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Extrovert vs. Introvert

I hate the Meyers-Briggs test.

Each time I've tried to take it, and I've taken several versions, several times, the results came out completely differently. More importantly, my answers were continuously preceded with "it depends." The questions have no solid context. When they ask you how you would act at a party, they don't tell who's throwing the party, how many people are at it, where it is, etc. My behavior often depends on my surroundings and my mood. I don't think a test so vague such as this one can determine one's personality well.

The result set often shows that I am perfectly aligned between extroverted and introverted. According to Carl Jung, every person has extroverted and introverted attitude types in them but they're born with one more developed than the other. And they must learn to develop the other throughout their lives.

As a child, I was extremely introverted. Attached to my mother's skirt, I used to cry almost non-stop. I wouldn't talk to anyone. I wrote diaries daily and wouldn't divulge personal information to anyone. Everyone marked me introverted, and that was that.

During high school, I must have opened up cause I had many parties and was often the center of attention. Most of my classmates knew me. The same phenomenon continued in college. Half the school knew me, and most people took me to be very extroverted.

I've often wondered about the dichotomy and assumed that somewhere between childhood and adulthood, I must have changed.

Well, as my teacher explained Jung's theories, I realized I hadn't changed after all. Most people associate introverted ness with shyness, so as I became less shy, I assumed I must have become extroverted. Jung, however, defines the two as such: an extrovert is someone who finds meaning in life outside of himself such as friends, etc. Outside things hold more meaning to an extrovert. Introverts, on the other hand, find meaning in internal and subjective phenomenon. They're interested in what's inside them. Jung also said that introverts have a harder time during the initial phases of their life and extroverts have more trouble later on.

Well, looking at it in that context, I am most definitely an introvert. A book and some hot chocolate will always be more appealing than a night in town. A chat with a single close friend is so much better than a party. I might not be shy but I still believe what's inside is much more interesting.

I'm glad I finally cleared that up.

But I still hate the Meyers-Briggs.

Previously? Risks.

April 10, 2001 | previous | psychology & philosopy | share[]
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