Sunday, October 27, 2013

[Carol] doesn't have many friends you know, I suppose it's just her personality.

The above bitchy quote from the Joan Crawford film Queen Bee has been buzzing around in my mind all day. Having done a degree in Psychology and then read up on a fair amount of Social Constructionist theory on top of that I don't believe in the validity of personality tests that much - they can be just as accurate as horoscopes and people have a tendency to just agree with any vaguely sounding positive statement they read about themselves. But I did the Myers-Briggs personality test last night and it turns out I'm an INFJ. More specifically that means I'm more introverted than extroverted, and tend to be introspective and rely on my imagination rather than engaging with the world around me. INFJs are somewhat sensitive souls and make decisions with their hearts. They like to commit to things and have order and tidiness around them. We are also quiet but have strong opinions and are good written communicators. We hate conflict and criticism and can behave somewhat irrationally when dealing with it.

Martin Luther King was one apparently. And I'd guess Carrie from Homeland would be one too. She spends a lot of time alone rather than socialising, she relies on hunches and emotions in her work (sometimes to her detriment, sometimes not), she's very driven to defeat all the terrorists and she can't handle conflict at all - almost always over-reacting. And she's not very relaxed.

The description of INFJs sounds like it applies to me too, but what surprises me is that this is the rarest personality type, held by only about 1% of people. Some personality types, like reliable best friend ISFJ, fact-checking ISTJ and team playing nice guy ESFJ are about 12 times as common. Maybe that helps to explain why I sometimes feel that my everyday interactions are a bit off-kilter at times - that I don't get other people and they don't get me. I kind of wish I'd done the test earlier in life - it might have helped to have known the result when I was in my 20s - a time when I tried harder to fit in and connect with other people and often felt disappointed by friends. All this time, it was just my personality unfortunately.

The website suggests other types that I'm likely to fare best in a relationship with, and fortunately my fellow, who also took the test, is one of those. He holds the second rarest type - making us a pair of very odd birds. It's true that there is someone for everyone, but in our cases we were lucky to find each other when we did - the odds weren't necessarily in our favour.