What Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Type Needs in a Relationship to Be Happy

two introverted Myers-Briggs personality types in a happy relationship

A lot of factors go into a happy romance, like mutual respect, good communication, and physical attraction — just to name a few. Nevertheless, there’s one important thing each introverted Myers-Briggs personality type craves in a relationship. Here’s what it is.

ISFP — The warmth of intimacy

At times mysterious and shy, ISFPs can be difficult to get to know. But don’t let their enigmatic and somewhat aloof vibe fool you — ISFPs are deeply feeling individuals who crave mental, emotional, and physical intimacy. This highly creative personality is sensitive to the core and tends to listen more than they speak, sometimes coming across as a bit private and moody. Nevertheless, ISFPs make wonderful partners, as they possess a level of warmth and enthusiasm that’s hard to find elsewhere (like many introverts, it just takes time for their real self to come out!). Unlikely to ever grow “stale,” this charming personality will constantly surprise their partner with new curiosities and adventures, often rooting their experiences in the present moment and engaging the five senses. Sure, security and reliability are great, but that’s not necessarily what ISFPs crave. Rather, this affectionate and caring introvert wants their partner to know how special they are — and to revel in that warmth and intimacy in return.

ISTP — Sweet freedom

Never dull, ISTPs embrace each new day and the adventures it may bring — and take their significant other along for the ride whenever possible (just one of the many reasons they make good partners). Like ISFPs, the ISTP is rooted in the here and now and enjoys hands-on, real-world, sensory experiences. Probably not the type to gush with bold and flowery exclamations of romance, ISTPs feel close when sharing an experience (think: hiking a favorite trail or working on a project together). Things must not be forced with the ISTP, who’ll feel suffocated if their love interest demands commitment and a road map of the future too quickly. The introverted type most likely to shake things up just to see what happens, ISTPs want the freedom to follow their own path — and a partner who understands their need for space and experimentation.

ISFJ — Rock solid security

When it comes to dating, ISFJs are rarely the ones throwing themselves into flings and one-night stands just for the thrill of it. Rather, this routine and tradition-loving personality is at their best when clear expectations have been established. Caring and kind-hearted, ISFJs make great partners because they read people well, genuinely care, and love making others happy. But don’t take their big hearts for granted. Responsible and reliable, ISFJs take their relationships seriously and expect others to do the same. Whenever possible, they like knowing exactly what’s up ahead — on account of their sensing and judging nature — and hate leaving loose ends dangling. Not knowing where they stand with someone, feeling like their status within a relationship could change at a moment’s notice, or simply not being able to envision a solid future with someone will leave an ISFJ quite anxious and unhappy.

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ISTJ — Dependability, dependability, dependability

Similar to ISFJs, ISTJs probably won’t be found hunting their next one-night stand or chasing their next relationship high. This “do it, and do it right” introverted personality takes dating seriously and will look for a partner who checks the boxes of their (reasonable and well thought-out) relationship checklist. Dependable and thorough, often representing the pinnacle of traditional family values, ISTJs make great partners — even if they are a bit difficult to get to know because of their reserved nature. Seeing it as their duty to protect, support, and provide for their family, ISTJs will put heaps of effort into making sure things run smoothly for those under their wing. As a result, ISTJs need a partner who has their back — someone who can be trusted with the important matters of day-to-day life, and who will keep their word, just like they keep theirs.

INFP — A beautiful romance

Eyes locking from across the room. Hands reaching for the same unknown author in the charmingly urban bookstore. Laughing and talking about life until 2 a.m. To the idealistic and optimistic INFP, what could be better? Yes, this introverted personality desires the ultimate romance. They dream of the perfect relationship and will play (and replay!) scenarios in their mind about how it will be. And, although no one’s immune to it, the INFP is the type most likely to put their partner on a pedestal, maybe even going so far as to envision a role that no real person can actually fulfill. Nevertheless, even when INFPs recognize that no one’s perfect, they still desire romance. And this personality makes an amazing partner for that very reason. Although at first a bit private, INFPs want their partner to know just how much they mean to them; they won’t hesitate to compose a song, write a snatch of poetry, or pick out a sentimental gift to express their love. Accepting and understanding, the kind-hearted INFP approaches relationships with a sense of openness and trust. They may be passionate romantics, but they inherently understand their partner’s need for independence — because INFPs need it themselves!

INTP — A champion of their ideas

Intellectually curious and open-minded, INTPs are never short on ideas. Always seeking to understand the universe and human nature — applying logic to parse out each piece of the intricate puzzle — INTPs are the philosophers of the Myers-Brigs world. And, being intuitives and perceivers, they’re adept at seeing many different possibilities in any given scenario. As they hop from quantum physics to Pavlovian techniques to founding their dream company, INTPs know they won’t necessarily chase all their ideas to their natural end, but for them, the value is in the intellectual creation. They need a partner who understands this unique way of operating — and someone who’s as enthusiastic about all of life’s possibilities as they are. Although sometimes they struggle with reading others’ emotions (and expressing their own), INTPs make great partners because they’re flexible, eager, and deep down, romantic. Believe in an INTP, and their happiness will soar.

INFJ — A soul-to-soul connection

Mysterious, enigmatic, and often contradictory, INFJs tend to feel perpetually misunderstood. Of course, everyone feels misunderstood from time to time, but for INFJs, the problem may be made worse by the fact that they so easily understand others. Able to read people in the blink of an eye, often seeing the things that others want hidden, INFJs easily sniff out shuttered intentions and what’s really going on with someone. For this reason, this introverted personality can feel made to understand but not be understood — which is why they crave that emotionally intimate, real, “I see you for all that you are” connection with another human being. This is a tall order, but a little understanding goes a long way, and for the INFJ’s partner, the effort is totally worth it. Although they can be a bit difficult to get to know at first, preferring to reveal their true self only when they feel fully comfortable, INFJs make great partners because they care deeply, love deeply, and won’t hesitate to consider their partner’s needs and preferences in anything. Connect with an INFJ on a soul-deep level, and they will be yours.

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INTJ — A mind-to-mind connection

Like some other “Thinking” types, INTJs can get a bad rep for seeming cold and robotic. They prize logic and efficiency over ooey-gooey emotions, and they’ve always got a goal they’re working toward — so either help them out or get out of their way! But deep down, INTJs do have a beating heart, and whether it’s readily apparent to them or not, they must have strong connections with other human beings — and to feel loved, appreciated, and supported. This may look different for the INTJ than it does for other personality types. Rather than “frivolous” expressions of feelings (which INTJs generally keep private), they want to experience a connection of the mind. For the INTJ, this looks like sharing big ideas, talking earnestly about interesting topics, and romping together in an intellectual playground of the mind. And all this intellectual effort is worth it, because INTJs make wonderful partners; when they give their commitment, they fully mean it, and when inspired, they may work harder than any other personality type to overcome relationship problems that come up.

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Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. Jenn is a contributor to Psychology Today, HuffPost, Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution, Upworthy, The Mighty, The Muse, Motherly, and a number of other outlets. She has appeared on the BBC and in Buzzfeed and Glamour magazine. Jenn started Introvert, Dear because she wanted to write about what it was like being an introvert living in an extrovert's world. Now she's on a mission: to let introverts everywhere know it's okay to be who they are.