By: Emma Hickey
I was scrolling through Twitter one day when I came across an example of a perfectly constructed tweet.
It strikes all the right chords. It’s funny while also biting, it’s concise, it critiques two things that are held dearly by the people who abide by them, and those two groups of people are very different, which ensures drama. Fighting ensued in the comments. People were defending the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and insulting astrology, and vice versa, all while using similar words and explanations to defend their points of view. This surge of emotion in reaction to a short tweet is proof of the final element that makes it so well-constructed–once you cut away all the noise, all the people arguing and the opinions being shared, there’s something that remains and rings true. There’s something similar about the MBTI and astrology.
The podcast Hidden Brain put it best in their episode “The Sorting Hat,” when host Shankar Vedantam said, “The desire to find our tribe is universal. We do it all the time. If it's not Hogwarts houses, then it's whether we are night people or morning people, dog people or cat people, Aquarius or Leo.” Both the MBTI and astrology do just that–they help us find our tribes.
Besides serving similar functions, both the MBTI and astrology have earned similar skepticism. Critics of the MBTI and of astrology insist both can appear to be valid because of confirmation bias, which Science Daily defines as “a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis.” They’re also both occasionally lumped together as pseudosciences, the MBTI because it was developed in the 1940’s by two fans of psychology rather than psychologists themselves, and astrology because it grasps for meaning in the stars through methods that cannot be observed. Critics also argue that, in the paraphrased words of Walt Whitman, humans contain multitudes and these types of personality indicators render us one-dimensional. It’s impossible to capture one’s full essence within the 16 personality types of the MBTI or the 12 signs of the zodiac.
That being said, it’s fun to look over the results of your MBTI personality test, and it’s fun to pour over the traits of your zodiac sign. Learning insights about yourself is fun, especially when you don’t have to do any emotional labor to get those results. It’s also a fun way to learn about the people around you and it can foster a sense of connection. Instead of agonizing over the unknowability of your enigmatic coworker, you can ask them for their sign or their MBTI and get a much more immediate and satisfying look into their mind. The MBTI and astrology are both useful tools because they provide a group of people with the same vocabulary with which to understand each other and to understand themselves. Talking about emotions and ways of being is hard, but when the MBTI or astrology creates the word bank for you, these conversations can become easier.
So back to @Drew4484’s tweet. When the MBTI and astrology are at their best, it’s because they’re bringing people together and fostering understanding. His tweet was so divisive because people who love the MBTI didn’t appreciate it being compared to astrology, and people who love astrology didn’t appreciate it being compared to the MBTI. This seemed unnecessary to me because both groups are made up of the type of people who like personality tests–myself included, I’m an ENFP and a Libra. In an effort to bridge the divide between MBTI people and astrology people, I mapped each of the 16 MBTI personality types on to each of the 12 zodiac signs.
Presenting: Your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator According to Your Zodiac Sign:
Aires | ESFJ
Aires and ESFJs are independent. They’re not afraid to forge their own paths, and people tend to follow them as they do. They attract the attention and admiration of those around them and were likely the most popular kids in school. Their greatest challenge is listening to the perspectives of others.
Taurus | ISFJ | ISTP
Tauruses, ISFJs and ISTPs have a lot in common. They’re analytical, rational and dependable. They’re the kind of people who will always lend a hand, and they’re exactly who you’d want in your corner during a conflict. They’ll defend you until the bitter end no matter what, which is also their greatest challenge–once they’ve made up their mind, they have a hard time changing it.
Gemini | INTP | ISFP
Geminis, INTPs and ISFPs are counterparts in creativity. They’re always ready to innovate and explore new territory, but they don’t typically clue others into their plans. This can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.
Cancer | INFP
Cancers and INFPs are guided by their gut feelings rather than observed facts. They’re highly intuitive with great emotional intelligence and they’re adept at reading others. Though they can readily and accurately interpret the emotions of others, they tend to be a bit guarded with their own interior selves. If left unchecked, this can prevent Cancers and INFPs from connecting with those around them.
Leo | ESTP
Nothing can tire out Leos and ESTPs. Sometimes it may seem like they have limitless energy and that, combined with their razor sharp intelligence, makes them a force to be reckoned with. It also means they’re at risk of overpowering the voices of those who are more quiet, which is something they must alway be mindful of.
Virgo | ENFJ
They bring an intensity to everything they do and are incredibly hard-workers. They’re altruistic and always apply a 360 view to any situation. They hold themselves and others to high, sometimes unattainable, standards, which may alienate those around them if they’re not careful.
Libra | ENTJ
Libras and ENTJs are diplomatic leaders filled with big ideas. When they’re able to bring these ideas to fruition, which isn’t all the time, they’re capable of creating something truly amazing.
Scorpio | ENFP
Passion is the key word that defines Scorpios and ENFPs. It’s layered into everything they do and is their greatest motivator. They’re friendly because they have a passion for socializing and they’re highly emotional because everything they feel is amplified by the heat of a fire burning within. They may err towards the dramatics sometimes, but the level of enthusiasm they bring to any situation is unparalleled.
Sagittarius | ENTP | ESFP
Sagittariuses, ENTPs and ESFPs are extroverts who thrive on social interaction. It doesn’t matter whether they’re having a pleasant chat, a deep conversation, or a spirited and even antagonistic debate, as long as they’re engaging with others, they’re energized. They just have to be careful not to say anything they can’t take back.
Capricorn | ISTJ
Capricorns and ISTJs prefer to make decisions that have already be tested out by themselves or others. They like common sense, tradition, and familiarity, and they’re very self-disciplined. They’re serious and responsible people who seem to have an endless supply of knowledge that they’re not afraid to use to help their friends.
Aquarius | ESTJ
Everything they do, they do deeply. They think and love with their whole being and are capable of bringing together entire communities by creating a feeling of camaraderie. They can foster a sense of unity among even strangers.
Pisces | INTJ | INFJ
They have a well-developed sense of empathy and are always willing to advocate for those in need. Their moral compass is strong and they lean towards idealism. Even though they have stars in their eyes, their feet are also planted on the ground. They’re intelligent with fast-moving minds, and their presence is often a comfort. They just have to be careful not to burn themselves out.
How did I do? Does your MBTI, your zodiac sign, and your personality traits all perfectly line up to encapsulate your essence? Is any of this real?
At the end of the day, if it helps you find your tribe, I’m not sure that last part even matters.
For more information on astrology, check out https://www.horoscope.com/zodiac-signs.
For more information on the 16 personality types of the MBTI, visit and https://www.16personalities.com/personality-types.