Tuesday, January 11, 2011


A while ago, a work colleague of mine circulated the Jung/Briggs Myers personality test.  I am, according to this quiz, an INFJ.  In fact, before I wrote this post, I just took it again, and I'm still an INFJ.  As a general matter, I spend a lot of time thinking about myself.  Not in a self-absorbed way (I hope) but more that I like spending time trying to get to know myself.  Perhaps that is why I am inclined to take the same personality quiz twice, on different days, for accuracy.  And why it ended up the same each time.  So what, you ask, is an INFJ?

being quiet
(via this blog, which I do not read, but was the only
 place I could find a cute cartoon about being an INFJ)

Well, it stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging.  Apparently there are four binaries, and where you rank on each one places you into one of 16 types.  The four binaries are:
  • How you focus your attention or get your energy (extraversion or introversion)
  • How you perceive or take in information (sensing or intuition)
  • How you prefer to make decisions (thinking or feeling)
  • How you orient yourself to the external world (judgment or perception)

I have said before that I'm an introvert.  I think that the description of my INFJ type does a nice job of explaining what I mean by that.  It says that INFJs are 

sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people... On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates." While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers."

I've always spent a lot of time explaining to people how I really am an introvert, probably because it's the least easy of the four binaries for people to pick up on (because I actually talk a lot).  But I scored the strongest on the intuitive binary.  That means I'm psychic, people, so watch out.
I also read that INFJs value constant growth.  I think this is especially true for me.  It's very important for me to feel like I'm moving forward and growing all the time.  Otherwise, I get bored
Although I find things like personality quizzes interesting, though, I also have a problem with them.  I think that anything that tells us "who we are" in a way gives us permission to settle into the more negative aspects of the description.  For example, it might help me to cope with life to suddenly withdraw into myself and shut out my intimates, but wouldn't it be better for me to work in communicating when I'm starting to feel overwhelmed, so that it's less necessary?  And, on the flip side, for those who are close to me to recognize that solitude is a genuine need for me, maybe more so than it is for others, and allow me that space?  Rather than just going into shut-down-mode (which I do have a tendency to do) and saying "Well, that's who I am, look at the description of INFJ?"  I guess what I am really getting at is that I think people like to use things like this to let themselves off the hook.  It's like how if you tell a kid she's a picky eater, she becomes even pickier, and then says, "I'm a really picky eater" like it's some kind explanation.

But what the heck.  It's fun, and sometimes does assist with explaining my quirks to others.  Incidentally, and continuing in my "what am I going to do with my life" crisis, there is also a career analysis based on my type. According to the internet, these are the careers that I am suited for:

1. Literature/Writer
2. Humanities
3. Web design
4. Philosophy
5. Archaeology
6. Religious Education
7. Psychology
8. Counseling

I was also informed that there are numerous online colleges where I can earn my degree in any of these careers. Um, do I need to point out that "humanities" is not a career? Just ask anyone who majored in it. Frankly, "literature" is not a career either. That does not mean that there are not lots of jobs you can do by studying humanities or literature. I am just saying that if someone says "What do you do for a living?" and you reply "Humanities," you are likely to be met with a blank stare.

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