Monday, January 10, 2011

T vs F

Every time I've ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test, I've come up right smack in the middle of the Thinking/Feeling scale.*  Generally very, very slightly more on the Thinking side of things.  (If you aren't familiar with that test then this post won't make much sense.) Thinkers are supposed to make decisions based on what they think objectively, while Feelers are supposed to make decisions based on what they suspect will best contribute to social harmony, and correspondingly avoid what will lead to discord.** 

Being in the middle means I don't really have a strong preference for either one, because the Myers-Briggs doesn't measure one's aptitude in deciding things rationally verses deciding them based on social concerns, it only measures which and to what degree one prefers.   So I suppose I just don't care much either way, or I see the value in one or the other depending on the situation, etc.

One MBTI type-watching book that I read suggested that people who exert only the tiniest of preference one way, can sometimes find themselves in a state of confusion that makes them utterly incapable of using either preference effectively and act like the un-healthiest version of their opposite.

Whatever.  Clearly one should learn not to nerd out so much to popularized psychology tests.  Today I sure acted like an un-healthy Feeler, allowing a neighbor to convince me to put money into a communal service I didn't much think was necessary and consequently didn't much want to pay for. Yet I didn't want to be a free rider when many of the others on our street were volunteering to put money in to something I would benefit from even if I thought it wasn't required, and in the moment it seemed like the benefits of community solidarity and camaraderie were was worth a mere six bucks.  Hell, maybe it even was, because I've always hated living in my little box and never even knowing who the people who lived in such proximity even were.  Yet still, that the whole thing was not what I thought was necessary, I just did it anyway because that's someone who makes decision by Feeling does.  Consequently, our street is allegedly going to get plowed tomorrow, despite the fact that I'd already contributed to community solidarity plenty by shoveling two tracks into most of it.

Ah well, if it snows another half a foot tonight, then I'll have made the right choice after all.

**An MBTI certified (apparently, you can do that) friend of mine once told me that women who test as only slight Thinkers or Feelers should look at their results with scrutiny, because we are socialized hardcore toward Feeling even if that isn't what we prefer.  I couldn't say if men are equally pushed away from Feeling and toward Thinking, or if they just aren't actively pushed toward Feeling like women often are.  Over-the-top displays of masculinity strike me more as Feeling decision than Thinking ones...but it's all just a model, anyway.  Even if I have often found it useful in working with people whom I otherwise have a hard time understanding.

*For you type-watching nerds:  INTJ. INFJ?

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