If it helps, you can throw in Lady Gaga, Leonard Cohen, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Dumbledore. Answer. Someone thinks that all of these people/ fictional characters belong to the tiny one percent of the population that is introverted, led by their feelings, prone to rely on their intuition and yet sort of type A personalities. I agree it is an odd combo and I ought to know. Four officially administered Myers Briggs tests have placed me squarely in this INFJ sliver of humanity and I suppose I take some comfort in it. I always felt like I was a little odd. Now I know it for a fact.
Of course, when it comes to fictional characters’ personality types, people are just guessing, and when it comes to celebrities they may be doing the same. I’ve heard that Myers Briggs reminds a lot of people of astrology. You know, the way that Woody Allen, Taylor Swift and Brad Pitt and I are all blunt, outgoing, truth-seeking athletes, along with one twelfth of the world’s population.
In truth, real astrology is far more complicated, with the moon sign, positions of the planets relative to the zodiac and everything’s position in the sky all playing a role in defining a unique natal chart. You may not believe that heavenly bodies have any effect on one’s personality, but you should at least know that there are far more nuances involved.
A real astrologer laughs at the idea of a horoscope for the day although no one could quarrel too much with today’s advice that encourages the Sages of the world to “Try not to approach everything negatively” and “Take greater pride in your work.” Seriously, if one twelfth of the world did that today, would there be any cause for complaint?
But back to Myers Briggs. I have one sister, and all of our lives people have remarked on how different we are. She dresses well, entertains beautifully, and knows the difference between a soup spoon used for cream soups and a regular one. (The cream spoon is round.) Although she’s smart, she just doesn’t get the whole idea of atoms much less subatomic particles and she knows almost nothing about how her car works.
My favorite clothing involves flannel, I read physics for fun, can change my oil and I don’t have a enough matching silverware for more than four people. Yet, according to Myers Briggs, she and I share the rare INFJ corner of the world. How can this be?
Well for one, the types do nothing to address degrees. I am barely a feeler rather than a thinker, while my sister is a guided strongly by her emotions. She is barely an introvert, while I am such a strong one that it is a marvel that I function at all in social situations.
Whats more, Myers Briggs is founded on principals developed by Carl Jung and it attempts to sort out how people interact with the world. It does not describe their personal tastes or individual talents or their politics or religion or ethical framework. Others have placed Mahatma Gandhi, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, Adolph Hitler, Plato and Osama Bin Laden in the INFJ camp as well. Hey, these guys all have to go somewhere. And Carl Jung himself was in INFJ.
I find the Meyers Briggs classifications useful as a tool for understanding myself better, and for remembering that those around me often get and process their information differently than I do and that’s okay. It helps me to be myself and to appreciate who I am without the need to expect everyone else to be like me. My belief in the importance of that acceptance is, after all, one of the main reasons I wrote the novel y1.
For thoughts on how to write a novel like an INFJ, or like any other of the personality types, check out my x0 blog here.