Being Two People

Thursday, January 23, 2014

People. To say that we're complicated is the understatement of the century. Also, to say this week has been rough would be another grand understatement. This week has me playing a lot of roles simultaneously and man, I am getting tired. 

This post was prompted by a goofy "blog analyzer" that I used that was supposed to determine the author's personality type based on their blog. So, I plugged my little blog url in and poof... out popped... something totally not what I was expecting.

Every time I've taken a Myers-Briggs Personality Type test, I've come up INTJ. That is, Introverted - iNtuitive - Thinking - Judging. It pretty much fits me perfectly. I've even blogged about it before during Blogtember. I like being an INTJ, it makes sense, the nickname for the personality is "The Scientist," it's a good thing. So imagine my surprise when the Typealyzer spit out...

ESFP. The Entertainer.

Not only was it not INTJ... it was the exact opposite! So, I'm not sure what algorithm the Typealyzer uses, and even if I did, I'm not sure that I would understand it. I did find it extremely interesting that as a writer, I come across as a completely different person than I feel I am in real life. I decided, in my methodical way, to look at a chart comparing the traits given to both INTJ's and ESFP's:

INTJ Strengths
ESFP Strengths
High self confidence
Great sense of aesthetics and beauty
Hard working and determined
Quick and versatile mind
Imaginative and strategic
Jack of all trades
Very observant
Excellent people skills
Honest and direct
Independent and decisive
Open minded

INTJ Weaknesses
ESFP Weaknesses
Always seek excitement
Find it difficult to focus
May be insensitive
Have difficulties in academic settings
Very sensitive
Often clueless in romantic relationships
Likely to over-analyze
Loathe conflict
Poor planners
Loathes highly structured environments

At first glance, I identify a lot with the INTJ strengths and weaknesses, but I also found that many of the ESFP strengths are some that I would consider my own. I don't consider myself especially bold, but I am eminently practical, I have great people skills, and I tend to be quite observant. As far as INTJ strengths, I am definitely hard working, determined, and independent, but I don't have the highest self-confidence and I hate making decisions.

As far as INTJ weaknesses... I am definitely a perfectionist who over-analyzes things, and I can be judgmental at times (sorry, guys), but I love highly structured environments and see myself as incredibly sensitive. On the ESFP side, I do not find it difficult to focus and I am definitely not  a poor planner, nor do I have trouble in academic settings. At first, I rejected that I "always seek excitement" but in a way it's true because I am always seeking something to do or achieve, and I hate being bored. So... there's that.

And then just for funsies, I looked at some "famous" INTJ's and ESFP's:

Famous INTJ’s: Gregory House, Hannibal and Clarice Starling, Walter White, Paul Krugman, Colin Powell, and Thomas Jefferson 

Famous ESFP’s: Hugh Hefner, Paulo Coelho, Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Chewbacca

Can we pause for a moment and discuss a few things:

1. I don't know how I feel about being in the same personality category as Hannibal Lecter or Walter White. Yikes.

2. I definitely don't like that my writing could be classified in the same vein as someone like Justin Beiber or Miley Cyrus. Please tell me that that's a lie.

3. Chewbacca....?

So yeah, that was definitely an interesting experience. It did make me think about the many proverbial hats that we all wear, as bloggers and in our real lives. Of course, I'm always "myself" (whatever that means) but I definitely have different versions. There's wife-Alison, friend-Alison, work-Alison, and having-a-freaking-meltdown-Alison. There's daughter-Alison, sister-Alison, and student-Alison. Lots of these overlap, and they're all kind of similar, but there are definite differences. I just never thought my writing would ever be conveyed as having come from someone with a completely polar opposite personality than my own.

Of course, I do seem to have a fair bit of those ESFP traits, and obviously, people are complicated (see above) so we all can't be put into nice, little, boxes and sent on our way. I don't think I'll ever identify as an extrovert, but you can sure as hell bet that tomorrow at my med school interview, I'll be ramping up the people skills and turning down the judgmental parts of my brain. 

Blogging is weird, because you're putting your whole life (or at least, large, select parts of your life) on display for the world, and in fact, you're hoping the world shows up to read about you. I was talking to someone the other day who tried to apologize for calling blogging self-centered, and I had to stop her because on some level, we're all at least a little self-centered to believe that what we have to say is entertaining or useful enough for a stranger to want to read. (And thank you for reading!) How much to put out there, how much to keep private, and what parts of your personality to showcase or hide are all up to you, and I like to think that I'm being as genuine as I know how when I blog. What's the point in doing it, otherwise?

What do you think? Do I blog like an extrovert? Could you tell my personality from my writing? What do you think your blog says about you? Did your Typealyzer get it right? I'd love to know, so leave it in the comments!

- A


  1. Discussion Point 1: Are you in the same category as O'Brien or Thomas? Because I think that'd be worse.
    Discussion Point 2: But you came in like a wreeeeeeeecking baaaaaaaall. (maybe)
    Discussion Point 3: Yes. Chewie is awesome. You are awesome. Therefore it works. *wookie noise*

    Also I think I'd classify your writing as bold, observant, and original as well as witty.

    So there ya go! These are my points to your discussion points. Lof!

    1. 1. Agreed.
      2. ... I guess?
      3. ::wookie noise::

      And awww... thank you, love.

  2. Really interesting! I am an INFJ and do not think I write like one, but I have not really thought about it until now. Food for thought ...

  3. Wait, where do I find this analyzer?

    1. It's linked in the entry on the word Typealyzer. If you can't see the link (I think we've had this problem before), here it is:


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