I haven’t written here much for quite some time, and feel nauseous guilt about it. I’ve failed in my commitment to my fellow Brainiacs. (Not that they’ve done much better lately. Hah! ….Wait….That wasn’t nice…Or friendly….)
Not Actually Doing It behavior is a constant theme in my life. I often ponder and perfectionize, rather than acting. I go through periods where I just soak up info and rest and am practically inert socially. I’m frequently abstracted and divorced from daily reality. I don’t answer e-mail or return phone calls or seek out companionship. This can go on for months. I call this my Hermit Phase. Until a few weeks ago, I was convinced that this was a serious personality flaw on my part.
But now I know better. I’m not bad, I’m just INFJ. We do those things.
A significant part of the work I did with clients when I was a counselor involved normalizing their behavior. They’d come in feeling damaged and inadequate, blaming themselves and thinking that no one else was like them or had reacted like them to the trials and opportunities that life commonly hands out to us all.
So, you have trouble sustaining long-term intimate relationships? Other people do, too! You hate your job? Everybody hates their job! Methamphetamines? It’s a goddam epidemic!
Once you get past those feelings of having unique and insoluble problems or defects that no one else has experienced, you can start looking at ways other people like you have found to cope, overcome, change, mitigate, or even accept them.
But it’s really, really, really difficult to accept your quirks and perceived failings, after a lifetime of internalizing that there’s something inexplicably wrong with you.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is based on Jungian theory, and is extremely popular these days in corporate settings. The idea is to fit people and teams together to match their inner needs and compatibilities. Which, uh, is a bunch of bullshit, as far as I’m concerned.
People love the test and feel that it describes them well. It’s enticing that it’s a no-shame no-blame test. It just tells you in what ways you’re wonderful and that you’re okay. It’s great at helping you to accept yourself and not feel weird.
There are areas that you might want to examine, of course….
I get almost identical results from both, and a few others out there. Sometimes I show as having a razor-thin INTJ classification, by about 1%, rather than INFJ. I’m sorta okay about that. INTJs are pretty cool, too, though not as cool as INFJs.
The MBTI correlates, some, with the Big Five test, which supposedly accurately addresses the best, most current psychological theories. But I don’t like the Big Five so much, because it says I’m neurotic. And that the MBTI is flawed. To Hell with them evil Big Five people.
I love being an INFJ!
We’re creative, we have the most delicately calibrated bullshit detectors in this arm of the galaxy. We’re so damn thoughtful and insightful that we’re always right, even when the entire rest of the planet (excluding other INFJs, of course), think that we’re wrong. And, golly, we are soooo deep. Here is a detailed INFJ profile. It describes me perfectly.
Tom Selleck is an INFJ, for Ghod’s sake. What more could I ask for?
INFJ and INTJ are the rarest and most desirable types, of course. Each makes up about 1% to 3% of the population. People like me, who are practically both, are damn near unique.
Oops. No, wait, the point here was to not be weird. I meant to say — Boy, are we ever normal within our own types!
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. These types of tests are about on the same level as gypsy fortune-telling. You want to succeed, but sometimes you feel that you hold yourself back. You don’t act as responsibly as you know you should. People think that they know you, but if they knew how you really are, they’d kill you and eat your head.
But, honestly, I read through all the other type descriptions, and when I get more than one letter away from my typology, it quickly feels like a very bad fit. The list of kinds of jobs that INFJs hold could basically be transplanted as my resume.
Most of us do have a flaw that we should work on – We’re much harsher with ourselves than with others. We’d be a lot better off if we could learn to be as gentle and forgiving of our own flaws as we are of those of the people we love.
I’m embracing my INFJ now. I’m okay with who I am, because Myers-Briggs told me I can be.
So, what’s your type?
Whatever it is, it’s okay with me. Us INFJs are famously tolerant people.
But I bet that everybody here is either an INFJ or an INTJ, because we like hanging out together so much and get along so well with each other.
See you guys later. I’m gonna go lay down now and read a book and not answer your comments.
(Exculpatory note: An entry or so on the MBTI appeared on one of the poliblogs last week, but I’ve been working on this post for at least three weeks, so I’m not copycatting that. And, yes, I’ve backslid on the reading-the-poliblogs thing, but am not nearly as bad off as I was, and am struggling to get away from them again, before they ruffle my INFJness.)