Determining someone’s personality

One of my many interests is self-discovery. In order to discover myself, I have spent the past year researching on MBTI. Although I find it to be quite generalized at first since I seem to be able to fit in 3-4 personality types, learning about the cognitive functions that Carl Jung developed has changed my mind. I am now a believer of MBTI.

After spending a year on the topic, I could analyse people’s personality types more easily and is able to better understand the motivation behind each person’s action. I realise that I can identify people’s personality types if I were to meet and talk to them for just several times. However, I cannot analyse the people I have known before I become good enough to identify people’s personality type. I realise that I am not good enough at this topic but I do know more than normal people who just started out. This post is a reminder of what I have learnt from my research on the topic. I have no intention to continue learning about MBTI, but hopefully, as I discover more about the topic, I will add on to this post.

Basic MBTI

In MBTI, there are 16 personality types which is made up from the combinations of:

extraversion or introversion

intuition or sensing

feeling or thinking

perceiving and judging

 

Below is my understanding of what each functions mean:

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These description may help you in typing someone’s personality:

Extraversion/Introversion: You can typically determine the extraversion and introversion of a person based on how much they talk and what they do when they are sad. Looking at their social skills may help, but I have met introverted people with great social skills as well.

Intuition/Sensing: You need to talk to the person to identify if they are an intuitor or a sensor. Typically, for me, you look at the way they dress. Sensors usually dress better than Intuitors. This does not mean that intuitors dress horribly – the people who tend to dress “crazy” or act “crazy” are intuitors though. The people sensors hang out with usually dresses well as well – they care about their image a lot. Smart intuitors usually realise the importance of presentation as well so it can be difficult to determine, especially if they are of an older age. The best way to determine if someone is an inutitor or sensor is through the way they talk. Intuitors usually talk about theories and deep stuff while sensors talk about their experiences and shallow talk. Intuitors also tend to be “smart but lazy” while sensors are “hardworkers”. It is sort of like high school – you see a bunch of kids who doesn’t study but gets good grades vs those who work so hard to get good grades. (Note that talent is overrated though, hard work is the best way to do things)

Feeling/Thinking: The thinkers that I have met are usually pretty cold-blooded. They are insensitive to people’s feeling and may lash out at you without feeling remorse. They are usually system oriented and care about achieving their goals a lot. They do find it difficult to comprehend why someone is acting the way they do because their feelings is hurt. This does not mean that they do not have feelings and doesn’t care about anyone in their life though. (I described these while thinking of someone with dominant thinking function. People with auxiliary thinking function would be less extreme compared to this). Feelers are the ones who usually greets you with a smile, gets emotionally involved easily and care a lot about friendships and feelings. It is really easy to identify feelers for me, so I needn’t think about it much.

Perceiving/Judging: A method of determining this is through the way they achieve goals (look at the table above). Another method is by looking at how “okay” they are with you making last minute changes to plans. Perceivers tend to leave things open-ended and do not mind changes in their schedule. Judgers tend to be more strict on their schedule and dislike changes. You need to plan ahead with them.

Cognitive Function

To be honest, reading the meaning of each function, taking tests and reading description on each personality types from www.personalitypage.com  doesn’t help in determining your personality types. The reason for this is that everyone has every functions in them. Everybody is both intuitive and sensing/ feeling or thinking. The difference is the extent to which you are of a certain type. The best way to determine personality type is through cognitive function and the order of these functions.

According to Carl Jung, the four basic functions (sensing, intuition, feeling and thinking) are based on two dimensions:

1. Perceiving/Data collecting method: Sensing or Intuition

2. Decision making functions: Feeling or Thinking

 

These are further divided into extraversion (the world) and introversion (self) dimensions, leading to 8 main functions:

Introverted Intuition (Ni): See possibilities by changing the way we perceive something to solve a problem or achieve an aim.

Extraverted Intuition (Ne): Look at the external world through experimentation or experience to understand the world. Sees different possibilities of actions and imagine how these actions will help achieve an aim or solve a problem.

Introverted Sensing (Si): Puts meaning into tangible objects and value them/experience and store information on that experience for later use.

Extraverted Sensing (Se): Look at the external world through experimentation or experience to understand the world. Enjoys tangible materials.

 

Introverted Feelings (Fi): Create own values and stick to them.

Extraverted Feelings (Fe): Take universal values and make them their own values

Introverted Thinking (Ti): Ability to discern anomalies in facts; define words and use distinct words. “Think internally”

Extraverted Thinking (Te): Organizing information and application of information. Some say, “Think out loud”

*These are my understanding of the function. Not too sure about Ni, Se, Ti and Te*. This link is a better descriptor of the functions.

 

The order of the functions is important as well. The order of the functions are dominant, auxiliary, tertiary and inferior. For an ENFP, it would be:

1. Dominant Function: Extraverted Intuition

2. Auxiliary Function: Introverted Feeling

3. Tertiary Function: Extraverted Thinking

4. Inferior Function: Introverted Sensing

Determining someone’s personality (based on my experience)

An example

When you meet someone, you will have an idea of the person’s personality (E/I; N/S; F/T; J/P). Knowing either one of the processing information function or decision making function, it will be easier to determine the function since either one of this function is the dominant trait or auxiliary. A girl I met recently is an XSXJ. I notice that she isn’t necessarily nice or tactful of other people’s feeling, indicating that she is a thinker. However, she does show feelers tendencies as well which confuses me. From this, I know that her dominant trait is Sensing. She confirmed that her dominant trait is sensing when she told me that she is indecisive (people with decision making functions as auxiliary or tertiary function are usually indecisive). Looking at the function order below, there can only be two choice: ISTJ or ISFJ. This girl is definitely a thinker though, as her friend, an ISFJ is definitely much more caring than she is – she is not caring at all.

Process

1. Have an idea of a person’s personality (E/I; N/S; F/T; J/P). Let’s say, A seem to be EXFP. It is obvious that he is an extravert, feeler and perceiver. However, you do not know whether they are a sensor or intuitor.

2. You may then probe some questions or talk about their life stories to determine that. When they experience something, do they talk about the experience itself (sensory part – sensors), talk about feelings (feelers), talk about what they learn from it (in theory form – intuitors) or how they can improve it (thinker)? Look at what they are comfortable with – talking about theories (which would light up an intuitor’s face) or preferring going out and experience stuff together (sensors). Listen to their stories to determine the order of the function.

3. Determine their cognitive function order. If they show both intuitors and sensors trait, most likely, these are their auxiliary and tertiary function. Their dominant would then be either thinking or feeling. Dominant function will be the most obvious function to deter mine so deciding on that wouldn’t be a problem.

4. Match functions with the extraversion and introversion orientation. Look for evidence that they matches the description.

5. If you are close to them, make them take the online quiz to confirm their identity/ Let them read the description to see if it fits them.

Independence and Solving Your Own Problem!

As an extravert, I love hanging out and being around people. I understand the importance of having people around you, for mankind has social needs of wanting to belong and recognized. However, my love of being around people has caused me to want to stay around my friends all day, be it new friends or old friends. This is not all bad as it helps me to bond with my friends and we all know that you need to put in an effort to build a relationship with people. However, being on a high from being around people that you love to be around, will make you want to continue to stay on that high. As Newton’s first law of motion (Law of Inertia) says: 

An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force

 

and this is dangerous as it will lead you to be dependent on other people. My experience with staying around people for way too much time was that I experienced a loss of identity or my sense of self as I have stopped thinking about things, developing my own opinion of different ideas or have stopped doing things that I am supposed to do, especially if it has to do with self-improvement. I didn’t like this feeling at all. I felt like it was really destructive.

That is the reason why I am writing this post. I hope that this post will serve as a reminder that despite my love to be around people, I must always remember and recognize that loneliness is a blessing as well. This is especially so for an ENFP like myself. As personalitypage.com says, ENFPs need “time alone to center themselves”. This means that it is necessary for an ENFP to take the time alone so that they can reconnect with themselves, form own opinions on different matters and do things that suits you even if other people doesn’t necessarily agree with your actions. I find this to be really important as

 Life-is-the-most-difficult-exam.Many-people-fail-because-they-try-to-copy-others-not-realising-that-everyone-has-a-different-question-paper

There is also a certain time when you should really be spending time alone, and this is the time when you have a problem. As a woman, when a problem arises, we seek consultations from our female friends. Most of the times, all we needed was emotional support and that all we needed to do was to vent. However, what we get instead is advices on how to best solve the problem… and it seems reasonable to obtain a third party’s opinion as they are not blinded by feelings like we are. However, this may be overrated.

I am a big believer of intuition as it is my dominant function as an ENFP and I know that intuition is a powerful tool when it comes to solving problem. If you are someone who relies heavily on intuition, you will find this quote to be true. Sometimes, there are just no logical explanation to how you know something works for it is a combination of different things: what is being said, the body language, the past experience, feelings, thoughts, etc.

“Don’t try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition.” 
― Madeleine L’EngleA Wrinkle in Time

Asking for advices from other people lacks insights into the situation. You may provide them with as much information as possible but, no matter what, since they are not there, they will still lack insights into the situation. This means that when people give you advices, they tend to just rely on what is logical and perhaps, think about the situation in your shoes. But, really, logic is too limited to understand why someone feels and do the things that they do. That is why the world is so messed up. If logic is sufficient, it shouldn’t be.

My current problem right now is that I have just recently confessed my feelings to a friend who is a player. While I was complaining about how he never responded to me, everyone was relying on logic, telling me that a player would never respond to such text and how I deserve better and should move on. If I were to hear the same situation from another girl’s mouth, I would think that the girl must be stupid – that it is pretty obvious that a player will always be a player. The thing is, because it is my problem, I know the situation well. I had been feeling horrible about not being responded as I have thought that he really values me as a friend. Not responding would indicate that he is a player and I am just another one of those who is stuck in his love.

My intuition tells me that he might be a player and I might have been played but he doesn’t treat me as the rest of his girls as he has said that he would’ve just stopped contacting me after we have first done it. The question to ask then is: can I trust what he said? To be honest, he has never given me any reason to not trust what he had said. He has even told me about his lifestyle as a player when we first got to know each other. If I were to argue my point, how can anyone trust what I said? Everyone would think that I am just helping him out because he is someone I care about, that I was just refusing to face reality… but how can that be the case? I can be honest and say, I am about 85% sure that he will reject me.

While I know and can confirm that he values me as a friend (as he has, by now, responded to my text), I do not know if he feels anything for me. My intuition says that he might have a little feelings for me which he is just coming to realise, but it is just not strong enough to go for something more. He is personally not ready for something more as well. So, yeah, I think I will be rejected and I am sort of prepared to be rejected. However, I do want to stay as friends with him. Again, my friends have told me that I am being stupid, that it is impossible to stay as friends. As I haven’t tried it yet, I am just unwilling to just let go of a valuable friend without giving pure friendship a go. Again, it is not that I am stubborn and thus refuse to listen to my friends. It is just that they do not understand that my feelings for him is just different from my previous crushes. I am not obsessive and possessive of him at all. It wasn’t the childlike crushes where you think of that someone non-stop and start thinking about suiciding because you can’t get that guy. I reckon that if I could go 4 months without letting him know how I felt before and the reason I had that breakdown and let him know how I feel about him was due to PMS plus post sex chemical reaction in my brain, I will be able to control my feelings better if there was no physical contact between us at all… but it’s definitely hard to say. So, I decided that if I can’t control my feelings then I should let him know and maybe cut all contact for a good couple of months until I am ready to be proper friends with him again.

Sorry for the long post, I guess I sort of got carried away. Anyway, the main point is that it is important to talk to yourself about your own problem so you can rely on your intuition as others will not know the entire situation well. I do realise that as a woman, I will need to vent and have some emotional support as well… I might need to talk to an introvert to gain some insights on this, or maybe I’ll find out what I would do when I face another problem again – which will be soon when I talk to the guy :/

Discussion about ideas

It is fun listening to other people’s theories and concepts. It really opens up your mind. Being able to discuss and incorporate your ideas to his or her ideas is even better because both people will come up with the best plans and ideas.

I have a friend I could share, listen and discuss theories with. However, things do not always turn out nice. There are times when we cannot reach a conclusion at all. Sometimes, our mind is closed off and we are only looking at our perceived reality shaped from our previous experience or theories generated in the past. When both people aren’t willing to listen because they are blinded by their “perceived reality” or emotions, it is important to take a step back and learn to be objective again. Always remember, what others say is their perceived reality. You do not have to accept it, you just need to listen, reflect, think about it and decide if it fits in your values as a person.

Of course, if your values do not match, it does not mean that the other person is wrong. Their experience and their thinking is shaped in such a way that their own theories makes the most sense. It will help them in their life, it’s just that the theories isn’t necessarily going to help in your life.