Expat Life, Travel Addiction

Which Country Best Matches Your Personality?

Since the beginning of mankind, people have packed up and moved to avoid famine, warfare, religious persecution or (these days anyway) tanking housing markets. But when considering places to relocate, most people don’t think beyond the borders of their own country. When looking for a retirement destination, for instance, most people think “Florida” and rarely do they ever consider “Lithuainia”. But perhaps they’d be better suited to life in Lithuania and just don’t realize it. Because according to Brent Massey, author of Where in the World Do I Belong? Which Country’s Culture Fits Your Myers Briggs Personality Type?, Lithuania (as well as Serbia and Afghanistan) is brimming with creative, innovative and outspoken nonconformists. In fact, he offers up the theory that every country’s culture has a predominant personality type which coincides with one of the 16 personalities first outlined in the famous Myers-Briggs personality assessment model.  According to his findings, Americans are hard-working and boisterous extroverts, for example, and Germans are serious, dependable introverts. These are, of course, sweeping generalizations, and the author is first to admit it. Most of the “proof” he offers is based on his personal observations and the opinions of friends and local university exchange students. He profiles 115 different countries but only interviews 400 people, which is hardly a large enough sample size to draw any concrete conclusions from it.

But it’s still an interesting theory. I’ve always felt like a bit of an outsider in my home country and have wondered if perhaps the United States just isn’t a good cultural fit for me. According to Massey, it isn’t. I’m an INFP (a thoughtful, creative introvert who’s flexible and laid-back but easily bored by routine) whereas the predominant personality type in the United States (or at least the one that’s favored by society) is ESTJ (extroverted, detail-oriented and practical). The United States, according to Massey, is my polar opposite and his work would suggest that perhaps I’d be happier in Nepal or Burma. While I won’t be be mail-order-brideing myself to a Burmese rice farmer anytime soon, it’s certainly something to think about.

The following are descriptions of some of the 16 personality types, along with the countries Massey felt best corresponded with them.

If you’re unsure of your pesonality type, you can take a shortened version of the personality test on the this website. You’ll then receive a four-letter code that summarizes the way you interact with people, process information and perceive the world (E = Extrovert, I = Introvert, N = iNtuition, F = Feeling, T = Thinking and J = Judging). If you don’t see your personality type listed below, it’s because Massey wasn’t able to find a country that matched it (it looks like some people are destined to feel like outsiders no matter where they live!)

What do you think? Are some personality types more dominant in certain cultures than in others?

ESFP -The Entertainer

Personality Description: ESFP’s are spontaneous, optimistic and enjoy being the center of attention. They are also out-going, social and crave excitement. An ESFP is a true ‘people-person’ and dislikes being alone. Although ESFP’s prefer to avoid activities that require analytical or theoretical thinking, they have a practical side that make them skilled problem-solvers.

Country Matches:  Mexico, Guatemala, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Portugal, Romania, Greece, Malta, Turkey, Tibet, Australia, Bangladesh, Thailand, New Zealand, The Dominican Republic, South Africa, Melanesia Soloman Islands, Cyprus, Sri Lanka, American Samoa, Tanzania

ESTJ – The Overseer

London Eye
St. Paul’s Cathedral and London Eye by J.A. Acaide

Personality Description: Practical, straight-forward, honest and task-focused, ESTJ’s are natural-born leaders. They love to take charge and are skilled at planning and implementing new ideas. They’re fondness for rules and procedures, however, can sometimes lead people to see them as insensitive, especially because they tend to apply logic and reason to situations where other people’s feelings are involved. They’re self-confident and aggressive and have strong convictions and beliefs about the world, which, if they aren’t careful, can sometimes lead them to becoming too critical, rigid and narrow-minded. Outgoing and outspoken, they’re friendly and fun to be around and strive to create a secure and tradition-based environment for themselves and their families. Some psychologists have speculated that George W. Bush is an ESTJ.

Country Matches:  USA, England, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, the Netherlands

ENFP – The Advocate

Sitting on the beach in Belize
Relaxation – Belize Style by AJ Baxter

Personality Description: You could say that ENFP’s are in love with life. They’re enthusiastic, optimistic idealistic risk-takers who possess a zest and excitement for all of the possibilities life has to offer. They’re easily bored by routine and tasks that require attention to detail and have trouble with task-completion. They prefer the planning-stages of projects. While they’re warm and personable and talented at motivating and inspiring people to action, they can also fall into the trap of idolizing others, which can lead to disappointment when that person or situation doesn’t live up to their expectations. They’re skilled at seeing multiple possibilities and this, combined with their need for excitement and change, can make it difficult for ENFP’s to remain in relationships. They often have numerous careers in their lifetimes, which can sometimes cause people to see ENFP’s as aimless or scattered. But they’re very values-driven and are on a constant quest to find meaning in their lives as well as inner peace. ENFP’s are excellent verbal communicators and in the hands of a manipulative ENFP, this skill can be used to con or deceive people. But due to ENFP’s highly-evolved value systems, this is a rare occurrence.

Country Matches: Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Brazil, Bulgaria, Belize, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Georgia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and India

ENFJ – The Mentor

Colorful seaside village in Greenland
The Village of Tasiilaq, Greenland by Christine Zenino

Personality Description: ENFJ’s are charming, self-confident, honest and sensitive and have a knack for being able to ‘read’ people. They tend to place the needs of others before their own and feel happiest when helping or nurturing people. They’re generous, extremely social and place a high value on their personal relationships. They can also be sensitive to criticism and because they tend to see everything from a human angle, are not good at working strictly with facts and figures. Former president of the French Republic, François Mitterrand, was thought to have been an ENFJ.

Country Matches: Greenland, Ghana, French-Speaking Canada, French-Speaking Belgium

ENTP – The Visionary

Personality Description: ENTP’s are quick-thinkers and love to debate. They love to analyze ideas and are constantly in search of ways to improve the world they live in. They’re resourceful, extremely clever, innovative and curious which makes them great entrepreneurs, inventors or lawyers. They’re quick to assess a situation, recognize a pattern and then come up with a solution.  But sometimes this logical approach to decision-making can cause ENTPs to overlook the human-side of the equation and hurt people’s feelings.

Country Matches:  Lithuania, Serbia, Afghanistan

ISTJ – The Duty Fulfiller

Personality Description: According to research referenced in his book, Massey claims that this personality type often suffers the most from the effects of culture shock and have trouble adjusting to life abroad.

ISTJ’s possess a strong understanding of the differences between right and wrong. They are extremely thorough and once they’ve begun a project, they won’t feel satisfied until they’ve successfully completed it. They are serious, quiet, goal-oriented and extremely focused. They can concentrate for long periods of time and are generally successful at anything they put their mind to.

Although very responsible and dependable, among friends, ISTJ’s have been known to have an an odd sense of humor. They are loyal friends and believe above all else, in organization and in upholding traditions. George Washington is thought to have been an ISTJ.

Country Matches: Germany, Finland, Estonia, Switzerland

INFP – The Dreamer

Adorable children on Burma train
Photo by Tranuf. Photo taken in Burma.

Personality Description: INFP’s easily adapt to new situations and are flexible and laid-back. That is, until a value they hold dear is challenged, then they can become quite aggressive. They’re loyal, reflective, idealistic and creative with a highly-developed skill for the written language. They never lose their sense of wonder and are curious and keen observers, with an intense desire to understand and help others. They don’t place high importance in the mundane details of every day life and are at their best when allowed to devote themselves fully to a cause or activity that they feel passionate about. INFP’s are perfectionists and this can make it difficult for them to see the value in their own accomplishments. William Shakespeare has been labeled an INFP as has Jacqueline Kennedy and Helen Keller.

Country Matches: Nepal and Burma

ISFP – The Artist

People jumping in Belgium square
Belgiump by Eole

Pesonality Description: Extremely creative and with highly-developed senses, ISFP’s make great artists. Independent, quiet and often private people, ISFP’s can be difficult to get to know. But ISFP’s are caring, sensitive individuals and very loyal friends.

 Country Matches: Dutch-Speaking Belgium, China, Cambodia, Micronesia, Lichtenstein, Slovakia

ESFJ – The Caregiver

Personality Description: ESFJ take things quite literally and base decisions on concrete facts. They’re warm-hearted, conscientious and responsible. They frequently place the needs of others before their own.  They excel at activities that require an eye for detail and thrive in structured, controlled environments. They dislike uncertainty and prefer to live a life steeped in the traditions upheld by their communities. They desire acceptance and praise from others and although ESFJ’s can be generous, they give with an expectation of receiving acknowledgement in return. They are sensitive and tend to get their feelings hurt quite easily, but this sensitivity is also what makes them exceptionally good at bringing the best out in people.

Country Matches: English-Speaking Canada, Costa Rica, Ukraine, Namibia, Uganda, Taiwan and South Korea

ISFJ – The Defender

Smiling children in Laos
Hmong Village Kids by HKmPua

Personality Description:  ISFJ’s are traditional and kind-hearted and place emphasis on maintaining a harmonious and cooperative living environment. Their loyalty, observational skills, sensitivity and hyper-vigilance is what has earned this personality type the title of “Defender”.

ISFJ’s have rich inner worlds but tend to shy away from expressing their feelings. This can lead to frustration or depression if they don’t have an outlet for their intense emotions.  They’re very sensitive to criticism and can be very hard on themselves when they make mistakes. They also have a difficult time saying ‘no’ to people.

ISFJ’s take their responsibilities very seriously and for this reason are very dependable.  They have excellent memories and are detail-oriented. But perhaps their best trait is their sensitivity to the feelings of others and ability to always see the best in people. Mother Theresa was said to have been an ISFJ.

Country MatchesJapan, Vietnam, Singapore, Laos, Latvia and Sweden

ENTJ – The Executive

Girl in Jordan with donkey
Young Entrepreneur by Sailing Nomad

Personality Description: ENTJ’s are confident, opinionated, competitive, ambitious and analytical, which is what makes them ideal personalities for leadership roles. They have a natural ability to absorb and analyze large amounts of information and then make quick, often accurate assessments. They have a low tolerance for inefficiency or for people who don’t share their same perspective.  Sometimes they can come across as overbearing or aggressive but they genuinely love people, are excellent conversationalists and can be quite sentimental at times.

Country Matches:  France, Jordan

SourcesWhere in the World Do I Belong? by Brent Massey, The Personality PagesMy Personality.Info

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59 thoughts on “Which Country Best Matches Your Personality?

  1. I usually get ENTP. I am absolutely not moving to any of the countries listed for that! Afghanistan?! For me, collective culture is much more important than these personality types… like how people interact with each other day to day, the arts, food, lifestyle, values, etc.

  2. Total bs. Apart from the fact that neither me nor my country fit anywhere I just hate authors who disguise their personal convictions in social theories. So he hides behind Myers-Briggs research to sound more scientific and lays out a bunch of stereotypes.

    If anything, I think that we’re most fit to live where we grew up. If one feels out of place, that person is bound for an endless search for it.
    Yours ENTJ
    PS. I was just thinking this morning that it’s been a while since your last post. Nice to see you back.

  3. @ Ania – Yep, I think it’s sorta BS too. But by the way, I forgot to add ENTJ. He only listed two countries for that personality type…France and Jordan. And Poland, by the way, is ISTP.

  4. According to the book, Poland and the Czech Republic are both ISTP (adventuresome, independent, spontaneous and good at mechanics and working with their hands. But they dislike attention and are unemotional). Would you say that’s true of those two countries?

  5. If we where to sort of characterize a country as a person, then ok for adventuresome, independent, spontaneous but Poland is an attention junkie and bursting with emotions (mostly bad).
    All I could generalize about Czech is: very laid back.
    But still one must distinguish between making assumptions about a persons character based on his nationality vs. regional mentality.

  6. @Ania – I don’t think it’s true that people are always fit to live where they grew up, especially for people raised by immigrants and people who moved around a lot… I, like a growing number people, have both of those things to contend with, making it easier to feel out of place and harder to say where exactly I am from to begin with.

  7. I’m an INTP. Since it’s not listed I looked I decided to go with INFP and it actually makes a lot of sense. Great post! You’ve got a sick, sick blog here.

  8. I am Czech and I would tend to say people in the CR are neither spontaneous, independent nor adventurous, rather conservative, more like ISTJs. Can place a lot of importance on appearance to strangers, like having to clean up before a visitor comes. I am often witness to some ridiculous niceties, especially among women, like one side trying to force the other side to accept money for something and the other side stubbornly refusing. There are some good tinkerers, though. Czechs often criticize themselves as being jealous of the success of others and too provincial. There is a common fairy tale with ”stupid Honza” as a main character: somebody who is modest and underestimated, but in the end proves to be clever and brave. The famous Švejk character is also quite similar. Lot of Czechs perhaps identify with that.

  9. @ Lukmor – Thanks for chiming in with an insider’s perspective. That’s interesting about Czechs placing a lot of importance on ‘ridiculous niceties’. I always thought of Czech’s being very direct and not overly concerned with following cultural norms. (?)

  10. Okay, some of that impression of mine might be caused by the fact that I am an INTJ. But Czechs are quite roundabout in their talking, for example using negative and conditional clause in suggestions, trying to not be offensive or out of place etc. On the other hand, they are quite pragmatic, cynical and suspicious of pathos, often criticizing things like political correctness.

  11. […] Which Country Best Matches Your Personality? | Taken by the Wind Here is the book they refer to (extracts): Where in the world do I belong?? – Brent Massey – Google Books No place to live for an INTJ 😉 Reply With Quote   + Reply to Thread […]

  12. I found this article while I was wondered where to move to next. I currently live in Italy and was extremely surprised to find many Americans unhappy with Italy and it’s culture. I suspect most of those unhappy Americans are ESTJs or ISTJs. While my personality type (INTP) isn’t matched here, Italy is as close as it gets. Thanks Reannon!

  13. if you are going to use the Myers-Briggs based on Jungian personality types, it would be best to include them all. As is it, you sound uneducated and daft. I assume that the INTJ and INTP’s are homeless.

  14. I came across this via google ( of course ) as I was curious as to which countries have the highest ratio of ENTP’s ( my direct functional opposite – IE an ideal match in a relationship I think ? ) so this has been an interesting read – thank you ! As an INFJ I didn’t expect to find a country with a high ratio of such, anywhere, which is as understandable as it is for other rarer types ( needle in a hay stack comes to mind ).

  15. Good call on Burma for INFPs — I went there recently and loved it. The Burmese struck me as generally shy but easy going (IP) and the culture is heavily influenced by mystical Buddhism, making it quite NF. However, I disagree about China — while it is undeniably S, it is a highly social, cerebral kind of place. I consider it to be an ESTJ kind of country, run by strict Confucian rules and an emphasis on what is “logical.” Further, “sensitive” is not a word I’ve heard used by anyone who has traveled there.

  16. A friend suggested Bhutan for INFJ — it’s Buddhist like Nepal and Burma (the INFP countries), but has the reputation for being more organized/strict.

  17. I’m INFJ and visited Burma in September last year. It’s was OK but I didn’t necessarily feel as much of an affinity at home there as I did in Thailand.

  18. I am not sure what I am… I go between infp/enfp but I can act like an entp real quick…. maybe I haven’t matured enough…even though I am 57…. I think this is very interesting. I was thinking myself about how a culture is developed and was putting it together with how people of certain personalities have an affinity for one another. So the idea that a country would have a predominant personality preference makes since to me. On the lighter side I have been watching Korean dramas and I have found that I understand them better than I do North Americans.. I have been trying to find out more about their Myers Briggs demographic, do you have any information on that…

  19. Wow…. I read one of your other articles, and I thought, “This girl is so much like me.” Then, I read this post, and realized why. I too am an INFP who has done a lot of traveling. Cool! 🙂
    I felt really “at home” in Hungary. Over there, people make deep, meaningful friendships. It is true that strangers are not very nice, but friends are for real. Friends talk about real topics, in depth, and it was so good for me to meet people like that. I am now back home in English Canada having babies. ESFJ totally fits this country!! My friend and I were just talking about all the ESFJ mothers here… It is very difficult being an INFP amongst all those ESFJ mothers… 🙁 I want to leave!!! I just have to convince my husband…

  20. (Hmmm…. I just saw that Hungary is supposed to be ESTJ. I don’t agree with that. I think they are more introverted… 🙂

  21. France, or Jordan for INTJs? Are you completely stupid? Or, do you know nothing about France and Jordan? France is highly ISFP (throughout it’s entire history), almost the exact opposite of INTJ. And, Jordan is an Islamic nation, which is also obviously very _S_P. INTJs would be anywhere from stoned to a social outcast in either of those countries.
    The rarest types, such as INFJ and INTJ, are not going to be completely at home anywhere.
    One is better off going by politics, religion, their looks, and their lifestyle for what country to move to.
    For me, that means: Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, and Bhutan. All of which also might be more respectful towards INTJs than a lot of other countries, though I’d imagine that’s not saying much, since INTJs tend to be outcasts period.

  22. Oh, correction, you had that for Entj. But, that’s still utterly wrong. Since then France is the EXACT opposite of the type you said. France and Jordan for ENTJ is even worse than INTJ.
    It looks like you pretty much just care about Extraverts, and that’s not right. You do realize Introversion is required to be intelligent, don’t you? Without Introverts, there is no society at all.

  23. @INTJ – I didn’t research any of this. The author Brent Massey did in his book “Where in the World Do I Belong? Which Country’s Culture Fits Your Myers Briggs Personality Type?” I’m just summarizing what he said in his book and as I mentioned before, I happen to think a lot of it is wrong.

    And about me “just caring about extraverts”, that is not true! I write a lot about the power of introverts on this blog (I am one myself).

    Here, read for yourself.

    The Introverted Traveler – http://www.takenbythewind.com/2009/06/26/the-introverted-traveler/

    Dear America, Stop Trying to Change Us! Love, an Introvert – http://www.takenbythewind.com/2010/10/10/dear-america-stop-trying-to-change-us-love-an-introvert/

    TED Talk about Power of Introverts – http://www.takenbythewind.com/2012/07/30/ted-talk-about-the-power-of-introverts/

  24. […] tror inte att Sverige är det ideala landet för mig. Enligt http://www.takenbythewind.com/2010/10/27/which-country-best-matches-your-personality/, som kopplar ihop olika länder till olika MBTI-personlighetstyper, så kanske jag borde överväga […]

  25. I read somewhere that NZ has the highest proportion of INFJ’s. I’ve lived in 6 different countries and visited many others. I’ve found NZ to have a lot of artistic, creative and free thinking, ‘spiritual’ types. I think different countries really do have different personality ‘types’. Maybe BS but everyone has an opinion and the opinions often agree. .

  26. I also disagree with my country’s type. ENTP is too open-minded for Serbian’s mentality. I think ESTP would be better (and best) match for Serbs. Quick, aggresive, loyal to family values(even though it is just a mask usually like with most ESTP’s), laid-back, into sports and war etc.
    I can compare myself with the rest and sometimes I see that my ideas are not accepted because they are too progressive, modern or just different perhaps, and I don’t think that ENTP would be so shallow with the judgments. Open-mindedness is not a part of our society, we’re laid back but not open-minded. ESerbiaTP

  27. I have to disagree with JTK regarding China. Not sure if you are Chinese or have lived there, but you can’t really understand a country or the psyche of people with just a casual glance, and listening to comments from friends who have just travelled there. First of all, people often present a different face to foreigners hence many people have a distorted view of the Chinese after meeting them. Rarely will a Chinese person show their true thoughts, values etc. Being Chinese, and therefore able to understand the language and drawing on observations of my family and friends there, logical (by western standards) is not something I would describe them as. Their belief systems and the way they behave, live, and maintain their health as represented by Tai Chi and Chinese Medicine is based on Taoist philosophy in contrast to Confucianism. Furthermore, Confucianism is not as strict and ritualistic and logical as people think it is. Finally, the Chinese are far more insightful and astute at understanding people and their motivations than any caucasian that I know. They are not as courteous but they certainly aren’t oblivious to people’s emotions.

    Finally there is a real danger in attempting to determine a country’s personality based on observations at one point in time. You just need to look at China now to see that not many people are happy. They may be successful at business now and have a flourishing economy, but this doesn’t mean that they are working in tandem with their natural personalities. In fact they are probably repressing them. China 1000 years ago without the influence of foreigners, was quite different. With the spread of globalisation and the dominance of western cultures, beliefs and values, people in other countries like China will try to change to be like them. It’s just not right.

  28. My first attempt says I’m an ISFJ and I should live in Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Laos, Latvia and Sweden. I’m currently staying in Singapore for a vacation and contemplating whether I’d like to stay here or not. I took the test once again and the result was ISTJ. And then just to get the average, I took it for the third time and it gave me INTJ, Two S’ and Two T’s so I guess I really am an ISTJ (Although I have problems with concentration). Funny because during my 2nd year college days, I took the test with our psychologist and I was the exact opposite. I used to be an ENFP. I guess Biology took away my idealism.

  29. French Canada (Quebec) – it seems it real fit for ENFJ. Quebeckers have high moral values and ideas about what humanity should be. And Quebec it’s a quiet place with happy people.

    As I am born in Romania and I lived there for a long while, I can say that Romania fit me (I am an ESFP). It doesn’t fit me well, but I spent good moments there, with parties and so on. I don’t know for the rest.

  30. I disagree for ENFP and Saudi Arabia. The highly freedom lover ENFP, who loves to do not stay in a relationship, who loves adventure, couldn’t fit very well in a country as Saudi Arabia – where the single option is to be married for the rest of the life. Saudi Arabia is a very though dictatorship and I am wondering if any personality type can fit there.

  31. This is so interesting. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and have not felt at home anywhere. Lately I have begun to ask myself if moving abroad is the answer.

  32. I’m INTJ, but I don’t see this article as me not existing. Since I’m only 11% on the Introverted side, I just use the result from ENTJ for myself. It fits pretty well if I wasn’t a huge procrastinator… But college kids, what’re ya gonna do?

  33. I love this. I took a few personality type tests, and in all of them I got ISFJ.
    Was pleasantly surprised when I read this because I’ve been in love with Japan for a long time, and have been planning to move there for a while.

  34. Great.

    INTP’S and INTJ’s… we are a minority I guess. Uh.

    I don’t belong to this planet. Wait for me Saturn, I’m coming…

  35. I’m an INFP. Very N, very P, too much F!!, and less I than I used to be, but still a strong one. I’m from Barcelona, and I’ve never felt at home in Spain. I didn’t see the country listed on your post. I see it as ESFP, and it’s too much for me. I lived in the US for 12 years. I love many things there, and I miss them, and I think that being immersed in my opposite helped me develop my no preferences more. Now I’m back in Spain and looking at the map again, because I know I just can’t stay here. I saw the INFP countries listed. I haven’t been in any of them, and I wish I had more choices (that’s soooo P, isn’t it?)

  36. I suspect that whoever matched these personality types with countries has never lived in or even visited most of these places. I can’t comment on the countries I don’t know well, but I will talk about France. Whoever thinks that France falls under ENTJ understands nothing about the culture. People stereotypically associate France with art and intellectualism which makes them think that it would be an iNtuitive country but besides that particular streak, the day-to-day runnings of the culture revolve entirely around rules, regulations, tradition, and general uncertainty avoidance–i.e. fear of anything new or novel. If that doesn’t define an extremely Sensing country then I don’t know what does. Meanwhile I’m surprised that anyone would ever call France extraverted because even stereotypically the French are quiet, unfriendly, and like to keep to themselves. I will agree that it is a Thinking country and in terms of J/P is probably pretty borderline between the two. So ISTJ or ISTP would be accurate. In any case the author is way off base for France and I suspect for many other countries as well.

  37. An Italian checking in… Well, in my expirience:
    Central Italy: yes ENFP
    Southern Italy: ENFj (a weak J, a J in their own fashion)
    Northern Italy: ESTJ
    NE Italy might be ESFP

  38. @Reannon Muth

    From my research:-

    South Korean: ESTP
    Thai: ISFP
    Germany: ESTJ
    Japan: ISFJ
    China: ESFJ
    India: ISTP + ISTJ

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