Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Navel-Gaze on Personality

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz

Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

It seems that Mr. Fred O. Sphere has been wearing his tin-foil hat again. He blogged today about Meyers-Briggs personality types (he’s an INTJ). It just so happens that I’ve had several good discussions about the whole personality-type thing in the last few days.

Of course, that’s not all that unusual for me. Due to some research that I did in grad school (on personality type and writing/learning styles), I know a bit about the subject. So, when personality types come up in conversation, I can actually become quite talkative. Last Friday, after some discussion over lunch, I e-mailed a quickie Meyers-Briggs test to all of my co-workers. Interestingly, the one co-worker that I really seem to identify with just happens to be the only other NF in our division. The rest of ‘em are a mix of NTs, and SJs.

As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, I am a pretty strong INFP (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling Perceiver). Once I tell people what that means, they look at me rather skeptically.

“You’re not an introvert.”

“Oh, yes I am.”

“No way. You’re probably the least introverted person I know.”

“No, I’m pretty introverted. You’d be surprised. I’m really shy, too.”

“No way.”

“Yes way.”

And I just smile. Looks like I’ve successfully bamboozled yet another person. They should know that no extravert in their right mind would spend as much time alone as I do, reading and writing and practicing the piano, not to mention hiking solo from Maine to Georgia.

Thing is, we introverted shy types learn to pretend in order to please the extraverts of the world and get them off our backs. My particular survival tactic is to make people laugh by engaging in silly word play. “OK, I’ll socialize with you for a couple of hours, and I’ll even make you laugh and be the life of the party, but please, please, please let me go home after that and spend a week reading and writing and playing my piano. Alone.”

It’s not really like that, but there is a grain of truth to it. I had a great weekend because the Hubster was in Ohio and I basically spent the entire weekend reading, writing, practicing piano, and working on music theory/composition exercises. Gloriously alone.

I think this is part of why Christmas stresses me out. It’s so social. And it’s so ongoingly social. All the parties, presents, and general visiting leave my poor little introverted psyche exhausted. Just thinking about it all makes me tired. Even though I know I’ll enjoy seeing family and friends, I know I’ll be ready to get back home, get through the week of work that follows, and then spend the following weekend reading, writing, and playing the piano. Alone.

OK, enough navel-gazing. Time for me to get back to work.


fredösphere said...

I'm guessing you work for a software company, since you describe yourself as a technical writer. It's interesting you said your office is filled with NTs and SJs. I once read an article that claimed only NTs and SJs were suited to programming.

I've never (knowingly) met an INFP. I've always thought that personality type would be the one most prone to the "no one understands me" feeling. It's such a rare type, and more than any other, prone to follow a different drummer. Yet, you seem pretty normal!

oceanskies79 said...

Hi Waterfall, when I read your post titled "Tired and Depressed", it just strikes me that it could be because of your preference for introversion that has contributed much to it.

I am an introvert myself. Perhaps the "extraverted Feeling" side of me allows me to continue to strike social conversations with others, but when there is too much, I get drained. So I recharge by spending time alone doing things that I enjoy. Well, I cope with festive seasons by trying to meet people in more intimate, small groups settings rather than in large group settings. This give me time to have more in-depth meaning conversations with people who matters, without too much strain on my preference for introversion.

Actually, I read that "NF" are found in all kinds of careers. Perhaps certain jobs do make full use of the "NF"s inherent personality preferences, but really, "NF"s can take up most kinds of career and survive fairly well.

Though admittedly, it seems the kind of industry that you are in is much more attractive to the "NT" and "SJ". So I suppose your contribution to your company is to remind the "NT"s and "SJ" of their blindspots. For example, they need to be a little more flexible, spontaneous and appreciate individual uniqueness at times. :P

Blogging Elsewhere

Hi, Strangers! I've been blogging with my friend Anh over at Then a Gentle Whisper . Check it out!