Personality test

I don’t know anything about psychology, and I’m not interested enough to learn more than a casual browse on the internet will tell me about the Myers-Briggs personality test. (I don’t think my doubts are interesting, either, and I’m sure people are researching more interesting things that if I knew what they were I would agree are more valuable.) But I never can resist a Cosmo quiz or a horoscope. I used this test from, which also features a frightening online marriage assessment. Via OK Cupid, there are three short steps from Jung to an ISO on craigslist. Worse: middle managers, the supposedly responsible ones, the ones who are running the country (on a distributed level) or at least the ones who are sweating over the monthly budgets and taking responsibility for other people’s work and delegating team-building exercises, these people, these faithful tenders of our great nation’s endless cubicle farms, they take this test and study it interpretation, they assess themselves with it, they make decisions by it, and they work guided by its light. Though come to think of it, a manager on my floor, who seems to be doing all right and is trying to study French in her spare time, she’s spent at least one lifetime as a pioneer women living alone with no husband and a wagonful of dead kids, this can’t be worse than that. (I learned this the day I served my stint as a Cuban border guard; I had somehow gotten volunteered without my knowledge to stamp passports on behalf of my subdepartment on an international day on my floor. [No uniforms allowed, or any military insinuation: we had a Cuban political refugee somewhere. Maybe hiding in the mailroom. Could be offended, wherever they were.] I went to scope out my table, saw her decorating: cardboard palm trees, a portable beach mural, a giant flag, fried plaintains [cold], and I called her resourceful. Yes, she said, fluttering the undersides of her corneas at me, I’ve been regressed three times. I’ve been very resourceful every time I’ve lived.)

Anyhow, it thinks I, along with 2.4% of the population, am an ENFJ, whatever that means. I certainly don’t know how to interpret it. This interpretation is flattering, and this one is incomprehensible. Well, not fully comprehensible. Nor neither comprehensive: it’s a personality I can do, but is it total?

I don’t want to lose sight of the original reason I had for posting this. Although I’m not sure anymore. Here’s a run-up on it and a grab-it-from-behind: I am puzzled by the large, heavy fact of personality. The shape of what you have shown yourself to be, the who are trying to be and where you are in your growth towards that, and the border drawn around your possibilities (and their probability gradients), I don’t like any of these things, they unsettle me. Above all, I think, I’m bothered because they shouldn’t be measurable. Because if they’re measurable, they exist, they are constraints on the person. And sooner or later, if I encounter the same constraints and I can’t get them to move, I’m liable to give up. When my blog gets a personality, I’ll abandon it. When I’m used to where I am, I leave it. When I’m comfortable with my friends, I stop answering their emails, or do my best to provoke them into breaking with me. Well, that’s not the whole story either: I’m ashamed of who I am, whatever that happens to be at any given time, and if I think I am losing possibilities or freedom, I panic from fear of remaining the shameful thing I am in the shameful way I am. And the older I get, the more hiding from being ashamed is a permanent personality element, and another dark door closing me off from light and space.

2 Replies to “Personality test”

  1. Hey, welcome back to the blogosphere. With comments and everything.

    Today I seem to be an INFJ. The I and the N are solid, but the F and the J are wobbly: in high school I’m pretty sure I got INFP, a few years ago INTJ. But the wobblyness doesn’t help with the freedom issue, since it stems from pretty stable ambiguities in my personality: for instance I am consistently not sure whether to trust thinking or feeling more; the questions always bother me. But for some reason it doesn’t bother me, this having a personality. And these quizzes give way better random flattery than horoscopes (helps to have at least something to target at).

  2. Thanks! I hope I can hang on a little longer this time. I do like the internet, but having a history makes me nervous. I’ll see if I can work with that tendency, though.

    I can never remember what I get from one test to the next (hopefully I will, this time, I’ve got a written record I can’t easily lose) – and my results vary for the same reason as you. Everyone on the internet says mood variation, or even deceit, shouldn’t matter that much, because there are alarms for that in these kinds of tests, and I wonder what sort of mechanism that could be. No doubt lots of research has gone into it.

    My issue with freedom: I don’t mind having a personality and behaving in a way determined by that personality, I mind having only one, and not being able to be flexible and clean the slate to begin again as someone else. But then I’ve always felt that way. It just comes on stronger some times than others. There was a particularly awful half hour I had when I was in the fourth grade, when I realized my face was basically unalterable – I was stuck with me. I try and avoid thinking about it, but I can’t change it, no matter how much energy I use, no matter how many different ways I channel it.

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