Monday, August 6, 2012

Personality Test...

So this past week, I took the Myers-Briggs personality test, again.  Surprising news! I have personality! But I guess you already knew that....

In order to fine tune some areas where I was sitting on the boundary line, the person who administered it had me read descriptions from both sides of the fence to see which fit well.

It felt like a crazy compilation of an eye exam and a fortune teller.  You know what I'm talking about.

You sit there looking through lenses trying to figure out which one is different and better than the other, and frankly, you can see just fine out of both and you have no idea which one produces clearer crisper letters.  There comes a point where you're guessing as to which lens is best for you.  Because they both work.

Then there's the fortune teller / astrological sign aspect of it.  You know what I'm talking about.  Those broad generic statements that probably could apply to anyone, or at least anyone would want them applied to themselves, so of course you want to believe it's true.  You are as loyal as a puppy dog.  (Which *is* true of course... but I may chew on a few of your slippers.. oops)  Everyone admires and respects you.  (Don't you?)  Deer will follow you home.  (Okay, maybe that one isn't so universal.. )

My mother is a meticulous record-keeper.  So I sent her an e-mail to find out what my prior test results had been.  And the response was kind of surprising.  And kind of not, all at the same time.

One of the reasons why I took this test was that I had been having a friendly conversation with the person who administers them and telling him how I really exhibit qualities of most of the personality types.  (There is one exception that is not particularly surprising with my ADHD, but I'll get there in a minute). 

I am both an extrovert and an introvert.  Seriously.  I enjoy people and I can get energized by being around them, but I also enjoy being by myself and need down time alone, too, to regroup.  Thinking and feeling are both important to me and are well developed skills.  I am very rational logical person, but I do spend most of my analysis on feelings.  So my past test results have clearly returned T's as my base, and this time, F was returned.

I'll say I'm less balanced between Sensory and Intuition.  I would say that my Intuition rules over my senses, but this past week's results came back with an S over N.  (Although all past results have clearly shown an N, and I think I am probably an N).

The one where there is no question what I am is a P.  P's apparently like to follow plans but can't make them to save their lives.  J's are the planners.  J's have to make a plan.  I like them, but I can't get myself organized enough to make them consistently.  I need a J in my life, but my P-ishness (I'm certain that's a word!) would probably drive a J crazy.  Except, the J should know I'll gladly follow any plan they create. 

Even though I am box shaped, I have often felt that it was hard to put me into a box.  And frankly the Myer's Brigg's personality testing is based upon Jungian principles (that I don't pretend to understand) that at some level must be sound in order for the test and its results to also be sound. 

The administrator I think is a little frustrated by me, because I think he believes the Jungian models (probably a good idea if you're going to invest your belief about people's general personality types on a test based upon the Jungian models) and therefore doesn't think it is possible for me to straddle types.  His argument to me (which we haven't yet had in depth, but may this week when we see each other again) is that to the extent that I display traits from other personality types, these are merely learned skills and not our innate preferences.  He would argue that I am naturally an introvert who learned to be extroverted due to circumstances and need.

And while I can accept that idea, in theory, in reality I know better.  I know that I can both be energized by people and I can be drained by them.  It is not absolute.  It is not fixed.

This is not to say that I'll throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I think there are certainly some important insights that can be uncovered by narrowing down my preferences, even if not fixing them in stone.  Some of the career thoughts seem to fit spot on - and frankly, part of what convinced me I was an N over S before my mother even sent me the results in the past that N has always been the result is that the career options for N fit me much better and made much more sense to me than the options for S.  I am a writer, yes, not an artist. 

And I am as loyal as a dog, and deer follow me home. 


  1. I wish deer followed me home.... lol

    I share your introvert and extrovert... I'm shy as fuck and hate being around people and yet when in a situation where I'm surrounded by people I turn into a social butterfly. It's bizarre. SO's have even commented on it.... people have said that I'm intimidating.. which is extremely odd to me.

    maybe we're all just an amalgamation of different people. I always claim my opposite status as being the product of two parents who are extreme polar opposites of each other.

  2. "It felt like a crazy compilation of an eye exam and a fortune teller." I love that! Great description. Of course, I just had an eye exam recently, so I can truly relate.

    I can also relate to not being so easily pigeonholed. I think we all display traits along a spectrum; we aren't one thing or another, we are bits and pieces of both, and sometimes bits and pieces of 4 or 5 or 10,000 things. We are complex.

    Tell the test administrator to read "Sexual Fluidity" by Lisa Diamond; that'll get him out of "either-or" kind of thinking. ;-)