I’m the type that doesn’t think about “types” too much.  But it would seem that I have friends who glean insight from this sort of thing, so I thought that I should go find out just what they mean when they tell me that I’m a “five”.

For all I know, that might be an insult.

So, here’s what I’ve learned.  (As always, my expertise on the subject should be assumed to be no greater than what one can obtain from wikipedia.)  Let’s start out with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, because it’s the more familiar of the two indicators that I know.  I’ll get to the Enneagram later (might take a day or two).  There must be other ways of typing people, but these are the only two that would mean anything to me at all.

I first encountered the MBTI when my soon-to-be-wife  and I were going through pre-marital counseling.  To be honest, I resented the idea of being typed at all.  That probably says something to you knowledgeable folks right there.

So,  according to wikipedia:

The Myers-Briggs typology model regards personality type as similar to left or right handedness: individuals are either born with, or develop, certain preferred ways of thinking and acting. The MBTI sorts some of these psychological differences into four opposite pairs, or “dichotomies,” with a resulting 16 possible psychological types. None of these types is “better” or “worse”; however, Briggs and Myers theorized that individuals naturally preferone overall combination of type differences.  In the same way that writing with the left hand is hard work for a right-hander, so people tend to find using their opposite psychological preferences more difficult, even if they can become more proficient (and therefore behaviorally flexible) with practice and development.

We filled out our questionnaires, and I found out that I’m a ISxJ.


My sentiments exactly.

Here’s how I understand it, letter by letter:

I’m an Introvert, rather than an Extrovert.  In fact, it isn’t even close.  This is the only letter that I manage to remember without consulting the MBTI definitions.  When my wife and I filled out the questionnaires for each other, we correctly predicted each other’s types with one exception: I was so introverted that I predicted that she was an extrovert.  In fact, she’s also an introvert – just not quite as much.

I tend to understand things best in a Sensing way, rather than in an iNtuitive.  This means that I value facts, physically verifiable information, concrete observations made in the present or past.  I don’t deal as well with ambiguity.  I’m not as comfortable using imagination to visualize the future.  This preference for sensing over intuitive understanding is moderately strong, but it isn’t overwhelming.

Unless you happen to be a piece of scientific data, I tend to make decisions in a way that uses both a Thinking and a Feeling approach.  I fall in the middle of this one – hence the ‘x‘.  The thinking side of me is logical, detached, and objective.  The feeling side values a more personal way of dealing with problems – one that considers the impact of a decision on everyone involved.  If you put me in the lab, I shift into ‘T‘ mode.

I approach my surroundings in a Judging way, rather than a Perceiving way.  I come at situations with a plan, I like to be prepared ahead of time, and so on.  I don’t like to take things as they come, necessarily, and I don’t care for multitasking.  This is another instance where I have a moderate preference for one over the other, but it isn’t absolute.

So there you go, all you ENFPs.  Have a field day.  This is when you nod knowingly and say, “Yep.  He’s one of those scientific ‘ST’ types.”

I’ll try to deal with the Enneagram soon.