The Curious Case of the Introvert’s Function Stack

One of the things that makes Myers-Briggs® theory so nuanced and, I think, useful in certain settings is the function stacks it describes. This is also one of the more complicated aspects of this typology system. I’ve spent quite a bit of time since I first became interested in Myers-Briggs® personality types trying to understand function stacks and how to explain them to others. I think I did pretty well at that last one in “The Simplest Guide to Myers-Briggs® Functions Ever,” but it’s still not entirely complete.

I recently had a commenter ask for more information about how functions work for introverts, and that made me think that it might be useful to have a whole post on this topic. If you’re not all that familiar with functions (also called mental “processes”), then you’ll probably want to start with my Guide to Myers-Briggs® Functions. To briefly recap that post, if you’re looking at the letters for a person’s type, Sensing and Intuition are both Perceiving functions (or “learning processes”). Feeling and Thinking are both Judging functions (or “decision-making processes”). If someone is a P-type, then that means their Perceiving Function is extroverted. If someone is a J-type, then that means their Judging function (either F or T) is extroverted.

A Few Examples

Talking about how extroverted and introverted cognitive functions are determined by the J/P preference is enough to make your eyes glaze over, even if you know what’s going on there. Looking at some examples makes this idea much easier to see:

  • For an xNFP type, the “P” tells us their perceiving function (in this case N) is extroverted. Therefore, both INFPs and INFPs use Extroverted Intuition and Introverted Feeling (since whichever of the two middle letters is not extroverted is introverted).
  • The same thing happens for an xSTP type—their perceiving function (S) is extroverted and their judging function (T) is introverted. Both ISTPs an ESTPs use Extroverted Sensing and Introverted Thinking.
  • For an xSFJ type, the “J” tells us their judging function (in this case S) is extroverted. That means their perceiving (F) function is the introverted one. Therefore, both ISFJs and ESFJs use Extroverted Feeling and Introverted Sensing.
  • Similarly, an xNTJ type would use Extroverted Thinking and Introverted Intuition because their judging function (T) is extroverted and their perceiving function (N) is introverted.

Basically, the S or N preference tells us which Perceiving/Learning function a person uses most comfortably. The T or F preference tells us which Judging/Decision-making process someone prefers to use. And the J or P preference tells us which of those two functions (S/N or T/F) is extroverted. Once we know of of someone’s two favorite functions is extroverted, then we know the other one is introverted.

How an Introvert’s Functions Work

With that background, we can bring the Introvert/Extrovert preference into this discussion. The letter E or I in a personality type tells us which of those two functions is someone’s dominant function or “driver” process. Introverts, they prefer the introverted function (e.g. an ISFP prefers Introverted Feeling over their co-pilot Extroverted Sensing). Their dominant function is whichever of those first two functions is introverted. To return to the four types we looked at in the previous section:

  • an INFP leads with Introverted Feeling and an ISTP with Introverted Thinking (their Judging functions)
  • an ISFJ leads with Introverted Sensing and an INTJ with Introverted Intuition (their Perceiving functions)

The thing that makes an introvert’s function stack a little strange is that their dominant function does not match their J/P preference. Even though an INFP has “P” in their four-letter type, their favorite function is actually their judging function, Introverted Feeling. Similarly, even though an INTJ has “J” in their name, their favorite function is their perceiving Introverted Intuition.

In summary, the J/P preference tells us which function is extroverted, not which function is dominant. The E/I preference is what tells us which of a person’s top two functions is dominant.

What This Means For Introverts

So what does all this technical stuff mean, practically, for introverts? For one, if you’re taking a free online test inspired by Myers-Briggs® that there’s a good chance it won’t get your J/P preference right because many of those tests try to treat Judging-Perceiving as a dichotomy rather than as an indication of which cognitive function you prefer. A test that’s based on cognitive functions, like this one from Personality Hacker*, will give you a much better idea of what your best-fit type is.

  • *please note that the link to this test is an affiliate link. You won’t be charged to take the test, but if you choose to buy any of their products after taking it I’ll receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

The fact that an Introvert’s preferred function is concerned with the inner world also means that most of us have to use our co-pilot extroverted function quite a bit in order to function effectively in the outer world. The introverts who become pretty comfortable with this function might be mistaken for extroverts (just like extroverts who spend time developing their introverted side might be mistaken for introverts). Even introverts who know they are introverted are typically forced to spend time using their extroverted co-pilot because we use it to interact with other people and either learn new information (if we’re a P type) or make decisions (if we’re a J type).

An introvert’s function stack can also play a role in their personal growth. From what I’ve seen, this tends to happen one of two ways:

  1. an introvert will shy away from using their extroverted co-pilot process and instead spend time developing their dominant introverted function and their tertiary function (which is also introverted). That means working on their co-pilot process will be one of the best things they can focus on for personal growth (this is what Personality Hacker says is the case for most people).
  2. an introvert will be forced (or choose) to use their Extroverted co-pilot more than their dominant introverted function. That means getting comfortable with their introverted side and working to balance it with their extroverted function is one of the best things they can focus on for personal growth.

One of the things that I like about Myers-Briggs ® types is that it gives you a description of the strongest mental processes that you have at your disposal. If you’ve settled on INFJ as your best-fit type (for example), then that can help you figure out where your strengths and weaknesses are. It can also give you an idea where to focus on for personal growth. For example, if an INFJ wants to strengthen their ability to make decisions, then it’d help to focus on developing their Extroverted Feeling side. If they wanted to strengthen their ability to see things from other perspectives and make logical sense of incoming information, then they’d want to focus on balancing their introspective Intuitive and Thinking sides.

Has learning about function stacks (here and from other sources) helped you understand and use Myers-Briggs® types? What are your favorite examples or analogies to use when explaining function stacks to other people?

If you’d like to know more about function stacks and how they work for the INFJ personality type, check out my book The INFJ Handbook. I’ve updated this second edition with a ton of new information and resources. You can purchase it in ebook, paperback, or hardcover by clicking this link.

Featured image by Woman1907 from Pixabay

What Would the Myers-Briggs® Types Be Like as RPG Classes?

As I mentioned in a blog post a couple weeks ago, one of my big projects for my first semester of grad school is a paper that’s currently titled “A Rhetorical Analysis of the Literature Surrounding the Intersection of Role-Playing Games, Race, and Identity.” Though this project had nothing to do with personality type, any time I start thinking about questions of identity I also start thinking about how someone’s Myers-Briggs® type might play a role.

One of the great things about role-playing games (RPGs) is that players get to act-out different types of identities that we can’t or won’t explore in the real-world. The shy intellectual human can play as a charming, live-in-the-moment elf bard. The clumsy, bubbly person who attracts attention just by walking into a room can slip into the character of a sneaky gnome rogue. In real-life when making game-play decisions, people often choose characters who are very different from themselves. For purposes of this post, though, I’d like to think about what type of character the different Myers-Briggs® types might be if class was based on personality traits.

While this isn’t a particularly significant topic in relation to personal growth, I think it’s fun to write these sort of pop-culture Myers-Briggs® posts every once in a while. The stereotypes for RPG classes are an oversimplification of personality traits, of course, so let’s also keep in mind that there’s a lot of individual variation within types in real life and not everyone will identify with the broad generalizations in this post.

For those not all that familiar with RPG games, you can think of classes sort of like professions, or descriptions of a character’s particular skill set. They typically involve fantasy elements, though there are also plenty of RPGs that take place in a science fiction setting or alternate versions of our own world. I’ll be drawing from two lists of common character classes for this post that aren’t specific to any one game: “Standard RPG Classes and Characters” from Gameaboo and “Fantasy Character Classes” from TV Tropes.

ENFJ – Mage

ENFJs are well-known for being a type that makes great leaders and counselors. Many choose real-life careers like teacher, coach, or pastor. The ENFJs I know also seem to be good at just about anything they put their minds to, and they can fit in with any group they want. I chose the Mage class for them because there are so many subclasses within it–including priest, cleric, and enchanter–that could fit ENFJ’s unique blend of people-loving extrovert and big-picture-thinking intuitive.

ENTJ – Wizard

For most RPGs, the wizard class refers to people who’ve learned their powers through academic study and discipline. They didn’t just stumble into or inherit their class–they deliberately chose a goal and worked hard to achieve it. In real-life, ENTJs’ favorite mental process is one that Personality Hacker describes as “intrinsically fascinated by measurements, goal setting and improvements.” This type has the discipline to learn difficult things, and often an interest in tackling challenging life goals.

INFJ – Scholar

One of my favorite character ideas that I haven’t actually used in a game (yet) is a knowledge-domain cleric with a scholar background. I feel like she fits my INFJ-nature perfectly. INFJs are often bookish people who enjoy collecting information and facts, then putting it to good use to help people in clever ways. We’re often stereotyped as the counselor, dreamer, sage type and that fits the scholarly archetype of fantasy games quite well.

INTJ – Rogue

The thief/assassin/rogue class has been a core archetype for RPG games since these games were first invented. They tend to be intelligent, perceptive, and highly skilled in very specific ways. Depending on the game, this is the class that offers a “Mastermind” specialization (which is also one of the most popular nicknames for the INTJ type). Deliberate, logical, and think-outside-the-box INTJs probably won’t identify with all of the rogue stereotypes, but I still think it’s a good choice for them.

ENFP – Swashbuckler

I like the Swashbuckler archetype for ENFPs for several reasons (including because it makes me think of The Scarlet Pimpernel). Swashbucklers are charming entertainers, yet they also fall in to a classically heroic archetype. In real-life, many ENFPs enjoy being the center of attention and they also passionately champion their favorite causes and/or people. I think this class is a good fit for the ENFP’s characteristic blend of pizzazz, spontaneity, and adherence to their core values.

ENTP – Sorcerer

The sorcerer class typically uses in-born magic, which can be as wild and unpredictable as it is powerful. Depending on mechanics for the specific game, they may also be very charismatic characters. I’ve written several posts about how ENTPs are typically portrayed in fiction, and they’re often insanely clever, charming, and independent sorts of people. Things that other types find challenging (like charming a room full or people or coming up with a brilliant idea at the last minute) often seems to come naturally to ENTPs.

INFP – Druid

Nature magician seems an obvious choice for the stereotypically gentle, peaceful INFPs who often love animals, plants, and the natural world. Druids also tend to be more reclusive types of magic users, shunning “normal” society for a different path in life, much like INFPs tend to care more about authenticity than about fitting in with other people. Druid could fit other introverted, nature-loving types as well, but I decided to give them to the INFPs.

INTP – Artificer

What better class for the personality often stereotyped as a “mad scientist” than the Artificer (also called Engineer, Tinkerer, or Alchemist)? Characters with this class beat their enemies and help their friends by coming up with clever gadgets. Rather than relying on fantasy magic (though some of these characters may use that as one of their tools), they usually use on technology and their own minds to solve problems and navigate complicated situations.

ESFJ – Cleric

In real-life, ESFJs are often seen as the caring, motherly personality that’s the first on the scene if friends or family need help. If you know any ESFJs, you may also know them as no-nonsense people who, if the situation calls for it, can be just as intimidating as they are kind. Seems perfect for the cleric/healer class who’s always there to support the party during a fight.

ESTJ – Warlord

I initially had “Summoner” here (a class that joins forces with another, more powerful creature and then summons/draws on that creature or its power to do significant battle damage), then an ESTJ on Twitter suggested “Warlord” as a better option. The Warlord class is a type of fighter that specializes in tactics, leadership, and support to make the entire party more efficient. It really does seem a perfect fit for the ESTJ type.

ISFJ – Paladin

Whenever I think of ISFJs, the first people that come to mind are Captain America and my dad. Most of you don’t know my dad, but you probably recognize how perfectly Captain America fits into the archetype of a good person fighting for what’s right. That’s basically the description of a paladin from RPGs as well.

ISTJ – Fighter

Fighters are typically the strongest class and one of the most highly specialized in non-magical skills. They’re not all that concerned with complex, arcane mysteries or with learning hidden skills and information. Rather, they’re the sort of people out at the front of the battle putting themselves at risk to keep their party safe. Like most SJ types, ISTJs typically have a strong sense of duty that makes them a great fit for the classic heroic archetypes like knight/fighter/warrior.

ESFP – Bard

Bards are my favorite characters to play, possibly because they’re just about my exact opposite. Bards are the most charming performers, the character who can talk anyone into doing anything, and among the most imaginative characters (you have to be inventive if you’re going to try and fight evil monsters with a flute). Seems a good fit for the personality type commonly nicknamed “The Performer” or “The Entertainer.”

ESTP – Barbarian

SP types are considered the most physical, in-the-moment of the personalities since their favorite mental process is so good at quickly processing and responding to incoming sensory data. The Barbarian or Berserker class describes characters who thrive when they’re in the middle of the action, up-close-and-personal with whatever challenges they’re facing, and so that’s why I chose them for the ESTP type.

ISFP – Monk

The Monk class is often a fighter-type character that’s powered by a focused, internal energy. They blend physicality with meditation and martial arts skills. Depending on the game, they might be more self-sufficient than some of the other classes since they have both physical skills and magical abilities. Real-life ISFPs are often called Artists because they blend their SP outer-world skills with inner-world focus on authentic self-expression, which is why they remind me of RPG Monks.

ISTP – Ranger

The Archer/ Hunter/ Ranger class archetype is highly skilled at surviving on their own out in the wild. I could have picked from quite a few different adventuring classes for ISTPs (see Susan Storm’s article “Why ISTPs Make the Best Action Heroes“), but Rangers seemed to me like an especially good fit.

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Let me know what you thought of this post. Would you have picked a different class for your type? Do you enjoy playing RPGs? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!

Getting Comfy With Your INFJ Personality Type

It’s been quite some time since I published a post about personality types. Since starting grad school last August, the time I have to spend writing on my more personal projects has been limited. I still Bible study every morning, which turns into the posts I share each Saturday, but I haven’t been researching and writing about personality types nearly as much.

Don’t get me wrong–I still find personality type fascinating and knowing I’m an INFJ is a key part of how I understand myself. I just haven’t had time to read typology books or blogs, or think all that much about topics related to Myers-Briggs® that I want to write about. My writing time is focused on things like “A Rhetorical Analysis of the Literature Surrounding Role-Playing Games, Race, and Identity” and a scholarly book review of John R. Gallager’s Update Culture. I might share links to those somewhere on this blog if/when they’re published, but they don’t really fit with the theme “finding our true selves in the people God created us to be” or with my interest in personality types.

One type-related topic I have been thinking about, though, is that I feel like I’m “settling in” to my type. Which I think is a good thing, but it also makes me feel a bit less motivated to constantly research and write about INFJs. Over the past several years, either in comments on this blog or emails through my contact form, I’ve occasionally heard from INFJs who talk about having (mostly) moved past the awkwardness of being INFJ. They talk about being happy, feeling balanced, and seeing their type as a strength or a neutral thing rather than a weakness or something that makes them particularly unique.

In the online INFJ community, we often talk about things like how different we feel from other people, how tempted we are to door slam those who irritate or hurt us, and how we’re a target for unhealthy people like narcissists. It’s easy to think of being INFJ as a burden, or a thing that sets us apart, or something people will never understand. I’ve been there, clinging to my INFJ label like a life preserver that makes the weirdness of your life make sense. And I think there’s a place for that, especially when you first learn about your personality type. The feeling of relief that you’re not alone or broken is one that many INFJ (most that I’ve talked with, in fact) mention when they talk about first discovering their personality type. Normalizing experiences like feeling alien, struggling to communicate, and seeing the world differently helps us realize that 1) there’s nothing inherently “wrong” with our personality and 2) other people really can understand us and they can help us figure out how to be in the world as INFJs.

That initial realization that we’re INFJ and embracing that identify is often the strongest way we relate to our personality type. But the way we relate to our type can change, and I think it probably should as part of personal growth. Based on conversations I’ve had with older INFJs, I suspect that if we were to chart the stages of a typical INFJ’s journey, it might look like this:

  • Recognizing that there’s something different about you
  • Learning about personality types and realizing that INFJ fits you really well
  • Seeking to learn about your type and learn from other INFJs
  • Accepting your personality quirks and figuring out how to manage your strengths and weaknesses
  • Settling into life as an increasingly mature, balanced example of an INFJ

Of course, this is an overgeneralization and it doesn’t account very well for the many people who aren’t sure if they’re an INFJ or another type like an INFP or INTJ. It does reflect what I’ve heard from many INFJs, though, and I think it will resonate with a lot of my readers. I’d love to hear what you think of this idea in the comments!

Right now, I think I’m somewhere in those last two bullet points. I’ve firmly embraced my weirdness, even more so than when I wrote a post about that topic two years ago. I finally went back to school. I’m managing the anxiety and depression I’ve struggled with for more than half my life in a much healthier way. I’m leaning in to the interpersonal strengths of my INFJ type and finally developing my Extroverted Feeling side so I can teach and tutor students. And it feels pretty good.

Wherever you are on your INFJ journey, I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’ve been able to connect with other INFJs (whether in person, on blogs like this one, or using social media), to learn helpful information about your personality type, and to grow toward living a fuller, happier life. And I hope we’ll all keep learning, keep being brave, and keep growing.

If you’d like to know more about personal growth tips for the INFJ personality type, check out my book The INFJ Handbook. I’ve updated this second edition with a ton of new information and resources. You can purchase it in ebook, paperback, or hardcover by clicking this link.

Featured image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Extroverts With Social Anxiety: A Rare Sighting?

This article by Katie Tyrrell first appeared on eCounseling.com on February 1, 2021. I love sharing posts about personality and mental health, and I’m so happy to have the chance to share this one about how social anxiety affects extroverts. It reappears here with permission of eCounseling. If you’d like to read an article about introverts and social anxiety, you can click here.

Social anxiety occurs when a person experiences anxiety symptoms in social situations or large groups. It is commonly considered to be an issue for people who are more introverted by nature. An introverted person may be someone who prefers to be alone and stay away from groups. An extrovert is seen as someone who enjoys being around other people and socializing in groups. It would seem obvious that only an introvert would experience social anxiety due to their preference of being alone. But what about extroverts? Do they experience social anxiety? 

Extraversion vs. Intraversion

Extraversion is a personality trait commonly associated with outgoing, social, and loud people. Introversion personality traits are associated with people who are quiet, reserved, and often keeps to themselves. These two concepts are viewed as absolutes in modern society, meaning a person is either an introvert or an extrovert. But is that true?

While there are only two groups for extroverts and introverts, each person has varying characteristics within those categories. Extroversion traits are not universal! People who consider themselves extroverts may have different comfortability in social situations than other extroverts. 

The traits fall along a spectrum from the most outgoing or social person to a very isolated or reserved individual. People tend to lean towards extroversion or introversion and have varying degrees of comfortability in different social situations. It is common that people have tendencies that would be attributed to both extroversion and introversion.

Some facets of extroversion include being sociable, warm, assertive, active, excitement-seeking, and having positive emotionality. Every extrovert’s scores in these facets will vary and are important to note as they account for the differences in extrovert personalities. 

For example, a person may love going out to a party but hate public speaking. This person would likely score high on the sociable and excitement-seeking spectrum but lower on assertiveness. Another extrovert may feel completely at ease in front of a crowd but struggle to make conversation at a party.

One way to evaluate if you lean towards extroversion or introversion is to consider what brings you joy and energizes you. For example, if you prefer to go out for drinks with friends after a hard day at work and enjoy the social life, you may lean towards extroversion. If you prefer to go home and relax on the couch in comfy clothes, you may lean towards introversion. Everyone likely enjoys these activities at different times; however, this simplified example may help you determine which way you lean on the spectrum.

family cooking a meal together

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is the fear of social situations usually associated with the fear of others’ judgment. Social anxiety disorder often leads to a person’s avoidance of social situations. When social situations are unavoidable, anxiety symptoms such as sweating, heart palpitations, shaking, or shortness of breath may occur. 

Social anxiety is a disorder that develops over time and is thought to result from environmental and genetic factors such as a bad social experience, early childhood trauma or family history of mental health issues. It is typically treated by seeking out a psychotherapist, with CBT [cognitive behavioral therapy] believed by many to be among the more effective treatments.

Extroverts with Social Anxiety

So, the question remains, do extroverts struggle with a social anxiety disorder? The answer is yes. Any person, regardless of personality traits, can develop a social anxiety disorder. Extrovert-leaning people tend to be drawn to social interactions more than introvert-leaning people; however, this does not keep them from developing anxiety in social situations.

While extroverts do struggle with social anxiety disorder, they may be less likely to develop social anxiety than introverts. Studies suggest that extroverted individuals are less likely to develop social anxiety disorder if they have high scores in the positive emotionality facet of extroversion. 

Positive emotionality is the tendency towards positive mood states such as happiness, excitement, confidence, and joy. This facet of extroversion is linked to lower levels of social anxiety and depression. Positive emotionality appears to be a protective factor reducing the risk of developing social anxiety.

Interestingly, extroverts tend to have higher positive emotionality levels, meaning they score higher on happiness assessments, positive social relationships, and emotional regulation than introverted individuals. These traits seem to serve as buffers guarding against social anxiety disorder.

How Common is It?

While it may be just as possible for extroverts to develop social anxiety disorders, it appears there are protective factors that extroverts possess more easily than introverted individuals. However, when social anxiety symptoms are present, they may be more debilitating for extroverts as they struggle to engage in the social environment. 

Social anxiety may interfere with the activities and events that bring extroverts pleasure, impacting their mental health more intensely than introverts. An introvert struggling with social anxiety can still engage in the reserved and quiet pastimes that bring them pleasure, despite the social anxiety struggles. 

It is not a rare sight for people with extroversion tendencies to experience a social anxiety disorder, though it is less likely than people with introversion tendencies. It seems more likely for people with introverted tendencies to experience social anxiety disorder exaggerated by their natural tendency for isolation.

About the author: Katie Tyrrell, MS, LPCC, is a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC). She has a passion for healing trauma using body-based somatic therapy. Katie believes that healing trauma and restoring physical and emotional health comes from healing the body and nervous system.

Featured image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Why Are So Many INFJs Obsessed With Fictional Characters?

Every once in a while, I go through the list of search terms that WordPress says leads people to my blog looking to see if there are any topics I haven’t covered. This is one of them. It’s no surprise that search term led to this blog, though, since I’m an INFJ bloggers and the number of posts I’ve written about typing fictional characters (both here and on my Star Wars Personalities blog) shows that at least this INFJ is obsessed with fictional characters.

That doesn’t answer the question of “why” though. Nor does it explain why my posts about fictional character types were the most popular posts on my blog last year. It’s not just the posts about INFJ characters that are popular, either. All of my “7 Fictional Characters You’ll Relate To If You’re An ___” posts get a lot of views. We might not all be obsessed with fictional characters for the same reasons, but it seems that at least some people from every personality type feels an interest in and an attachment to fictional characters.

For INFJs (and perhaps other types as well), I suspect this obsession with fictional characters comes from a few different sources. Part of it is likely because INFJs so often feel alone and misunderstood in our real lives. We struggle to find belonging and acceptance, and so we search the stories that we love for people who seem to be like us. Many INFJs feel as if they find themselves in their favorite stories, and they may feel that the characters they find within fiction could understand them better than the people in real-life do.

This last part leads to another possible reason why INFJs are obsessed with fiction and fictional characters. We have very active imaginations and often talk about our “rich inner world.” Our minds are peopled with interesting places, people, ideas, and storylines that we encounter in fiction and real-life alongside all the imaginings we come up with on our own. Fictional characters give us fuel for the imaginative lives we lead inside our thoughts.

INFJs are also a type that loves people, but often finds interacting with other people in real-life challenging. It’s not that we avoid spending time with people, but we’re selective about who we spend time with and for how long because we have a limited amount of social energy. Reading well-written fiction or watching a well-acted film gives us the opportunity to “interact” in a non-social way with a wider number and variety of people than we’d typically get to see in real life. Fictional characters are not by any means a substitute for real friends, but they can help fill an INFJ’s hunger to learn about as many different people and perspectives as possible without wearing themselves out.

So there are the three reasons why I think INFJs are so often obsessed with fictional characters. We find connection with characters, we enjoy the way fiction fuels our imaginations, and we learn about people from stories.

Do you have any other explanations you’d add to this list for why we’re obsessed with fictional characters? And if you’re not an INFJ, do these reasons resonate with you as well or are there other reasons that you enjoy engaging with fiction?

If Your Myers-Briggs® Type Was a Superhero, What Superpower Would You Have?

Sometimes, I really enjoy writing and reading fun, silly posts like “Here’s the Greek God or Goddess You’d Be, Based On Your Personality Type” or “Your Not-At-All-Confusing Guide To Finding Out If An INFJ Agrees With You.” Today’s post falls into that category. Don’t take it too seriously, but it’s fun to think about (and I don’t know about you, but I could use some not-too-serious things to think about right now).

Last week, I suggested, “Which superpower would you like to have? Which one do you think you’d actually have based on your personality?” as an expressivist journaling prompt. This post is an extension of that. Assuming that if you developed a superpower it would be based off your personality, what sort of power might each of the different Myers-Briggs® types have?

ENFJ – Shapeshifting

Like other FJ types, ENFJs are good at blending into just about any social situation. Once they’ve got a feel for how a group works, they can perfectly mimic the people around them or turn themselves into the sort of person they need to be in order to fit in or lead. Shapeshifting or mimicry seems like the sort of superpower that could grow out of that personality trait.

INFJ – Mind Reading

INFJs already have people half-convinced we can read minds, so this choice shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’ve always thought that if I were to have super powers, it would be something like mind reading or mood-sensing (though water manipulation and telekinesis are actually on the top of my wish-list). INFJs are usually really good at picking up on patterns in other people’s behaviors and guessing what they’re thinking, and in many ways superpowered mindreading is a natural extension of that talent.

ENFP – Persuasion

ENFPs are already charming people who are great at convincing others to see and do things their way. I decided to call it persuasion instead of mind control because I suspect a superpowered ENFP would tend to manipulate more than outright control other people. I could easily see an ENFP superhero using their ability to deescalate fights and turn final showdowns into dance offs or philosophy discussions.

INFP – Invisibility

INFPs can often feel as if they’re overlooked and misunderstood. Literally fading out of sight with an invisibility superpower would let them turn something that may feel like an annoying feature of their personality into an asset. Like many introverts, INFPs aren’t all that interested in being in the limelight. Being able to help people without drawing too much attention to themselves or having to face supervillains head-on seems like a very INFP way to superhero.

ENTJ – Telekinesis

ENTJs are often efficient, innovative, and forward thinking types who like to control the world around them. They’re also good at holding several different ideas and perspectives at once, and juggling a wide array of responsibilities. The ability to move objects with their minds might not be a direct extension of a personality trait but I suspect ENTJs would find telekinesis very useful.

INTJ – Future Predicting

Like INFJs, INTJs are really good at picking up on patterns. They’re usually more focused on patterns that have to do with facts and data rather than people, though, and that makes them good at planning for the future. A superpowered version of this talent could give them the ability to actually predict the future with an impressive degree of accuracy.

ENTP – Reality Warping

ENTPs are often the sorts of people who come up with new, innovative ideas that change the way the world works. For a superpower, I think this talent could expand into the ability to warp and shape reality itself. It also seems a good fit for the charming side that many ENTPs have, which can persuade you to see things they way they want you to.

INTP – Teleportation

INTPs aren’t a type that likes to waste time (at least by their own definition of wasted time). They often prefer to spend their time thinking rather than doing, and when they do choose to act they don’t enjoy delays like the necessity to travel getting in the way. Teleportation gives them an instant ability to jump wherever they need to be, accelerating their ability to put innovative ideas into action and also ensuring they’re never stuck in a situation they don’t want to be.

ESFJ – Healing

ESFJs are often kind, gentle people who are deeply invested in helping others. Many go into helping professions or spend a good amount of their time helping the people around them find comfort and healing. Though I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first-pick superpower for every ESFJ, I can’t think of an ESFJ who wouldn’t want the ability to touch people and make them well.

ISFJ – Force Shields

ISFJs are the quintessential guardian type. Even without superpowers they’re often out there protecting people or working tirelessly to keep their loved ones safe and happy. Force shields that they can use to defend themselves and others seems a great fit for an ISFJ superpower.

ESFP – Probability Manipulation

I saw a post somewhere (probably Pinterest) pointing out what an under-appreciated superpower this is and I’ve been thinking about that ever since. How powerful would it be to actually be able to change the chances of something happening? ESFPs are a type that responds quickly to changes in the external world, and with this personality type they’d be able to manipulate how likely those changes are to occur.

ISFP – Animal Communication

Many ISFPs describe themselves as comfortable around animals. They’re the kind of introvert who you might find talking to a cat or dog at a party instead of hanging out with people. Turn that into a superpower, and you’ve got someone who can actually understand what the animals are saying when they talk with them.

ESTJ – Super Speed

Like so many other TJ types, ESTJs place a high value on efficiency. They like to get things done right, and to do so as quickly as possible. For ESTJs who don’t like to slow down, super speed seems to me like a perfect superpower.

ISTJ – Time Manipulation

ISTJs are often the sort of people who are extremely skilled at time management. They’re punctual, efficient, and are good at helping improve how others use their time. A superpower that lets them manipulate and control time seems like it could easily grow out of this personality trait.

ESTP — Flight

Like other SP types, ESTPs are often very physical sorts of people who respond quickly to the real-world. I wanted to give someone on this list flight (one of the most classic superpowers ever), and it seemed a good fit for ESTPs to give them a power that adds another dimension to the physical space they can work with.

ISTP – Accelerated Healing

ISTPs are already the type that makes the best action hero, so I think it makes sense to give them a superpower that lets them keep doing what they already do more efficiently. Just think what an ISTP could do if they didn’t have to worry about injuries taking weeks or months to heal.

Your Turn

Which superpower would you like to have? Do you think I picked a good one for your personality type?

Featured image by alan9187 from Pixabay