Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Personality Type: The Very Rare INFJ

Randy at Genea-Musings has an interesting post about his personality type, and has challenged us to take the Myers-Briggs test online here or here. I have to say that I love personality tests because I enjoy learning about myself and others around me. I first read David Keirsey's original Please Understand Me about 20 years ago, testing my family and friends until the book was lost when loaned out. I then picked up Please Understand Me II, which goes into greater detail, categorizing the different temperaments into roles. For instance, I am an INFJ - Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. Myers used a different spin, and her meanings were Reserved, Introspective, Friendly, and Scheduling. An INFJ is categorized as an Idealist, with a more specific role as Counselor.

Your Personality is the Rarest (INFJ)

Your personality type is introspective, principled, self critical, and sensitive.

Only about 2% of all people have your personality - including 3% of all women and around 1% of all men.
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.


Although I am listed as an Introvert, or Reserved, those who know me understand that I can be very social and outgoing (I test out as either an I or an E, depending on the test). It was explained to me that if you are borderline in this area, as I am, think about your preference when you are trying to renew your energy: do you seek out others or retreat? Since I tend to retreat to recharge, I am more purely an I, rather than an E. I also tend to be borderline in the J/P area (Judging vs. Perceiving; or Scheduling vs. Probing). I do prefer order and work best with structured time, but it has to be external structure (which is why working at a school, rather than at home, is probably best for me). I'm not very good at structuring my own personal time. I figured out that things that are intangible, like time and money (numbers in a bank account, not actual coins and bills) are harder for me to organize, but I have little trouble organizing physical objects, like personal belongings and files of documents.

Another interesting aspect is understanding that when conflict arises between two people, it generally comes down to the fact that one is a J and the other is a P, or that if they are both the same, one will be more extreme than the other in that particular area of conflict. Js like to be on time, have structure and order, and can appear to be controlling and uptight to Ps. Ps, on the other hand, love lots of options, can adjust easily to and be recharged by change, are laid back, and tend to be viewed as messy, lazy, and even irresponsible by Js. Although my husband is a very strong J, he is much less concerned about arriving places on time than I am, which has led to many an argument between us (I'm getting better at letting that go, honest!). My poor daughter is the only P in a household of Js, and when I get frustrated with her, I have to remember that her messiness and seeming indecisiveness mean that details will never overwhelm her and that she can push through obstacles that would otherwise submerge me!

I like to try to figure out the personalities of my ancestors, too, so I guess this is where the connection to genealogy comes in! Of course, they're not around to give the test to, but I like looking deeply into their lives and trying to figure out what motivated them to do the things they did or make the choices that affected their own lives and the lives of their descendants.

What is your personality type?
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