Others, though, experience poignant and acute frustration in their interactions with me. To both groups, I offer this plea:
Before you think I'm greater or worse than I am, take a few moments to try to understand where I'm coming from. Especially to those who experience annoyance, I assure you it is not my intent to frustrate you.
I find that, though none are perfect, some personality tests have great explanatory power. One such test is the Myers-Briggs, which I took as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. Below is a summary of my personality type and what it means. It will take you 10 minutes to read and you will understand where I’m coming from infinitely better.
I am an “INTJ” personality.
What does this mean? You can research the full range of personalities, but I found the most value from a personalized print out that UPenn gave to me. The full PDF can be found at the bottom of the page, along with my notes.
Some things that stand out, though, are the following:
1. INTJs think very globally. We develop complex structures and work within an insightful, long-range, overly conceptual realm. We aren’t interested in minute details until the vision/broad plan is firmly established in a clear structure. Application: if you say that something needs to be done, you won’t likely get us on board until you 1. Help us see how it ties in to a broader vision that matters and 2. Have some indication that the method you propose is effective to getting there.
2. INTJs highly value knowledge and expect competence of themselves and others. Application: We get very frustrated if someone hasn’t done the research requisite to a question at hand. If what you say appears haphazard, confusing, or asserts conclusions or expertise when all you’re actually going off of is your gut or hackneyed fluff, it grates on us, and we’ll dismiss you. The best solution is just to talk about it tentatively: you are currently thinking xyz, or had a thought about it but aren’t sure. We’re totally willing to work with you, together, to find a solution, but let’s start at the right spot—and that is usually acknowledging that you don’t have all the relevant facts.
3. INTJs are very logical, strive for objectivity, and tend to be emotionally detached in our decision-making. We view being brutally honest as being “true to ourselves,” and naturally want others to experience this enlightened state. (We’re not always careful to keep present the fact that others don’t see things the same way, but know that, to us, our honesty is primarily an expression of love).
4. INTJs are analytical to the extreme. We are always thinking, assessing all variables everything (esp. ourselves) with a critical eye, and questioning things from all angles. Because it is so rare for us to have interactions that are as thorough, introspective, and deep as we are in our own minds, we tend to trust our perceptions and judgments much more than those of others (though, two things to note about Kendel, 1. I tend to distrust my own opinion unless I know experts specifically back me up and 2. I will give you the benefit of the doubt as far as expertise unless and until you claim it when it is not warranted). Many experience us as stubborn or intractable. In truth, we are very willing to change our opinion in the light of the superior argument or evidence.
a. Thusfar in my life, a large source of hurt feelings has been in this area. I hurt others feelings because, if I understand correctly, they have an expectation that “we should treat all opinions equally,” or a belief that an opinion is worthy for reasons other than its contents. While INTJs may be sympathetic to other reasons, you have to remember that, for us, it is all about the argument. We value objectivity, we detach ourselves from emotions. Even our own opinions we treat as external to ourselves. We don’t view an attack on our idea as an attack on ourselves and can’t understand why others do. For the sake of other’s emotions, I will sometimes hold back what I really think—but rarely do I think that this really helps in any meaningful, long-term way. I think the world would be magnificently better off if we 1. Acknowledged everything honestly and 2. Were comfortable with the fact that we can be spectacularly wrong, uniformed, or even just impetuous or misled… and NOT SHAMED BY SUCH ADMITTANCE. No one is perfect, why should we forget this when talking about imperfect people’s opinions??
5. INTJs value clarity and concision. We understand that others are not so, but the closer you can come to these ideals, the more we will like you. Because of our propensity for brevity, some experience us as shy—which we often are—but look at is as possibly because we simply say more with less.
6. In general, it is a good idea to ask us what we think before ‘we’ do anything. INTJs tend to not offer opinions until asked, but are flattered and eager to help when consulted.
7. We need alone time to conceptualize. Don’t pressure us to make a decision until we have had this. Putting us on the spot can be a cardinal sin (note: not so much for Kendel—I can take it in stride, but if you want the best of my abilities, you’ll give me time to consider before expecting me to speak).
Select weaknesses that we ask your patience with (in addition to those who read between the lines, above—for a more comprehensive list, see the PDF, below):
1. We often cannot translate our grand visions and global thinking to achievable realities. I know I sometimes think myself better than I actually am.
2. We can tend to be single-minded and unyielding once we set our mind to something.
3. We can have a tendency to jump on small conversational mistakes.
4. Because we are so analytical and pensive, it is hard for us to listen without judgment or offering solutions. Tell me up front that you don’t want my help, you just need to talk through some things aloud with someone. Otherwise I will get overwhelmed and want to cut you off when you try to continue explaining something that, in my mind, is derived from a faulty premise that you haven’t fully considered yet.
Of no particular import, according to reports, INTJ is the 3rd most rare personality type, the 2nd most educated, the 4th most wealthy.