INTJ, that’s me

Do parties and crowds fill you with energy, or send you scurrying for peace and quiet?

My answer is scurrying for peace and quiet, at least eventually.

INTJ descriptionOnly a couple of days ago I was talking with a colleague about the Myers-Briggs personality test. I took it at a previous job when they were laying us off. The HR department offered many departing gifts to help us become gainfully employed again—the test was one of those gifts. Recently I found my results. I was strongly Judging (J), moderately Thinking (T) and lightly Introverted (I) and Intuitive (N).

I don’t particularly like labels. I’m skeptical of personality, IQ and other standardized tests because of bias. I once read that only 1% of the population falls into the INTJ category which is kinda cool. Being skeptical and treasuring uniqueness are two traits of INTJs. Uh-oh, I guess I just outed myself.

I don’t mind being an INTJ, but I do mind living in a culture that doesn’t exactly embrace this cocktail of traits. It’s only recently that I’ve been reading more articles that emphasize extroverts needing to understand introverts, instead of introverts being told to learn how to adapt to an extrovert-biased world.

Introversion as it relates to Myers-Briggs is a bit misunderstood. It’s more about how you process things and less about whether you are outgoing or not. I prefer my inner world of thoughts and processing things internally before I share them—if I choose to share them. In my case I prefer my own quiet energy. I don’t need to be constantly busy. Being around people who do saps my energy. As a kid I mostly enjoyed experiencing the world through reading books instead of playing with other kids. Now I guess that’s translated into a preference for writing, editing, and playing, working and communicating online rather than in person.

I don’t hate parties or crowds. I enjoy parties and people–just in small doses. Most people would say I’m a chatty Cathy–friendly, talkative. I was even a public relations professional for years. But socializing does tend to drain my energy and I can hibernate for long periods of time, content with my interests and solo pursuits. When I was younger I could go to many parties and events back to back as long as I had a couple of hours of alone time later. Now, I notice I need a couple of days of alone time after going to just one. It seems my energy is drained faster and the rebound time takes longer. As for crowds, it just depends. For some reason the State Fair crowd just causes me to have panic attacks. My favorite festival crowds, on the other hand, don’t bother me at all. I enjoy being anonymous in the crowd although sometimes it would be nice to have a crew of friends to enjoy festivals and shows with like I used to.

Find more information about personality types at The Myers & Briggs Foundation. If you’re really excited about these personality type theories, check out the Keirsey Temperament Sorter or take the test.

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