I is for INTP

What is INTP you ask? It is the most perfect way ever of summing up my personality and why I do the things I do. Reading the Wikipedia page about INTPs for the first time made me feel like someone finally acquired the ability to read minds, had incredible insight in sorting my mind out in particular, and then decided that their powers would best be spent writing a Wikipedia article about me. Basically, there is a personality test called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (it is very legit and well known, not one of those girly tween magazine tests), that divides people into sixteen personality types. There are four categories and by taking a test (which is pretty long but totally worth it) you can determine what kind of personality you have. I know it seems kind of silly to take a test to determine what your personality type is because chances are you know yourself better than anyone else and feel like you don’t need to be told more about yourself. However, once I knew my type I was able to read about everything from career recommendations to relationship advice geared specifically to people like me. There are online communities out there specifically for INTPs and it is cool to read things from similar people. Also, I often have trouble explaining myself to others. Nobody ever understands me! But the Myers-Briggs personality test does. Here is the breakdown of the four categories:

1) Extrovert(E) or Introvert(I). This is pretty self-explanatory. Do you get your energy from being around other people, or is alone time what powers you up? Are you more external or internal? I am an introvert, hence the I. (Note: Being an “I” and being anti-social are not the same thing. You can love being around people, have lots of friends, and still be an I).

2) Sensing(S) or Intuition(N). ┬áThis determines how you look at information. If you are more detail-oriented and focus on facts and what you know, you are sensing. If you are like me and are more of a “big picture” type of person who focuses on theories and principals you get an N for iNtuition (new Apple product name?).

3) Thinking(T) or Feeling(F). This one is also fairly self explanatory. How do you make decisions? Does your brain rule your heart? Or does your heart rule your brain? I identify with the T characteristic in every way possible. My brain wins all the time. Sometimes it gives my heart a point of two of consideration on my scored pro-con lists (yes, this is how I actually make decisions), but it never allows my heart to have the ultimate say in anything. It is impossible for me to imagine a world where feelings make more sense than logic and reasoning.

4) Perceiving(P) or Judging(J). This one refers to how you live your life. Those of the perceiving type go with the flow, live more spontaneously, and are very open. Those of the judging type like things to be neat and organized, have everything planned out, and tend to dislike change. I get a P for always going with the flow, but sadly also get it for my messiness and master procrastination skills (us P folks aren’t so good with timeliness).

So that about sums up the types. My friends in college and I really enjoyed reading about the types and trying to figure out what our other friends were before they took the test. Some things that surprised me about the test:

1) You would think that since there are 16 types, they would each account for about 6.25% of the population. In reality though, they are very uneven. INTPs make up only 1-5% of the population, for example.

2) I am friends with quite a few ESFJ people, even though they are literally the opposite of me. It sort of makes sense since ESFJ make up more of the population, and because these people are warm and friendly nurturers, but it still baffles me how many of them I have collected in my life.

3) Someone once said to me that they couldn’t understand how someone so logical couldn’t understand the need to plan things out in advance and be organized. In her words, “How could someone who is such a T be such a P?” After looking into it further, I discovered that INTPs actually have a lot of contradictions like this, and that they shape who we are. For whatever reason, procrastinating is logical to me, even if others cannot see it.

If you have never taken this test before (although you probably have at some point because they like to sneak them in when you are applying for jobs), I definitely recommend it. You can learn all about yourself and your loved ones. I certainly have learned a lot and now it is something I like to be nerdy about. Also, I would love to hear from all you other INTPs out there!