What Each Myers-Briggs® Personality Type Needs in a Long-Distance Relationship
When it comes to relationships, almost none are as challenging (or as beautiful) as long-distance relationships. Though they will never be the easiest, research shows that people in long-distance relationships have a strong chance at thriving.
“Most studies have found equal or even higher levels of satisfaction, commitment, and trust in (long-distance dating relationships) compared to geographically close ones,” writes Laura Stafford in Maintaining Long-Distance and Cross-Residential Relationships
Atlantic writer Joe Pinsker asked researchers for their best advice for sustaining long-distance relationships. They said:
“1. Communicate over a variety of platforms to make up for the constraints of each (and write letters, which can serve as nice physical reminders of the relationship).
2. Come up with a plan for how and when to have hard conversations.
3. Share small, mundane details and, when possible, everyday experiences, such as streaming a movie together.
4. Make time for both routine check-ins and spontaneous conversations.
5. Remember that living together might be an adjustment.”
Besides these tips, there are other ways you can ensure the health of your long-distance relationship. By understanding your partner’s personality type and specific romantic and emotional needs, you can have a better chance of thriving in your relationship.
Not sure what your personality type is? Take our new personality questionnaire here. Or you can take the official MBTI® here.
What Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type Needs in a Long Distance Relationship
Table of contents
- What Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type Needs in a Long Distance Relationship
- What ENFPs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
- What ENTPs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
- What INFPs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
- What INTPs Need in Long-Distance Relationships:
- What ENFJs Need in Long-Distance Relationships:
- What ENTJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
- What INFJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
- What INTJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
- What ESFPs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
- What ESTPs Need in Long-Distance Relationships:
- What ISFPs Need in Long-Distance Relationships:
- What ISTPs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
- What ESFJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
- What ESTJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
- What ISFJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
- What ISTJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
Estimated reading time: 22 minutes
What ENFPs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
For ENFPs, the challenge of a long-distance relationship is often met with excitement rather than trepidation. Challenges inspire creativity, and this is something ENFPs have in spades. They love learning about themselves, their partners, and even the world in new ways when they are separated by miles.
Because ENFPs are so future-oriented, they’ll enjoy dreaming up future visits – imagining them in elaborate detail and then leaving it all up to spontaneity in the end. The most important thing is that they feel genuine trust in their partner. Openness and transparency are crucial. But simultaneously, ENFPs need space to be free. Partners who constantly keep an eye on them or seem mistrustful or insecurely clingy will not have the effect they are aiming for. When ENFPs feel mistrusted, trapped, or overwhelmed by someone, they’ll naturally try to break free from the relationship.
Summing Up What ENFPs Need:
- Discussion about ideas and possibilities
- Opportunities to be creative together
- Space to have time to themselves
- Empathy and emotional connection
- Reassurance that they matter
- Authenticity and trust
- Dreams and discussion of the future
- Occasional visits in person
- Sentimental tokens of their partner’s love
- Special routines that they can count on with their partner
Read This Next: The Flirting Style of the ENFP Personality Type
What ENTPs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
For ENTPs, a long-distance relationship is an opportunity to experiment with intimacy in new and exciting ways. They love learning about themselves and their partners, and distance can make the intellectual side of getting to know someone more viable. The challenge of it all ignites their creativity, and they’re likely to come up with 1001 ways to stay close across the miles. From board game dates through Zoom to engaging in long-winded phone conversations that last for hours, ENTPs will be constantly working on new ways to keep their relationships fresh.
Seeing a partner only once every few months is a challenge, but ENTPs are up for it. They need a partner who has a sense of autonomy and fun; who isn’t daunted by the challenge but willing to experiment with ways to stay connected. They also need to have some space to be themselves outside of the relationship. Some people want their long-distance relationships to be all-consuming. ENTPs need some space to pursue their own independent interests. People who cyber-stalk them, constantly question their whereabouts, or try to micromanage their lives will feel suffocating.
Summing Up What ENTPs Need:
- A sense of autonomy and fun
- New and exciting ways to stay connected
- Space to pursue independent interests
- Creative challenges and projects to do together
- Genuine trust
- Openness and authenticity
- Willingness to experiment with new things
- Intellectual, open-ended conversation
Read This Next: The Flirting Style of the ENTP Personality Type
What INFPs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
INFPs have the creativity and imagination to make a long-distance relationship beautiful and inspiring. Future-oriented and thoughtful, they will enjoy daydreaming about future visits and exploring all the possibilities that the distance can provide.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Possibilities? In a long-distance relationship?” Yes, you read that right. INFPs can find a way to make long-distance relationships romantic in a way that in-person dating just can’t replicate. They are often gifted at writing; and their imagination comes alive when they aren’t overwhelmed by the physical. Thus, in long-distance relationships they often have dozens of ways to keep things fresh. Whether that means they’re writing poems to their loved one, falling asleep with their phone next to them so they can hear their partner snoring, reading each other’s favorite books, or sending love letters.
INFPs need to feel that their partners are up for the challenge of long-distance love. Regular assurance of their partner’s feelings is an essential need. They also need their partners to be open and authentic than they might otherwise feel comfortable being. It’s hard for INFPs to cultivate intimacy with someone who is protecting themselves behind walls, so those walls will need to come down if the relationship is going to flourish long-distance.
Summing Up What INFPs Need:
- Regular assurance of feelings, thoughts, and plans
- Genuine openness and transparency
- Authenticity and trustworthiness
- Creative ways to stay connected
- Empathy and emotional maturity
- Space to explore their own ideas and interests
- Opportunities for adventure/new experiences together
- Romantic gestures; poems, love letters, symbolic gifts, music playlists
- A sense of romance, imagination, and sentimentality
Read This Next: INFPs and Their Compatibility with Every Myers-Briggs® Personality Type
What INTPs Need in Long-Distance Relationships:
INTPs thrive when they have a sense of autonomy and latitude, so a long-distance relationship doesn’t seem daunting initially. As introverts who need lots of alone time to recharge, the challenge of maintaining a stable connection from afar can feel exciting rather than draining.
The INTP‘s chief complaint about being in a long-distance relationship is feeling left in the dark. The gaps in communication and their own reserved nature can leave them feeling confused (as well as their partner). They may struggle with expressing themselves or struggle to understand their partner’s needs without the added data point of eye contact and physical affection. It is especially difficult for them to deal with passive-aggressive partners because the lack of physical expression can make them oblivious to the issues. It’s crucial for partners to be direct about their needs and worries, rather than using the silent treatment or being sarcastic to cope.
Summing Up What INTPs Need:
- Clarity and directness in communication
- The ability to be creative, experiment, and imagine with their partner
- Space to pursue their independent projects
- Affirmation for their feelings
- Intellectual conversation
- Patience with their more analytical, quiet nature. It may take them a while to be able to express romantic, emotional feelings comfortably.
- Special routines or digital dates together
Read This Next: The Flirting Style of the INTP Personality Type
What ENFJs Need in Long-Distance Relationships:
Long-distance relationships are especially difficult for ENFJs because they thrive on being able to express themselves physically. As readers of body language and eye contact, they thrive when they can interpret their partners visually. They also crave physical touch and comfort and can struggle with the lack of physical intimacy.
But long-distance relationships are certainly not impossible for ENFJs. They are skilled at thinking outside the box and will come up with creative ways to stay connected. From asking thought-provoking questions to binging a Netflix show together, they’re never at a loss for finding new ways to communicate with their partners.
Summing Up What ENFJs Need:
- Regular contact and intimacy (through planned out visits)
- Freedom to express their true feelings without fear of seeming needy or clingy
- Affirmation for their feelings
- Creative, thoughtful gestures
- Symbolic or sentimental gifts or tokens of love (a mixtape of love songs is a perfect gift)
- Affirmation for their intellect and wit
- Someone who can handle deep, thought-provoking conversations without getting scared off.
- A vision for the future of the relationship
What ENTJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
ENTJs are going to scrutinize the logic of a long-distance relationship before they embark on it. Is there a chance they will ever be able to live in the same location as their partner? What pros and cons are involved? What is the feasibility of the relationship lasting in the long-term? If they’ve explored all the rationale and the relationship still seems plausible, they’ll find creative ways to make it work.
For ENTJs, straightforwardness and direct, clear communication are vital. Passive-aggressiveness, the silent treatment, or a partner who expects them to “mind read” will irritate and frustrate them. They expect a partner who is direct and to the point, someone they can rely on to be honest about their needs and thoughts without beating around the bush.
Summing Up What ENTJs Need:
- Clarity in communications (be as clear and direct as possible about what you want)
- Regular and steady means of communication (video chats, phone calls, etc.)
- A partner who can hold their own ground and share their thoughts clearly without getting hypersensitive or dramatic
- Intellectual, thought-provoking conversation
- Genuine interest in what they’re passionate about
- Dependability and authenticity. Someone who won’t flake on plans.
- Some form of digital intimacy if the relationship is long-distance for a long period of time
What INFJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
The INFJ will thrive in long-distance relationships as long as their partner isn’t afraid to be authentic and communicative. Because they’re naturally future-oriented, the idea of waiting to be together doesn’t terrify them as much as it does certain other types.
Most importantly, INFJs need to feel emotionally connected in order to be happy in a relationship. Thankfully, emotional connection is easy to cultivate long-distance, as long as they have the right partner. INFJs love emails with deep questions, personal insights, and stories of their partner’s life. Watching movies together long-distance or reading books and sharing thoughts is also an activity they adore.
INFJs need authenticity and depth in their relationships. They tend to be very sensitive to emotional subtleties, so dishonesty or lack of emotional intelligence will frustrate them and can turn them off of the relationship entirely. They also need space to have their own quiet, alone time. If their partner expects them to spend every spare minute of their alone time talking to them, they will quickly exhaust their INFJ partner.
Summing Up What INFJs Need:
- Emotional depth and empathy in their partner
- Regular communication via text/phone/video
- Creative ways to connect (reading together, watching shows, playing games, working on creative projects and mailing them to each other, etc,.)
- Dependability and trustworthiness
- Intellectual stimulation (shared hobbies, conversations about life, etc.)
- A vision of where the relationship is going to go in the future
- Time to do their own thing when they have alone time
- Someone who is logically consistent and doesn’t get emotionally dramatic and irrational quickly
Read This Next: The Flirting Style of the INFJ Personality Type
What INTJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
INTJs are highly independent people who enjoy having space to themselves, whether they’re working on a project or relaxing and letting their minds wander. Yet even as one of the most reclusive introverts, they still crave some degree of emotional connectivity with their partners. Having regular video calls, Zoom dates, or visits in person is essential to the health of the relationship.
For the INTJ, depth of insight and intellect are crucial in a partner. This doesn’t mean that their partner needs to be the valedictorian of their high school class. But it does mean they need to have curiosity, the ability to think rationally, and an interest in abstract concepts and understanding the overarching mysteries of life.
The INTJ’s partner needs to be direct and upfront about their feelings, thoughts, etc., as well as consistent in their actions–especially when it comes to showing up at agreed-upon times. If an INTJ has any doubt that they can rely on their partner or trust their words, the relationship will not work.
Summing Up What INTJs Need:
- Regular, scheduled communication via chat/video/phone
- Authenticity and honesty
- Creative ways to connect (discussing books or theories, watching shows together online, playing games, working on creative projects together)
- Intellectual stimulation (shared hobbies, learning something together)
- Clarity and directness in communication
- A vision of where the relationship is headed
- Patience with their often deeply-held, but private, emotions
- Respect for their alone time and autonomy
Read This Next: INTJs and Their Compatibility with Every Personality Type
What ESFPs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
ESFPs are enthusiastic, friendly people who love social activities. While they can commit to a long-distance relationship, the lack of stimulation will quickly drive them stir-crazy if there aren’t regular visits or activities to engage in with their partner. They crave physical affection and new experiences with their partners – so promises and plans of future meet-ups are crucial.
Emotional authenticity is mandatory in a relationship with an ESFP. They need a partner who is up-front about their feelings and doesn’t put up a lot of emotional walls and barriers. Being in a long-distance relationship takes emotional maturity and reliability on the part of both partners. If there’s not enough trust or dependability, the relationship won’t work.
ESFPs need a partner who they can have fun with, but they also need their partners to be able to respect their space and freedom as well. ESFPs hate feeling trapped or micro-managed, so a partner who is clingy, overwhelming, or always “checking up” on them will quickly turn them off.
Summing Up What ESFPs Need:
- Emotional authenticity
- Regular communication via chat/video/phone calls
- Strong emotional support and empathy
- Creative ways to connect (Sending each other gifts, watching Netflix series together, planning adventures/trips, etc.)
- Lots of physical affection when together (hugs, kisses, etc)
- Respect for their freedom and autonomy
- Flirty texts and correspondence
- A sense of fun, playfulness, and adventure
What ESTPs Need in Long-Distance Relationships:
ESTPs are active individuals who enjoy intimacy and fun in a relationship. For that reason, long-distance connections can seem especially challenging. They want to take their partner out and show them a good time or cuddle them when they feel like it. But in a long-distance relationship, the only stimulation they get from seeing their partner is when they Skype or talk on the phone. They want to connect in real life and enjoy physical affection with their partners–something that can be especially difficult when apart.
If you want a long-distance relationship with an ESTP to work, you need to have regular in-person visits whenever feasible. And if you can’t visit, try to make video calls engaging by doing something with them, whether that’s playing a game, going for a walk, or planning an elaborate “Zoom date” where you dress up, flirt, and watch a fun movie together.
ESTPs appreciate clarity and directness and will quickly get frustrated if they’re expected to be mind readers. Partners of ESTPs should be clear about their expectations and worries rather than being passive-aggressive or using the silent treatment. They should also try to give the ESTP physical reminders of them – a shirt they’ve worn, a love letter sprayed with the perfume they wear, etc,. ESTPs are very tactile individuals and appreciate physical tokens that remind them of their partner. They also appreciate digital intimacy; whether that means sending intimate photos (safely), or exploring what they want to do physically when they’re with their partner again.
Summing Up What ESTPs Need:
- In-person visits whenever feasible
- Regular communication via chat/video calls
- Clear, direct communication
- Physical reminders of their partner
- A partner who is willing to be a little bit spontaneous or creative with their dates (Skype dates can be fun if they’re inventive)
- Lots of physical intimacy when together
- A sense of fun and adventure
- Flirting & photos that remind them of their partner
What ISFPs Need in Long-Distance Relationships:
ISFPs are very creative individuals who crave intimacy in their relationships. They will enjoy the excitement of a long-distance relationship for a while, but they need to feel emotionally close with their partners in order for things to really work out. Empathy is absolutely crucial; a partner who takes the time to ask them about their day and actively listen and validate their feelings is mandatory.
ISFPs will appreciate things like carefully-thought out love letters, small gifts sent at opportune moments (“just because” gifts are great for this), or photos of random things their partner is experiencing throughout the day (or just a smile selfie).
ISFPs are also highly tuned into physical cues so being in a long-distance relationship can feel frustrating for them when they can’t see their partner’s reactions or flirt with them in person. They love a good cuddle or a wink, so video communication is essential. That said, they also need the freedom to enjoy their alone time and not feel like it constantly has to be spent on the phone.
Summing Up What ISFPs Need:
- Affectionate, playful communication and connection
- Physical tokens of affection when apart (letters, small gifts, etc.)
- Promises and dependable plans for physically being together
- Regular video calls and expression of feelings
- Freedom to enjoy their alone time (no micro-managing or clinginess)
- Fun activities that allow them to share their interests and likes and dislikes (like listening to each other’s favorite songs together, watching each other’s favorite movies, or discussing favorite places you want to visit someday)
- Video “date nights” with good food, fun activities, and lots of flirting
Read This Next: 10 Things You Should Never Say to an ISFP
What ISTPs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
ISTPs are highly independent, creative people, so a long-distance relationship doesn’t always scare them away. One of the issues that they do struggle with is feeling like they can’t actually help their partners when they’re far away. ISTPs are people of action and can get frustrated with the detached nature of long-distance. They want to be able to lend a hand if their partner is ever having a rough time and they want to have physical intimacy that can’t be achieved through a screen or a phone call.
The most important thing to foster in a relationship with an ISTP is authenticity and directness. Don’t beat around the bush with how you feel or expect them to be clairvoyant. Be clear about your needs, wants, and feelings. Understand that they tend to look at situations in a very factual, logical way and may de-prioritize their emotions. This can mean that at times they can seem tactless or insensitive, but they don’t mean to be. They don’t want to be “carried away” by their feelings and do something stupid. This doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings or that they aren’t capable of genuine and intense love and affection.
It’s important to have a sense of fun and adventure with an ISTP. Make sure you’re planning regular occasions to meet in person, and give them physical reminders of your love when you’re apart (an article of clothing that smells like you can be a very sentimentally rich gift). Find ways to experiment with digital intimacy if this is something you’re both comfortable with.
Summing Up What ISTPs Need:
- Honesty, authenticity, and directness
- Genuine interest in the ISTP’s activities (this doesn’t mean you have to share their hobbies, but at least take an interest in them)
- Regularly planned visits
- Physical reminders of your affection when you’re apart
- Respect for their need for uninterrupted alone time
- Intelligent conversation and a sense of curiosity
- Emotional maturity and an understanding of their more concise, logical way of explaining things
- Patience with their more reserved, quiet nature. It may take them a while to be able to express romantic, emotional feelings comfortably.
What ESFJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
ESFJs are very affectionate and loving people who want a deep sense of emotional connection with their partners. Long-distance relationships pose a challenge to these types because they love the intimacy and the interactiveness of sharing real experiences together. But they’re not scared away of the challenge most of the time!
For an ESFJ, communication is key in maintaining a long-distance relationship. This means making time for it and setting aside the distractions and commitments of everyday life. At a basic level, they want to know that their partner cares about them and is thinking about them. This includes physical tokens of affection like letters or small gifts sent through the mail (which ESFJs love).
At the same time, they need a sense of where things are going. If their partner is wishy-washy or doesn’t seem sure about what they want, ESFJs can feel really abandoned and hurt. They want to know that their partner is committed and has a strong sense of loyalty towards them, especially in times of difficulty or stress.
ESFJs also love to talk about day-to-day details and practical matters. They love figuring out the little nuances of their partner’s day; what they experienced, how they felt, or the little things that made them smile. It’s these little details that help piece together a bigger picture of who someone is and what life could be like with them.
Summing Up What ESFJs Need:
- Time for regular phone calls, video chats, or letters
- Physical gifts
- A sense of certainty about the direction of their relationship (i.e., if they’re moving towards marriage, living in the same state, etc,.)
- Practical conversations about day-to-day life
- An equal distribution of emotional support
- Empathy and emotional affirmation
- A partner with strong listening skills
- Dependability when it comes to showing up and talking at agreed-upon times
Read This Next: 24 Signs That You’re an ESFJ, the Defender Personality Type
What ESTJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
ESTJs are dedicated, no-nonsense people who are going to look at the pros and cons of a long-distance relationship very seriously. They’re unlikely to pursue this kind of thing unless there’s a real shot at it working in the long run. Once they’ve made the decision to go forward, they’re usually deeply loyal and committed to the cause. Communication will be their main focus in making a long-distance relationship work. They’ll want to keep up with their partner’s lives and offer help or support in practical ways. They don’t like feeling helpless or unable to be there when their partner is in any kind of distress or trouble.
It’s crucial to be straightforward and open with an ESTJ. In a long-distance relationship, they’re going to struggle to understand a deeper meaning in your words without having the added data of your facial expressions or body language. Don’t expect them to read your mind, you’ll be disappointed and set them up for failure. Remember, it’s extremely easy for people to misread intentions through text messages and emails.
Summing Up What ESTJs Need:
- Shared values and ethics
- Regular, reliable communication
- Clear expectations and boundaries for both people (e.g. don’t text when they’re at work, etc,.)
- Sincerity and clarity in how you communicate with them
- An active effort to stay engaged and involved in their life (e.g. share interest in what they’re doing and want to talk about it)
- Punctuality and dependability when meeting agreed-upon visits or digital dates
- Emotional maturity and an ability to talk things out without getting dramatic or hypersensitive
- Shared experiences. Watch a Netflix series together, take a walk and video chat, have date nights where you dress up, light candles, and make it special.
What ISFJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
ISFJs are highly dedicated and loyal partners who will work hard to make a long-distance relationship work. They take their commitments incredibly seriously and will find ways to make special moments and experiences, even when separated by miles.
ISFJs value routines and consistency. The more you can make a long-distance relationship feel dependable and stable the more they’ll be able to feel safe and loved within it. Make regular date nights where you dress up, stream a movie together, and even enjoy a meal. It doesn’t matter that you’re doing this via a video call; it’s still a way to commemorate your relationship and have an enjoyable, romantic routine together.
ISFJs are typically sentimental people. They’ll love receiving gifts or reminders of your feelings for them. Take photos of things that you think will brighten their day, send them a favorite t-shirt of yours that they can hold when they miss you, write them an old-fashioned love letter!
Summing Up What ISFJs Need:
- Routines and a feeling of stability
- Frequent visits or digital dates
- A partner who is attentive and can set aside distractions to focus on them and listen
- Empathy and emotional connection
- Shared values
- A sense of where things are going and when they can expect in-person visits
- Dependability and trust
- Little signs that you’re thinking of them (gifts, photos, texts, etc,.)
Read This Next: The Flirting Style of the ISFJ Personality Type
What ISTJs Need in a Long-Distance Relationship:
ISTJs are planners and they like to have a clear sense of where a relationship is going and how strong it is. A long-distance relationship is going to feel uncertain, chaotic, and frustrating to them at times. They want you to be honest with them about how seriously you view this arrangement and whether it will lead somewhere.
While ISTJs can be a bit reserved, they harbor many deep feelings for their loved ones – especially their romantic partners. Make sure to emotionally affirm them and appreciate them during your digital dates! Leave them little notes of encouragement, flirt with them, let them know the little details you love about them. Celebrate milestones, create special routines, and make them feel safe to open up to you about their more sentimental inner feelings.
For all types, it’s crucial to have clear expectations and boundaries in a relationship. Many ISTJs like to leave their work lives and personal lives separate so they may not be able to respond to texts when they’re at work or they may get overwhelmed by an onslaught of voice messages. Set the expectations early on so that nobody is needlessly hurt or frustrated.
Summing Up What ISTJs Need:
- Regular communication and a visible effort to stay engaged
- Emotional affirmation and clear communication of feelings
- An open understanding of the limitations of long-distance dating (as well as some patience for those times you can’t always meet up)
- Special routines you can share together
- Respect for their space when they’re at work or busy
- Trust and dependability
- Patience with their more reserved, quiet nature. It may take them a while to be able to express romantic, emotional feelings comfortably.
Read This Next: 10 Amazing ISTJ Anime Characters
What Are Your Thoughts?
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Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!