One size doesn’t fit all
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator provides a “shorthand” to identify different personality types.
Kathy Coffey writes that
An extravert (E) is a person who turns to other people as a source of energy. The introvert (I) recovers in solitude the energy that other people drain. The distinction describes preference: of course extraverts like to be alone, and at times introverts enjoy company. But for the most part, the former chooses breadth, the latter depth; the former external events, the latter internal movements; the former interaction, the latter concentration. In this country, extraverts make up about 75 percent of the population, introverts about 25 percent.
A sensate preference (S) means that a person wants facts, practical experience, sensible, actual happenings. The “sensible” person (75 percent of the population) notices details and values the wisdom of the past. An intuitive person (N) finds appeal in innovation, metaphor, dreams, and imagery. He or she acts on intuitions and is intrigued by the possibility of the future. Intuitives comprise about 25 percent of the population.
People who are more comfortable making choices on a personal, relational, values-driven basis are called the feeling types (F). This is the only category that seems to be influenced by gender; six out of ten women report this preference. More men than women (six out of ten) report the thinking preference (T); that is, they make decisions based on objective, logical principles.
People who like to keep things open and fluid are the perceiving types (P). They like to gather lots of information before making decisions and regard deadlines as “more a signal to start than to complete a project.” The judging types (J) like closure and push toward decisions; they take deadlines seriously.
Once people have established their preferences in each of these four areas, they then run the string of initials together; so someone might refer to herself as an “ENFP” or an “ISTJ.” This brief overview cannot consider the subtleties of the different personality types, but often people will recognize themselves immediately when they read descriptions of their own types. Suddenly they understand that they are not alone, that they are not strange. They are simply different, and the tool helps them appreciate the wide variety in human beings.
An adapted Myers-Briggs test is at this site. This is not as involved as the professional Myers-Briggs indicator; all I remember about myself when I answered those questions (the ‘professional’ set of questions) and received the analysis was that I was ‘introverted’ and ‘judging’ and ‘feeling’ . . . [not that anyone – except perhaps me! – is interested in how I tested].
Postscript: NOW I remember INFJ – that’s me.
What personality type are you??