How Do I Know If I’m an INTP or an INFP?

One question you might have after learning about Myers-Briggs® types and taking a few tests is how to tell two similar types apart. Maybe the online tests you took gave you a couple different results. Or maybe you started reading about the types and discovered more than one sounds a lot like you.

If you’re trying to decide whether you’re more of an INTP or an INFP type, I hope this article will help. Just looking at the letters in these personality types, we might think the only difference between them is that one is a thinking type and one a feeling type. This is only party true. When we dive deeper into the cognitive functions that describe the mental processes each Myers-Briggs® type uses, it become easier to see the differences and similarities between these two types more clearly.

If you’re not familiar with cognitive functions, you can check out my post “The Simplest Guide to Myers-Briggs® Functions Ever” and Susan Storm’s post “The Cognitive Functions – What Are They?” for a good overview of how that works. INFJs and INFPs might look similar at first, but they use completely different functions, as shown in this graphic:How Do I Know If I'm an INTP or an INFP?

The way these cognitive functions work together makes INFPs and INTPs similar in some ways and very different in others. They might seem near-identical in some ways, but they lead with very different functions and that makes them much less similar than you might think. Read more

Personality Type Myth-Busting: Are Judging Types More Judgmental?

Thinking that the Judging/Perceiving preference has to do with how judgmental or perceptive an individual is is a common misconception, especially when people are first learning about Myers-Briggs® types. It’s easy to see where this idea comes from. Judging and Perceiving are right there in the names, after all.

In reality, the Judging-Perceiving distinction is more about describing how we make decisions and learn new information, as well as which side of our personality we prefer to use in the outer world. Before we can answer the question of, “Are Judging types more judgmental?” or a related question such as, “Are Perceiving types more perceptive?” we need to take a closer look at exactly what these terms mean in Myers-Briggs® theory.

Judging and Perceiving Traits

Sensing and Intuition are both Perceiving functions.  You can click here to read an article that provides an overview of the whole concept of functions in Myers-Briggs®. For more on the traits of Judging and Perceiving types, you can see Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge and Personality Types by Lenore Thomas. I referenced both books when writing this post.

If you’re a Perceiving-type, then you use either Sensing or Intuition as your preferred way of learning (i.e. perceiving) new information. The P in your type tells us that for you, this function is outer-world oriented (Extroverted Sensing or Extroverted Intuition). Perceiving traits include flexibility, information seeking and gathering, resistance to structure, improvisation skills, impulsiveness, and a present-moment focus (Personality Hacker, p. 29; Personality Types, p. 48-49).

Feeling and Thinking are both Judging functions. If your’e a Judging-type, then you use either Feeling or Thinking as your preferred way of making decisions (i.e. judging). Having a J in your type tells us that for you, this function is outer-world oriented (Extroverted Feeling or Extroverted Thinking). Judging traits include understanding and valuing structure, a tendency to make and follow plans, long-term focus, organizational skills, comfort with familiar environments, and responsibleness. Read more

The Enneagram Types As Fictional Characters

One of the things I like to do when studying personality types is find examples of the different types in fictional characters. It helps each type make more sense to me if I have some example to link it to. While I was reading The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, I started having fictional characters come to mind as I was reading. The types “clicked” as I realized I understood them well enough to relate each to a fictional character.

Much has been written in books and online about the numbers on Enneagram, and today’s post is not going to re-tread that ground with complete profiles of each Enneatype. I’m just going to give a brief example of each type using a fictional character that I think is a good example of that type. I’m still an Enneagram beginner, so don’t take everything I say as the definitive view on the Enneagram. But I hope to give a overview for others who, like me, are trying to get a better sense of how the Enneagram shows up in real life using examples of fictional people. I’ll be quoting from the book I mentioned earlier as well as type profiles from The Enneagram Institute®.

Ones — Steve Rogers

These types are perfectionists who follow rules to the letter and are deeply committed to the concept of fairness. They tend to believe that their way is the right way and they’re very sensitive to criticism (both from other people and from their harsh inner critic). Ones have a mind that naturally compares things and makes value judgements, but as The Road Back To You points out, they tend to be shocked that other people see them as critical. They’re “The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic” according to The Enneagram Institute. Read more

Why Type Fictional Characters?

I love typing fictional characters. Partly it’s the same part of me that enjoys studying English literature in an academic setting. I like analyzing stories and character motivations, and writing deep-dives into why something works the way it does. It’s also partly about my interest in typology. I like thinking about how Myers-Briggs® types show up in actual people and fictional characters can provide a nice way to analyze that.

It’s this second reason that starts to get at why I think it’s useful as well as entertaining to type fictional characters. Discussing the personality types of fictional characters gives us a chance to exercise our typology skills without running the risk of wrongly interpreting real people’s motivations. My friend might not appreciate me micro-analyzing their every word and action to figure out what their type is but Tony Stark, Scarlett O’Hara, and Luke Skywalker don’t mind.

Typing fictional characters also lets us use them as examples when we’re describing personality types. One of the first questions my mom always asks if I’m talking about a specific type is, “Do I know any of them?” Sometimes I can give her an example of someone she knows in real life but more often I’ll use a fictional character as an example. They’re a great way for us to see examples of how a single type can look in different for different people based on their individual preferences and personal background. And it also shows that we can relate to people even if they don’t share a type with us (such as the INFJs I’ve talked with who relate to ISFJ Cinderella).

This brings us to the reason for today’s post. I ran out of time to write a full-length post for Tuesday this week because I was working on a post for my other blog, Star Wars Personalities. Susan Storm asked me to guest post about the Myers-Briggs® types of Star Wars characters, and I got that post done with plenty of time to spare (I’ll share a link with you when she publishes it). But then I got distracted writing a full-length post about Princess-General Leia Organa’s personality type. Here’s the link if you’d like to click over there and read it.

 

“I Feel There Is Something Missing in Me” — The Wounding Message of Enneagram 4s

I’ve been trying to study the Enneagram for several years now. I’ve read highly recommended books by Helen Palmer, Don Richard Riso, and Russ Hudson but for some reason none of them really made sense. I mean, I got what they were saying and it seemed like a useful system but I didn’t feel like I understood it well enough to actually use it in my life and especially not in relating to other people.

This latest Enneagram book I’ve tried is one that my first counselor recommended over a year ago. I’ve finally been able to get it through a digital library (didn’t want to buy it if it would just sit unused on the shelf like all my other Enneagram books). I haven’t quite finished it yet, but what I’ve read is enough to know The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile is the best Enneagram book I’ve read (please note this is an affiliate link, which means if you click on the book title and make a purchase I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you).

I’ll be talking in more general terms about the Enneagram in later posts, but today I wanted to share a personal story. I know my enneatype is 4w5, but until now that knowledge as been more depressing than helpful. Myers-Briggs® types tell you how your mind works. We can talk about healthy and unhealthy versions of each type, but overall it’s usually a fairly neutral description. Your Enneagram tells you how you’re broken. It talks about your deadly sin, your childhood wounding message, and your core fears. To me, it seemed overwhelmingly negative. Read more

Are You a Vanishing INFJ? Here Are 5 Tips for Keeping in Touch With People When You Want to Withdraw

One of my most popular posts on this blog is one I wrote back in 2016 called “The Vanishing INFJ.” Not only does it get quite a bit of traffic, but I’ve heard from several INFJs who contacted me specifically about the idea of them “vanishing.” It’s often something they hadn’t realized about themselves, but recognized immediately when they read my article.

Many INFJs have a tendency to drop out of contact with people. We get distracted by the world inside our own heads and might cancel plans, respond very briefly to communication attempts, or ignore other people entirely. Some INFJs might do this very rarely, other quite frequently. It depends on a variety of factors, including the INFJ’s priorities, maturity, personal growth, and how much social energy they have left after dealing with the people they come in contact with each day.

As an INFJ, you might think it’s perfectly normal to go months without contacting someone. You might not even notice it if you’re used to retreating inside your head for long periods at a time. Or perhaps you do notice it, but you worry about intruding on others and so you don’t like to reach out first. Maybe this time your vanishing is prompted by some outside influence, such as the social distancing regulations designed to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As you become aware of your tendency to “vanish,” you might also notice that it can have a negative effect on your relationships. Assuming these are relationships you value, you’ll want to find ways of keeping in touch with the people you care about and not letting your “vanishing” get in the way. Here are five tips for keeping in touch with people even when you’d be more comfortable withdrawing.

1) Give Yourself Alone Time

This may seem a weird place to start a list of tips for keeping in touch with people. After all, “alone” is the opposite of keeping in touch. It’s one of the things that happens when you vanish.

INFJs are introverts, however, and that means we need a certain amount of introvert time. One of the reasons we may want to vanish is because we’re burned-out and need some time to recharge. Before you try to push yourself to reach out to others, make sure you’re taking care of yourself as well. Read more