Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I Don't Like People - But You Guys Are Great!

I recently took one of those online Myers-Briggs tests.  It seems like every few years, they make a comeback in popularity.

When I was a freshman in college, I worked in an advising center where I took one of these tests.  My type came up as ENFP:

Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.

So, this is the label I've operated under for the last 15 years.  However, I've noticed certain things that haven't really mapped to this type.  For example, a couple months back, I was discussing going somewhere with my sister.  I told her I didn't really want to, "because I don't like people".  I laughed and kinda back-stepped, because I think people individually are usually pretty great, but I generally just don't like being in crowds of people.  It makes me anxious, I have to pysch myself up to go places where I might be stuck in crowd, have a hard time finding parking, or just will be otherwise overwhelmed by humanity.  Worst. Extrovert. Ever.

I saw a few posts about personality types and people finding their type, so I decided to take the test again.  Well, it said INFJ:

Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.

Hmmm....maybe that would explain my lack of people skills and general dislike for crowds.  Especially after reading an article on INFJ, I thought maybe this was a closer description.

But here's what I've been wondering since I re-did my test....why are the results different?  It's been 15 years - have I changed as a person?  Or did I answer the questions differently because I know myself better?  I think there's a positive connotation to being extroverted - was I afraid to admit I really crave alone time?

Or maybe this all just illustrates the larger picture:  we're not just one thing.  People change and adapt to circumstances.  While we might have a preferred way of dealing with the world, maybe we can all agree we're more than a four-letter label.  Although it would've been nice to have some of these personality insights 15 years ago and I've been doing just fine thinking I was the world's worst extrovert, I am going to feel slightly less guilty about shutting myself in my room for a couple hours.

From what I understand, learning about the personality types should help us interact with each other, so it's a little ironic that a new label makes me feel a little better about taking a break from interaction.

Jenna at Call Her Happy posted a week or so ago about anthems for the INFJ - I submit this one for us: (start at 1:20 to skip guitar solo)


  1. I'm an INFJ, too! The tests measure the factors by percentage, so it's possible you are somewhat borderline on the I/E and J/P points. Also, INFJ's are known for being the "extroverted introverts," as they "fake" extroversion very well; you may even have fooled yourself 15 years ago. When I told my [extroverted] mother that I was an introvert, she didn't believe me.

  2. I've had many people surprised that I don't care for public speaking because I'm a pretty good faker. According to the information I was reading, only about 2% of people are INFJs, good to meet a fellow one :)


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