What is Best-Fit Type and
How to Discover Yours


The following is adapted from Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi, The 16 Personality Types: Descriptions for Self-Discovery (Telos Publications, 1999) *Used with permission.


What Is Best-Fit Type?

Best-fit type refers to the type pattern that fits you best. No one description or pattern will be a perfect match to all of who you are. Your personality is rich and complex, and a "type" or type pattern cannot adequately express all of that richness. Each of the sixteen types comes in a variety of "flavors," and best-fit type means that the themes and preferred processes of that type seem to fit you the best.

Personality Instruments


"Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted counts."
- Albert Einstein


Sometimes people come to understand who they are through self-reporting on personality instruments. No instruments that rely solely on self-reporting are completely accurate. They must all be accompanied by a validation process, preferably involving self-discovery. Many instruments have standards that require face-to-face facilitated feedback with a qualified professional. This booklet is not meant to replace this valuable interactive process but to support it.

Personality instruments that are well researched and well designed can help us tune in to key aspects of who we are. They are designed to reveal ourselves to ourselves. Psychological Type instruments are developed to suggest possible best-fit type patterns. While some instruments are more thoroughly researched than others---they are not always 100 percent accurate on all four of the letters that are used to summarize personality characteristics.

If your new to discovering your personality type---allow yourself to "try on" more than one type pattern to see which one fits you the best. If you have had exposure to psychological type instruments, set aside any assumptions you have about your best-fit type pattern.

In any case, any one model-like temperament or psychological type-is frequently insufficient to reveal one's personality pattern by itself. This is why we recommend the use of multiple models in The Self-Discovery Process-with or without a personality instrument.


An instrument will not tell you who you are, it can only indicate who you might be.


The Self-Discovery Process

One powerful way to find your best-fit type pattern is through self-discovery. This works very well for many people.


The Johari Window,* originally used for improving communication, is a useful map to help us understand this self-discovery process.

For example, one area is "Public Knowledge"-what we know about ourselves and is known to others around us. These "public" aspects of ourselves are easily recognized. What do we talk about over coffee or around the water cooler? Discovering how we communicate in general is one part of getting in touch with who we really are. Listen to what you say and how you say it. What do you like to talk about? These topics will likely reflect your natural self. Be aware that your public self may reflect adaptive or learned behavior. This adaptive self is also part of who you are but may not hold the key to what energizes you.

The Johari Window
Known to Self
Unkown to Self

to Others

Public Knowledge . . .

What I Show You

Feedback . . .

Your Gift to Me


to Others

Private . . .

Mine to Share

Unconscious . . .

Not to Probe but I Can Become More Aware
and Choose to Share


Interaction with Others-Sharing and Feedback

We also learn who we are through our interactions with others. Finding people who are similar to us and comparing notes and sharing stories helps many of us discover our own best-fit type pattern. This often happens in workshops when people openly discuss their type patterns in order to better understand themselves and others. Sometimes this kind of discussion takes us into the "Private" area of the Johari Window-those aspects known to ourselves and not known to others. In the same way, self-discovery often sends us to this area, at least privately.

One valuable way of finding out who we are is by actively seeking feedback-asking others to tell us how they see us. These people may be trained facilitators or merely people who know us well. The "Feedback" area of the Johari Window gives us the opportunity to learn about those aspects of ourselves unknown to us but known to others. This provides additional information as we explore who we are. And remember, this feedback is a gift, often given through the eyes of the giver-so seek feedback from many people.

Openness to New Information

During The Self-Discovery Process "Unconscious" information sometimes comes into our minds-aspects previously unknown to ourselves and unknown to others. The unconscious is often where we "store" information about how to "be" in the world. As you explore who you are, stay open to valuable insights from this area.

Many variables may be involved in your self-discovery process. Be aware that family, social, cultural, and other influences will affect how you view yourself in relation to the type patterns. These influences are often unconscious until they somehow come into our awareness when they are described and pointed out. Stay open and searching. Seek input from all areas of the Johari Window.

Descriptions for Self-Discovery A Word about Words!

In writing the descriptions, we have chosen various words to try to capture the themes of each type pattern. These words often reflect the way people with this type pattern think of themselves as well as the deep theoretical underpinnings. Words are subject to individual interpretations with various connotations, so beware the one-word category! One or two words cannot capture the whole of a pattern. The words were tested with many people, but they are not the last word! Don't let the meaning you may find in any one word or phrase prevent you from considering the pattern as a whole.

The Names of the Patterns

We've given names to the patterns in order to emphasize that the type is more than the sum of its parts or any single model. Names can more easily represent themes and also make the pattern more personal and real.

There is also a logic behind the names. The first word in the name is the inside view:

  • How we often see ourselves
  • What others often don't see


The second word in the name is the outside view:

  • How others often see us
  • What we may not see in ourselves

The words work together, each enriching and clarifying the meaning of the other, reflecting most of the theoretical models behind the descriptions.


The words work together, each enriching and clarifying the meaning of the other, reflecting most of the theoretical models behind the descriptions.



The above content is adapted from Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi, The 16 Personality Types: Descriptions for Self-Discovery (Telos Publications, 1999) *Used with permission.


*Originally formulated by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in "The Johari Window, A Graphic Model of Awareness in Interpersonal Relations." pp. 10-12, in Group Process: An Introduction to Group Dynamics by Joseph Luft, Palo Alto: National Press Books, 1963.

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