Can 16 Personality Types Have a (Mostly) “Balanced” Holiday Dinner?

Kyle’s avatar

Why does any personality type look forward to stressful holiday dinners? It can be challenging to coordinate visitors, cook complex recipes, and just keep yourself together – especially among contrasting personality types with different ways of doing things.

Maybe it’s a tradition. Maybe it feels like an obligation. Hopefully, however, a grander goal also exists: to celebrate joyfully together. Little strums our primal strings in a more satisfying way than a delicious, bountiful meal, and little feeds our evolved sensibilities better than sharing it gratefully with others.

Whatever our reasons, many of us choose to navigate seasonal stresses to create elaborate holiday dinners together. In our “Winter Holidays” survey, a majority of all personality types said there are special meals that they only prepare during the holidays.

Average agreement among all 16 personalities was 67%. Consuls agreed the most at 81%, and Logicians agreed the least at 52%.

We occasionally poke a little fun at personality types, and for this year’s holiday feasting season, we thought we’d also focus on some positivity. In our Premium Profiles and members’ Academy, we explore “balanced” vs. “unbalanced” behavior – some great and not-so-great tendencies of each personality type.

Here, we’ll consider (but not too seriously) how the 16 personality types might try a “balanced” approach to a holiday dinner party – and we’ll see what you think, at the end.

Oh, and if the format of what follows seems oddly regimented, it’s because Thinking and Judging Extraverts have taken charge. (Who else would want voting at a dinner party?) Check out how they organized everyone into task-oriented teams and a “Holiday Party Council” of team leaders.

The (Probably Unnecessary) Holiday Party Council

Executive (chairperson): Takes their leadership role seriously and radiates productive energy. Determined not to let anything derail the plan or let anyone remain idle when there’s so much to do.

Commander: Happy not to be chairing the council, because keeping track of every little detail seems tedious. Prefers to advise, evaluate, and contribute creative ideas and action to the big picture. Was appointed by the Debater, who abdicated their council seat. (Why? Keep reading…)

Protagonist: Highlights the human side of things, so the plan isn’t just brusque tasksetting and efficient edicts. Reminds everyone that fun is the goal along the way, not merely an end result. Wishes the Debater would “properly” perform their duties.

Entrepreneur: Doesn’t much care for rules and regulations but enjoys being in a position to get things done. Happily bounces back and forth wherever the action is. Negotiates with the outside world on behalf of the group by shopping for needed supplies.

Six people with different personality types gathered around a table for a holiday meal.

Task Teams – What Are the Types Doing?

Team Name: Debater Wins

(Because the Debater only had to sway one vote to gain a majority.)

  • What the team is doing: Making and serving drinks and freely dispensing theoretical predictions.
  • Mission statement: “To be an effective part of creating an optimal dinner party.”
  • Motto: “There’s a best everything, and we’ll find it.”

Debater (team leader): Spends most of their time arguing about whatever’s interesting with whoever is interested. Wanted to be the team leader for the sake of it but lets the Commander run things, including serving on the Holiday Party Council – partly because the Commander loves that stuff and partly to avoid the Protagonist’s “excessive moralizing.”

Architect: Loves playing bartender and obsessively perfecting drink recipes through multiple iterations. Normally an antisocial personality but notes for later consideration that it feels nice to be appreciated and make others happy. Adjusts the concoctions to ensure that no one exceeds their limits. Refuses to serve shots because it’s “vulgar.” Ignores ensuing protests.

Logician: Enjoys collaborating creatively with their team without ultimately being responsible for organizing anything. Volunteers to taste test all the drink experiments and gives unfiltered feedback to the Architect. Gladly takes and delivers drink orders among the other teams. Gets easily distracted because they enjoy learning about what everyone else is doing.

Commander: Revels in their council appointment and making the big decisions. Has reservations about the loose focus of the Debater and Logician but admits that the team is doing a good job. Tries to be patient with the Architect’s overly methodical mixology. Gives advice to everyone about how to make things better but also cheerfully offers to help with everything.

Team Name: HeartFire

(Because the fire in their hearts drives everything they do.)

  • What the team is doing: Making the food and working through creative differences.
  • Mission statement: “To take us all on an amazing culinary journey that nourishes our souls as well as our bodies.”
  • Motto: “Love is the most important ingredient.”

Protagonist (team leader): Is proud to lead the team responsible for such a critical part of the whole event – it is a holiday dinner party, after all. Tries not to ruffle feathers in the kitchen while also trying to keep everyone focused and on task with verbal direction. Admires what everyone is doing but can’t restrain themselves from mentioning their own ideas and recommendations.

Advocate: Loves the creative energy in the kitchen but likes focusing privately on their own tasks. Keeps gently reminding the Protagonist that people have their own way of doing things and can work just fine without having someone always looking over their shoulder. Is excited to reveal all the dinner dishes to the group – and really hopes everyone will like them.

Adventurer: Asked to switch to this team because they were interested in learning to cook better. Was welcomed by the Diplomat personalities and is serving as an apprentice to everyone in the kitchen simultaneously, which mildly exasperates the Protagonist’s sense of order. Is enjoying learning new things and trying not to pressure themselves to get everything right.

Campaigner: Loves being amid a whirl of activity. Is handling the appetizers because patience isn’t much fun, and they’re excited to serve their dishes. Pours energy into cooking yet also finds the time to present samples and snacks to everyone else. Cheerfully ignores most of the Protagonist’s direction because they don’t like limits on their personal expression.

Team Name: Happy Holidays

(Because they wish everyone “Happy Holidays!”)

  • What the team is doing: Decorating the house and giving the other teams needed help.
  • Mission statement: “To make sure everything gets done so we can all have a nice time together.”
  • Motto: “Clean as you go.”

Executive (team leader): Is trying to make the party a success while resisting their urge to micromanage everyone. Isn’t thrilled about Intuitive personality types being in charge of the food and drinks but is trying to respect the Protagonist’s “fun first” philosophy. Is prepared to be okay if dinner isn’t on time. Is pleased that their team is doing their work and picking up everyone else’s slack but is nice enough to refrain from saying, “I told you so.”

Logistician: Enjoys being tasked with doing things precisely and well – and then being left alone to do them precisely and well. Is surprised how easy it is to work alongside the Defender and appreciates the lack of drama. Doesn’t understand why the Analysts and Diplomats seem to complicate and talk everything to death, but fairly recognizes the high points of their creations.

Defender: Really likes seeing everyone cooperating and having a good time. Appreciates the Logistician’s quiet, logical efficiency and subtle sense of humor. Is patiently trying to advance their own decorating ideas despite the louder Extraverted voices on the team. Resolves to be heard but is still willing to compromise on almost anything.

Consul: Is pretty sure they should be in charge but admits that everything is going fairly well. Continually checks on the progress of everything, including the other teams, and reports problems and concerns to the Executive. Brings effusive, energetic help wherever they go and tries not to mind when it doesn’t seem to be wanted. (And then helps anyway.)

Team Name: Party Time

(Because it literally is.)

  • What the team is doing: Providing the entertainment and doing whatever else they want to.
  • Mission statement: “To make sure everyone has fun, especially us.”
  • Motto: “No one is allowed to be bored.”

Entrepreneur (team leader): Mostly preoccupied with their role on the Holiday Party Council and appreciates how the Entertainer is leading the team activities. Checks in every so often to see how things are going and receive their fair share of the credit. Proudly brags to everyone about how Team Party Time is going to make the night awesome and works hard to deliver on that promise.

Mediator: Willingly swapped places with the Adventurer so they could each pursue their preferred thing. Is more into music than cooking and enjoys playing DJ because it means they can just put on headphones whenever they don’t feel like talking to anyone. Genuinely doesn’t mind taking requests and tries to appreciate other people’s musical tastes. (A groundbreaking first among DJs.)

Virtuoso: Brought the electronic gear, including numerous game consoles and vintage systems. Happy to share their favorite hobby with everyone else, partly just to ensure that they get to do what they like, but also because their collection includes games for all tastes and types to enjoy. Willing to play any game with anyone but doesn’t give away any wins.

Entertainer: Thinks everyone should dance. Motivates the reluctant personalities by offering prizes for barely participatory categories like “best dance with least movement.” Convinces the Entrepreneur and Debater to pass a rule by majority council vote that allows anyone to postpone work to dance for a song. This annoys the Executive, but not nearly as much as the subsequent “no dessert without dancing” rule worries the Introverts…

How Does the Party End?

We hope we gave you a chuckle and maybe even inspired some ideas for making your holiday dinners more harmonious. Trying to be a balanced version of our personality type is always an option – even amid the stress of the holidays. Sometimes it just takes a bit of awareness and patience. Who knows what joys we can unlock by bringing our best selves to the party?

We’ve explored how the 16 personality types might make their holiday gathering awesome. We’d like to imagine that it goes well: frustrations are momentary, dinner is spectacular, and everyone has fun together. But the night is young, and dinner isn’t served yet.

So, how do you think the party will go?

Will anyone liberate the alcohol while the Architect takes a bathroom break? Will the Adventurer confuse cayenne for paprika and give everyone a spicy surprise? Will the Debater and Protagonist have words? Who will win the prize for “best dance with least movement”? Will the Introverts stage a coup against the Entertainer’s tyrannical Dance-ocracy to reclaim their just desserts? Will the Mediator play trap music?

Based on personality type, who will do what, and why? Let us know all the things you think will happen in the comments below! Or do you have a personal anecdote to share about how personality type affected a holiday gathering, for better or worse?

Further Reading

Having (and Being) Fun at Holiday Parties Part I: Extraverts

Having (and Being) Fun at Holiday Parties Part II: Introverts

The 16Personalities Holiday Survival Guide

Chatting with a Purpose: Introverts and Small Talk

When Holiday Parties Go South: Dinner Table Conflicts and Personality Types