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A public conversation about our worlds.

  • Monday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Steven Gould
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Brain Activity



Interesting Nice Friendly Jellybrain

June 8th, 2008 by Rory Harper

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? Its 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….

The MBTI is a for-cost test, but there are a lot of copycat versions floating around out there on the InterWebs for free. A popular one is at HumanMetrics and another is at Similar Minds.

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.

:

:

Here’s a description of the major MBTI types from the actual MB people, and a matrix of their frequency within the population.

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.)

Posted in People, Personal History, Pop. Culture, Rory, Science, You | 11 Comments »

11 Responses

  1. Valna Says:

    I seem to be an INFP!
    I’m not sure how I feel about that.
    Can we go back to reading about zombies…Please?
    Evil grin.
    Hugs to you and Ms. Awesome

  2. Casey Says:

    I r INFP; Ed r INTJ.

    http://sleepininseattle.blogspot.com/2008/03/myers-briggs-typings.html

  3. John H. Says:

    ENFP. Of course sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…. Qapla’ John

  4. Becca Says:

    I love the fact that psychologists have action figures. But you can’t actually reposition their articulated limbs – they have to want to change.
    Becca

  5. Morgan J. Locke Says:

    I’ve been doing a crappy job, here, myself. Buried in work and exhausted by the end of the day. I have several things I want to write about, but they are all very time consuming, I am behind on finishing my book revisions, and I can’t bring myself to put posting ahead of my book in the queue… arrrggh!

    INFJ(P) Morg….

  6. Rory Harper Says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys, and the info about your typology, here and on our secret listserv that nobody else knows about, which I will use to mercilessly manipulate you henceforth.

    Morgan — Just keep telling yourself “I’m an INFJ. It looks like I’m screwing off and failing dismally to meet my obligations, but I’m really just storing up energy and wisdom for my inevitable next burst of brilliance.”

    That’s workin’ for me….

  7. Ken Houghton Says:

    yes, but what excuse do Ed and I and the rest have??

    (You Fs at least have those bursts of brilliance; my last thing that resembled that was suggesting an Erin/Rory ticket for President, and we all know how well that worked out.)

  8. Rory Harper Says:

    It was a brilliant idea, Ken. I certainly still want to be the guy under Erin.

    But this is just Obama’s year, and we got steam-rollered.

    Maybe if we’d had a Facebook page. With the pics….

  9. persky Says:

    Hmmm,
    HumanMetrics says:
    INTJ (22:50:1:11)
    SimilarMinds says:
    ENTP (1:13:10:1) [val - 50%]

    INTJ is a slightly closer match to my job (computer programming/natural science) and I think the INTJ horoscopes are a better fit than the ENTP ones, but my wife (an INTJ who quite likes these tests) says that I am not one, so who am I to argue?

    As for posting frequency, the beauty of RSS is that it plays well with asynchronous communication — you can post when you have something to say, and our feed readers do the job of mixing it in with the rest of the feeds in the EoB genre (for me, that would be Cory Doctorow, the Pinkwater Podcast, and Sarah Bird’s column in the Texas Monthly). Penn Jillette had a great bit on this idea in his PC Computing proto-blog:
    http://pennandteller.com/sincity/penn-n-teller/pcc/email.html
    (interestingly, googling for penn+jillette+asynchronous turns up this patent as the top hit:
    http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/5920923.html
    which is the most unexpected search result I’ve come across since the time I was looking for an accordion fingering chart)

  10. Morgan J. Locke - RELOADED Says:

    RELOADED:

    Comment on Interesting Nice Friendly Jellybrain by Morgan J. Locke
    Date:Sunday 15 June 2008 13:29
    Author:Morgan J. Locke
    Neen, what kind of information are you looking for?

  11. Sean Craven - RELOADED Says:

    Comment on Interesting Nice Friendly Jellybrain by Sean Craven
    Date:Thursday 19 June 2008 10:00
    Author:Sean Craven
    Oh, man, this looks like fun. I love these quizzes that tell you what kind of shoe you’d be or how far the left of the Dalai Lama you are. (Considerably, it turns out…)
    Okay, according to the HumanMetrics quiz, I’m a…
    INFJ. (Waves at Rory, does not feel particularly surprised. Interesting Nice Friendly Jellybrain — I could live with that.)
    SimilarMinds says I’m a…
    INTP. Huh, and this description seems about as accurate as the one for INFJ.
    And the Big Five test says that I’m moderately high in Extroversion, Orderliness, and Accomodation, while scoring very high in Inquisitiveness and very low in Emotional Stability. Seems fair to me. It also seems like a glossed-over compromise version of the knotty contradictions that compose the oaf in question.
    I dunno, though. These tests always seem to leave out the most accurate answer. (Say, “To judge either intellect or emotion as being of greater importance than the other is to demonstrate a deep and really irritating form of cluelessness.”)
    There still hasn’t been a test made that could accurately express the grandeur of the territory behind my squinty little eyes. It would involve an illustrated essay question at the very least.

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