Myers-Briggs personality types: an introduction

Since I talk a lot about my Myers-Briggs type, I want to explain more about it for people who aren’t familiar with Myers-Briggs. Learning about Myers-Briggs helped me gain self-knowledge and become happier with myself; it helped me decide on my goals and what kind of person I want to become; and it helps me understand other people and navigate relationships. It’s hard to find concise information about MBTI in one place, so I decided to write up a summary of what I consider to be the most important basics, as well as some interesting facts on the prevalence of different types.

The basics:

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of many different ways of categorizing personalities. According to the MBTI, anyone’s personality can be described using four dimensions:

How you get energy: Introversion (I) or Extraversion (E)

E’s are energized by action and spending time with others. I’s are energized by quiet time and reflection.

What kind of information you value: Sensing (S) or Intuition (N) [These are the “perceiving functions”]

S’s spend most of their time thinking or talking about things that can be perceived with the five senses: observable facts, events, people, places, etc. N’s spend most of their time focusing on things that can’t be perceived with the five senses: concepts, ideas, relationships, meanings, etc.

How you make decisions: Feeling (F) or Thinking (T) [These are the “judging functions”]

T’s make decisions based on logic, weighing all options impartially and methodically. F’s make decisions based on empathy and values, with primary concern for the feelings of everyone involved.

How you organize and interact with the outside world: Judging (J) or Perception (P)

In dealing with the outside world, P’s primarily use their S or N function to remain open to new information. J’s primarily use their T or F function to organize information and make decision. P’s prefer to remain flexible, spontaneous, and are able to adapt quickly to new information, while J’s prefer advance planning, structure, and organization. Continue reading “Myers-Briggs personality types: an introduction”

Not just a stay-at-home-mom

One of the things I’m going to miss most about being a grad student is being able to tell people that I’m a grad student. It was a way of telling people that I’m more than just a stay-at-home-mom.

When I meet other moms at playgroups, one of the questions they always ask is “do you work or stay at home?” I took pride in saying I was in grad school and telling them what I was studying. It was a way of identifying the type of person I am to other moms and seeing if it resonated with them, because it is really hard to find moms I could be good friends with. “I’m a grad student” really means “I love learning about complex things that have no bearing on everyday life. I love doing research and reading scientific papers and thinking. I’m an INTP. And if you love these things too, then maybe we can be friends.”

But now I’m just a stay-at-home-mom, and there’s no pride in being a grad school quitter. I don’t know how to identify myself as an interesting person to other moms, because it’s not as acceptable to talk about math and science and time travel at playgroups where moms usually talk about Pinterest and crafts. “Grad student” seemed like a good way to encapsulate my personality.

Someday I hope to be able to say, “I’m a stay-at-home-mom, and I’m a writer.”