In Support of Myers-Briggs Personality Tests

If you are like me at all, and really enjoy taking tests to put you into boxes, then you have probably heard of the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. It is possibly the most popular personality test around today. According to this test, there are sixteen combinations of personalities that someone can have. Each personality has a four letter combination. It tests the following things:

Extroversion vs. Introversion  (E/I) – whether you gain energy from spending time with people or if you replenish yourself by spending time alone.

Sensing vs. Intuition (S/N) – whether you process information based on the tangible facts available or by the implied meaning of the given information.

Thinking vs. Feeling (T/F) – whether your decisions are based on logical reasoning, or by the way it makes someone feel.

Perceiving vs. Judging (P/J) – whether you prefer events and situations to be planned and structured, or if you like for things to be more open and spontaneous.

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To give you an example, according to this test, I am an ENFP- extroverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving. I energize with people, I read between the lines of what I see and hear, I tend to be more concerned with feelings than logic, and I love spontaneity and flexibility. Some famous ENFP’s include Russel Brand, Kelly Clarkson, and Willy Wonka.

To skeptics, this personality test seems shallow. People aren’t just extroverts or introverts, and some people who like structured activities also like the occasional random adventure. And the skeptics are right- a personality test cannot possibly measure the depth of the human mind. A test has not been with you throughout your life or watched every one of your activities. It can only give you information based on self-perception. If you’re not very self-aware, your test result may be off and not accurately represent who you are. Or if you are too self-aware, you may get a result that only reflects a piece of you.

Despite the criticism, I still really like the Myers-Briggs test. It’s not the best for precise and definitive explanations for all of your quirks and thought patters, and it definitely shouldn’t be used to make major life decisions. However, I think Myers-Briggs can teach us how to love people better by giving a basic explanation behind some of their attitudes and actions. After learning that my old roommate was an ENFJ, I quickly began to understand why we argued over cleanliness standards and why he seemed to be annoyed at my lack of care for structure or planning. I also know to stay away from getting into every argument that my ENTP friends like to engage in.

This test allows me to appreciate the diversity of personalities of the people that surround me. I am not just friends with low-structure, free-spirited, extroverts. I also have friends who are quiet and reserved. I get to interact with people who feel a need to help others, and people who love to debate. Everyone is different, and a personality type is just the tip of the iceberg. Myers-Briggs shouldn’t be used as a Bible for human interaction. You should still use common sense, care, and compassion in all of your relationships. But if you want to see the diversity of strengths and weaknesses in a team, or to understand why your best friend doesn’t want to cuddle, or to realize that your lack of desire to put things into order doesn’t make you crazy, a Myers-Briggs test may be able to help you out.

If you are interested in finding out your personality type, this link is the best:

http://www.16personalities.com

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