Personality Tests

ENFJ_border

By Gabrielle.

Yesterday, a friend shared this link to a free 10-minute Meyers-Briggs personality test. Do you know your Meyers-Briggs classification? Apparently there are 16 options. And until I took the test yesterday, I didn’t know mine. I remember taking a similar test years ago — it must have been when we lived in New York — though I wasn’t paying much attention to the results and don’t recall what they were. But I come across Meyers-Briggs references frequently, and sometimes wish I had a better understanding of the whole thing, so when I saw the 10 minute test link, I thought, why not?

Well, I took the test and the image above is a screengrab of the results. Turns out I’m an ENFJ. Immediately upon reading the results, I had about a million questions. Here are a few:

1) How accurate do these tests tend to be? Meaning, if people take a test like this once a year, do they always get the same result? Does it tend to be a permanent designation, or do personalities change over time?

2) Of course, it’s a total vanity feeder to find yourself sharing a personality with Bono, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Sheryl Sandburg. But obviously, admirable people are included with every personality designation. If you’ve taken the test, did you like the people listed who shared your personality? (I can’t imagine they ever list someone that is historically hated — like, hey, you share a personality with Stalin!)

3) If you’re someone who has taken the test, have you studied the description of your personality type? Do you know the personality types of your spouse or kids?

4) Do you consider yourself an advocate or fan of Meyers-Briggs tests? Do you take your results seriously? If yes, have you ever figured out how to improve a relationship based on what you learned from Meyers-Briggs descriptions? Has it ever helped you as a spouse or parent?

5) If you do counseling professionally, what’s your take on Meyers-Briggs? Do you find the tests accurate or valuable?

6) According to the test website, ENFJs “are a rare personality type and make up only 2% of the population”. But I was discussing my results on Facebook and there were a whole bunch of commenters that were also ENFJs. Certainly more than 2%! Does that mean I’m drawn to fellow ENFJs and have a higher percentage among my Facebook Friends?

So many questions! I would love to hear your Meyers-Briggs stories. I’m super curious. If you already know your personality type, I hope you’ll jump right in to the discussion. And if you don’t know your personality type, feel free to take the test, it’s super fast, I promise.

49 thoughts on “Personality Tests”

  1. Funny timing- at a family gathering over the weekend, we all started taking it! I’m the same as you. We looked up everyone’s results on Pinterest- a lot of little facts come up, as well as who they peg you as in popular movies/shows/characters. It’s been fun- and so far at least mostly accurate for all of our group! Most interesting to me, I’m only 1% extrovert- I’ve never been able to peg if I was introvert or extrovert. I guess the test showed I really am right on the line!

    1. So interesting! I don’t totally understand the percentages listed. At first I assumed the 4 percentages added up to 100%, but nope. So your comment helps. If I’m only 30% extroverted that makes sense to me — because sometimes I crave that alone time!

  2. Hey, guess what! I share a personality type with Hitler, Osama bin Laden and Trotsky! (not even kidding.) But also Gandhi, Plato and I also had Mandela on my list. Also the rarest type: INFJ (less than 1%)
    The description rings kind of true – like a horoscope rings kind of true – so maybe a fun parlor game (and I know many, many, many people put a LOT of stock into Meyers-Briggs), but for me — meh.

      1. Yes, for real! The site I visited had famous luminaries framed in white and notorious leaders framed in black. Of course, the famous people cited had never taken the test, the results were based on a collection of quotes (that were listed) from each person that fit the profile. But, yeah, Hitler.

        1. I’m an INFJ too! I knew it was very rare (though fairly common in my family) but not about the Hitler and bin Laden part. Yikes.

  3. I’ve taken this test a few times, I believe and I am always ISF and sometimes P and sometimes J. I’m definitely very introverted though, so I’m not surprised that I always get that (69%).

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  4. I’ve heard that your type can change over time, but I just took it again (after last taking it in college 10 years ago), and I’m still an INTP. The INTP description rings really true for me, so I buy it!

  5. I was super skeptical for years about the Meyers-Briggs test but I have to say that in my 30’s, after taking the test multiple times, years apart, and getting the same result, I think it’s right on the money for me. I’m an INFJ. When my partner and I compared results, it was kind of fun to describe ourselves to each other according to the test results. We both agreed that the descriptions were really good matches for the traits we see in each other.

    Gabrielle, it’s so fun to see your result but since I’m pretty familiar with M-B types now, I was very surprised to see, on first glance that the site claimed ENFJ was a rare type (<2%). On closer inspection, I see that your screen shot actually reads that *ENTJ* is the less than 2% rare type. It's confusing the way that text appears below the description of the other type. So maybe that explains why you've met so many of your type – they're not so rare after all! I think your type is delightful and I seem to also have many friends in that camp.

    1. Oh! So it’s a typo or some sort of programming glitch! I hadn’t even noticed. That explains a lot. Now I wonder what the percentage is supposed to be for ENFJ.

  6. We talk A LOT about Meyers Briggs in my job (leadership development for university students). There are actually some complex theories about how the letters relate to each other to determine your overall type which I generally don’t care about focusing on super deeply, but also can be interesting. Overall, when people get really rigid and scientific about Meyers Briggs, I tend to tune out (which happens to match my MB personality type.) For fun, here is my basic understanding of the theory: Introvert/Extrovert is your general attitude. The second letter (iNtuition or Sensing) indicates how you prefer to perceive the world. The third letter (Thinking or Feeling) indicates how you prefer to make judgements or decisions. The last letter (Judging or Perceiving) determines which of the previous two letters you “show the world” more, or what you do when you are being extroverted. There is also method of figuring out your dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions. If you go by theory, I don’ t think your type is supposed to change over your lifetime but MB experts believe only a person examining the different types and functions can figure out their own type, not just an assessment (tho they are useful for exploration).

  7. i have a masters in social work and we had an entire class based on Myers-Briggs and how to use it in therapy. I’m pretty fascinated by the tests and I think that they are accurate in most cases, but I happen to be an abnormality. I score midline on almost all of the letters and therefore my score changes drastically with the smallest personality shift. So if I’m feeling a little blue one day and I take the test, it could be the exact opposite of yesterday when I took the test and I was feeling happy. It’s kind of cool, and kind of confusing.

    1. Oh, this is interesting, Catherine. I have never put much stock in the tests because I have, literally, never once had the same result twice! I usually get an E (but not always) and I often get a T (but frequently come out with an F, too), but the other two letters seem to be a complete toss up every time I test.

      They really read like a horoscope to me, as another commenter mentioned – I feel like I can see aspects of myself in most of the “type” descriptions, and it varies day to day and year to year (and there are times when I actually feel my horoscope is more accurate!). So maybe I’m just midline on most of the letters, like you. Interesting.

  8. Oh, I was also going to mention another assessment which I find interesting called StrengthsQuest (http://www.strengthsquest.com/content/141728/index.aspx) which tells you your top 5 strengths from a list of 34 identified by Gallup and a psychologist named Donald Clifton, who worked for Gallup. I’m a pretty big skeptic when it comes to people who say these types of assessments are the ONLY way to figure out your personality or your personal strengths including the companies that make big $$ selling the official tests (can’t you just, you know, reflect and journal and talk to your friends?). But at the same time I like using them myself and with students because they can be an intriguing or easier/structured starting point.

    1. Love this link and Gabrielle’s questions. I use MBTI with my students to improve self awareness but emphasize that it’s only descriptive of what you know about yourself right now, and that those things can change.

  9. I did this about a year ago and got ENFJ, but when I did it this time around got ENFP. Not a massive change though and I think I probably do sit somewhere between a the two – it’s pretty spot on otherwise!

  10. In one of my upper level psych classes back in college they really shot down the MB. The most valid personality assessment is scoring people on the five-factor model, which ranks 5 personality traits on a continuum rather than choosing one extreme or the other like MB. Then, where you fall on each of the 5 traits isn’t combined into a “type.” Rather, how one person with, say, high extroversion, high openness to experience, mid-range conscientiousness, and… um… the others… will react in a given situation will not always mirror how another person will.

    That said, even if it has low predictive value, a lot of people find MB useful both to understand their traits, and to judge themselves less harshly. I think it can help people treat their traits like introversion, as neutral or positive attributes instead of as things they’d like to change. So maybe it’s a poor psych assessment, but I think it can be a great tool to help people know what makes them tick.

    Unless, like me, your result constantly changes anyway.

  11. If you want to fall down the rabbit hole of personality testing, which I think can be fun, the Enneagram is a very interesting personality test, which has types 1-9, and you can be in between. I’m a type 1, the perfectionist/reformer (which is eerily accurate), and one thing I really like is that you can read about a “healthy 1” vs an “unhealthy 1”.

    It provides personality strengths and weaknesses, but also things that you can identify with, like worldview, how you wish to perceive yourself, and wish to be perceived. It’s especially fun to read about the other personality types and think about people you know who might fit them. The full book provides information on relationships with other types, and I found it helpful in thinking about how other people see the world and how I can change my approach to work with them. It’s worth a look!

      1. I must chime in that my husband and I are very much into personality testing and have found it to be extremely helpful in our relationship. We refer to it so often. On Myers-Briggs, he’s an INFJ and I’m an ISFJ — and it’s amusing that so often our reoccurring fights are about that N and S difference. BUT, I enjoy the Enneagram SO much more. It really helps at times when another person (not just my husband, but any other person whose enneagram number I know or can project) is bothering me, to understand that they are just wired differently than me — not trying to push my buttons. It is SO helpful. I am a 4, my husband is a 1 and we are pretty sure of our kids, too, even though they are still little (an 8, 5 and 7). I think it would be pretty interesting to learn what every person in your family is. If I had to guess what you are (totally not knowing you, but gathering bits and pieces from reading your blog), I would venture that you are a 7 or 4 — but that is a total guess. I do hope you look into it! There are MANY books on it ranging in intensity.

  12. Every time I take the test I come out as an ESFP, which is the “Entertainer”, but when I read the personality descriptions, i overwhelmingly identify with ENFJ, which is the “teacher”. I guess I feel like I am tad more similar to Oprah than to Marilyn Monroe. Maybe I am in some kind of Myers Briggs denial…

  13. Interesting. In college I was an ESFJ and I took it today and now I am an ISTJ. The changes make sense to me though, so I think it is pretty accurate.

  14. In college I was an ISTJ but every time I’ve taken some form of MB quiz in recent years (10-15 years later) I get ISFJ. I think it’s definiteLay possible and probably even entirely normal for personalities to shift ovare time as you grow and learn and experience new things!

  15. Fascinating! I was so curious about my result (ISFJ) that I took two other online Myers-Briggs tests. I got the same result for each, and they all had different questions!

  16. I’ve taken this test several times and never remember what the results are other than “I.” But this test that you linked to had the most detailed explanation of anything I’ve read before. I thought my result was pretty accurate: INFJ.

  17. I recently took the MB test because I was told at work that I have no leadership skills and more alarmingly I realized that I really really don’t want to be a leader (you see the problem). I did the questions, but the person who evaluated me also went through each type and asked me to guess/identify what I was and kept prompting me to think back to how I felt in high school. My official results were INTP but I identified as INFP. I also happen to be an attorney and I kept on saying, yes, my result it T, but it’s not intuitive, I just pause and readjust because that’s what I’ve been trained to do. I was told to go over both profiles and go with the one that speaks to who I am most. So yes, I think your results can change over time depending on the context in which you live. Also, my type is apparently a rare type too. I guess they are all rare…. Or Gabrielle maybe it’s all the rare personality types who are attracted to your blog ;-)

  18. I have been fascinated with personality tests over the years, and the Enneagram is my favorite, because I like seeing the way different types can look different under stress, and it really emphasizes growth and potential, which the Myers-Briggs does not. I have taken the MBTI several times and come up with very different results, which, I discovered, is not surprising, given that its validity and reliability has been seriously called into question. Here’s a good explanation of why:
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/give-and-take/201309/goodbye-mbti-the-fad-won-t-die

  19. I’ve been an ENTP since high school, even when I’ve thought I had changed drastically, my results in college were the same. (There was a really high concentration of us in our Political Science major…)

    My husband is finishing his Ph.D. in OBHR and holds very little stock in MBTI and gets annoyed when I reference it. Adam Grant, author of the article in the link above, is a superstar in his field and my husband holds the same arguments he does. Maybe Adam Grant can finally convince me to give it up! :)

  20. I’m ENFJ, too!
    We own a family business with my father, two brothers and my husband all working together. As a group, all of us (including my mom and sisters-in-law) took the test to determine our types. It was very enlightening to see what everyone is! It definitely helped explain why some of us do certain things, behave in certain ways, etc., and has given my some insight into how to best approach some of my family members who are very different than me and has allowed us to work better as a group. And funny enough, I am the same type as my mother and my husband is the same as my father – those were the only personalities that matched!

  21. Hi! I have taken them over the years and I have consistently gotten INFJ, though I have also gotten ENJF, I think I am borderline introvert and extrovert and depending on what mood I am in determines the way it goes. But, by nature I am far more introverted. I have very extroverted parents and so I think it is by conditioning that I have some extroverted tendencies. I love mine, it made sense to me and I could see how it fits me well. I got my family to do it and it was fascinating, though learning that my brother and husband have the same results, kind of unnerved me a bit, I am still trying to wrap my brain around that one! I love learning about the people around me, I am so excited to see what my daughters are when they are a bit older. I think it is an excellent tool for relating to all types of people and understanding we are all so different in how we think and feel, it helped me in my career as a counselor in the past.

  22. I love Meyers-Briggs and use it all the time, though my type is prone to being the most interested in it in general (INTJ). I don’t think your type actually changes over time, but more that your ability to gauge yourself and what you really need changes. For example, in college I tested ENTJ, but it was because I was so social that I really saw introversion as negative, so either didn’t really answer those questions honestly, or didn’t recognize my need for alone time to recharge. It’s also hard for people like my husband (ENFP) to put themselves in a ‘box’, so sometimes people get different results, but that’s also characteristic of that type! (ENFPs are all about possibilities).

    I use this in relationships all the time. An ENFP friend and I were trying to decide on where to plan a fun weekend away recently, and she sent out a short list of ideas, but she hadn’t really done any work to research whether they would work for what we wanted, she was just so excited about taking the trip. I did a little research to narrow the options, and sent back what I thought our best course would be, with some alternatives. She sent back even more ideas of new places, because she just couldn’t stop thinking of them and didn’t want to be limited! This is the opposite of how my brain works, but sometimes an ENFP just needs someone to reign them in a little, so I just filtered through everything she was saying to try to figure out what she was really getting at, picked what I thought hit most of the criteria, and sent back one favorite, which everyone agreed on. I didn’t really want to be the one “in control”, but it was also really helpful for me to know from her personality type that she was just never going to be “the decider”, so she needed someone else (me) to make the decision, because what she likes is being the idea person.

    It makes sense too in explaining why I like it so much – my type wants everything to be more quantifiable, even people, and I think my ENFP friend would disagree and say something like “people are so different, there is no way to quantify them!”

    1. This makes me laugh – I’m an ENFP but when I read your story about your ENFP friend sending loads of going away options I wonder if my results are true – I would do what you did – reign things in with a little organisation and narrow down the options to what suits everyone, fits budgets etc. Ha! Must be more organizational than I thought.

  23. In my teens and early twenties, I went back and forth between INFJ and INTJ. And the Feeling is consistently the weakest one for me (e.g. 1-4% F compared to 80% introverted). It is very helpful for me because I am frequently understood and having this rubric means other people with similar personalities write about the issues they have. I find it very helpful when I can identify similar issues in someone else, and learn about how they dealt with them.
    And a lot of it does massage the ego! INFJ is supposed to be really rare and the same personality type as Mother Teresa, MLK, Jimmy Carter, and Nelson Mandela. For a while I wondered if they just told everyone their personality type was rare, just for kicks.
    http://www.16personalities.com/infj-personality

  24. My world shifted when my husband came back from a leadership course that was based around M-B personality testing. I understood so much more about him and about how different we were in the way we interacted in the world. He described how during the course the participants were divided into smaller groups based on their personality types (not all 16 types but 6 – 8 sub types). The groups were given basic assignments to complete, e.g. design your perfect office, design a timesheet and other office-related processes. It was amazing to see (1) the size of each sub group; (2) the way each sub-group addressed each task; and (3) the time each sub-group took for each task. My husband was in one of the small groups (about 1/4 the size of the largest group) so he realized why he always felt like an outsider in the organization, his group took 1/10th of the time to accomplish each task (an ah-ha moment realizing his perennial frustration with the organization’s inability to move on anything) and his group members had so much fun outside of the meetings (unlike the other groups!). The M-B typing was a way for my husband to understand and appreciate the different ways that people think and process information, he actually became a lot more tolerant after that course . But he made a bigger effort to seek out like-minded people so he didn’t go stir-crazy!

  25. Interesting. I took the test in college almost exactly 10 years ago for a leadership class and I got ENFJ. I remember discussing it in length with my professor because I am not a true extrovert. I just took it again and got ISTJ which definitely seems to fit me now in my 30s. I think it is interesting to know what I am, but I do think we grow and change according to situations and experiences, so I never like when someone bases assumptions about me on labels like this. After marriage, children, moves, and jobs, I am definitely a different person than I was in my 20s.

  26. I took this test a long time ago, and while I don’t remember the letters, I remember the label I got: “The Field Marshal” – which my husband jokes about and still calls me. I took it again today and got ISTJ – “The Tradtionalists”.

  27. Susan Mazzoni

    The university at which I work uses the MB test and its results in several courses for staff. I think the takeaway from the test is that the results represent your personality tendencies. I am an introvert but there are times when I can be extroverted. One of the ways it was used for us at work was for each category, have everyone line up according to their score. In this way, with one look, you could see the range of introversion and extroversion there was, some of us being on the far end of one or the other and many in between. Our class instructor used scenarios to then illustrate how our personality tendencies influence how we work and communicate.

  28. I’ve taken these tests many times over the years, and it’s always consistent. ISTJ. And the description fits me very well. :-)

  29. A friend of mine was telling me about a book she recently read called MotherStyles. A parenting book based on your specific Meyers-Briggs personality type. I remembered taking the test in college (15 years ago) and that I was an ENFP. I took one online a few weeks ago, and sure enough ENFP!

  30. We had a unit on the Myers-Briggs in my Educational Physchology class back in college. The internet has a lot of myers-briggs “tests” but I’d really only put much stock into a myers-briggs test given by someone who is certified to do so. Plus, then, it shows all the traits on a continuum, which I feel is the more useful and accurate way of looking at it- as traits on a continuum- rather than “personality types” like it was a horoscope.

    My teacher explained it like this: There are four sets of traits, that exist on s spectrum with two opposite extremes on each end. These four traits or preferences are how you most likely interact with the world, especially in work or learning environments. No one exists at 100% anything (Jung, whose theory the Myer-Briggs is based on, said that a person 100% any of these would be a lunatic). Introvert/Extrovert tends to explain where one’s focus in (inner-world/exterior world) and what you need to recharge. Like, my sister needs to be around other people to “recharge;” I can only be around people so long before feeling drained and needing to go be alone. Sensing and Intuition would have more to do with processing information. Intuition is more of a need for the big picture first, followed by the details; sensors are likely to need details that build to a big picture. Thinking/feeling have to do with decision making (are we logic driven or looking at an emotional truth) and judging/perceiving has to do with how we organize our work time. A perceiver is more likely to feel they do their best work “under pressure” and may even tend towards procrastination; a judger will have schedules and likely are not as into spontaneity.

    So, I think they can be helpful to understanding how those around you best function/want information/their work schedule designed.

    1. I agree with what you’ve said about the traits being on a continuum. Some traits may be more apparent than others, and weaker traits are areas where you might see your type change.

      My type hasn’t changed since high school and my husband’s type is one of the two most compatible with mine. There are dating websites based on the MBTI. Googling your type will give you lots of information, but as you mentioned, Kristian, you have to be discerning about the sources of information.

  31. I recently took this test for the third time in 10 years. In the last year, I have a new position and really thought my type would have changed based on the very different program i am responsible for..but it has been exactly the same each time – INTJ!

  32. I took one years ago as part of a TQM (Total Quality Management) workshop I did early in my career (early 90’s). It was part of an exercise about figuring out who would work well together on teams. I am an ENTJ which I think is an accurate reflection of my personality. By being aware of my co-workers personality traits, I was able to realize my differences with them and more effectively work on a team with them. I have never taken the “full” test again but at various times I have taken the little online quizzes that are suppose to be mini versions of the test and I have always come up with the same ENTJ personality so I think like IQ, it tends to change very little over time. It tends to be “who you are” and how you see the world.

  33. I’ve been obsessed with reading all about ENTP’s since you posted this. It described me so well, but in a way I never realized!! I’ve read some other descriptions to compare and nothing describes me better than ENTP.

  34. Another one who’s taken the tests several times over the years, I consistently fluctuate between INFJ and ISTJ – both profiles are fairly accurate in describing my personality traits and I often wonder if I’m in the middle of the two but fluctuate depending on my mood that day?

    I do find it interesting and it does help me accept me for who I am because I have a better of understanding of why I am as I am.

  35. There’s a lot of research backing up the accuracy of the Myers Briggs, particularly in how it can be used to understand and predict behavior in social interaction, the workplace and relationships. As a counselor I use it as a tool to help clients understand themselves and it can be very useful in that regard. The research also shows it remains fairly constant over time but you have to realize a person could test as INFP (my type) but barely be a P by one or two points. In that case on a different day that person could test as an INFJ because truly they are almost split between P and J preferences. Even knowing that provides helpful info. The true test (not the internet free versions) gives you scoring that allows you to understand that better. Many people do not realize it is based on the Jungian archetypes and Jungian psychology which has been around for a very long time. I think it’s a great tool!

  36. I am a ISTJ, “the traditionalist” (the 9%). I read the descriptions and I had to kind of laugh at how accurate they are. As I was reading I realized my husband has some of the qualities as well. He took it and got the same thing. It makes sense that most of the time our disagreements are based on the way we do things, thinking our way is the best way, etc. Both of our career paths fit into the personality descriptions as well .

    Did your husband take it? Could you guess his before he took a test?

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