Happy Monday, everyone! I admit, I haven’t been having a very good past few days, but the nice thing about growing up is that you learn how to manage your emotions. So, even though things have happened, I’m doing alright 🙂 Anyways, I wanted to talk today about the benefits and problems of one of my go-to comfort activities as a kid – taking personality tests. I always liked them because you get the suspense of ‘results’ without the stress of academia. Today, though, scrolling through MBTI and Buzzfeed didn’t give me the thrill that it once did.
It seems silly, but I genuinely enjoyed taking these quizzes. I liked having someone explain why I am the way I am, because it meant that I could be understood, and that I wasn’t a freakish anomaly. It also helped that the results were usually very complimentary – my pre-pubescent self loved hearing how ‘brave like a lion’ I was, or how my favourite ice cream flavor showed I was ‘unusual but elegant’.
In particular, I have always tested as INFJ-A through the MBTI test, which was the go-to personality exam at both my high school and my current university. It means that I rely on intuition and emotion before making assertive judgments – according to many websites, INFJs are the rarest type of personality in the world. When I was in middle school and high school, trying to navigate social dynamics, I found solace in the idea that I wasn’t fitting in because ‘I’m rare and unusual’ – rather than the harsher possibility that I wasn’t fitting in because something was wrong with me.
Nowadays, I look back on personality tests with a fond wariness. I had a lot of fun learning what kind of dragon I would be, or what profession I should pursue. But, in hindsight, it seems a bit self-indulgent.I think the problem with these personality tests is that they will never be able to fully grasp the complexity that every person has inside them – people are not always smart, they are not always altruistic, and everything is tinged with grey. Another problem I have with them is that they give you one, unchanging definition – you are this and that’s that. But one of the greatest things about life is that there is always room for change.
When I was a kid, I used to be a compulsive people-pleaser. I HATED having people mad at me, or even slightly annoyed. According to MBTI, that’s a classic INFJ trait, and something that is a dominant part of my personality. But now, at 19 (almost 20) years old, I really don’t think that definition fits me anymore. Yes, I do still struggle with conflict, and I try my best to avoid tense environments. But, I have based my life choices on what I was to do in life, as opposed to what others want of me – I am happily dancing to the beat of my own drum right now, and I don’t think any personality quiz could account for my own, unique individuality.