Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Personality types

So here's the post I promised earlier. I find personality types fascinating, and I love taking personality tests. There's an excellent one here. My results are always the same when I take these tests, which makes me fairly certain that they are accurate. My results are always ENFJ. Once you find your type, you can google the letters and find out all kinds of interesting information about your type. Here are some things I found out about myself...

ENFJ's are outstanding leaders of groups, both task groups and growth groups. They have the charming characteristic of seeming to take for granted that they will be followed, never doubting that people will want to do what they suggest. And, more often than not, people do, because this type has unusual charisma. ENFJ's place a high value on cooperation from others and are most willing to cooperate themselves.

Found in only 5 percent of the general population, ENFJ's place people as being of highest importance and priority. As a result, ENFJ's may find themselves feeling responsible for the feelings of others to an extent which places a burden on the relationship. An ENFJ communicates caring, concern, and a willingness to become involved. Thus people turn to ENFJ's for nurture and support, which an ENFJ is usually able to deliver. At times, however, these kinds of demands can overwhelm ENFJ's, who find at this point that they lack the skills to dissociate. ENFJ's do not seem able to turn away from these demands even when they become unreasonable. Or, if forced to let go of the burden through sheer unavailability of time or energy, ENFJ's experience a guilt all out of proportion to the realities of the commitment made to the relationship.
ENFJ's are especially vulnerable to idealizing interpersonal relationships, raising these relationships to a plane which seldom can sustain the realities of human nature. Because of this tendency to raise interpersonal relations to the ideal, ENFJ's may unwittingly overpower their friends, who believe that they cannot possibly live up to an ENFJ's perception of them. The fact is, ENFJ's are extraordinarily tolerant of others, seldom critical, and always trustworthy.

ENFJ's have an unusual ability to relate to others with empathy, taking into themselves the characteristics, emotions, and beliefs of others. This can pose a danger for ENFJ's because they can unconsciously over-identify with others and pick up their burdens as if they were their own. In the process, ENFJ's may risk their own sense of identity. They have a natural ability to mimic because of this highly developed ability to empathize by introjection. They are likely to be very concerned about the problems of those close to them, but they also may get as deeply involved in the problems of those not so close and may find themselves over-extended emotionally.

For the full text of this particular description, go here. What's interesting to me is that this description is frighteningly accurate. I put the most accurate passages in red, just for fun. What's interesting is that most of these passages in red are things that I've found myself struggling with recently, and with particular relationships.

So why do I care about personality tests? I was having a conversation with my boss and mentor just today about how important it is to look at yourself every now and then and ask the question, "who am I?" Taking stock is something that not everyone does, and I think everyone should. It's always important to look at yourself and ask the tough questions, to realize what your strengths and weaknesses are, and to figure out ways to fix what might be wrong. Now I know a personality test on the Internet is not the best way to take stock, but it really does force you to look at yourself honestly and say, "this is a problem that I have." Of course, if there is something in the description that doesn't apply at all, I ignore it. But I always spend a good deal of time making sure it doesn't apply to me. Does that make sense? I hope so. But if not, chalk it up to the advil pm I took 30 minutes ago and the fact that it's 11 and I didn't get any sleep last night. So now it's time for bed.

I'd love to hear other people's personality types! The quiz only takes a minute or two to take, and it's so interesting!

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