Friends is an all-time favorite for many people. It's widely considered as one of the best sitcoms ever made, as well as one of the best television series in general. And it's easy to see why the show enjoys such immense popularity even today.
The show still holds up, for the most part, and the episodes still crack us up. The heart of the show is, of course, the group of six friends, each of whom has an interesting, quirky personality that often gets them into all kinds of hilarious situations. And yet they're at their very best when they are all together. Today, we're taking a closer look at the characters we've come to consider our friends using the Myers Briggs personality test.
Gunther is often referred to as the seventh friend. The Central Perk manager/barista has been a permanent fixture in the everyday lives of the friends, but never entered the inner circle. While we don’t really know that much about Gunther – not even his last name – we can make some basic observations. Gunther is unassuming and often blends into the background, but at the same time, he’s easily found offering assistance, which are characteristics of ISFJs.
We almost don’t even notice him until he somehow gets involved in whatever one or more of the friends are up to. ISFJs love to be of service and please people, which is all Gunther ever tried to do in order to cozy up to the main six friends, and especially his unrequited crush, Rachel.
One of the defining characteristics of INFPs is their artistic nature and creativity. Self-expression is very important to this type and they will go out of their way to find a suitable outlet. Exploring new ideas is their specialty and they encourage others to do the same. Mike left a career as a lawyer to pursue music, his true passion. Like all INFPs, Mike bases his decisions on feelings, not logic. Changing his name to “Crap Bag” to prove a point certainly comes to mind as an example of his spontaneity.
Often unconventional, INFPs are accepting of others and flexible when it comes to seeing other people’s point of view. The reason Mike and Phoebe clicked immediately is that they’re both somewhat offbeat and they’re drawn to alternative lifestyles. Mike not only accepted Phoebe’s eccentricities without question, but he said that it’s one of the things he loves most about her.
Often referred to as Performer personalities, ESFPs are defined by their contagious enthusiasm for life and love of the spotlight. These fun-loving individuals are energetic, down-to-earth, and spontaneous, which draws people in. Being around Joey is easy and comfortable because he knows how to take pleasure in everything around him (almost like a child), and he’s always open to all kinds of ideas to have fun, like building a fort, sticking his head in a turkey, and so on.
Joey's emotions regularly get the better of him, which sometimes leads to very poor decisions. For crying out loud he ate al the food from his broken fridge and tried to save a sandwich from what he thought was a bullet. As for being spontaneous, this is the guy who’s gone through life as a struggling actor in New York, without a stable income or a plan B – need we say more?
ENTPs are sometimes referred to as Visionary personalities because of their passion for new ideas. They’re quick, innovative, encouraging, and open. They rely on their intuition to easily generate new ideas, and they prefer freedom to strict planning and organization. Chandler’s quick wit is his defining trait, it's why we love him so much, and it is what immediately marks him as an ENTP.
He’s usually the first one to point out the elephant in the room with a sarcastic remark, regardless of whether it’s appropriate or not. He gets the most zingers because the jokes are his way of coping with problems, keeping the upper hand, and just simply going through everyday motions. In "The One with All the Resolutions", he almost lost his mind when he tried to go a whole week without making jokes. Once he finally quit his boring job and found his calling, Chandler put his talents to good use in the advertisement business.
The only introvert among the six friends, Ross is an ISTJ. Rather than deriving energy from group activities, introverts need some alone time. Ross, especially in the earlier seasons, comes off rather shy and reserved. He feels fulfilled when he’s engaging in intellectual activities, namely thinking and talking about dinosaurs.
Fact-based, detail-oriented, and relying on logic and reason when making decisions, ISTJs are sometimes called Inspector personalities. For Ross, Setting the record straight is extremely important, as seen with the whole “we were on a break” conundrum. Ross is all about facts and will go to extreme lengths to prove his way is the right way, like when he argued with Phoebe about evolution. ISTJs like to keep things organized and will often volunteer to plan activities. Ross is adamant about getting things done right to the point of becoming very irritable and forceful when things go according to his plan. (see: “The One Where No One’s Ready”).
Phoebe Buffay is a classic example of an ENFP. Imaginative and original, these individuals are often very artistic, even in appearance. They are unconventional and tend to develop a distinctive and quirky personal style. If you’re still not convinced this screams Phoebe, here’s some more ENFP traits you may recognize and associate with Peebs.
Attracted to novelty, ENFPs often have a wide range of interests. Phoebe is a singer/songwriter, a masseuse, can speak fluent French and some Italian, and has shown a keen interest in animal rights, environmental rights, spirituality, and has displayed all sorts of other unusual talents over the years. ENFPs have an uncanny ability to craft engaging stories, and what do you know Phoebe has told some of the most imaginative and at times outrageous stories on the show.
Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging, ESFJs like Monica love spending time with others, often obsess over details, make decisions based on feelings and personal values, and must have everything organized and planned out. Sometimes referred to as Provider personalities, ESFJs have a keen interest in caring for others. Monica Geller is a textbook example of an ESFJ if there ever was one.
Monica loves being the hostess (see: “The One with Rachel’s Crush”) and she loves taking care of her friends even when they’re acting crazy. Case in point, making three kinds of potatoes to give everyone the Thanksgiving they want. Monica's organization skills are unmatched, as evidenced by her Wedding Book, a total of 11 towel categories, and numbered mugs. Obsessing over seemingly insignificant details, like which way the tag on the duvet is facing, is what Monica typically does.
Monica and Rachel are much more alike than it may seem upon first glance. Like her friend and roommate, Rachel too enjoys spending time with others. She prefers to rely on facts and makes decisions based on feelings and values rather than logic. However, unlike Monica, Rachel is spontaneous and flexible. Walking away from a secure future to start anew without so much as a “pla–” takes courage, and Rachel actually adapted to the change rather easily.
Her energetic and playful nature is what draws people in, and because of it, the ESFPs are often called Performer personalities. Rachel loves putting her people skills to work, which even helped her establish a successful career in the fashion industry. While Rachel may get teased for being a push-over from time to time when she feels strongly about something there’s no stopping her. After all, she bravely quit her waitress job to pursue a career she felt passionate about.