Myers-Briggs Personality Types: A Tool To Understand Ourselves and Others Better
What makes you you? Have you ever wondered about that?
Some tendencies you have from the moment you’re born, like the innate way to percieve the world and make decisions. Many of your strenghts stem from this internal hardware.
You aren’t a prisoner of the mental system, though. Yes, the natural temperament explains how you tend to do things. But your skills, values, beliefs and principles come with life’s experiences.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one the systems to help you get how people tick.
Each of the 16 Myers-Briggs types is a unique combination of the following four traits:
Your type is marked by a four letter abbreviation, like INTJ (Introvert, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging).
So, what does all that mean?
Fae Rowan explained the types in a superb way:
Let’s look at those first two letters E or I, which refer to how you draw your energy from the world around you. If you’re an E, you draw energy from people, things, and activities. You tend toward breadth rather than depth. You have a need for people. If you’re an I, you draw your energy from the internal world of thoughts and ideas. You prefer depth to breadth and pause to think about things. You have a need for privacy.
Now for how you take in information, your second letter: N or S
If you’re in the N crowd, you prefer to take in information through a sixth sense, a gut feeling, your iNtuition. You think about what might be. You like the big picture. You need possibilities. If you are with the S crowd, you prefer to take in information through your five Senses. You like concrete and practical ideas. You have a need for evidence.
The third letters, T or F, (no, not true or false) refer to how you make decisions.
The thinking T emphasizes logic and reason, truth and fairness in decision-making, looking for objective balance. T’s are unconsciously pre-occupied with truth. The feeling F makes decisions based on personal values and people-needs. F’s are unconsciously preoccupied with harmony with others.
The final letter J or P shows preferences for lifestyle.
J’s prefer to live in a planned, organized style. They like to come to conclusions quickly. Their bottom line is control. P’s enjoy spontaneity. They’re flexible and adapt rather than needing to control. They prefer to keep their options open.
Now you might be wondering what your type is. (Or what the type of your family, friends and characters is)
Here are a few online tests to help you figure it out:
- Human Metrics
- Jungian Type Test (Don’t get confused by the different name. Jung’s theories were the basis of the Myers-Briggs types)
- Another Jungian Type Test
Please remember that these tests aren’t 100% reliable. They give indications of your type but you can get different results every time, based on your mood and how you’ve recently responded to situations. The tests might have different emphasis too.
After taking the test, a good way to triangulate a match is to read the descriptions of the types that seem closest and see which fits you the best.
Over the next month, I highlight each type in their own post. I hope this blog series will give you some heurekas about yourself and people you know. Maybe you’ll also get new insights about the characters you write. Stay tuned for the INFP profile this Wednesday.
If you want to learn more right now, I have a few links for you:
- Good overview of the traits (Thinking/Feeling etc.)
- Short descriptions of all the types
- Type Profiles
- Portraits of the Types
- Read the rest of Fae Rowan’s post to find out how Judging and Perceiving affect our writing style
I’d love to hear from you. Please take a moment to leave a comment
What is your Myers-Briggs type? How do you feel about your type? Has it affected your personal relationships and writing life?