I think I have probably offended multiple people recently by telling them to take the Myers-Briggs personality test so that I could know them better. If you just took offense to that statement, you’re probably an “S,” but if you’re intrigued, you might just be an “N.” And maybe even that statement is annoying. But for me, it helps so much to understand how and why people process information, and it’s actually a way for me to love you better. I didn’t realize it could be offensive at all until recently, because it would so speak to me if someone wanted to understand MY personality type! So if I speak before I think and ask you to take the test, please know that it’s because you’re important to me and I care about relating to you well.
I think it’s easy to polarize the types, to pit them against each other, but that’s not what this is all about. It’s not better to be an N, or an S, and there’s a huge spectrum of S-ness and N-ness besides. I just so happen to be an ENFP, and I found out another friend was also an ENFP, and I just couldn’t believe it. “You’re not me!” was all I could think; I admire how this friend accomplishes so much, and one of my weaknesses is thinking and thinking AND THINKING….but never actually doing. But then we realized that I rate 60% or more for N and P, while she’s more like a 5% for each of those. Which means she’s way more balanced than I am! Two other mutual friends share the ISFJ personality, and I would never have guessed the same type for them, but as we talked, they kept saying things like, “Oh, you too?!” and we all realized that maybe the test was accurate after all. It’s not a box; all of our families, environments, and choices have shaped us, but those underlying modes of processing were there. And now we know how to relate to one another better, to avoid stressing each other out, and to give allowances when needed. So precious and sweet to me, because it’s a tangible way for me to love people, to learn how to speak to others in their own language.
So I have about seventeen other Myers-Briggs posts flitting about in my brain, but I wanted to throw this out there for now, to test the waters and prepare the soil. And I’ll leave you with this, this Revised Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.”