A year or so ago, I discovered an online test to determine my MBTI personality type. (MBTI stands for Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and it’s based on Carl Jung’s theories of personality.) I did several versions of the test, determined my personality type and wrote a post about it. More recently, after becoming active in a couple of groups about personality types on FetLife, I started to wonder if I hadn’t got my own personality type wrong.
This isn’t as odd as it might seem. I’m not talking about getting it massively wrong here. There are 4 letters that make up each MBTI personality type, giving 16 different types in total, and I was only out with one letter. The results I tend to get when I take the test are something like this:
- Introversion ~ 85%
- iNtuition ~ 90%
- Thinking ~ 90%
This gives me the first 3 letters of my personality type – INT. You can tell from those very high percentages that those aren’t likely to change and they leave me with very low percentages for the opposites in each pair:
- Extraversion ~ 15%
- Sensing ~ 10%
- Feeling ~ 10%
The fourth letter is the one that isn’t so clear because it’s always been pretty close to 50% each way when I’ve done the test. The pair here is Judging and Perceiving, and they represent the balance between structure and flexibility in how we prefer to deal with the world.
My tendency to be disorganised always put me in the ‘P’ side, but I’ve realised being disorganised is only one part of the story. It’s a significant part, but there are others that are also significant. The thing that puts me on the ‘J’ side is my dislike of change that’s imposed by external forces. Whether this is something as simple as a friend wanting to change plans, or something as dramatic as my landlord giving me notice to move out, it always destabilises my mental and emotional equilibrium. Contrast this with self-driven change, which is something I love, and you can see where the confusion comes in.
I did the test again, thought extra hard about my answers to the questions that seemed to be determining the J/P balance, and I came up with:
- Judging – 62%, which leaves
- Perceiving – 38%
Which makes me an INTJ. (I generally link to the ’16 Personalities’ site because I really like their test and descriptions of the types – they go into a lot of detail – but there are plenty of other sites about MBTI that you can refer to. Google is your friend.)
I actually rather like this because:
- INTJ is the rarest of the personality types, represented by just 2% of people.
- It’s even rarer among women, represented by just 0.8%.
I’m rare! I love being rare.
However, the fact that I am an INTJ (and the description I linked to fits me very well) doesn’t mean I don’t have elements of INTP. Although I’m clearly strongly influenced by Introversion, iNtuition and Thinking, I have elements of both Judging and Perceiving in how I deal with the world, so much of the INTP description is still relevant to me. The significant difference is probably that I’m less flexible than a ‘typical’ INTP, which extends to being quick to lose interest in people who aren’t interested in things that interest me, and as stated on the page I linked:
Anyone who doesn’t have the talent to keep up with INTJs’ processes, or worse yet, doesn’t see the point of them, is likely to immediately and permanently lose their respect.
I think this is the primary reason why I find it so difficult to form close relationships. Although I like being rare, I also want to be understood before I’ll get close to someone, and there are very few people who will take the time needed to understand me. I’ve often said that people can go away from a first – blind – date feeling as if they know me, where in reality, all I’ve given them is 1% of 1% of the most superficial 1% of what goes on in my mind. (Anything more than that and I’d scare them off before we even got started!)
Understanding personality types can be very helpful in forming relationships, especially if you happen to have fallen for someone who has a personality type that isn’t a naturally good fit for your own. And, as an INTJ who wants to understand how everything works, anything that helps me understand the minds of the people I love is a very useful tool.
If you’d like to know your own MBTI personality type, you can take a test here.