Every person has a different way of making major decisions. One person may take the logical, tactical approach, while another may hem and haw, crowdsourcing the most critical aspects of their life.
How you make decisions ultimately depends on your personality. As for how you should think about decision-making, your Myers-Briggs personality type holds some clues. Each person’s Myers-Briggs says something about their strengths and weaknesses. And if you know yourself and listen to yourself, you can make the best decisions for yourself in all aspects of work, and life, and love.
Note: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test that helps us better understand ourselves and the people who surround us in our daily lives. It tells us what we do with incoming information — how we process it and use it to make decisions. If you don’t know your type, there are many quick online quizzes than can help you find out. (Or, of course, the official assessment .)
E: Extroversion vs. I: Introversion
S: Sensing vs. N: Intuition
T: Thinking vs. F: Feeling
J: Judging vs. P: Perceiving
ENTJs are logical above all else, and they usually know the objective best decision in each situation. Whether you’re considering getting married or starting your own business, you always make the “right” or “smart” choice — aka, you look for the clear path and then follow it. You’re not afraid of putting forth effort, but as an achievement-based person, you don’t like wasting time on improbable hopes.
INTJs like to absorb as much information as possible until they feel the right decision in their gut. You may find yourself reading tons of books on a new field you’re considering entering, or asking endless questions to married friends before getting engaged yourself. You like to have a solid foundation of understanding before you make any major decision, so you can see the clear steps you need to take for a desirable end goal.
ENTPs live for possibilities. If you want to move up the ladder at work, or maybe even quit your job and travel the world, you like to dream up all the ways you could make that happen. You probably take your time and explore each option mentally, cataloguing which is the most reasonable. Finally, you’ll opt for whichever seems like the most realistic path and start out on it.
INTPs live their lives guided by personal logic and desired end goals. Knowing yourself deeply and understanding your own tics, you typically feel you know exactly what’s best for the bigger picture of your life — and will explore every possibility to make it happen. You have no problem with commitment or major change if you feel sure it’s exactly what you want.
ESFJs are hard workers, and feel best making tried-and-true decisions they know will pay off. Over time, you simply start to learn what decisions will work best for you, and wait for those opportunities to arise. You also like making choices that are in the best interests of everyone else in your life — so if that means sticking close to the place you grew up or following your parents into the family business, then you’re likely all for it.
ESTJs often make the bold choice without thinking — you are always ready to reach for that promotion or go all in on a relationship when there is instant chemistry. You often use past precedent as your guide, trying to model your decisions after things that have worked for you before.
ISFJs are typically reserved in their decision-making. Some might call it traditional, but you think of it as wise. You also tend to seek out opinions from others before making a major decision. If there’s a blind spot, you want to see it before taking a leap, and you rely on the advice and encouragement of close friends and family along the way.
Ever the responsible type, ISTJs tend to live within the boundaries of “this has worked for me before,” and “I am absolutely sure I’m capable of making this happen.” For instance, you’ll save before buying a house and make sure you have a good income to pay the mortgage. You’ll also thoughtfully build a relationship before getting married, testing for compatibility the whole way. And you never take a blind risk; you want to feel 100% sure the next step is a smart choice for you and your loved ones.
ENFPs are impatient while making major life decisions. When you feel inspired to act, you want to move on that choice immediately — even if it isn’t in your best long-term interests. You sometimes find yourself impulsively going with your heart, which has varied results. You’re at your best when you use your passion to power your decisions, but explore the options thoughtfully before you act.
INFPs are dreamers, and often struggle to make major decisions. You may feel like you love someone deeply, but can’t see if it’s going to survive long-term. Or you may really like your job, but have long harbored the desire to enter a new field — but because you can imagine both potential avenues, you can’t choose. You typically hang out in limbo until one door starts to close, and you’re triggered to act so you don’t lose the option.
INFJs typically know very clearly what decision they want to make. You are a visionary with an ever-evolving set of goals for your life, and you feel the right path to get there in your gut. However, INFJs also require some external validation before pulling the trigger. You will probably turn to your friends and family before making a big decision, but chances are they’ll be totally on board with your next step.
ENFJs usually make major decisions with balance in mind. You want a fantastic career that’s extremely fulfilling, along with a whole bunch of meaningful relationships in your personal life. When you feel like you want to make a big move, you always look at how it will affect all the variables in your life, especially your existing relationships. When you can see all the pieces falling into place in a new, exciting and sustainable way, you’ll make the change.
ESFPs typically stumble into their major decisions. You want to try everything — dabble, see what you like and what inspires you — and then make the choice that feels right. Maybe it’s an unconventional career path, like becoming a freelance makeup artist, or maybe it’s moving hundreds of miles away to pursue a (new-ish) love. If you feel it, you’re excited about it, and there’s nothing else you’d rather try at the moment then it’s enough for you to take a leap.
ESTPs need to try everything and will typically delay making major decisions. You are ultra-capable of realizing any goal, but constantly thinking through what you may miss out on if you, say, change careers or commit to marriage. You’re usually crippled with FOMO until the door starts to close on something you know you want — which is when you’ll step up, make a decision, and never look back.
ISTPs are free-flowing by nature, and like to maintain the most balanced life possible. You will work hard at your job, and then want to relax with your friends. You will take a big trip, and then want to lay low at home for a while, working on your hobbies. You make big decisions when you know you need a change for more balance; maybe you need to move to a place that better supports your interests, like skiing or biking, or change jobs after an intense period that disrupts your work-life balance. The decision hangs quietly in the air for a while, and then things happen all at once — and you never ask for advice or approval.
ISFPs want to collect experiences, live within them, and make decisions that feel right based on what they feel, see, and intuit. You are incredibly perceptive, and feel opportunities as they open up in front of you. Maybe it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to start your own business, or the opportunity to be with someone you never expected could feel so right. You don’t plan much of your future out, but you certainly notice when there’s a chance to be happy. You make all your big life decisions as you see fit and on your own terms.