Have you ever wished that you could go back in time and give yourself some much-needed life lesson or advice? Do you ever wish you could have a “do-over” and avoid some of the embarrassments that life inevitably hurls your way in adolescence? I asked each personality type what they would tell themselves at thirteen-years-old if they were given the chance. Here’s a look at some of the advice they would give their younger selves.
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Here’s What You’d Tell Your 13-Year-Old Self, Based on Your Personality Type
Young ENFPs are deeply concerned with others and are blessed with a boundless imagination. They enjoy pushing boundaries, and speaking out against rules or systems they find oppressive. More than anything else, these personality types wished they could encourage their younger selves to embrace who they were, quirks and all. They encouraged self-love, confidence, curiosity, and individuality.
“I’d tell myself not to worry about not fitting in now because like-minded people will be part of the future. Also, don’t be afraid of embracing your ideas and dreams about the future even if your ISFJ mom doesn’t support or understand that part of you.” – Ann
“I know that the other kids make you feel weird and different, and it hurts. But I promise you that you’ll love your personality. Give yourself permission to love yourself regardless of what others say.”- Peg Reilly
“Your value is not in any way based on what others think or say about you, including your family. Listen to your inner wisdom and stay true to who you really are. Don’t put up with hurtful, disrespectful, or abusive behavior from anyone. Protect yourself.” – A.L.
“It’s OK to be different, and if you wanna try a million things at once, that’s OK too…and don’t please everyone, you’ll tire yourself out.” – Ferosa
“Anything you think you eventually want to learn or do, the sooner the better. Don’t wait! There’s no perfect time for anything and you’ll always wish you began sooner. Follow your passions, this is your compass. No one is coming to save you. By the time you learn that lesson the sweetness of your romantic nature will leave you. The world is clearer on the other side of this loss, however.” – @JessicaVaugn, Twitter user
“There’s going to be a moment where reality and fantasy collide and it’s gonna be madness. So ride that wave. Before it gets better it has to get worse. Fight fear with curiosity. Don’t’ forget to go outside though – sunlight is good!” – @Kiddorasa, Twitter user
“Life is relatively easy now, so start loving yourself because in a few years you are going to struggle to stay alive. You’re so naïve, but I want you to enjoy that right now.” – @imbue_enfp, Twitter user
“Life’s an even bigger adventure than you can possibly imagine.” – @Inspire2074, Twitter user
Read This Next: The Best and Worst Parts About Being an ENFP Teenager
Young ENTPs are typically clever, creative, and unconventional. They enjoy hypothesizing, experimenting, and challenging the rules of authority figures. Many of the ENTPs who responded to my survey wanted to tell their younger selves to be more open with people about their feelings. Others would have pushed their younger selves to work harder and procrastinate less. They also felt that their younger selves should be more open to being wrong and less concerned with having to win every argument.
“No one is right about everything, no matter how much they act like they are. Trust your intuition and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.” – Andrew
“Manipulating people because you realize you’re good at it isn’t a good thing to dabble in; especially when it’s only done for personal gain. And people don’t solely exist to entertain you and distract you from your inner-emotions you’re pretending don’t exist.” – @Polyaries, Twitter User
“There are no shortcuts in life. Stop procrastinating and actually finish something. Start that now and your future will be a lot more eventful and exciting. Listen more too. You don’t know everything, and you’ll figure that out soon.” – Thomas
“Talking about your feelings is like having a cavity filled. It hurts, it sucks, you want to get it overwith, but it’s necessary. Just do it. It’ll save you a lot of grief and chaos in the future.” – Ryan
Young INFPs are deeply imaginative with strong convictions and great empathy. In their teen years they can struggle with loneliness, a feeling of not “fitting in”, or dealing with emotions that seem too powerful. These personality types encouraged their 13-year-old selves to embrace their individuality. They also wished they could motivate their younger selves to push harder to achieve their goals, do the things that mattered to them, and worry less about what society or others had to say about it.
“Create moments day by day of what matters to you rather than what others want you to do. You’re young and you are beautiful, no matter what anybody says. Also, find some type of way to make money at an early age. It’s hard out there.” – @AliatheSimple
“Don’t agonize over that boy, take your art more seriously, get into ballet, and go to the doctor for your depression before you’re 27.” – Alex
“You will make it through the lows. Embrace what makes you you. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Get out of your comfort zone. Speak up. I love you.” – @alonzovibez
“Be yourself, and never compromise. Ever. Accept loss. Work hard to be gracious to everyone, even those you don’t like. You will experience times of great despair, but treasure these moments, because that is when every ounce of hope and strength you will ever find will be born.” – James
“It’s good to be different, to daydream, to be goofy. You’re not being stupid or delinquent for having your head in the clouds, for looking far beyond the horizon for inspiration. Learn to appreciate yourself when others don’t, but do try to be on time more often.”- Allegra
“It’s okay to try even if you’re too scared, it’s okay to dream. Don’t limit yourself. It’s okay to love even though it hurts and feels like you’ve given more than what you’ve received. It’s okay to be yourself, everything will be okay, you’re still alive and kicking it well at 29.” – Arianne
“Most people have good intentions, and aren’t as scary as you think. Society tries to impose categories on us; these are limiting and cannot define us as individuals. I know you’re scared and angry, but this will pass. Work on developing your sense of humour. Oh, and listen to your mom when she suggests you try dance lessons; TRUST me on this.” – Paul Matson
“You aren’t born to please anyone. Be yourself even when your originality will give you hard times. And therefore be brave. Always. Have faith in your strength, even when you feel helpless, and learn how to ask help when needed. Pursue your dreams, and continue discovering new stuff every day. Maybe complete some project, someday.” – Samuel
“You really, really want to be a writer? Then start writing. Get a notebook and write down people’s conversations, ideas that pop up in your head, passages in books that hold your attention, what people are wearing, descriptions of your town, your school, and any place you go. Keep a journal and write in it every night. Buy a book on the craft of writing and work through it. If your parents tell you, “You have to pay the bills,” tell them, “I will pay the bills AND write.” Encourage and love yourself every day. You can do this and you will if you really want it.” – Lauren Lagergren
Read This Next: 10 Ways to Spark Your Creativity as an INFP
Innovative and analytical, INTPs are deeply curious as teens. They want to test arguments, explore new theories, and debate traditional/bureaucratic rules that parents or teachers uphold. The INTPs I spoke with advised their younger selves to embrace their individuality while being open to their own emotions and the perspectives of others.
“The world is not as black and white as you believe it is. Love is the most important thing and there is no checklist you can use to measure how well you’re doing. You are infinitely loved and are beautiful just as you are.” – Melissa
“Be unapologetically weird; even dark. Own it. Swim deep – you are closer than you think.” – Emily West
“Emotions happen to you, they are not part of you. Allow yourself to experience them fully and like a cloud they will pass by before long. They mean both nothing and everything – seek the underlying truth they point to without being washed up in the wave of their intensity.” – @mbti_insights, Twitter user
“Failure is an opportunity for growth. Embrace it, and enjoy it. Only by viewing yourself as a failure do you become one.” – @literaryjungian, Twitter user
“You’re not the only one in pain. Your friends want you to reach out, even though they haven’t said it. Stop trying to act so tough all the time. It’s okay to be vulnerable.” @IntPandora, Twitter User
“Having so few friends and people that you trust – it’s not because you’re deficient. You just haven’t found the right ones yet. But you will.” – @thymelord18
Read This Next: Why INTPs and INFPs Get Misunderstood
Young ENFJs often feel torn between pleasing their friends and adhering to their often non-traditional views. They are imaginative and visionary, seeking to understand interconnections and the potential in themselves and others. They encouraged their younger selves to accept their uniqueness, stay true to themselves, and seek meaning and authenticity.
“You are going to get more invested in relationships than others are with you. Find the loyal friends and share with them. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop being friends or loving the other people, just notice the ones who are loyal and invested in you. Don’t strive to earn affection. Just stay authentic and keep out of toxic, one-sided investments. You can’t save everyone. You can reach out, but know when to back up and protect your integrity and sense of self. People do see your worth.” – Allie
“You don’t have to try so hard, and you don’t have to judge everyone so harshly. It’s beautiful to see the differences in other people and how they’re actually pretty complimentary to everyone else. It’s not a race you have to win; it’s a marathon where you help others along the way!” – Neidy
“You are not too sensitive. Your sensitivity will actually turn out to be one of your greatest gifts. The world needs your sensitivity, idealism, and enthusiasm. You are not a weirdo and just because other types make life look so easy does not mean that you are doing anything wrong by being who you are and living with such depth and passion. It is okay that your life might not be a path that is predictable. That would be boring and it would mean that you are not living authentically. It is okay to need a life with meaning and purpose over a life with money and prestige.” – Lisa
“Yes, you don’t quite fit in…You’re a nerdy girl in a council estate in a deprived area, but you’ll be okay. You’ll have a fantastic job caring for others, and you’ll have the most wonderful friends and lots of them.” – Sam
“Keep on keeping on. Your strong will is going to end up benefiting you greatly one day.” – @Meghan LeVota, Personality Expert and YouTuber.
Strong-willed and intellectual, young ENTJs want the power to take charge of their lives and show their independence and competence. They want to challenge people and limits in their environment and realize their own vision. They would encourage their younger selves to look to the future and not get caught up in the temporary struggles of youth. They would also challenge themselves to do more intentional emotional processing.
“Your struggles as a kid will be your great gifts as an adult.” – Suzanne
“There’s nothing wrong with you. You are never going to “fit in” with most groups, but that’s okay. Sort through your emotions every so often instead of turning everything into anger. Eventually you will find people who appreciate your strengths.” – Bridget
“Let people feel the weight of you. Do not hold back your ambition because you think that others may not be able to handle dealing with you. Tell your loved ones how you feel as often as possible.” -@bama_buck, Twitter User
“Think big picture. Be nicer to your mom. Take out your anger on a pillow rather than in verbal assaults on people you love. Find smart people to build a business with.” – Reynold
Read This Next: Understanding ENTJ Thinking
Young INFJs are original thinkers who thrive in creative, open-ended environments. They often feel confused in adolescence as they try to find their place in a community or structure that feels at odds with them. They often feel uncomfortable in a world that is fast-paced, noisy, and full of peer pressures and rules. INFJs would encourage their younger selves to stay true to their identity, embrace their introversion, and be as kind to themselves as they try to be to others.
“As hard as it is to believe this, try. There is only this moment. You can’t strategize yourself forward or backward, you have to live this right now with immediacy. Check in to your life right now – not your future, not your past, not anyone else’s life. Show up for you.” – Cassandra
“I would tell my 13-year-old self how little lasting value there is to popularity and to stop being so sad about being in the “out crowd.” The desire to belong can get you into much personal difficulty. It is better to be and appreciate the person God created you to be.” – @SweetMewsic, Twitter User
“Get out of your comfort zone and pursue that which you truly want, even if you’re just curious. It’s okay to try new things and fail. The bridge from here to there is built on the planks of failure, and each one gets you one step closer.” – @robhyodo, Twitter User
“Embrace yourself. It’s okay to be different. You are who you are and accept that. Learn about your personality type so that you can understand yourself! You are always going to be there for everyone else, that is who you are, but make time for yourself. Don’t just say you’re going to do it. Go and do it. Take the book and go read under the tree. Find that place that is yours and claim it. And lastly, do not ever change who you are. People will not get you! That’s okay, don’t change for them. You are who you are and you’re amazing!” – Alice
“School doesn’t matter for you in the slightest. Fail it and go learn what you want to learn.” – @aMelonBaby, Twitter User
“You’re a diamond in the rough to those close to you and don’t let anything or anyone convince you otherwise. Just because you downplay your contributions doesn’t mean others automatically will too. Have faith that you & your opinions matter.” – @Skyebellsz, Twitter User
“Stop putting so much pressure on yourself socially. It’s okay to be independent and enjoy your own company. It’s better to be alone than in the company of the wrong crowd. Not caring what others think of you as much as you do will help with your mental health a ton.” -@cvb_1999, Twitter User
“It’s okay to love others more than you are loved in return. Don’t let yourself sink underneath your expectations; let them give what they’re willing and let them go when they’re done. Have peace, everything is temporary.” – Naomi
“You care deeply for others but you cannot help everyone, and sometimes, your good intentions can actually stop others from getting help or being where they need to be. Also, stop trying to be perfect, no one is perfect. Just do your best and that is more than good enough. Finally, you need alone time to recharge, make it a priority in your life.” – Jennifer
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Adolescent INTJs are anxious to rid themselves of the restraints of “childhood”. They will likely fantasize about their own independent future and focus on becoming competent, capable, and sure of their future vision. INTJs that I surveyed encouraged their younger selves to embrace what makes them unique and different. They also had some suggestions for their future career paths!
“Go to therapy and start antidepressants. I know it will be excruciating and terrifying to open up, but you are so much more than you think, you are capable of so much more, and the world is not as scary as it feels. Learn to have healthy relationships and set boundaries. This will be your foundation for your life. Set it up now and with care. Last, not everybody you love is good for you. Know your worth. Be the person you are looking for to complete you. And the things that scare you the most are the things you need to do. You need purpose and to be challenged in your work. Dream big.” @ceruleanblue81, Twitter User
“They’re never gonna understand you kiddo, so stop trying to fit in. Embrace your weirdness, you’ll be proud of that “freak flag” in 20 years, it’s gonna take you far.” – Erin
“You are afflicted by their abuses because of your strength, your inner truth, your intelligence and your power. You will make it out and outshine them even more later. Your sufferings are directly related to your gifts. Never let them win. Always stay true to yourself. The world needs more people like you!” – Valerie
“Don’t assume the louder people will be better friends than the quiet ones. In fact, look for the quiet ones and engage with them more.” @michaelt888, Twitter User
“Keep on doing what you’re doing, you’re on the right path, no matter how slow your steps get and how depressed you are, there’s a way out and you’ll get there on time. Just hold on to your lifeline; the one who created you. Always remember, God will save you.” @M_anzana_, Twitter User
“Meaning is out there – you will find it and it will make your life beautiful.” – @HGPhilology, Twitter User
“I’d tell myself to push myself more in drawing, and to not let all my family/friends telling me I’m naturally talented cause me to get stagnant. I didn’t know then that I’d end up being an artist professionally, and I wish I’d put in more mileage earlier on.”- @god_of_sassgard, Twitter User
Read This Next: The Shadow of the INTJ Personality Type
Friendly and enthusiastic, adolescent ESFPs enjoy the social aspects of their teen years. They like being active, learning through experience, and are usually impulsive and people-oriented. Adult ESFPs encouraged their younger selves to study hard, embrace their individuality, and live with joy.
“Don’t be a people pleaser! People will step over you! Also, believe in yourself and don’t let others tell you what to do! You shine! It’s your life!” – Eliana
“Study. It only opens more doors for you, and doesn’t exclude any options.” – Julia
“Just because someone is there doesn’t mean they should be. Trust yourself more. Maybe put down the candy and go for a jog.” – Danielle
“Play sports.” – Carlos
“Be your genuine self and forget the ones who don’t accept you! Be loud, happy, and free!” – Stanethia
“Just do it and see what happens. Don’t let the fear stop you.” – Jeff
“Don’t quit ballet! Stop trying to be cool!” – Lisa
“Choose dance and drama, not modern history and accounting.” – Gaui
“Leave the stupid little boys alone and concentrate on school” – Amina
“Be nice and kind to everyone – that’s more important than being the most popular.” – Tracie
“Don’t play too much, you have to study” – Egga
“Learn how to take criticism and deal with conflict.” – April
“This nightmare will not last forever. You are smart and creative. Follow your heart and don’t let false labels, given to you by adults who really don’t know what they are doing, define who you are. You deserve so much better. You learn differently and you perceive the world differently than others. You are strong and not defective. Never forget that you are loved. It is your power.” – Alice
Adolescent ESTPs are typically full of vitality and enthusiasm for life. They need a lot of outlets for their energy and will enjoy testing the limits of their environment, thereby improving self-confidence and resilience. ESTPs I surveyed would encourage their younger selves to slow down and think about the future consequences of their actions. They also encouraged themselves to think outside the norms when it comes to their future career choices.
“All choices you make have life-long consequences. Enjoy each moment, but consider how it affects your future. Study harder. Apply your talents into something meaningful. Finish what you start. Become self disciplined. Clean your room. Learn to really hear what other people have to say. And, for goodness sake, stop wasting so much time reading silly teenage magazines and fluffy romance novels.” – Joani Sedlak Gill
“Finish what you’ve started. The next thing you can’t wait to start will be there when you’re done.” – Daniel Storm
“You hate school and that’s okay. You were made to figure things out in your own way, through real experience and hard work. It’s okay that you’re gonna fail a lot of your classes. Start learning how to sell your own things, fix your own things, and learn enough basics to help you survive. The stuff you need to learn isn’t in a geometry book or a stuffy classroom. It’s out there in the world around you.” – Jasper
“Trust in yourself. Trust your perspective. Less emotions than others doesn’t mean there is something wrong. Chick flicks are propaganda, don’t get sucked in. It’s OK to be violent when circumstances require.” – @bigmikemcneil, Twitter User
Thirteen-year-old ISFPs strive to be faithful, compassionate individuals with strong convictions and values. They are still trying to figure out what those values are, however. Adolescence can be a struggle when there are so many big decisions and big feelings to sort out. Adult ISFPs would encourage their younger selves to enjoy life more, to not worry so much about what others think, and to accept the quirks that make them stand out.
“Stop trying to fit in or find your “group”. You don’t need a group. You just need to love yourself, lighten up, and enjoy whatever life has for you in this moment, here, right now. Stop worrying about your clothes, your hair, your playlist. Find the songs that echo the passions of your soul. Wear the clothes that make it possible for you to run and dance. Your curly, lively hair will be a source of pride one day so stop hating on it.” – Angela
“Stop worrying so much about what others think or do. Open up a bit more and enjoy life. Even though you care so much about others, you can’t always help them make the right choices. Also, it’s okay to be more into horses than boys! Lol!” – Amy Good Carman
“God sees you. Try harder in school. This too shall pass…quicker than it feels.” – Mila Mensah, ISFP singer
“Stop being such an elitist. Learn to accept others.” – @KiddKitchen, Twitter User
“I’d tell my younger self to not be as rigid in what you believe. Those “friends” whom you have been with for years aren’t your friends anymore, quit being around them. Do not beat yourself up. Take up those skills earlier because are talented. It doesn’t matter what others say. Quit going to that religion club. You can’t push being the fact you are gay with religion, especially around those who are not true Christian’s. And last thing do what you want to do with your life not what our parents what us to do.” – @OfIsfp, Twitter User
Read This Next: ISFP Personality Profile
Only a few ISTPs responded to my survey, but the ones that did encouraged their younger selves to persevere, focus on the future, and remember that life won’t always be as tedious as it feels right now. Young ISTPs are typically free-spirited, rebellious, and independent. They strive to be competent and know the practical skills that are needed for a successful life. They love to have fun and to push the limits of their environment, testing their capabilities and challenging themselves both physically and mentally.
“The discipline and time required to learn an advanced skill is not a jail sentence. It is a gift given with little cost of time, and the perseverance you develop will free you in ways you can’t begin to imagine at your young age.” – Heather
“Life is boring right now. Your parents try to micro-manage you and the school gives you a bunch of lame, repetitive work. Keep your grades up, though. You’ll be glad you did in the future. Keep pushing against your parents rules, but don’t be an imbecile. You’ll have kids someday and figure out that it’s not as easy as you thought it was.” – Jim
“Don’t take up drinking. It’ll ruin your life. Get your thrills from skateboarding, mountain biking, snowboarding, (safe) sex. You’ll be a lot happier and you won’t screw up the relationships that matter most to you.” – Johnny
Read This Next: 10 Things You Should Never Say to an ISTP
At their best, adolescent ESFJs are loving, authentic, and empathetic individuals. They care deeply about their communities and friends and want to make their environment a more harmonious place. In the teen years they tend to struggle with peer pressure and sorting out all the big decisions that will impact their future. The impending change of adulthood can be a difficult time for them, but they learn to navigate it with consistent emotional support from friends and family.
“Be warned; you will be crushed to dust, you will be rebuilt, and you will be crushed to dust again, and this will repeat. However, life will eventually get better; it will be hard journey, and you will need to be strong, but one day, you WILL be loved, and you WILL have not just one intimate friend, but many and you WILL find that which you seek most.
Until then, respect yourself enough to stop giving your heart to people who won’t receive it, and don’t pursue those who cannot or will not love you back. Be patient, pursue YOUR dreams, work on growth and healing, and never give up. You will make it, and when you do, you will thrive, and you will burn like the sun.”
– Dommy Cruze
“Life feels like it’s too much to bear right now. You don’t know where you belong and your family is always moving and settling in new places. You’re shy and desperate for friends. Just be yourself. Don’t forget your roots, your beliefs, what makes you you. Don’t lose yourself in your effort to find a “kindred spirit.” Just be patient. Life gets better. All this confusion will actually make you stronger in the end.” – Melissa
Capable and down-to-earth, young ESTJs want to prove to the world that they are able to take care of themselves. They strive for independence and stability, both pushing towards and pulling away from their families. They are typically full of energy yet hard-working, often channeling their energy into worthwhile pursuits and goals. Adult ESTJs would encourage their younger selves to communicate their thoughts in a way that will be respected by others. They also challenged their younger selves to stay true to their beliefs and values.
“Stay true to yourself. You can’t make everyone happy. Do what is best for you. Learn how to best speak your mind, so you get your point across without causing too much grief. Don’t give up your true self for others’ happiness.” – Paula
“Don’t be afraid to have guys for friends and don’t bend over backwards to have girlfriends either. Choose a job that you will excel at and make good money so you can support others’ dreams if you want to. Learn the right way to speak your mind. Share your goals with others every few months, even if they haven’t changed.” – Amy Pluth
“Stop being so judgmental. The world isn’t as black-and-white as you think it is. Learn to lighten up and share your truth and wisdom with love. It will be accepted so much better. You’re doing pretty good, keep being you, but just with a little more grace for others.” – Laura
Adolescent ISFJs like having responsibilities and are remarkably self-disciplined and focused on their goals. They like a well-ordered life and strive to be seen as competent yet caring. Adult ISFJs would encourage their younger selves to try new things, stand up for their needs, and spend time with the people that are important to them.
“I would tell myself to just relax and be yourself! Not everyone is going to like you, but that doesn’t mean the world is ending! Just continue being kind and compassionate, but DON’T be a doormat! You can even (gasp!) say “No” sometimes!” – Maryellen
“ I’m an introvert and that’s why I get so very frustrated being around people alllllll day at school and why I start getting mad at people for no reason. Also, I’d tell myself that it’s ok not to be chatty. Oh, and not to date that one guy.” – Emily
“The only way to become more confident is through experience—so go out and have experiences. Get out of your comfort zones. But also recognize it’s good to set boundaries for yourself, too. One day you’ll look back and realize how far you’ve come.” @thatoneisfj, Twitter User
“Spend as much cherished time with your grandfather as you can.” @Michelle_1486, Twitter User
“One day, you’re going to realize why you always felt different & kind of broken, but you’ll see that you’re fine as you are. Please don’t feel heartbroken after your last high school break up and let it go because you’ll make mistakes from those feelings. Be wise for us.” – @YesusCamacho, Twitter User
Read This Next: The Shadow of the ISFJ Personality Type
Adolescent ISTJs are known for their focused, down-to-earth nature, and their increasing need for privacy. These strive to become more and more independent as the teen years progress, craving more personal space and authority in their own lives. They are usually careful and cautious with their decisions, anxious to perform well in school and gain one or two trusted friends. Adult ISTJs would encourage their younger selves to accept change, be more open-minded to others, and enjoy life more.
“You aren’t responsible for everyone. Let them make their own mistakes. Give people the benefit of the doubt; not everyone sees things the same way, and that’s OK.” – Ilona
“None of this is as serious as you’re taking it. Lighten up and enjoy the moment.” – James
“Be more decisive – do not procrastinate.” – Mark
“Change is scary and disruptive but without it, you can’t grow.” – Colleen
“Become comfortable with the idea that you’re wrong about some things.” – Zach
What Are Your Thoughts?
Did you enjoy this article? What would you tell your 13-year-old self? 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, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
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