I’m an INFJ. What are you?
No idea what I’m talking about? No problem. Just head on over to the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
The MBTI is a personality test developed by Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter, author Isabel Briggs Myers. The test uses theories developed by psychologist Carl Jung to classify people’s personality ‘type’ using a series of four dichotomies: extroversion (E) vs. introversion (I), sensing (S) vs. intuition (N), thinking (T) vs. feeling (F), and judging (J) vs. perception (P). The meanings of these terms in relation to the MBTI differ from their meanings in everyday use.
Introversion vs. Exroversion
Introverts are more inwardly focused on thoughts and ideas while extroverts are outwardly focused on people and objects. Introverts seek depth in their experiences, while extroverts seek breadth–e.g. an extrovert wants to learn many things, while an introvert wants to gain a thorough understanding of a particular topic. Extroverts gain energy from interaction with other people, while introverts need time alone to recharge.
Sensing vs. Intuition
These are two information-gathering (perceiving) functions. Individuals who fall into the “sensing” category tend to prefer solid facts and information that can be perceived with the five senses. People in the “intuition” side of the scale are more trusting of abstract and theoretical information that can be used to connect pieces of a bigger picture. “Sensing” folks are rooted in the present, while those who lean toward “intuition” are more likely to be looking toward the future and how current events might play out.
Thinking vs. Feeling
This is a dichotomy of decision-making (judging) functions. These functions are used to make decisions based on information gathered by a person’s “perceiving” function(s). “Thinking” individuals tend to use logic and look at a situation from a distance and come to a decision through detached rationality. “Feeling” individuals are more empathetic and want to experience a situation firsthand before making a decision about it. Thinkers operate based on rules and what makes sense, while feelers operate based on how pieces of a system fit together and what decision is likely to produce the most harmonious outcome.
Judging vs. Perceiving
According to the theories behind the MBTI, people have a preference toward either the sensing/intuition dichotomy or the thinking/feeling dichotomy when relating to the outside world. From what I understand, this dichotomy shows whether a person prefers to remain open and flexible to new information, or prefers to make clear decisions based on the information they obtain.
Based on the above information, if I am a INFJ type, that means I am inwardly focused and need to be alone to recharge rather than thrown into a social situation when low on energy (Introversion). I am comfortable with abstract concepts and making connections between events and bits of information (iNtuitive). I sympathize with others and prefer to experience a situation up close or firsthand before making decisions about it (Feeling), and I like to actively process and make decisions about information rather than take it in passively (Judging).
The two sides of any one dichotomy aren’t mutually exclusive. I also prefer to have concrete facts when I make decisions, and I try to remain open-minded and fairly objective when faced with new information if the situation calls for it, but the MBTI simply classifies me based on which side of the dichotomy I lean toward, even if it’s only slightly. On a more specific level, the version of the test linked at the beginning of this post rated me as having a 33 percent preference for introversion, a 25 percent preference toward intuition, a 50 percent lean toward feeling, and a 44 percent lean toward judging – in other words, I’m more strongly polarized on the latter two dichotomies than I am on the first two.
Once you have a Myers-Briggs type determined for yourself (I suggest taking several different tests to see which result you receive most consistently since the results can vary slightly) you can use it to determine what kind of job you might be happiest doing, who else you’re likely to be romantically compatible with based on their type, and it can also come in handy when explaining your personal modus operandi to others.
I think the test is really interesting and it’s fun to encounter people with my same type. Now that you’ve read what the MBTI is all about, go take the test yourself and come post your result in the comments.