Graphics by Caleb Krakow
What kind of Croc are you? Are you more Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie? Which British swear word should you use today?As I scroll through Buzzfeed’s Snapchat page, headlines for ‘personality tests’ taunt me. I definitely have clicked on all of these quizzes, but at some point I began to wonder to what extent personality tests are accurate.
Personality tests are a universal security blanket. ‘You enjoy compliments, getting good grades, and you need sleep, and so does Jennifer Aniston!’ Wow, what a ground-breaking discovery! The same generalized conclusions are given on almost every one.
While I question the legitimacy of the endless Buzzfeed quizzes, I came across a personality test a few years ago that actually gave me accurate and detailed conclusions – while also explaining my weaknesses – the Myers Briggs 16 Personality Test.
After completing the 75-100 question test, you are assigned one of 16 personalities. Each of the 16 different personalities is made up of four letters. The four letters serve as an explanation of learning style, social tendencies and more.
I received the “INFJ” personality, which is the least common type, less than 1.6 percent of people are like me. My type of INFJ is commonly referred to as the “counselor”, which explained a lot. I realized people tend to confide in me, whether it be explaining their struggle with an eating disorder or talking about who they like. After doing more research, I learned that my type is good at making other people feel comfortable, which I found to be counterintuitive, considering I am introverted.
The ‘I’ stands for introvert, which actually isn’t the same thing as shyness. It has more to do with how we gain energy. I, for instance, am more energized after being alone.
The ‘N’ refers to how one takes in information. I process information through patterns, and I want to see the big picture. The ‘F’ has to do with how we make decisions, and since I am a feeler, I tend to make decisions based more on my feelings. The ‘J’ refers to lifestyle preference, and since I am a ‘judger,’ I prefer to be structured, controlled and organized.
There are 16 personality types, but that’s not to say there are 16 distinct personalities. The personalities overlap thinking processes and tendencies. Everyone is internally different and it is crucial that we understand that.
I like to plan and get things done as early as possible – and that’s just how I work best.
One of my friends does homework the minute she is assigned and religiously uses her color coded, sticker-infested planner. Another friend snapchats me a picture of her half-way done project at 3 a.m. the night before it’s due. I used to think about how insane she is, but then I realized that’s just how she works best.
After seeing the differences in those around me, I researched what my personality type actually meant. All the websites and blogs I read came to the same conclusion – INFJs are different. INFJ bloggers said they often feel like they think completely different than everyone else. They often just “know” things without being able to explain how they know. I, for example, am usually able to guess people’s birth seasons. They are sensitive, so when someone says something that could be a putdown, they overanalyze the heck out of it. When I walk into a room and people are stressed, I begin to stress out before I say a word to any of those people. All of these aspects combined make me feel alienated and sometimes just plain stupid.
I have had multiple math teachers who may have been good teachers, but I never could piece together what they were saying. Instead of rephrasing it to accommodate my learning style, I felt like they were just repeating their explanations over and over again. In order to understand topics, it’s crucial for me to see the big picture in order to understand any given topic. Needless to say, this was detrimental to my understanding of math. If teachers are more educated on how to accommodate different personalities, or even if students with similar personalities are grouped together, schooling could be changed for the better.
Along with the results of my test came relief. I realized that just because I sit in AP Chemistry and watch everyone else grasp concepts immediately doesn’t make me dumb. While others understand everything right away, I still have question after question coming in. I may not grasp every math concept immediately, but I can interpret how my friend is feeling right off the bat. The Myers Briggs Personality Test made me realize that’s just who I am.