Some of us struggle to balance a heavy workload with a healthy partnership. Others find it difficult to maintain a relationship when they’re constantly traveling or switching up their lifestyle. Whatever the case, there are undeniable periods where singlehood is the best case scenario for all of us. Here’s when it’s most important for you to be alone, based on your Myers-Briggs personality type.
ENFP: Your life has become a love story instead of an adventure novel.
ENFPs are prone to looking at their lives as an exciting story that they’re telling inside of their minds. At their best, their stories are deep and poignant understandings of the adventures they’ve had and the meaningful lessons that they’ve learned along the way. But when the ENFP finds that their lives have become less about exploration and discovery and more about fixating on one person, that’s a keen sign that it’s time for them to refocus their energy. It’s not that there can’t be love in the ENFP’s story—it’s just that it shouldn’t be the entire plot. And the main character in the story of the ENFP’s life should never be somebody else.
ENTP: You need to focus 110 percent of your energy on your latest venture.
ENTPs are known for being incredibly inventive and industrious—and part of the reason why they make it so far with new projects is because they are willing to throw 110 percent of themselves into every endeavor they take on. However, this often means that the people in the ENTP’s life get pushed to the back burner during frantic times. The ENTP needs to be single when they’re at a point in their lives where they’re completely unwilling to compromise any part of their latest endeavor in order to make it work with a partner. Because a distracted and uncompromising workaholic isn’t much of a partner at all.
ENFJ: When the thought of being alone makes you panic.
ENFJs love being in love—whether that love is platonic, romantic or even spiritual in nature. These types thrive on healthy relationships, but they sometimes grow so invested in their relationships that they forget to form a personal identity outside of them. More than a few ENFJs have gotten so used to filling the role of boyfriend or girlfriend that the thought of losing that identity makes them panic—even more so than the thought of losing the actual person they’re with does. When the thought of being single makes the ENFJ feel panicky, that is, ironically, exactly when they may need to be single the most. Because a relationship built upon fear isn’t a healthy relationship at all.
ENTJ: When your long-term plans look uncharacteristically hazy.
The ENTJ is a long-term planner through and through—but they want to make plans on their own terms, and then find someone who’s long-term aspirations align with theirs. The ENTJ often needs to be alone during the phase of their lives when they’re determining what they want long-term. If they don’t have their ambitions in a row heading into a relationship, it will be incredibly difficult for them to find someone whose lifestyle aligns with theirs. And an ENTJ who spends their whole lives compromising their ambitions for a partner—because they discovered what they wanted too late—is a recipe for an unhappy and resentful ENTJ.
INFP: When a partner seems like the perfect solution to your unsatisfying life.
INFPs are romantics—but it’s not always a person they’re romanticizing. Sometimes it’s an idea. Sometimes it’s an opportunity. Sometimes it’s an adventure. The INFP functions best when they’re enamored with the world around them, and are able to channel that fascination through their art form of choice. However, when the INFP sees the world as colorless and bleak, they may turn to fanaticizing about a partner who will come save them from the monotony of their own lives. This is, ironically, a key sign that the INFP needs to be alone until they can fall back in love with the world again—because placing all of their hopes for happiness in a singular other person is a recipe for a hopelessly unhealthy relationship.
INFJ: When your life hasn’t been about you in a very long time.
INFJs use extroverted feeling to base their decisions on what’s likely to make the people around them happy. However, this also means that the INFJ sometimes ends up taking a backseat role in their own lives. Rather than going for what they want and are inspired by, they make way for the people around them to chase their dreams. And while this is a wonderful trait in moderation, it’s a recipe for unhappiness when it becomes their go-to response. The INFJ needs to be single until they can learn to balance their own needs alongside someone else’s—otherwise, their lives will be a never-ending series of unfulfilling compromises.
INTP: When a relationship looks like an emotional crutch to you.
INTPs are known for having incredibly deep emotions—and difficulty expressing them. As a result, young INTPs often seek out more emotionally expressive partners who will serve as their ‘social or emotional crutch.’ And while it’s wonderful to learn from another person’s skills, INTPs often have to keep in mind that having a partner whose strengths are their weaknesses is not an excuse to fail to cultivate that sense of openness and empathy within themselves. The INTP needs to be single until they can stand on their own two feet emotionally—and can then find a partner who compliments, rather than completes, them.
INTJ: When you’re more focused on finding the ideal partner than you are on creating the ideal relationship.
While INFPs are given a lot of slack for idealizing potential partners, a lesser known fact about the young INTJ is that they have the tendency to do the same. INTJs are prone to getting so focused on finding a perfect partner that they forget that relationships are inherently imperfect—and that it’s hard work and compromise that gets them the rest of the way there. The INTJ needs to be single until they can accept that no partner is going to be 100% perfect for them—but that they may just be able to find someone who makes working on the relationship an incredibly fulfilling task in and of itself.
ESFP: When love looks like the answer to your lostness.
ESFPs are known for being fiercely explorative in nature; they’re the first to go out in search of adventures and the first to grasp onto new opportunities. However, every ESFP reaches a point in his or her life when they’re just not sure what comes next—and, sometimes, they look for the answer to ‘what comes next’ in another person, instead of turning to their own inner compass. ESFPs need to be single during the phases of their lives where a relationship would be more of a crutch than an actual investment. Once they know what they want for themselves, the ESFP will have infinitely more to give to a relationship—rather than simply entering into a partnership that’s all about taking.
ESTP: When a relationship looks like an easy way to outsource your needs.
ESTPs are known for being fearless, protective and charming—so charming, in fact, that they can often rope others into taking care of the mundane day-to-day details of their lives that they don’t care to take care of themselves. ESTPs need to be alone when a relationship looks more like a way to outsource these uninteresting needs than it does an opportunity to love and bond with someone else. Otherwise, the relationship takes on a boss-and-personal-assistant role—which is unsexy for absolutely everyone.
ESTJ: When you’re expecting a partner to make compromises you wouldn’t make.
ESTJs know what they want and they go for it—which is a wonderful trait to have. However, this can get them into trouble when they find themselves dating partners who are more passive than themselves. Rather than listening carefully to their significant other’s needs, ESTJs can be prone to stating what they want and assuming those wants will define the relationship. However, these confident types need to check themselves to unsure that they aren’t asking their partners to make compromises that they themselves wouldn’t make—otherwise, the relationship becomes hopelessly unbalanced and the ESTJ may be better off taking some time to be alone until they feel more ready to compromise.
ESFJ: When you’re more worried about securing a relationship than you are about finding the right person.
ESFJs love love. They’re natural givers and they tend to fall easily into the role of being a partner. However, this type needs to ensure that they aren’t simply entering into a relationship for the sake of not being alone. A relationship based on need or desperation is a relationship that’s doomed from the get-go—so the ESFJ needs to ensure that if they want their relationship to stay healthy, they have to enter into it with the right intentions—which is to appreciate the person they’re with, not to simply avoid being alone.
ISFP: When you have one foot out the door.
ISFPs are often slow to decide when it comes to matters of the heart. However, once they truly fall in love with someone, they fall hard and they fall deeply. When an ISFP finds themselves straddling the door in a relationship, it’s a key indicator that they aren’t in the right relationship at all. These independent types are very often better off alone than they are stuck in a relationship with someone they will not give their all to. After all, that sort of relationship isn’t fair to either party.
ISFJ: When you’re uncomfortable drawing clear boundaries.
ISFJs are natural nurturers and givers—but they’re also highly prone to over-extending themselves in order to please the people they love. ISFJs need to be alone unless and until they can learn to draw healthy boundaries between themselves and the people they love. An ISFJ who cannot say ‘no,’ is an ISFJ who’s at a high risk of falling into an unhealthy relationship. Until they can learn to balance their desire to please others with their own needs, the ISFJ might just be better off single.
ISTP: When your independence is the thing that matters most to you.
ISTPs want to be free to explore their interests in depth—and they loathe having their autonomy infringed upon. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, the level of independence that the ISTP craves often makes it difficult to maintain a serious relationship. ISTPs need to stay single unless and until they’re ready to make a few compromises for the sake of a healthy relationship. Or until they find someone who’s just as independent as they are!
ISTJ: When you’re preoccupied with getting your ducks in a row.
ISTJs strive for stability and long-term success in their lives. However, this can sometimes mean years of intensive set-up work as they prove their place in the careers or lifestyles they’d like. As an ISTJ, you might be better off alone during these years of putting your life together. If you aren’t yet ready to make significant room for a loving relationship, you aren’t going to be able to formulate a healthy commitment to somebody else. And if there’s anything an ISTJ likes, it’s doing things right, the first time around.
Heidi Priebe is a personality psychology writer who focuses primarily on the Jung-Myers model of psychological type. She is the author of five books, including The Comprehensive ENFP Survival Guide and How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type. Follow her on Facebook here or argue with her on Twitter here.