Keirsey relationship compatibility (A complete guide)

In this blog post, we are talking about Keirsey temperament theory.

We’ll explain the Keirsey relationship compatibility, and highlight the differences between Keirsey’ model and the Myers Briggs personality model. 

The Keirsey relationship compatibility model

For many years, Keirsey’s model has been the basis of the methodology for analyzing the human personality, it is one of the most widely used models in the world.

In his book,  “Please Understand Me II”, Keirsey speaks about the best relationship compatibility according to his temperament theory.

The best relationships, Keirsey says, are NTs to NFs and SJs to SPs. 

The logic behind the Keirsey relationship compatibility model is simple: the opposite will always attract, and the same language usage is a core element for a great relationship. 

Thus, according to Keirsey relationship compatibility model, perfect relationships exist when all but intuition and sensing are exchanged.

Here are the ideal relationships according to the Keirsey relationship compatibility model:









Keirsey’s temperament theory

Temperament is an obvious personality trait, as is the way you communicate, the pattern of action or the characteristic attitudes and values.

Temperament also includes personal needs, individual workplace contribution and the role played in society. 

In this regard, David Keirsey identified four basic temperaments: the artisan, the protector, the rational and the idealist, each with its own unique qualities and disadvantages.

The artisan is a pragmatic observer, who seeks stimulation and virtue to achieve an impact. The strong point is the tactics and excels at handling instruments.

The protector is observant and cooperative. He is interested in responsibility and duty. Logistics is a strong point. It excels at organization, verification and support.

The rational is introspective and cooperative. He is interested in personal development and finding his own unique identity. The strong point is diplomacy. It excels at clarification, individualization, unification.

The idealist is introspective and pragmatic. He is interested in the accumulation of knowledge and competence. Their strong point is strategy. He excels at logical investigations.

Temperament is born from the interaction between communication and behaviour, and the temperaments developed by Keirsey were inspired by the ancient model of the four senses of humour, Jung’s theories and the Myers Briggs model. 

In fact, the MBTI system is very similar to Keirsey’s. The differences are that the former focuses on behaviour, while Keirsey focuses on how people think and feel; Myers Briggs relies on the extroverted – introverted dichotomy, and Keirsey places more emphasis on the sensory – intuitive dichotomy.

David Keirsey’s typology

The starting point of the typology developed by D. Keirsey is in the comments made,

long time, by Katharine Myers and her daughter, Isabel Briggs-Myers, remarks

capitalized on in the elaboration of a working tool entitled “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator” (MBTI). 

Starting from the psychological types established by C. G. Jung, the authors emphasize that personality has the following basic characteristics:

  • extroversion-introversion related to the predominant orientation of the individual, towards the world outer or inward;
  • sensory function-intuitive function, which expresses the way we assimilate knowledge;
  • reflexive function-affective function – refers to decision making;
  • the judicial function-the perceptual function – related to the preference for an organized lifestyle or vice versa.

By combining these eight characteristics, the authors obtained 16 personality types:

1. extroverted-intuitive-affective-judgmental (open, creative, interested in people, organized);

2. introverted-intuitive-affective-judgmental (reserved, creative, interested in people, organized);

3. extroverted-intuitive-affective-perceptive (open, creative, interested in people, flexible);

4. introverted-intuitive-affective-perceptual (reserved, creative, interested in people, flexible);

5. extroverted-intuitive-reflexive-judgmental (open, creative, logical, organized);

6. introverted-intuitive-reflexive-judgmental (reserved, creative, logical, organized);

7. extroverted-intuitive-reflexive-perceptive (open, creative, logical, flexible);

8. introverted-intuitive-reflexive-perceptive (reserved, creative, logical, flexible);

9. extroverted-sensory-reflexive-judgmental (open, practical, logical, organized);

10. introverted-sensory-reflexive-organized (reserved, practical, logical, organized);

11. extroverted-sensory-affective-judicial (open, practical, interested in people, organized);

12. introverted-sensory-affective-judicial (reserved, practical, interested in people, organized);

13. extroverted-sensory-reflexive-perceptual (open, practical, logical, flexible);

14. introvert-sensory-reflexive-perceptual (reserved, practical, logical, flexible);

15. extroverted-sensory-affective-perceptual (open, practical, interested in people, flexible);

16. introverted-sensory-affective-perceptual (reserved, practical, interested in people, flexible).

David Keirsey points out that it is quite difficult to work with 16 personality types,

the author offering a variant that includes four temperamental types:

  • intuitive-affective – has needs and aspirations difficult to understand, is always concerned with the search for self, of inner development, expresses itself easily, especially in writing, is generous, ready anytime to help others, is romantic, believes in high values, likes harmony, has a rich inner life, is imaginative;
  • intuitive-reflexive – is animated by the idea of ​​understanding and explaining things, is logical and creative, neglects the present, is a good strategist and organizer, puts great value on his own intelligence,  but also that of others, he likes the original, always dissatisfied with what he achieves, he likes accuracy, accuracy, is concerned with progress, often neglecting social conventions;
  • sensory-judgmental – he is the most traditionalist, he likes activities in clubs, in various groups, can be considered a true “guardian of society”, assume responsibilities, put high price on norms and regulations, is very conscientious, has a practical, economic spirit, is a good organizer;
  • sensory-perceptual is energetic, likes freedom, enjoys the present, is very adaptable, has a lot of charm, is spiritual, is not a punctual type, is skilful, mobile, tolerant, he takes risks, he is often unpredictable, he likes pomp, he enjoys every holiday.

The typology proposed by D.Keirsey is considered by P. Hedges (2002) the most

substantial contribution to the study of types in recent years, the author following his own method of investigation and simplifying the Myers-Briggs Indicator.

Myers Briggs personality types

Myers Briggs Personality Types – Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – is a system widely used to understand and interpret human personality, based on Carl Jung’s ideas about personality types and, to a lesser extent. , the theory of the four temperaments or moods.

Isabel Briggs Myers, along with her mother Katharine Briggs, developed Jung’s theories, obtaining a methodology and system that can be implemented to understand and evaluate each person’s favourite personality and behaviour.

Together with the other personality theories and psychometric models, the MBTI model has a special utility for:

– understanding and self-development

– understanding and developing others

– understanding the motivation of others

– understanding the strengths and weaknesses of others

– teamwork – ensuring the representation of all relevant and necessary skills

– allocation and acceptance of tasks and projects

– accepting roles and development together with each other and for oneself.

The Myers Briggs theory and the MBTI model are not a measure of intelligence, competence, emotional state, mental stability or maturity and should be used with great care to assess skills for a particular profession. 

People have at hand multiple ways to practice a profession, and the MBTI model does not provide clues about commitment, determination, passion, experience, ambition, experience, etc. nor does it highlight cases of `type forgery`.

All of these have a much greater influence on success than a simple personality test.

Overall, psychometric tests and personality models are aids in personal development and a deep understanding of oneself.

However, they should not be used as the sole basis for recruiting employees or for career decisions.

Below is a list of preferences according to Myers Briggs personality types.

  • Extroverted – preference for the outside world and the actions and effects it has on it (E-extraversion)  or Introverted – preference for the self and inner ideas, to protect and develop them gather information focusing on the actual facts (I-Introversion). 
  • Sensory – decides using logic, consistency, objective analysis, conclusions resulting from a process (S-sensing) or Intuitive  gathers information by interpreting the patterns, possibilities and meanings of the information received (N-intuitional)
  • Reflexive – approaches the world by organizing, planning, controlling and establishing clear and firm actions and responses – makes decisions relatively quickly (T-thinking) or Affective (F-feeling) decides based on his and others’ priorities, as well as personal values.
  • Judgments (J-Judging) or Perceptive (P-perceiving) – approaches the world by acting with flexibility, spontaneity, adaptability and understanding – makes decisions relatively slowly. 

Measuring and categorizing a person’s personality or behavioural style according to their preferences – one from each of the four scales (E-I, S-N, T-F, J-P), the MBTI system forms 16 main types, each type being represented by a four-letter code.


In this blog post, we talked about the Keirsey temperament theory.

We also explained the Keirsey relationship compatibility model and highlighted the differences between Keirsey’ model and the Myers Briggs personality model. 

The logic behind the Keirsey relationship compatibility model is simple: the opposite will always attract, and the same language usage is a core element for a great relationship.

The best relationships, Keirsey says, are NTs to NFs and SJs to SPs. 

If you have any questions, comments or recommendations, please let us know!

FAQ about the Keirsey relationship compatibility

What are the four Keirsey temperaments?

The four Keirsey temperaments are the Artisan, the Guardian, the Idealist, and the Rational.

What does the Keirsey Temperament Sorter measure?

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter measures one’s personality type.

It is a great tool to understand one’s personality type, and how we interact with other people and our environment.

What do the Keirsey letters stand for?

The Keirsey letters stand for the following concepts: E = Extraversion I = Introversion. S = Sensation N = Intuition. T = Thinking F = Feeling. J = Judgment P = Perception.

What is an artisan personality type?

 The artisan personality type is a pragmatic observer, who seeks stimulation and virtue to achieve an impact.

The strong point is the tactics and excels at handling instruments.

Who developed the temperament theory?

The theory of temperament was developed by Rothbart and Derryberry at the beginning of the 1980s.


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