“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinions; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) organizes personality into 16 distinct types, based on Carl Jung‘s theory of psychological type. We all exhibit different “preferences” for ways of being and interacting with others in the world. The idea behind personality type is that characteristics that appear uninterpretable or even odd, make sense when we consider these behaviors through the lens of personality.
People are not usually “always” one way or the other. We can act different ways in different situations and around different people. This is highly adaptive and enables us to alter our behaviors to fit different social contexts. For example, someone who might identify as being highly introverted might be able to utilize extraverted tendencies adaptively when he or she needs to engage in an important public speaking event.
The Myers-Briggs concept of introversion (vs. extroversion) involves a tendency to derive energy from time spent alone; time spent around other people may be experienced as emotionally or psychologically draining. These individuals tend to be sensitive to their environments and may even report being easily “over-stimulated” by the amount of sounds, smells, colors, and interactions taking place around them. A newer concept called the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) goes into greater detail with this aspect of introversion (not all introverts have this experience).
Introverted individuals generally prefer to take time on their own to contemplate or reflect upon ideas before taking decisive action. They are also usually more comfortable after a decision has been made. It is not uncommon for introverted people to experience liking the “idea” of something better than the “real thing.”
Introverted / Sensing / Thinking / Judging – (16.4% of males, 6.9% of females)
ISTJ’s are quiet and serious, generally interested in a peaceful and secure way of life. They are known for their responsible, dependable, and thorough natures. They are logical, practical, and work steadily towards goals without much distractibility. They are often interested in supporting traditions and establishments. ISTJ’s usually take great enjoyment out of order and organization in both their home and work lives.
Introverted / Sensing / Feeling / Judging – (8.1% of males, 19.4% of females)
ISFJ’s are quiet, conscientious, and kind. They are responsible in nature and are committed to meeting their obligations. They have a tendency to put the needs of others above their own. Stable and practical in nature, they value security and traditions. ISFJ’s tend to have a rich inner world and are highly attuned to the feelings of others. They usually are very interested in ways of serving others.
Introverted / Intuitive / Feeling / Judging – (1.3% of males, 1.6% of females)
INFJ’s are quietly forceful, sensitive, and original. They seek out meaning in the connections between people, ideas, and possessions. They are curious to understand the motives of others and generally have great insight into other people. They are conscientious in nature and committed to their firm values. They tend to develop a clear vision about how to best serve the common good and then are organized and decisive in the ways in which they choose to implement this vision.
Introverted / Intuitive / Thinking / Judging – (3.3% of males, 0.8% of females)
INTJ’s are independent, original, determined, and analytical. They have a great ability to turn theories into solid plans of action. They easily see patterns in external events and are able to explain these patterns thoroughly. When they are committed, they are capable of organizing a job and carrying it through to fruition. They tend to have high standards for their own performance as well as the performance of others. They are natural leaders, but they are willing to follow if they trust existing leaders.
Introverted / Sensing / Thinking / Perceiving – (8.5% of males, 2.4% of females)
ISTP’s are quiet and reserved, interested in the way that things work. They are highly skilled with mechanical work and may be interested in/talented in extreme sports. They are flexible and tolerant, and tend to quietly observe until a solution becomes clear. They are interested in cause and effect and tend to organize facts using principles. They can be perceived as somewhat detached or analytical, and they excel at finding solutions to practical problems.
Introverted / Sensing / Feeling / Perceiving – (7.6% of males, 9.9% of females)
ISFP’s are quiet, serious, sensitive, and kind. They dislike conflict and are unlikely to engage in activities where conflict is likely to occur. They are loyal and faithful, with a particular appreciation for the aesthetic. They tend to be flexible and open-minded, and are likely to be creative and original. They prefer to have their own space and work within their own time frame. They appreciate the present moment and enjoy what is going on around them in that moment.
Introverted / Intuitive / Feeling / Perceiving – (4.1% of males, 4.6% of females)
INFP’s are reflective, quiet, and idealistic. They are loyal to their values and to the people who are important to them. They tend to have a well-developed value system, which they strive to live in accordance with. INFP’s are loyal, adaptable, and laid-back (until one of their values are threatened). They have an interest in understanding and helping others.
Introverted / Intuitive / Thinking / Perceiving – (4.8% of males, 1.8% of females)
INTP’s are original, logical, and creative thinkers. They tend to get very excited about ideas and theories. INTP’s usually value logic, knowledge, and competence. They are quiet and reserved, and may be difficult to get to know well. They are usually individualistic and are uninterested in either leading or following others.
If you felt that you identified as an introvert in my recent post, Understanding the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which specific introverted type stood out to you the most? For some, a brief description of their Myers-Briggs type is a bit of an “a-ha!” moment.
For others, they may identify with features of multiple types. It is important to remember that no one type is “better” or “worse” than any other. Each type has specific strengths and weaknesses; they are simply different.
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If you are interested in taking the official MBTI personality assessment, you may take it at MBTI Online for $49.95. For an unofficial version of the Jung Typology Test, you may take it for free at HumanMetrics.
The Myers & Briggs Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.myersbriggs.org/
Featured image: Solitude by patdebaz / CC BY 2.0