A lunch with a few friends prompted a discussion of our Myers-Briggs Type Indicator results. This test is “ a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions,” according to a Wikipedia entry.
Stemming from Jungian research, the test hinges on his theory of psychological types. There are sixteen different types and none of them are better or worse, though some types can be more prevalent throughout society. The benefit of knowing your “type” is the ability to understand your attitude, function and lifestyle. In other words, it’s about self-awareness. However, I also learned that (as an INFP) I “correlate modestly” with a tendency toward personality disorders. Here are five thoughts about my test results.
Click here to take the test. What is your type? Does it ring true?
I last took the MBTI test as a junior in college. During that time, I was also a militant atheist, heavily into marijuana and generally angry at the world. Surprisingly, the only portion of the test that changed from those days to the present is that I now have a moderate preference over “feeling” rather than “thinking” my way through life. This makes complete sense to me on so many levels. Since college, I have entered therapy and learned to be more at ease with life, learning to let the small stuff go. I have stopped smoking marijuana (though, I do miss it) and I feel much happier in my own skin.
Despite a pretty convincing mask I wear in public, I still prefer introversion and solitude. This has never wavered for me. I find myself much more inclined to enjoy a book at home on Friday night than a noisy room of casual acquaintances, of which I have many. For me, true friendships are difficult and I only claim a few. INFP’s are known as the “rose-colored” type because they tend to see the world through a sort of awe-inspired filter of wonder. Is that such a bad thing? If it is, I’m in a lot of trouble. Research also shows that INFP’s see the “good” side of everybody. I guess that explains the Charles Manson poster on my bedroom wall. That’s a joke. Helter skelter.
“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content” Tolstoy writes in “Anna Karenina.” And yet, this need to seek perfection is a constant driver for everything I do. At the same time, I am aware of how unrealistic this is, which causes more anxiety. INFP’s are also natural idealists and I constantly find myself thinking about how useless it is to worry about the trivial b.s. of daily life. I let dishes go too long with washing them and then worry about how the dishes aren’t clean. What an odd way to live. Sometimes you just need to give yourself the benefit of the doubt, a little credit where credit is due. Now that I realize this is a fallacy of an INFP, I can better understand when my standards are too high and I’m being too hard on myself.
Avoidance of Logic, Conflict
Yep. The knowledge that my personality indicates a complete avoidance of conflict and knowledge is reassuring and also revealing. If something comes my way that makes me feel “bad”—a concrete example would be the dread I feel in tackling the closure of my deceased father’s estate—I simply put it aside and choose something more uplifting like a book or bourbon. I’ve never excelled in mathematics or the sciences, though I appreciate both. There is also a recurring dream of being an on-ice hockey enforcer that doesn’t make a lot of sense considering my lack of fighting skills or aggressive nature. Avoid the big stuff, smell the flowers. That’s my motto.
I try to be honest in my writing which might be a turn-off to some readers. That is, of course, unless I’m trying to be funny or ruffle feathers. A trait of the INFP type is the ability to express themselves much better in writing than verbally. I don’t know if this rings true in my situation, but I find it much easier to write openly about my feelings than to sit and tell somebody about them. Professionally, INFP’s appear in counseling and social service, but also in various forms of writing careers. We can’t be held down by the drudgery of hard logic and facts. Our goals are to better the world with our existence and leave an indelible mark. Of course, we’ll never once give ourselves a pat on the back.
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