Whether you’re going on dates or in a new and budding relationship, you might consider a person’s personality type a significant factor in getting to know them. 

But when you're out on a date with someone, you’d rarely have the guts to whip out your phone and ask them to take the 16-type test then and there! 

So, instead of making them take the test, you might try to informally type them yourself by observing their language and behavior. If they seem outgoing, you may assume they’re an Extravert, for example. Once you’ve determined each preference of the four dichotomies of their personality, you’ve got your answer. 

Sounds easy enough, right? Yes and no. Though it’s normal to want to figure out your date’s personality type, you may want to consider the pros and cons of testing them before taking action. 

Why would you type your date?

It’s easy to understand why you’d like to know your date’s personality type. When you’re dating someone new, you want to make sure you’re as compatible as possible before getting too serious, right? Since compatibility is complicated, knowing more about their personality might help you better understand if you’re a fit—but compatibility on paper isn’t foolproof in real life, so it's important to take all the information with a healthy dose of skepticism. 

Typing a person you're dating can be fun, but you shouldn’t let it ruin your chances of a good relationship with someone who’s “incompatible” with you based on personality theory. After all, all personality type combinations can make for successful relationships if the people in those relationships work hard enough to communicate and understand each other.

Let’s break down the positives and negatives of personality testing your date.

Pros of personality testing your date

Testing your date may seem like a great way to get to know them on a deeper level—and it is! Benefits of testing a new or prospective partner include:

  • Typing them may open up deeper discussions about who they are and how they live their day-to-day life.
  • You'll gain a better understanding of how your date receives energy. If they’re introverted, they need their alone time. If they’re extraverted, they go out with friends more to destress. Their preference will affect your relationship.
  • You'll know how they like to organize their life. A Judging type is all about planning and structure, while a Perceiving type will be more spontaneous and free about scheduling their time. 
  • You'll discover if your personality types are ultra-compatible or not-so-compatible based on traits.
  • You'll know if they're more intuitive (iNtuitive) or more grounded in hard facts (Sensing) when processing information, which might affect your relationship with them in surprising ways. For example, if you’re a Sensing type dating an iNtuitive, you’ll be shocked at how often they know things without analyzing hard facts.
  • How they make their decisions will become more apparent to you. Are they a Feeling type who puts their heart and instincts first or a Thinking type who analyzes facts before making a move?
  • You can recognize your similarities and differences.
  • You might start to predict how they’ll behave or what they’ll do before they do it.
  • If you've discovered their correct type, your date might assume you’re a mind reader.

Cons of personality testing your date

It isn't always easy to see the cons of personality testing your date right away, but your assumptions may not be accurate if you're doing it yourself. The most glaring cons you need to think about before trying to type a romantic partner:

  • You might type them as the wrong type. Personality preferences exist on a spectrum, so sometimes, your guesswork can mislead you. For example, some Introverts may act like Extraverts when comfortable or on a date. However, they could also be an Introverted Extravert, which can be confusing since they share some common ground with Introverts but are still extraverted.
  • People don’t tend to share everything about themselves in the beginning stages of dating, so it’s not hard to misinterpret a person’s vibe. Often people project what they hope others will like, which isn’t always the most authentic representation of themselves.
  • Trying to guess who they are might upset your date if you tell them. Some people like to explore relationships without presumptions from the other person.
  • You could be putting too much pressure on a new date or relationship. Once you think you know your date’s personality type, you might behave differently around them.

How to approach typing your date

Do you type your date without telling them, or do you bring it up in conversation on the following date? Talking about personality type can be a great icebreaker, but it may also make someone uncomfortable. Depending on how open your date is, you may want to mention your interest in personality type theories to gauge if they'd be willing to take the test later. 

If you're familiar with the 16-type system, odds are you will try to type your date through observation or even ask them targeted questions. It's not hard to do if you know key questions to ask, but it's also important to keep in mind you could type someone wrong. 

Questions to ask to type your date can be as simple as:

  • Are you more spontaneous, or are you a planner? 
  • Do you like to have your stuff organized or a little bit messy?
  • Do you prefer to hang out with a small group of friends or go out with a big group of people?
  • How do you destress? Do you need time alone, or do you like to go out and socialize?
  • Do you think with your head or your heart? Are emotions and feelings more important to you when making decisions or hard facts?
  • When analyzing or processing information, do you just "know" what the answer is, or do you draw from factual information and data?

In summary

Personality testing your date isn’t a foolproof science when you’re doing it yourself. However, it’s worth a try if you’re aware of the risks, and for the most part, it’s a harmless way to gauge who they are as a person. You may decide you prefer to take your dates as they come without deducing which personality type they are, or you might want to give it a go. In the beginning stages of dating, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to know everything there is to know about someone, but beware of letting your conclusions get in the way of connecting with someone without outside influence.

Cianna Garrison
Cianna Garrison holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and works as a freelance writer. She fell in love with psychology and personality type theory back in 2011. Since then, she has enjoyed continually learning about the 16 personality types. As an INFJ, she lives for the creative arts, and even when she isn’t working, she’s probably still writing.