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Myers-Briggs and Temperament Groups: What are Guardians, Artisans, Idealists, and Rationals?

Updated on July 30, 2022
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Andrea writes on various topics from dating, couples, astrology, weddings, interior design, and gardens. She studied film and writing.

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Finding Your Group

Myers-Briggs types people into one of 16 personalities. Each of the 16 personalities belongs to one of four families: the guardians (SJ), artisans (SP), idealists (NF), or rationals (NT).

The test is based off four spectrums:

  • Introversion to extroversion
  • Intuition to sensing
  • Feeling to thinking
  • Judging to perceiving

Based on a 100-point scale, people’s preferences will lean one way or the other. If their preferences fall to the middle, other factors can be considered to determine where someone feels more comfortable identifying their personality.

Breaking down how these four spectrums work will help you to understand the four families, which are also sometimes called groups or temperaments.

Introversion and Extroversion

Introversion to extroversion has to do with how you get energized. Introverts charge their batteries by spending time alone at home and focusing on ideas. Extroverts feel more energized when they socialize, and spending time alone can feel draining.

You can be a shy extrovert who feels nervous around people, but you still feel more refreshed and energized when you spend time with people. You can be a social introvert who loves to have a wide circle of friends, but you ultimately need to unwind and focus on hobbies, ideas, and the like — otherwise, you feel anxious.

Intuition and Sensing

The second spectrum in MBTI has to do with how you gather information. Intuitive types look for patterns and metaphors to understand what is going on around them. Intuitive types tend to be big-picture thinkers who like thinking about theories. They tend to be creative and open-minded people. They think a great deal about the past and future, and they’re often told they need to be more grounded.

Sensing types gather information primarily through their senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Those who are sensing types are grounded in reality and are present-minded. They may get turned off by things that are too abstract or unusual. Sensing types prioritize things that they can see and experience over things that are merely concepts.

Feeling and Thinking

The third spectrum in MBTI has to do with how you make decisions. Feeling vs thinking doesn’t mean you have a preference for your heart or brain. One of my personal complaints about MBTI is that some of the terms are misleading.

Feeling is about making decisions with others. Before coming to a decision, you will ask others what they think. You like social input. You don’t just look at data, you look for advice and experience. This is how you determine what is best.

Someone with a preference for thinking will favor data. They will ignore all the ruckus and politics of a room and focus on locked-in concepts. Those with thinking are very good at coming up with answers, but they can come off cold and/or calculated because they don’t understand the social dynamics of their decisions.

Someone with a preference for feeling is likely to stay close to home or a close group of friends. It would be terrifying for them to pursue a job that’s on the other side of the world. It’s a big loss for them to cut themselves off from the social network they’ve built. Those with a feeling preference hate building a social network from scratch.

Those with a thinking preference are more comfortable stepping away from their social network to pursue their interests. Those with a thinking preference hate starting a career from scratch.

Judging and Perceiving

The last spectrum of MBTI has to do with how you prefer your surroundings. Judging types tend to be clean, organized, motivated by deadlines, and conscientious. Judging types tend to be rule followers.

Perceiving types tend to procrastinate, have chaotic homes and workspaces, are threatened by deadlines, are rule breakers, and are open-minded.

Judging types can be strict about rules whereas perceiving types are more low-key and chill. Judging types do very well following a routine, and perceiving types do well with creative exploration and experimentation.

Your Personality Type

It’s important to keep in mind that people experience aspects from both ends of the spectrum, but people tend to gravitate toward a certain endpoint. In theory, one end of the stick should be more appealing to you than the other. In cases where someone feels like they’re more in the middle, other letters should be examined.

For instance, someone who can’t tell whether they’re an INFP or an INFJ should look at their introversion-extroversion spectrum and their feeling-thinking spectrum. Why? An INFJ will have a more pronounced preference for intuition because their dominant function is introverted intuition. INFP will have a more pronounced preference for feeling because their dominant function is introverted feeling.

Temperament Groups

The 16 personalities are grouped together by the ways they gather information and make decisions. The groups are about the intuition to sensing spectrum and the feeling to thinking spectrum.

Guardians (SJ) are the largest personality group, making up around 45% of the population. The group is made up of people who are practical, steady, dutiful, and present-minded. They seek normalcy and stability.

Artisans (SP) make up about 30–35% of the population. They’re fun-loving, adaptable, charismatic, and daring. They like to take chances. They want variety in their lives. They like to break traditions. They want to express themselves in the world.

Idealists (NF) make up about 15–20% of the population. This group is full of kind people who want the world to be a better place. They have a strong interest in people. They’re enthusiastic and positive, though they sometimes become depressed because the world often doesn’t live up to their ideals.

Rationals (NT) make up 10% of the population. They are pragmatic, future-focused, lovers of reason, and responsible. People in this group often rise to the ranks of high-paying and challenging jobs.

Below I’ve added detailed information on each temperament group.

Guardians
Artisans
Idealists
Thinkers
ISTJ
ISTP
INFJ
INTJ
ESTJ
ESTP
ENFJ
ENTJ
ISFJ
ISFP
INFP
INTP
ESFJ
ESFP
ENFP
ENTP
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Guardians

If we clump guardians altogether in one temperament, we find people with a knack for administration, structure, and traditions. They’re great at completing tasks, speaking their mind, and being direct — they might be confused when people talk with too much fluff, especially the ISTJ who really likes things to be in a concise, simplified manner.

Guardians prioritize their goals so they can have all of their basic necessities met. They want a house, a good-paying job, a normal family, and a car. They like to fit in with others. They want to come across as successful. Guardians love to manage.

SJ types aren’t fun-loving hippies. They want to get stuff done, such as chores, taxes, and appointments. The ISTJ and ESTJ have a special love for money. ESTJ personalities usually top the charts when it comes to wealth. ESTJ is a common personality among CEOs.

The ISTJ is what I’d call the Batman or protagonist personality. He or she has a lot of weight on their shoulders. They’re excellent, logical thinkers, but they might struggle to understand things romantically. You can get them to eventually open up and be vulnerable, but their real priority is to get stuff done and managed. They analyze and sort things, so they’re not known as lovey-dovey types. The ISFJ and ESFJ, however, are relationship-driven.

ESFJ is one of the most popular personalities, especially for women. ESFJ types are obsessed with relationships and social connections. ESFJs know how to have relationships — when to compliment, when to nag, and when to call it quits. ESFJ will win you over with their charisma, hospitality, and spunk.

ISFJs are softer. They focus more on close friendships and family. ISFJs want you to feel welcome in their home. They’re compassionate while also giving structure. They are elegant whereas ESFJ is wild (but not as wild as ESFP).

A relationship not running correctly for an SFJ is just as troublesome for an STJ who is poor. SFJs require social interaction. STJs require wealth and property.

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Artisans

Artisans care less about the rules and are more willing to take risks. They have a fire for life. Extroverted artisans are wildly social. They do incredible and crazy things for thrills. Introverted artisans can be split into two groups: mechanics (ISTP) and artists (ISFP). Introverted artisans have a strong need to focus on craft.

ESFP and ISFP love to be in love. It helps them come to a bigger and brighter place in their creative worlds. ESFP may write and perform songs about you; ISFP may paint pictures of you and hide them in a secret cellar.

SPs are warmer than SJs. They don’t like too much structure and bureaucracy. They’ll make a point to win you over, but their communication might be inconsistent. They enjoy variety! They enjoy their senses a bit more openly than the rest. They like being in the moment. It can be difficult to make plans with them into the distant future.

SP types may be lazy at times, and/or go through streaks of heavy introspection. If you want to date an SP type, you need to keep in mind that things will run at their own pace.

ESTP is looking to make a sale. This is the entrepreneur type, so they’re like the quirky boss who has strong opinions about everything and changes their mind depending on the market. They can be a wild card, but their spontaneity pays in big dividends.

SPs have a certain magnetic closeness to the people they like. They can be sensual, and distracted by their senses. They may have a hard time with NF personalities who like to take their time before jumping into relationships. SP personalities get along with people for the most part, but the introspection vs. sensual dichotomy can be messy.

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Idealists

Idealists are focused on making the world a better place to live, work, and play. They’re the second smallest group of personalities. They focus on charity and creativity. They want harmonious social bonds on the interpersonal level all the way up to the geopolitical level.

NFJ personalities are more relaxed judging types. They will prioritize people over chores, tasks, and deadlines. Idealists look at things with spiritual and emotional lenses. They are perfectionists when it comes to relationships, and they seek harmony in their environments.

INFJ will take on everything until they collapse, and they want to support you and push you in the right direction (their intuition will let them know aplenty about what kind of person you are.)

The INFP is similar to the INFJ, but the INFP will become impatient, run out of fuel, and need to hide. INFP is constantly confused because they’re the most introverted idealist. They LOVE people, but they also want to get away from people.

The INFJ is more social, but not as social as the ENFJ, who might be the most social of all the personalities, except maybe the ESFJ. ENFP is a warm personality. They can be very flirtatious, but they’re loyal to the core when they select a mate.

ENFP and INFJ go incredibly well together with the INFJ’s endless need to complete creative endeavors and the ENFP’s more laid-back style. INFJ is the meditator of people, and ENFP is the champion of people.

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Rationals

The rationals are all about the brains. They’ll like you if you’re smart, but they might put you at a distance because they don’t want to be distracted.

INTJ and INTP are both masterminds. They’re incredible at solving problems, puzzles, and riddles. ENTP and ENTJ could get headlocked into a never-ending argument. Your NT friends can handle the complexities of random data. They know how to simplify and understand complex information.

INTP likes facts. They love logic, but they also love things that don’t make sense to them — it’s the ultimate cat and mouse game.

ENTP will dominate in social situations where reason and sanity are necessary. ENTP is an incredible manager who knows how to get information out of people. They know how to be likable, and they know how to argue if pressed. They’re natural lawyers.

ENTJ is usually a leader when none can be found. They’re committed fellows, and also have hankerings to do something they can excuse as not so harmful — like smoking a pipe, etc.

The NT crowd is full of geniuses. They may admire NF and SFJ types who have better clarity on emotions and people. NT is willing to accommodate nice people. They’ll have the brains, so if you like brains and think you can handle it — date an NT.

Keep in mind: Dating an NT personality doesn’t mean you’ll immediately get money or answers solved, but you’ll have great conversations if you can keep up with their proclivities.

The INTP is especially complicated. This personality does the best on standardized tests. The INFJ can unmask an INTP, which is delightful to the INTP.

INTJ can be controlling. They’ll start playing your cards for you if you don’t have enough aggression to do so yourself. You could feel like a child, trophy, or toy to an INTJ. You need to speak up for yourself.

ENTP wants you to feel included and important. You’re part of the team! They can overwhelm you with an argument — but they’re forgiving and can roll with the punches.

ENTJ requires structure and may become weary if too much is happening that they can’t control. ENTJ will make plans. You must follow them.

Keep in mind: This is a very basic crash course on Myers-Briggs. There are 16 unique personalities, and you could write a thesis on each one.

In each personality, you have stronger qualities and weaker qualities. For instance, the INFJ has strong introverted intuition, but their extroverted sensing is underdeveloped.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Andrea Lawrence

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