Everybody is different, and that is especially true when it comes to relationships. When people with different personalities come together, creating harmony and understanding can be a challenge. 1
Fortunately, overcoming differences in personalities can be done with effort and time. In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of personalities that couples may have and offer strategies for managing them.
Want a more fulfilling partnership? Discover how communication & attachment styles shape your relationship dynamics.
MBTI types in relationships
Understanding that various types of personalities exist is key to managing relationship differences. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) identifies 16 different personality types based on preferences in four categories:
- Extraversion vs. Introversion: Do you prefer to spend time around people or alone?
- Intuition vs. Sensing: Do you focus more on the future, or pay attention to details in the present?
- Thinking vs. Feeling: Do you make decisions based on logic or emotions?
- Judging vs. Perceiving: Do you like structure and order, or prefer to keep your options open?
This framework originated from Carl Jung, a pioneer in the field of psychology, who first suggested that people may have distinct personality types. It was further developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers in the 1940s. 2
Knowing your and your partner’s MBTI type can help understand why you react or think differently. For example, intuitive types are more likely to focus on the bigger picture, while sensing types may pay more attention to details; thinkers tend to favor logic and facts over feelings, while feelers value emotions over rationality.
Want to know how the 16 personality types impact romantic relationships? Unlock the secrets to compatibility and communication in this insightful article.
11 essential tips for handling different personalities in your relationship
Knowing the different MBTI types and awareness of your personality type is one thing — learning how to respond to your partner’s type is another. Here are 11 essential tips for managing different personalities in relationships:
1. Recognize and accept the differences in each other’s personalities
You can’t change your partner’s personality, and you shouldn’t try to. Embracing the unique traits and quirks of your partner’s personality is the first step towards building a strong and harmonious relationship.
Understanding that everyone has their own set of strengths and weaknesses will help you appreciate the diversity that each personality brings to the table. Remember, what makes us different is also what makes us amazing! 3
Acceptance of each other’s differences can lead to deeper intimacy in your relationship. Uncover how communication styles play a vital role in fostering closeness.
2. Communicate openly and honestly
Communication is the key to any successful relationship. When it comes to managing different personalities, open and honest communication makes all the difference. 4
Take the time to understand what your partner is saying and express yourself respectfully. Listen carefully and use “I” statements instead of attacking or blaming each other (e.g. “I feel frustrated when…") 5
3. Find ways to compromise
Compromise is essential in any relationship — especially when two people have opposite personalities. Compromise is all about protecting both parties’ interests while still finding a middle ground. 6
Take the time to discuss your differences, brainstorm solutions and come up with a compromise that works for both of you. Be creative and open-minded — you may be surprised at how easily you can reach an agreement!
Compromise is one key to harmonizing diverse communication styles in relationships. Learn effective strategies for bridging the gap and fostering understanding.
4. Respect each other’s boundaries
Boundaries serve as a “line in the sand” that can help you and your partner set limits. Knowing and respecting each other’s boundaries will make it easier to navigate differences in personalities. 7
Let your partner know what makes them feel safe, respected, or taken for granted. It also means standing up for yourself when needed and speaking up if something is causing you discomfort.
5. Take time for yourself
When you and your partner have different personalities, it can be easy to get caught up in trying to see eye-to-eye on everything. Take some time for yourself now and then — this will allow you to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and relationship.
Make sure both of you have activities that make you feel fulfilled, whether it’s going on a solo adventure or having some quiet time alone. Taking breaks from each other gives the two of you space to grow and can even help bring you closer in the long run.
6. Appreciate each other’s perspectives
Different personalities can lead to different perspectives on life — and that’s not a bad thing! Respect your partner for their unique outlook and strive to understand why they think the way they do.
This doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything, but expressing appreciation for each other’s perspectives can help bridge the gap between your two different personalities. This kind of acceptance and understanding can be a powerful tool in any relationship.
7. Learn to accept criticism
Criticism is inevitable when two people with different personalities come together. Learning how to take criticism and use it as a learning opportunity is an important skill for any relationship. 8
The key here is to listen and focus on the issue at hand instead of getting defensive or taking things personally. Try not to be too hard on yourself — after all, no one’s perfect!
8. Support each other’s goals
It’s natural to have different aspirations in life, especially when two people have different personalities. Encourage your partner to pursue their dreams and support them in any way you can — it will help build trust and a stronger connection between the two of you.
This could mean cheering them on during difficult times or offering a helping hand when needed. Remind each other that you’re in it together and that your relationship is something to be proud of!
9. Boost each other’s confidence
Knowing that your partner has your back no matter what can help boost your confidence and make you feel more secure in the relationship. Find ways to show each other your appreciation, whether it’s through verbal compliments or small gestures of kindness.
Remember, different personalities don’t have to be a source of conflict — they can also be an opportunity to celebrate each other’s differences and grow closer as a couple. Be open to learning about each other and enjoy the journey!
10. Take some time apart
Having different personalities doesn’t mean you need to spend every waking moment together. It can be healthy for couples to take time apart — this allows each partner to reconnect with themselves and explore their interests.
It’s okay to hang out separately or do things on your own once in a while. This will help keep the relationship fresh and give you both a chance to recharge.
Taking time apart can be difficult, especially for those with different attachment styles. Explore how these styles impact intimacy in relationships.
11. Have fun together
It’s easy for two people with different personalities to get caught up in disagreements or miscommunications, but don’t forget to have fun! Find activities that you can do together — whether it’s playing board games, watching a movie, or going for a walk — and enjoy each other’s company.
Taking the time to just be together can help bring you closer and remind you of why you fell in love in the first place. Even the simple act of planning a date night can help create lasting memories that will bring you closer together. 9
No matter how different your personalities may be, it’s always possible to create a strong and loving relationship with someone who sees the world differently than you. Discover other tips to help you maintain a strong connection with those you love.
The best relationship books to help you survive and thrive
Whether single or in a relationship, it can be tough to navigate the waters of love. These books offer advice and guidance from experts and real-life couples alike, giving you the tools you need to make your relationship work. These books will surely provide some valuable insights if you are looking for a way to spice up your love life or simply learn how to better communicate with your partner.
- Love: The Psychology of Attraction: A Practical Guide to Successful Dating and a Happy Relationship
- Single, Dating, Engaged, Married: Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age
- The Power of Four Bases for Relationships: Can You Hit a Home Run in a Relationship?
- Communication and Relationship: A Guide to Deeper Connection, Trust and Intimacy to Improve Communication and Strengthen Your Bond as a Couple
- Couple's Bucket List: 101 Fun, Engaging Dating Ideas
- ↑ Funder D. C. (2001). Personality. Annual review of psychology, 52, 197–221. doi.org
- ↑ Woods, R. A., & Hill, P. B. (2022). Myers Brigg. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.
- ↑ Gottman, J. M., & Gottman, J. S. (2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Harmony.
- ↑ De Netto, P. M., Quek, K. F., & Golden, K. J. (2021). Communication, the Heart of a Relationship: Examining Capitalization, Accommodation, and Self-Construal on Relationship Satisfaction. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 767908. doi.org
- ↑ Biesen, J. N., Schooler, D. E., & Smith, D. A. (2016). What a difference a pronoun makes: I/We versus you/me and worried couples’ perceptions of their interaction quality. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 35(2), 180-205. doi.org
- ↑ Reese-Weber, M., & Bartle-Haring, S. (1998). Conflict Resolution Styles in Family Subsystems and Adolescent Romantic Relationships. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 27(6), 735–752. doi.org
- ↑ Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. (2000). Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships (1st ed.). Zondervan. amazon.com
- ↑ Gottman, J. M., & Krokoff, L. J. (1989). Marital interaction and satisfaction: a longitudinal view. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 57(1), 47. doi.org
- ↑ Harasymchuk, C., Walker, D. L., Muise, A., & Impett, E. A. (2021). Planning date nights that promote closeness: The roles of relationship goals and self-expansion. Journal of social and personal relationships, 38(5), 1692–1709. doi.org