Over the last few years, I’ve developed an enormous fascination with the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator, the personality assessment tool developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Cook Briggs, inspired by the work of Carl Jung. I’ve found that by learning more about type – especially when one really studies the test and learns the types of his/her friends, loved ones, coworkers, etc – it can have an amazing effect on one’s perception of his or herself, the world and the people around us. Isabel Myers’ famous book on the subject, Gifts Differing, is a must read for anyone interested in subject; reading it for the first time made me realize how much the results of a simple personality test can really help people find find themselves, interact better with others and develop in a way that is natural for their needs, instead of struggling to become something that they’re not.
When one learns about type, the qualities of other people that one once felt hostile toward – qualities that the other party might’ve once called wrong, or previously painted in a negative light – instead become differences. Arguments are more easily resolved when the two people stop trying to turn the other person into a mirror image of themselves, and instead embrace one another’s differing functions, personalities and attitudes toward life. If one person is extroverted, social, constantly abuzz with the latest gossip and another person is quiet, calculated and contained, it doesn’t mean that either person is better than the other – just that they’re different.
So at this point, it seems only fair that I should mention my own type:
I am an INFJ. To explain further, that means I am Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling and Judging. I gain my energy from solitude, privacy and alone time (introversion), I gather my information about the world through intuition, I usually make my decisions through compassion and empathy (feeling), and in my interactions with the outside world, I tend to be more methodical, planned and organized (judging) as opposed to spontaneous and impulsive. INFJ’s, generally said to be less than 1-3% of the population, are characterized by their compassion, empathy and a strong desire to help others.
All of this is a bit of an oversimplification, of course. As one reads more, one learns about such things as dominant and auxiliary functions, shadow sides and so on. Fascinating stuff, all around.
So now, let me turn the conversation over to you guys? What type are you? Let’s hear it!
If you don’t already know your type, the best thing is of course to pay for the actual test…however! There are a number of imitation tests on the internet, which vary in quality. Generally, I’ve found the best, most accurate online version of the test to be this one: Free Jung Personality Test on similarminds.com. It’s about five minutes long, doesn’t require any signup and gives you your results immediately.