Can your Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality type change? Can you be both an INTJ and INTP (or a combination such as INTX)?
I get a question every so often about whether your personality type can actually change. In addition, a lot of people will make statements such as, “I used to be an ENFP, but now I’m an ENFJ. So, I thought I’d make a quick video about this topic.
Can Your MBTI Personality Type Change?
From the MBTI perspective, can your personality type change? No. Can your personality presentation change? Yes. Let me explain:
The MBTI Manual states that “A person’s type does not change over time; however, people may express their type in somewhat different ways at different times and at different ages and stages of life” (119). 16personalities.com also has an article in which reads: “According to most personality type theories, the individual’s type is inborn and does not change. However, individuals can develop traits and habits that differ or even directly contradict the description of their type.”
So, clearly, personality type does not change according to most personality theories. However, if this is true, why do people report a change in personality?
You have to keep in mind a few things:
- First, a lot of people mistype because they don’t understand themselves, or they don’t understand the questions on a personality assessment. Therefore, people will mistype, and then later, when they understand their preferences or the questions more completely, they will correctly type.
- Next, your cognitive functions develop over time, and this can cause a change in the way your personality presents, even though you are the same type. Your dominate function develops up to age 7, your auxiliary up to age 20, your tertiary in your 30s-40s, and your inferior function at midlife or later.
- Next, as you mature, you learn to cope with things better. You learn how to handle small talk situations, even if you never enjoy them. You may learn to regulate your social behavior more, etc. All of these things can make it seem as if your type changes.
- Finally, MBTI does not cover every dimension of a person’s personality. It defines some core preferences and the way we perceive our environments and judge our world. There are many complex things about the human personality which no theory or assessment can fully capture.
I suppose this also gets back to the big controversy of “nature vs nurture.” In other words, how much does our environment influence our personality, and how much of it is formed at conception?
In my opinion, I don’t think that your core personality type does change. I do believe that anyone can grow, mature, and learn to handle things better. We can understand our weaknesses and find ways to compensate for them. However, I do think certain traits will always be present.
My son, for example, is very introverted. He clams up in social situations and goes into observation mode. He gets exhausted and drained with social stimulation, yet he is recharged when he is at home playing by himself. Compared to other extroverted children, I’ve noticed a big difference.
Having said all of that, I do understand that some people believe that type can change, and that’s fine. I’m not dogmatic about the development of personality, and I’m not going to debate it. I’m not the MBTI police, and I’m not going to throw you in jail if you disagree. However, a lot of people have asked me this lately, so I thought I’d make a video about it.
In conclusion, I just wanted to share MBTI’s stance on whether your personality type can change. They say that it cannot change.