I’ve taken a few versions of the Myers-Briggs (and similar variations) personality / characteristic indicator test over the past few months. Obviously the accuracy of an online test is much less than a professionally administered one, but who can afford that?! Heh. So, online it is, and regardless of the form used it’s the same result every time:
Introversion / Intuition / Feeling / Judging
“Even though they are likely to come across to others as quite shy, and certainly quiet, INFJs have a keen interest in others and will work hard and behind-the-scenes to achieve their goals. Never over-exuberant or gushing, trust would take quite some time to build with INFJs, as they do not readily share their emotions with other people.”
There are 16 personality types total, each with varying frequency. INFJ is the least common, existing in only 1-3% of the population. This fact probably goes a long way in explaining why I’ve spent much of my life being thought of as ‘different’, and why I find it challenging to easily connect with people. Most of my friends are introverts, and those who are not have put an exceptional amount of time, patience, and energy into the friendship, as well as being forgiving of, what I’m sure are, my infuriating eccentricities.
Why does any of this matter? I’m guessing to most people it doesn’t, but as we’ve established above, I’m weird! ;)
Honestly though, I find all of this very interesting. Last year I started reading more in-depth about introversion and it resulted in a lot of self-realization. And I suppose this feels like the next step in that. Though all I’ve really done at this point is read a lot of blogs and Jung.
Of the former, there have a been a couple of posts that have really struck a chord for me. Namely, How INFJ’s Deal With Conflict: 10 Confessions from the blog Introvert, Dear. As a bit of an exercise I thought I’d go through her list an compare it with my own experience (bold = blogger, standard = me):
1. I take conflict personally. Oh boy, do I. I apologize constantly and blame myself for just about everything. And I’ll probably never get over whatever the conflict is. Like, ever.
2. I’m a gentle soul, and “fighting” has a different definition for me. My response to this is almost exactly what the blogger states. A “fight” for me is any form of tension, whether it be someone raising their voice in after or frustration, snapping at me, disagreeing with me, or criticizing me.
3. If you actually yell at me or insult me, I will be wounded for a long time. I still remember, vividly, every time I’ve been yelled at, and thinking about it gives me low-level panic.
4. With that said, there’s a side of me you’ll hopefully never see. If you’ve debated me on something I’m passionate or enraged about, you know what I’m talking about.
5. I tend to internalize conflict (just like I do with all of my emotions). Conflict literally makes me ill. Or makes my nosebleed.
6. I’ll think about everything that was said during the fight a thousand times. Yup.
7. It takes a long time for me to calm down. When I was butting heads with my old manager a few weeks back I was never able to completely calm down before the next argument came on. It felt like being stuck in a rush of waves that continue to crash down before you get the chance to take a deep breath. I felt so completely depleted in those weeks, and when it finally ended it slept for a solid 20 hours. Time and space to decompress are necessary for me to come back to myself.
8. Sometimes I bottle up my feelings for too long. Actually, it’s probably fair to say that I will never let out about 95% of them. If I’m upset with you there’s a good chance I’ll never tell you because I’d rather just deal with my internal feelings than engage in external conflict with you.
9.Conflict is overstimulating for my sensitive, introverted system. The blogger talks about ‘freezing’ which is 100% accurate. I will stare straight ahead, and refrain from moving or speaking.
10. There is a thing called the “INFJ Door Slam,” and unfortunately, it is very real. It means you’ve hurt me so much, I’m no longer investing any of my (limited) supply of energy in you. It means I’ve come to resent you. If you value me, don’t let it get to this point. It’s really hard to go back. Sigh. Yes, this is very real and it sucks. I’ve never been able to go back. My own worst case of this actually happened last year and I think it’s very possible that the person doesn’t even know that it happened, which somehow makes it worse. The actions of this friend hurt me very deeply, and as you can deduce from above, I’ve never been able to tell the person.
So, yes, as you can see, I’m very much identifying with other INFJers!
There are a lot of things written about the personality type and things like working environments, relationships, dealing with difficult situations, etc. I definitely think that gaining a better understanding of this will have a positive impact, especially at the point I’m at in my life.
And, as usual, we’ll see what happens!