Thursday, August 6, 2015

An INFJ Contemplates the Meyers-Briggs

I have been a long time follower of the Penelope Trunk blog.  I'm a big fan.  She is so interesting and always links to the best stuff. I love to read, like for serious. So I read even posts of hers that have zero application to my life just to see what she links up to so I can read that. She has some amazing insights about how to achieve a good work life balance based on a very thorough understanding of the Meyers Briggs personality test.

So when she recently launched a webinar about my specific personality type (INFJ) I jumped all over it.  I totally trusted that she would provide some killer content.  The course is called "Be your real INFJ self without feeling frustrated".  I honestly was a little thrown by the 'feeling frustrated' part.  I am generally happy in my life and wouldn't say I feel all that frustrated overall.  This honestly only fueled me to want to take the course even more.  I wondered to myself "Is that a thing for my type?  I wonder why?  And if that is a problem for most people of my type then why is it not a big issue for me?"

So I did the course. And I was right Penelope delivered some amazing content and really got me thinking. I figured out the answers to my questions about frustration  (it would take me way off topic to go into that here.  Maybe another post) but the course sparked so many new questions for me!  So much so that I can not think of anything else.  I am completely obsessed with the Meyers Briggs system now and typing all the people in my life.

I am really serious when I say I am completely obsessed.  I haven't been able to sleep for three nights straight because I am up thinking about personality type and the people in my life and how I relate to them and they to me based on those personality types.  Thinking about what motivates different people and fulfills them.  Thinking about the difference between actions and feelings that are based on innate personality type and therefore completely unchanging and  actions and feelings that are based on other factors like environment, childhood upbringing, personal life challenges and traumas etc.

I could go on and on and on. I. Am. Obsessed.

I keep mulling over the differences in all the personality traits and how they work together.  Here is my running theory and understanding of the system at this point in my learning.

The traits combanations are Introvert/Extrovert, Sensing/iNtuitive, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving.  Thats the order you always see the letters come in for the different types. I am an INFJ for example.  But I am going to explain them out of other. I think it makes more sense to start in the middle and work out to understand how these traits relate to each other to make the whole type.

A person ether mainly experiences their world though their feelings and relating to other people or through thinking and dealing with ideas.  Your F's are the ones with high emotional IQ, good people skills, empathetic and social (yes, even the Intoverts they just need to have alone time to process on their own). Your T's are your idea people, both generating ideas and thinking about and analyzing ideas and theories. To a F the T seems cold and heartless and to a T the F seems so irrational.

Sensors live in the physical world and in the present moment while iNtuitives live more in their mind and plan for the future.  This is the language a person uses to process and express their thoughts or feelings.

  • SF's processes their feelings with their senses, they might actually feel their feelings literally in their body.  An SF will express their feelings with their senses as well, through art, music and dance. 
  • NF's processes their feelings with their minds, these are your philosophers. NF's are very articulate about their emotions through speech or the written word (leaning more twards speach if they are an Extrovert and written word if they are an Introvert). 
  • NT's processes their thoughts with their minds and expresses their thoughts articulately through words, spoken and written (again leaning more twards speach if they are an Extrovert and written word if they are an Introvert). 
  • ST's processes their thoughts through their senses. They prefer to deal with what is in front of them that they can sense and perceive in a logical way. It seems to me that this is the most contradictory pairing.  When I think what it must be like to try to express a thought through my body it just seems impossible.  Just the thought of it makes me feel all pent up in my body, like I'm stuck in their and unable to get out. It's so foreign to me.

Most people are familiar with this trait and know which they are.  This actually has nothing to do with how social a person is, that is more the F/T trait.  This has to do with how much a person needs other people to process their thoughts or emtions.

So for example an INF processes their emotions through their mind alone.  An ENF processes their emotions through their mind but out loud to other people.

Whats interesting about this to me is the amount of time this allows a person to process their thoughts or feelings. An Intovert has unlimited time to process while an Extrovert can only be around people so much. Extroverts tend to be more impulsive and straight forward while Introverts are more calculated and more for lack of a better word, advanced. I don't mean better in anyway shape or form, I just mean take an Extroverted thought or feeling and just keep following the train of thought (or feeling) for longer and you end up in Introvert territory, simply because they have more time to process.  An Introvert can have the tendency to make things overcomplicated, while an Extrovert can have a tendency to be a bit short sighted.

I can't help but think what a contradiction it must feel like to be an ET (Extroverted Thinker of course! Not Extra Terrestrial ha!).  To need to process your thoughts with people all the while not really being all that interested in those people but ideas instead. How very strange.

Judgement vs Perceiving
Judgers make decisions and Perceivers see all the possibilities.  So your Judgers make decisions about their thoughts or feelings after processing them either through their mind or their senses either with other people or on their own.  Perceivers however, after all that processing just kind of stop right there.  They see all the possibilities and make no conclusions about any of it leaving everything very open and accepting it all.

At least this is how I see all of this at this point.  I had minimal knowledge of the Meyers-Briggs system before taking the course with Penelope Trunk.  As I said before I have been thinking about the system non-stop since then and this is how I understand it to work to the best of my ability at this point. This is the judgement I have come to after processing all my emotional perceptions through my mind on my own over the last week or so. That's me. That's how I operate to a T.  Or should I say to an 'F'. A little Meyers-Briggs humor there. Ha!

I have more I want to share.  Revelations about my own type and some things I have been thinking about my relationships and others in my life. Ideas about how different types relate to each other in general.  Lots and lots more for me to think about I share.  I will probably have a book by the time I am done with this subject.  I am so obsessed!

Want to know more?  Take the test and find out your type!

(Sarah, my bet is that you are an ENFJ and your man is an ISTJ.  Take the test and let me know that I am right! :) Love you!)


  1. Jen, I am INFP. :-)
    <3 love, from Sarah (I am interested in this stuff too!)

  2. Except I do like to process my thoughts out loud, so that is different. I'm definitely an introvert who needs a few close people to let me brainstorm out loud.
    me again (Sarah)

  3. How interesting! I'm guessing a lot of people right on, but on others I have been way off. Thanks for humoring me and taking the test!!! I can see how you are an INFP now, but that wouldn't be my first guess. Love you!