How to See Prince in a New Light

Prince’s infatuation with the third eye could provide clues to his personality type. Artist: Erika Peterson; @erikastrada


Allow me to introduce myself … my name is Laura, and I am addicted to personality tests. I love them all, from The Enneagram to Strengthsfinder and the Newcastle Personality Assessor (because maybe I would have a more appealing personality in England?).

But the one that I love most of all is the Myers Briggs personality test. Years ago, I even tested my own kids and wrote an article about how to use the results to become a better parent to each individual child. The practical take away? I learned that our oldest son enjoys being spontaneous while the rest of us are plodding planners. Imagine his ongoing suffering! Ha! I came up with a plan for improving his life by building “planned spontaneity” into our day. When I knew we were going out for ice cream, I wouldn’t share it until the last minute, and then sprang the news on him. He was overjoyed! There was nothing he loved better than dropping everything and running out at a moment’s notice! And of course, I was thrilled to have secretly planned it.

But on this blog, all roads lead to Prince, and so does this post (eventually).

Myers Briggs types are indicated by four letters. Here’s a quick overview of their meanings:

E or I = extrovert or introvert (how you gain your energy)

S or N = sensing or intuitive (how you take in information)

T or F = thinking or feeling (how you make decisions)

J or P = judging or perceiving (your lifestyle preference — judgers like their world structured and planned; perceivers prefer their world to be open-ended).

Like many writers, I’m an INFJ. You’ll find us alone in a room, struggling with the complexities of life.

Over to Prince’s personality type. As with many aspects of Prince, this is a mystery. But that will not stop me from attempting to understand him better by assigning a type to him!

For the first letter, simply based on the fact that Paisley Park exists and is an introvert’s dream, I’m going with “I.”

I’m also feeling strongly about the last letter, given his propensity for epic levels of spontaneity. I’m giving him a “P,” although it’s slightly less solid than the “I.” I do wonder if his spontaneity was less something in his nature than a tactic he used to get the best out of musicians and others working for him. Hmmm. Still – “P.”

After “I–P,” things get murky. As an “NF,” I can imagine Prince falling into that category … driven by his heart, making decisions based on his emotions, holding firm to his beliefs … but then there’s the empathy part, which is normally strong in “NF’s” and seems to be (how shall I put this gently?) lacking in Prince. Still, I’m willing to chalk up that anomaly to his difficult childhood. Prince’s complexity, his oddball-ness, his intense spirituality and religiosity and the way he very intentionally uses primal desire as a lure to draw us into what he truly wants — a shared experience of God — all this seems distinctly “NF” to me.

You might be able to convince me that the “N” should be an “S,” but I’m going with INFP, with ISFP and INFJ as runners-up. Here’s a good description of INFPs. And here’s a link to a free, fast Myers Briggs test.

Over to you: Do you know your Myers-Briggs type? What do you think of my assessment of Prince’s personality type?








7 thoughts on “How to See Prince in a New Light

  1. Matt Conrad

    INTJ here. Most attempts to determine Prince’s MBTI type have him as an ISFP, but that’s (at best) an informed guess. As far as we know, he never took the MBTI, or even one of those free online knockoffs.

    My (completely unqualified) take on him:

    Extroversion versus introversion: That’s an easy one, and clearly the latter.

    Sensing versus intuition: He didn’t strike me as someone too concerned about details and facts, so I’m inclined to go with the latter.

    Thinking versus feeling: Likewise, he didn’t seem very logical and was notoriously inconsistent. So I’ll pick the latter.

    Judging versus perceiving: I agree that his spontaneity suggests the latter.

    Conclusion: He was an INFP, same as your assessment.

    • lauratiebert

      Matt, that’s exactly my thought process and glad to hear someone of your reasoning abilities came to the same conclusion. About your own type, I’d imagine that being an INTJ would make you well suited for a legal career.

      • Matt Conrad

        Thanks for your kind words. Indeed, while INTJ is the second-rarest MBTI type among the general population, it’s much more common among lawyers, and the legal profession is often suggested as a good career choice for INTJ’s.

  2. Kim

    I’m afraid I need to disagree with your assessment that he was lacking in empathy … I think it was just the opposite. It looks to me that maybe his empathy was so strong that he avoided getting caught up in it to keep from having his energy stolen or used up, which is why he kept his distance from most people. I feel that people without his kind of energy are attracted to him to try to get some of what he had (not
    consciously). Also, his generosity speaks so strongly of being empathetic to people’s plights.

    • lauratiebert

      Kim, good point and also, there are many stories that point to him being a highly sensitive person, so that would make it very important for him to stay away from people who drained him.

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