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Last Friday night I shared something I read about of our type combination with my husband. I ended up crying—from laughing so hard! I'm INFJ. He's INFP. We laughed and laughed. Why? Because it was so true. It was like someone took a megaphone and announced all the amazing things that drew us to each other. Then a giant flood light highlighted all the parts we'd rather cover up.

Whether or not you have a spouse, partner, or significant other, this article will shed some light on interacting with other personality types. If you're currently struggling in a relationship, the information I'm about to share may help you depersonalize your struggles and give you some ideas about what to do.

In their book, Just My Type, Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger share the results of their extensive research into personality type and relationship satisfaction. While I truly believe that a relationship can work between any two personality types, their findings on the type combinations that have the most satisfaction make a lot of sense. 

What do you think is the most important piece of a satisfying relationship? Any guesses?

If you said communication, you would be in agreement with 92% of their research respondents. "The more satisfied they were with the quality of their communication, the more satisfied they were with their relationships" (p. 313). So which types have the best communication then?

Opposites attract. But how satisfied are they?​

Some may find that opposites do attract, especially in the beginning. But their research revealed something deeper. The more letters two people had in common in their personality type, the more satisfied they were with their communication. Greater satisfaction with communication meant greater satisfaction with their relationship.

Now before you start thinking, "Great, I'm with an ESTP. We're doomed," take a deep breath. The four letters you and your partner have do not have the final say with anything in your life. Having different preferences does mean the possibility for misunderstanding is higher (see feeling misunderstood). The more preferences you have in common, the easier your communication will be. Fewer preferences in common means you might have to work harder to understand each other.

AGAIN. This is not to say that you have to find an INFJ partner to have an amazing relationship. Nor would that pairing be free of frustrations.

This is just knowledge. And knowledge is power.

The research in Just My Type shows that most people do not share all four preferences. Take a look (taken from p. 313):
  • 10% have all four preferences in common
  • 20% have three preferences in common
  • 35% of couples have only two of the same preferences
  • 25% have one preference in common
  • 10% have no preferences in common
Knowing your partner's personality type can be very eye-opening. Don't misuse this information to determine the viability of a relationship based on personality type alone. That's not fair to anyone. As important as I believe personality type is, it does not define a person.

If you want to get to know your partner better and highlight any blindspots you might have, answer the questions below. I recommend that each of you answer the questions on your own first. Then, set an intention for what you want to get out of this conversation.

Defensiveness will not help you move forward in your relationship. If you don't think you can listen without being defensive, read your partner's answers on your own. Then come together and talk about the insights you gained.

If you're afraid of hurting your partner's feelings, go back to the intention you set. Remind yourself of the purpose of this activity.
  1. Go back to the very beginning. What did you love most about your partner?
  2. What do you love most about your partner right now?
  3. What do you think causes the most conflict in your relationship?
  4. How would you like that area of your relationship to be?
  5. How do you usually respond to conflict in the relationship? How does your partner?
  6. Ideally, how would you like to solve conflict in your relationship?
  7. What, if anything, prevents you from sharing with your partner?
  8. How do you show your partner love?
  9. How does your partner show you love?
  10. How do you want your partner to show you love?
  11. What causes you to shut down/shut off in the relationship?
  12. What allows you to open up and connect in the relationship?

One of my favorite recent memories involves a 5-hour car ride with my husband. Instead of staring out the window and entertaining our own thoughts, we decided to try the 36 Questions to Fall In Love with Anyone app (iTunes, Google Play, Online). It was so eye-opening, even for two people who've been together for several years. Both the questions above and the 36 questions will give you a deeper understanding of your partner.

If you try it out, I'd love to know how it goes! 

Take care,
I'll see you next Wednesday, 

Certified Professional Coach (CPC) for INFJ Women
MBTI® Certified
ELI-MP Certified
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