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.

anonymous
3 years ago
I am an INFJ. I think that no one should change their personality type. There may be certain undesirable characteristics about yourself that you might need to change, irritability, lack of patience, etc , but your personality type is a unique part of you. Once you become comfortable with it, it can help you be more at peace with yourself as a person.
Anonymous
3 years ago
Im a boring person. i rather stay home than socialize.
Oh so turbulent.
3 years ago
Just because you would rather stay home does not make you a boring person. ...
sad
3 years ago
This is was so helpful, but if you want try to change the traits that you are unhappy with, how can you do it?
Anonymous
3 years ago
I would say work on strengthening whatever traits are important to you. It has been demonstrated that the brain is a lot more plastic than we once thought--meaning we can change the way we think and are as people a lot more than previously thought by several studies. Just pick what traits you want to develop the most and work on them overtime. One thing to keep in mind though is that as people grow up different parts of the brain develop at different times. One person may develop the ability to do math well young and another not till they're older-because different parts of the brain are being developed first. This has been shown to be true of children and is also true of young adults. I did well in math classes young. My younger sister's developmental process was different, she didn't become good at math until she was college age, and is now extremely good at it. That part of her brain didn't finish developing enough until she was older. Now she aces her college math classes, even though she had trouble when she was a kid. Just all of a sudden at a certain age she was able to it well without any apparent reason. This is true of most subject areas. So give yourself time if you are young and are not yet good at something you want to be good at. That part of you will be ready to learn whatever it is in time.
kunal
4 years ago
i am a very shy person , extremely introverted ! Talking to people is like an impossible mission to me, i get stressed a lot ! My voice sinks through the conversation and become bearly hearable because i can't find the right words ! I become uncomfortable making the other person feel the same as well ! I am far from being spontanuous ! And i am NOT happy being like this ! It's like my personality is imposed on me and i have nthg to do about it ! I wish there was a switch off button or a magical way to change my personality ! All the methods i tried worked for a really short period of time and i always end up going back to the same behaviour ! :( wht to do?
Formerly Shy, Happily Introverted
3 years ago
Hi Kunal. Up until a few years ago I would have described myself exactly as you did above. Today I am still very much an introvert, in that I'm most comfortable and energised by spending time alone or one to one. But I'm also much better in groups and now find it easy to raise my voice and be heard when needed. I think it takes sustained effort to change, but it's worth the effort. The things that helped me: I joined a local Toastmasters group. I went along with a friend just to observe at first, but ended up answering a question in the table topics section. I must have spoke for less than a minute, I was bright red and my voice sank and trailed off after the first couple of sentences. But, even though it was very embarrassing and difficult, the group was so amazingly supportive and encouraging. And so many people had stories of starting out just the same way, that I was encouraged to keep going back and it has really paid off. You may always be more or less of an Introvert, but there's nothing wrong with that. Being shy you can overcome. Best of luck!
Denise
3 years ago
I am an introverted person (INTJ) and definitely I am not shy. I just don't want to be around people I don't care about. Of course I have my days that I wish I were more outgoing and have more friends but at the end that's not who I am and I wouldn't be happy like that. You say that you are not happy with your personality; so maybe you are not an introverted person. You may be extroverted and also shy. Believe me, shyness is not a problem you can't get over. It may take time but is changeable.
D/R
4 years ago
I like the part about "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." My type is INFJ, but many would argue that I'm extravert because I am sometimes loud and spontaneous in public. But this article shows that that is not always the case, I become exhausted by being more social. So yea, I completely agree that many people see these things as a mistake.
FeeFee
4 years ago
I found this particularly interesting as well. It rings true.
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