On Friday, October 3, 2014, an UCWbL leadership meeting merged with a freshmen EDGE  student meeting, which was led by Sarah Carbone, Assistant Director of Student Employment at DePaul’s Career Center and Advisor/Manager of the freshmen EDGE program.  Sarah created a Presi entitled “Know Yourself” which provided an overview of the Myers-Briggs Types from the Myers-Briggs Types Indicator (MBTI).  The MBTI is a psychometric test that reveals one’s personality as it relates to four personal preference groups: extraversion/introversion; sensing/intuition; thinking/feeling; and judging/perceiving. By understanding your personality type, you can better understand yourself as well as be directed towards career paths that are most fitting with your character.

My personality type is INFJ. This means that I can be found in my quiet bubble with my orange and white cat, Thomas, my stacks and stacks of books, and cups and cups of caffeine. I’ll probably be writing about my feelings or some theoretical concept, creating artwork, making to-do lists, or planning something (anything).  I’m a good listener with a strong sense of intuition, and a passionate, open-minded thinker with a willingness to change but a strong inclination towards organization and routine.  Of course, not all INFJs, or other set types, are the same, as personality preferences can manifest in all kinds of ways.  The idea is to understand character, whether it be someone’s tendencies, source of energy, or ways of being and thinking.  By learning about the different types, we can better connect with and appreciate ourselves and the individuals in our lives.

Here is an overview of these types:

The Myers-Briggs Types

Extraversion/Introversion

Relates to energy management

  • Extraverts focus on their external world.
  • Extraverts are energized by interaction; they are sociable and outgoing.
  • Introverts focus on their internal world.
  • Introverts are energized by alone time; they are less attracted to social interactions and prefer quieter, more solitary activities.

Sensing/Intuition

Relates to ways of thinking and processing information

  • Sensing people tend to focus on the present moment.
  • Sensing people rely on facts and the senses to process information.
  • Intuitive people tend to focus on the future and probabilities.
  • Intuitive people rely on abstractions, patterns, and instinct to process information.

Thinking/Feeling

Relates to individual values and decision-making

  • Thinking people are objective and rely on facts to make decisions.
  • Thinking people are logical and rely on their heads over their hearts.
  • Feeling people are subjective and rely on values and feelings to make decisions.
  • Feeling people are empathetic and rely on their hearts over their heads.

Judging/Perceiving

Relates to way of approaching goals and managing time

  • Judging people prefer order and organization (judging does not relate to being ”judgmental”).
  • Judging people like to plan and have structure.
  • Perceiving people prefer spontaneity and flexibility.
  • Perceiving people do not like routine and may procrastinate.

Once you identify which preference you connect with in each pair, you will have a four-letter acronym that represents your personality type (e.g., “INFJ” [my type]).  This type represents how you experience your internal and external worlds.  Personality can change over time, so this type is not a permanent label.  It reflects your preferences and how you function at this point in your life.

The sixteen types are often associated with or classified by specific labels.  They can also be organized into four “temperaments” which were established by psychologist David Keirsey:

The Protectors/The Guardians (SJ)

“security seeking”

  • ESTJ – “The Supervisors”/ “The Overseers”
  • ISTJ – “The Inspectors”/ “The Examiners”
  • ESFJ – “The Providers”/ “The Supporters”
  • ISFJ – “The Protectors”/ “The Defenders”

The Creators/The Artisans (SP)

“sensation seeking”

  • ESTP – “The Promoters”/ “The Persuaders”
  • ISTP – “The Crafters”
  • ESFP – “The Performers”/ “The Entertainers”
  • ISFP – “The Composers”/ “The Artists”

The Intellectuals/ the Rationals (NT)

“knowledge seeking”

  • ENTJ – “The Fieldmarshals”/ “The Chiefs”
  • INTJ – “The Masterminds”/ “The Strategists”
  • ENTP – “The Inventors”/ “The Originators”
  • INTP – “The Architects”/ “The Engineers”

The Visionaries/ The Idealists (NF)

“identity seeking”

  • ENFJ – “The Teachers”/ “The Mentors”
  • INFJ – “The Counselors”/ “The Confidants”
  • ENFP – “The Champions”/ “The Advocates”
  • INFP – “The Healers”/ “The Dreamers”

Some other sources for this information can be found on MyPersonality, Keirsey, Truity, and PersonalityMax.

Connections: Character and Collaboration

I had become familiar with the MBTI during my undergraduate degree in psychology at DePaul, and I have always seen it as a rather accurate and useful tool to explore identity, reach self-understanding, and predict suitable career paths. During this meeting, as everyone began to identify their preferences and label themselves within the types, it became clear that this test is not only practical on an individual level, but it is also a great way to understand others and the reasons behind their decisions and actions.

This opened my eyes to how I view interpersonal relationships in both professional and personal settings.  For instance, being a judging type, I previously couldn’t understand how someone might wait until the last minute to accomplish a task they knew about weeks ago, but now knowing that perceivers are motivated by the rush of a fast-approaching deadline, I can accept this and recognize that this behavior might actually produce better results than if that person had begun the work weeks prior to the due date. As the great psychologist Carl Jung, who inspired the Myers-Briggs Types, once said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Likewise, understanding others can prevent our own irritation or limit miscommunication.  For instance, by understanding introversion, perhaps an extraverted, sociable person might not take it personally when an introverted co-worker turns them down for dinner after work—maybe their co-worker just needs to go home to recharge on the couch with Netflix, a cup of tea, and their pet hermit crabs.

Awareness about personality can help people to accept others who do not have the same preferences as they do because they realize that their differences are based in how they view and interact with the world.  This open-mindedness and willingness to let insights guide interactions can greatly improve collaboration and communication, inspire productivity, and create a sense of community while also giving individuals confidence that their differences are not necessarily barriers but can instead be catalysts for balanced partnerships and effective teamwork.

My understanding of the MBTI types has definitely expanded from a psychological personality theory that informs my self-awareness to a method that allows me to reconsider my beliefs and perceptions about others; this is a beneficial challenge that will likely lead to more effective interpersonal skills, greater patience and better coordinated, more harmonious professional and personal relationships.  I encourage everyone to look into their own types and share this knowledge with others (and in the comments!); conversations about personality can allow tensions to diminish and mutual understanding to blossom. In sum, let’s consider John Steinbeck’s words: Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.” 

More Info: 

Who has your type? Famous MBTI Types:

ISTJ

  • George Washington
  • Warren Buffett
  • Thomas Hobbes
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Martin Heidegger
  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali

ESTJ

  • Hillary Clinton
  • Dr. Phil
  • Ann Coulter
  • Paul of Tarsus
  • Muhammad
  • Tom Clancy

ISFJ

  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Lord Alfred Tennyson
  • Johnny Carson

ESFJ

  • Desmond Tutu
  • Andy Rooney
  • Larry King
  • Barbara Walters      

ISTP

  • Steve Jobs
  • Dalai Lama XIV       

ESTP

  • Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Marquis de Sade
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Malcolm X
  • Bret Easton Ellis

ESFP

  • Deepak Chopra
  • Paulo Coelho
  • Tony Robbins

ISFP

  • Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Bob Dylan

ENTJ

  • Aristotle
  • Carl Sagan
  • Bill Gates
  • Jack Welch

INTJ

  • Karl Marx
  • Ayn Rand
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Stephen Hawking
  • G.W.F. Hegel
  • Jean-Paul Sartre

 ENTP

  • Niccolo Machiavelli
  • Voltaire
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Socrates
  • David Hume
  • Bertrand Russell
  • Edmund Burke

INTP

  • Rene Descartes
  • John Locke
  • Albert Einstein
  • Charles Darwin
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Jane Austen

ENFJ

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Johann von Goethe
  • Erich Fromm

INFJ

  • Plato
  • Carl Gustav Jung
  • Noam Chomsky
  • Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Simone de Beauvoir
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky

ENFP

  • Hunter S. Thompson
  • Mark Twain
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • Joseph Campbell
  • Jacques Derrida
  • Anais Nin

INFP

  • Soeren Kierkegaard
  • Albert Camus
  • George Orwell
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Virginia Woolf
  • A.A. Milne
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Franz Kafka
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • John Milton
  • William Blake
  • Shakespeare
  • Homer
  • George R.R. Martin

Pathways to Information:

 

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Remy Terle says:

    I thought this was a really interesting blog topic and I agree that understanding other people’s personality traits helps to promote empathy, understanding, and cooperation. After looking at the link, I determined that I was NTP. I always have a hard time with the introversion/extroversion though. I think different people would describe me as one or the other, and to be honest I’m confused about it too. This blog leaves me wondering if there’s any way to more effectively determine this. It strikes me that it’s extremely dependent on mood and a thousand other mental factors that I can’t name scientifically.

    • Melanie K. says:

      Thanks! In terms of your confusion, I think that individuals can definitely fall anywhere on the bidirectional scale of Introversion and Extroversion. Although this personality instrument features dichotomies, I think it’s safe to say that no one person is always one way or another. Like you said– moods, situations and other factors can impact our behavior. There are definitely times that I need to recharge with other people, even though I describe myself as introverted. I think that the label serves to describe our tendencies at a particular time in our lives. Like I mentioned, our personalities can change over time. Some might even argue that we are not the same person from one day to the next, because our everyday experiences change us. That being said, the Myers Briggs Inventory should, in my opinion, be seen as more of a guide to understanding our general tendencies and preferences which can help us understand our present way of living and make decisions about our future endeavors and relationships.
      Just like all theories, it isn’t flawless, so I think you are right to have doubts! I think it shows that humans can’t be put into neat little boxes and given fixed labels. Your confusion makes me think about generalizations and stereotypes- we have to be careful about labels because although they can serve as ways to identify ourselves, they can also be hard to move out of and can influence how we continue to be in the world as well as how others perceive us.
      Thanks for your comment!

      • Maggie C. says:

        Hi Melanie!

        I completely agree that our personalities change over time. I took the Myers-Briggs test in 2010 and got ESFJ. I decided to retake the test to see if I have changed over time (thanks to 16 personalities) and found that I am now INTJ, which means 3/4 of my personality is different. It’s amazing to see how our mentalities change over time.

  • also iNfj says:

    Great article, thanks! I can relate completely, down to the piles of books and my own bubble and a calico kitty (Bean).

    JK Rowling is self-typed as INFJ too, not INFP. Another one in our team 🙂