Overview of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

I  have a new-found appreciation for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It’s those four letters (e.g., ENFP) often associated with a person’s personality type.

With it comes a surprisingly freaky wealth of knowledge about a person useful in so many different relational contexts.

  • Work
  • Husband/wife (or boyfriend/girlfriend)
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Your understanding of yourself

Here’s a real brief introduction to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and what each of the four letter-pairs mean.

As you follow along I encourage you to figure out which letter best describes you in each pairing. Afterward, I link to a couple MBTI tests you can take to confirm your own evaluation.

Once you’ve determined your personality type, do a Google search of your four letters (e.g., ISTJ) and read some of the descriptions. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much can be gleaned about you from those four letters.

Extrovert (E) or Introvert (I)

Where do you draw the most energy from?

Extrovert (E) Introvert (I)
Act first, then reflect Reflect first, then act
Breadth of knowledge/influence Depth of knowledge/influence
Recharge with people time Recharge with alone time

Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)

How do you gather, understand and interpret information?

Sensing (S) Intuition (N)
Prefer concrete and tangible info Prefer ideas and theories
Trust data and facts Trust gut-feelings and intuition
Hands-on, like details and specifics Big picture, see future and possibilities

 Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)

How do you approach decision-making?

Thinking (T) Feeling (F)
Look at reason, logic, facts Strive for balance, harmony, consensus
Detached from people, more objective Sensitive to people, more empathetic
Comfortable with conflict Uncomfortable with conflict

Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

Not going to lie, this one is still confusing to me. While I could explain the theory behind it, I don’t know how to give you the easy-to-understand one-liner.

So just refer to the table. ;)

Judging (J) Perceiving (P)
Plan beforehand Plan as-you-go
Structured, scheduled, ordered Flexible, spontaneous, adaptive
Have matters settled Keep decisions open

Where to Take an Online Personality Test

I would recommend you take both tests. It will help determine which (if any) letter pairings could go either way. For example, if you take one test and you come up ESTJ and the other shows ISTJ, then there’s a strong chance your E/I pairing is fairly balanced.

In that case, look up the description for both and see which fits you more closely.

As extra credit, try to determine the personality types of some of the people close to you. Read their descriptions. Any light bulb moments? Do you see how differences in your personality types have/could cause tension?

So, what’s your personality type (let me know in the comments)!?

I’m an ISTJ.

9 replies on “Overview of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator”

I came over from Pastor Kerri’s blog. Thanks for posting the links to these tests. I’m an ISTJ too!

that’s what my little sister is! and then my mom is the complete opposite at ESTJ. explains why that butt heads a lot. ;)

The MBTI test is somewhat scary/shocking when you look at it through a broad lens rather than through an individualistic point of view. Here’s a hint – look at what percentage of the population get’s what type and you’ll see who get’s what position in society.

Though for a secular test, the MBTI has some Biblical applications as well. Think of these phrases of John 21 “Feed my lambs”, “Take care of my sheep”, “Feed my sheep”. The Bible though is less precise and divides people into two major groups – sheep & shepard. If your a sheep, it’s your responsibility to find find a good shepard and to take good care of them. If your a shepard, it’s your responsibility to take care of your sheep (flock).

ISFJ. I took this on paper for the first time about 12 years ago and it was the same. Thanks for posting this; it was fun to read about my personality type again (it’s dead-on). I’ll have Allan take it too, and my guess is he’ll be my EXACT opposite – ENTP :)

You should exercise that E more often and come upstairs and say hi to all the Digerati I’s. ;)

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