Personality Types, Can You Be Sorted?

How many times have you been talking to a friend about someone you’ve just met, or have known for a while and said…”I just don’t understand her. She’s a little weird don’t you think?” Or perhaps you’re so angry with your partner for not knowing what it takes to make you happy although you’ve told them time and time again?

I’ve long been interested in the differences in us….how four children from the same family can be so dramatically different and in turn so misunderstood. We’ve all known, or perhaps been, the black sheep of the family and can see how much of a strain it can be on kids who think and feel differently than the rest of their peers. I grew up (and my Mum has admitted to this too) feeling like I was from another planet. How could I be related and/or connected with all these people around me? I didn’t seem to think or feel the same. My instructors at school didn’t really understand me either. I was pretty much labelled a “weird little kid”.

For the past few years I’ve had an interest in the Myers Briggs type sorter and also the Enneagram. These two tests have really helped me to understand myself a little better as well as helping me to recognise why the social aspect of being a musician is so daunting to me. Musicians with type ENFP find this kind of work less harrowing as meeting new people and experiencing new situations is their life-blood! But for me, as an INFJ throwing me into a room of a ton of people I don’t know (unless I’m on stage) makes me feel completely awkward and uncomfortable. I’m perfectly willing to make a spectacle of myself on stage….and if the show goes well…happy to socialise afterward if I feel a good vibe in the room. It’s all about feeling for me though and one person with a negative vibe can make me feel trapped and ready to run!

The enneagram for me is a much better personality sorter. Unlike the MBTI, it makes allowances for changes in sense and situation. Each of the types have a wing or wings and and types they will lean to in places of health or stress. I’m a type 4 with a 3 wing, but thought until recently that I was a 2…as that is where I lean to in times of stress. The enneagram is particularly good for counselling as you can clearly see by characteristics where a person is in their life and what they need to work on to become centered and healthy.

The personality is a highly complex thing, and I don’t expect we’ll ever really understand ourselves or one another completely; but take a test….do some research and learn to respect yourself and others for who and what you are…different and changeable; complex and unique; and in a word, special. In turn I’ve met lots of people in the last few years that use personality type sorters as an excuse for their erratic or unhealthy behaviour. I don’t believe this is what it’s all about! A snapshot of your life is not who you are meant to be for the rest of the time you’re here. We’re meant to be working towards a healthy space and just because we’re prone to sadness doesn’t mean we should accept that as our lot. As we age, we’re learning and evolving mentally and through knowing more about ourselves I believe we can move into a space of emotional comfort and understanding for humankind.

Don’t forget to share your types and stories as you wish. I’m very interested in hearing about you and if the Enneagram and MBTI have helped you to understand yourself or those around you. Is it all just bollocks? What do you think?

Enneagram Test

Myers Briggs Test

10 Replies to “Personality Types, Can You Be Sorted?”

  1. Good stuff – I’ve been thinking a lot about the way that different personality types handle the various areas of being a self-promoting, self-releasing musician. It can be really tough for some people. It’s one of the reasons that I blog what I do, cos I find some of it really easy – I get to write a bit of a guidebook for those who see it as a wilderness, and in so doing, get other people responding with the things they are good at that are missing from my skill set…

    I think there’s lots to be done WRT getting different personality types to collaborate on stuff like this.. We should have a chat about it 🙂


  2. Of course it’s not bollocks.. we humans are bound to seek self-understanding, whatever barriers and inhibitions society imposes upon us. One of my favourite spiritual truths: “the kingdom of heaven is within you” – and one of the best routes to that: “Know Thyself” 🙂

  3. You hit some resonances for me there – I have four children, so I ask many of those questions. I’ve spent part of the last year studying temperament and personality sorters. It is a complex and involved area, so I will follow up with a full post to explain, but for now, two things:

    1) Who we are changes over time and also with where we are and who we are with. Putting someone into a box requires _lots_ of boxes. I think that is a good thing.

    2) Having said that, we have some dispositions, in terms of our individual differences. Many (most?) psychologists favour the big 5 or OCEAN model, which you might enjoy looking at.

    Blog post to follow 🙂

  4. This is really interesting.. I did MBTI about a month ago, and found that I was INFP (we think…). It was quite a revelation, because I had thought that I was something else entirely. Maybe that is why I felt so exhausted the whole time.

    I think its interesting that you say about not using your type as an excuse to behave unhealthily, or as an excuse to not do something. I think that’s completely right, but: if you’re “going against type” as I was, you do need to allow yourself time to “springback” and recover. For example: I always thought I was a people person, but now realise that I was always apprehensive before meeting people, and exhausted after. And spent days ruminating on why people behaved the way they did…

    Geez, I feel exhausted just thinking about it..

    Now I know that I jsut need a bit of downtime/processing time to cope better.

  5. I’ve been MBTI-ed repeatedly over the years–often by the corporations by which I was employed. Test results have teeter-tottered between INTJ and INFJ, but the past three or four passes have come up INFJ, so I think I’ll stick with that.

    Dominant: Introverted Intuition
    Auxilliary: Extraverted Feeling
    Tertiary: Introverted Thinking
    Inferior: Extraverted Sensing

    Kinda pointless to argue the validity of the analysis–for the most part, it describes me rather well–I *am* systematic and intuitive. I *do* define and refine my priorities, but operate on an intuitive basis that is entirely spontaneous–Suselogic.

    Dunno how “uncanny” my insight into people and situations is–situational analysis is as much a skill as an art or a “gift”, and if one perceives without prejudice, the moment (or person) will very often reveal itself. I have learned to trust my instincts–I don’t believe in a 6th sense, but if I let the standard 5 do their bits, I’m usually good. To borrow from Malcolm Gladwell, I “blink”. A lot.

  6. Thanks for all the great comments! Benjamin, I really look forward to reading your blog post!

    Thanks Deek! Enjoyed the latest blog of funk!

    Mike, I totally agree that, I remember when I found out I was an INFJ, I was shocked. I thought my partner back then was the idealistic one! I try not to fight against my urge to flee these days if that is what I really need and give myself plenty of alone time to recharge. Thankfully, I can do that around Steve…he’s the first person in my life that applies to.

    Suselogic…yes, I’ve been accused of having my own logic before as well. 🙂 I definitely have some other kind of sense which is a pretty good director of my feelings about people. It does lead me astray occasionally though..especially when the heart is involved.

  7. See I KNEW you were familiar to me… I am an INFJ although I’m borderline on the p/j so often I come out as INFP on the short test.

    I’m a raging 4 on enneagram although I’m a 5 wing which I think just makes me more prone to procrastination…lol…that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

    Love your blog, babe…and the design is beautiful. Hope to meet you in person one day soon.


  8. SuseLogic, LoLogic…the rest of ’em are just jealous!

    We all have our own operating systems–a little nature, a little nurture and the next thing ya know, we’re off.

    And some of us are more off than others.

    On a relatively short list of things I know for certain: I ignore my intuitions about people at my own peril. A few years ago, I let someone persuade me that I was being quick (and harsh) to judgment, so I let them into my life. And bloody hell but I was rightrightright!

    Not a lesson I’ll need to learn again, thanks.

  9. HAHA! Look at all the INFJ’s! Being that we’re only around 1% of the population…I think the fact that there are 4 of us here is quite impressive!

    Lovely Angela…I’m sure we will soon! So looking forward to it!

    Suse, I can believe it. I speak of a recent occurence. A deaar friend of a friend whom everyone around me admires and loves and I just couldn’t seem to connect with this person! But in the end it was just me getting in my own way. Turns out, we’re a good bit alike. It was good just getting it all out in the open and talking about it. Now all’s well! xoxox

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