The Dangers of Idealizing Personality Type

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on April 15, 2018

On the 16-type scale, I type as an INFJ. This is one of eight introverted types, and it’s not a common type of Introvert. Yet do an internet search on “INFJ,” and you’ll see that it’s promoted as the holy grail of personality types. The way some commentators describe my personality, you’d think it transcends humanity itself!

It’s not just INFJ, either. Many types have this hyperbolic appeal to them. It’s their relative rarity that gives them their appeal.

Now, don’t get me wrong, reading descriptions of your personality type can be a huge ego booster! Especially for Introverts like me. But when personality theory becomes an “internet culture of personality” instead of an academic finding; when it gives someone a fairytale narrative that doesn’t really line up with reality, then something’s going wrong. I think it’s a destructive distraction from the many useful ways typology can serve us and help us to become better people.

I use my own type as the primary example here, but almost any type could be used.

Problem #1: Beware the mistype

When I first learned my type, I was intoxicated with the attention and validation it offered. But I quickly learned that not only is my type overhyped, there are also lots of mistyped people out there adding to the hype. I’m willing to bet that most of the blog posts and YouTube videos promoting “12 Surprising Secrets of INFJs That They Wish You Knew . . .” etc are not produced by INFJs at all.

When article (or video) titles include a phrase like, “the world’s rarest personality type,” that’s usually a clue that it’s overhyping the type. But the real problem comes when there’s a mistype, that is, when people type as INFJs when other types are more accurate descriptions of their cognitive tendencies.

Mistyping can happen for many reasons. It can be intentional, and it can be accidental. Mistakes are an unfortunate part of self-testing. When someone is challenged with depression and/or anxiety, for example, they are more likely to mistype themselves.

Feeling misunderstood is a common trait of the INFJ, but it’s also a common trait for anyone experiencing depression. You can see how overhyping these traits, and then glorifying them, can led someone to think they’re an INFJ when really there are other things going on.

Problem #2: Personality is not the same as behavior

Ever noticed how the grandiose identities of the internet compete to distinguish themselves as special? Two examples have really stood out for me, confirming this problem. One was a Facebook page by a woman typed as INFJ. Many of her posts were bragging about the INFJ Door Slam, in which she threatened her reading public not to “mess with me or you’ll get Door Slammed.” Another example was a video promoting the power of INFJs, in which a photo of Hitler was flashed with a warning about crossing INFJs.

These types of public threats and chest thumping are not indicators of people with the INFJ preference. Public displays have nothing to do with typology which after all, describes someone’s innate preferences, not the way they choose to act on those preferences. It’s a misuse and sometimes abuse of typology to suggest otherwise. Personality is not the same as behavior.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that INFJs are benevolent and incorruptible or incapable of making public threats. Quite the opposite, in fact. INFJs are flawed human beings just like everyone else. But personality type alone doesn’t predict behavior. The Door Slammer I mentioned seems to be using personality type as a psychological weapon rather than a self-discovery tool. Such people are less likely to care what their actual type is, than what’s the most useful tool to justify their poor behavior. They can’t be typed easily since most personality assessments are not designed to prevent biased participants from pushing the result they want.

This causes typology fans, struck by the similarities in their own behavior, to mistype themselves. Some might do it intentionally, most will just not be aware of the biases.

Problem #3: We all need validation

There are people that misuse and abuse typology because they are attracted to the popularity of the idealized narratives.

Enter the idealization of the INFJ. The narrative can attract people who prefer to validate themselves by using psychological warfare against others. People with these tendencies want to have the mystique and respect that the INFJ personality seems to attract in typology circles. The reputation and understanding of the type is being corrupted by people who want to be honored as “INFJ chosen ones.” They exaggerate the INFJ into superhero narratives to promote their own claims of being the type.

The danger of idealizing any personality type is that the narrative becomes a weapon of psychological warfare for those that seek such things. Such behaviors are co-opting the type and corrupting its definition. This is not only toying with people’s emotions in an unhealthy way, it’s also misinforming the public about personality type in general. Eventually, there will be no psychological safety in a subject matter meant to help people better understand themselves and others.

Like Gandhi, or Like YOU?

For the INFJ narrative, there’s great power in equating yourself to Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. What most people miss, is that these historical figures had more going for them than their personality type. Typology only describes the broad strokes of personality, the general and nuanced differences in the way people make use of their brains. For any given type, you have a 1-in-16 chance of sharing it with any given historical figure or celebrity – that doesn’t mean you’re anything like them.

Typology does not and cannot pinpoint the complexity of the individual. Who you are is unique. Driving a race car doesn’t make you Dale Earnhardt, just as using the same cognitive function stack as Martin Luther King, Jr. does not make you a social change leader that will alter humanity and transcend time. Your type doesn’t make you special; it just helps you explore yourself with some context and meaning.

What makes you special? You do. To be great, you must study and practice a skill that distinguishes you. Great people are great because they rolled up their sleeves and earned it, not because they took a test that indicated how they use their brain. Anyone can work hard, regardless of their personality type.

The INFJ isn’t anything special, it’s just rare. And perhaps for good reason. All 16 types have roughly equivalent attributes of pros and cons. None are the end-all of who you are. Let it be, and please turn off the spotlight.

Jason Mott

Jason is a software engineer, musician, writer, philosopher, life-long student of psychology, and proud grandfather.

More from this author...
About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


Of Like Mind (not verified) says...

I normally don't comment regarding articles I read and the like, but I just wanted to say a big 'Thank you!' to you for the balanced view and way you wrote this. It is disturbing how many use the INFJ(or ENFP, INTJ, ad infinitum) type as hype. An oak, maple, Douglas fir, baobab, bristlecone pine, or any other tree have specific traits, but how they grow (how tall, how many branches, how extensive a root system, etc.) all these are individualistic, and no one tree is more special (even the rare ones), they are all needed. 

Jason Mott says...

Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad this reached you well. :)

I really like the tree analogy.

John Manson (not verified) says...

Great article! Agree totally about being how you are at the time can lead to mistype, I test as ENFP which sits comfortably with me cos I can identify with it  and use it as a basis of self development and to reflect back on things. Don’t usually respond to articles - normally I’m out being a “Crusader” (hahaha), but this article clearly hit a personal nerve in me. Thank you!

Jason Mott says...

So glad you liked it! Thanks for reading. Now go Crusade! ;)

John Manson (not verified) says...

First one I’ve replied to, Jason! Keep up the good work, mate!

Brad (not verified) says...

Thanks for your insights.  I am assuming you are not against Clifton strengths, but it is not clear how you see the value of them.  Anything in overload can turn to a negative-I think that’s one major theme with Clifton. Maybe it would be helpful if Clifton stayed away from labeling INFJ as the rarest, or saying it was  most like Jesus, etc...can see why people would over think this-particularly INFJ’s  


Charis Murrey (not verified) says...

What is Clifton? Also, it is somewhat of a misnomer to say INFJs are the rarest because different studies come up with different results about which is the rarest personality. There really isn't a "rarest personality" because the personality that is the rarest seems to fluctuate with time. I also don't think your personality alone makes you rare...there are so many factors...

Jason Mott says...

I don't know anything about the Clifton StrengthsFinder, but I just looked it up and it looks interesting.

Thanks for your comments.

Ernie Hansen (not verified) says...

Exellent analysis! Thank you.

Jason Mott says...

You're welcome! And thanks for reading.

James Nolan (not verified) says...

Three problems with finding three problems...You have to wear the "three problems" glasses, you turn the conversation toward fear, and it's just not a great frame. Three things to be aware of, three things to consider, three things you might wanna think about...

Jason Mott says...

Not sure I understand!

Charis Murrey (not verified) says...

I agree with this article. I don't think personality type is incredibly important, just helpful. There are some things about INFJs that are very accurate about me and there are some things that are not. That is because people aren't a personality description and are much more complex than any one type. Being rare doesn't make anyone better than another person. I think bragging about an "INFJ door slam" is weird and stupid. Plus, Hitler was insane so it's hard to type his personality. I don't like when people make the INFJ personality more than it is or like "superheroes". It's ok to say that INFJs may seem to be more altruistic than most people and are perceptive but they are not magical beings or "the elite". Perhaps one problem arises from the fact that since INFJs are so rare, not that many people truly understand them so they give them unhuman characteristics. Plus, INFJs aren't as likely to share about their personality type publicly because they are introverts and after all, who cares? I am somewhat private except with close friends so I don't often publicly describe myself in full detail. Then again, who does?

Jason Mott says...

Yes, you get it. Thanks for reading!

Niveditha D (not verified) says...

A huge thank you to you for writing this beautifully true piece. I love typology, and I'm sick and tired of the posts that glorify certain types as being infallible. The INFJ posts are downright cringeworthy. This unreal idealization is not just annoying, it can be dangerous. All MBTI junkies need to know this.  

Jason Mott says...

You're welcome! And thank you for reading this!

CHRIS LYNCH (not verified) says...

This could be one of the most valuable things that I have read, all year--nicely done!

There is a book on temperament (Using the Temperament God Gave You) which makes a similar point, in the final chapter.  Its author points out that these characteristics, preferences , styles, etc.  represent one's natural blind spots just as much as they represent strengths, and so advises readers to look at them as areas for one's ongoing efforts at self-improvement.  They point to the lives of famous saints who, by the end of their lives, had pretty much erased the effects of their original temperament, so that they could be what they needed to be and do what they needed to do.   They looked at temperament as subservient to character and virtue.

Once one looks at it this way, one sees that focusing on learning about one's own type can become a way of becoming self-absorbed. So, yeah, it's important and valuable, but you want to make sure that it's serving the right ends in the grand scheme of things.

Jason Mott says...

Indeed, self actualization is something we need to work at, regardless of what we're born with.

Thanks for the compliments!

Ladybug ENFP (not verified) says...

I've been working on emerging from the custom of overvaluing personality, and your comment is really helping me shift that perspective.  I especially like the bit about saints erasing the effects of their original temperament to serve God, because being a Christian is about letting Christ live through you, and Christ had the strengths of all 16 personality types, perfected.  Thank you for giving me a hand up!

Nm (not verified) says...

Interesting indeed, in the journey to understand self better

Jason Mott says...

Yes. Thanks for reading.

Gemma (not verified) says...

Really interesting read thanks. I type as an infj and it was a massive relief to learn that my cognative functions were actually normal. But I do struggle with the constant online promoting of infj ism as the magical unicorn of the mbti world. Every type has its strengths and weakness. I am also sick of all the door slam threats. I'm almost 40 and in my entire life I have only doorslammed one person and that was after a lot of therepy. 

Thanks for your article


Jason Mott says...

You're welcome. Thanks for reading, glad you liked it.

Jara (not verified) says...

Interesting article, Jason. There's danger in idealizing anything about the self. Prideful self-glorification is the result of our human sin nature. If we do not use typology to exalt ourselves above others or justify ourselves, then we are tempted to use astrology, numerology, personalogy, income, academic degrees, job titles, social circles, religious affiliations, political parties, philanthropy, etc. The irony of using typology to align oneself with "the greats" that you mentioned is that all of them taught (demonstrated) that true greatness starts with self-sacrifice. 

I'm learning to stop idealizing anyone or anything but GOD and stop thinking that I can improve myself through hard work or intensive self-study. I'm thankful to be growing in the understanding of God's love and grace towards us and that my new identity is in Christ alone. I am trusting in God's renovative, perfecting work in me through the faith that He gives me. Care to guess my MBTI type? ;-)

Luke 18:18‭-‬19 NLT:

Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good."

Matthew 16:24‭-‬26 MSG:

Then Jesus went to work on His disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?"

Luke 18:9‭-‬14 NLT:

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!  I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’  I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

John 3:1‭-‬17 NLT:

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus.

“Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.  Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.  So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things?  I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony.  But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things?  No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.  And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.

For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him."

Matthew 16:24 NLT:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me."

Ephesians 2:7‭-‬10 NLT:

So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

Galatians 3:26‭-‬28 NLT:

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.  There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 4:21‭-‬24 NLT:

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Colossians 3:10‭-‬17 NLT:

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us.

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

2 Corinthians 5:12‭-‬17 NLT:

Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us.

Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.  He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know Him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Philippians 1:6 NLT:

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Jason Mott says...

Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading.

Mikka (not verified) says...

I completely beleive this post. It is the answer I was looking for. We (myself included( have gotten so wrapped up in our types we can see our image but are blind to God's and his calling for us immitate Him. We are NOT our "Personalities."

Jara (not verified) says...

Amen, Mikka! We are not (just) our personalities. You may enjoy the book "Godly Personalities: Growing Spiritually in Your Created Personality Type" by Roger Deemer. He explores the Myers-Briggs personalities' strengths and vulnerabilities within the context of our unique callings to reflect God's image on earth, the Holy Spirit's work to perfect us to become more Christlike, and practical tips for how we can live together in love and harmony by valuing the purposes of our differences (at home, work, church, etc.). May God continue to bless you with more and more understanding of His love, grace, and will!

Genesis 1:26‭-‬28 NLT:

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

Genesis 5:1‭-‬2 NLT:

This is the written account of the descendants of Adam. When God created human beings, He made them to be like Himself. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and called them “human.”

Romans 5:12‭-‬21:

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come.

But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many.

But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Matthew 16:13‭-‬20 NLT:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

Then He asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.  Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.  And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

Then He sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah.

Mark 8:27‭-‬30 NLT:

Jesus and His disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi.

As they were walking along, He asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

Then He asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah. ”

But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about Him.

Luke 9:18‭-‬20 NLT:

One day, Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only His disciples were with Him, and He asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead.”

Then He asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!”

JESUS: "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34‭-‬35 NLT)

Ephesians 4:1‭-‬16 NLT:

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.

However, He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say, “When He ascended to the heights, He led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to His people.”

Notice that it says “He ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world.  And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that He might fill the entire universe with Himself.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Proverbs 27:17 NCV:

As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other.

Ladybug ENFP (not verified) says...

Thank you for this comment.  I love the how you quoted 2nd Corinthians where Paul describes the Christian's life as no longer for themselves, because that has a really meaningful image to me.  I think my worst fault is giving in to sin, or the lazy path, because of the excuse,  "I don't want to talk to the person in the corner,"  or,  "I want to read this book rather than working,"  so Paul's blunt echo that it doesn't matter what we want helps me put things in perspective. :)

paul in Ca (not verified) says...

Great article.  I have been exploring MB for about 3 years and caused myself a lot of suffering with assumptions and expectations.  As an INFP, which makes sense, I took the extra step of assuming that I needed to be an itinerant novelist or other such thing rather than being in my current profession, which I have done for many years quite capably.  I believe I created a sense of emptiness and ulfillment for myself that did not need to be there.  Still working on exploring who I am but I do not need MB to define my destiny exactly. 

Jason Mott says...

Yes, do what you want, not what your personality description tells you to be.

Thanks for reading!

Jara (not verified) says...

*thumbs up* for overcoming some identity issues!

ashaw9813 says...

I think that one other point to bear in mind is that we are talking percentages here - a 100% introvert would be difficult to find, and I doubt whether there is a 100% extravert either (at least I hope not, particularly one with a pronounced F trait).

While my majority leaning traits are ISTJ, the S/N split is (according to this site at least) 52-48. Not much between them.

My most pronounced attribute is the Thinking parameter, my T value being 81%. That does not mean that I do not have much by way of feelings or that I do not concern myself about people's feelings (I am extremely considerate in dealing with my wife's feelings for example, we have been happily married for 16 years and I try never to get angry with her, as it achieves nothing). It is rather a statement that I am always happier not to let my feelings dictate my actions.

As for the introvert/extravert split (66-34), I spent over 20 years in IT (a good career for an ISTJ I am informed). I had occasionally to answer telephone calls from customers about their computer systems. No slamming down the phone because I did not want to talk to them - I was perfectly capable of giving them the information (in four different languages incidentally) provided that I stuck to the facts. You wouldn't have wanted me selling things, but explaining the facts isn't difficult if you set your mind to it.

In other words - we are not fixed in stone as one character type, it is merely a definition of the zone where we are most comfortable.

Jason Mott says...

Indeed! Regardless of one's preferences, we all think, feel, sense, and intuit. Just in different ways.

Thanks for reading!

LisaXM (not verified) says...

And then, there are the NEGATIVE stereotypes. (Guess which type is often equated with every movie villain ever. SIGH.)

Jayy (not verified) says...

i agree in points, especially the they use the type to justify their “poor behaviour”. 

I typed as an ENTP and all I could see in Facebook groups are “hey the test said I’m a natural asshole so you can’t say otherwise” 

Windaura (not verified) says...

I'm really pleased you took the time to write this up! It's a bit concerning when some types are having a reputation of being pretentious or overly vain because of how some articles emphasise the 'rarity' or 'sacredness' of a type.
Thanks for sharing your insight! :>

Marcia Reisz (not verified) says...

Just a brief comment to say that my sister is an INFJ and it is not an easy type to be. She takes on pain from others as if it were her own. She is hard on herself and every transgression she has ever done is like it just happened. She lives in her mind so the material world feels foreign and tough. She is a higly sensitive person so she has serious trouble with chaotic, loud or negative groups. She insulates herself by working from home. Her husband is also an introvert so her home life is calm.  I don't think I would like being an INFJ. I'm an INTJ and I am just fine with that.

JoanneM (not verified) says...

As an INFJ, I can relate a lot to what you say about your sister.  Until I started exploring personality typing, I was often confused as to why I didn't feel like I totally fit in anywhere. I always felt different.  Finding out my type and realzing that it is "rare", helped me understand why I felt that way and it helped me to learn to embrace "me" more.  Like the artcile says, I never looked at my type as something extraordiany but as a tool to help me understand myself better and how I relate to others in my life.  It's helped things make more sense. And I can honestly say that I have never slammed a door :)

zi inf (not verified) says...

Im an infj (actual meyers-briggs tested) and can't tell you how accurate this is. Infjs only doorslam when they are pushed beyond normal limits. Because we value relationships and people so much it probably takes years and years of abuse/hurt to make that decision. I tend to believe the best in people. The idea of threatening to doorslam anyone who "messes" with you is inherantly NOT an infj response. The truth is, I'm usually the first to apologize or try to mend a relationship because I care SO MUCH about everyone elses feelings. Doorslamming is an extreme measure rarely used and even then, its not that I do someone in, I just emotionally detach.

Likewise, being an infj is hard. I use infj info to understand myself and help myself be better. If this is the way God made me, then I want to be the best version of myself possible. Knowing what I typed as helped me understand my desire to please others (because I literally feel their emotions as if they were my own), why i relied so heavily on my intuition, that I wasn't just a messed up mistake of a person walking around. It definitely doesn't mean I'm better than anyone else - but I have a unique set of traits that I can use for good (just like everyone else does)


Nora77 (not verified) says...

I totally agree with you. I'm INFJ but I get sick of people who either are INFJ or want to be INFJ just because it's said to be the least frequent type. I don't feel like a special snowlflake or entitled to special treatment from others. I do feel different from childhood, but this isn't necessarily a good feeling. But there are pros and cons as with every personality for being INFJ. I strongly, strongly don't think I'm any more special than my husband, my family, and my friends, and everyone in the world, in the eyes of God. We are all equally loved and valued by God. We are his children. The only thing I didn't agree on was when you said the following: "What makes you special? You do. To be great, you must study and practice a skill that distinguishes you. Great people are great because they rolled up their sleeves and earned it, not because they took a test that indicated how they use their brain. Anyone can work hard, regardless of their personality type." Now it may seem far fetched, but it touches a particular thing I value, and I think it's important to keep it in mind as a society. Here it is. Just like I think people aren't great because of their personality type, I also don't think that people are great because of what they do or are capable of accomplishing. This is also a pervasive, ungodly thought, from the society that more and more is obsessed with achievement as we are today. It's like we are valuing one another based on what talents and achievements we're capable of making, not for who we are in the simplest sense of the word. No. Here is the truth that I have received from God, and that the Holy Catholic Church preaches: the value of a human being lies in their inherent dignity from the moment they came to existence. You, me and everyone is a beautiful creation, made in the image and moral likeness of God. We don't have to excel at a talent, or have even any talent, to be a worthwhile human being. We don't have to be accomplished, succesful in this or that, to be children of God, which is the biggest identity and value we can have, and which is our destiny. Or are sick people who aren't capable to learn and excel at a task lesser fully human or fully great? Are the poor or the lame or the ill or the unsuccesful not great because they cannot possibly achieve skill at something? I think somebody who isn't great at anything is as special and valuable as somebody who is. There is more to "greatness" and "being special" than measuring in terms of what they can contribute. No wonder we are considering the elderly, the chronically ill and the unborn as useless, because there is that culture of achievement, of 'doing', of utility, and of death. We have to think deeper about the value of human life and human beings, outside of the framework of our society, the shifting trends, and the general public opinions, if we don't want to become wicked like the world. Or like St. Paul says, we gotta not conform to our generation's lies and wicked ways. The world's a trap. We have to make that choice between good and evil, truth and lies. 

Harriet (not verified) says...

Thank you for presenting this information. I recently took an online test. The result, I am an INFJ-A. However, I was a bit skeptical about this. I am not a fan of being categorized in a type. I much rather like the idea that you presented, "Typology does not and cannot pinpoint the complexity of the individual. Who you are is unique." I also feel this thought of being a certain type could stifle my growth. I believe personalities can change and evolve over time.

Julie Travis (not verified) says...

I usually don't comment on articles but loved how you broke it down.  I'm an infj too, and I love when someone can make me see something I had not considered.  You balanced your opinions and used facts.  When someone can analyze by including themselves too, there is a sense of deep self awareness.   

James45 (not verified) says...

There is no perfect type.  How a person in socialized plays a huge role in shaping the way a person will act, not just those four letters.  People tend to justify, or as mentioned in the other comments idolize type.  INFJ's are very passionate about volunteer work or a variety of social issues they are keen on, but at times do not want to face the fact that everyone involved in the work is not good. At the same time being able to “read the room”, so to speak, and pick up on non-verbal cues quickly. It get’s a little frustrating when you know they are capable of noticing things and do notice everything tangible and that involves how others feel, but repress it. They also always use those non-verbal cues and signals, knowing how they can be interpreted to manipulate or correct/punish others. They are very good at noticing the unspoken psychological rules people follow and can quickly tap into them to take control.  I think people are affraid to question or challenge the INFJ because they don't want to seem bad.  They rather keep the same narrative that all INFJ's are good.

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