Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test?
The idea is that there are 16 different personality “types.” Test results are in the form of 4 letters, standing for a specific set of characteristics: Introversion or Extraversion, Intuition or Sensing, Thinking or Feeling, and Judging or Perceiving.
I took the test after a friend told me about it a year ago, and was not expecting the results to sound so Holly-ish, nor for them to explain some of the contradictions I’ve noticed in my personality.
I’m an INFJ (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging), but “on the cusp of extraversion.”
Other INFJs include Lizzie Bennet, Edward Snowden, and Saruman. We’re a diverse bunch.
As with any method that claims understanding of humanity, the Myers-Briggs test has been criticized by news sources and academics alike. Some psychologists claim it’s simply outdated, while others point out that personalities can’t be put into one category or another. A common complaint is that Myers-Briggs can be damaging when it’s administered to children or teenagers, as it pigeonholes them into career paths before their talents and interests are fully developed (though test administrators argue that the test was never meant to be prescriptive).
I side with Sarah Seltzer, who writes,
[The test has] certainly helped me; after listening to friends who are self-described introverts, I now accept without judgment behavior that used to seem rude to me (phone staring, clipped responses at parties). As one person put it about Myers-Briggs, “It’s cheaper than therapy.” Our fast-paced world offers few unstructured ways to self-analyze, and to help us step out of the race, intensified by social media, to manufacture a perfect existence. Inquiring about our own ways of thinking, interacting, and moving through the world serves as a shortcut to understanding our needs and accepting our shortcomings.
If you’ve taken the test, what’s your personality type? Do your results sound like you?