The Myers-Briggs test – my thoughts

Okay, so I had this sat as a draft for weeks, and it was apparently blank. Still, I figure I have something to say about the Myers-Briggs test…. sooo…

For anyone who doesn’t know, the Myers-Briggs test is also known as the sixteen personalities test – there’s no right or wrong, and results come back as one of sixteen possible combinations comprising of four letters, listing which traits you more prominently show – introversion vs extroversion, sensing vs intuition, thinking vs feeling, judging vs perception.

Interesting enough in itself perhaps, to have a percentage value assigned to your own personal traits. However, the really interesting bit I’ve found about the test is what people do with it.

Now, the Myers-Briggs test doesn’t really mean anything, surely. Everyone has to be one of the sixteen types. That’s how it works. Everyone falls somewhere in the grid – well of course they do, because it’s just labelling the personalities that everyone has, exactly as what they are.

I took the Myers-Briggs test recently because S wanted to know what my type was. He wanted to compare. As it turns out, I’m an INTJ where he’s an INFP.

That was when the fun started. Oh, the reams and reams of text S found to discuss how we were different but similar. The ways he found to link my INTJ result to things I’d said. “Well that’s why you’re always encouraging me to pursue music. INTJs think everything is possible. You probably think I’m lazy if I don’t succeed, because that’s what they think.” “That’s why you talk to me so much. It’s a classic INTJ trait apparently.” and so on and so forth.

Except correct me if I’m wrong, but the test asks about behaviours. It asks what you value and think. It asks, in short, if you’re the kind of person who will encourage others – and because I am (and other things), I’m an INTJ… so I’m the kind of person who encourages others? Yep, nice circular logic, S. I am what I am, because that is what I am.

Don’t get me wrong, I like labels. It’s pretty cool as well knowing what percentage of people have the same personality type as you, and what percentages have other types – that’s probably a much more valuable thing to come from the test, because it helps give you an idea of what percentages of people value certain things or may react in certain ways. However, you don’t really need to have taken the test yourself to read about personality types and use this to your advantage.

So the Myers-Briggs test is interesting enough. Some sites have nice lists of strengths and weaknesses, which may resonate with you once you’ve done the test, and might make for useful reading. Generally though, it doesn’t seem to mean much. We are who we are, even if we’re stamp some letters on it. If it’s a step towards getting to know yourself better, sure, it might be worthwhile. If you’re just looking at it for a score, try something else, because it’s basically a mirror.

Still fun though. Fun to make other people do it too, especially if they act really intensely interested in the result 😉


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