Myers-Briggs: Not Just Another Personality Test

By: Erin Rose Hennessy

I never put that much thought into personality typing when I was younger. My mom suggested I take the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I thought it was ridiculous and pointless to mold human beings into only sixteen different “types” of people. As I grew older and more self-aware, I then began my journey of a more “mature” (if you will) kind of self-discovery. I came across a MBTI test online and decided; “What the hell, can’t hurt, right?”

It was after taking this MBTI personality test that I realized just how accurate and eye-opening some of the results were. I also noticed that many of the personality “aspects” were open-ended – one INFJ is not the same as another INFJ. There are many other factors that make human beings who they are – history, experience, relationships, and education, among others. The MBTI personality typing is based simply on how you as a person view the world, and this is influenced by many, many factors that make you who you are.

The MBTI personality test helped me not only understand who I am as a person but also explained many of my “quirks.” “Why am I like this?” and “Why can’t I be like that?” are more easily understood (at least by me!) when taking into account the way I as an individual view the world.

When a person (or cat. My cat has his own MBTI personality type.) takes the MBTI personality test, they are asked many open ended questions to answer on a sliding scale. This way, one person does not get a black-and-white answer. You can me a complete J (a Judger), kind-of-sort-of a J (middle-of-the-road), or a complete P (Perceiver). This is scored as a percentage, so it allows for a more open-ended answer than just sixteen defined personalities.

Okay, you say. So what are the personality types? What is YOUR personality type, Erin?

I am an “INFJ”. There are four different sliding scales for scoring. Each end of the sliding scale is assigned a different letter, for a total of eight letters. This results in a grand total of 16 possible “personality types” when taking this personality test.

I: Stands for “Introvert.” The opposite of an Introvert, is an Extravert. The most common misconception surrounding these two types is that introverts hate people and want to spend their entire lives in the basement on the computer playing Minecraft. This isn’t true, nor is it what “introvert” means. The simple way of figuring out which of these two traits is yours is to ask yourself: “Do I get my energy from being with others or from being alone?” Introverts love people and love to engage in conversation and hang out with people. The difference is that the energy level of an introvert at a party is constantly being depleted until they go home and recharge with some “alone time”. The energy level of an extrovert at a party keeps building and building, and they could be at that party until midnight and never run out of steam.

N: Stands for “Intuitive.” The opposite of an Intuitive is a Sensor. Basically, an intuitive person is more able to think abstractly. They are able to look into the future more accurately. They are better able to employ their “sixth sense” or “gut instinct.” A Sensor thinks more concretely. They use information from their five senses to gather information about what is presently happening. They keep their focus on the current situation. My co-teacher and I are excellent examples of this, and I think why we work so well together. I’m the one who makes subtle changes now so that we won’t have bigger problems six months down the road and she’s the one who can accurately remember which jacket, shoes and socks belong to which child.

F: Stands for “Feeler.” The opposite of a Feeler is a Thinker. (Not that feelers don’t think!) Feelers lead with their hearts and Thinkers lead with their heads. Feelers consider feelings and emotions when making decisions. Thinkers consider facts and logic when making decisions. A Feeler, upon realizing that a cashier forgot to ring up one of their items, will promptly return to the store to pay for it. A Thinker might not.

J: Stands for “Judger.” The opposite of a Judger is a Perceiver. Simply boiled down to one question: “Are you on time or are you always late?” Judgers are on time. Judgers plan. Judgers make to-do lists. Judgers are extremely organized and never forget anything. Perceivers are more open-ended and spontaneous. They are more willing to change plans at a moment’s notice. Perceivers are more flexible.

I highly recommend taking the MBTI personality test. It has not only helped me understand myself, but I am more able to understand friends and family who have taken this test as well.

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