Thursday, October 3, 2013

Reevaluating MBTI

My dad's side of the family gets together every two years for a week-long reunion. I think they're crazy, but it gave me a good way to make time and my development growing up. I can remember myself at each reunion and it gives me a plot point for who I was at different moments in my life. I

t helped that my aunts, uncles, parents, and grandparents had extensive rituals for systematizing all of that information, from lists of all of our clothing sizes and interests, scrapbook pages, measurements (height and weight), and to a bi-yearly reevaluation of where we stood on the Myers-Briggs test.

ENTJ. I have always tested an ENTJ. Always. Like, massively, dramatically, unquestionably ENTJ. Extroverted, intuitive, thinking, judging.

Last August, Ben and I started dating. Two weeks after that, I took the MBTI for work. I was an ENTJ, barely. I was almost an INTJ. An E to and I. An E, the part of that status I have always held most dear, taken the most pride in. There were only ever two Es at family reunions, my mother and I, the odd-balls of the group for sure. That E that put off my family for so many years started to retreat.

I'm not sure why I've always been so attached to that extrovert status. Maybe because I never really was and I was trying to grab at something I thought I could be because I kept testing that way.

When I took the test last summer someone pointed out that the introvert/extrovert dilemma isn't about how you usually spend your time, it's about where you draw your energy. Maybe that misconception is why I always tested an E; I have always tried to be busy, spending lots of time with friends and getting involved in my community.

But where do I draw energy? Increasingly over the last two years my energy comes from being alone (or virtually alone, because in many ways I consider being with Ben, being alone). The moments I am sitting in a dark room, writing a terribly self-assessing blog posts, are the moments I live for.

Perhaps as my life gets busier in terms of school and carer planning, it is nice to be calm and safe and quiet and alone.

And I think, increasingly, I like that. 

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