I'm not your type (more than you ever wanted to know about my personality)

Personality typing never mattered all that much to me until recent years. Now, understanding why I work the way I do - self knowledge - has become quite important to me. I'll get into explaining why I think that is but first I want to explain where this all started.

It was a few years ago that my friends Emily and Marc first introduced the idea of personality testing to me. I can't remember if it came up casually in conversation. If there was an off handed reference to a Myers-Briggs personality type. I honestly just don't recall anymore.

What I do recall is that I got the distinct impression that my friends understood more about themselves than I understood about myself.

I probably dismissed it at first, as I do all new ideas, but I slowly came back around to personality types and testing. And now that I've cracked open that door I'm so glad I did.

I love understanding more about myself through this lens. I also love the understanding I've gained about my husband and children. 

For well over a year now I've wanted to write about this and my "personality post" drafts keep getting pushed to the bottom of the publish pile. You don't even want to know how many posts I've got going, in various stages of un-done-ness, on this topic. For an ESTJ like myself (who loves closure on things) it's embarrassing.

So here it is. At long last. My personality post.

I spend a lot of time talking about myself in this post, it's a post about my personality after all. But at the bottom of this post I've assembled a list of resources for you so this is not simply a selfish writing exercise on my part.

ESTJ

Most of the personality tests I've taken are Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessments (MBTI). I've also done the Enneagram analysis (recommended by the aforementioned Emily). 

It was pretty clear to me early on what my Myers-Briggs type is. And the more I read and the more tests I take (I'm a bit of a personality test junkie) the more clear I've become on my personality.

I'm an ESTJ. And I gotta say, I find this not very glamorous.

ESTJs are a 'get-it-done' type people. We're planners and doers. Managers and delegaters. We're not particularly nurturing, nor do we make decisions based on how things feel.

Intuitive, touchy-feely, go with the flow - nope, that's not me. Which makes me sound uptight. A description I don't particularly like.

Here's a few more descriptions:

ESTJs are responsible, logical, norm-following hard workers. Their efforts are carried out in a practical, structured manner. ESTJs trust facts and experiences more than theories. They are decisive, loyal, tradition observing individuals. They enjoy being the person in charge and often make good supervisors.

ESTJs are take-charge people. They have such a clear vision of the way that things should be, that they naturally step into leadership roles. They are self-confident and aggressive. They are extremely talented at devising systems and plans for action, and at being able to see what steps need to be taken to complete a specific task.

They can sometimes be very demanding and critical, because they have such strongly held beliefs, and are likely to express themselves without reserve if they feel someone isn't meeting their standards. But at least their expressions can be taken at face-value, because the ESTJ is extremely straight-forward and honest.

from My Personality.info

The ESTJ needs to watch out for the tendency to be too rigid, and to become overly detail-oriented. Since they put a lot of weight in their own beliefs, it's important that they remember to value other people's input and opinions. If they neglect their Feeling side, they may have a problem with fulfilling other's needs for intimacy, and may unknowingly hurt people's feelings by applying logic and reason to situations which demand more emotional sensitivity.

The ESTJ puts forth a lot of effort in almost everything that they do. They will do everything that they think should be done in their job, marriage, and community with a good amount of energy. He or she is conscientious, practical, realistic, and dependable.

from Portrait of an ESTJ

For ESTJs, love means stability and steadfastness. However, when they first fall in love, they are much more likely to be spontaneous and open to the moment. They typically enjoy active pursuits, such as going to parties and sporting events, and taking walks together. ESTJs give and expect security and loyalty in relationships. When commitments are broken, ESTJs become upset because they hold others to the same standards of steadfastness to which they hold themselves.

from ESTJ - The Enforcer

Some occupations seem to be more attractive to ESTJs: government worker, insurance agent and underwriter, judge, manager, military personnel, nursing administrator, police officer, sales representative, supervisor, trade and technical teacher, and other occupations that allow ESTJs to see tasks accomplished.

As parents, ESTJs insist on clear roles and expectations. They emphasize respect for authority and for the rules of the household. ESTJ parents often take control of the family and assign jobs and duties to family members, expecting that these roles be carried out without complaint. (I read this out loud to my family and Brienne says "that's you!")

from ESTJ - Personality Desk

Yeesh, that was more than you ever wanted to know about me! I have some insecurities about who I am because in my online world of creative artsy types, idea-generating entrepreneurs, intuitive and gentle mamas, introverted writers and everything else I see, but feel I am not, my personality type feels a bit cold and managerial. Very responsible, but boring.

When I look at this the profiles of the 16 personality types I don't want to be a supervisor. Ugh. No! I want to be a composer, an artist, a dynamo or a visionary. Something fun and pretty. Not a stuffy suit (that's not me at all).

(For the record, I've been a government worker - long, long time ago and was pretty good at that. I've never wanted to be in the military, or an insurance agent, police officer, sales rep, or much else in that list above.)

Contradictions

I'm a Guardian. That I get. Some assessments say I'm the keeper of the status quo. Huh?

This is where my personality typing gets a little fuzzy and starts to be highly influenced by my life mate and marriage partner - Damien (an INTP). In sixteen and half years of marriage a lot of who Damien is has "rubbed" off on me. Thank goodness! Toning down my loudest edges, helping me get over the desire to "do it right", and helping me learn to trust more and control less.

And of course motherhood has changed me incredibly also. It grew my F and my N. And also mellowed my E and my J.

I've always been a tad rebellious and doing what other people say just because they have the power to say so has never sat well with me.

I'm a natural born leader who is weary of authority (I want to put my trust in someone trustworthy) and yet I also want to play by the rules. Go figure. And for me to not play by the rules, or do something out of the norm - this could be homebirth, interest-led homeschool, leaving steady employment with good benefits, etc - I have to believe strongly in the "rightness" of what I'm doing.

The more hands-on, real life experience I have with something, the better I feel being outside the box,"...ESTJs assemble a storehouse of detailed information based on their practical experience, creating a body of evidence they can use to inform their plans for action."

This sums up the contradiction well, ESTJs "are often responsible, reliable, and obedient - if the rules make sense." (ESTJ - The Enforcer).

Knowing my personality type has given me a lot of reassurance about the way I am wired but it's not an excuse to run roughshod over my family - micro-managing their lives and hurting people's feelings with my "honest" opinions.

Understanding my personality is also not an excuse to plateau on personal growth. It's the opposite in fact. Knowing who I am helps me see where my weaknesses lie and where I need to be open to growth and change. I never want to use my steadfast and dependable personality as an excuse to get stuck in my ways and miss out on amazing opportunities in life.

Why it matters?

Why does all this matter? How do four little letters explaining how I am energized, take in information, make decisions and structure my life change things so significantly?

Understanding my personality helps me love and accept myself more, as well as love and help my children in their growth and development.

Isn't this the weirdest thing? My husband finds it funny. That I need personality assessments so I can feel normal, lovable, and ok. But that's the truth of it.

When I read these assessments of my personality type it's like a taking a big exhale. An exhale that sounds like "I'm ok. I'm normal. There's others like me."

But it's about more than feeling normal. It's being the best of who I am. And in this stage of life it's about figuring out who I am besides mother, homemaker and homeschooler. It's about knowing who I am so I can move with confidence and security in the work I do outside our home.

When an organization wants a job done - on time, according to schedule, with strict specifications - ESTJs can deliver. They contribute their logical and orderly way of evaluating and monitoring programs. They are direct and decisive, especially when they see a flaw. They are especially adept at organizing the steps and the resources needed to get the job done. They follow through with a thoroughness focused on the actual, practical facts of the situation.

ESTJs prefer occupations that require an organized, logical, and practical bent that incorporates an effective use of time and resources. They pay attention to the organization's hierarchy and use policies and procedures to help them to move the tasks along. They like making decisions and dealing with concrete, specific facts.

from ESTJ - The Enforcer

How all this relates to being a writer, photographer, beauty seeker, and mompreneur is a bit tricky. The only "organization" I want to work for is my family. My mission (that's another post I really need to finish) is to nourish, encourage and teach; build relationship and create beauty. Investing first in my family and then others.

I am an excellent home manager - directing and overseeing our finances, family schedule and the kids' education. After years as a homemaker and mother I know how to use my strengths and shine at home. I'm also very secure here (something important to ESTJs), being surrounded by my loyal family.

How do I move that ability to shine and succeed beyond the comfort and routines of family and home? How do I use my practical outlook, down to earth perspective, organizational skills, and get-it-done attitude to coach, teach, write, mentor, and everything else that is part of my work in the world?

This is where I'm at right now. What I'm trying to figure out.

For my children

I've limited this post to my own personality, growth and development. But just as fascinating to me is understanding my kids. I know each of their personality types and as much as possible I structure our homeschooling curriculum, family schedule, and routines around that.

I look at their strengths, interests, and personality to help guide me in parenting them. I love this insight into who they are. And they do to! ("Tell me again my type mom.")

Also, knowing my personality type explains a lot about why I mother the way I do. It helps explain the way I discipline (these are the rules, follow them), how I relate to our children, the expectations I have, etc.

Again, my personality is not a carte blanche to steam roll over my family's needs and wishes (I love knowing who they are and how I can serve them in that) but it does explain why order and obedience play a large role in my parenting. (Trust me, in my online world of "gentle mamas" - lots of I, N, F & P - everything I'm not - this is a reassurance to me.) My personality type also explains why I love engaging with my children in hands-on things and in physical activities vs. games, puzzles, etc. I'd much rather go for a walk in the woods together than do a puzzle. I could go on and on. I already have.

I really think there's a lot of freedom that comes in knowing who you are. And that's the point of this post.

Resources

This is a brief list of personality testing websites and books. There's a bazallion of these things out there, so this list is by no means exhaustive.

People who are "into" personality testing usually love to talk about it. Feel free to jump into comments with any observations and insights you might have about personality types. And I'd love to know what type you are.
Also, discussions about melding a houseful of different personality types are fascinating to me. How we find freedom to be ourselves but let our children and spouses be themselves also. Wanna talk about it?

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

  • Jess

    Jess on Jan. 8, 2013, 3:31 p.m.

    Interesting and thanks for sharing. I've considered taking the test before (or tests as it may be) but have not taken the time. My motivation would be to understand myself more deeply. I also have a strong need to compartmentalize my thoughts and think that knowing my type would help. I took the test and discovered that I am an INFP, or Healer. I think that I experience times of extroversion, but am an introvert at the core. Thanks for the insight, experience and your book/link list. I hope to look further into several of the resources.

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  • Teresa c

    Teresa c on Jan. 8, 2013, 3:56 p.m.

    The problem I have with these kind os tests is that most of the times I have traits from different personalities... It was no different now, I could be a ISFJ, a INFJ, a INTJ or a ISTJ. :)

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    • renee

      renee on Jan. 11, 2013, 10:02 p.m.

      I hear you Teresa, I have had borderline assessments with my E & I. But I am historically and an E and ESTJ fits better than ISTJ. 

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  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on Jan. 8, 2013, 5:02 p.m.

    I love Myers-Briggs. My dad who is a psychologist had me do the kids's test when I was 10. I was ENFJ. I did it again at 25, just before having my girls and I was still ENFJ! JF did it too and we read lots on relationship between our types and it helped us tremendously to understand each other and ourselves. It will be interested to have the girls tested later on...

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    • renee

      renee on Jan. 11, 2013, 10:03 p.m.

      Wow, you were way ahead of the personality game. Damien doesn't do much research on his own type. But I do (smile). 

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous on Jan. 8, 2013, 5:48 p.m.

    This is very interesting. I am going to have to look into this. I took a personality test but it was many years ago and I wasn't interested in it then so I don't even remember.

    I have always felt like I don't really fit in anywhere (I tend to do things that aren't "mainstream" and have ideas for other things that I want to do that aren't mainstream...things similar to you like homeschool and homebirthing and such- although I long to fit in with others I find I don't much. I am not willing to give up the way I want to do things to fit in. So I wonder what this means, personality test wise. I am going to look into it.

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  • Kirstin

    Kirstin on Jan. 8, 2013, 5:50 p.m.

    Interesting. I am a ISFJ, describes me almost to a tee. Might need to look at the rest of the family.

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  • Heather

    Heather on Jan. 8, 2013, 7:07 p.m.

    As an ISTJ, I understand. What fascinates me is how my score doesn't change. I have taken the MB and similar tests throughout my life, I am always an ISTJ despite how I believe I have mellowed or adapted. It seems to show that our true personality is rather resilient.

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  • Shannon

    Shannon on Jan. 8, 2013, 7:23 p.m.

    I've been into personality typing since college, but my interest since recently becoming a mom has been personality types under stress. My types in MBTI (infp) and Enneagram (4) are described as iconoclastic and nonconformist, but ironically under stress become critical or controlling. I find it really helpful when I see this in myself to remember that I am in an inherently stressful phase of life, give myself grace and turn away from unhealthy stress responses, and confirm the creative, generative potential of my personality.

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    • renee

      renee on Jan. 11, 2013, 10:13 p.m.

      These are great insights Shannon. It seems that the "worst" parts of my personality come out during stressful times. 

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  • Sarah M

    Sarah M on Jan. 8, 2013, 8:26 p.m.

    I find this stuff fascinating, too, and I love Penelope Trunk's blog, and she talks about this stuff a LOT. I remember taking it a long time ago, and the only part of the 4 letters I remember was a solid "I", which I knew before I even took the test. I'm actually surprised that you are aren't an "I", simply because it seems from your blog that you guys plan a lot of down-time, and rest throughout the day/week. I sort of assumed you were.

    My father-in-law, who is an entrepreneur, made all this kids (and then me, when my husband and I were engaged!) take a personality test and I remember being floored by the answers. In reading the list and comments from the other websites you gathered, I wonder if my husband is exactly that match. Perhaps 1 letter off, but no more. He is a manager who does very well in his line of work, and has had aspirations for 10+ years to become a police officer. Even when he was younger (in high school, taking a personality test with his dad) one of the top jobs listed for him was a policeman.

    At times I find it hard to balance these types of testing with what is actually called upon me for ministry in the church. To explain, if I'm a solid introvert (and I've become even more introverted since having kids--they take most of my intentional energy for a lot of hours in the day!), how much should I healthfully engage in within our church family (and going along with that--what types of spiritual gifts am I more prone to, and how to help with needs, etc.), and what is me using that as an excuse? What is a sacrifice and giving of my time and energy, and what is wrong and out-balanced? It is something I have been thinking about and trying to re-hash for at least 2 years. Reading the book "Quiet" about introverts this past year was very helpful, I still feel this tug between "too much" and "not enough". Sarah M

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    • Laura

      Laura on Jan. 9, 2013, 2:50 a.m.

      I really need to read the book "Quiet". I'm an ISFJ and have found motherhood uses up all my emotional energy during the day {and that's just us at home alone...even harder when we go out and socialize!}. I'd really like to figure out what I can do to enjoy life and be happier as an introverted mother.

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      • renee

        renee on Jan. 9, 2013, 12:53 p.m.

        My friend Jamie Martin at Steady Mom writes sometimes about being an introverted mom. I have always found those posts interesting. I did a quick search on her blog and came up with these posts. I watched a TED talk by Susan Cain, author of Quiet, about introverts and she talked about how schools favor introverts. Then I read this post by Penelope Trunk (love her personality type posts) about schools favoring extroverts. Go figure.  I know your comment isn't about schools but I think it's interesting how people have different takes on the same issue. Maybe the same can be true for the introverted mom also? To find your strengths in that and how your introversion can enhance your home and family life. 

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      • Felicity

        Felicity on March 4, 2017, 10:50 a.m.

        I am an ISFJ also with an ESTJ daughter (she is just 18 months but her personality has been lit up neon since she was born). She is WONDERFULLY inexhaustible and I have learnt that working with her inclinations and not my own has been more effective. After all, how relaxing is it to be at home when every 10 secs another toy is shoved in your face to interact with when you could be at the park watching little miss giggle with glee as she slides and tumbles and presents herself to every stranger with a massive grin!? Bonus: if I play my hand just right I might tire little miss out and then I get an uncontested bedtime, a nap or some downtime for my troubles. My daughter is made in an amazing and wonderful way… I just need to learn to keep up with her!

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    • renee

      renee on Jan. 9, 2013, 1:17 p.m.

      Sarah M.,  I love Penelope Trunk's blog (in general, some posts are off-putting to me) and her homeschool blog, oh... I love that especially. She does talk a lot about personality types and I find that fascinating. I eat it up.  You know the I/E thing for me is interesting. As a child I was a strong E. It was very obvious. I've always been outgoing and felt comfortable in public leadership roles, etc. And I loved social gatherings - felt energized by them, etc. Then I had kids and being with them 24/7 (no childcare) toned that down a bit. Also being married to an I and incorporating his values into our life - the time outdoors specifically. And so now I feel I am still an E (I know this because the ESTJ fits me much better than ISTJ) but I am borderline I, and I like this. I also highly value quiet, reflective time as a spiritual life discipline, and my body needs physical rest (I try be in tune with my body's needs) and I find we all function better (the E's and I's in our family) with a mix of outward and inward activities. Perhaps the way we're raising our kids will temper the stronger E tendancies. Who knows. Three of us are E's and only 2 are I's.  Isn't it funny how having kids (and staying home with them) seems to lean some of us more to the I side of things? I wonder if this is true for many SAHMs?  My personal feelings on church involvement are not exactly "mainstream Christian". I think that most church activities are busy-making activities. Stuff that's not scriptural but tradition and is just "what's done". I think it's hard to find a spirit-led fit in that scenario. However, in the real work and calling of the church - to be the bride of Christ - I believe we all can find a a place being exactly who we are. Exactly who God made us to be.  Paul's description of the body of Christ as a body is so apt in this regard. We really do all have a different role. I loved this post by my friend Emily. I do think our spiritual gifts, and therefore how we serve the church, line up with our personalities. I sometimes feel (I have no research or reading to back this up, though I think there's a book about this out there) the modern church tends to be led by charismatic extroverted do-ers. So of course they will have a particular way of looking at people's roles in the church.  So, I don't have any answers to your question. I know you aren't looking to me for those. But I do believe in Freedom in Christ. To be exactly who we are. And that doesn't mean it's always comfortable or easy but our service is and can be a natural extension of the Spirit working through who we are. Also, most of your "church" service right now is to your family and ministering to them. (smile).

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      • Kika

        Kika on Jan. 9, 2013, 3:28 p.m.

        The church discussion is interesting to me: I've helped out or taken charge in various roles over the years, avoiding some altogether because they almost make me hyperventilate (prime example of this would be working in the kitchen with a bunch of other people for events = noise, chaos, never quite knowing who is in charge of what, etc. I've always felt it is best to use one's particular giftings although sometimes we jump in simply because the need is there. More and more, though, I am returning to ONLY serving in a capacity that respects who I am as a person. So, I choose ministries where I can work alone - no team work for me, please! Or, I manage these responsibilities with my now 13 year old daughter. For instance, running the nursery or church library or teaching a teen class. Anyways, as a family we do things on occasion we don't always want to or things out of our comfort zone b/c the need is there but we are at our BEST when we respect the God-given personalities we were born with.

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      • Sarah M

        Sarah M on Jan. 10, 2013, 2:04 a.m.

        Thanks for your responses, Renee, and Kika. I think the thing for me, or that I've found throughout my life, is that although I'm definitely an introvert (and again, a stronger one since staying at home with children) is that I can adapt when necessary to strong leadership roles, juggling many things at once, and 'look' like a strong E, but that is not a sustainable thing for me, and I've only learned this in the past number of years. I remember being in a group of women talking about marriage, and I asked the question to the older lady leading, "How do introverts and extroverts keep the peace in marriage with regards to having people over?" and she was baffled that I was the introvert. I'd just been functioning in that role for so long. I so agree with you on "busy making" of church tasks...you just put it much more eloquently than I could! It's just a hard thing for me to say no, repeatedly, to the same large leadership roles, and not feel burdened by the fact that "maybe they don't have anyone else to do it" or "I am able to do it, just not willing" and I feel like I should be more 'sacrificial' (martyr-y? ha). Currently, I love my little niche of serving. I coordinate the mercy meals (taking meals and groceries to those who've lost a loved one, had a baby, or just got out of the hospital) and do a lot of them on my own, for others in my life, which is a very background thing. I think because I find this "not very hard" and "not very time consuming" that I'm not doing enough. It's my own burden I put on myself, and it's so silly! I know there is great freedom in Christ. I make things to complicated for my own good. :) I'm off to read your friend's post. Sarah M PS-Also agree, the homeschooling blog she writes is so. so. great.

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        • renee

          renee on Jan. 11, 2013, 10:20 p.m.

          Sarah M, I think it's so interesting how many of us think if something feels natural and easy for us to do it must not be service because it's not sacrificial enough of something like that. But what if that's how we're meant to function - doing what comes naturally to us because we're operating in the gifts we were given by the Creator - instead of trying fit into molds that don't fit. And then letting other's do the things they are gifted at. And accepting all those differences with thanks instead of "why can't I be", "why can't she be", etc. Of course it's easy for me to pontificate on this since I am quite removed from serving in a local church right now. Just being honest. 

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  • Mindy

    Mindy on Jan. 8, 2013, 9:26 p.m.

    I just did two different tests and got the same result - ISFJ. Now to dig into that for some growth! And...to get the husband to take it...now that will be interesting as we already see ourselves as that "polar opposite" couple that everyone wonders how they will make it! Ha! The polar opposite couple who is very much in love and going strong...12 years and counting. Thanks for this post. Very cool! One I'm going to come back and re-read!

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    • renee

      renee on Jan. 9, 2013, 12:45 p.m.

      I too am very different from Damien. Personality wise, we share a T, that's it. But like you, I am very much in love with my husband and draw on his strengths and differences very much in our marriage. Just as he draws on mine. We are definitely better together than apart. I feel I gain so much being married to him (smile). 

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  • Sarah

    Sarah on Jan. 9, 2013, 12:05 a.m.

    I LOVE personality tests and fully embrace my MB score because it is VERY accurate for me. Of course we are all more complex than these 4 facets of our personalities, but I truly feel I am "the counselor" (INFJ). I am almost your exact opposite!

    I certainly feel that learning about your personality (and thinking about, and actively shaping) can be very helpful. It can be helpful for others to understand how I am different from them (and for me to understand how they are different from me!) so that I can see them as individuals more readily (rather than assuming they feel as I do). Understanding my own perspective is key for me to learn how to view others with acceptance, love, and understanding. I also think that it can be important to some to feel that they are part of something or that they have a way to describe how they feel or experience the world.

    Those are super neat resources! Thanks!

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    • renee

      renee on Jan. 9, 2013, 12:40 p.m.

      Sarah, so many of the people responding to this post seem to be quite different than me. I wasn't joking when I said "I'm not your type" in the title. I'm glad you found the resources helpful. It took me some time to pull those together and I'm glad it was worth the effort. 

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      • Sarah

        Sarah on Jan. 10, 2013, 8:16 p.m.

        It's funny for me because I am so used to being the only Introvert, or NF-er around... so it surprised me when I saw this comment and looked back on the rest of the comments... you're right--you're very unique in this community you've created (that's neat you communicate to so many people who're different from you!). I must say though, that I am very J--chaos in space and time overwhelms and upsets me.

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  • Sherah

    Sherah on Jan. 9, 2013, 11:31 a.m.

    This is so fascinating because my husband and I just started diving into the whole personality theory world. For me it was also extremely freeing to know that I wasn't just weird or even damaged. When I realized that I am what I am and God actually made me that way, I could start to move out of the realm of rejecting myself. My husband was skeptical at first and called it something close to astrology. One night when I was reading about my personality type (which is INFP, the exact opposite of yours) he said, "why does this even matter to you?" I answered that it's because knowing why I do and feel a certain way frees me and I no longer feel "dafook" (Hebrew for "knocked" or "crazy"). When he saw that it was doing something positive in me, he was more positive and even took the test (he is ENTP). Ever since we have been really talking about personalities and how they are presented in our relationship and our relationships with our kids. We went on to try to figure out their personality types and that has also been freeing. Now we even understand why we as a family are really unorganized. :-) BTW, my MIL is the same personality type as you and we have had some tough times (understandably because we are the exact opposite)but now I can understand better where she is coming from. Oh, there is so much more and I would love to go on and on but I need to get a shower. :-)

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    • renee

      renee on Jan. 9, 2013, 12:38 p.m.

      Sherah, isn't that interesting about your MIL and you. I won't take it personally, just because she shares my type.(smile) I know I can be hard to handle sometimes (but conversely touchy, feely types make me nervous and disorganization drives me crazy) but knowing that we're all different for a reason, not simply because that person wants to be obstinate, makes a huge difference. This has been hugely helpful for me with my kids because I understand the reasons for why they are different then me. And why one of them can't follow a string of instructions to save his life (this gets into learning styles also). It has nothing to do with me, but is how he's wired. I really think self-knowledge of this type helps me accept myself more and be a better mom and wife. 

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      • Sherah

        Sherah on Jan. 10, 2013, 9:12 a.m.

        That's just it... I can see how our disorganization really drives her crazy now. It's easier to extend grace to someone when you know where they are coming from. I can also really appreciate her (and yours) personality type now that I know what it is. If I were in charge of organizing our family holiday meals and making things run smoothly, everything would be coming out of the oven 2 hours after the meal was to begin because I do everything at the last minute. With my MIL, everything runs smoothly and we all enjoy ourselves. She tells me how I can contribute in her plan and it works well that way.

        One funny thing that happened years ago is that she used to call us (often) to make sure that our first daughter was drinking water. For some reason, it was difficult for her trust us that we would take care of her. We laugh about it now, but it was annoying at the time.

        It has been helpful for us to assess our oldest children's personality types. We have one child who is an ISJ. It was difficult for both my husband and I to understand where he is coming from in the beginning. Once we read more about that specific personality type we understood how we can help him where he is at instead of expecting him to do things the way that we do them.

        From a growth perspective, it is really helpful to be aware of the negative aspects of my personality type and how I can improve in my relationships with others (ex. my MIL ;-)). It's also been great for our marriage.

        A little off topic, but do you know if there is a connection between personality and love languages? Have you found info on this anywhere? I'll go looking.

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        • renee

          renee on Jan. 10, 2013, 11:50 a.m.

          Sherah, you know I don't know about the love languages connection. My love languages are acts of service and words of affirmation. Does that line up with you MiL? (smile). I like what you say here about knowing our loved ones personality types so we can appreciate and love them more. Good stuff.

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          • Sherah

            Sherah on Jan. 23, 2013, 9:28 p.m.

            Acts of service is definitely one of her love languages as well.

            I am reading Motherstyles right now and it seems from the book that there are some connections between love languages and personality types. I wouldn't say that you can draw straight lines from one to the other though.

            I wish I had time to hang out here on the post and chat about all this stuff. It's so interesting.

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      • Marcia

        Marcia on Jan. 13, 2015, 6:05 p.m.

        I'm also an ESTJ and interestingly, my love languages are also acts of service and words of affirmation.

        let's just leave it there, shall we?

        I'm a BIG MBTI freak and I actually teach workshops on the love languages :)

        I'm not sure if you've read Motherstyles yet but I talk about it on my blog as the best parenting book ever... so I can thoroughly recommend it. http://leighloveslists.blogspot.com/2010/04/best-parenting-book-ever.html

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        • renee

          renee on Jan. 14, 2015, 11:38 p.m.

          Hi Marcia,

          Welcome to the conversation. This is an older post and I"m happy to see it's still active and relevant for people. Interestingly, just this behind-the-scenes on the blog I've been updating mission & personality resource pages and getting ready to publish another related post. 

          I've visited your blog and it sounds like we have a lot in common :)

          I haven't read Motherstyles but it looks good. 

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  • Leah

    Leah on Jan. 9, 2013, 12:56 p.m.

    Cheers to being unique regardless of our personality profile, and sharing that in community. You've offered some great introspection here Renee, thank you for offering that. Signed, INFP/J (on the line)...;)

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  • shelli

    shelli on Jan. 9, 2013, 1:52 p.m.

    Thanks for writing about this, Renee. I'm interested, though I haven't taken the time to do one of these tests yet. I know that I'm very introverted, and I have read a book about being introverted, which was very eye-opening, and I also listened to Susan Cain's TED Talk. It was very validating. A while back I read Discovering Your Child's Learning Style, and I took that test. I have been meaning to do it again and write about it, but there's so much information to write about, I haven't found the time! Anyway, this will give me more to ponder and write about! Thanks for the resources. I'll let you know what I find out.

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  • Kika

    Kika on Jan. 9, 2013, 3:38 p.m.

    According to tests I am ISFJ though haven't ever done a test that I feel exactly captures who I really am. Personality tests didn't help me understand myself so much as understand others who I simply thought were flawed:) These types of tests helped me to recognize more clearly the strengths and weaknesses in us all - and to be a little less judgy about traits in other people that tend to drive me crazy (being late, being messy or disorganized, etc.).

    In our home we 'laugh' (sometimes so I don't cry;)) almost daily about the personality differences here- two of the kids take more after me while my middle daughter is so much like her dad. Maintaining a sense of humour about these things can help offset the frustration of living in close quarters with people SO different from each other.

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  • LisaZ

    LisaZ on Jan. 9, 2013, 8:27 p.m.

    My personality is your exact opposite, INFP, and I can tell you from reading your post that we have a LOT in common. You help me understand my mom, who is your type, in ways I have not, and also to see that maybe she and I have a lot more in common than I think. I'm thankful to you for that!

    I also use my personality typing to know and accept myself better, which is not always easy for an INFP (being so rare in our world) to do. But that is the greatest gift of this introspection. I think both of our personalities must really like to understand things deeply, even while we dislike being "pigeonholed". But like you, if something makes sense to me and I understand it, I will be loyal to it (or a person) and willing to follow its rules. Otherwise, watch out because I will rebel!

    Also, INFPs are not always as nurturing as you might thing from reading online, Renee! We desperately need our alone time and that's hard with young children. We all have to find ways to work with our personality and our families.

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    • Lisa

      Lisa on Jan. 10, 2013, 7 p.m.

      Hi Lisa - I'm a fellow INFP, so interesting! Although I need to delve deeper to get a better understanding, and I think I'm borderline in a few areas. The one thing that strikes me is when I look at possible career paths which tends to be teaching/coaching/counselling which I've always thought of as the last thing I would want to do!:) Thanks Renee for starting this and getting many of us thinking.

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      • renee

        renee on Jan. 11, 2013, 10:22 p.m.

        I hear you Lisa. I have my doubts about those career paths for personality types. So many of the suggested ones for me as NOT what I want to do and very "old school". Not part of this new generation of people who are figuring out how to make a living doing something they love to do vs. fitting into a set role in society or work in an institution of some kind. 

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      • LisaZ

        LisaZ on Jan. 12, 2013, 5:24 p.m.

        Interesting that you wrote about that, Lisa. After years of struggling to figure out what I might do after my kids grew up (and they're close now, at 14 and 16), I have finally put my finger on what it is I want to do. And it IS counseling and spiritual direction! This is in large part based on what I've learned about my personality over the years. Way back when I was young, I went to Seminary with the goal of becoming a Lutheran Pastor. Well, I left Seminary after my year of being a student pastor full-time in a church. There were many reasons that I left, both negative and positive, but one thing I found out was that being a leader in front of or in charge of groups of people is just not something that fits me. I can put on that role and even be good at it, but it is terribly draining for me. I now know that I want to work one-on-one with people but still in a spiritual manner. It's a huge relief to finally "get" this and I'm applying to schools so that when my son is 18 I just may be ready to "work" again. I don't see my future role as very traditional and old school at all. I'm still going to have to make my way in it, and it may be partly from home but after all these years at home with kids even my introverted self is ready to get out a bit.

        Great discussion, everyone!

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  • Lori

    Lori on Jan. 9, 2013, 10:23 p.m.

    I just took the test, and came back as an ISTJ. I read the description on another site that you mentioned, and the description seems pretty accurate.
    I find it funny that it is the #1 personality trait of men. I'm not surprised by that either. For one thing, my husband often wants to talk at great length about the details of a day, and I find that tiring, which I think is opposite of most husband/wife relationships! I am also the budgeter and planner of the family. I like to keep track of bills, retirement accounts and vacation planning.
    My passions, however, are my family/homeschool/simple living/home management/homekeeping/local, environmentally responsible food choices/living by God's rules; doing the right thing/and living in a way that is right for our family and not culturally popular. I don't think that many men would list those as their passions, so I won't feel odd that I scored "like a man" Interesting stuff!

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  • Becca

    Becca on Jan. 9, 2013, 10:58 p.m.

    I find this info so helpful. After reading your post, I reread the descriptions for my teen, my husband and myself [I'm an ISTJ]. I needed the reminders. I also used the Kidzmet for my 8YO & 11YO; it laid out stuff I knew but it really helped me to read the words and not just have that gut feeling about them. These tests have really helped me get a clearer understanding of myself and really helps me understand my teen who is the total opposite of me.

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    • renee

      renee on Jan. 11, 2013, 12:27 p.m.

      I think understanding our kids is a gift we give them and ourselves. Really knowing our families is such a privilege. 

      reply

  • Ashley

    Ashley on Jan. 10, 2013, 2:37 a.m.

    This post turned into my family and I taking personality tests and discussing them this evening! A lot of "lightbulb" moments of learning about ourselves and each other! It really helps me as an INFJ to see there are a lot of strengths in being an introvert and idealist. Great post!

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  • Heather

    Heather on Jan. 11, 2013, 2:11 a.m.

    I'm an ISTJ...just over the line into I, but it's there. And I am off the scale J. haha Although, I think that's mellowed over the years. Honestly, though you know it's going "bad" when you see the traits you lean towards while taking the test, I have to say I've embraced my ISTJ. You know... the STJ part of your type perfectly explains why you aren't a women's conference sort of girl as you mentioned in a post not too long ago. Love the T part of my personality...keeps me from a lot of ups and downs! Enjoy the ESTJ!

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    • renee

      renee on Jan. 11, 2013, 12:21 p.m.

      That's a good point Heather, about my STJ/women's conference thing. Insightful. And I hear you on the T. Sometimes I feel that (in combination with everything else) is one my pointy edges but I'm learning to like it. 

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  • RebeccaL

    RebeccaL on Jan. 11, 2013, 3:24 p.m.

    I love personality tests, and like you, I find them to be a validation that it is ok to be myself and that what other people may see as weaknesses, are actually strengths, or just natural differences.

    Have you tried the DISC analysis? I did one through a work mentoring program and it helped me to see what my natural style was and how I was having to adjust in order to accommodate the people around me. It helped me see how unbalanced my life was.

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  • Leanne

    Leanne on Jan. 12, 2013, 2:25 p.m.

    This was great..the only personality test I ever took was 20+ years ago when I was about 20..I only remember the outcome: I was a choleric/sanguine. So I just took this test and came up ISFJ. I was a little surprised.

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  • Tanya

    Tanya on Jan. 15, 2013, 2:10 p.m.

    I'm coming to the personality test party a little late (just now catching up on my blog reading), but I'm so glad you wrote about this and included some references.

    I recently took a personality test and I'm an INTJ, the "mastermind", which helps to explain why this stay at home mama to 7 tries to find a better system in even the mundane things like laundry. :) I was a little surprised at how strongly I scored as an introvert, since I really do like to be with people, but it does explain why I'm so exhausted after being around a lot of people all at one time. The other thing I found interesting was how few people are fellow INTJ's, especially other women. I think I understand now why I've always felt more comfortable in conversation circles with my husband and his friends rather than with many of the wives.

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  • Crystal

    Crystal on Dec. 8, 2013, 4:56 a.m.

    I am an INFJ.  As a kid, I always did was expected of me simply because I was supposed to.  I don't have kids yet, but I have spent the last 9 years as an art teacher. Teaching has been incredibly difficult for me as I am not good at maintaining the boundaries that I set.  Managing 24 middle school boys in an art room is disasterous for me.  I would like to learn how to use my stregnths to parent with appropriate boundaries, and perhaps even consider going back into the classroom--and enjoy it.  

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  • Sarah

    Sarah on July 15, 2015, 5:48 a.m.

    Don't know if you're on here anymore, but from one ESTJ to another--thank you! You probably know how it is, so you understand my need to find others like me. It was so good hearing about how you act and feel because I could relate. If you get this, contact me! I'd love to hear more about your research of all the personality typing tests you've done, if you're still interested in anymore, of course. 

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    • renee

      renee on July 15, 2015, 2:29 p.m.

      Sarah, I'm still "here". I get notices of every comment posted so even though this is an old post I got your comment.  I love to geek out on personality tests. Feel free to leave links in a comment here, or email me with your favorite tests if you like. I'm through the test-taking phase of personality typing. The stuff I appreciate now is the "what does this mean in your work, relationships, etc.", the application of this knowledge to every day life and how to be the best version of myself is the part I love now. I've been creating an ESTJ pinterest board also. 

      reply

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