Why Being Friends With Your Opposite Can Be Really Good for You (and Them)

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on January 05, 2021

Recently, I asked one of my best friends to send me her music recommendations. What I got back was a playlist so varied, so cool and so completely different from my music that I couldn’t believe what I was listening to.

This friend is one of the people I feel closest to in my life but she also couldn’t be more different from me. We are total opposites. And that’s why our friendship works.

I'm a big believer in being friends with your opposite personality type. It can help provide a sense of perspective in your life, an alternative opinion and a sounding board for important decisions. 

Here are 4 reasons being friends with your opposite personality type can be completely amazing.

It always keeps things interesting

Let’s face it, we all like to have people around us who want to do the same things we do. But it can also be really fun to have a friend who takes your idea and then suggests a totally different one! 

Being friends with your opposite personality type isn’t always easy. Sometimes you have to compromise. You want to go on a tour of gothic churches, they want to hit the sales. You want to go to a concert, they want to play scrabble. Sometimes your interests and ideas won’t align.

On the other hand, they can also open you up new activities that you might never have thought of before. What’s more, you will probably get completely different things out of the same activities, prompting discussions, debates and new discoveries. This means your relationship is always varied. When you hang out with your opposite, you never know where things will end up! 

You get an alternative perspective

One of my closest friends is an INFJ. We have known each other since we were 4 years old and we’ve been best friends since our first year of school. We are also complete opposites. We are opposites in our hobbies, our goals, our friends, even our taste in pie! (She loves chocolate cream, I love plain old apple!)

But we are also a brilliant team. We look out for each other and give advice that no one else gives. This is partly thanks to our shared history that means we know each other through and through. But it is also down to our opposing personality types. We provide a perspective on each other’s lives that our other friends don’t have.

By seeing things from a completely different perspective, your friends can offer an alternative way of looking at certain issues. Whether it’s a problem at work, relationship troubles or family drama, the other one is there to give a counter argument or shed light on something you might not have considered before. This independent opinion can make a huge difference in your life and is something to really value.

They check your behaviors 

Being friends with your opposite means you also have someone in your life to check your behavior. If you’re getting excessive, leaning too far into your personality type and towards extremes, having an opposite friend can help you to regulate yourself.

As an ENTJ, I have a tendency to be a teeny tiny bit overbearing and over-confident, to the point of arrogant. Meeting with my INFJ friend shows up these behaviors, forcing me to confront these traits in a way that I don’t get in any other part of my life. 

My family all have similar personality types and my colleagues wouldn’t normally pass comment on my behavior. It’s not until I’m sitting talking to my friend that I realize when things have gotten out of hand. When the brash, self-assured side of my personality is becoming annoying to be around, she calls me out on it or rolls her eyes, bringing me back down to earth instantly.

This behavioral sounding board is such an important part of our friendship together. We are there for one another when we need to talk but we’re also not afraid to comment when the other one is being extreme. Our opposing personality types work together to make us both into better people! 

You have to work on communication

On the flip side, while opposites attract it can also be hard for opposites to stay together. Being friends with your opposite personality type does take work. Things can sometimes get lost in translation, so you might think you’re on the same page but then you find out your friend is on a different page in a completely different book!

This communication gets easier over time. The more you get to know one another, the more you can recognize and understand how your friend communicates. You can gradually learn how to approach issues or phrase things in a way that gets your message across. 

By working on communication with someone who is your opposite personality type, it can be easier to communicate in other areas of your life too. Instead of assuming that everyone thinks the same way as you, it can help you to be more aware and tuned in to how others are feeling.

You both find balance 

When you’re surrounded by similar personalities, it can be hard to see yourself from the outside. Think about a table in a bar, full of people shouting over one another in an attempt to brag the loudest. Or a group in the same bar who are too conscientious or nervous to tell the waiter that they got their order wrong! Sure, these are extreme examples but they’re also signs of an imbalanced friendship group. 

Sometimes it’s nice to hang out with people who are exactly the same as you, who see every issue through your eyes and who want to do everything you do. On the flip side, it’s also really fun to be friends with your opposite, who introduces you to new things, new ideas, and new ways of approaching life! 

The beauty of being friends with your opposite is that you can both find balance in your lives. By evening out one another’s personality, you can maintain a healthy middle ground and grow together into even better versions of yourselves.

Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s an anthropologist at heart and loves using social theory to get deeper into the topics she writes about. Born in the UK, Elizabeth has lived in Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Dubai before moving most recently to Budapest, Hungary. She’s an ENTJ with ENFJ leanings. Find out more about her work at bethharris.com

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


Jem (not verified) says...

Agree.  I'm an INTJ married to an ESFP (23 years).   It has been a challenge and a growing process, but I enjoy challenges.  He helps me to loosen up and enjoy life, stop and smell the roses etc.   

My 'besties' are also ENTPs, ENFPs, and ESTPS (they each have a large cadre of friends (so they tolerate neglect), but seek me out and that makes me happy!).   I find I don't tolerate other Js very well.

Luis (not verified) says...

I am an INFJ and a bit of a loner. I moved countries 2 years ago. But before moving one of my best friends was a ESFP. In always found talking with her refreshing and grounded. 

!Dave (not verified) says...

"tendency to be a teeny tiny bit"  lol the teeny tiny bit got me

!Dave (not verified) says...

"As an ENTJ, i have a tendency to be a teeny tiny bit overbearing and over-confident, to the point of arrogant."

Lol the teeny tiny bit got me (jk)

Maxim (not verified) says...

I am an ISTP, and my best friend (whom I have to admit I'm falling in love with) is an ENFJ.

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