Let’s Get Personal
ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS R C Tyler Gentzel Liz Francis Hannah Sutker

We may like to think that we understand the world and make decisions based on the same set of criteria time after time. But what happens when we actually take a moment to see if our self-analysis matches the rulings of a long-standing psychological formula that measures the fundamental dimensions of our personality?

BTR staffers take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test to discover whether or not their four-letter personality type results align with their own perceptions of themselves.

Hannah’s Results: ENFJ, “The Protagonist”

Reading the description of ENFJ, I feel like I connect to this result almost completely;probably because I love the idea of being the “protagonist.” Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging are all spot-on; I’m a natural leader, a bit too sensitive, and I thrive in situations that involve new friends. These traits are apparent to anyone who spends more than five minutes in a room with me, though, so this portion of the result isn’t exactly a surprise. The test pointed out flaws and strengths that I have identified in myself, and that others have identified in me.

The only discrepancy between my result and my personal opinion is that I feel equally energized by both social and solo activity, which leads me to believe that I may not be a cut and dry extravert. However, given that all of the other categories within my result were accurate, it must be that I lie somewhere between extravert and introvert but lean more toward the extravert side. The test was detailed, but I suppose anything that incorporates a sliding scale such as this has the capacity to be a bit inaccurate if the user is unsure of an answer. Meanwhile, the test result did identify positive and negative character traits I’ve never noticed in myself, which is both unsettling and encouraging.

Tyler’s Results: INFP, “The Mediator”

In many ways I feel this designation is fitting, as one of the key traits of this type is that they tend to opt toward cooperation and bridge building rather than  confrontation.This may even be to a fault, as conflict is sometimes needed in order to achieve goals. The test describes me as an idealist, led by the purity of my intent instead of rewards and consequences, often eschewing logic and practicality in favor of honor, virtue and beauty.

This thing has made me out to be a real martyr. While I see some of these qualities in myself, I like to think that my sense of morality and beauty is grounded in some semblance of reason and practicality. I will absolutely engage in things that are objectively wrong if I’m convinced no one will be harmed and I see a way to benefit.

Overall, the test generated both pros and cons that I agree with strongly, as well as some I don’t see in myself at all.One trait it’s absolutely pegged is my disdain for dealing with data. Numbers, charts, figures, science, math—get it out of here!

Becca’s Results: ENFP-T, “The Campaigner”

A friend of mine has been bugging me to take the Myers-Briggs personality test for months now. But, in typical ENFP-T fashion, I put off doing so for as long as possible. I absolutely related to the descriptions laid out for my personality type; in fact I was shocked with how accurately they described the minutia of both my internal thoughts and my personal interactions.

I was described as a “true free spirit” and “the life of the party,” operating through a strategy of social engagement. My personality type is fiercely curious and not afraid to step out of their comfort zone; we are extremely outgoing, believe that actions and occurrences are interconnected and hold a deeper meaning, and throw ourselves whole-heartedly into both platonic and romantic relationships. Conversely, we “experience emotional bursts that are counter-productive at best,” and lack practical skills when it comes to following through on projects, both menial and large-scale.

I found that the overall positivity that the ENFP-T profile portrayed resonated strongly with me. Again, a nod towards the very qualities that the test sought to unpack. Part of being an ENFP-T, apparently, is having a bit of an inflated sense of self (or at least a whole lot of confidence and enthusiasm in one’s own abilities). So, on a meta-level, my own identification with the strengths of my personality type is precisely the sort of thing an ENFP-T would do. A negative aspect of the ENFP-T’s personality is that we tend to overthink things, which is what I am doing right now.

Lizzie’s Results: ENFP-T, “The Campaigner”

Honestly, I think these test things are so Horoscope-y that I don’t put much stock in them. I took the test for the first time a few months ago and got ENFJ. Now, taking it again, I received ENFP-T. Whatever that means.

There are things I am self-aware enough to know about myself: I am extroverted, highly opinionated, and good at making connections with other people. Bordering on manipulative, I can sense how a person is feeling about something and can connect what were seemingly unconnected events together. I think I do well in groups and am a hard worker. I fear authority and do my best to please my seniors, but I also enjoy leading. I have no problem being the center of attention, or sitting in the back of the room quietly watching events unfold.

In love, I am deeply emotional, and often hold my partner to unreasonable standards (because I am ultra-self critical and hold myself to the same standards as well). I know that I am happiest when I am in a long-term committed relationship, when I can be loyal and devoted to one person, and can spend my energy doing everything I can to make them the happiest they’ve ever been. This is how my friendships go as well.

I really like consistency, yet I am wildly unorganized—with the exception of my planner, in which all of my duties and to-do’s are clearly mapped out.

So, I identify with both of those test results, which have all sorts of conflicting characteristics. That’s why I think the test is bogus. In short, I’m a person. This test or any horoscope may get at the type of person I am, or maybe I’m reading too much into it and trying to find myself where I can’t.

Feature photo courtesy of Paul Walker from Creative Commons Flickr.