Personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) have become increasingly popular in recent years as people attempt to better understand themselves, their thoughts, and their actions. And while there’s not an exact science to pinpointing someone’s personality, many individuals are fascinated by the process. Personality tests even slip into pop culture territory as different fandoms debate the MBTI of their favorite characters. So, let’s look at Gilmore Girls — the Gilmore family is clearly made up of different personalities, but what would the Myers-Briggs test have to say?
Richard Gilmore: ISTJ
Out of the 16 MBTI types, Richard Gilmore (Edward Herrmann) seems to exhibit traits of an ISTJ the most. According to the Myers & Briggs Foundation, an ISTJ is “quiet, serious, practical, matter-of-fact, and responsible.” They’re very focused and driven and like everything in their life to be as organized as possible. Additionally, an ISTJ values “traditions and loyalty.”
That describes Richard to a T. While he does have a humorous side, Richard often keeps a serious nature. When there’s a situation at hand, he quickly jumps into action to formulate a plan. For example, when Rory (Alexis Bledel) wants to drop out of Yale, Richard immediately addresses Lorelai’s (Lauren Graham) needs without any distractions or strong emotions.
On the other hand, as a fan on Reddit pointed out, Richard lacks the introvert side of an ISTJ. During his brief retirement, he seeks human connection from others, especially Emily, and feels bored on his own. Plus, he makes some decisions based on his feelings, such as quitting his job when he feels they don’t respect him. That could put Richard closer to an ESFJ.
Emily Gilmore: ENTJ
If there’s any word to describe Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop), it’s “leader.” She shows qualities of an ENTJ — like her husband, she’s “frank and decisive,” but she’s a bit more “forceful in presenting ideas.” An ENTJ can see where a policy or procedure doesn’t make sense, and they won’t be afraid to push a better solution. They’re also long-term planners. As Myers-Briggs notes, they are “well informed, well-read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others.”
Emily takes charge whenever she can, whether it’s at a Daughters of the American Revolution function or in her daughter’s life. However, she can be so critical and forceful in her ideas that it causes tension, particularly with Lorelai. She’s also very social with those in her circle and keeps up with the latest news, often keeping others informed.
Some Gilmore Girls fans have classified Emily as an ESTJ personality because of her traditional senses — an example being her insistence that Rory needed to grow up with a mother and a father. Her similar personality to Richard could explain why they are such a match for each other.
Lorelai GIlmore: ENFP
An ENFP often has a wild imagination and an enthusiastic nature. They “see life as full of possibilities,” as Myers-Briggs states. Additionally, they often seek affirmation from those around them and offer support whenever possible. Other key ENFP traits are their spontaneity and flexibility.
Lorelai Gilmore is certainly spontaneous. That’s where she clashes with Rory at times, as Rory is much more plan-oriented. (See: their trip to Boston, when Rory wants to use a map and plan their trip while Lorelai wants to see where the road took them.) She’s also very supportive of loved ones, and Lorelai’s many Gilmore-isms prove that she has an active imagination.
On the other hand, some fans see Lorelai as an ESFP. As one person on Reddit wrote, she doesn’t seem quite as “free-spirited” as an ENFP, and she tends to seek validation from others in her decisions.
Rory Gilmore: ISFJ
Rory is one of the most difficult personalities to pinpoint on Gilmore Girls because of how much she changes over the years. Some fans have classified her as an ISFJ: someone who is a hard worker, responsible, and very loyal to others. They are also very concerned with the feelings of others.
Rory is definitely very caring, especially with Lorelai. An example of this would be how guilty Rory feels for skipping Lorelai’s graduation because she knows how much it hurt her mother. She’s also undoubtedly devoted to maintaining a good work ethic.
However, other fans see Rory as more of an INFP or INTP, depending on whether she makes decisions based on feelings versus thoughts. On one hand, she is very analytical (hence those pro-con lists). But she also tends to find herself conflicted because of her feelings.
The beauty of the MBTI is that it’s not quite one-size-fits-all. People can exhibit traits of multiple types. And when it comes to fictional characters who haven’t taken the test, it’s difficult to land on one type. But hey, fan debates are always fun.
All episodes of Gilmore Girls are available on Netflix.