I need to confess something to you: I am obsessed with the Myers-Briggs personality test. If you've taken it, you probably have dabbled in obsession, too! If you haven't, get ready to have your mind blown.
I love so many things about the Myers-Briggs test. The fact that it was invented by a mother-daughter team (shout out to my laaaaaadies), the fact that it exists to help organize "seemingly random behavior" into codes that allow the way individuals interact with the world to shine through.
"But Mary Catherine, isn't this just some weird voodoo astrology where people just see a description and are like, 'THAT'S TOTALLY ME, OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY NAILED IT!'"
This test is extremely effective and used in businesses all over the world to help people better understand each other. The questions are designed to learn about you, not to pull some whack stuff together about how you were born in January so you must be stubborn and career-driven.
Once you know what type you are, you can also research what celebrities match your type, what careers you would be best in, and some typical behaviors of yours in friendships, romantic relationships, and as a parent.
I love this test in particular because I lo-o-o-o-o-ve to deep-dive into people's personalities. I am obsessed with figuring out what makes people tick. It's the latent writer in me. I want to know your deepest, darkest, grizzliest, most interesting layers; I want to know why you said what you just said; what motivates you to get up every morning, etc. Love it. Can't get enough of it. (Freak.)
In MB, there are four categories of personality, each with two options:
1. Introvert v. Extrovert. This is probably the simplest one to diagnose. The easiest way to determine what you are is to ask yourself, "Where do I get my energy - from alone time or from groups? Do I like to focus on the world around me, or the world inside my head?"
2. Intuitive v. Sensing. This category is a bit more nuanced. Here, you decide whether you're a person who likes to focus on and remember the bare-bones details around you, or if you're someone who likes to zoom out and add meaning and inference to the situations you encounter.
3. Thinking v. Feeling. Important to understand that if you're a "T," that doesn't mean you don't have feelings, and if you're an "F," it doesn't mean you're a dummy. T v. F simply means: are you someone who is more logical and consistent, or are you someone who takes people and circumstances into account? Are you more ruled by your feelings, or more detached from them?
4. Judging v. Perceiving. The best way I ever heard this one described was, "If you were to go on a European vacation, would you sit down ahead of time and have every detail, monument, and hotel stay planned? Or are you a person who would arrive and ask the locals where the best places to eat/drink/stay are?"
To actually take the MB test, you have to shell out some cash, but there's an off-brand site that has created a test that's almost identical, located here.
I myself am an "ENFJ." My personality description on the Myers-Briggs website looks like this:
Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.
Now here's where it gets interesting. Jordan, who is very similar to me in many ways, but VERY different in others, is an INTJ. That means our biggest differences are that he gets his energy from being alone, while I get mine from being in groups; he is "Thinking," more detached from being ruled by his emotions, while I am, OF COURSE, "Feeling" every single feeling all the damn time. Here's his type description:
Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance - for themselves and others.
The way this manifests in our marriage is fascinating to me. One of the biggest ways is that when it comes to things that are trivial, like dressing up for an event, Jordan's mind works like an efficiency robot - only the things that will be beneficial and effective in a long-term way are truly, deeply important. Otherwise, it doesn't matter too much and he doesn't get that worked up about it.
A sample conversation between us:
Me: Honey, you have to put on a collared shirt to go to this restaurant.
Me: Because there's a dress code! People would stare at you.
Jordan: Mary Catherine, when are we ever going to see these people again? Why do you care what they think?
Me: Because EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT SO YOU HAVE TO.
Jordan: So you're telling me that just because somebody somewhere came up with the idea that collars = formality, that's what is expected of me? I wear pajamas to work. Collars hurt my neck. I really don't want to. Do I have to?
Me: I know that this doesn't make sense to you, and I understand that this is ultimately not that big a deal in the scheme of life. But the reality is that we're late, and I do not have the brain space to get into a conversation with you about the history of formalwear in the United States. Yes. You have to. I love you.
Another great example is that Jordan is SO helpful at pulling me out of an emotional tailspin because he won't let me take him down with me. Observe:
Me: UGH I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE.
Jordan: Baby, you have so many things you love to do. Let's talk about them all. What do you think you would love?
Me: I LOVE TOO MANY THINGS I CAN'T EVEN START DOWN A ROAD OR I'LL BOX MYSELF IN OR MAYBE I'LL JUST BE PARALYZED BY FEAR FOREVER AND NEVER EVER MAKE ANYTHING OF MYSELF AND THEN JUST DIE.
Jordan: Well that's probably not going to happen. I'm going to go run a bath for you and we can talk about what to do next. You're writing a blog! I'm so proud of you for that. And you have time to figure out the big stuff.
Me: NO I DON'T I'M BASICALLY 30 WHICH MEANS I'M BASICALLY 60 MY LIFE IS OVER.
Jordan: You know how sometimes when it thunders outside, dogs get freaked out, so their owners put them in compression shirts? Come here. I am going to hug-thundershirt you. It's all going to be okay. Your life is good. You are sweet and smart. You're going to be fine.
I include these little snippets for this reason: for me, knowing that Jordan operates in a totally different way from the way I operate in some situations is super helpful for me. It allows me to take a step back and understand that for him, some things are just trivial and they always will be. It's the quality that enables him to be so great at his job - he is hyper-efficient, detail-oriented, and does not allow anxiety or fear to overwhelm him. You wouldn't really want someone like that performing surgery on your mouth. Which is why there are a lot of doctors who are INTJ's.
In the same way, knowing that I am wired the way I am allows him to be able to shepherd me through my most vulnerable moments with care and grace, because he's aware that it'll pass, and that I probably just need to emotionally vomit all over him and then everything will be fine.
ANYWAY. All of this to say, Myers-Briggs is FASCINATING to me for so many different reasons. I am on a mission to diagnose everyone in my world, so I've made a whole bunch of people take it.
Have you taken it?
What are you?
I'm dying to know.