While there are many tests out there that help you learn more about yourself, one of the most well-known is the Myers-Briggs type indicator test (MBTI). From INTPs to ENFJs, you’ve likely seen the combination of four letters on TikTok bios, dating apps, and even LinkedIn resumes — basically wherever people want to reveal a little more about themselves.
If you're not familiar, the MBTI is a self-reporting questionnaire that asks you to either agree or disagree with statements on a sliding scale. You’ll answer prompts like “You often make a backup plan for a backup plan” and “You usually stay calm, even under a lot of pressure.” All are designed to make you think about how you view the world. Once completed, you’ll get the four letters that best describe you.
The two biggest distinctions between sets of personality types are introverted (I) and extroverted (E) types, which point to whether you gain or lose energy from being around other people. In addition to your general outward attitudes, the MBTI helps you understand whether you relate to the world by sensing (S) or intuition (N), if you make decisions by thinking (T) or feeling (F), and if you organize your life by judging (J) or perceiving (P).
Licensed counselor Jenny Campagna, MS, LPCC says she often recommends the test as a tool of reflection. “To be able to have some studied framework to say, ‘Hey that sounds like me’ or ‘That’s not true at all’ can be useful in terms of communication with others,” she tells Bustle. “It can be bolstering to be able to say, ‘I do that’ or ‘I see things in this way because I have this amalgamation of traits.’” While there are 16 different options for Myers-Briggs personality types, there is one result that leads the pack.
The Most Common Myers-Briggs Personality Type
Drumroll, please: The most common Myers Briggs personality type is the ISFJ. According to the Myers-Briggs Foundation, 13.8% of the tested population falls into this category, which stands for introverted, sensing, feeling, and judgment.
“ISFJs prefer to focus on their inner world (introversion), the basic information presented to them (sensing), people and circumstances when making decisions (feeling), and making decisions when dealing with the outside world (judging),” explains Meg Cervantes, MS, LPC, a licensed professional counselor at Connections Wellness Group.
When asked why ISFJs are so common, neuropsychologist Sanam Hafeez, PsyD says it might have something to do with how good they are at analyzing themselves and looking inward. “These individuals are the best at assessing their own emotions, which would make them excellent at completing a personality tests like the MBTI,” she tells Bustle.
Compare this to other types, who might have a harder time making distinctive choices regarding their self-perception, and it may help explain why ISFJs are the largest group. Their ability to analyze situations might come into play, as well. Sometimes called the Defender, these types like to lay out the facts and approach life in a practical way.
ISFJ Personality Traits
According to Cervantes, ISFJs tend to be responsible, loyal, warm, conscientious, friendly, dedicated, and yet a bit on the quiet side. They definitely need to take time to recharge on their own, kind of like a battery that gets depleted. But once they rest, they’re ready to get back out there and connect with others.
This type also has an “exceptionally high emotional maturity level,” Hafeez says, which, again, means they’re naturally skilled at assessing and understanding their own emotions with more efficiency and accuracy than others might be.
ISFJs & Careers
The Myers-Briggs test suggests which types of careers each personality type might be drawn to. According to Cervantes, ISFJs tend to seek out and excel in service-oriented professions due to their desire to help other people — think mental health counseling, criminal justice, nursing, human services, public health, teaching, and social work.
“ISFJs work well in any job where they can assist people and help solve problems practically,” she adds. They don’t usually go for management positions (that would be the more extroverted types), but they can find themselves there after lots of hard work and dedication.
ISFJs tend to be well-liked at work, Cervantes says, thanks to their good listening skills, practical problem-solving abilities, and approachable demeanor.
ISFJs & Relationships
You can also learn more about how you approach relationships when you take the Myers-Briggs test. For folks who fall into the ISFJ category, their love lives tend to center around loyalty and dedication. They like to show their love by finding ways to support their partner, and find a lot of joy in being a good listener. That said, they aren’t always the best at announcing when they have a crush.
“ISFJs can often be very shy, so they may take a while to warm up to others and become themselves in relationships,” Cervantes says. Once in a relationship, it’s also pretty common for this type to forget themselves due to the fact they’re always giving. Their own needs take a backseat, and due to their introversion, ISFJs don’t always know how to speak up for themselves.
“In general, ISFJs mesh well with other types, as they are warm, supportive, and agreeable,” Cervantes says. But it definitely helps if they practice vulnerability and assertiveness when it comes to communication, especially when dating someone with a more extroverted type.
The Least Common Myers-Briggs Type
On the other end of the scale, representing just 1.5% of the population is the least popular personality type: the INFJ personality (just one letter off from the ISFJ!). According to Myers-Briggs, INFJs are those who identify with introversion, intuition, feeling, and judging. Sometimes called empaths, counselors, or healers, INFJs are incredibly emotionally intelligent and have a great ability to connect with others. They’re set apart from the uber-popular ISFJ because they go along with their intuition or gut feelings (N), instead of analyzing life with their senses (S).
If it helps you understand yourself or connect with others more meaningfully, there’s no harm in seeing if your type is one of the most or least common.
Jenkins SJ, Stephens JC Jr, Chew AL, Downs E. Examination of the relationship between the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and empathetic response. Percept Mot Skills. 1992 Jun;74(3 Pt 1):1003-9. PMID: 1608701.
Kameda DM, Nyland JL. Relationship between psychological type and sensitivity to anxiety. Percept Mot Skills. 2003 Dec;97(3 Pt 1):789-93. doi: 10.2466/pms.2003.97.3.789. PMID: 14738341.
Jenny Campagna, MS, LPCC, counselor, therapist
Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, neuropsychologist
Meg Cervantes, MS, LPC, licensed professional counselor
This article was originally published on