Personality Types

by J.D. Roth

At one point last night, our book group discussion veered toward personality types and how they interact. Several of us have been exposed to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. A couple have made use of Enneagrams. We tried to guess where members of the group fit into the various personality scales. (Today on our walk, Jason and I continued this game.)

On a whim, I took an online combined Myers-Briggs/Enneagram test. The Myers-Briggs measures four pairs of personality traits (the following descriptions of which are taken verbatim from the Wikipedia):

  • The terms Introvert and Extrovert (originally spelled ‘extravert’ by Jung, who first used the terms in the context of psychology, although ‘extrovert’ is now by far the more common spelling) are referred to as attitudes and show how a person orients and receives their energy. In the extraverted attitude the energy flow is outward, and the preferred focus is on people and things, whereas in the introverted attitude the energy flow is inward, and the preferred focus is on thoughts and ideas.
  • Sensing and Intuition are the perceiving functions. They indicate how a person prefers to receive data. These are the nonrational functions, as a person does not necessarily have control over receiving data, but only how to process it once they have it. Sensing prefers to receive data primarily from the five senses, and intuition prefers to receive data from the unconscious, or seeing relationships via insights.
  • Thinking and Feeling are the judging functions. They are used to make rational decisions concerning the data they received from their perceiving functions, above. Thinking is characterized as preferring to being logical, analytical and thinking in terms of “true or false”. Thinking decisions tend to be based on more objective criteria and facts. Feeling, which refers to subjective criteria and values, strives for harmonious relationships and considers the implications for people. Feeling decisions tend to be based on what seems “more good or less bad” according to values.
  • Judging and Perceiving tell us which of the two preferred functions, the judging function or the perceiving function, is used in the outer world. Those who prefer Judging use their preferred judging function in the outer world and their preferred perceiving function in the inner world, and those who prefer Perceiving use their preferred perceiving function in the outer world and their preferred judging function in the inner world. Judging prefers making decisions and having closure and perceiving prefers to continue accepting data and to leave their options open, waiting to decide later. (The terminology may be misleading for some — the term “Judging” does not imply “judgmental”, and “Perceiving” does not imply “perceptive”.)

What personality type am I? I tested out as an INTP, which is a common result for me. That I am Intuitive and Thinking have never varied since I first took the personality inventory sixteen years ago. I constantly straddle Perceiving/Judging, though, indicating that I have no strong preference for either mode.

What might perhaps surprise some people is that I most frequently score as an Introvert, and a strong one. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like socializing with people (I do!); it merely means that the way I recharge my “batteries” is from spending time by myself. (Sometimes, though, when I take the test, I come out as an Extrovert. Not often, but it happens.)

I’d never taken an Enneagram before. Jason, who is an INTP, too, says that he is a 5 on the Enneagram, which is common with INTPs. I, too, am a 5.

A more thorough Enneagram test again indicates that I am Type 5, Detached. It also indicates that my “variant” is “Omni”. (I have no idea what all this means.) In other words, I scored high on Detachment, scored evenly on all the other indicators, except I had low scores for Anxious and Helpful. (My score for Helpful was atrocious; I’m a self-centered bastard!)

The following (revealing) exchange occurred at one point during the evening:

Naomi: Jenn, I don’t know how you do it. You are so organized.
Jenn: HA! These two [indicating me and Kris] think I’m unorganized.
Kris: It’s true. We think she’s unorganized.
J.D.: It’s interesting how our self-perceptions differ from how others view us. For example, many people have complained that I see things in black-and-white, yet I feel as if I view the world in subtle shades of grey. I’m never sure of anything.
Jenn: HA! J.D., how do you feel about television?

Isn’t self-deprication fun?

My condemnation of television is an example of viewing things in black-and-white, as I suppose is my desire to demonstrate the literature is better than science fiction, etc. etc.

These are classic T behaviors in the world of Myers-Briggs. It’s just who I am. Maybe I need to stop denying it and embrace the fact that the way my mind works is to separate things into dichotomies. I may think I see in shades of grey, but I may only be deluding myself. Or, I may consider things as having shades of grey, but once I actually deal with them, I have reduced them internally to black and white. (Yikes! That makes little sense.)

Also last night, Lisa revealed that she and Kristi were recently discussing my tendency to maintain ties with old friends. “He keeps his people,” Lisa told Kristi. I’ve never heard it expressed like that (Kris says I’m “stuck in the past”), but it’s true. I value friendships, new and old, and prefer to keep even minimal contact rather than lose connection completely. Just an interesting bit.

UPDATE: I forgot to include shorter tests. On this shorter test I scored as an ENTP. (It phrased its Introvert/Extrovert questions much differently.) On this word test, I score as ENTP. On the shortest test of the bunch, I score as ENTP (with a heavy extrovert score and my Perceiving/Judging split exactly 50/50). This version of the MB is interesting because it gives a score for the actual you and the ideal you. Again I scored as ENTP, but my ideal type was ESTJ. And on the final test, the longest of the bunch, I came out again as ENTP, and again my ideal type was ESTJ; the type to which I am attracted is also ENTP.

You can find a whole passle of personality tests here.


On 18 July 2005 (03:18 PM),
mac said:

so…what do you think I am? I took the test and will tell you after you guess!

On 18 July 2005 (08:15 PM),
J.D. said:

Mackenzie, I think that you are: ISFJ, though you may be ESFJ. Am I close?

On 19 July 2005 (07:59 AM),
mac said:

I scored as an ISFP, though I don’t remember the percentages. I agree with the IS and F, but I’m not so sure about the P. Good guess 🙂 you know me well

On 19 July 2005 (08:36 AM),
J.D. said:

I’ve made some guesses at types for various people I know. Lower-case letters indicate low-confidence; upper-case letters are traits about which I have greater confidence. How correct am I?

(I’m going through and adding actuals in parentheses as people report results.) How well did I predict?

Kris: isTJ (ESTJ)
Dad (dead): ENTP
Tony: EnfP (ENTP)
Jeff: IsFj (ISTJ)
Tammy: EstJ (ESFJ)
Claudia G.: ESFJ
Christopher G.: IstJ
Tiffany: eSfJ (ESTJ)
Pam: eSTJ (ISTJ)
Mackenzie: ISFJ (ISFP)
Jeremy: ESFj (split ESFJ and ENFJ)
Jenn: EsFP
Joel: Esfp (ENTP — I should have known! I think we have similar temperments)
Aimee: EnFJ (ENFJ)
Lisa: istj
Craig: iNTJ
Andrew C.: iSTp
Courtney: enfJ (INFJ)
Paul C.: INTJ
Dana: eSfP
dowingba (whom I’ve never met): iStj (ISTP)
Kristin: Istp (INFJ — my biggest miss!)
Steph: esFJ
Kim K.: IsfJ
Sabino: EstP
Julie: estP
Celeste: estj
Marla: EsFJ
Denise: ESFj (ESFP)
Paul J.: INfj (INFP, though I was way off on the P)
AmyJo: INfp (ESFJ — another huge miss!)
Jason: INTj (INTP)
Naomi: enFJ (INFJ)

Here’s an intersting thing: the more I think about FJs, the more I realize that they’ve got a completely different mindset from my own. It’s a whole other world. They’d rather do what it takes to maintain harmony in relationships than be completely honest. That’s not wrong, of course; it’s just foreign to my way of thinking.

On 19 July 2005 (08:49 AM),
Jeff said:

I took the 102 question test… twice. Both times I scored as an ISTJ… which seems pretty accurate, although I envisioned myself more of an INTJ.

As for the Enneagram, I scored as a Type 1, Pefectionism with a “variant” of “Social”. But, my score for Type 6, Anxiety was the same percentage as for Type 1… and I think that would more accurately describe me, as really I feel most happy when I am safe and secure, rather than when I am perfect and good.

On 19 July 2005 (09:39 AM),
Courtney said:

Close…I’m an INFJ, though I can be extroverted at times. I’m a 9 on the Enneagram – the Mediator.

On 19 July 2005 (11:41 AM),
Denise said:

Not that you guessed, but I’m an ESFP:

“Entertainer”. Radiates attractive warmth and optimism. Smooth, witty, charming, clever. Fun to be with. Very generous. 8.5% of the total population.

On 19 July 2005 (11:50 AM),
Denise said:

And I forgot to add that I am a 2 on the Enneagram – which was Helpfulness, although 8 (Aggressiveness) was a close second. So I like to help, and if you don’t let me I’ll just forcibly help you anyways.

On 19 July 2005 (12:09 PM),
Amy Jo said:

Just took the 102 question test, but you didn’t predict my outcome . . . wanna take a guess? I’m interested in your perception

On 19 July 2005 (12:27 PM),
J.D. said:

Yes, yes. I didn’t guess a lot of people. As I told Denise via e-mail, I would have guessed she was ESfj. Nick took the test and came out as ISFP. I’m not sure why I put J down for him. Now that I think about it, he’s classic P.

Paul and AmyJo are both difficult, which is one reason I left them off the list earlier. For example, my gut is that AmyJo is an F, but on the other hand, I’ve seen some T behavior from her lately.

AmyJo: INfp
Paul J.: INfj

On 19 July 2005 (12:36 PM),
Mom said:

Jung Test Results

Introverted (I) 70.37% Extroverted (E) 29.63%
Sensing (S) 58.62% Intuitive (N) 41.38%
Feeling (F) 53.33% Thinking (T) 46.67%
Judging (J) 65.52% Perceiving (P) 34.48%

Your type is: ISFJ

ISFJ – “Conservator”. Desires to be of service and to minister to individual needs – very loyal. 13.8% of total population.

I’ve taken this test before but can’t remember my previous results. From what I understand, the Introvert/Extrovert area is the one that generally doesn’t ever change over time.

On 19 July 2005 (12:51 PM),
Tiffany said:

I took the test, but only because you guessed what I would be. I tried to answer the questions how I normally feel, not how I have felt the last few months so that may affect things greatly. I came up with E (82%), S(75%), T(69%), J(84%).

On 19 July 2005 (01:09 PM),
J.D. said:

Interestingly, I think the 102-question test has a pool of questions from which it draws, and you’re never guaranteed to have the same questions. I know it reorders the questions.

I just took the test again, and I came out ENTP.

ENTP – “Inventor”. Enthusiastic interest in everything and always sensitive to possibilities. Non-conformist and innovative. 3.2% of the total population.

I’ll admit it: I am an Extrovert and not an Introvert.

On 19 July 2005 (01:21 PM),
Kristin said:

I have not taken the test for a few years, but the 2-3 times I’ve done it have yielded consistent results: INFJ. Sorry, JD. I hover pretty closely to “P”, however. Interestingly, Roger is an “INFP.” So much for that “opposites attract” thing. 🙂

On 19 July 2005 (01:21 PM),
Mom said:

What immediately struck me about this latest result of yours, J.D., was that the description would certainly have applied to your dad.

On 19 July 2005 (01:27 PM),
J.D. said:

Mom, you’ll note that my guess for Dad is ENTP, too. He was a lot more T than me, though. (Nick says he thinks I’m more F than I give myself credit for. This is interesting because Naomi insists that I’m an F not a T.)

Kristin, I also had trouble guessing yours. (Any guess where I have three lower-case levels indicates I had trouble.) In fact, I almost had you down as a J. And I didn’t think you could be both S and F, but guessed that you’d be a T instead of an N. This is all quite fun to me — can you tell?

On 19 July 2005 (01:30 PM),
Amy Jo said:

ESFJ: “Seller.” Most sociable of all types. Nuturer of harmony. Outstanding host or hostess. 12.3% of total population.

The Enneagram results play into some of my worst fears about being a worrisome control freak. Type 1 Perfectionism, 90%, Type 2 Helpfulness, 73%, Anxiety, 60% . . . “I must be perfect and good to be happy.”

On 19 July 2005 (01:44 PM),
tony said:

You where close big brother, I am a ENTP

Extroverted = 64%
Intuitive = 65%
Thinking = 63%
Perceiving = 63%

I was labeled as a “Inventor”

On 19 July 2005 (01:53 PM),
Jeff said:

Yeah, I can see Tony as an “inventor” (like Dad). JD, not so much… not that we don’t all have some Dad-like tendencies (Tony’s spelling would be another fine example).

PS… Hi Tony!

On 19 July 2005 (02:05 PM),
Kris said:

My result was ESTJ, but the extrovert was 52% versus 48% introvert. This feels pretty right to me; I crave both alone and social time. I was much more one-sided on the other three, and was surprised by the 79% on Sensing. Then again, perhaps that explains some of my scientific tendencies.

“Administrator”: (8.7% of total population) Much in touch with the external environment. Very responsible. Tower of strength. Hmmm.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to many that my enneagram type came out as 1(Perfectionism 83%) and 8 (Aggressiveness 70%). I, too, am happy when I am perfect and good as well as strong and in control; strong sense of ethics and high standards for self and others. Watch out!

On 19 July 2005 (02:21 PM),
Denise said:

J.D. – did you seriously think you were an Introvert? Come on….

On 19 July 2005 (02:59 PM),
JEREMY said:

I am thoroughly embarrassed to have spent 15 minutes of what has been a VERY busy day to do this, but I got a VERY persuasive message from JD!

50%/50% Split between ENFJ and ESFJ
ENFJ-“Persuader” Outstanding leader of groups. Can be aggressive at helping others to be the best that they can be. 2.5% of the population.

ESFJ-“Seller” Most sociable of all types. Nurturer of harmony. Outstanding host or hostesses. 12.3% of the population.

Enneagram Results

Type1: Perfectionism: 80%
Type2: Helpfulness: 60%
Type3: Image awareness: 66%
Type4: Sensitivity: 26%
Type5: Detachment: 13%
Type6: Anxiety: 30%
Type7: Adventurousness: 73%
Type8: Aggressiveness: 63%
Type9: Calmness: 36%

I scored as a Type1 – according to the test I am idealistic and strive for perfection. Morals and ethics drive me. I live with an overbearing critic that never rests! (oops – i forgot the word “internal” right before “critic” in the previous sentence – some of you may find this very humorous) I am always comparing myself to others and are overly concerned with external criticism.

My favorite part of this whole excercise:

My variant is…. you guessed it…. SEXUAL!!!

Wooooo fucking Whooooo!

Overall I score highest on assertive traits, followed by compliant traits, and lowest on withdrawn traits.

You happy now, MF?

On 19 July 2005 (03:34 PM),
Pam said:

ISTJ – “Trustee”. Decisiveness in practical affairs. Guardian of time- honored institutions. Dependable. 11.6% of total population.

this description fits me pretty well. i never would have dubbed myself “guardian of time-honored institutions,” but it really fits (I often call myself “traditional”) perhaps it’s why I am so ill at ease with all this hi-tech stuff. Most people peg me as extroverted because I am loud and outspoken and like to chit chat, but I work better alone and often feel mentally drained after a big gathering.

And no shocker: Perfection (83%), Detached (70%), agressive (63%)

On 19 July 2005 (04:01 PM),
J.D. said:

Michael (an ENFP) writes in with the Myers-Briggs light bulb joke. How many of your personality type does it take to change a light bulb?

ISTJ: One worked in the past, so one will work now!
ISFJ: Only one, me, as long as it is OK with everyone else.
INFJ: Does the light bulb really want to be changed?
INTJ: Could you please define change? And what exactly do you mean by a light bulb?
ISTP: One.
ISFP: Zero — the ISFP is happy just sitting there and experiencing the dark
INFP: Two: one to change it and one for support
INTP: Hmm…light…, illuminate… I=10.76LT(I/4f)(F/V)² Hcos40+If
ESTP: None, till I check the breaker.
ESFP: Who cares – the important thing is that it would be fun!
ENFP: Well let’s see, there’s one to notice the bulb is out, and one to make a new lampshade, and one to read a magazine article on alternative lighting means, and one to draw a picture of a candle, and…
ENTP: One, but only after tightening, wiggling, shaking, testing, etc. to make sure it’s not something else.
ESTJ: The cost/benefit ratio would dictate only one.
ESFJ: At least two – let me get on the phone and call someone to come over…
ENFJ: But that was my favorite light bulb!

After having discussed this all with Nick for a long time this afternoon, and after having thought about Kris and Pam, two of my favorite Ss, I’ve come to the conclusion that an S is much more literal-minded than an N.

On 19 July 2005 (04:12 PM),
Jeff said:

I read this and immediately thought of Nick:

ISFP: Zero – the ISFP is happy just sitting there and experiencing the dark

On 19 July 2005 (04:18 PM),
Mom said:

“ENTP: One, but only after tightening, wiggling, shaking, testing, etc, to make sure it’s not something else.”

I can’t count the number of times your dad did that, J.D.! LOL! And I’m quite sure I’ve seen Tony doing the same thing.

On 19 July 2005 (04:25 PM),
Nikchick said:

I’ve always come out INFP, even after periods where I thought I’d massively changed/come out of my shell/become more comfortable with myself.

On 19 July 2005 (05:18 PM),
Tammy said:

okay I gotta do this too. There was no surprise with my results. Here it is.

Extroverted (E) 89.66% Introverted (I) 10.34%
Sensing (S) 68.57% Intuitive (N) 31.43%
Feeling (F) 63.16% Thinking (T) 36.84%
Judging (J) 58.06% Perceiving (P) 41.94%

So I’m an ESFJ as is 12.3 % of the population. I’m a sellar and make a great hostess.

Anyone who knows me knows how true this is! it’s amazing!

On 19 July 2005 (07:43 PM),
Aimee said:

ENFJ – Spot on, J.D.

I want to know how you guessed … About all of us, really.

I took this test earlier this year for nursing school and thought it was bunk … But, now that I’ve achieved exactly the same score I’m beginning to wonder about these Meyers-Briggs tests …

On 19 July 2005 (08:02 PM),
Joel said:

Close JD: ENTP

On 19 July 2005 (09:05 PM),
Paul J. said:

I (67%)
N (60%)
F (60%)
P (82%)

On 20 July 2005 (06:57 AM),
tammy said:

This truly is strange on a couple of levels. Jd, I just noticed how you had me figured out. You actually had me as thinking indtead of feelng which kinda of surprises me but it is totaly amazing how close you got to all of us.

Another funny thing is how ESFJ’s say, at least two , let me get on the phone and call someone over. Every time my husband and I do a project I try to get others to help and he hates it. This weekend we set up the kids pool and I kept declaring the job far too great for us and I couldnt see why he didnt call another an to help. He gets so upset when I suggest such a thing. Now i can tell him that it’s really not something I can help. I’m an ESFJ after all!

I tried to figure out which one he is before I checked the lightbulb dialogue and I guessed him as an ISTP. Then I go up and look and the ISTP Says ONE! I think I pegged him! We are on opposite ends of the spectrum! That answers a lot of my questions!

On 20 July 2005 (07:29 AM),
dowingba said:

That Wikipedia article is exceptionally badly written. “Judging and Perceiving tell us which of the two preferred functions, the judging function or the perceiving function, is used in the outer world.” Hyuck!

On 20 July 2005 (07:41 AM),
dowingba said:

By the way, I’m:

“ISTP – “Engineer”. Values freedom of action and following interests and impulses. Independent, concise in speech, master of tools. 5.4% of total population.”

On 20 July 2005 (03:24 PM),
Lisa said:

A piddling 12% of the population suffer in my gray zone.

On 20 July 2005 (04:06 PM),
Lisa said:

Typo. I meant 1% of the population is INFP.

On 21 July 2005 (10:18 AM),
Lynn said:

I am an ISTP. “Engineer”. Values freedom of action and following interests and impulses. Independent, concise in speech, master of tools. 5.4% of total population.

I’m a type 4 on the Enneagram: I must avoid painful feelings to be happy. Well, duh?

Updated: 18 July 2005

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