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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

MBTI test proves to be disturbingly accurate

Me+as+a+contortionist%2C+apparently+dancing+with+the+daisies+in+a+flowery+field.+This+is+a+cry+for+help.
16personalities.com
Me as a contortionist, apparently dancing with the daisies in a flowery field. This is a cry for help.

From online quizzes to horoscopes, I have always been skeptical of voodoo personality pseudoscience. No, I don’t think BuzzFeed can tell that I’ll have five kids just because I like orange juice and, no, Taurus doesn’t mean anything other than an overglorified cow. It’s not that deep.

However, I decided to put aside my skepticism and give the Myers Briggs Type Indicator Test (MBTI) a try. Since it groups you into one of 16 personality types that are each divided into two subtypes, I figured that the results would be much more specific than your average Hogwarts house sorting. 

After spending 10 minutes taking the test and triggering a mini identity crisis in the process, I analyzed my results. I was categorized as a mediator: INFP-T (52% introverted, 56% intuitive, 60% feeling, 68% prospecting and 68% turbulent). Wow, a five letter gibberish string personalized just for me!

It didn’t come as a surprise that I was categorized as an introvert instead of an extrovert, considering my love for solitary activities like reading and binging dramas. MBTI also classified me as being more intuitive than observant, which makes sense given my tendency to walk into poles — maybe intuition comes more naturally to you when you’re blind as a grandma. Someone could be waving at me and yelling at me from 5 feet away and I probably wouldn’t notice.

What I was surprised by was that I got the feeling trait instead of thinking. I like to consider myself someone who uses their brain to make decisions, but my results say that I don’t do that 60% of the time. 

I also got the prospecting trait over judging, and then I Googled what “prospecting” meant because the word is too big to fit in my vocabulary. Based on the test, rather than working with plans and backup plans, I’m more of a flexible person. I guess this is true; while I don’t think I’m the type to spontaneously go on road trips, I do see myself rearranging my schedule all the time to make more room for procrastination. I’m not that judgmental, either, if you ignore the fact that I’m judging the MBTI test right now.

MBTI also added an extra letter at the end of INFP just to tell me that I’m turbulent instead of assertive. This is somewhat accurate because I’m a self-conscious perfectionist. Still, they didn’t have to call me out for being emotionally unstable, and I didn’t want another reminder to demonstrate more “leadership skills” to look good on my college applications. 

In addition to a personality breakdown, the site provided me with long, in-depth essays about what my strengths and weaknesses, (nonexistent) romantic relationships, friendships, parenthood and workplace habits will look like. Some of their descriptions were spot on, like “they happily lose themselves in daydreams, inventing all sorts of stories and conversations in their minds.” After years of criticism from teachers about my tendency to zone out, it’s nice to have my daydreams put in such a positive light. MBTI has validated my shower thoughts and my craziest delusions.

Years of being the family therapist can also confirm that “conflict tends to be stressful for Mediators, who yearn for harmony and acceptance.” In fact, I’m so non-confrontational to the point where someone could tell me something objectively wrong like “pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza” and my reply would be something neutral like “hm, maybe.” 

Negative mediator traits include being self-critical and self-isolating, both of which apply when I hole up in my room and ghost people after a bad day. Probably it’s just the Barnum effect — like believing that every vague fortune cookie message applies to you — but I actually felt some of these descriptions in my soul.

On the positive side, the results page called me generous, open minded, creative and passionate. I guess they predicted (accurately) that for someone who “lights up” from “praise and positive feedback,” a little ego stroking goes a long way! 

Ultimately, I wasn’t going into the MBTI test expecting to “feel seen,” but I was pleasantly surprised. While some of the mediator descriptions were wildly off, others hit the bullseye. And even though 16 categories can’t capture all the different personality types in the world, I think there’s still value in taking the MBTI test — either so you can laugh at the results and your goofy personalized avatar or you can sit and cry while realizing how much you relate.

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