Due to the prevalence of poorly-created personality tests online, there are an abundance of mistyped people who then go out into the world and perpetuate inaccurate information about personality. Take the INTJ type for example; the actual description of this type per Carl Jung is far different from the description you’d read in most online articles. Jung described INTJs (and INFJs) as “seers”, “mystics”, “artists”, and people prone to fantasy. Yet if you read many online descriptions of INTJs you’ll simply see them referred to as cold-hearted masterminds who are rational at the cost of everything else, including their relationships. The way many people describe INTJs could also apply to ISTPs, ISTJs, ESTJs, or ENTJs.
So what are the online myths that have been perpetuated about each personality type? How have they changed the perceptions of each personality type? Let’s find out!
Table of contents
- The Online Myths About Each Personality Type
- ISTJ Stereotypes vs Reality
- ISFJ Stereotypes vs Reality
- ESTJ Stereotypes vs Reality
- ESFJ Stereotypes vs Reality
- ISTP Stereotypes vs Reality
- ISFP Stereotypes vs Reality
- ESTP Stereotype vs Reality
- ESFP Stereotype vs Reality
- INTJ Stereotype vs Reality
- INFJ Stereotypes vs Reality
- ENTJ Stereotypes vs Reality
- ENFJ Stereotypes vs Reality
- INTP Stereotypes vs Reality
- INFP Stereotypes vs Reality
- ENTP Stereotypes vs Reality
- ENFP Stereotypes vs Reality
Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
The Online Myths About Each Personality Type
ISTJ Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotype: Boring rule-followers with no independent thoughts
The Truth: Reflective, focused individuals who trust proven, tested methods
ISTJs are highly rational individuals who trust what can be proven through actual use, experimentation, and logic. They can be skeptical of new ideas and theories simply because they haven’t been proven yet or they have no background data or observation to rely on. ISTJs are more than happy to incorporate new thoughts and ideas into their existing database if the logic seems sound.
ISFJ Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotypes: Boring traditionalists who live to serve
The Truth: Thoughtful, detail-oriented individuals with a profound knowledge of the past and how it affects the future.
ISFJs have a strong sense of the historical background of things. They notice what happened before, how that affects the present, and how it will impact the future. They are grounded in reality, but not just the reality of the present moment. They see everything through filters of what it once was. Objects and situations take on meaning because they sense unique personal impressions and histories in each thing. These types are also highly aware of interpersonal dynamics and can “read” people’s emotional states with startling accuracy.
Read This: 10 Things You’ll Relate to If You’re an ISFJ
ESTJ Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotype: Bossy, control-freaks who live to promote hierarchies (no matter how corrupt)
The Truth: Efficiency-focused individuals who value reason and responsibility
ESTJs are one of the unlucky types who are regularly described at an immature level rather than an average or healthy level. Average or healthy ESTJs are focused on competence, responsibility, and doing their part for the good of the whole. They don’t rally to a belief system unless it aligns with their values, and they don’t usually care about controlling other people unless there’s an important job to do and others are wasting time or too busy getting distracted to get the job done.
ESFJ Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotype: Busybodies who only care about gossiping and hugging
The Truth: No-nonsense organizers who are highly empathetic and detail-oriented
Immature ESFJs love to gossip, but this trait isn’t true of mature ESFJs. Healthy ESFJs are interested in creating an organized, harmonious environment which isn’t helped by spreading rumors. ESFJs are extremely grounded, down-to-earth individuals who are skilled at making sure the needs of the people around them are met. They are genuinely concerned about others and want to create a comfortable, friendly environment. They are tactful and aware of the space-needs of the people they meet. That said, I have it on very good authority that ESFJs do, in fact, love hugs.
ISTP Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotype: Mechanics, plumbers, and motorcycle racers who can fix literally anything while maintaining a cool, stoic expression.
The Truth: Highly analytical, clever individuals who are good at staying objective and troubleshooting in a crisis.
While ISTPs can sometimes be skilled at fixing things, this isn’t the limit to their intellectual potential. Mature ISTPs are tactical geniuses – they’re good at rapidly sizing up a situation and finding ingenious, resourceful solutions to problems. They’re also much more easy-going than the “lone wolf” descriptions would imply. They don’t like people who take themselves too seriously, and they usually have a laid-back quality about them. Often labeled “mechanics,” ISTPs can use their skills in a variety of ways. Sometimes their solutions are mechanical, sometimes they are not. Typologist Jennifer Howard (Facets Relational Care) says of ISTPs, “What introverted thinking and extraverted sensing together really create is someone who can quickly and accurately take in data from their immediate physical surroundings and synthesize it into a schematic of pre-existing information in their head. That schematic is then used to make quick decisions if need be and it’s incredible how spot on ISTPs are when they have to make decisions on the fly. It’s as if they know just what to do and just when to do it”
ISFP Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotype: Shy, weepy emo-types with impeccable fashion sense.
The Truth: Determined, adaptable individuals who want to fight for good and stifle any form of hypocrisy within themselves.
Contrary to popular opinion, ISFPs are actually quite guarded about their emotional world. This doesn’t mean they never cry around anyone, but if they do they’re likely to hate every minute of it. More than anything, ISFPs believe in being authentic and protecting their individual integrity, as well as the integrity of others. They can find meaning and purpose in nature, art, action, poetry, dance, and almost anything around them. They have a visceral sense of what’s right and wrong and will follow their moral instincts fearlessly.
ESTP Stereotype vs Reality
The Stereotype: Disloyal adrenaline-junkies who have no self-control and are always looking for sex or a fight.
The Truth: Extremely realistic, rational individuals who crave opportunities to act quickly and cleverly in the moment.
Unhealthy ESTPs are reckless. Healthy and average ESTPs are good at sizing up risks and acting with incredible dexterity and capability. They are absolutely the people you’d want around if there was a crisis that needed immediate practical knowledge. When it comes to big commitments, they need a lot of time to analyze and reflect before acting. However, once they’ve committed to a decision they are fiercely loyal.
ESFP Stereotype vs Reality
The Stereotype: Airheaded party-animals and shallow spotlight-seekers.
The Truth: Extremely realistic, conscientious individuals who believe in finding joy in every moment.
One of the dangers of knowing “just enough” about personality type is assuming that type accounts for every single behavior. Personality type tells us how the mind process information, but what someone does with that information can vary from person to person. This is certainly the case with the ESFP personality type. ESFPs are very aware of present-moment opportunities, details, and resources. They make decisions by assessing their personal values and what feels right to them. For one ESFP that might mean going to concerts and reading poetry, for another ESFP it might mean being a surgeon and taking care of their family. The one thing that all ESFPs have in common, however, is that they are realistic, adaptable, and make decisions by assessing their subjective values.
INTJ Stereotype vs Reality
The Stereotype: Cold, calculating robots who know every fact ever
The Truth: Visionary, imaginative individuals who feel things deeply and privately
INTJs are not overly-attached to their logic. They are more focused on noticing underlying meanings, seeing unusual perspectives, and envisioning possibilities. Logic is important to them; but they’re more likely to be visionaries than fact-checkers. They’re also more than happy to revise their logic if something more rational or profound is discovered. As far as feelings go, INTJs are not expressive of their feelings, but they do feel things deeply, thanks to their tertiary introverted Feeling (Fi) function. However, they may suppress how they are feeling to focus on the future or analysis.
Read This: 3 Weird and Wonderful Secrets About the INTJ
INFJ Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotype: Hyper-sensitive snowflakes who MUST BE SPECIAL
The Truth: Future-focused visionaries who want unity with others
INFJs are far more interested in understanding the overall scope and meaning of life itself than they are with analyzing their own emotions. Intuition is their driving function and Extraverted Feeling (attending to the feelings of others) is their co-pilot. They want to explore hidden patterns and understand how people think. They want to inspire people through finding common ground and a deep sense of unified purpose. Analyzing their feelings and craving uniqueness are things that are actually quite uncommon among INFJ personality types who want to be understood more than they want to be different.
Read This: 10 Ways INFJs Can Boost Their Creativity
ENTJ Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotype: Cold-Hearted Tyrants who Trample the Weak and Frail On Their Way to Success and Riches
The Truth: Ambitious, Visionary Individuals Who Want to Achieve Goals and Make Lasting Changes in the World
ENTJs are more focused on making long-lasting innovations and changes than they are on buying fancy cars and achieving monetary wealth. Yes, they are the second-highest earning personality type, but money is usually a byproduct, not the main goal, of their efforts. Most ENTJs won’t find true fulfillment in their ambition unless what they are doing is going to actually provide some positive, progressive impact. It’s also vitally important to them that they adhere to their own values and principles.
“Dominant thinking types usually are…so accustomed to putting aside their immediate interests for the sake of their principles that they lose sight of their own needs and priorities……The ETJs behavior can look self-oriented because these types will ignore others’ immediate interests as well as their own.”
– Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual (this is an affiliate link)
ENFJ Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotype: Phony, emotional busybodies who can’t think rationally to save their lives
The Truth: Highly-rational peacemakers who help unify people towards common goals
Yes, you read that right. ENFJs are rational. Extraverted feeling (Fe) is called a “rational” process because it filters incoming information in order of importance and then figures out what to do with it based on the most likely outcome. ENFJs organize incoming information in a systematic way. They assess people, their needs, desires, relationships, and social expectations, to respond to them in ways that will promote harmony or spur people towards their potential.
“Extraverted Feeling is likely to prompt the disregard of immediate emotional preference. Consider, for example, the Feeling type who dislikes his father’s new wife but is obliged by her category of relationship to include her in all the family get-togethers. What the man actually “feels” doesn’t matter. There is no way to leave out his stepmother and also meet the conventional standards of familial behavior.”
– Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual (this is an affiliate link)
INTP Stereotypes vs Reality
INTPs may not always have the cleanest rooms or the most perfectly coordinated outfits, but they are (usually) far from lazy. A stagnant mind is a horrifying thing to an INTP. They want to design and configure solutions to problems and create elegant theories and models that explain how the world works. They can get sidetracked, but that’s because they are usually more fulfilled by the pursuit of an unknown rather than the completion of a goal. Where a judging type might announce “I’m done!” every time they complete something, an INTP is more likely to be bored by the completion of something and already be moving onto another idea or project.
Read This: 10 Things You Should Never Say to an INTP
INFP Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotype: Emotional crybabies who avoid logical thought like the plague.
The Truth: Value-oriented individuals who prize integrity and authenticity
Contrary to popular opinion, INFPs are actually quite guarded about their inner emotions. Having a crying outburst in front of other people is humiliating for them and something they try to avoid at all costs. They are also quite capable of thinking logically. We must never confuse a feeling preference for a lack of intelligence. When INFPs are faced with big decisions they are more likely to use personal, value-based reasoning rather than impersonal, cause-and-effect reasoning. This doesn’t mean they are academically challenged, however. In fact, INFPs statistically get above-average grades in high school and get the second-highest SAT scores of all 16 types (MBTI® Manual – Third Edition).
Read This: 10 Things You’ll Relate to if You’re an INFP
ENTP Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotype: Directionless, hyperactive types who live to troll
The Truth: Innovative, logical thinkers who live to see their visions realized
ENTPs are far from directionless. In fact, if anything, they have too many directions that they are pursuing. They are so full of ideas and possibilities that it can be hard for them to decide which one to choose. That’s why it’s important for them to get in touch with their auxiliary function, Introverted Thinking (Ti). ENTPs who do this can analyze their ideas and see which ones are the most logically sound and sure to work. Healthy ENTPs are highly motivated and determined. As far as trolling is concerned, true ENTPs actually enjoy positive social feedback (via their tertiary function, extraverted Feeling). Negative social feedback is more likely to bother them than thrill them. That said, there are always exceptions. I’m sure true ENTP bullies exist, just as bullies exist in every personality type.
ENFP Stereotypes vs Reality
The Stereotype: Flighty, hyperactive flirts who can’t follow through on anything.
The Truth: Deep, abstract thinkers who yearn for personal growth
True ENFPs are much more concerned with getting to the bottom of an existing theory about life than they are about flirting; at least most of the time. They get excited about finding connections and patterns, pursuing ideas, and finding meaning in their pursuits. Shallow relationships and activities leave them feeling restless and unfulfilled. While they may struggle to settle down or finish projects, this is usually because they haven’t found their true passion yet. ENFPs who know what they want in life can be extremely determined and resilient in the pursuit of their goals.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you agree with the myths? Do you have any experiences or ideas you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!
Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, and The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
My name is Susan Storm, and I’m an MBTI® practitioner and all-out psychology lover. I’ve been studying Jungian typology as well as developmental & childhood psychology for over ten years. Along with blogging about personality type, I love taking care of my 5 children and staying up late reading Kierkegaard. I’m an INFJ personality type. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to find out more about typology!