Monday, August 24, 2009


I have taken versions of the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator test numerous times. I recently took a very condensed version on Facebook. The result is always the same, regardless of how lengthy or shortened the given test is. I am always an INFP (Introvert, INtuitive, Feeling, Perception) type.

You are idealistic, loyal to your values and to people who are important to you. You want an external life that is congruent with your values. You are curious, quick to see possibilities, and can be a catalyst for implementing ideas. You seek to understand people and to help them fulfill their potential. You are adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened

I used to be bothered by the idea of being an introvert. I believed that meant I was unsociable, uninteresting, shy—boring. And I have felt that I was viewed in all those ways by some. I remember a classmate telling me I was "shy" and I bristled at that characterization. It sounded so fearful and insecure to be shy, and I've never thought of myself as either. At the same time, I envied the extroverts who seemed always to be the life of the party, the popular kids. I thought I might be able to change if I tried really hard. But, of course, I couldn't/didn't and eventually came to understand that this is a part of one's personality that is pretty fundamental, though probably everyone has elements of both. And what I have learned about the difference is that basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people. An extrovert is energized by being with other people.

Could this child have ever changed herself into an extrovert?


What I have found fascinating with the Facebook quiz, is that nearly all the people who do what I do, ie. fabric art, are either INFP or ENFP types. The Introvert/Extrovert part seems much less relevent than the other three characteristics. We had an interesting discussion in our STASH group awhile back about taking classes. Gerrie, an extrovert in every way, loves to take classes. Loves to meet a lot of new people in classes, loves to put together a "posse" to have lunch with, trade fabric with, share tools with and generally bond with. I rarely take classes. I prefer to study a book, and experiment on my own. When I do take a class I am usually the one in the back corner, away from the noisy, social group, finding my pace with the teacher and doing whatever it takes to block out everyone else and get into my own zone. OK—I'm not really that antisocial—I socialize during breaks and after class, but I don't want to be distracted when I'm trying to learn something! Just knowing that each personality type draws its energy from two different sources makes the differences in experience and preferences perfectly logical. I'm going to try to remember that.


  1. I just took the facebook quiz too--INFP. I'll have to check with my quilting friends. What an interesting idea.

  2. Yup, I'm an INFP, too. People so often misinterpret what Jung meant by "introvert", as you said. I've come to think of it as people who are gathering energy to do wonderful things.

  3. I love those tests. I always come out as an INTJ. Introvert...something I used to wish I could change, but I've found that what it means (for me) is that instead of yapping about, I am quietly observing and thinking, and it gives me plenty of insight into those around me, and now that I'm older, the confidence to know that I make good decisions and am strong. And I find great joy in peaceful, small moments, which my extroverted acquaintances can't seem to appreciate.

  4. You could have been talking about me in the last paragraph, that's how I am in class also. Knowing that I'm an INFP has made it much easier, but constant interaction just drains me.

  5. Anonymous9:07 AM

    Interesting conversation this morning.
    The "new" way of defining Introvert/Extrovert is much more to my liking, what do you think.

    That is, the introvet uses/needs INTERNAL energy and the extrovert uses/needs EXTERNAL energy.

    The simplier way to see this is to use your classroom example; you are using your internal engery to help you focus and create. Nothing at all to do with other people, only oneself!

    The old way of looking at the two types always feels, to me, like I am lacking something, some social understanding, some vital part of my personalily is wrong. Ah Ha... not any more!

    Linda H.

  6. As you know, I am always and ENFP and married to an INTJ - sometimes it is difficult, but we probably balance each other.

    I am in withdrawal because it has been some time since I took a workshop, but I am hanging in there, making merry on FB!!

  7. Sheesh - I guess we're polar opposites! You probably find me obnoxious!!! :-) Of course, this was a FB quiz.

    ESFJ - The Provider

    Gracious, encouraging, supportive, thoughtful, considerate, friendly, and sociable. Keen sense of duty and high ethical standards. Looks for ways to bring people together by nurturing others.

  8. I always thought of myself as an extrovert, but Jan pointed out that I give out energy and fall apart exhausted after being with people. I've always been in awe of people who maintain a cheerful energy long after I've started to turn to jelly.

    I seem to give away all my energy with most of my daily joys,like painting as well as talking and thinking and writing. Whatever I am doing drains my energy, like a well that has limited water. Teaching was like that; painting is like that; telling funny stories is like that.

    hmmm. Nope, I'm not going to take that blasted test again.

  9. Haven't taken the Facebook version, but I'm an INFJ on every MBTI I've done. So's my husband, which is not typical for an engineer.

  10. I'd guess I'm right there with you. I used to struggle, trying to make myself more "like the others". But now I realize that we are each different in our personality makeup. Our brains think differently. And that is good. Who would want all of us to be the same.

  11. I'm an INTJ the one Kiersey calls "The Mastermind." I've always been fine with being an introvert, but I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that I've got the potential to rule the world (if only I'd look up from my research long enough to be heard). Mwaa haa haa!

    However, the FB quiz was too short and had unanswerable questions. It had me all wrong because of that. The FB one is the only time in a dozen tests that I've ever been classified as an extrovert.

  12. I test both ways. My introversion is situational. Mostly when in a class I want to talk to everyone. Concepts come easily, and I just want to chat. Not surprisingly, my class projects are rarely finished at the end, but I know lots of stuff about everyone else's project, their sewing interests, etc etc. I swing between needing the group-vibe (which is energizing for me) and wanting to not be around anyone and just create (also energizing). I must be right in the middle of E and I.

  13. Terry, you might try to find the book called "The Introvert Advantage." (It's not new so you may be able to find it at your library.) It's a wonderful explanation of how introverts differ from extroverts, and how introverts are NOT shy, socially backwards, anti-social, etc. The author, someone who has compiled a ton of research, concludes that introverts tend to "recharge" by alone time, but then can enjoy going out into the world with people, while extroverts recharge and energize by being with other people. The book also talks about how introverts think differently, how their brain paths work differently. As I'm an introvert and raising an introvert child, I was very interested to read all of this.

  14. Understanding that my "introverted"-ness refers to how I think and process information has not only helped in how I understand myself and how I process information but explain that I'm not ignoring someone by not responding immediately to their questions, comments or concerns. Because I work so hard at being friendly and outgoing most people don't know that I'm introverted! What I find amazing and somewhat amusing is that I love to teach quilting however I'm so drained at the end of the session.
    I've always tested the same way as well since taking this test.

  15. The E/I refer to your source of energy: internal (are you in your head?) or external (do you need other people for energy?)

    etc. Too tired to go into it any more tonight. It is all fairly complex and absolutely fascinating.

  16. I'm an INTJ, always have been. Can I be an unofficial member of STASH anyway? :)

  17. Terri - I find it very interesting that so many of the comments are "I"'s. I too am INFP (and I'm an engineer in my day job which makes life interesting). I've taken several versions of the MBTI and the last one I took was a long form. I score extremely high I and N, moderate on the F (this has a lot to do with the T behavior required for my job) and moderately high on the P. I've found I've become more I as I get older. I call myself the hermit. ;-) At the end of the day, I go home to my cave and am perfectly happy.

  18. Terry,

    As an introvert, I say thank you muchly for this information it will help me feel better about myself.

  19. Terri - the tests are fun but I think we are all mostly too complicated to pigeon-hole into 4 letters.
    But I love the photo of that young lady and the calm assessment of the photographer which seems to be going on behind those huge dark eyes.
    And what excellent taste in reading material even then - Eeyore has been a life-long hero and role model for me!

  20. Terry, I saw your birds on an issue of the CPS or maybe it was QA email newsletter. They looked fabulous! Congratulations!