If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you may have noticed that I sorta dropped off the face of the earth for the past week or so. The combination of editing/writing for a magazine (I will give you the link to it if you promise not to laugh at the title), subbing for a Japanese teacher,* and having a friend stay for a few nights led to significant levels of stress, which, in turn, induced writer’s block.
My response to stress always intrigues me – on one hand, it makes me work incredibly quickly, and I can crank out schtuff in a mad burst of adrenaline. On the other hand, it also leads me to neglect less-urgent activities – blogging/house cleaning/flossing – in favour of not-at-all-urgent activities, such as googling the Quiver-full movement, obsessing over Bachelor spoilers, and petting street dogs. My long-time favourite not-at-all-urgent activity, however, is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and in my stress induced weakness, I once again turned to it this past week.
For the uninitiated, the MBTI is basically a personality test with some scientific backing. It situates your personality on four different spectrums (introvert-extravert (I or E); intuitive-sensing (N or S); thinking-feeling (T or F); judging-perceiving (J or P)) and gives you a four letter code (one of sixteen) that summarizes your basic tendencies. In my case, it’s been eerily accurate.If you haven’t taken the Myers Briggs test yet, I encourage you to do so. Here is a link to a free (unofficial) version of the test, and another link to the type descriptions.
I already know almost everything google has to offer about my type, but in true INFP form, in my stressed-out stupor, I kept searching for more and more information. Maybe I would find that one bit of information that would make life fit together in perfect, self-analytical, relational harmony. Or to use teacher lingo, would give me ‘enduring understandings’ about myself and the world. Flossing/cleaning/blogging would no longer matter because I would discover the meaning of humanity.
Well, it didn’t quite work out that way, but I did learn a few intriguing things about myself. While writing apparently comes naturally to me, so do procrastination, day-dreaming, and being totally oblivious to the tangible realities of life. Also, I’m apparently prone to hypochondria. Maybe that’s why googling my symptoms when I’m sick always leads me to believe that I’m dying.
When I ran out of new information to apply to myself, I began using the MBTI to analyze the people around me, and I must say, it has been incredibly illuminating. I know that I take this too far, but I love figuring out the personality types of people in my life, and the combination of living and working with the same group of people yields ample opportunity for analysis. I find this really intriguing, but it’s also useful – knowing a person’s Myers Briggs type can help you know who you should – or shouldn’t – approach in any given situation.
For example, if you want someone who will peer deep into your soul and identify themselves with your emotions, an NF type is optimal, and an SF would do in a pinch – just remember to steer clear of the Ts. If you want help making a decision, ask anyone with a J in their Myers Briggs type – TJs are best for rational decisions, while FJs are best for decisions involving people’s feelings. Ps will probably be pretty useless in helping you decide anything, but they’ll help you dream up loads of options. Ns are great for big-picture ideas and creativity, but they may be totally unaware of tangible reality – for anything involving details and/or the concrete world, find yourself an S, stat. If you need help writing an email, an introvert is a better bet, but if you want someone to give a speech, get an extravert.
And other than the writing/editing/hosting, that is what I’ve spent the last week doing. Just loads and loads of analysis, and procrastination, and contemplation. Exactly as my Myers Briggs type predicts. I’m just relieved that I’m married to an ISTJ (ie: sensible, dutiful, decisive, detail-oriented, rational), or my head would have floated away from my body by now. And I’d be in the poorhouse.
* I do not, in fact, speak any Japanese. Other than what I learned from Zoolander.
What’s your Myers Briggs type? I’m dying to know! Leave me a comment.