At one point last night, our book group discussion veered toward personality types and how they interact. Several of us have been exposed to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. A couple have made use of Enneagrams. We tried to guess where members of the group fit into the various personality scales. (Today on our walk, Jason and I continued this game.)
On a whim, I took an online combined Myers-Briggs/Enneagram test. The Myers-Briggs measures four pairs of personality traits (the following descriptions of which are taken verbatim from the Wikipedia):
- The terms Introvert and Extrovert (originally spelled 'extravert' by Jung, who first used the terms in the context of psychology, although 'extrovert' is now by far the more common spelling) are referred to as attitudes and show how a person orients and receives their energy. In the extraverted attitude the energy flow is outward, and the preferred focus is on people and things, whereas in the introverted attitude the energy flow is inward, and the preferred focus is on thoughts and ideas.
- Sensing and Intuition are the perceiving functions. They indicate how a person prefers to receive data. These are the nonrational functions, as a person does not necessarily have control over receiving data, but only how to process it once they have it. Sensing prefers to receive data primarily from the five senses, and intuition prefers to receive data from the unconscious, or seeing relationships via insights.
- Thinking and Feeling are the judging functions. They are used to make rational decisions concerning the data they received from their perceiving functions, above. Thinking is characterized as preferring to being logical, analytical and thinking in terms of "true or false". Thinking decisions tend to be based on more objective criteria and facts. Feeling, which refers to subjective criteria and values, strives for harmonious relationships and considers the implications for people. Feeling decisions tend to be based on what seems "more good or less bad" according to values.
- Judging and Perceiving tell us which of the two preferred functions, the judging function or the perceiving function, is used in the outer world. Those who prefer Judging use their preferred judging function in the outer world and their preferred perceiving function in the inner world, and those who prefer Perceiving use their preferred perceiving function in the outer world and their preferred judging function in the inner world. Judging prefers making decisions and having closure and perceiving prefers to continue accepting data and to leave their options open, waiting to decide later. (The terminology may be misleading for some — the term "Judging" does not imply "judgmental", and "Perceiving" does not imply "perceptive".)
What might perhaps surprise some people is that I most frequently score as an Introvert, and a strong one. This doesn't mean that I don't like socializing with people (I do!); it merely means that the way I recharge my "batteries" is from spending time by myself. (Sometimes, though, when I take the test, I come out as an Extrovert. Not often, but it happens.)
I'd never taken an Enneagram before. Jason, who is an INTP, too, says that he is a 5 on the Enneagram, which is common with INTPs. I, too, am a 5.
A more thorough Enneagram test again indicates that I am Type 5, Detached. It also indicates that my "variant" is "Omni". (I have no idea what all this means.) In other words, I scored high on Detachment, scored evenly on all the other indicators, except I had low scores for Anxious and Helpful. (My score for Helpful was atrocious; I'm a self-centered bastard!)
The following (revealing) exchange occurred at one point during the evening:
Naomi: Jenn, I don't know how you do it. You are so organized.
Jenn: HA! These two [indicating me and Kris] think I'm unorganized.
Kris: It's true. We think she's unorganized.
J.D.: It's interesting how our self-perceptions differ from how others view us. For example, many people have complained that I see things in black-and-white, yet I feel as if I view the world in subtle shades of grey. I'm never sure of anything.
Jenn: HA! J.D., how do you feel about television?
J.D.: TELEVISION IS EVIL!
Isn't self-deprication fun?
My condemnation of television is an example of viewing things in black-and-white, as I suppose is my desire to demonstrate the literature is better than science fiction, etc. etc.
These are classic T behaviors in the world of Myers-Briggs. It's just who I am. Maybe I need to stop denying it and embrace the fact that the way my mind works is to separate things into dichotomies. I may think I see in shades of grey, but I may only be deluding myself. Or, I may consider things as having shades of grey, but once I actually deal with them, I have reduced them internally to black and white. (Yikes! That makes little sense.)
Also last night, Lisa revealed that she and Kristi were recently discussing my tendency to maintain ties with old friends. "He keeps his people," Lisa told Kristi. I've never heard it expressed like that (Kris says I'm "stuck in the past"), but it's true. I value friendships, new and old, and prefer to keep even minimal contact rather than lose connection completely. Just an interesting bit.
UPDATE: I forgot to include shorter tests. On this shorter test I scored as an ENTP. (It phrased its Introvert/Extrovert questions much differently.) On this word test, I score as ENTP. On the shortest test of the bunch, I score as ENTP (with a heavy extrovert score and my Perceiving/Judging split exactly 50/50). This version of the MB is interesting because it gives a score for the actual you and the ideal you. Again I scored as ENTP, but my ideal type was ESTJ. And on the final test, the longest of the bunch, I came out again as ENTP, and again my ideal type was ESTJ; the type to which I am attracted is also ENTP.
You can find a whole passle of personality tests here.
On 18 July 2005 (08:15 PM), J.D. said:
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On this day at foldedspace.org
2006 — Addiction! In which Kris is addicted to NPR.