Jay was reading a book called Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type and we ended up both figuring out what our Myers Briggs personality types are. We are, of course, almost exact opposites. I am an Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Judger and he is an Introverted Sensing Thinking Judger/Perceiver.
It's been making me think a lot about how I think and decide things in my life, and how I deal with people. ENFJ's (The N is for "Intuitive") are "people people". I always thought that I was an introvert because I recharge alone. However, the rest of the features of an extrovert are all mine. I easily meet new people, love interacting with people, and talk more than I listen. Shares info freely? Yep. That's basically this entire blog! One thing that is especially true but which I never realized before is that I need to talk things through to think properly. This explains why I discuss every major (and minor) life decision with about 20 people before doing anything.
The Intuition part of ENFJ's means that I intake information with my "sixth sense" as opposed to what I can just see, smell, hear, or taste. Intuitive people like change, are oriented towards the future, love learning new skills and value imagination. There was no question on deciding if I was intuitive or sensory. I could barely even understand what the chapter on sensory people was saying to me.
I am a Feeler. I make decisions with my gut, based on how much I care, what other people will feel, and what I think is right. One thing about Thinkers that I relate to that most Feelers don't is how much I value fairness and justice. Most Feelers are so concerned with what other people think of them or try so hard to avoid hurting people's feelings that they can let injustices slide. I have fought to overcome that part of myself and feel proud to stand up for what I believe in. But it's a constant battle.
The last pairing is Judging/Perceiving. Both Jay and I had a lot of aspects of both sides of this, but the book says that it's good to have a balance on this one, since an extreme can make you either lazy or rigidly controlling. This section covers whether you prefer a structured or spontaneous lifestyle. I am a Perceiver with my love of playing, openness to possibilities, piles of paperwork, and enthusiasm for adapting to changing situations. But mostly... I am a judger. I like to have issues resolved, set goals, make decisions, and finish projects. A LOT.
The best part of this book is how you get to see it all come together. Like... what happens when you are an Extrovert AND an Intuitive AND a Feeler AND a Judger? You suddenly have someone who super enthusiastically loves to make decisions based on their gut feelings and wants to make that decision as soon as possible! Buy a box with a secret compartment? It feels right, let's get it RIGHT NOW! Quit your job? Make and eat a batch of cookies? Tell someone you have fallen in love with them? Rearrange the apartment at 2am? I've done all of the above in complete and enthusiastic insanity. ENFJ's are story tellers, and there is almost nothing I love more than sharing a good story. They are also creative, sensitive, and are basically hardwired to be multitaskers. We think on our feet, and quickly.
It's also good to see the downsides. I wish that I was a better listener. I frequently leave conversations thinking "Oh god. I meant to shut up. WHY DIDN'T I?". I have rushed decisions that cost me a LOT of time, money, and grief. I take criticism too personally. I always have. Art school toughened me up a fair bit, but I can't help but feel like criticism is personal, even when I know that it is meant in the most constructive of ways. My type suffers from a "Serious lack of objectivity" and thin skin. I am basically crippled when left without a plan or when waiting on factors outside my control. Because of ENFJ's desire to know a little bit about a lot of things, we never reach the master level of knowledge that true dedication to a craft requires. Also, focus, calmness, and meditation continually elude me.
This book is a lot to think about, and they have a second book about personality types and relationships which breaks it down to you (and your partners) specific type combinations. Jay and I compared ours, but I also thought a lot about growing up with my family and how my personality type connects to my sister's and my closest friends. I am just glad that somehow we all mesh together imperfectly perfectly. It's nice to have those Thinkers, Sensors, Introverts and Perceivers to balance me out, give different viewpoints, make me think twice, and slow down to enjoy the moment. Hopefully you guys love my headfirst runs into trouble, enthusiastic hand gestures, outbursts of joy/rage, and overly long stories.
Do any of you know your type? I would love to hear what all of you are!