MBTI® Type and Playing… It’s Not Just for Kids!

PlayAs Summer goes into full swing, here in the US, people everywhere are flocking to boats, pools, beaches, vacations, and gardens to play!  Sure, when we hear the word “play” we may think about kids, but playing is actually a really important part of maintaining mental health in adults, too!

It may be obvious to some of you that personality type could play a role in the varieties of activities a person enjoys, but have you ever considered how these activities can improve balance in your life?  The tables below describe activities that are typically enjoyed by individuals with each of the four possible dominant preferences. Of course, these lists can be used to verify that your favorite activities can fit with your type, but they can also help you find balance.

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a dominant Intuitive type who either works in a job that requires large amounts of tedious data entry or that you are a student who is spending a week researching a very detailed paper with lots of specific guidelines.  What would you think this person would need to do on the weekend?  If you guessed that it would be incredibly important for this person to stretch her Intuitive legs after a week of heavy Sensing use, you are exactly correct!  For any type who is having to spend a great deal of time working in his non-preferred modes, it becomes even more important to get back in touch with the dominant preference during playtime to recharge your batteries for the next task at hand.  Perhaps the lists below can provide you with new ways to do that, or perhaps they can remind you that you may want to skip activities on the weekend that are rooted in your inferior preference if you have spent your week using it.

On the flip side, imagine you are a dominant Thinking type who spends the week strategizing, analyzing, and deciding.  It’s a great feeling to be able to use the gifts of your dominant preference in your day to day life, and it also provides opportunities to grow in your free time.  While a person in this situation may wish to partake in typical activities for dominant Thinking types, he may want to dive into his inferior Feeling on occasion during leisure time, by being a part of a committee that raises money for a worthy cause.

Of course, it is also likely that your auxiliary preference will be a factor in your enjoyment time, so make sure to read up on those activities as well, in this far from exhaustive list. If all this talk about dominant, auxiliary, and inferior preferences sounds like a foreign language to you, you may also want to check out the type dynamics section of this site.

Possible Play Activities by Dominant Preference

Dominant Sensing Types...Dominant Intuitive Types...
• Include ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTP, and ESFP • Include INFJ, INTJ, ENFP, and ENTP
• Typically enjoy the delights of the five senses.• Typically enjoy the delights of creativity and imagination.
• Often like to perform enjoyable activities that serve a practical purpose, such as working in the yard/gardening, cooking/baking, interior design, or woodworking.• Often enjoy imagining, designing, and/or daydreaming, for the sake of enjoyment or for the sake of brainstorming future projects.
• Usually enjoy reading, or watching on TV, true stories about history, real famous people, and/or real life adventures.• Usually enjoy reading, or watching on TV, stories that involve an element of fantasy, fiction, magic, and/or imagination.
• May like technical or mechanical gadgets, learning how to use them, and discovering how they work in a hands on fashion.• May like to play complex board, word, or electronic games, with others or alone.
• Frequently engage in basketball, baseball, hockey, or other team sports, which get the body moving.• Frequently engage in creating art, making music, drama, or learning new and creative skills.
• Might combine some of these activities with items from the list of their Auxiliary preference (Thinking or Feeling).• Might combine some of these activities with items from the list of their Auxiliary preference (Thinking or Feeling).
• Could partake in activities from the Intuitive list as a means of exercising the Inferior preference and engaging in type development.• Could partake in activities from the Sensing list as a means of exercising the Inferior preference and engaging in type development.

Dominant Thinking Types...Dominant Feeling Types...
• Include ISTP, INTP, ESTJ, and ENTJ • Include ISFP, INFP, ESFJ, and ENFJ
• Typically enjoy the delights of strategy and logic.• Typically enjoy the delights of friendship and human interests.
• Often enjoy competition and winning, either through sports or friendly debates.• Often enjoy socializing, by hanging out with friends, talking on the phone, video chatting, texting, and/or using social media.
• Usually enjoy reading, or watching on TV, non-fiction topics and thought provoking topics, such as philosophy.• Usually enjoy reading, or watching on TV, stories that involve an element of romance, humanity, and/or animal stories.
• May like games of logic, such as chess or electronic games that involve lots of strategizing.• May like to write letters, keep journals, and/or make scrapbooks of fond memories.
• Frequently engage in sports and activities where they can measure their improvement, including golf, running, weightlifting, or shooting sports.• Frequently engage in social games and sports, where the point is more to have fun than to win (not that winning isn't enjoyable, too!).
• Might combine some of these activities with items from the list of their Auxiliary preference (Sensing or Intuition).• Might combine some of these activities with items from the list of their Auxiliary preference (Sensing or Intuition).
• Could partake in activities from the Feeling list as a means of exercising the Inferior preference and engaging in type development.• Could partake in activities from the Thinking list as a means of exercising the Inferior preference and engaging in type development.

If you are interested in learning more about how your type impacts balance in your life, check out Work, Play, and Type: Achieving Balance in Your Life by Judith Provost, which I used as a reference for this article. Also, I would love to hear your type and how it impacts your play in the comments section below.  As always, thanks for reading.

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: The 8 MBTI® Preferences in the Workplace | Personality Playbook

  2. Linda E. Pletka

    This “fun” list had me rivited. Although having read much about type, such as on work or mating preferences, I’d neer seen anything yet on PLAY… I just had to post it to my Pinterest page.

    I’m INFJ, and I’m SO much a lover of design and puzzles & games. But I don’t think I ever stopped to realize how it had so very much to do with my “type”.

    And, ohmygoodness… do I ever have problems when there’s an overload of my inferior “S”-type things, such as detailed paper- or legal-type chores to do. Almost immobilizing…

    It’s so wonderful to appreciate there really has to be a balance…

    Many thanks,
    Linda

    Reply
    1. Sadie (Post author)

      Thank you, Linda! As a fellow INFJ, I find that I tend to say “yes” more than I say “no”, so this article was largely written as a personal exercise in attempting to find balance. I am with you on being overwhelmed when doing detailed papers… I love to write, but dealing with citations makes me crazy! Thank you so much for reading… and for posting to Pinterest. 🙂

      ~Sadie

      Reply

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