Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Years ago, I took a personality assessment in college. I have annoyed more friends had more fun with this knowledge throughout the years than you might imagine. After getting to know someone, at some point, I'm sure to confidently venture what I am certain their 4-letter personality-defining acronym might be. I've used the information to try to explain annoying particular behavior of the people around me. I'm sure I've told the story of using the lingo to embarrass myself by inadvertantly implying I was talking about my fiance's privates, but in any case...

Flash left a book on the couch last night called, Please Understand Me. Giving him a hard time about it today, I implied that it was a teenager's passive-aggressive way to suggest that his parent needs to be more in touch with his life. He explained that it was a personality typing-book, unknowingly sending his mother into an excited frenzy over thoughts of personality discussions.

"Wait! Wait!" I shouted. "Is this like Myers-Briggs testing?" I asked perhaps a bit too-excitedly.

"Yeah...." came his now-worried response.

"Wait! Wait!" I held out my hand to stop him from saying another word. "Do you know what you are?"

"Yeah...." he replied, now visibly concerned with what sort of Pandora Box he had just opened. You see, I am an INFJ, which the book describes in parts as, "highly sensitive to others, which is to say their intuition tends to be well developed. Certainly their insight into themselves and others is unparalleled. Without a doubt, they know what is going on inside themselves, and they can read other people with uncanny accuracy." In other words, I rock at this.

I immediately declared that he is an extrovert, to which he kindly responded with "Duh."

I went on, confidently declaring the next letters, representing other areas of his personality determined by this assessment. "You are an ESTJ!"

To which he replied, "Um, not even close. The exact opposite, actually. I am an ENFP- A Champion."

"What?!? I am so right." I declared. I went on to itemize each quadrant of the testing and to explain my rationale for each. I gave evidence, cited examples and pleaded my case, but he stuck to his guns and declared me, "dead wrong."

As dinner went on, I teased him with nearly every bite about this discrepancy. "My sensory-son might not have done it quite that way...oh, that's right you are intuitive...." or, "if only you were a feeler, maybe you'd have understood what I was trying to convey better....oh, that's right, you say you ARE a feeler..." and so forth. Jabbing back and forth throughout dinner, finally led me to declare with a tone of finality, "Fine! My WTHKOPYTYA - Whatever The Heck Kind Of Personality You Think You Are Child!"

I think that's an acronym we can both agree on.

I will say this, when he reads the definitions as declared by the book, I think he is correct with his assessment. "Champions often speak (or write) in the hope of revealing some truth about human experience, or of motivating others with their powerful convictions. Their strong drive to speak out on issues and events, along with their boundless enthusiasm and natural talent with language, makes them the most vivacious and inspiring of all the types. Fiercely individualistic, Champions strive toward a kind of personal authenticity, and this intention always to be themselves is usually quite attractive to others." That said, if he truly has, "outstanding intuitive powers and can tell what is going on inside of others, reading hidden emotions and giving special significance to words or actions" then he has been ignoring my unspoken nudgings for years!! Of course, since an INFJ (me) is also said to, "seldom tell how they came to read others' feelings so keenly. This extreme sensitivity to others could very well be the basis of the Counselor's remarkable ability to experience a whole array of psychic phenomena." I might just have to start reading his mind to get to know my Champion better. Scary, scary thought indeed.

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