Dear Russell and Friends,
I was truly thankful for Russell’s last post on personality types and on the possible correlation with belief. I had previously taken the brief version that Russell had recommended and remembered that my type was INFJ. Yesterday, in an executive education seminar at work I took the longer form M with my classmates with results listed above. I resonate with several of our readers who compared the experience to reading a horoscope with the understanding that it is indeed something different. Although not perfect, this test has been administered to 40 million humans over the last 90 years. Rather than being based on my birthday, it was based on honest answers to questions about my way of thinking, working, and perceiving the world.
I loved the comments of our friends and readers. I loved how you offered each other understanding and empathy. I promised more musings too. So here they are.
Although I knew I was an introvert the holistic meaning of my personality didn’t come into relief without the impasses that Russell and I often meet. We know that we care about each other. We also know that we just don’t process things the same. All models are wrong. Some are useful. That’s the way I feel about going through this exercise on the blog and in the long form yesterday. This is useful.
Russell (INTP) and I are both introverted intuitives married to extroverts. Mrs. Russell is ENFJ. Mrs. Pascal is ESFP. Mrs. Pascal and I had a great time reading our own and each other’s personality types. I realize that confirmation bias is likely at play, but the profiles were surprisingly accurate. For my wife and I the differences are dramatic. There was a weekend when we were dating where we took a 48 hour time out to determine if we would get engaged or never speak to each other again. Twenty one years later we find our differences to have stretched us both and to be a source of deep energy. I didn’t have the language to describe it then and probably didn’t need it. I realized that we were very different and that we liked each other very much. The decision to love each other was the best we have ever made.
So Russell and I match in the introverted intuitive domains but contrast in the thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving dichotomies. Is the whole greater than the parts? With 16 personality permutations the answer is surely yes. I do, however, feel that Russell and I most often disconnect when I feel and he thinks. Does that mean he doesn’t feel and I do not think? Of course not. But it does explain the epistemology of science, and history, and love. I feel that love can be an epistemology. I know that my heart can deceive me, but it hasn’t in the long term. Love made me marry. Like is not a decision – – I liked my wife and always will – – it is the quirky spark of compatibility that drives my happiness every time I see her again. Love was a decision — an epistemology that trumped the thinking that could have talked me out of it. Love is why I believe that Jesus saved me. Do I find science in conflict – – no, not really. Do I find some things beyond my comprehension? Yes. Can my mind be changed by a call to justice and mercy. Yes.
Perhaps Mrs. Pascal and I work so well because the yin and yang of I/E, and commonality of F balance any conflicts in the N/S and J/P domains. Or not. Maybe an intuitive needs a sensor and maybe a go along for the rider needs someone who loves to drive and plan the trip a year in advance. And maybe that planner should plan a day with nothing. Duly noted.
Russell, where does this leave you and me? In a better place. I’m so glad to understand you better and to be understood. I’ve always respected you and always will. I like that we have different ways to process and relate and now I get it better. As part of our exercise in the class there were cues on how to better relate to those of different personality types — how to speak their language if you will. I think that we’ve tried to do that for each other by reading or listening to things that the other likes.
P1 just took the test at our request. After complaining about seeming redundant questions he came back ISFP. We work well together. He can put concrete steps to my big idea. I also understand his messy room a bit better. Thanks again for this Russell.
Has knowing (or guessing) the personality type of your loved one helped you to respect and communicate better?
Pascal – – 1:16