I must admit, I’ve never been one of those women who buys Cosmo or Psychologies magazine and the like. You know the ones where you find out your personality type by answering questions about how much you agree or disagree with such and such?
I decided, somewhere in my 20s, that those surveys are rigged. It’s obvious, because I invariably came out of them as “Mostly Cs? You are a Serial Killer” or “Score over 50? You’re Going to Die Alone“.
Anyway, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson, but obviously I haven’t because last night I took one of those personality tests that analyses your responses to some random questions before reducing the miracle of the human soul to four letters that put you into one of a dozen different personality groups.
I should know better, I really should. I blame whoever it was that posted it on Facebook while I was procrastinating. And acronyms are quite scientific-looking, which lured me into a false sense of security. Damn those acronyms.
So, I answered lots of questions and I was completely honest. For example…
- YOU NEED TO RETREAT AND HAVE SOME “ALONE TIME” AFTER SPENDING TIME TALKING TO OTHER PEOPLE (strongly agree, I’m basically misanthropic)
- YOUR HOME AND WORK ENVIRONMENTS ARE QUITE TIDY. (Strongly agree. If it’s not a right angle, it’s a wrong angle)
- YOU CAN QUICKLY REMEMBER IMPORTANT FACTS AND EVENTS (E.G. BIRTHDAYS). (Strongly disagree. This quiz was clearly not written by a parent)
- YOU HAVE A GOOD FASHION SENSE. (Somewhat disagree. I think I am a style icon, but the world, sadly, does not agree)
15 minutes later and my entire existence is reduced to four letters: INTJ.
What does this mean? Well, for starters, I’m unusual. Only 2% of the population match this particular set of personality traits, and most of them are men – just 0.8% of women are classed as INTJ.
The overview tells me that the typical INTJ will likely have a successful career working by themselves or in a small team, perhaps in technology, engineering or consulting. That’s because the average INTJ person doesn’t like rules, is very good at coming up with, and implementing new ideas, and they tend to be ‘bookworms’ who are experts in their chosen field. Apparently, the typical INTJ is also uncomfortable with public displays of emotion and may appear “mysterious”.
Well, okay. That’s not too bad, I suppose.
But then you read the “detailed” profile and get to the good stuff:
Every personality type has many weak spots and INTJs are not an exception. There is one area where their brilliant mind often becomes completely useless and may even hinder their efforts – INTJs find it very difficult to handle romantic relationships, especially in their earliest stages.
Well, there’s a cheery notion. And there’s more:
It is not easy to become an INTJ’s friend. People with this personality type value rationality and intelligence more than anything else, and tend to automatically assume that most of the individuals they meet are likely to be less intelligent than they are. Furthermore, it is quite unlikely that the INTJ will enjoy physical manifestations of feelings (hugs, touches etc.), even with close friends.
And that’s not even the best bit:
Not surprisingly, people with the INTJ personality type will probably have difficulties supporting their children emotionally.
Is it just me or are these things just designed to make you wonder HOW you can fix your many terrible flaws that are preventing you from reaching your own, personal happy garden? (Usually by buying something, I suspect…)
Because that’s what these quizzes really are, at their heart – a way to make you feel warm and cosy on the one hand (I’m special, I’m clever) while simultaneously crippling you with self-consciousness and shame on the other (I’m socially inadequate and will Die Alone) so that you’ll immediately go out and spend money on things that will make you feel better.
The fact I took the day off today and managed to spend several hundred pounds on a spree through John Lewis is – of course – entirely coincidental.
(If you’re interested, the quiz I took was here)