The best personality type game I’ve ever played

Last week I announced that I’m discounting my coaching sessions from $350 to $150. I have never discounted sessions in the ten years that I’ve been coaching, but I decided to do it because I need to stick to a sleeping schedule and I thought if I schedule coaching calls to wake up and go to bed then I’ll get a schedule.

I’m so excited that so many of you signed up.

This does not mean that waking up at 7AM has been easy for me. In fact, I can tell I will need to do this for a long time. So I’ve been letting people sign up for $150 coaching sessions after the deadline. And then I thought, I should extend the deadline. Because I’m getting to talk with a much wider range of interesting people — ones who are unlikely to pay the $350 fee but find the $150 fee more manageable.

And then I thought, everyone should use this opportunity to check your type. Because unless you are an INFJ or ENFP, the chances of you typing yourself wrong are huge. For example, ENTJs and INTJs never mistype themselves, but lots of people mistake themselves as one of those two types. And STs frequently mistake themselves for Ns. And Is frequently mistake themselves for Es.

The test is not always all that accurate when you do it yourself. Because we mix up who we want to be and who we actually are. We also forget that the test is relative and comparative. When it comes to the characteristics that are most central to us, we assume everyone has those characteristics, because we can’t imagine life without them. So, for example, when I first started taking these tests, I did not think I was particularly goal oriented. But that’s only because I didn’t know people do things without having an end goal. For example, I literally didn’t realize that people liked to have fun just for fun’s sake.

The patterns are so clear to me — how people mistype themselves and why. And I spend a good part of every week helping people understand why their test results are inaccurate and what the right result for them is. At this point, I can read an email and know someone’s type in five sentences. So I thought I’d let you play the game with me.

Here are some real examples of emails I received:

Thank you so much for continuing to send me information about INTJs. I want to let you know that I always see your emails and read them. They describe me so well, and I will check out your course, however unfortunately I will not be financially able to take it at this time. 

This person is an INFJ. They are giving too much unnecessary information, and they are having financial issues. INTJs do neither of those.

Many thanks for the emails. Apologies that I am unable to respond. We are in the middle of appraisals at work and I am handling some projects that keep me extremely busy. PS I strongly think I’m an INTJ :)

Again. This person is definitely not an INTJ because it’s too much information, there’s an emoticon, and they are overwhelmed at work. It’s either an S mired in the details at work or an INFJ giving too much context.

I’m a 24 year old graduate from [redacted] whose next chapter is teaching English in China for 15 months. I was thinking of ordering the course for INTJs and also the one for freelancing. Which ones do you suggest for me?

A young INTJ starts to climb the ranks of corporate life immediately. They would never take a break so early on because they’d be too excited to solve all the problems. Also, an INTJ would not take the freelancing course unless they needed to stay home  for some personal reason and were going crazy at home not working. So, this person is probably an NF because an S would think teaching English is too impractical. I can’t tell from this email if the person is a J or a P, but I would then ask if they are a dreamer. An INFP would love saying they are a dreamer. An INFJ would see being a dreamer as indulgent.

I took the test. I can’t tell if I’m an ESTP or an ENTJ.

First, an ENTJ would never question their own type. But also, this guy’s email address is basically something equivalent to “knightinshiningarmor.” ESTPs are mostly men and they are the type that is most attractive to women. But they never stay.

What are the requirements for one to enroll in the recommended course? I’m an ENTJ. 

An ENTJ does not ask requirements for anything. Ever. They just do it. They have to be a J because they are asking about a right answer, but an INTJ would find the answer to this question themselves. And it has to be a T because “for one to enroll” is someone who does not have good communication skills – they are not writing how they talk. This means the person is an ESTJ. An S likes rules and would always want to know they are following the rules before they take action. Also STs frequently mistype as NTs.

…Thanks for help with personality type. Finally, I think I might be an ESTP and not an ESTJ. Any suggestions?

Most S types take the test when someone at work or a close friend or spouse asks them to. Ss are not naturally curious about things that are so unscientific and not concrete. But even if the person’s boss was asking for the test score, an ESTP would not care enough to have an extra conversation about it. So the person is an ESTJ.

When I take the test I get INFJ or INFP. But I used to get ENTJ or ESTJ. And my friend just took the test with me and she thinks I’m an ISFP. Can you help me figure out what I am?

This person is an ENFP. They are the only type that can test as anything. They are very flexible, open thinkers and they don’t like being boxed in by any one type. But they are the only type that feels this way. So not wanting to be just one type (and being able to identify with all types) is just part of being an ENFP.

If you want to see patterns like this, you should take the Personality Type Master Class. But the real reason I wrote this is to tell you that everyone can benefit from making sure they know their personality type. But it’s very difficult to know your own type. And I have found that people have groundbreaking insights about themselves once they realize their true type.

So unless you know you are an ENFP or INFJ, there’s a high chance that you have mistyped yourself. And a discounted session for $150 is a really good way to find out.

Of course, many of you will not have mistyped yourself, and then we’ll just have a regular coaching session. Which you will like.

If you want to sign up for a discounted coaching session, you can do it by paying $150 via this link. Then email me and we’ll schedule a time. As a reminder: you can you only get the discounted sessions at 7am Eastern or 10pm Eastern. Of course, I’m always still happy to talk to you at other times, it’ll just cost you the usual $350.

138 replies
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  1. Jeannie
    Jeannie says:

    It amazes me how you can nail types. I have taken the Personality Type Master Class, but I cannot nail down peoples’ types the way you can! I would love for you to make a diagram of a corporate structure and the types that would be best suited for each position.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Guess what? I can do it right now. This is, of course, generally speaking. There are always exceptions to all of this.

      Senior management is all INTJs and ENTJs. Sometimes an ESTJ comes in if the company is very big, and sometimes an ENTP comes in if the company is really innovative. Sometimes an ENFJ is senior in nonprofits.

      Middle management is INFJ and ENFJ because they care about people (which senior management does not) and they can understand big-picture directives from senior management. Sometimes there is an ESFJ in middle management. Like PR or marketing. For the most part, other types are not long for middle management because they lack the magic combination of people skills and getting stuff done.

      People who are not in management are people who have a skill and can actually get something done — writers, developers, artists, etc. They are usually S’s

      Sometimes there is an ENFP doing some sort of inspiring work in a weird spot in the company. INFPs don’t fit into corporate life – it makes them crazy and they feel like they are suffocating.


      • Christina
        Christina says:

        I always test as ENFJ. I get excited when you mention ENFJ because it feels like you hardly ever do. Perhaps we are uninteresting as a type?

        Your comment about ENFJs in middle management has made my mind up. I am going for the promotion at work. Well, I already applied but this has confirmed it is the right thing to do. I do care about people, very much. However, I worry I don’t have good people skills. Is caring enough? I wish I could find a list of attributes that those with good people skills have so I can make sure I tick them off.

        • carmen
          carmen says:


          She doesn’t mention ENFJs much because she feels we need the least help in getting ahead. If you take the ENFJ course you’ll see what I mean. She almost sounds frustrated with ENFJs and their well-rounded capabilities and people skills. It’s almost as if she views them as something to overcome. At least that’s my perception.

      • Jim Grey
        Jim Grey says:

        I always test as INFP, but I know how to play INFJ at work. I’m a “weak” P; if I answered one or two questions differently I’d be a J. Being INFJ at work has led to a middle-management career. I seem to be eternally blocked from moving beyond that. I’m Director of Engineering in a software company now and I’ll be shocked if I ever manage to be VP of anything. So my issue now is — if I’ve topped out, what do I do with the remaining 15-20 years of my career? Because while I’m having a blast being Director of Engineering right now, I think 5-7 years from now it’s gonna get old. Like every other role I’ve held has gotten old. After a while I feel like I’ve done everything I can do, and I start itching for something new.

      • Nur
        Nur says:

        This is even better than the post: I was going to comment after reading it that I felt more as an INFJ, as I critisize my dreaming frequently.
        With this briefing, I can confirm that the suffocation is real.

        • Esther
          Esther says:

          My guess is that as NTs they do well to start but eventually feel constrained like the INFP. If they’re in interesting roles with enough autonomy, they stick around. Otherwise they bomb out and become waitresses. Or maybe that is just me.

      • Dana
        Dana says:

        Outside of the health insurance, great maternity leave, and great friendships made corporate was hell. Way too much bs and politics. Never again. I am in INFP. Penelope is absolutely correct.

  2. Dana
    Dana says:

    Yay! Exactly what I wanted to discuss after your last$150 offer but wasn’t sure that was considered coaching :). P.S. can you guess my type??

  3. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    I actually have noticed that a lot of ENFPs mistype themselves as INFPs and INFJs. Since they’re the most introverted of the extroverts, a lot of them think of themselves as introverts. Many of them seem shocked when other people point out to them that they come across to others as high-energy/hyper.

    I think actually a lot of people mistype themselves as INFJs – to many, the idea of being the rarest type and having “special insight” is really appealing.

  4. Ak
    Ak says:

    I don’t need coaching but $150 makes me want to do it to see what you would say.

    It is interesting that you say many people mistype themselves as INTJs. If people want to be an INTJ, why are they always acting like I’m cold and unemotional in some kind of bad way? (Just to clarify, I am not.) I had the general impression that other types don’t like us.

    • Derek
      Derek says:

      My guess is that it’s because INTJs come across as confident, competent and intelligent. They (appear to) have their shit together. Not in every area, but in the ones we see in the workplace.

    • Danielle
      Danielle says:

      I don’t think other types don’t like us INTJs per se, but I have gotten a lot of feedback that people think I’m intimidating (because I’m quiet and unemotional). Who knows.

  5. Ak
    Ak says:

    Oh, also, we can never figure out my husband’s type. He is definitely an I but can seem like an E. He talks too much and gives way too much context. He cares about other people too much and not enough about himself, but he gets annoyed when expectations on him differ from how he sees things. When we fight, it’s like we’re speaking different languages, with him all about intentions and me (INTJ) all about practical reality. He was a journalist and is now a tutor.

    I’m not interested in taking a class to figure this out, but I would love to understand him better – for free outside of our maintenance couples counseling. So I guess I’m taking suggestions. Haha.

    • Hannah Gadd
      Hannah Gadd says:

      The description of your husband sounds very similar to my husband.
      He has a strong moral compass and is shocked when others do not make decisions based on their morals.
      I am an INTJ so I was so interested in what type he was, he was not as interested.
      It took a while for us to work it out, he is an ISFJ.
      Knowing this has helped so much with the way I speak to him.

    • Victoria
      Victoria says:

      I’m also an INTJ with a difficult to type husband. He is definitely E and S so the talking thing is an issue for us too. One strategy I’ve used is to explain that listening to people requires a lot of my energy, especially if the speaker goes off on tangents a lot. (My husband does this and is also unnecessarily detailed). I tell him I don’t always have that energy, especially first thing in the morning, late at night, or when I’m in the middle of doing something. It seems to help somewhat. In terms of typing people, I find descriptions of the cognitive functions useful. This has been my go-to article for that:

    • Johnonymous
      Johnonymous says:

      I mean Entp maybe. I dunno.

      “Oh, also, we can never figure out my husband’s type. He is definitely an I but can seem like an E. He talks too much and gives way too much context.”

      I think Ne/Si does this in general. Thinks it’s best to explain big and work small. I’ll say that I find the sentence “gives too much context” nonsensical. Or like, sure, there is some ideal brief version of things. But how people just know what that is before trying it out loud a bunch of times is not something I can begin to comprehend.

      Some people might think I’m introverted because I have zero friends. But i talk to much and give too much context…yes.

      “He cares about other people too much and not enough about himself,”

      Ne/Si externalizes meaning in some way, like, beyond the individual; ideas seem to exist outside the human mind, and brains are just scraping at it. So I don’t care about “my own ideas” coming to fruition in the way some people do; I can’t quite keep a hold of them as my own as they are so obviously not my own. As soon as I grasp the stuff it becomes meaningless or loses its magnetism. Same for stuff that is close to my center, so family, close friends — I have an inverse relationship between my passion for people and their proximity to me. So I can seem to care a lot about strangers but try being in an alleged relationship to me and it’s a little different … So I think a lot of relationship to people (vs objects and ideas) is different than people anticipate for Entp not just because of tertiary Fe but also just Ne/Si Axis with shit-for-Fi.

      “but he gets annoyed when expectations on him differ from how he sees things.”

      Never In my life have I had these kind of expectations placed on me. That’s kind of inferior Si sounding to me. Also the expectation of a shared meaning-reality is Ne/Si as opposed to Se/Ni Which is less interested in debate because it just doesn’t assume as much shared reality is possible I think. Entp intp isfj and Esfj are all going to believe that with enough conversation, if I make myself super clear, If we don’t give up from exhaustion, we can get on the same page about expectations. So our expectation is that unreasonable expectations from another or odd beliefs in another should be explained at length and maybe surrendered or flexed on. Stuff like that.

      “When we fight, it’s like we’re speaking different languages, with him all about intentions”

      Intentions is everything for me as Entp. Like, I can’t comprehend getting mad at people when they didn’t intend to hurt. So I wanna know why people did something so I can estimate future behavior based on knowing how good they are at acting as they intend and what they tend to intend.

      “and me (INTJ) all about practical reality.”

      I think more like, Fi recognition (from id, I know it’s not in your top two but it’s strong in infj) of what most people (except estp and Entp) have in them that helps them build ethics on top of some, like, I don’t know, deeply internal sense of right and wrong. I hear infj say “practical reality” type stuff that sounds more to me like “people gonna be how they are” and I’m like, that’s not practical, it’s a weird assumption. Infj assumes a fundamental lack of mobility in others and Entp assumes a fundamental lack of stability in others, sometimes. So Entp sucks at hiring, and infj sucks at not being upset with people who fuck up accidentally.

      “He was a journalist and is now a tutor.”

      Entp type stuff

      “I’m not interested in taking a class to figure this out, but I would love to understand him better – for free outside of our maintenance couples counseling. So I guess I’m taking suggestions. Haha.”

      —I would look at the massive difference between Ne/Si and Se/Ni. I think it’s highly overlooked by people when thinking about personality and marriage.

  6. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    Loved this post. So much. I’m working on developing my ability to help others with their typing right now actually– just helped an ENFP realize she wasn’t an introvert just this week (true to Wendy’s post). I think she is actually the first ENFP I’ve ever gotten to know. A great learning experience…

  7. Matt
    Matt says:

    or, you know, those emails from INTJs (with too much information) could be from INTJs who have been told they need to avoid being so terse and provide more information, and add an emoticon or something b/c their dry delivery may be off-putting or mis-interpreted.

    • Michelle
      Michelle says:

      Yep. I use more emoticons than I used to. In providing more context information though, I ‘m not sure– I’m usually asked to give less info (trying to get my stuff read). Maybe the words used or what kind of info they are including is more relevant.

      • Lola
        Lola says:

        I’m an INTJ (professional testing twice). With people I don’t know that well, i sometimes come off as an INFJ because I learned that my inherent INTJ-ness was often considered rude. Also, I’ve had a lot of therapy.

        So, in true INTJ style, I figured out what the rules of social interaction were and adopted them.

        I get different results when I answer with what I want to do instead of what I actually do.

        • Esther
          Esther says:

          INTP, same. The test will think I’m an F if I answer according to how I’ve decided to act and not how I act natively.

  8. ANN
    ANN says:

    your last posting provided mind-blowing insights for me, especially winning for INTJs. After the last post, I left my partner of 7 years who is an INXX and a narcissist. I may face less economic stability, but I feel better and have more energy already.
    Thanks to all those who comment and to PT.

  9. Katrin
    Katrin says:

    This is exactly what you did for me Penelope. It was fascinating. I was in your ISFJ course, sent you a question and –based on the question– you told me instantly I was an ISFP!

  10. Kater
    Kater says:

    I love personality tests, but I think they belong with “getting drunk with friends” and not with “making important decisions.” I especially dislike Myers-Briggs, because it’s always either-or on what ought to be a gradient (as it is with OCEAN), and because Myers-Briggs, unlike “what Hogwarts house are you?” takes itself far too seriously. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs about 6 times and gotten a different answer just about every time. None of the personality types seem to describe me in the least, even the ones that you say fit the people who don’t fit. Like, none of them, not even a little, which is frustrating because I think personality tests are fun.
    At least I know my sun sign is Taurus. It doesn’t really describe me accurately either, but at least it’s independently verifiable.

    • Jana
      Jana says:

      Perhaps you would enjoy the Enneagram more – there are 9 types, and each one has “wings”; it also shows where your type goes when healthy and where it goes when not so healthy.

    • Sobhi
      Sobhi says:

      Hahaha… Too funny as I also am a Taurus and simultaneously am a personality quiz junkie while eye rolling it all. I used to type as INFJ / ENFP / INFP… even the S and T types but recently am only typing as INFJ even though I’ve tried tricking the online quizzes in various ways. I must be an INFJ though because I’m in my 30s and still broke, largely because every time opportunities come my way I get bored with them and feel hemmed in after a while.

  11. Jim Grey
    Jim Grey says:

    I’ve had opportunity lately, a few times, to tell people my story. Massively introverted. Might be on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. I feel intensely and my feelings have been known to consume me. I love to follow my nose – my favorite day is when I wake up and have nothing planned, because then I can do whatever I want. The things I want to do are all highly tied to my internal values, around which I organize my life.

    I’ve done a metric crap-ton of work on myself. Because my natural tendencies were standing in my way of having all of the experiences I wanted. I have worked very, very hard to improve. I started with social skills. I’m 50 and it was around my 25th birthday that I decided I would stop looking at my shoes everywhere I walked at work, and actually look up and say hello to people I knew. And then I added using their name if I knew it. And then I added trying small talk at the coffee pot. I’ve added one thing at a time for 25 years until I can reasonably handle myself in most situations. People hear that story and say they don’t believe me, or that they never would have guessed, based on my social skills today.

    I’ve also learned how to use my feelings like idiot lights on my brain’s dashboard. They are indicators of a potential problem, not a problem in and of themselves. I can think about them to determine what they mean and what, if anything, I should do about them. Some feelings just need to be allowed to pass without action — that was super hard to get good at. Other feelings need immediate action, and others are in the middle somewhere.

    As a result, whatever type I may be (I test as INFP and feel very much INFP), I have harnessed my type for good, know how to temporarily play against type, and know and can work around or adapt to my type’s shortcomings.

    • Former Shoe-Starer
      Former Shoe-Starer says:

      This sounds like a lot of my skills learned from DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). I was a shoe-starer, too, but now I will look at someone’s face, but it doesn’t register. I cannot recognize people’s faces!

      Matching names & faces is so hard for me. I wish the world would wear name tags.

      My therapist taught me to do yoga before parties (calm my anxiety) & to focus on the other person so I don’t blurt out inappropriate things. Talk to them about their interests. People are so interesting that I have a good time learning more about their work, hobbies, passions, etc.

      • Rachel
        Rachel says:

        INFP and type junky. I’ve got some of the face blanking out going on. I thought it was just social anxiety or something with my memory/ prefrontal cortex. It’s interesting that it might be a common symptom/thing for some types. Hmmm.

    • Nigel
      Nigel says:

      Are you able to give examples of this?

      “They are indicators of a potential problem, not a problem in and of themselves. I can think about them to determine what they mean and what, if anything, I should do about them. Some feelings just need to be allowed to pass without action — that was super hard to get good at. Other feelings need immediate action, and others are in the middle somewhere.”

  12. Angela
    Angela says:

    Love this, Penelope!! You are so right. I tested ENFJ the first time in my early 20s. I lived for more than a decade thinking I was a J. Then in my 30s, as I started to relax and let my truer nature come out instead of the one everyone always needed me to be, the clear P emerged. And man am I a “P”. Schedules crush my little soul. But the most shocking revelation happened when I finally got Myers Briggs certified at the very end of my 30s. I had to take the whole week-long class to finally understand that I am actually an I. My whole life suddenly made perfect sense. The fact that I love people but basically hate them 22 hours a day. The fact that I am able to be the life of a party but then need to take a 2-day nap afterwards. And the fact that I could just spend hours, days, weeks, staring at the enrapturing creased recesses of my endlessly fascinating mind (and in fact would rather do that than anything else.) And then of course (with my dominant function being IF) the fact that absolutely everything that happens in the outside world has to get filtered through my feelers before I can decide what anything means or what to do about it. It was incredibly liberating to finally see my right type. And I have been on a tiny rampage to help other people be more clear-headed and self-aware in interpreting whatever the test says. Love that you are doing this. You’re one of my heroes.

  13. Jean Nickerson
    Jean Nickerson says:

    I’ve taken a few personality tests including those that are administered by external resources and always come up as an ENTJ, although in my heart I’m an Introvert. People always think I’m a true extrovert. Although, the difference between an Extrovert and an Introvert is how you charge your battery not whether you’re comfortable being around people. It could be the demands of the people that I need to slow down my approach so I can achieve my objectoves.

    Given that you’re an ENTJ, I see compatibility in your commitment to parenting. That’s why I took the personality test on your Website. Because it said “Find out what kind of parent you are.” Not one to generally question my approach, I do worry about my style when it comes to parenting. Although like you it’s hard to refute the results and positive feedback.

    Penelope, I’m happy you’re writing regularly again. I started subscribing to your blog when I attended one of your courses a few years ago. You mentioned that you wanted to increase your email subscriber list and the majority of people said they go directly to your Website to access your blog. It was a reminder to ask for what you want and you have a better than average chance of receiving the outcome you want.

  14. Jane
    Jane says:

    So interesting! I am an ENFP who used to work in STEM in academia and is now working for a non-profit. This side step made my career slow down a bit (in terms of earnings), but I am very much enjoying the organisation I work for and the people I work with.
    However, I’m not sure now how to grow further (yes, typical for an ENPF who likes to keep options open). The step up would include more people management, which I just read in an answer is I/ENFJ terrain. More specialising in the technical skills of my current function would actually resemble my old academic function (the data analysis and programming parts), which I feel like I’m a bit done with. I find it hard to determine my next step up (as I would like a higher paying function). I really do enjoy my current position, where if I project manage it’s really mostly managing myself, or just one other person, so I have some autonomy whilst contributing to the aims of a charity I believe in. Two things I both like! Suggestions for career growth for ENFPs like myself are welcome :)

  15. Gina
    Gina says:

    I always test as either an INFP or ENFP (the I and E are on the border). I’m not shocked by the the results as I’m a Recruiter but I’m more shocked that my husband, a mechanical engineer, also tested as an ENFP. That is weird, right?

    • Jane
      Jane says:

      Not really too surprising, ENPFs are kown to be able to do many different types of jobs well (or good enough, look what Penelope said about ENFPs often testing for other types). I’m an ENFP too and my experience is indeed I can do many things well, there are just some I enjoy so much more! (For example, I can do number crunching and book keeping well enough to be in such a job, even though I would not thoroughly enjoy it, it would be other parts of the work that would keep me there – say it’s for a charity I believe in- or if it’s not the only part of the job).

  16. May
    May says:

    I loved that in one email I wrote to Penelope saying I was unsure about my type (saying I was probably INTJ but maybe I want INTP or INFP according to a couple of tests) and that I also had aspergers probably, she told me I was too weird to type via email so I should phone her.

    I then yell at her that I definitely will not phone her because I hate the phone and too bad so she was just “ok you’re INTJ”.

    It warms my heart that she continued enough in email conversation at all to tell me I was aspergers INTJ and probably obnoxious so I should try some anxiety medication. Maye she was excited to meet another autistic INTJ besides Melissa. lol

    So everyone should definitely email her and get her to yell at you over the phone to make up for my lack of phoning her.

  17. Steve Mielczarek
    Steve Mielczarek says:

    Penelope Trunk hacked
    my Twitter account.
    That’s why she always is
    It’s not me, it’s her.🔚

  18. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    Wow! I’m INFP and try to figure out people’s personality types all the time, but you are so good at this. Your diagram of a corporate structure is spot on.

    But not everybody appreciates this. When I showed a similar table of my classmates’ personality types to my team mate, she told me it was scary.

  19. Jen
    Jen says:

    Maybe people email/speak differently as a result of their culture/social background/upbringing. For example I’ve heard that others find us Brits to be polite: so perhaps those from the UK come across as more polite in their emails. So those INTJ examples in this post could well have been INTJs who also happen to hail from the UK.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I love this link — I want to read one for each type, but really, INTPs are so difficult to date because they are so interesting on a date yet so incompetent at dating. Life all parts of life where there are rules, the INTP really challenges the rules of dating.

      I also love this comment because you are SO RIGHT that I want to get to a conclusion and move on. It’s so hard for me when people do not get to closure as fast as I do. Even when I’m wrong, I would like to find out I’m wrong and switch to another version of closure very fast.


      • Kyle John Staude
        Kyle John Staude says:

        It’s frustrating to be good at spending time with people bad so bad at the groundwork that you are alone all the time. :/

      • Anna
        Anna says:

        This is funny and interesting to read, as I (INTP) have no need for closure (until the introverted S in my functional stack steps in). The description of your preference helps me understand the frustration of many others I have encountered my whole life as a P. I have felt shamed and like there is something morally wrong with me for seeing more possibilties and not naturally gravitating closure, at least not until a very long amount of peaceful (for me) process. Now I will just think oh they’re a J, I’m not a moron.

        • ruo
          ruo says:

          Anna, it took me a long time to accept myself to be okay with not being a ‘closer’. and the troublesome part is being so flexible, i find myself attracted to a lot of Js in my work life because i get on so well with them because of this flexibility. so to leverage up, i try to use that by screening only high-paying jobs that supports a J person. bosses who are that powerful get on with very few people.

          • Anna
            Anna says:

            Very interesting! I probably get along so well with J’s because I’m flexible, and they want their own way, so they like me. But then, they hate me (saying this in loving jest…) because a. I don’t *do* things their way, rather, I have my own P kind of process, which equals frustration on their part and shame on mine, and b. ultimately, I’m not as flexible as they thought — I actually have a strong inner opinion that eventually manifests when it comes to decisions and the final product. Clash!

            But, so, hmmm… the second part about bosses is a great idea. A strong J will probably not feel at ease with a stubborn other J. So a J could actually appreciate a P.

            When surrounded by P’s, the values are highly precisional accuracy, originality, painstaking patience, and authenticity. These things are good in areas of discovery like research. In research, the last thing you want is someone who just wants to get it done. I’ve found myself in J-land a lot in the past 10 years or so, and the values that P-land shuns are actually valuable, such as, action, bottom-line, speed, results, finality, security, decisions that don’t change even when there is new information, a respect for people rather than the flow of ideas, and practicality (the list goes on…). It has shown me that the strengths of a P are not universally valuable, and that J strengths have their place and are a whole planet. I’m intrigued by get-it-done, results-aimed J’s, but cringe as well. Often once they get to know me, they see me as weird, just plain weird.

            These are all generalizations, and of course, I’m probably talking more about SJ’s and probably, let’s face it, ESXJ’s.

  20. Justin
    Justin says:

    “Of course, many of you will not have mistyped yourself, and then we’ll just have a regular coaching session. Which you will like.”

    Warning! You will not like the first 20 minutes of your coaching call!*

    The first 20 minutes of my call culminated with P telling me the only thing good about my life was that it made her grateful that her life wasn’t as fucked as mine. Then, by the grace of god, she accidentally hung up on me and I had a minute to take a breath.
    The rest of the call was great and I’m happy I decided to answer when she called me back.

    If you’re getting pummeled in the first part of the call, just hang on for dear life – P will tire herself out and you’ll be glad you didn’t hang up or tell her to fuck off.

    *If you didn’t make every mistake in the book, your call might go smoother.

  21. J
    J says:

    I can’t figure out the real difference between S and N or J and P no matter how much research I do. Anyone else have this problem?

  22. Jen
    Jen says:

    Maybe people email differently due to their upbringing/culture eg us Brits (from what I’ve heard) Are known for being polite/our manners and perhaps this can be seen through the way we email too. So perhaps those top examples are actual INTJs but they happen to email like that as a result of being British, or coming from another country where bluntness is deemed to be rude.

    • carmen
      carmen says:


      I agree with that point. Brits are polite, although their humor is scathing. Half-truths as impolite jabs are hallmark Brit.

      I also think it has to do with occupation, what we’ve learned in our careers and what we’re good at. An ENFJ having worked with lawyers for many years and helping agencies grow during their start-up phase would result in someone being more direct, efficient and economical with words. Perhaps perceived as rude. Being methodical and patient (kind of like a psychopath) also comes along with watching how lawyers work. Managing money and resources also comes naturally. It is on-the-job training that affects your personality.

      • Jen
        Jen says:

        Hi Carmen,

        Yes I agree us Brits are known for our dry sense of humour.

        I also agree that occupation affects how we email others both in the office (and out) I once read an article that encouraged women to be more direct/forward in work emails by removing terms such as “I think” “I know you’re busy but… ” Apparently those in more corporate senior roles and men in white collar jobs dont use the aforementioned terms as regularly as women. Instead they are much more direct in their emails (similarly to how INTJs supposedly would write an email) so are taken more seriously by their colleagues and superiors.

    • Mew
      Mew says:

      Spent my childhood for many years in Asia and now working in Japan. The standard for lengthy politeness is very high and uniformed here in professional settings. You’d have clearly ambitious, very corporatist people (investment bankers, etc.) apologize to you first just to get your attention. It doesn’t mean they’re sorry or care.

      • Jen
        Jen says:

        Yes in my first comment I was going to add Japan to the end of my last sentence as I’ve heard etiquette is taken very seriously by the Japanese as well.

  23. Mew
    Mew says:

    Does that mean bad managers are either misplaced personally-wise or mistyped?

    The irony is that in order to have bad middle managers, you’d have bad senior management thinking bad middle managers can do their jobs. That’s a sign of incompetence therefore defeats the claim that all senior management are ENTJs or INTJs.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      That’s an interesting point. Jobs we do that are outside of our strengths are exhausting to us. There are a lot of jobs we can do that exhaust us, we just can’t do them long term. So, for example, XNTJs have to be middle managers to get to the senior ranks. The XNTJs do that by giving all their energy to work — when an XNTJ is climbing through the middle ranks they usually have no social life, no hobbies, no relationships, etc. This is how they are able to be good middle managers and get a promotion to a job they are more suited to.

      Most types, when faced with a job that depletes their energy, will preserve their energy for their relationships and their passions and things more meaningful to them than work. And they will not do well in middle management, but also, they won’t really care that they’re not doing well because other things are more important to them.


  24. anna
    anna says:

    I used to think I was an INFP because I like art and poetry. My super strong N traits (I always score 100% N, 0% S) were contributing to making me think I am an F. My friends found out we are very different the longer they knew me because I’m actually a T and more interested in ideas than feelings and personal things. I noticed that I have easy conversation with people whom I later find out are engineers or into heavily into pure math.

    I always thought my husband is an INTJ and was shocked when I realized he is an INFJ. Now when I listen to him, I stop hearing through the grid of necessary logic and hear it instead through values and interpersonal relationships (yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah is what it sounds like to me), and I stopped having such cognitive dissonance wondering why an NT was so lost in miry details of those things are so boring to me. Finding out he is an F was like a release valve for me… phew. I understand his employment choices and habits better, too. I can stop expecting him to march toward abstractly set goals and realize he is going to take a middle route that is surrounded by people and the basic rubric that a more personal (not primarily analytical) counselor type would have. He is extremely analytical, but this trait is at least alongside of, and maybe second to, these relationship chain connections.

    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Not that anyone cares, but from the above it might sound like my husband as an E with all his concern for relationships. His favorite way to interact is on the phone in two hour conversations, and he keeps his social network flowing at an arms length. He requires long bouts of solitude every day (we share this requirement), but this for him can include spending hours forming perfect long emails to people about his favorite academic topic, religion. So his values-based interests might involve networks of people but this is not a kind of extroverted, energy-gaining group party time. Just saying.

    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Regarding those miry details, these would be interpersonal details that are boring to me. I do, however, like (thrive upon) microscopically fine points of logical and conceptual details.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        They are different colors than the farm! They are blue and pink with green undertones. The blue and pink on the farm are orange undertones. I will write more about this later. It is a longer story, my Swarthmore paining story, but I painted many times.

        I think paint might be like second husbands. We think we are picking something really different but actually we gravitate to the same thing over and over again.


        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

          I’m so glad you are planning to talk about this, because I was also wondering if this photo was taken back on the farm.

          P.S. I am an INTJ who uses emojis, and I think there is a whole generation of INTJ’s my kids’ ages who will always use emojis in their communications. So maybe that is not an absolute rule, unless you are speaking with an INTJ who is 45+

          • Scotti
            Scotti says:

            I’m an INTJ and I use emojis constantly. I started using them because it softens the blow of my direct communucations. I ask myself “what’s a nice emotion that I could be feeling right now?” And then I insert an emoji, even though what I’m really feeling is nothing I just want to get an answer to my text. I realized right away that they dont convey intelligence but that’s what I’m after. I’m after a response without pissing anyone off

          • Jen
            Jen says:

            This ^^ Another INTJ who is a fan of emojis. Plus I think the fact that my most used emoji is -_- is testament to the fact I must be an INTJ.

  25. Lins
    Lins says:

    Horoscopes are simply “join the dots” pictures in the sky. The points used are random distances from here. If you look at these points of light/stars from another angle – i.e., not earth, they don’t make the same picture. Just saying.

    • carm
      carm says:

      Horoscopes, tarot cards, personality type, college, social media, blogs, it’s all about connecting people. It’s all fun. You make a profit by selling the dots that connect the people.

  26. Lins
    Lins says:

    So I should expect to be asked my horoscope sign at my next job interview. Maybe the interviewer will do a tarot reading on me to determine whether if fit into their “culture “. What fun!

    • carm
      carm says:

      I’ve only tried personality in consulting c suites but some cultures are so toxic and dysfunctional, HR might as well use horoscope, tarot, reading tea leaves, religion or whatever they can get their hands on.

  27. Hendo
    Hendo says:

    I am an INFJ and I love how much we were mentioned in this post!

    My partner is an INFP and you would think that would make us sooooo similar but our differences can be summed up like this:

    Me: Enough ambition for three people, desk job, writing, all day five days a week. Occasional breaks in writing to run community events.
    My partner: Zero ambition, high levels of patience tho. Works supporting people with disabilities. His worst days, when he comes home looking really ragged, I ask him what happened and he says faintly, ‘I had to sit at the computer for FIVE WHOLE HOURS today’…

    • Theresa
      Theresa says:

      I’m an INFJ with a full-time writing desk job and a good deal of ambition too! I’ve always been disappointed by the descriptions of INFJ careers online. It always sounds like INFJs need to literally be a counselor, or a priest, or a special ed teacher, psychologist, or some other selfless profession that requires infinite patience and tolerance of difficult people.

      I’m not cut out for those types of jobs and have been much happier since switching into medical publishing. I always wondered if that means I’m an odd INFJ, or if there perhaps are more INFJs than working in office jobs or middle management than the internet seems to indicate.

      Do you feel the same way about the typical INFJ jobs?

  28. Lady Blue
    Lady Blue says:

    I’m an ENTP and it is magnificent torture. Parts of being an ENTP, especially a female ENTP are so enchanting and wonderful… and other times I’m frustrated and screaming at myself to “JUST FOCUS DAMMIT!!!” To make things even more complicated, I’m an enneagram #3, The Achiever. The universe definitely has a twisted type of humor because I’m an ambitious person who cannot focus their efforts where they really matter. And then of course, I’m a Gemini, which fits better with being an ENTP than my enneagram result does.

  29. Cáit
    Cáit says:

    My sister is the world’s only true female INTP. Her keychain is a full sized rubics cube, which she likes to solve and reset, and she can explain to you how a Russian cracked the code a long time ago. Once I saw a chess game on her table and thought she’d had company but she explained it was a chess game she was recreating from the newspaper.

    • Esther
      Esther says:

      If your sister is a true INTP, you know it is unwise to make scientifically inaccurate statements in the company of INTPs.

      • Cáit
        Cáit says:

        She’s not an ISTJ, she is ok with hyperbole and litite..Precision is important to her though yes when apt. And while I think of her as chill and fun it’s true she is very intolerant of people who believe in astrology and shows about psychic detectives. But generally I find intps to be fun interesting people. Not over serious “very unwise to make statement xyz” in front of types.

        • Anna
          Anna says:

          I actually questioned your opening point, thinking, is she really, and, why would someone make a hyperbole on such a topic? I recognize and appreciate hyperbole but this context brought out my more scrutinizing side.

          • Esther
            Esther says:

            I almost responded to her second comment with “Are you calling me an ISTJ???” but figured the humor might not come across.

      • Anna
        Anna says:

        Was thinking that, too. -INTO And was thinking those are perfectly nice things to do (rubik’s cube and chess from the newspaper.)

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      That’s funny. You have a good eye.

      Everything in the farmhouse was legally mine. But I couldn’t really take much with me. Our apartment in Swarthmore is about 500 square feet. So I pretty much had to forfeit everything. But I went back to the farm once and retrieved some stuff including mirror in the picture.


  30. Showbox
    Showbox says:

    I tried paying via PayPal but my card gets declined every time despite having balance in the bank. Do you accept other method of payments?

  31. Tutuapp
    Tutuapp says:

    How long is the discounted price going to last? I really want to do a coaching with you but even 150 is pricy for me so I need some time to collect the money.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Probably another week or so. I’m already booked for the rest of this year. So I probably won’t keep up the discount for much longer. You can email me privately to negotiate.


  32. Fatcat
    Fatcat says:

    so no chance I could have mistyped myself as an INFJ? I do fit most of the INFJ memes on Pinterest, but not all.

  33. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    Used to be you could see your posts chronologically. Where do I find the two previous posts before this one?

    • carm
      carm says:

      I was wondering the exact same thing. There used to be an entire list of all posts in chronological order by year.

      Penelope said in a previous post that when they redid her blog a lot of the posts were deleted…


  34. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    My first apartment was 250 sq ft. Awful. I couldn’t think. My second was 600 sq ft which I considered roomy. But for three people it’s tight. Do you guys drive each other nuts or is it easy bc you’ve spent so much time together?

    • Lins
      Lins says:

      If the Myers-Briggs personality premise is pseudoscience, then by extension so is the work of Carl Jung. If you think analytical psychology is not a real thing, then maybe this is not the blog for you. Same as you wouldn’t catch me reading or commenting on a horoscope blog. Why bother? There certainly are a few noisy detractors on the anti Myers-Briggs bandwagon at the minute, but they are few compared with sheer volume of people who have been helped by the insights of knowing and understanding your type. “Know thyself”.

      • Anna
        Anna says:

        Also, to put together the category of “real thing” with science is a fallacy. Science is not the measuring stick of reality. Humans can’t be reduced to science. We have certain aspects that can be described scientifically, but we don’t fit in that mold. The material part of us is small compared with the infinite universes that are each of us.

        It shocks me how insightful the Myers-Briggs viewing lens is.

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