For close to 10 years, my mom has been obsessed with this thing called Myers Briggs. It’s essentially a personality test that helps you understand the way you think, where you gain your energy, and how you interact with others.
Growing up, my siblings and I would get so annoyed that she brought it up to every person she met. It was one of her favorite conversation starters, and we never understood the meaning behind it. To us, it was just another one of her “mom things”.
But over time, I grew to learn that it’s a great resource to understanding how people think.
When I took my first psychology class in high school, my teacher asked if any of us had heard of the Myers Briggs test. Sheepishly, I raised my hand. To my surprise, my teacher was fascinated that I knew of it and pecked me with questions about it. I quickly learned that Myers Briggs often leads to deep and intense conversations, and that it’s actually a pretty popular topic in the workforce.
When I was 17, I decided to take the test online. And then I continued to retake it multiple times because I was horrified to discover that my result was the exact same of my mother: ENFP. I guess the old saying, “Like mother, like daughter” rings true for my mom and I.
I went on to learn that there are 16 possible personality types in four different categories. Each person is assigned a specific letter to represent their type for each category.
The first category is either introverted or extraverted. (If you are introverted, you receive an I and if you are extraverted, you receive an E.) People often think that being extraverted means that you are a people person and being introverted means that you like being alone. While this may be true in some cases, the real meaning behind the two depends on where you get your energy from. For example, you may love being in social interactions and meeting new people, but need to be alone for a few hours afterward to recharge your batteries. In this instance, you might be considered introverted.
The second category is intuitive or sensing. (N stands for intuitive and S is for sensing.) In order to understand the difference between the two, you need to understand the definition of intuition, which is “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.” When someone is intuitive, they can sense things in their gut. On the other hand, people who are sensing rely on their five senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. They also generally love nature.
The third category is feeling or thinking. This category is generally hard to explain, and I myself don’t understand it to its full complexity. The most basic way that I see it is if you are feeling, you value mercy over judgment, and thinking is vice versa. People who are thinking value statistics and principles, while people who are feeling focus on personal feelings and the people involved. A common misconception is that feeling is correlated to emotions and thinking is correlated to intelligence; this is not true. The Myers Briggs website clearly states, “Everyone has emotions about the decisions they make.”
The final category is perceiving or judging. This is another difficult category to understand. To me, this category should not be seen as black and white since people often display both traits or can be a mixture. Essentially, what it boils down to is how you prefer your work environment or how organizational you are. People who are perceiving often live in the here and now, and they can live in a controlled chaos setting, while people who are judging prefer a structured environment. They are the planners and like things to be organized.
Over time, I grew to enjoy learning about the different personality types and how each person functions. As an ENFP, I am a social person who loves meeting people, but also likes some time to myself. I am intuitive, as well as in touch with my feelings. While I am perceiving, I still love my desk to be organized, and find happiness in planning my future. So while it may seem as though each category is either this or that, it’s common to blur the lines a little.
If you are interested in finding out your personality type, you can take the free test online here. I love talking to people about their results and the way they see the world.
What do you think your personality type is? After taking the test, were you shocked at your results? Feel free to comment below or shoot me an email!