Treating others with consideration and respect is an invaluable quality, and you probably take special notice of those people in your life who are especially kind. These folks are always going out of their way for others, and that tendency may actually have something to do with their personality type. Of all the different Myers-Briggs types, some are known to be the kindest.
While it’s not a perfect science, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can help us better understand our personalities, as well as those of others. The self-reported questionnaire determines whether you lean toward Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I); prefer to use Sensing (S) or Intuition (N); tend to be more Thinking (T) or Feeling (F); and are more Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). These letters can be arranged to form 16 different personality types, identified by four-letter acronyms. And yes, certain types are a little nicer than others.
“Some people are more kind and generous than others,” Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD, certified psychiatrist of The Pleasant Personality, tells Best Life. “These traits are inbuilt in a person’s personality makeup and cannot be nurtured if it’s not there or is present in lesser amounts. In MBTI, we have a few personality types who are affectionate, considerate, friendly, and polite.”
There isn’t a concrete answer for which personality type is the kindest overall, as it will vary from person to person. However, experts say there are seven who tend to display this quality more often than others. Read on to find out which Myers-Briggs types Gonzalez-Berrios and her fellow experts define as the kindest.
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Those who are extroverted, sensing, feeling, and judging are often identified as one of the kindest types by experts. “ESFJs have extroverted feeling as a dominant cognitive function,” Gonzalez-Berrios says. “This makes them rule by their hearts. They are kind, polite, friendly, and sensitive.”
People with this personality type are forthcoming with their feelings and also able to read the emotions of others without being told directly. Because they are also sensing and feeling, “they are tuned to their immediate surroundings.”
ESFJs also tend to put others first and prioritize others’ needs above their own. They “are kind and warm,” Gonzalez-Berrios explains. “Sometimes, they will leave aside their comforts and put forth their support to those who need it dearly.”
According to Isabelle Robledo, personality expert and co-founder of Making Mindfulness Fun, people with this personality type aren’t going to leave anyone out. “The ESFJ is supportive and social, [and] always sure to make you feel included and accepted,” she tells Best Life.
Known as “the protectors,” ISFJs tend to take care of others. “These individuals have introverted sensing as a dominant function and extroverted feeling as an auxiliary function,” Gonzalez-Berrios tells Best Life. “Thus, in combination with these two cognitive functions, ISFJs are sensitive souls. They are kind, affectionate, and will lend their support to their dear ones.”
Their introverted nature can cause them to be shy in social situations, but this is often trumped by their desire to lend a helping hand. “Sometimes ISFJs are misunderstood as extroverts because of their genuine interest in supporting others,” Gonzalez-Berrios adds.
According to Robledo, these “intent listeners … will serve and protect you in every way imaginable.”
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Just one letter apart from ISFJs, INFJs are intuitive instead of sensing. Robledo asserts that INFJs have the “Fe cognitive function,” meaning that they are extroverted feelers. “The Fe cognitive function makes decisions based on others’ emotions and empathy, ” she says. “They have a natural inclination towards feeling what others feel before what they themselves feel.”
Those without the Fe function may experience more difficulty with compassion, but this is where INFJs excel. “The INFJ is great at listening and offering words of wisdom that help you see the big picture,” Robledo notes.
Joseph Puglisi, CEO of Dating Iconic, adds that these types are “reserved and private,” but they’re also always polite and sensitive when interacting with others.
Unlike INFJs, those with the ESFP personality type have the Fi cognitive function, meaning they are introverted feelers. “Thus, they have deeper emotions than what they actually show to the outside world,” Gonzalez-Berrios tells Best Life. “They are jovial, fun-loving extroverts who can show compassion to just [about] anyone.”
She adds that these people aren’t quick to criticize and always keep an open mind. Being a sensing type, they’re also attuned to the moods of those around them. “They will always be kind and helpful to those who are in some great distress,” Gonzalez-Berrios adds. “ESFPs are warm-hearted and considerate. They will accept others with openness and warmth.”
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Another polite personality type is ENFJ. According to Robledo, these people aren’t shy and tend to be great listeners who truly care and empathize with others. “The ENFJ is outgoing and organized, helping you get where you want to go,” she says.
Sarah Watson, chief operating officer at BPTLAB, a personality testing solution provider, agrees, adding that ENFJs are “known as the ‘givers’ of the Myers-Briggs world.”
“They often put others’ needs before their own, and they’re always looking for ways to make a difference in the world,” she explains.
Introverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving types are also amongst the kindest MBTI types. Like INFJs, “they are very in tune with other people’s emotions, and they genuinely care about making others happy,” Watson tells Best Life.
They want to help in any way they can and tend to be “very giving and selfless,” she adds.
Puglisi further notes that INFPs are particularly compassionate and caring. “They are sensitive to how other people feel, so they are usually careful with their choice of words or method of approach to someone,” he explains. “They only let go of their kindness when they feel threatened or challenged.”
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Rounding out this list are ISFPs, who are particularly sensitive and sympathetic. “They are keen observers and can tune in well with the subtle feelings of others,” Gonzalez-Berrios states. “They also have a considerate and adjustable nature.”
You’ll likely see them display their kindness when they get involved with efforts in the community or social work, and as they’re defined by their warmth and compassion, they are easily affected by those around them.
“The woes and agonies of others can shake them badly, and they will always prefer to shower their kindness voluntarily,” Gonzalez-Berrios says. “ISFPs are flexible and spontaneous. They will not think much before [committing] a kind act—these individuals are approachable and others can seek help from them without hesitation.”