Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Personality Shift

I was reading a blog post the other day about birth order and personalities, and it contained a link to a free on-line version of the Meyers Briggs personality test. I took this test in high school and again in college, and I'm pretty sure I was an ESFP. Extroverted, sensing, feeling, perceiving.

I suspected that over the years my personality has changed, and thought it would be interesting to take the test again. And it turns out I was right, my personality has changed.

I am now an introvert.


I remember in high school taking this test, and I knew before I even took it that I was an extrovert. There was no doubt in my mind. Funny how things change.

Granted, according to the test I am only slightly introverted. But still, that is a big change from how I used to be. I think that I used to think that introverts were really quiet and shy and not very sociable. Which now that I am one, I don't think is true. I think, for me at least, being an introvert just means that being around tons of people wears me out more than energizes me.

I do wonder, though, why the change in personality?

When I was in high school, I hung out with friends every Friday and Saturday night. I organized events and invited people over all the time. I brought people together and would plan fun things to do.

When I went to Kentucky for college, I didn't know a soul, besides my high school boyfriend, who I dated for the first couple years of college as well. I got involved in Young Life, became a leader and made lots of friends. It seemed, however, that nearly all of my new friends came to college with their best friends from high school. They were already doing fun things and hanging out together. Which meant that my role changed. I was no longer the person who organized get-togethers and brought people together. That was already happening. I just wanted to be a part of it. I went from the person who took an active role in planning things, to the person who tagged along and just hoped to be invited to what was already going on.

Throughout college I made lots of friends, and even some really close best friends, however the extroverted role I played in high school was never needed with this new group.

Being friends with mostly young life leaders put me in part of a group that was nearly all extroverts. I was out-extroverted by the majority of my friends, and I realized at some point that I was tired of trying to talk over everyone else. And so instead I just started listening. True story, sometimes when we're hanging out with a group of people, Derek gives me a hard time for being too quiet. But sometimes it just seems like a lot of work to be heard among a group of people who are all so outgoing.

In addition to being out extroverted by my friends, I was also a young life leader for nearly 10 years. That is 10 years of introducing yourself to random high schoolers, 10 years of being friends with awkward kids and trying to get to know lots and lots of them. 10 years of organizing young life clubs, hangouts, dinners and coffee with girls, of initiating and carrying conversations. Being in front of a big group teaching, or singing, or wearing a ridiculous costume and doing silly things. 10 years of putting yourself out there and facing rejection. Maybe a lot of my extrovert-ism got used up doing ministry, so when I wasn't doing ministry, I just wanted to lay low.

So there is my little analysis on why I think I had a personality shift. Although if you look at all the other letters of the personality test, those have changed too. I have no explanation for all of it.

One thing I have realized is that I really love hanging out with small groups of people or one on one. I love intentional two-way conversation. And God has been good to put some great friends in my life who I know care about me and who I can get together and talk about life with.

Sometimes I miss being the social butterfly I was in high school. It was great to have a group of people who were always ready and willing to hang out. Close friends who never got tired of being together every Friday and Saturday night. But I guess with the stage of life I'm in, that's not really realistic. And God is teaching me to be content right where He has me.

I had Derek take the test also and I was able to guess exactly what he was. Derek is an ENFJ, so we are exact opposites, except for the J. The funny thing is, sometimes we feel like the same person and like we share a brain, so I'm not sure how that works. Anyways, it's kind of fun to take those tests and I think it helps us figure out how God has created us. It's also interesting to see how our circumstances can change us over time. You should go take the test and come back and let me know what your personality type is. I would be interested to know!

1 comment:

Callie Nicole said...

WOw, so I took the test, and I'm an INFJ. I can't decide if they nailed me or not. One of the descriptions said that INFJ personalities are hard to get to know because they don't share their feelings openly, which I don't think is me at all - I'm pretty open about how I'm feeling with people, though I guess in a way I'm a little selective. Like I wouldn't just tell some random acquaintance about my inner workings, and I wouldn't tell some of my friends who seem more guarded themselves, but if someone is open with me I'll be open with them.

But then that part about analyzing everything and being able to pick out the psychology behind my specific actions, or other's actions - yeah that's me. One description made INFJ's sound a little cold though, and that's not me - I feel like the first paragraph of this description described it better:


I also don't like the word "judging", I feel like "discerning" is a better word for what they were talking about . . .

That was really interesting! I don't think I've taken that test before. Now I want to go read about other personality types . . .