Myers-Briggs was founded by, unsurprisingly, two people named Myers and Briggs. Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Meyers began to research personalities as Isabel searched for a husband.
They weren’t psychologists, but they drew from the writings of Carl Jung and their own observations of humanity. They sound exactly like the kind of people I’d love to get to know. I mean, creating your own personality archetypes?! Amazing.
The MBTI system is composed of sixteen combinations of 4 “letters” representing a category of personality. There is:
INTROVERT (I) vs EXTROVERT (E)
INTUITIVE (N) vs SENSING (S)
FEELING (F) vs THINKING (T)
JUDGING (J) vs PERCEIVING (P)
For example, I am an I N F J. I’m Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging. Of course, in lesser percentages I am also Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving - but I fall into the other categories better.
If you are Introverted, you draw energy from being alone. You may enjoy people, but being around them too long is draining. For example, after being at a 3-day long speech and debate tournament, I have to take a day to myself to re-charge my “social battery.”
If you’re Extroverted, you draw energy from people. Engaging with, talking to, and interacting with people fills you up. Long days at home are your worst nightmare, because people are what give you energy. My sister is an extrovert, and so the more people she interacts with the better she feels.
What about Intuitive and Sensing? Intuitive people are always looking for patterns, usually in behavior. They hear the unsaid things; they look for what is behind the smiling face. Big picture, less detail, and connections between everything are the characteristics of Intuitives. If Intuitives are able to observe the unseen details, the Sensers are able to observe actions and behaviors very well. They look at what they can SENSE right in front of them - be that a tone in someone’s voice, an environmental detail like a run-down building or a large bruise, or other specific details that “head in the clouds” Intuitives often miss.
If you’re a Thinker, then you make decisions based on logic and rationality. Your fallback is not emotions or gut reactions, but past experiences and knowledge. The opposite is true of Feelers. They act on gut reactions, feelings, and temperaments. In my opinion, this is the hardest to determine about yourself. I am almost a perfect 50/50 split between Feeling and Thinking; I think most of us are. In some situations, we react on feelings; but others that just doesn’t work, even if you want it to. You have to react on logic.
Finally, Perceivers and Judgers. And no, if you were wondering, Judgers do not Judge people. (At least, most don’t…)
Judging and Perceiving have less to do with that YOU think you are and more about how OTHERS see you. If you are known as organized, reliable, and detailed, you’re most likely a judger. If you’re known as spontaneous, forgetful, and you tend to procrastinate, you might be a perceiver.
These letters come into combination with each other to form an overall basis for a personality type. There are MANY great resources on the interwebs that give better explanations than I’ve given. Here are a few of my favorites:
I’ve found that while taking the test is a helpful first step, it’s often incorrect. A quick, 40-50 question online quiz will never be able to accurately represent you. Do your own reading in addition.
Check several websites for information - not just one. Each has its own bias and information, and double-checking your facts is always a good idea.
Finally, have fun with this! It’s really interesting to read something and exclaim “That’s exactly like me!” Use this as a springboard to growing - not as a way to put yourself in a box.
HAVE YOU TAKEN THE MBTI TEST? WHAT WERE YOUR RESULTS? TELL ME BELOW!
P.S. Read the FIRST POST in this series!