I’m pretty sure that my friend once got rejected for a role because her Myers-Briggs result started with an I.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is becoming popular among Gen Z. It is a personality test that categorizes people into 16 personality types. These types are represented by different letters: E (extraversion) or I (introversion), S (sensing) or N (intuition), F (feeling) or T (thinking), P (perceiving) or J (judging).
My friend Amelie once applied for a position as assistant director at a student drama group. The role carried a lot of responsibilities, including communication with all time management personnel.
Amelie told me that she was asked to discuss her MBTI personality type during the interview. After she told the director that she was INFP based on the consistency of her responses, the director stopped asking further questions.
People with “I” as their first letter are considered introverted. They are said to have weaker communication skills, and people with “P” instead of “J” as their fourth letter are regarded as more on the fly, which some consider disorganized.
The director may have thought that Amelie, as a person with an “I” and “P”, did not correspond to the responsibilities of the assistant director.
While MBTI gives people a clue of accessing their own and others’ personalities relatively quickly, people can also find that their MBTI results vary from time to time.
After all, personality is more of a fluid concept that describes the combination of the physical, mental, emotional and social characteristics — all of which are designed to change over time.
Reflecting on the questions I remember answering in the MBTI test, I found that some complicated questions are asked in simple ways.
For example, questions asking about whether or not “you regularly make new friends” evoke personal experiences of socializing here at BU. I have found that my social energy depends on the situation. In communities where people share similarities with me, I’m usually willing to start conversations with others.
In groups where people are different from me, like a huge lecture hall with hundreds of students from different cultural backgrounds, I would be more hesitant to start talking to people considering I have no common foundation to start from.
Some questions also reflect temporary, daily moods rather than your overall personality. When I first responded to the statement: “Even a small mistake can cause you to doubt your overall abilities and knowledge,” I was feeling self-confident and thought of myself as a strong person, which prompted a strongly disagree response.
I took the test again about four months later on a day where my confidence was temporarily offset after forgetting an important meeting earlier that day, which encouraged me to lean towards agreeing with the statement.
I have grown to find that using the MBTI test as a sole basis for judging one’s qualification, like Amelie’s interviewer did, is a very crude approach. It’s just another general classification method and should be taken with a grain of salt.
Similar things happen with zodiac signs. A majority of young adults value their partner’s zodiac signs in dating. We often see such remarks on TikTok and other social media platforms, saying certain signs fall in love quicker while others will never confess their feelings.
But sometimes, the trend goes viral and out of control. Some signs, like Scorpio, are believed to be bad partners. I once saw a man complain that people view him like a criminal once he revealed to them that he’s a Scorpio.
Perhaps in this fast-paced era, we don’t have much time to deeply understand each other. MBTI personality types and zodiac signs may provide quick insights into one’s general character traits. However, these are by no means definitive criteria for judging others.
MBTI personality types or zodiac signs can only describe a fraction of individuals, due to the complexity and multifaceted nature of human beings. MBTI results can serve as a form of entertainment or a tool for understanding ourselves and others to some extent. However, we must be cautious not to use them to make judgments about others.