Saturday, February 1, 2014


I love questionnaires and quizzes.  

Not school quizzes which always made me feel grossly inadequate and incapable of remembering important stuff (never mind the fact that I could sing along to Salt N Pepa's "Shoop" all the way through if needed and don't even get me started on Disney soundtracks) but entertainment quizzes.   

You know, "Which character of Friends would you be?" (once I was Phoebe, the other time Joey... not sure what this means) or "What should you be when you grow up?" (Astronaut.... ha!).   

So when my boss said he had to take a version of the famous Myers-Briggs personality test for a class he is taking to finish his degree, the geek in me perked right up and requested the link to the test, just for fun.  Bemused by my enthusiasm for something he was being forced to do for a grade, he passed it along.

I figured it would be fairly accurate, cause well, it's famous and pretty well respected. I had no idea exactly how accurate it would be.  Scarily so.

Turns out I am an INFJ.  So what does this mean?

The test is based upon Carl Jung's theory of psychological typology - his belief that the human consciousness is characterized by it preference of three general attitudes.  These include being Extroverted or Introverted and which mental functions are preferred in two pairs (Sensing vs. Intuition) and (Thinking vs. Feeling).   

Jung proposed that in each person, one of each characteristic is more dominant than the other and that by understanding these we can better appreciate how others worldviews mold their personalities and who they are.  Another researcher, years later, named Isabel Briggs-Myers proposed that in addition to Jung's three dichotomies (opposites of the same spectrum - i.e. thinking versus feeling) there is a fourth which is (Judging vs. Perceiving).  The combinations of all four dichotomies result in 16 different personality types.

I am INFJ (Introvert, Intuition, Feeling and Judging)

While the version of the test that is available online here goes into great detail, I will only include some key points below that really struck a chord with me. If you've ever wanted to understand why I do things and act the way I do, this is a great place to start.  

I highly recommend you go and check it out yourself - even if you feel you are super self-aware and understand how and why you approach things in the manner you do, the validation that it can offer is highly rewarding.  For me, it was a "look, I'm not crazy - other people think the way I do!" kind of moment.  I hope you have one as well.

INFJ - Introvert(56%) iNtuitive(12%) Feeling(38%) Judging(33%)

You have moderate preference of Introversion over Extraversion (56%)

You have slight preference of Intuition over Sensing (12%)

You have moderate preference of Feeling over Thinking (38%)

You have moderate preference of Judging over Perceiving (33%)

INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally "doers" as well as dreamers.

INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people. 

On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates." While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers." As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood -- particularly by those who have little experience with this rare type.
INFJ's are highly empathetic. This empathy can serve as a classic example of the two-edged nature of certain INFJ talents, as it can be strong enough to cause discomfort or pain in negative or stressful situations.

There can sometimes be a "tug-of-war" between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals. And the I and J combination, while perhaps enhancing self-awareness, may make it difficult for INFJs to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings. Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. 

Many INFJs perceive themselves at a disadvantage when dealing with the mystique and formality of "hard logic", and in academic terms this may cause a tendency to gravitate towards the liberal arts rather than the sciences.

In their own way, INFJs are just as much "systems builders" as are INTJs; the difference lies in that most INFJ "systems" are founded on human beings and human values, rather than information and technology. 

Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. 

Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends. Such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words.

INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately.

Writing, counseling, public service and even politics are areas where INFJs frequently find their niche.

Famous INFJs

Mother Teresa - founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity
Nelson Mandela - President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999
Martin Luther King, Jr. - activist, preacher
John Calvin - protestant reformer, the father of "Calvinism"

Nicole Kidman - actress, singer, film producer

Billy Crystal – actor, comedian

*INFJ description by Marina Margaret Heiss and Joe Butt via

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