The kinds of secrets you keep, based on your Myers-Briggs personality type

Jenna Birch
Contributing Writer
Photo: Alamy Stock Photo

Every Myers-Briggs type has a general vibe. ENTPs appear charming, ISFJs are shy and sweet, and ISTPs seem like adventurous rebels. But every personality is also keeping a unique secret, whether they’re aware of it or not. Secrets can run the gamut, from fears to insecurities, worries, struggles, or ways people feel misunderstood. So what is your, your best friend’s, or your partner’s hidden side? Truth be told there’s a way to figure that out with nothing more than Myers-Briggs.

Note: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test that helps us to better understand ourselves and the people who surround us in our day-to-day lives. It tells us what we do with incoming information — how we process it and use it to make decisions. If you don’t know your type, a quick online quiz can help you find out. (Or, of course, the official assessment.) For quick reference, each MBTI is made up of a combination of these characteristics.: Extraversion (E), Introversion (I), Sensing (S), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), Feeling (F), Judging (J), and Perceiving (P). 

ENTP: You struggle with the obligations of friendship

Of all the extroverted types, ENTPs really need to retain their sense of independence to feel balanced and happy. However, ENTPs also have a ton of friends, and see tending to their friends’ needs as a (joyful) obligation. But as you spread yourself thin trying to be there for others, you may actually grow to feel your friendships are more of a burden than a blessing. Before it gets to that point, remember it’s OK to put yourself first, to say no, and to prioritize instead of trying to cram everything in. You may disappoint someone you care about in the short-term, but save your sanity (and the relationship) in the long-term.

ISTP: Your independence masks a fear of relying too much on others

ISTPs are the chillest, most low-key and carefree people on the planet — or so it may seem. You always step up and help others out, because you want to. What others don’t realize is that you’d personally rather not rely on anyone but yourself. Why? You think it seems needy and weak and that relying on others could lead to potential disappointment. But in shunning the small potential drawbacks, you might be depriving yourself of major growth opportunities. Take small steps to rely on others, like dating someone exclusively or letting your friend help out with a project. Even little moves may have large gains.

ENFP: You can’t express your deepest emotions

You are the perpetual cheerleader, the consummate nurturer, and a passionate leader. At the office and with your friends, you always act empowered and formidable. You don’t let obstacles get in your way, and you will stop at nothing to achieve your goals. That said, your bold personality can often mask how deeply sensitive you are at your emotional core. You are not, in fact, immune to disappointment or setbacks — and if you don’t express that in some way, it might boil over and cause a bigger problem in your relationships. You can’t always fight fire with fire; learn to find the things that soothe you.

ISFJ: You wish you felt noticed

You are a constant (bright!) presence in the lives of others. You frequently make someone’s day by bringing a care basket, planning their birthday party, or fielding a late-night phone call when they need a listening ear. While you’d gladly do this for others, sometimes you wish others noticed your needs like you do theirs. Don’t forget, though, that you tend to hide your needs away from the spotlight, because that’s where you feel most comfortable. But remember, very few can read your mind. So, the next time a friend asks how you’re doing, it’s OK to let out the truth — even if that makes you the center of attention (eek!) for a short while.

ESTP: Love and friendship fills you, but commitment makes you feel weak

You love companionship. You love relationships. You have an epic social circle. However, you often fall off the map for periods of time, especially when the going gets tough. There’s just something about commitment that freaks you out. Truly giving yourself over to someone else’s agenda makes you feel weak; it’s the only “loss of control” you fear. Instead of silently being dodgy, start vocalizing your needs more, and try to look at commitment like an adventure. The more you show up for those you love, the more they’ll be inspired to show you more sides of themselves and have new experiences with you.

INTP: You don’t always feel you have authentic emotional reactions

You can usually pick up on the vibe of a room or the tenor of a moment, but do not always “feel” emotions like others might; you know the appropriate response, but rarely do you feel authentically overcome. This often leaves you confused as to why others react the way they do. Is there something wrong with you? There isn’t! You process information rationally first, then intuitively, then through the senses, and then finally on an emotional level. Not every situation requires a reaction on all levels, and that’s totally fine.

INFP: You still experience hurt and regret about your past

INFPs seem like happy-go-lucky optimists, but that’s just the surface-level appearance. Deep down, you are sensitive and caring. You collect loved ones wherever you go. And oftentimes, you dwell on regrets from your past, like breakups, mistakes, and old wounds that never quite healed. It’s important, however, to learn to let go of the past. To do this, you should focus on the new, and lean into new possibilities for your life and your relationships with others. In addition, do what you need to do to move forward, whether that’s apologizing for a perceived hurt you’ve caused or revealing your real feelings to someone you love. Dwelling isn’t healthy.

ENTJ: You wish you could give yourself over to love, sensitivity, and softness

ENTJs are very passionate people. You give your all at the office, in your hobbies, and to the people you care about. However, in romantic relationships, you struggle to fully give yourself over to the intensity of your feelings. There’s always a small voice in the back of your mind telling you that your love makes you vulnerable. This might be true, but don’t forget that embracing vulnerability is actually a good thing. It will allow you to have experiences you’d never have otherwise, deeper relationships and a more vivid emotional world. Tackle those fears like you would any obstacle at the office: head-on, with your vision for creating something incredible and the tenacity to pull it off.

ESFJ: You fear you are not enough

ESFJs tend to try very hard in their relationships, and invest a lot upfront, as soon as they meet someone with whom they click. However, couple that type of effort and enthusiasm with your inherent sensitivity, and you have a recipe for heartbreak. After a few misfires, you may begin to doubt yourself as a partner — but you’re the last person who should! You’re a natural mate, even if it takes a while to find the right person. If you’re dumped, remind yourself that you want a partner who is equally invested in you. If a relationship ends, remember that you want a significant other who helps you grow.

ESFP: You want someone to see beyond the playful exterior

ESFPs are often assigned the label of “partier” or “rebel.” However, you aren’t rightfully acknowledged for the positives you bring to the table outside of your carefree vibes. You are a caring friend, a passionate leader, and a romantic — for those who can access the feelings you hide. In many ways, you might fear others cannot see behind social mask you wear. Don’t be afraid to share slivers of your more sentimental side, and you might be surprised by just who makes you feel “seen” for your deeper complexities.

ESTJ: You’re not sure you know what you want in life

While ESTJs seem to have it all figured out, frequently adopting the role of leader or manager in the office, they are often a step behind when it comes to constructing a full life for themselves. You have probably been so hardwired to achieve success that you haven’t given yourself the space and time to explore traveling, friends, hobbies, or a steady relationship. So, start now. Focus on just one other area of your life that you want to invest in, and lean into it. Baby steps.

INTJ: Your cool, logical demeanor hides a passionate, intense emotional core

INTJs frequently have the reputation of being cold, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You are actually sensitive and passionate, craving intimacy and sweetness as much or more than many other types. However, because you feel so deeply, you may have conditioned yourself to lay an armor of logic and reason over fragile emotions, often keeping yourself from the sorts of relationships that might harm you. Learning to lay down your defenses can frequently lead to more satisfaction.

ISTJ: You’re more sentimental than you’d ever let on

The picture of strength and duty, ISTJs can come off as a little gruff or anti-fun. With that, you are frequently misunderstood. Although you know how to get the job done and perform your role in any system, you also have a ton of depth — and you’re supersentimental! You’re big on falling in love, always appreciate a thoughtful gesture, and tend to get nostalgic about family and friends. It’s great that you’re multifaceted, and others would surely appreciate this side of you if they knew it.

INFJ: You struggle to forget when a loved one wounds you

Of all the types, INFJs might be the most analytical and sensitive of all the types. When you are deeply hurt, and you work to address the issue with a friend or significant other, your tendency is to put on a good front and try to move on. However, this ritual often masks the truth: You tend to dwell on the behavior that wounded you and what it means about the person you love, or how it might affect the trajectory of the relationship in the future. While this is normal to some degree, it’s important to remember that hurt is a natural byproduct of close relationships. While patterns of hurt are unacceptable, one or two slights is not usually indicative of anything wrong with a relationship. Just human nature. If you’re still struggling with it, though, have a second conversation instead of continuing to dwell.

ENFJ: You constantly overanalyze and worry about everything

ENFJs are one of the more charismatic types, able to engage any audience or charm any conversation partner. You usually exude an aura of self-confidence, strength, and enthusiasm. However, your disarming qualities also downplay the level to which you feel insecurity yourself. You tend to be a perfectionist and want everyone to feel their best, so when things don’t go 100 percent smoothly, you often overanalyze, think someone will become upset, or beat yourself up for roadblocks. Sharing your fears and worries with a close friend can often help you overcome the cycle of overthinking you typically fall victim to — and really reduce the anxiety over your biggest stressors.

ISFP: You are emotionally shy, not intentionally mysterious

ISFPs are often accused of being mysterious in their allure, but that’s only the external manifestation of your deeper realities — particularly in the romantic realm. Shy with your emotions verbally, you’d much prefer to reveal yourself in more indirect ways, like sharing your favorite book, artist, or musician with someone special, being physically affectionate, or listening intently instead of laying bare your own soul. Since you also have a tendency to want your freedom, though, sometimes a potential flame can think you’re being dodgy. However, one quick conversation or declaration can often crystallize your emotions. Don’t be afraid to be bold for just a moment.

Jenna Birch is author of  The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love (Grand Central Life & Style, out now). Her relationship column appears on Yahoo every Monday. To ask her a question, which may appear in an upcoming post, send an email to with “YAHOO QUESTION” in the subject line.

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