When you hear the word "unique," chances are you think of someone in your life who's truly one of a kind. Perhaps it's your best friend or your coworker—or maybe you are that person. These are the folks who stand out from the crowd—those who were told that they "marched to the beat of their own drum" as children, and haven't blended in since. Some of us strive to set ourselves apart, and depending on how you're classified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), you might be more unique than you think.
According to this personality questionnaire, we all fall into one of 16 personality types, identified by four-letter acronyms. Your MBTI classification depends on your likes and dislikes, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. The questionnaire determines whether you lean toward either Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I); prefer to use Sensing (S) or Intuition (N); tend to be more Thinking (T) or Feeling (F); and are more Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).
While there are 16 different combinations that these letters can make, those who are the most unique tend to be classified as one of five specific personality types. Read on to find out which Myers-Briggs types are the rarest.
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People who are extroverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging tend to be a bit out of the ordinary. According to Ryan Kaczka, senior public health advisor and board member at ChoicePoint Health, ENFJs account for just 2.5 percent of the population. Much like those who are more introverted (INFJs), ENFJs have a strong sense of intuition when it comes to other people. But what sets these extroverts apart is how they employ that intuitive instinct.
"While the INFJ uses this skill to help other people, the ENFJ may use their skills to help themselves, too," Kaczka says. "No doubt that their offer for help might be genuine, but sometimes, a lot more planning could be going on inside their minds."
ENFJs may also use this skill as a tool for persuasion, which can translate to "overpowering charisma," Kaczka adds.
Another atypical Myers-Briggs personality type is ENTJ, who account for a small percent of the population, Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD, certified psychiatrist of The Pleasant Personality, tells Best Life. According to the career center at Ball State University, only 1.8 percent of the U.S. population are extroverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging.
What sets ENTJs apart—similar to ENFJs—is their combination of extroversion and intuition.
"The cognitive functions of ENTJ includes extroverted thinking as a dominant function and introverted intuition as an auxiliary function," Gonzalez-Berrios explains. "This combinations makes them socialites with great networking skills. They are fluent communicators but are deeply insightful and creative as well."
According to Gonzalez-Berrios, these individuals tend to be smart and self-assured, but they can also be "nitpicky" and "find faults in other's behavior." Their extroverted nature allows them to be more accepting of other's differences, but they can also lack patience, she notes—especially if others can't keep up.
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The first introverts to make the list are those who are also intuitive, thinking, and judging. INTJs make up 2.1 percent of people in the U.S., and according to Gonzalez-Berrios, have a rare combination of traits that makes them "intellectual nerds with excellent problem solving abilities." As is typical with introverts, however, they tend to keep to themselves.
"They prefer to remain reserved, quiet, and sober, even when sitting amongst their close pals," Gonzalez-Berrios says. "They do not talk much unless the discussion is interesting and catches their deep intuition and thinking skills."
Adding to their uniqueness is their creativity, and they enjoy working on new ideas while spending time on their own. "They love to live in their heads, but sometimes display a pessimistic ideology of life," Gonzalez-Berrios explains. "They are curious about everything and do not like lazy fellows who fail to act wisely."
INTPs are also among the most unique and rare Myers-Briggs types, accounting for around 3.3 percent of people in the U.S., according to Ball State. They have the ability to be intuitive thinkers, but the fact that they can go with the flow, adapt, and be flexible is what makes them stand out.
"They also have a questioning mind but remain open to change and new perspectives," Gonzalez-Berrios says, noting that weaknesses can be a lack of structure with work.
"Sometimes they are too easygoing and prefer not to follow any rules," she adds. "This makes them delay their projects, and they may find it hard to accomplish assigned tasks on time."
Gonzalez-Berrios describes INTPs as "nerdy professors" whose intuitive nature might also more literally set them apart from the crowd, as they can struggle to collaborate in groups.
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The rarest personality is INFJ, Michael Vallejo, LCSW, child and family therapist, and owner of Mental Health Center Kids, says. This Myers-Briggs type accounts for just 1 to 3 percent of the global population. In the U.S., Ball State estimates those who are introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging represent just 1.5 percent of the population.
"It would probably be difficult to spot INFJs—unless you're married to one or have a friend or family member who's an INFJ—because they can blend like chameleons in social situations," Vallejo explains. "For example, they can make themselves look extroverted or social in parties so they can 'fit in.' But this energy eventually wears off and they would go back to their true introverted selves."
Vallejo points out that these personality types also don't have a taste for small talk, preferring "deep, meaningful conversations" and quality over quantity when it comes to the people in their lives.
"What's also interesting is that while they're very goal-oriented—which sometimes makes them perfectionists and overly sensitive to criticism—they dislike being in the spotlight when they achieve something great," he says, adding that when it comes to praise, they do appreciate receiving it from those closest to them.