Thursday, October 11, 2012

Learning about Personality Types

The boy recently overheard a conversation between me and my Mom where I mentioned that I had one of the rarest personality types (INFj). I didn't think anything of it. A few days later he asked me what that was all about, so I told him and asked him if he wanted to take a test to find out what his was. I had already pegged him as an INTJ a while back when I was learning about personality types, so I thought this was a good opportunity to find out if I was right.

I was really impressed that he stayed interested long enough to answer a little over 70 questions that were on the version of the Briggs-Meyers test that we were using. A few times I had to explain what the question was asking because they were worded a little odd. There were two questions on the quiz that asked something regarding whether or not he was comfortable sharing his emotions or talking about his feelings, I could tell he was uncomfortable answering those questions, but instead of saying this was stupid or quitting the test like I would have guessed that he would do, he acted like it could go either way; he picked up an empty candy wrapper on his desk and tossed it like a coin designating one side for one choice and the other side for the second choice. Good cover!

He finished the test and my suspicions were correct. Yep, he's an InTj. He didn't test as high on the introverted part as I had guessed, but he has a very strong T trait. He wanted to know what all the letters meant, so we read about that. Next we looked up some famous people who have the same personality type, and we read about the traits of an INTJ. I laughed as I was reading some of them to him, because I could tell that he knew that WAS him to a T. (no pun intended).

INTJ strengths:
  • Immune to conflict, criticism and emotional manipulation (Tell me about it! Rewards and punishments never worked)
  • Confident in their abilities and knowledge (Overly confident at times- can spout of something as fact that no one would know was wrong unless they look it up)
  • Very strong drive and determination (if it is has a real purpose)
  • Serious attitude towards relationships and responsibilities 
  • Excellent ability to listen (remembers everything- even when he doesn't appear to be paying attention)
  • Usually very talented and insightful (so true)
  • Able to swiftly terminate the relationship when necessary 
  • Desire to constantly improve relations 
INTJ weaknesses, on the other hand, mostly focus on their lower emotional sensitivity and a sense of intellectual superiority. If you are an INTJ, you are probably thinking that there is nothing negative about these “weaknesses” – however, they should be recognised and addressed because the INTJ personality tends to be quite “black and white”, which is not always beneficial.
  • Poor understanding of emotions – INTJ can sometimes be insensitive (true)
  • Preferred reaction to any conflict – cold logic and rationality rather than the emotional support, which may be more desirable (ever so logical)
  • Tendency to believe that they are always right (How COULD they be wrong?)
  • Unwillingness or inability to accept blame (See previous comment)
  • Constant urge to improve everything could complicate relations 
  • Tendency to be fixated about the privacy and personal space 

We also looked at the types of careers that fit his personality type. They are all ones that I have noticed him naturally preparing for. Strategist, computer analysist or related fields, scientist, professor, lawyer, engineer.

I also jokingly told him that the biggest difference between how we make decisions was that he's a thinker and I'm a feeler. He has always tried to out logic me.

Now we have fallen into playing this fun little mental game where several of our conversations the past few days have become some version of him responding to me with "I THINK ....".  I come back with "I FEEL that you should THINK ...." He comes back with some other logical point and this goes back and forth until I have nothing to come back with, so I pull the PARENT card. The PARENT card always wins! Even in a fun debate..right? (In a perfect world anyway) 

This new insight that he has about his personality type has already motivated him to make some positive adjustments - especially about thinking others are intellectually inferior when they don't know something that is common knowledge to him. I really do think this will help him with his social skills.

Yet, I'm still wondering whether if it was a good thing to give away some of my "inside information" that was helping me finally stay MORE than one step ahead of him. I can see his gears turning and him thinking of ways to use this new self awareness against me when I least expect it.

I wonder if there is a support group for parents of the INTJ..maybe I should start one. Just kidding- mostly   :)


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