A chance encounter with the infamous or famous (whichever you are inclined to resonate) Myers Briggs Personality Test, some years ago turned me into woman beset upon knowing each one’s type. I was known for jumping to conclusions immediately after a casual conversation, and if you were an unfortunate close acquaintance, you would be fiendishly made to take the test and match the accuracy of my guesses.
In my defense, the theory was earnest and well meaning – propounded by Carl Jung and formulated by Briggs Myers, both renowned psychologists, thus providing scientific substantiality for the difference in personalities, that were better than their astrological counterparts. In short, the accuracy of the comparison between an introvert and extrovert was far believable than that of a Leo and Virgo.
Then came the hard truth a year ago. Upon discovering a fellow family member’s type, I was ecstatic to have found my ‘perfect match’ in terms of compatibility and like mindedness. In my ensuing immaturity, every human in sight was dubbed as ‘weak’ or ‘strong’, ‘sensitive’ or ‘cold’ stereotypes, based solely on the information that the wise old Internet offered me. I had my own reasons to gloat, as my results showed Introverted – Intuitive – Thinker – Judger (INTJ) that branded people as highly intelligent, strategic, scholastic and over achievers, with cold and nonchalant attitudes to match. In meme language, that would mean we are the Snow Queens and Frankensteins that exist on the planet, with an extremely rare population making you that lucky person if you haven’t encountered one of us already.
INTJs are always misunderstood individuals.
I delved into this statement, fueling my reason to behave the way I did. I despised talking to people or making new friends. I frowned upon people’s effusiveness and arched an eyebrow at a person’s willful ignorance. My conversations were inscrutable as I laced them with smart sarcasm. Finally, my 3 AM friend, unable to endure the funny display messages (DPs) on my profiles, made the frantic call to abort the childish fetish for good. I hated to admit, and it did take me a long time to eventually accept that my madness was based upon the results from a pre-decided questionnaire.
There are no perfect Types
The Myers-Briggs Test gives a definite but limited insight into a person’s approach and behaviour – to people, environments and to change, both anticipated and sudden. It does not define his / her life choices, career choices, or even relationship choices. The internet and social media is fraught with misleading as well as fabricated, unverified content meant to divide and even discriminate human beings, in absolute contradiction to the earnest objective that it was meant to purport.
For example, as an INTJ, I am made aware of my apparent strengths – long term planning, counting and calculating expert, avid reader of eclectic information. But online narratives envisage us as living Elon Musks – bunches of anti social nerds, silent planners of world domination, wearing black or grey, forever single. If you look closely, these are unhealthy mental traits of a person who possibly needs help with anxiety and repressed emotions. I may still arch my eyebrow at your ludicrousness, and may resort to sarcasm only if my positive advice is unwelcome. I keep few acquaintances as I value solemn friendships and real conversations. I do not have many social media accounts as I thrive on my privacy. My attitude in a social setting like a party or a sudden descent of relatives still needs work. The latter are not traits I should brag about, but rather evolve, mature and improvise.
My advice to those taking the test, and those seeking results for the first time – don’t go by the stereotypes. The INTJ is allowed to fall in love / marry. The ISFJ does not have to bake all the time. The INTP is not a robot and the INFJ is certainly not your go-to psychologist. Know them, but do not label them. And yea, just so you know, my favorite color is blue.