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.

6 months ago
Living with my mom and her husband (step-dad) & sister (ESTJ, ISTP, & INTP) has allowed me to double side my feeling verses thinking. Though i am like 80% feeling. I haven't changed types it's just I can be rational and emotionally expressive in all the different aspects of my day and life. Serving as a counter balance to my turbulence and emotional breakdowns.
9 months ago
For some reason, I am scared to redo the personality type again because I feel very connected to defenders already and if I get something else, I would feel like I'm not myself anymore.
9 months ago
I had the same feelings as you do now, but our personalities are unchangeable on a big scale. So I'm sure that if you retake the test It will get you the same results :)
M
1 year ago
Cool! I guess that explains why my personality summary had quite a few contradictions about me. To be honest, I just thought I was a "divergent" mediator or something.
1 year ago
Yes, I know environmental influences have changed me, 'brought me out of my shell' , but also the 'Constant Improvement' trait means that you want to improve, so, of course, the most likely to change personality a little
9 months ago
Are you mediator type?
4 months ago
They are ISFJ (Defender)
2 years 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.
1 year 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.
Nim
1 year ago
I do experience something similar. So many changes to my environtment enrich my point of view and impact the development of my mindset. I'm an INFP-T with the intraversion and feeling factor got near to the middle. It appears to me being different person in certain circumstances, such as being an extrovert (and getting energy too) while getting along my close friends or be The Debater (ENTP) while facing something challenging my value. In such situation I do enjoy and call it "the other side of me". However, it tooks time passing for me to accept that I was born as INFP (and maybe include the percentage composition). Now I'm glad with my personality.
10 months ago
Hi Nim, I am also INFP-T and I have almost the same experience like you, in certain circumstances I developed more extrovert part of my personality..
9 months ago
interesting!
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