I

t took me a long time to have an interconnected group of friends, even longer to understand the interpersonal dynamics at play between us, and the longest to appreciate everyone’s unique role as a friend. There are planners, there are innovators, there are those who serve as the group’s glue, those who soothe tensions. There are spark plugs who make life more exciting.

Around the time my group of friends came together several years ago, I was getting really into the old psych principles behind the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. (Today, if you talk to me for more than an hour, I’m probably going to ask you if you know your four letters.) Although the MBTI framework isn’t completely infallible — some contest its usefulness (or misuse it) — I’ve seen the patterns play out in real life and have learned to appreciate personality differences in a new way as a result. Perhaps more than anything else, the system has helped me see that everyone plays a different role with different strengths. When it comes to friends, that realization has been crucial. It’s easy to fall into the trap of expecting everyone to react or behave exactly like you, or of thinking there’s a “right way” to operate, but expecting the same effort and energy from different people sets everyone up for failure.

Through meticulous (fine, obsessive) cognitive function research and near-constant behavior tracking, I started mapping out my friends’ unique roles in our group and in my life at large. This process has helped me continually notice my friends’ positive qualities and learn not to sweat differences as a personal attack on my way of being. Below, I’ve cataloged my findings of how the 16 different types translate to friendship style. Look for yours and tell me if I’m right on or way off. I never get tired of analyzing this stuff.


INTJ: The Corner Sage

The INTJ is one of the most independent, private types in the MBTI. You choose your friends carefully and invest your time wisely as to preserve your energy and still reach your goals. You don’t always show up to social gatherings, but when you do, you’re the fly on the wall observing everything — and handing out pearls of wisdom in the most unexpected moments. Everyone comes to you for advice. It’s exhausting, but it makes all your relationships worthwhile and full of purpose.

INTP: The Detached Philosopher

You pop in and out of your friends’ lives all the time, but never intentionally; you’re just introverted and kinda loathe plans. That said, you’re never far from the picture. You keep in touch in your language of memes and inside jokes, but you also provide your friends with intellectual fodder to chew on, theories about the world and philosophies about how one should “do life.” You only invest in relationships and ideas that make sense to you, and your friends count on that honest, forthright effort.

ENTJ: The Intense Leader

You’re crazy-passionate about everything you do. You are a straight-shooter, no-nonsense, “let’s do this” kind of friend because you’re here to BOND, dammit. You’re bold, you plan fun stuff for everyone you love and you show up for people. If your best friend needs to ask for a raise, you are on text offering advice. If she’s going through a breakup, you are buying her favorite wine, heading to her place and letting her spill for six hours on a work night. You view friendships as serious investments and, while your intensity can intimidate some people, your friends love you for your commitment.

ENTP: The Chameleon

Ever the innovator, you are friends with absolutely everyone in your periphery and are always down for anything. Discussion about AI? Sure! Venting about work? Of course. Taking a last-second camping trip? TOTALLY. In fact, you are such an optimistic presence that your friends tend to be blindsided when you take a step back from your role (you’re actually the most introverted of all the extroverts!). Your tendency to overcommit comes from a place of love and enthusiasm, but do remember it’s also okay to say no when you need time to yourself.

ISTJ: The Off-Duty Hero

ISTJs have a rep for being dutiful at work and in commitments, but in a friend group, this typically translates to the unsung hero of social gatherings. You quietly move things forward, whether it’s coordinating that trip everyone has seemingly dropped the ball on planning or simply getting your friend out of the same bar as her ex on a Friday night. You don’t get enough thanks for your low-key, uncomplaining, behind-the-scenes efforts, ISTJ. I know you like it that way, but do know you’re a rock to your friends.

ESTJ: The Background Best Friend

Ever the ambitious one, you’re often low on time to see your friends. However, you’re never far from view and want to see them excel in life, love and career. You have a great memory for details. You’re the first to send your friend a “good luck” text before her work presentation, will remember when she is supposed to move and ask if she needs help, and will move mountains to attend that destination wedding in the middle of an office crisis. You are not always constant, but you are a consistent, supportive, calming presence in the lives of your closest friends.

ESFJ: The Giver

As a friend, your thoughtfulness knows no bounds. You plan parties, give the most clever and attentive gifts, remember at least a half-dozen people’s hyper-specific coffee orders for bad days and send cards for your friends’ big accomplishments (and occasionally “just because”). You’re a detailed doer, but every action is taken with sincerity and emotion. When you’re half your massive friend group’s emergency phone call, you know you’re doing something right. (Just make sure you have a reliable number to call, too.)

ISFJ: The Glue

You’re the shy, understated one in the group. At a party, you’re hanging out on the wall as the people come to you. In the car on a road trip, you’re quietly soaking up your friends’ stories before sharing any of your own. On a Friday night, you’re gladly going along with the group plan. You seem happy, accommodating, fun! However, very few realize how you’re subtly serving as the group’s metaphorical bottle of glue. You keep people together, whether that’s by patching an argument between two friends or making sure everyone feels included.

ESTP: The Spark

ESTPs roll with the punches and smooth out pretty much any social dynamic. You’re not the most reliable friend ever — no one knows when you’re going to show up to a gathering or event, but everyone knows when you do show up. With your uncanny ability to read emotions and adapt to an environment, you instantly charm everyone with your wit and laid-back nature, and you’re the spark plug for spontaneous action. Although you might occasionally irk the “structured” types as you commandeer previously established plans, you usually find a way to improve upon them in the name of more fun and bonding. Chances are, said structured types will end up thanking you.

ISTP: The Team Player

You’re the kind of friend who, when mentioned, everyone nods knowingly like, “I love that woman.” You’re not the most emotive person on the planet, but you will always listen when your friend needs an ear. You might not plan events, but you show up to every single one. You might not be the most vocally encouraging, but you help out with tons of practical stuff, like helping change a friend’s flat tire or showing up with dinner when they’re leveled with the flu. No one ever has to ask you twice, and that’s some killer commitment.

ESFP: The Party Animal

You’re the most fun friend EVER. Everyone secretly wishes they had your gift of livening up a dead room in 10 seconds flat. But while you are “party” on the surface and lead with outward fun energy to loosen people up, you are also a passionate crusader underneath. You know what you want out of life and aren’t afraid to pursue it, all while remaining fiercely protective of your friends and encouraging them to pursue their wildest dreams.

ISFP: The Mystery

No one knows entirely what to make of you, and that’s not a bad thing. You’re artistic and soulful, funny and empathetic, fully engaged and then suddenly MIA — the kind of friend who will sit around for hours unpacking the mysteries of life with your closest friends before disappearing for weeks to chase other dreams and adventures. Even your best friends are finding new layers to your personality all the time. Your free-spirited independence reminds everyone to live life on their own terms.

ENFJ: The Facilitator

If there had to be a single person appointed as your friends’ unofficial leader, that’d be you. And it’s not because you are the most demanding or have the biggest personality but because you make everything easier. Your quiet confidence allows people to easily approach you and rely on you for wisdom. You are a unique blend of humble and caring and engaging. You make sure people feel welcome and see to it that plans actually move forward in the process.

INFJ: The Band-Aid

At once super-social and very reserved, it takes a while for you to learn your friends’ personalities and get a pulse of group dynamics. But once you’re fully integrated into a friend circle, you really want to help. Your powers of intuition and emotional “temperature reading” are magical, integral pieces of your friend group’s functioning. You are the “Band-Aid,” fixing problems others are not even aware of — whether it’s serving as counselor through a friend’s fight with her brother or snuffing out pointless gossip that might cause a rift. Just remember to take time to yourself: As an empath and an introvert, your gift to self is recharging with whatever serves you, be it bad TV or an adult coloring book.

INFP: The Soul Friend

The INFP is the kind of friend who five or six people call a “best friend” and almost everyone would call a “good friend.” Everyone loves to talk to you, and not just because you’re quirky and cool. You just connect easily with others because you know how to meet your friends wherever they’re at in a wholly non-judgmental way. If you’re at a get-together or night out, you start by bringing your optimism and energy but will inevitably end up having heart-to-hearts before the night is over. You’re the heart and soul of your group, a soother and an energizer, like comfort food on a rainy day.

ENFP: The Brainstormer

The ENFP is a thrill ride of never-ending ideas for bonding and growth, powered by a passion for bringing people together. As a friend, you are the perpetual brainstormer, both interpersonally and logistically. If two people have a problem with each other, you can usually intuit the best way to bring them back together. If your friend is planning a weekend away for 12 people, you are right there with a dozen cool ideas for how to make it more fun. Your goal is getting everyone on the same page, having the best time and doing new things, which is where your mental flexibility and people smarts come in handy.

Illustrations by Emily Zirimis.

Get more Brain Massage ?
  • omg the gif! i tried to click on the ISFP thinking it would open and reveal something too. im sorry for being dumb i got carried away

  • Adrianna

    I’m INFJ – I’ve always been told that I’m a good listener, probably because I am genuinely interested in figuring out someone’s individual personality and perspective on life.

    “Super-social and very reserved” is accurate, which confuses my co-workers because I’m either super chatty or completely silent for a week.

    And I LOVE bad TV and coloring books.

    • Elizabeth Tamkin

      me toooo!!! INFJ and all of the above

    • I’m an INFJ as well, and I always find it funny how the MBTI results always say it’s the rarest personality type yet I always come across so many in the MR comments section 😊

      euhemerist.com

    • Emily M

      Me too!! INFJ 100%

    • Lil

      Also an INFJ and super social&very reserved hit the nail on the head for me.

      • Same! Gonna steal that phrase to describe myself from now on…

      • Kiks

        I just did the test before reading this article. I got INFJ.
        Wow this is amazing.

    • Same!!!

    • coffeebee

      Same. I’m INFJ and I often tell new coworkers, friends, bosses, etc. that I can “take awhile to warm up” and understand everyone’s place, but once I do – you can’t get rid of me.

      • Adrianna

        I told the last person who hired me that I can be very quiet! Especially in stressful situations

    • Kattigans

      lol fellow INFJ person too and yep pretty much thats me, although no coloring book. But love me some bad bravo Vanderpump, summer house, Real housewives shit. Haha

    • Rosemary

      I love this INFJ party in the comments wow <3

    • The Eclectic Ginger

      I think one of the reasons why I’m so drawn to reading Man Repeller is because I’m a proud INFJ-er. Plus Man Repeller should host an INFJ meet up where we can all watch Real Housewives, eat snacks and color lol.

    • Jenna Birch

      Whoa, look at this comment thread! I absolutely love how strong the INFJ presence is here. <3

    • Morgan

      Fellow INFJ-er too! I always giggle at the “most rare type” saying about INFJs because I feel like all I ever see are people who are INFJ.

      • Jillian

        Hahaha, also INFJ! Is this how we find out it’s actually the most common type?! Or are we all just congregating around material about MB? Either way I love running into fellow super social reserved folks 🙂

    • In my experience, there’s nothing INFJs like more than patting themselves on the back for being INFJs.

      • Adrianna

        Thanks for sharing!

  • Abby

    I accidentally read the title as “What kind of fried egg are you?” and was momentarily so so so excited.

    • haha love it

    • Jasmin

      so did I!! Glad I’m not the only one

    • Lorange E

      I’m an over easy fried egg served on top of a salad with pickled red onions.

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    INTJ here! We are rare birds. Only 4 in every 500 women are INTJs. Famous INTJs include Michelle Obama and Martina Navratilova!

    • Jessica

      Hi fellow INTJ! I didn’t know we were so rare 🙂

    • Lauren

      Can we start a club for INTJ women? And can Michelle Obama be invited too?

    • Yes! Me too.

  • ESFJ party planner all. the. way. We had to take Myers-Briggs at work, and my personality description said multiple times how much I love parties. It also said that I take it too seriously and often think “you WILL have fun” … “Cause there ain’t no party like a Liz Lemon party because a Liz Lemon party is MANDATORY.”

  • ENFJ: The Facilitator – Yep, that’s me. Ugh, we have the least fun job ever helping people with their problems! LOL I feel like this circles back to my friend breakup comment a few months back, when someone shared how some people use the support and kindness for a time and then move on. #itallfits

    ENTJ: The Intense Leader = exactly my husband. His personality is “The General.” LOL

    Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

  • Anna Impson

    ISTJ – it’s so funny that you mentioned planning trips. I truly LOVE planning trips.

  • Charleen Taveras

    I can’t just be one. I am a couple, which also goes with the premise, depends on the friend.
    But, in no particular order, I’d say I’m good mix of: 5 ESFP – Party animal, ENTJ – Intense Leader, ENTP – Chamaleon, EJTJ – Background Bestfriend, ENFP – Brainstormer.
    Anyone else along these lines?

    • Yaya Aiyana

      I feel I’m a true ENTP(-A) in life, but in friendships I’m also a mix of all E-types. Let just say I’m very career driven, argumentative, hungry for knowledge and an absolute non-conformist, but for my friends I’ll try to overcome my flaws as a debater and become all of the above 😅

  • This article is…not inaccurate…

    ENTJ here.

    • Agree. ENTJ here also and this doesn’t sound anything like me. It just sounds like intense, overbearing Type A person, which ENTJs are not (necessarily).

  • NikNak

    INFP here! Which is why I now want to know what letters all of the manrepeller peoples have!

  • Diana McNeill

    Always so surprised at how accurate my Myers-Briggs is! Sincerely yours, Diana aka THE FACILITATOR

    • Sadie

      Me too! Loved learning my M-B: explains why I often end up as a leader on team projects but am also ambivalent / uncomfortable with the role… ‘facilitator’ totally resonates – lol although that does have negative connotations, ex. ‘enabler’ …which I def have also been in my life!

  • jiggahava

    ENFP, baby!

  • Autumn

    ISTP and this is quite accurate. Especially ” You might not plan events, but you show up to every single one.” I have dreams of wanting to plan dinner parties for my friend group but it’s just not in me

  • Roberta Roth

    I can 100% relate to my profile as a friend. By the way, it is ENFP.

  • Well, I have learnt my lessons and am now A Band-Aid in disguise only. Meaning I even make sure to appear too extrovert to listen or care.
    Too much drainage out there.

  • This is right on the money for myself (INTJ) and all of my friends. I am also fascinated by these. It’s almost creepy how easy it is to break people down. Haha!

  • Cassandra Coats

    INFP here. Mine isn’t precisely wrong, but it really is a way more extroverted description than is accurate. It’s more suited for an ENFP description than an INFP.

    If the INFP shows up to the party at all, they are busy doing the wallflower thing. They are also notoriously hard to get to know. And I highly doubt 6 people would call me a best friend. Maybe 6 people in my whole life maybe, and probably 2 currently, including my husband.

    And while we have “optimism and energy” it’s usually a pretty quiet optimism and energy (more encouraging and openness) unless you get us talking about one of our favorite topics. People are surprised when we suddenly open up, and get excited. That, or we get into very serious, deep discussions. But a lot of us are at a loss for general social conversation and small talk, and just listen (often uncomfortably.) But we are devotedly loyal to those close to us, and will show up to social situations to support those we love.

    • Susanna Booth

      I am an infp and felt this was so on. I am always connecting on a deeper level with people and am constantly making new non-superficial friends. I do have a few friends who are also infps, that are quite a bit more introverted than myself, so it may depend where you land on the extroversion-introversion scale. I did appreciate this description very much, because generally infps are referred to as shy or reclusive, but i generally dont feel that way. I feel I have much to offer in the way of encouragement and friendship.

    • laura

      YES.

    • Shane McKeever

      That’s a very good description Cassandra. As an INFP I am very private and reserved. I also don’t show any bias or judgment when I interact and this drives others to want to spill everything to me. They are quick to find comfort in talking to me, believing that I am this sponge that only absorbs. I can’t tell you how many times I am told something about someone else in a social circle, but I feel compelled to keep it to myself. I may think that I can read someone’s personality fairly quickly and, though not showing it, will know if I want to experience your company again in the future. Having a “best friend” is such a rarity. Someone who you feel you can trust with your deeper, but never deepest, secrets would take a lot of commitment that is not something I have a lot of. I could go on and on, ha ha. Thanks for sharing!

  • Nailed it — I’m an INTJ. I’m a super solitary person, but feel like I intensely value friendships when they resonate deeply with me. PS being a social observer is highly underrated in my opinion.

  • Heather Bryant

    I’m an INTP, but as what some would call an “empath,” I tend to have more “Feeling” than most Thinkers and sometimes score smack dab in the middle between T & F (I’m very good at intuitively understanding other’s emotions, but not so great at recognizing my own). BTW, an INTP with highly developed cognitive empathy is like the ultimate human lie-detector so don’t try to BS us, haha (we also won’t tell you that we know you’re lying… we’ll just let you dig yourself a deeper hole before causually calling attention to an inconsistency in your statement). I found the first part of the INTP description very accurate. Any friend I’ve had more than a few years knows I will occasionally drop off the radar and forget to return texts for a few months, and not to take it personally. The rest was fairly accurate. I actually related to the INTJ description because everyone comes to me for advice — including strangers and my INTJ friends! People I haven’t heard from in years call me up in a panic asking me to diagnose their symtoms and tell them whether they need to see a doctor, but also when they need to vent and cry it out. I’m a good listener and keep things in confidence due, in part, to my disinterest in gossip and social validation. And, as a Perceiving type, I feel I keep an open mind and make people feel comfortable sharing their darkest secrets in depth because they know I won’t judge and will just listen without jumping to conclusions. Even my INTJ friend claims he tells me things he can’t even tell his therapist. Maybe it’s a different niche I fill? Is this just the influence of F-type empathy at play? Because I am sooo not a J-type. I agree that the description for INFP was way too extroverted, as someone else mentioned. Most of the time I actually loathe group dynamics. I’m more the type to break away from the group for a meaningful one-on-one interaction. Most INFP’s I’ve known were also very friendly and open, but hung around in the background unless you engaged them.

  • Charlotta Hellichius

    ENTP all the way and DAMN this rings too true! Im up for anything, almost to a fault- but it make life so much fun!

  • Aydan

    SPOT ON. ENTJ here for my crew!

  • Pancake

    INTP – pretty accurate, to be honest I never really had one centralized friend group. I always had a lot of individual friends and only a few that were friends with eachother because i kinda just drifted through groups. when i started dating my fiance 8 years ago he brought me into his big friend group and its pretty cool to have a group of friends who are all friends with eachother. now excuse me while i try to figure out what all my friends personality types are…

  • Michelle

    There is a part of me that likes to think we are constantly evolving and I don’t like to pigeon hole myself into a “type”. I work with boards of directors and every year we do some type of personality profiling exercise. Mine always comes out the same every year, whether its Myers Briggs, TMS, DISC etc. I test as INTJ (every time – for the last 10+ years) and while the above is somewhat true of me, its not verbatim. I could easily be a wallflower at parties but I make an effort to go around, talk to different people, ask questions and learn about other people and their lives. I don’t feel like I need to be friends with everyone and at heart am quite introverted and, in the spirit of transparency, just want to be left alone in my mind a lot of the time! I do choose my close friends carefully and invest in those friendships. I dislike social gatherings, but I think its good to go outside of our comfort zones and push our boundaries. For me its resulted in a nice social circle. Learning about people who are quite different to me has resulted in enriching friendships. In life we only get back what we put in after all!

    • Kristin

      I am always so surprised at how much people resonate with their “type”…I can never remember mine and always end up having to re do the quiz (which prolly says something about my type)…but I wish I kept track of my result to see if it was always the same

      • LS

        I just said this above, but I have to do the same thing and I get different results every time.

  • Jenna

    Petition to start doing horoscopes based on myers-briggs types! Always so much more accurate for me than my astrological sign.

  • Kim J

    I though we’d all figured out that Myers-Briggs was a cash grab created by an unqualified quack? I’ve got some googling to do as I swear that was a thing.

    • LS

      That’s true. I always want to identify with one so I can join in with the “I’m an INTJ” thing but every time I take it I get a different result. Today I was ISFJ (I just took it again, so I could find my friend type) and I almost always start with I but other than that it’s all over the place.

  • Karen Lee

    Teehee this is my kind of horoscope article

  • Andrea Santambrogio

    None of the above. Any other profiles up for grabs?

  • Nono Ghannam

    ENTJ all right! My friends are so important to me 😌