This month a free dating app was launched that matches people based on their Myers-Briggs personality type. On the surface, this might seem like a good thing – but is it?
Apparently, the new app, called So Syncd, pairs you with your most compatible personality types, as defined by the Myers-Briggs system, one of several ‘tests’ that assign people with various characteristics based on their responses to – in this case – an online survey. Once upon a time, only licensed psychologists could administer the MBTI, but nowadays anyone can get their four letters in a few short minutes.
NowI’ve long been a fan of the MBTI, but even I take it with a pinch of salt. And do I want my dating choices determined by so-called best matches? Umm, no.
And here’s why: every single time I got the MBTI involved in my own self-match-making, it flunked.
So what if a potential mate is a compatible letter combo? The chances are they can also be a complete moron who doesn’t tick a single other box. These are the things that really matter, like their educational achievements, background and SES, their core values, age or political leanings.
And then there’s the completely rogue aspect of physical attraction and the secret pheromones that we exude. Those are the two most important factors for long-term success in my humble opinion. You can align on the education, age and values options, but still not find your potential mate remotely attractive or bonk-worthy.
There are benefits to aligning MBTI types though
So, I’m not completely canning this dating app concept, just cautioning you not to get your hopes too elevated at the prospect of deciding you really want to match with your twin. Euw, no thank you – but jokes aside, sometimes we are more compatible with personality types who share a lot of common ground.
Take the basic tendencies towards introversion or extroversion. As defined by the MBTI, introverted types are energised by alone-time and drained by people-time, whereas it’s the other way round for extroverted types. Of course, we’re all unique individuals but personally, acknowledging my basic introverted nature has deeply resonated. It was initially liberating and extremely satisfying to finally realise that I didn’t need to be ashamed for NOT being an extrovert. (Actually, I’m what’s known as a gregarious introvert!)
Authors and speakers like Susan Cain, author of Quiet Revolution: Unlocking the Power of Introverts, and Brene Brown have helped people all across the world to realise that it’s more than okay to be an introvert; in fact, we help the world go round, and we accomplish so much without beating our chests and banging our own drum. Introverts have marked and common traits, as do extroverts, keeping in mind of course that many of us are somewhere on this spectrum between the two.
Despite this, introverts the world over have flocked by buy Susan Cain’s book and watch the TED talks, read the many blogs on the subjects and yes, like me, even secretly relish all the memes flooding cyberspace!
It’s freeing and somehow comforting in a truly mammalian way to find your tribe and feel as if you fit in. For some of us, finding the MBTI and the ‘introverts’ movement has been both life-saving and an intellectual curiosity. But does it help when dating?
Jessica Alderson says, “dating is energy-draining for anyone, but even more so for us introverts…the thought of making small talk with a stranger …makes me want to crawl under my duvet.”
To help similar introverted types, Jessica and her sister set up syncd, which they claim is the first dating app and website that matches complementary Myers-Briggs types. “It’s also great for busy extroverts who have little time for dating,” she writes. (And let’s keep in mind that opposites also attract – sometimes a great relationship grows in the differences between extroverts and introverts.)
The So Syncd concept relies on the inherent matches in the MBTI system – that as an INFJ for instance, I am likely to be drawn to similar types like INFPs or ENFJs for example.
Jessica acknowledges though that personality isn’t everything – there are multiple factors that affect who we date and mate, or who we strive to meet at the very least.
But there’s no denying the vital role and generally great feeling when people just ‘get’ each other. Sadly, in my experience that doesn’t necessarily mean they are relationship material. It might mean that the date roars along with all the right signs, and then the next day you find yourself ghosted for no known reason! It happens – all the time. So, a reminder not to invest too much in the idea of ‘type’ compatibility.
Jessica also raises the importance of self-awareness (knowing your type and reading up on it can be fun and enlightening!) I guarantee some ‘aha’ moments, and if you’re anything like me when I discovered the wealth of content written about my type (INFJ), I spent many happy hours reading up on myself! Though I write that with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek, Jessica points out that self-awareness helps you to become the best version of yourself.
Hence on this app, much like OK Cupid – which began as a personality-type based concept – you’ll start with 40 questions to answer over 5 to 10 minutes. If you know your MBTI, you can skip this part and head to the action.
And on the topic of the MBTI, Jessica celebrates its power as a tool to help us understand our weaknesses, strengths, blind spots, how we act when we’re stressed and what we have in common with others. May moons ago in pre-internet days, my corporate workplace paid a hefty sum for all staff to be analysed for their Myers-Briggs type, and then workshop our commonalities and our differences! This can help you understand other people better too, especially your colleagues or family members.
Jessica also says that you’re more likely to meet similar people on her app, who are looking for a meaningful connection. Too early to tell, I’d say, but it’s a nice idea, especially if we can do away with superficial swiping based on looks alone.
Other benefits she cites for her new app is the ability to build resilience through understanding that different people find different traits attractive (ie, not to take rejections personally); and the ability to skip the small talk. On this point, they have available summaries of each type and suggestions for the ideal date. Hmm, intriguing.
The cynic in me says that, if the vibes aren’t right, I won’t want to dissect our MBTI crossovers and harmonies no matter how aligned our test results say we are!
One of the appealing aspects of this new personality-type based dating app idea is that you can let the system do the hard work for you. If you want to choose your ‘ideal type’ yourself that’s open to you, but you cal also click ‘choose for me’ to let the algorithms loose. “Either way, you get a compatibility percentage for each person, can search for people in any location and see who has liked you, or you can get a list of suggested matches,” Jessica explains.