To find out which MBTI personality types are the most argumentative, we don’t have to guess, since there was actually a study done on the topic. You probably might have guessed it, ENTJs are the most argumentative. The sample size in the study isn’t the best, but here are the complete results:
ENTJ, INTJ, INTP, ENTP and ESTJ are the most argumentative which comes as no surprise to me, even though I would have expected ESTJ to be closer to the top. Also, you would have probably guessed that the least argumentative types are mostly the introverted feelers.
Is being argumentative good or bad?
Generally speaking, in psychology, argumentativeness is not seen as a positive trait. It can be a sign of self absorption. According to some studies it is associated with weaker impulse control, lower self-esteem, a negative mindset and less flexibility. Overly argumentative children can sometimes be diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, if they have other symptoms of the disorder. To be fair to those who consider themselves argumentative but not a nutjob, the first study sees the word “argumentative” as confrontational for no reason, having a short temper or just scanning the world all the time for signs of insults where there may be none.
If we equate being argumentative with the well known Big Five personality trait “disagreeable” (and they are semantically related according to the dictionary and thesaurus) then this trait can have many benefits in life. A couple of years ago a study garnered a lot of attention because it discovered that disagreeable people earn more money on average than agreeable people. This is not as simple as concluding that mean people earn more, as some lay people have interpreted this study. Disagreeable people are less timid, more assertive, willing to express their opinion and willing to negotiate for a higher wage, with arguments.
The rational temperament (NT) ended up at the top of the list in the above picture because they enjoy a good debate, not because they like to pick a fight. Most NTs actually avoid destructive arguments like the plague. If there is nothing to be learned or gained from an argument they will not engage in it. Most NTs are quite calm during an argument. I think this kind of spirit for arguing is healthy. Many great conclusions and ideas come from debates.
What if this article made me realize that my style of argumentativeness is not healthy?
Sadly, the odds of a person who is argumentative in a petty way realizing they have a problem are very low because studies also show that those people are lacking in self awareness too. Nonetheless, if you did have an epiphany from this article and want to learn more about the benefits of not picking a fight with everyone on the planet, I would recommend reading the old and famous book called How To Win Friends & Influence People. This book actually advocates against argumentativeness completely in your life. It may be a bit machiavelian, but the advice in this book really works and it has stood the test of time. After reading this book you will realize the strength of the “feeling” MBTI preference, because many feelers have these habits innately, which allows them to cut corners in life a lot, just by being liked by important people. It’s like a tutorial on how to be a charming ENFP on demand.
To sum up, if you get heated and angry in arguments and if this happens often, you are probably doing it wrong. You’re also probably unaware of the actual reason motivating the petty fights in the first place. You are probably experiencing a lot of complicated emotions, feelings of inadequacy in certain areas and don’t know how to properly analyze and regulate these emotions. You are probably less comfortable with feelings in general and need to work on introspection and increasing self-awareness. Overly argumentative behavior might also be a result of chronic stress.