MBTI: putting it all together

Now that you’ve hopefully read through the ways you can find your personality type, you may be expecting a list of what all the different types mean.

Let’s start with a word of caution, though: MBTI is not intended to function as a horoscope. Rather, it is meant to be a means of examining your thought processes. So although it can be tempting to say that one type is more predisposed to intelligence, or quirkiness, or hot-headedness, just realize that none of these are explicitly true.

That being said, you may have done one of two things by now. If you took one of the online tests linked in the last article, it most likely gave you a four-letter result. For example, it could have said something like “ENTP” or “ISFJ”. We’ll talk about what those mean in a minute, and you’re welcome to skip ahead to the part that does so.

For those of you who might have looked at your cognitive functions as listed in the last article, you may now be wondering what to do with that. For example, you may have really related to the descriptions of Intuitive Intuition (Ni) and Extroverted Thinking (Te). What does that say about your Myers-Briggs type?

You can use the table below to match up your functions with the corresponding personality type. (Remember: order matters! If you can’t decide which of your top two functions is your favorite, you may need to read descriptions for both personality types.

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What this means:

Now that you’ve figured out what your type is--or have a close approximation--you can start to figure out what relevance this has in your life. (Of course, you can also find information about your type–even forums on sites such as Reddit contain lots of people who might have a similar type to yours!)

The four-letter code isn’t arbitrary. Each letter stands for a spectrum of traits. The first letter, for instance, means “introverted” or “extroverted”. You may have already heard of these traits. Introverted means that you recharge from being alone, while extroverted means that you recharge from being around others. It has nothing to do with how shy you are!

If you can’t decide between two codes–ENFJ or INFJ, for example–try to think about which trait describes you more. Extroversion versus introversion is one of the easier traits to tell about yourself. You probably know, for instance, if you’re the kind of person who gets tired being around others or not.

The second letter refers to either Intuition or Sensing.

In a very broad sense, this refers to one’s tendency to obtain information. Some people are very in-tune with their surroundings, while others prefer to rely on “a-ha!” moments and personal insight.

The third letter refers to Thinking or Feeling.

This one can be tricky! Everyone is capable of making logical decisions or more emotional ones, depending on the situation. A lot of people will say that they can’t decide which one they’re more likely to rely on. This is why it’s more helpful to take a reliable test or to look through the cognitive functions–that way you don’t have to get caught up in whether it’s better to think or feel in decision making. People who primarily think are not selfish, and people who primarily feel are not illogical.

Finally, the last letter refers to Judging or Perceiving.

This is trickier to explain, as it has practically nothing to do with how judgmental you are. Rather, it refers to how likely you are to plan things ahead of time. People with “J” at the end of their personality type are more likely to be planners. They get stressed out with spontaneity, and probably prefer to start their homework a few weeks before it’s due. People with “P” at the end of their personality type are much more likely to “go with the flow,” and tend to feel constrained by too many rules or restrictions.

Once you understand your type, you can start examining your thought processes and how you move through life. Doing so can help you discover and utilize your strengths, as well as improve on your weaknesses. This type of introspection is especially useful as a college student; knowing how you work, learn, and plan can help you discover the best ways to survive and thrive in college.