MBTI Part 1: A New Understanding of Yourself and Others

It’s always fascinating to learn about the human mind in a new way and understand yourself and your loved ones on a deeper level. The MBTI (Myer’s Briggs Type Indicator) has been an avenue of so many new discoveries for me over the past several years. I was first introduced to these 16 personality types by my close friend Aubrey. In discovering my own personality type, I was amazed at how clearly it described how my mind operates. The functions that the Myers Briggs types are based on made so much sense to me as I observed the world around me.

A couple of years after learning about Myers Briggs, I started working in the library at my university. Not surprisingly, this is where all of the nerds work. I fit in there well. I was happy to discover that my coworkers were fascinated by much of the same things I was. They were absolutely obsessed with the MBTI. Discussing with them continued my own obsession and deepened my understanding of various concepts.

Myers Briggs is a big part of how I see the world. It’s very helpful in enhancing your self-awareness and the quality of your relationships. And besides that, it’s just fun. So, let me explain what exactly the Myers Briggs personality types are. There are 16 different types, and they are determined by these four categories of cognitive function.


(I) Introvert / (E) Extrovert

Introvert and extrovert are terms commonly used to describe people’s personalities, so these are often the functions that are easiest to understand. Everyone needs time with people, and everyone needs time alone. However, introverts need more time alone to recharge, spend time in their own thoughts, and sort through their feelings or ideas. Extroverts need more time around people to recharge, as well as process thoughts and feelings. They also display more openness not only to close friends, but to anyone around them. Introverts can be very open with close friends, though they typically have to exude a lot of energy to interact with strangers or acquaintances. Introverts tend to develop relationships with a higher priority on quality rather than quantity, and carefully choose who to invest their relational energy in.

(N) iNtuition / (S) Sensing

These can be the most difficult functions to explain, but can make quite a big impact on your personality. Intuition and sensing are two totally different ways of processing information. Intuition involves making connections between information, and sensing involves absorbing observational data. People who are iNtuitives tend to “live in their minds” more. People who are Sensors are more focused on the external world. People who are “N’s” tend to focus on possibilities, while people who are “S’s” tend to focus on systems. N’s are stronger with ideas, and S’s are usually stronger in physical ability or visual design.

(F) Feeling / (T) Thinking

Feeling and thinking preferences are primarily decision-making functions. Though everyone uses both thought and emotion to make decisions, people typically rely on one more than the other. People with feeling preference rely more heavily on internal feelings and values as well as the feelings of those around them. People with thinking preference rely more heavily on logic and reason. Feelers can be highly logical, and thinkers can be very compassionate, but they still have differences in how they see the world and how they make decisions.

(J) Judging / (P) Perceiving

These two functions are about organization and flexibility. They are about how a person processes and reacts to the outside world. J’s prefer structured environments, show less flexibility, and find solace in the stability of decisions, plans, and commitments. P’s would much rather keep their options open and are more likely to be spontaneous. They feel suffocated by too much structure and routine. J’s are the people that most heavily utilize planners, lists, budgets, and charts, and like to be very prepared. J’s are more likely to get projects done sooner, and P’s are more likely to wait till the last minute because they are more comfortable with and motivated by the pressure. In basic terms, J’s are more structured and P’s are more spontaneous.


The personality types are determined by 4 letters, one from each category. Such as INFJ, ENFP, ESTJ, or ISTP. As you read through these functions and try to determine your own personality type, it is important to remember that basically everyone leans toward one function or the other. This does not mean that you never use the opposite function, it just means that you have a natural preference and tendency.

Here are a few websites where you can take an online test, and learn more about the personality types:

Online tests are helpful, though I have seen so many people who mistype when they take the test. The more self-awareness and honesty you have while answering the questions, the better the results will be. It is also important that you understand the concepts of Myers Briggs so that if you do mistype, you can fairly easily with the help of friends and family discover your accurate type.

Now that we’ve looked at what Myer’s Briggs is, we’ll get deeper into different concepts and how the personality types apply to life.

Look for more MBTI articles in the upcoming weeks! Next week we’ll start to look at Myer’s Briggs with romantic relationships.

 

In Christ’s Love,

Megan

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