Hobbies are an important aspect of leisure time for many people, bringing both balance and joy to normally stressful and responsibility-driven lives. While certain hobbies offer relaxation, others provide outlets for creative expression or physical fitness. Personality type certainly influences what kinds of hobbies people engage in, but does it also affect how we take up our hobbies in the first place?
To determine what role personality type plays in how people engage in hobbies, we asked our readers if they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “You tend to try lots of hobbies casually rather than really get into a few.”
The data indicated that there are important differences between personality types. Most significantly, Intuitive types were 20% more likely to agree than Observant types that they try lots of hobbies (55% versus 35%, respectively). Other noteworthy differences occurred between Prospecting and Judging types (55% versus 38%), and between Extraverted and Introverted types (52% versus 42%).
Sit back and relax while we engage in some leisurely discussion about hobbies below.
Diplomats and Analysts (56% and 52% agreeing)
The Energy aspect of personality dictates how people direct their focus, so it makes sense that Intuitive types, who prefer novelty over stability, would try more hobbies than the more focused Observant types. Diplomats and Analysts share a tendency to be curious and creative, and they frequently crave new and unique experiences. For both of these Roles, the process of exploration and discovery is more enjoyable than actually mastering or committing to a hobby.
Diplomats may be drawn to hobbies that let them exercise their creativity, connect with people, or serve a greater good, like writing, traveling, or volunteering. Analyst personality types, on the other hand, are more apt to enjoy hobbies that are especially challenging on an intellectual level. Being a Dungeon Master is no small task and conquering a complex video game takes a significant amount of devotion, but it’s well worth the glory.
Debaters (ENTP) and Campaigners (ENFP) tied as the personality types who agreed with our statement the most (64% each). Their shared Prospecting trait inspires them to explore any and every exciting venture and gives them a deep dislike of feeling tied down to any one activity.
Debater personalities love to explore and dissect just about everything, including hobbies, discovering in the process not just the pros of the hobby, but the cons as well. This thorough approach makes them more likely to repeatedly jump from one hobby to the next, in hopes of finding something more interesting. Commitment isn’t Campaigners’ forte either, as Campaigner Michael Scott (from The Office) illustrated when he said of his improv comedy class, “I would not miss it for the world. But if something else came up, I would definitely not go.”
Despite their reputation for spontaneous, impatient behavior, a minority of Explorer personality types agreed with our statement. It’s true that Explorers, who tend to be easily bored, are most interested in hobbies that are exciting, engaging, and entertaining. But at the same time, their Observant trait brings in a down-to-earth attitude that makes them willing to spend some serious time on a hobby that genuinely speaks to them and holds their interest from the beginning.
Virtuosos (ISTP) (36%) are especially dedicated to their crafts, which is often noticeable in their constant, almost obsessive tendency to tinker or experiment with their chosen hobby. Almost half (49%) of Entertainers (ESFP) agreed that they tend to try lots of hobbies rather than get into a few. Their combination of Extravert and Feeling personality traits may mean that the hobby itself, be it throwing parties or playing sports, isn’t necessarily as important as the opportunities that it provides to interact with others.
Structure and stability are Sentinels’ top priorities in all aspects of their lives, even in their leisure activities. A hobby can be serious business for these personality types, and they will commit to hobbies with the same devotion that they commit to work, family, and their communities – but they’ll also have the sense to pick just a couple of hobbies, to avoid spreading themselves too thin.
Logisticians (ISTJ) (26%), as the personality type least likely to agree, are the most dedicated hobbyists, preferring to devote their time to fewer hobbies rather than exploring all of their options. Logisticians thrive on hobbies that reward loyalty and dedication, such as gardening, bird-watching, or chess. They have excellent patience and the capacity for extended concentration on repetitive tasks that other personality types may not find as stimulating. Hermione Granger, everyone’s favorite Logistician from Harry Potter, has a serious penchant for books and regularly checks out ten-pound tomes on topics like history and alchemy “for a bit of light reading.” To each her own!
Social Engagement (57% agreeing)
Respondents belonging to the Social Engagement Strategy were notably more likely than other personality types to try numerous hobbies rather than committing to a few. Their Turbulent Identities often result in perfectionistic tendencies, making them less likely to commit to a hobby that they are unable to excel at. As Extraverts, Social Engagers are also more easily influenced by their social circles. If their friends have suddenly gotten into yoga, for instance, you can bet that a Social Engager will try it out too, not wanting to miss out on all the stretchy bonding.
People Mastery (47%)
Also Extraverted personalities, members of the People Mastery Strategy thrive on social interaction and, often, competition. Their Assertive Identity provides them with the confidence to feel comfortable pursuing new hobbies, especially those where they are able to lead and/or compete against others.
Constant Improvement (44%)
The Constant Improvement Strategy is defined by Introverted and Turbulent personality types who are less apt to sample hobbies than their Extraverted counterparts. While their Turbulent Identity may cause them to second-guess their choices, their Introverted desire for calmness and focus helps them settle into a few comfortable hobbies. A continual desire for self-improvement leads many Constant Improvers to seek hobbies that will help them better themselves and even the world around them.
Confident Individualism (36%)
An Assertive Identity motivates members of the Confident Individualism Strategy to stick with the hobbies that they pursue. The possibility of imperfection or even failure doesn’t worry them. As Introverts, they are less likely to need the constant stimulation that their Extraverted counterparts often desire from their hobbies. This combination of traits results in personality types that are more content to fully engage in a few hobbies, rather than experimenting with many.
For some personality types, exploring new hobbies is actually a hobby in itself. While it is obvious that different types gravitate toward different kinds of hobbies, the results of this study demonstrate that some types get the most satisfaction from the process of exploring different hobbies, while others prefer to find just a couple to truly engage in and master.
Novelty and external stimulation play a role in hobby exploration, as do a lack of commitment and lower levels of self-confidence. Stability and structure lead certain personality types to focus on fewer hobbies more deeply, as does a desire for closure and higher levels of self-confidence. The key, as with all things, is balance.
Hobbies can bring tremendous satisfaction to life; in fact, many hobbies offer more joy and satisfaction than some careers do. It doesn’t matter what the hobby is – as long as it’s gratifying and not destructive, it can increase our quality of life significantly. As someone once said, “Hobbies are one of the most potent methods for launching something of meaning and lasting value.” Keep in mind that your hobby could end up changing not just your life, but the world.
How do you think your personality type influences the way you engage in hobbies? Share your thoughts in the comments below!