Wondering why you can’t figure out your MBTI type?
I see this quite a bit with people who aren’t familiar with MBTI and are interested in typing themselves. You find an online test, take it, and then get confused. Or worse, you take a dichotomies test and then a cognitive functions test and get even more confused because the results don’t agree with each other! What are you supposed to do now?
I’ve taken every online test I can find and have ended up with more than one result myself. And when I do take the tests, the intensity of each of my personality dimensions doesn’t always line up with how I’ve observed my personality to actually manifest. For instance, because of my Te and the role it plays in my temperament, I value a lot of down-to-earth, logical, and practical things, which makes me score more towards the S side on the tests. However, I am strongly and unmistakably iNtuitive. That’s why you have to consider the context of your answers when reflecting on your best fit type.
The important thing here is that tests are your first stop, not your last. Don’t take a simple online assessment and think that’s the end of the discussion. Here’s what you need to know about discovering your MBTI type.
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- Self analysis and observation are vitally important. How do you behave, how do you think, how do you react to those around you? Really think about this. Your best fit MBTI type will describe what you actually do, not what you think you do (or want yourself to do) so don’t be afraid to get honest.
- Spend time with people of a certain type. If you think you may be INFJ but aren’t sure, hang out in INFJ groups as well as some nearby types like INTJ or INFP. That’ll show you immediately which group of people thinks/feels more like you do.
- Spend time with people of a type that is radically different than yours. Contrast is an effective form of analysis. If you suspect your MBTI type is INFP, check out ESTJ communities and compare and contrast your personality from theirs. What do they talk about? What do they value? How do they process information? Now you’re getting to see these personality dimensions in action.
- Read all the type profiles, even the ones you think are the least likely fit. Again, compare and contrast them with your actual temperament.
- Study what the personality dimensions and cognitive functions are meant to evaluate. Feeling isn’t about being emotional. Thinking isn’t about thinking all the time. Some Js are messy, some Ps are on time. Go deeper and get at the real aspects of each dimension.
- Know the difference between what you order and perceive in the outer world versus what you order and perceive in the inner world.
- Try to type those around you and observe the similarities and differences between you and the people you know. Really get good at describing what you observe. Think about behavior and the motivations behind it. Not only will it help you find your own MBTI type, it’ll help create understanding for others as well. Plus, it’s fun getting to apply what you are learning in the world around you!
- Take the certified MBTI assessment with a consultation afterwards. Not only are you getting the official, updated test (not a cheap knockoff you find online), you are given the chance to analyze the results afterwards with a certified professional. If you are going to take an MBTI test seriously, this is the one to take.
- Read many different sources on typology, not just one. There are plenty of resources out there. Check out those who are basing their models off of MBTI and see how they understand the theory. It might just click with you.
- Check out some of the quintessential sources on the matter, such as Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type by Isabelle Briggs Myers, Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence by David Keirsey, or Psychological Types by C.G. Jung. Understand the theory at its original core and you’ll have a much better grasp on modern discussion of MBTI.
MBTI is so much more effective when you don’t just stop at the first test score you get. No test can give you 100% accuracy because our answers and perspectives change depending on the day, our mood, the way we understand the questions, and so on. It takes study and diligence (maybe a little bit of obsession with self reflection) to get truly effective at this but the results are extremely rewarding. Don’t let confusing and contradictory scores get you down! Your MBTI type isn’t as hard to discover as you think!