretation. Intuitives are more open-minded and imaginative, preferring creative solutions. 

Look at it like this: in school, you have subjects like Math and Science with clear, precise answers and steps to figuring out the problem. Then you have subjects like English and Art that are more subjective, where you can easily have more than one right answer. 

Sensors would be like Math and Science whereas Intuitives would be like Art and English. 

Thinking vs. Feeling 

With the third aspect, we’re looking at how we handle emotions and make decisions. 

MBTI - T vs F

Like Introversion and Extroversion, this one is pretty straightforward.

Thinkers prefer to use logic over emotions. They are usually rational, level-headed, and analytical.

When making decisions, they tend to use logical reasoning over how they feel.

Feelers, then, base their decisions on their emotions and values.

They’re more emotionally in-tune with themselves and others. Feelers are also often described as being sensitive or empathetic.

Judging vs. Perceiving 

The final aspect deals with how we approach the world around us, or our lifestyle.  

MBTI - J vs. P

This one tends to be the most difficult for people simply because of the word judging. None of us want to be thought of as judgemental.

But, really, in MBTI lingo, judging refers to the ability to be decisive and responsible.

Judgers prefer predictability and structure. They’re organized and reliable planners who tend to follow rules and routine. 

Perceivers, meanwhile, are more flexible and open-minded. They’re prone to procrastination and prefer to keep their options open rather than having set plans or deadlines. (This is your friend who’s always late.)

Assertive vs. Turbulent

Traditionally, the Myers-Briggs only uses the first 4 letter-sets to identify personality type. But in some of the more recent versions, there is a fifth category included which deals with our overall identity.

There are still a total of 16 personality types, though. Now, each type is differentiated by either A or T. (So, you can be an ISFJ-T or an ISFJ-A).

Assertive individuals are more confident in themselves and their decisions. They also tend to be calmer, more relaxed, and able to handle stressful situations easily.

Turbulent individuals, on the other hand, are more sensitive to external stressors. They are more self-conscious and less confident in themselves. In addition, they tend to be somewhat perfectionistic and more driven to succeed and improve.

Related Read: 10 Easy Ways to Practice Self Love (Even When You Feel Like Shit)

Determining Your Type

Here’s a quick quiz to determine your Myers-Briggs type. Use each set to figure out which letter you are.

I vs. E — Do You…

• Prefer spending time alone or with small groups of people?

• Feel drained after socializing for long periods of time?

• Wait for others to talk or approach you?

Then you are an INTROVERT (I)

• Prefer to be around other people or work in a group?

• Feel excited and more energized by social activities?

• Talk a lot or start conversations easily?

Then you are an EXTROVERT (E)

S vs. N — Do You…

• Pay attention to details and facts?

• Focus on reality and the present?

• Go by past experiences?

Then you use SENSING (S)

• Pay attention to abstract concepts?

• Focus on the future?

• Go by your gut instinct?

Then you use INTUITION (N)

T vs. F — Do You…

• Make decisions based on logic, facts, and reason?

• Appear firm, fair, and rational?

• Go by objectivity?

Then you use THINKING (T)

• Make decisions based on your feelings and values?

• Appear empathetic and sensitive?

• Go by passion and subjectivity?

Then you use FEELING (F)

J vs. P — Do You…

• Prefer to finalize plans?

• Appear stable and predictable?

• Focus more on completing tasks?

Then you use JUDGING (J)

• Prefer to keep your plans open?

• Appear to procrastinate often?

• Focus more on starting tasks?

Then you use PERCEIVING (P)

In the next post, I’ll be sharing more about each of the 16 personality types!

Explaining the MBTI - Pin

18 Comments

  1. avatar

    Interesting post. I’ve never bothered to find mine out but I might do the full quesionaire someday!

    1. avatar

      I definitely recommend it!

  2. avatar
    Julian says:

    I’m an INFJ! I’m fascinated by things like this especially the enneagram.

    1. avatar

      So many people love the enneagram, but I find the Myers Briggs more accurate for me

  3. avatar

    I love reading about these types of tests as I find them so interesting! I actually did the MBTI when I was in management years ago – I wish I could remember the details of my results!

    1. avatar

      You could always take it again to find out 🙂

  4. avatar
    Soffy says:

    I’ve never taken a personality type test but am intrigued to do one now!

    1. avatar

      You definitely should! They’re a lot of fun and scarily accurate

  5. avatar

    I have become quite fascinated with exploring my personality types and zodiac signs, so I loved reading this post! I love that you have created a quick test at the end too. 🙂

    1. avatar

      So glad you found it helpful! I’ve always been super interested in personality tests

  6. avatar

    Thanks for going so in-depth about personality types. Christy is an ENTJ and Ben is an INFJ.

    1. avatar

      Ohhh, that’s an interesting pairing!

  7. avatar

    i’m an INFP
    love the Myers Brigg – loved getting to know you better through this psychology test.

    1. avatar

      Ha, me too!

  8. avatar

    I love the MBTI personality test, and I always find it so interesting to find out other peoples! I’m an INFJ and it fits me to a T x

    1. avatar

      I completely agree! And what a rare type to be!

  9. avatar
    Simplyalexjean says:

    I love MBTI and I find it’s one of the most spot on personality tests out there (for myself at least!) I’m a ISTJ – you did an awesome job breaking it all down Katie! Thanks for sharing.

    1. avatar

      I agree – I’ve always found it to be the most accurate (I’m INFP)

Let me know your thoughts!

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About Author

30ish Lifestyle blogger, relationship "expert," and modern-day agony aunt.
Sometimes humorous, always honest.

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