OPEN THREAD: Are You An Introvert Or An Extravert? Let's All Take The Myers-Briggs Personality Test!

Does anyone NOT like taking personality tests?

May 9, 2013 at 2:00pm | Leave a comment

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I first took the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator as part of a mandatory college career seminar that was pretty damn useless for the clever girl who'd majored in screenwriting for film, as it was clear by then that a smart suit, eye contact and a firm handshake were unlikely to get me hired in my field.

But for all my eye-rolling, by the time we took the Myers-Briggs test -- with the idea that knowing more about how we perceive the world and interact with people would help us in our future professional lives -- I was intrigued. My result was one of the more statistically unusual types, which I found somewhat gratifying.

Still, I forgot it entirely until I worked in a job where my boss was a HUGE FAN of the Myers-Briggs, and one day my coworkers and I all sat down to take it to see where we stood. What had been a curious distraction in college was now suddenly speaking to me in words that made sense of MY WHOLE FREAKING LIFE.

The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator test was developed by a mother-daughter team, based on the personality types described by psychiatrist Carl Jung. Myers and Briggs wanted to create an accessible way for people to determine their own preferences within Jung's personality theories, which continue to be pretty influential -- it was Jung who first popularized the terms "extraversion" and "introversion," after all. 

It's probably obvious that today's open thread topic is partly inspired by comments on my post yesterday about eating in restaurants alone -- because I feel like a lot of dramatically introverted people tend to feel like they're social weirdos when really, they just derive their energy from a different place than extraverts do (and if you haven't read this brilliant comic about the Introvert Hamster Ball, you really should).

The Myers-Briggs works like this: you take the test, and see which way your preferences (such as: do you prefer to turn your attention inward, or outward? do you prefer to use logic or to rely on your feelings? and so on) lean, and where you fall into sixteen distinct personality types. Then you read about your type and learn things about yourself! Fun, right? 

The ACTUAL Myers-Briggs can only be administered by a certified consultant, and you can pay money to take it online and get feedback from just such a live expert human.

But you can also take an amended Myers-Briggs-like test online for free (or here, or also here, in case that first link gives you backtalk), and google your result for a wealth of information about your personality type.

So my type is an INTJ, which the internet says means I should have been either a scientist or a dictator, and also that I was born without feelings. Strangely, I've always been an INTJ, although it's common for your type to shift as you get older.

What type are you? And do you put any stock in this stuff, professionally or personally, or is it just so much woo-woo self-indulgent crap to you? Let's hash it out in comments.