07 September, 2008

Of personality tests

Our 17 yo daughter has been enjoying a personality book by David Keirsey titled _Please Understand Me II_

Hat tip: my friend, Katie took a similar test found online that matches the Keirsey personalities or temperaments. For fun, take your own personality test here.

I have changed over the years, but I'm still an idealist. Twenty-five years ago, I tested as an ENFP - People naturally confide in the Idealist/Champion (ENFP). They make good mediators, counselors, teachers, consultants, and reporters.

I then grew more INFP - I think after having children and being so much into attachment parenting. - The most sensitive of the Idealists is the Healer (INFP). While their list of jobs may echo that of other Idealists, they are more drawn to express their own unique vision of the world than all other types, so their work cannot help but be unique. They interpret their visions in the world of music, art, entertainment, or dance. As a professor or teacher, counselor or social worker, they often unlock the mysteries of life for those they encounter.

Now I am an INFJ and the "Idealist/Counselor" - The Counselor (INFJ) is a more private person than the Teacher. Counselors work in human services, marketing, or as a job analyst, or are drawn to the arts as a novelist, designer, or artist.

If I was feeling more extroverted, I would be an Idealist/Teacher. I can be very extroverted, but my preference these days is toward a more quiet life overall. - Of all the Idealists, the Teacher (ENFJ) is the most likely to seek leadership positions in the private or public sector.

The Idealists are the group most attuned to values and seeking the greater good. All Idealists seek to have a life of meaning, to help themselves and others grow to be the best that they can be. They do not want to be a copycat of someone else, but want to be seen as a unique and valuable individual.

My daughter was surprised and hadn't thought that one's personality might change. What do you all think? Based on your life experience, have you changed, mellowed, become more caring, etc., over the decades and seasons of your life? If so, how? Take the test and leave comments or links to your own observations.

who very much does not want to be a copy of someone else or do what thousands of other people do, say, and teach. I guess that could be for better or for worse, eh?


Katie said...

I do think personalities change over the years-- at least where tests are concerned. The way we answer the questions changes based on what we have experienced and what we have learned.

My brother received a head injury at the age of fourteen that changed him from a happy-go-lucky, outgoing kid to a quiet, thoughtful one. That is an extreme physical example, but I think it shows how experience can change us. The theories surrounding neural plasticity nowadays support the idea that our personalities can change as we go through life.

Katie said...

"who very much does not want to be a copy of someone else or do what thousands of other people do, say, and teach. I guess that could be for better or for worse, eh?"

Ooh, I wanted to comment on this as well. I feel exactly the same way, and tend to not put a whole lot of stock in personality tests as a result. But I was thinking about how people cannot be pigeonholed into just a few varieties of personalities as we were taking the tests the other night, and it occurred to me that each of the four segments of personality used in the Myers-Brigg type indicators is stronger or weaker depending on the person, giving even more variety to the range of personalities in humankind.

For instance, my husband and I are both INTJs. But my Thinking aspect was only slightly expressed. I mean, it was a *1*. The last time I took this test, I was Sensing rather than Thinking. I remember being surprised by it. (We were driving down the road coming back from a trip to Phoenix almost two years ago and taking the test out of a career-oriented book Mr. Honey and I were reading together.) So now I am Thinking, but only slightly so. He is much more strongly Thinking. This would account for some difference in our personalities. (And I do see differences, despite us having the same 'label.')

Of course, no system is perfect! (And this is coming from a lover of systems!)

Leslie said...

Kim, I agree, too, about personalities changing. Years ago our women's ministry went on a retreat with the topic being taking the DISC test and discussion following. I remember seeing weaknesses in my results and consciously working on them over several years. As a result I know it greatly changed me.

One thing about my personality is that I don't like thinking about it too much. I don't like me overly much. I would rather analyze someone else! :)

SeƱora Smith said...


In college I tested ENFP, and my dh (then my boyfriend) tested ISTJ. We were so total opposites! Even when we did the "walk across the room" test with Dr. Rohm, he and I were at opposite corners of the room. It was really funny when Dr. Rohm said, "point to where your spouse is" how many people pointed just like we did! I am going to retake the test and I'll post my results. DH & I have talked about how we've grown more like each other over the last 18 years (particularly the last 14, which is our marriage), so I'm curious to see how that works out "on paper"! I'll see if I can get him to take it (being ISTJ, though, he isn't fond of those kind of things!). Hehe...