This topic wasn’t planned. I wasn’t looking for it. It came to me like a bus in the street…or the woman who changes the flowers at our desert house.
Oh dear. Starting a post with a super obscure Christopher Walken quote is probably a bad sign, but what the hell. Okay, sheesh, let’s get to the point already!
Thanks to Amber West (a blogger I must INSIST you start following on the regular), I’ve been thinking about my Myers-Briggs personality type quite a bit. I’m all about self-reflection and “know thyself,” and it’s interesting to explore how my type has changed since I started therapy and had my fun little identity crisis last year.
I’d always been typed as an Extrovert, and I was generally an Extroverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging (ENTJ) type. Which, in a sense, was true: my behavior back then exhibited all those classic ENTJ traits of being “self-driven, motivating, energetic, assertive, confident, and competitive.”
But that was just the mask I wore, the brash and over-confident bossypants who was frontin’ a whole hell of a lot to try and be something she wasn’t. And now that I’m settling down into who I really am and reconnecting with that quiet, pensive, observant girl that I’d squashed down like a Chinese foot-binder for so long, it’s a whole new ballgame.
For the biggest change in my personality type, allow me to direct you once again to Amber’s musings on her personality type for this little gem: “I also get along with most everyone I meet, but I have very few close friends – or at least friends that really know me. Friends, for example, that aren’t shocked to find out that I am not an extrovert.”
Well slap my ass and call me Moses. (No, wait, please don’t. Don’t do either of those things.) That’s totally me! To be totally honest, this is something I’m actively working on, in that more of my friends know the real me. But I’ve also cut that number way, way, way down. I used to be a social butterfly, flitting from one event to the next and coming home completely exhausted. I’d go into hermit mode to recharge my batteries, but until recently, I didn’t know that wasn’t something true extroverts had to do. In fact, that’s a hallmark of being an introvert.
And realizing that I’m actually an introvert has opened my eyes for a lot more self-discovery. I nodded along with this description so hard my head almost rolled off:
INFPs never seem to lose their sense of wonder. One might say they see life through rose-colored glasses. It’s as though they live at the edge of a looking-glass world where mundane objects come to life, where flora and fauna take on near-human qualities. INFP children often exhibit this in a ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ fashion, switching from reality to fantasy and back again. With few exceptions, it is the NF child who readily develops imaginary playmates (as with Anne of Green Gables’s “bookcase girlfriend”–her own reflection) and whose stuffed animals come to life like the Velveteen Rabbit and the Skin Horse. —TypeLogic.com
Honestly, the more I research INFPs, the brighter the lightbulb over my head is getting. It’s just a series of AHA! Moments. Softspot for underdogs? Check. Tendency to get distracted while doing projects? Yep. Chronic daydreamer and imaginary friend-haver? That’s me!
In fact, I’m going to make a big fat confession: I still play pretend. All the time. When I’m driving, when I’m home alone, when I’m hiking by myself…I’m always spinning yarns and imagining people with me, and it’s always been this secret thing that I’ve felt weird and guilty about. I remember hearing Freddy Prinze Jr. admit that he still plays make-believe on a talk show once, and it was SUCH a relief; maybe I wasn’t some schizophrenic freak who didn’t want to live in the real world after all! When I was a kid, I would “go to bed early” so I could have more time to play. I would stay up until all hours of the night acting out these elaborate scenarios: sometimes I was a Russian noble, or a maid in a ritzy hotel (very proto-Downton Abbey if I do say so myself), or having a torrid love affair with Billy Boyd (I had a really long and possibly still ongoing crush on everyone in the Lord of the Rings movies, deal with it).
I think that’s part of what makes me a decent writer. Lots of novelists are INFPs, because it’s so easy for them to lose themselves in the worlds and characters they create. Um, hello, that is my life. Also, the major goal of a lot of INFPeople is to make the world a better place. The only reason I want to write comedy is to make people laugh, to bring as much delight to as many people as I can. My friend Scott recently asked me to describe myself in 100 words the other day (and I panicked because OMG ONLY 100 WORDS HAVE YOU MET ME), but one of the things I knew I had to include was that making people laugh is what gives me the most pleasure out of everything. It’s the truest thing about me, and it’s remarkably soothing to recognize why it’s so important to me. I don’t feel like quite such an outsider. I found my Bumblebee Paradise with my fellow INFPs, and damn if it doesn’t feel amazing (but seriously, if that song/video isn’t the INFP anthem, I don’t know what is).
So, that’s who I am. I’m an INFP. I’m Nicole F-ing Pirshafiey, and you can be too! (Just kidding. Don’t do that. Be you. Find yourself. Go. Fight. WIN!)
Ending this post with an obscure Pixar quote: better or worse than the opening reference? Discuss.
Also, if you’re curious about your own type, then I am also curious and I’d love to know what your result is! Why, what’s this? A handy little link to a Jungian and Myers-Briggs personality test, right here in this very post about Myers-Briggs personality types? Goodness gracious me!