Home Advice & How-ToDating Can a Personality Test Help You Find the Perfect Relationship?
Home Advice & How-ToDating Can a Personality Test Help You Find the Perfect Relationship?

Can a Personality Test Help You Find the Perfect Relationship?

by Spokeo

Can a personality test help you find the perfect mate?  Can a relationship personality test help you and your partner improve your love life?  Long a staple of women’s magazines, psychological tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® have long been used to help managers make decisions about team leadership and HR develop communication strategies; psychologists use it to guide people in learning more about themselves.  Some of the most popular dating apps and websites even use personality tests to assign compatibility scores to members, making it easier to find people who, in theory, will get along well with each other. 

So what exactly can you learn from a personality test, and how can it help you with your relationships?  The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator — MBTI, for short — is one of the best known personality tests, but there are many others that purport to help you better understand yourself so that you can seek out the jobs, environments and relationships that make you happy.  It logically follows, then, that understanding your partner’s — or potential partners — personality types can help you better understand what they need, and how to communicate your needs to them.  Here’s what you can learn about your relationship from three of the most popular relationship personality tests.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: What Your Type Tells You

INFP.  ESFJ.  INTP.  If you’ve applied for a job, been on a dating site or read a magazine — of just about any kind — in the past 20 years, you probably recognize the 4-letter acronyms that designate the Myer-Briggs personality types.  The MBTI sorts people into 16 distinct personality types based on their answers to a questionnaire which measures where they fall on four scales:

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  • Introvert/Extrovert.
  • Intuiting/Sensing.
  • Thinking/Feeling.
  • Judging/Perceiving.

Based on your answers, you’ll be assigned one of the 16 four-letter types, such as INFJ (Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) or ESTP (Extrovert, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving).  Each of these is assigned a title that corresponds to an archetype — ISFP, for example, is The Artist, while ENTJ is The Commander. 

MBTI and compatibility

While there’s been a lot written about MBTI compatibility, there’s little peer-reviewed research to back most of it up.  In fact, Psych Central notes that one of the best ways to use the MBTI for compatibility is to take the test together, and use the questions to spark conversations to help you better understand each other. 

That said, if you spot a Myers-Briggs type in a dating profile, you do know a couple of things about them right off the bat. 

First, they’re the type of person who believes in personality types.  Second, and more importantly, they very likely agree with their MBTI personality type, which gives you a little insight into how they see themselves.  A person who puts INTJ in their profile, for example, sees themselves as an organized, goal-driven person who holds themselves — and others around them — to high standards.  If you’re an easy-going person who enjoys taking life as it comes, you may want to swipe left on that one, and look for an ENFJ.  You’ll find capsule descriptions of each personality type at the official Myer-Briggs website.

MBTI + love languages

Combining your partner’s Myers-Briggs type with the five love languages can give you some insight into the best ways to renew intimacy and improve communication in your relationship.  Psychologist Heidi Preibe did an informal survey on her Facebook page a few years ago, asking people to identify their MBTI type, and vote on their top one or two love languages.  With 2,500 responses, she was able to draw some conclusions, which she published at Thought Catalog.  Those insights can help you learn new ways to express your feelings to the people you love, as well as to communicate your needs to them. 

Take the MBTI for free

The Enneagram Test: How Your Worldview Shapes You

Similar to the Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram test consists of paired statements from which you choose the one that best describes you.  Your responses will classify you as one of nine basic personality types, numbered 1 through 9.  Each of them also has a title and a four-word description:

  1. The Reformer: principled, purposeful, self-controlled, perfectionistic.
  2. The Helper: generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, possessive.
  3. The Achiever: adaptable, excelling, driven, image-conscious.
  4. The Individualist:  expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, temperamental.
  5. The Investigator: perceptive, innovative, secretive, isolated.
  6. The Loyalist: engaging, responsible, anxious, suspicious.
  7. The Enthusiast: spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, scattered.
  8. The Challenger: self-confident, decisive, willful, confrontational.
  9. The Peacemaker: receptive, reassuring, complacent, resigned.

From there, it increased in complexity, with your answers defining subtypes and centers.  In all, there are 27 subtypes in the Enneagram system.  Overall, the system can help you understand your personal motivations, style of communication and needs, and provide a framework for analyzing how you relate to other people.

Enneagrams and compatibility

Certified Enneagram Coach Stephanie Baron Hall notes that the point of using Enneagrams to build stronger relationships is not to rule out potential pairings, but to learn how to use them as a tool to support growth and better understanding.  Understanding your partner’s personality type can help you build empathy, and communicate more effectively. 

Perhaps more importantly, a personality type like the Enneagram Test can help you understand your needs better, and make it easier to find a mutually beneficial relationship.  Enneagram expert Hannah Pasch shares some specific qualities that each of the types should look for when dating.

  • Type One: Someone who is authentic and has integrity.
  • Type Two: A person who equally gives and receives support.
  • Type Three: A spontaneous, fun person who reminds them to live in the present.
  • Type Four: An attentive partner with a high capacity for connection.
  • Type Five: Someone who gives them the space to explore their interests.
  • Type Six: A dependable, nurturing person.
  • Type Seven: A chill partner who provides stability and playfulness.
  • Type Eight: A person who will stand up for you.
  • Type Nine: A partner who understands that they are worth waiting for.

Take a free Enneagram test

The Big Five: a Personality Spectrum

The Big Five personality tests are based on the theory that personality is made up of five basic traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.  Each of these traits is a scale — a person may be very open to new ideas and routines, or they may be completely rigid and closed to anything new, for example.  Unlike many other personality tests, the Big Five doesn’t assign personality types. Instead, it places people on a continuum from high to low on each of the traits. 

OpennessTraditional, likes routineCreative, open to new experiences
ConscientiousnessImpulsive, carelessDependable, organized
ExtroversionQuiet, reservedOutgoing, social
AgreeablenessCritical, difficult to get along withEmpathetic, nurturing, accepting
NeuroticismCalm, even-temperedEmotional, angers easily, often sad and moody

Of course, few people fall at the extreme ends of any of these personality traits.  Most people fall somewhere in the middle on each of these traits, and understanding where a person falls can help you recognize — and to some degree, predict — how they’ll react in certain situations.  

What science says about the Big Five

The Big Five theory has more scientific backing than most other popular relationship personality tests.  A recent review on relevant studies about the effects of personality traits on relationships, for example, found 108 articles, though they only used 18 for their final analysis.  The researchers found that people who scored high in neuroticism were less likely to be happy in their relationships, while those who scored high in conscientiousness were most likely to be satisfied in their marital relationships.  Higher scores in agreeableness and openness also correlated to more satisfaction in their relationships. 

Can the Big Five predict cheating?

An intriguing subset of Big Five research focuses on the personality traits of people who are unfaithful in romantic relationships.  According to one recent study, researchers have found that cheaters tend to score higher on neuroticism, openness and extraversion, and lower on conscientiousness and agreeableness.  The author of that study, however, notes that relying on just the five basic traits can confuse the results.  Instead, he suggests digging deeper into the subtraits for more precise data.

Take a free Big Five test

Relationships and Personality Tests: Are They More Than Fun?

While you probably shouldn’t base your dating choices or stake the fate of your relationship on the results of a personality test, they can be a useful tool to help you learn more about yourself and your partner.  They’re especially useful — and can be fun — if you take them together and compare answers.  

If, however, you’re looking for real data and information, Spokeo offers far more reliable tools to help you determine if your partner is cheating on you or learn more about that mysterious stranger who seems like a perfect match.  To learn more about anyone, check out Spokeo’s people finder tools using name, email, reverse phone lookup, or even dating profile handles. Whatever you need to know, Spokeo can help you find it.