Is It Possible to Change Your Personality Type?

Every personality type has its strengths and weaknesses – there is no ideal type just like there are no ideal humans walking on this planet. That being said, it is almost inevitable that at some point in life you will say “I wish I had a different personality”. You may want to become more outgoing, more in tune with your senses, more organized, more resistant to criticism etc. Not surprisingly, one of the most frequent questions people interested in personal development ask is “Can I change my personality type?”

Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple. According to most personality type theories, the individual’s type is inborn and does not change. However, individuals can develop traits and habits that differ or even directly contradict the description of their type. How does that happen?

Let’s use an example. Imagine that lights in your flat suddenly go off and you are in complete darkness. You may be able to navigate your way to the door, but what senses are you going to use? Touch? Hearing? Smell? It would be anything but vision, your preferred sense. However, as soon as the lights come back on, you will switch back to using vision again as it makes it much easier to navigate around the flat.

The way your personality works is very similar. The environment you are in shapes your personality in a certain way, forcing you to develop traits and habits that might be foreign to your type. For instance, if you are naturally casual and spontaneous (Prospecting), but your work schedule is very structured and your manager is obsessive about schedules, your preferences are likely to change. However, you will probably switch back to being a Prospecting individual as soon as you leave that job. The same rule applies to other traits as well.

We should probably mention one more thing. Sociability is often confused with Extraversion, just like shyness is confused with Introversion – this is one of the most common mistakes when it comes to discussing personality types. While Extraverted individuals naturally find it easier to talk to other people (they gain energy when they do this), there are many shy or solitary people among them. Conversely, Introverted types lose energy when they communicate with others, but you would be able to find many eloquent individuals in that group.

In fact, certain Introverted types (e.g. Advocate or Mediator) are often more sociable than most Extraverted types. In Western societies, Extraverted individuals outnumber Introverted ones by a large margin and consequently most people believe that everyone should strive to be outgoing, confident, have a large circle of friends etc. This is a misguided belief as every personality type is unique and has different strengths – yet this is often the reason behind the “Can I change my personality type?” question.

To conclude, your basic personality type cannot change – however, you can (and should!) change the aspects of your personality that you are unhappy with. By doing this you will strengthen your shadow traits and become a more well-rounded individual, even though your dominant traits will still remain the same. Such a change could be triggered by either the environment you are in or your own will – to each his own.

1 year ago
I used to be an ENFP. I went to a small private school that I had been in since Kindergarten, so I knew everyone. I was the life of the party; I loved being with everyone there and I just couldn't get enough. My freshman year I went to a bigger school. The people were so much different, the classes were so much different, it was just an overwhelming change. That combined with family issues going on at the time turned me into an entirely different person. I started hanging out with a bunch of introverted analysts to avoid the complicated emotions that came with trying to be who I usually was, and eventually, I became INTP. Even now that I am comfortable there, I have not gone back to my ENFP self. Wondering if this is a permanent change, or if maybe that's who I always was and never realized it because of my Ideal, unchanging environment. Either way, I think I like myself more as an INTP. I get more things done and think more rationally when not hindered by emotions.
7 months ago
Maybe (I'm just theorizing, don't take this too serious, you know more about yourself than I do), you enjoyed speaking to people because it was people you already knew, and had a relationship with. I have something similar, where I can get along quite easily with some colleagues, which also happen to be friends, and I always talk a lot with the teachers, but, when a weekend arrives (or vacations, as now), I tend to stay at home a lot, and I'm not that comfortable with people I still don't know. Also, I dislike places such as parties, but now I'm going off topic.
On goer
1 year ago
Very well said!
Matt
1 year ago
So I find it very hard to be mature as it comes naturally to me to be silly and loud. This is one of the factors which I believe have led to me having an abnormally small freindship circle. How can I change this? I go to college in septemper next year but I want to change before then. Any tips?
INTP-T
1 year ago
I suggest you first make a list of things you'd like to change (actions that you think inhibit the friend-making process and/or are immature). Then, take some time to lessen how often you do these things—or quit doing them entirely—one by one. Make sure not to change too much of yourself, though; things like silly and loud aren't always bad.
kulot
1 year ago
I don't want to change if my goal is just to gain wide acceptance of other people. I have found freedom, satisfaction and joy when I started to accept who I am. I am melancholic. I have found many areas in which this kind of personality is very productive and useful. All things work together for good...Romans 8:28. I have weaknessess, and through this, I see God's strength and power.
Shina
1 year ago
Amazing, very well said! So I'm guessing you believe in Jesus Christ? Because no one could have said it better then what you just said kulot!
Moe
1 year ago
How do u go from being loud and obnoxious and silly to a more towned down quiet person?!
Anonymous
1 year ago
Easily. Self esteem drop, blow to confidence. Confidence levels can be high and low no matter who you are.
1 year ago
Maybe a bad experience. Or depression. Can be a lot of things. loss of self confidence, a new environment etc.
1 year ago
Get yourself some prayer beads, and set some small goals. Go to a book discussion group with the promise that you won't say a thing - leave early if you must, but give yourself a small gold star if you can attend without being loud in that quiet environment. Take a pencil and post-it pad, and write down any silly thought that comes to you, and save it without voicing it; if anyone asks, tell them you're trying a writing project. Volunteer to work with animals, and since they will react to how you feel, if you want them to be quiet you will need to be quiet. Find some job (raking leaves, clearing snow, picking up trash) where you're somewhat alone and see how long you can do it quietly. Don't worry - most introverts have done similar things in the opposite direction. Your "loud and obnoxious" can be useful in directing crowds, your "silly" can be used to cheer people up, if you can channel and control them properly. Reward yourself for the progress you make, and the self-control that you gain. You will never achieve reticent and humorlessness, so don't fear that could happen - that's not your goal. Hope all goes well!
6 months ago
Bullying, embarrassment, and such.
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