I recently "re-discovered" the MBTI system. I initially typed/tested myself as an INTP, but yesterday I considered that I might just be a lazy INTJ (Ni seemed like something I used, more than Ne), before considering that I might actually be an ISTP, possibly one stuck in an Ti-Ni loop for a long time - the descriptions I've read of the Ti-Ni loop sound exactly like my life these past few years. This idea is appealing to me for some reason, maybe because its almost an "excuse" or an explanation for my lethargy and aimlessness. Even though I relate to typical INTP profiles more than the ISTP ones. I might be wrong but the commonly available ISTP profiles seem to be quite bad and stereotypical. Of course the most likely scenario is that I'm an INTP, attacking my previous belief to make it stronger.
I would love to hear your opinions regarding my personality type, but first, some back story and context.
Edit: Ok holy fuck this is turning into an auto-biography. Going to put this shit in a spoiler. I am starting to feel like a narcissist. Hopefully someone finds this interesting for some reason, or maybe someone can find a lesson in here for things to avoid. At this point I'm just being indulgent, I'm kinda just doing it for myself - I don't put my thoughts into writing enough.
I first encountered the MBTI personality types about 8 years ago when I was 14-15 years old. I was obsessed for a while and so I researched and lurked multiple forums, in search of interesting theories/ideas and people to relate to. I quickly told my closer friends about it, hoping to enlighten them, to share my new found interest. I tested as an INTP and immediately embraced it, it just made so much sense. I considered myself different and more intelligent than my peers, and the INTP description (as well as the circlejerks about superior intellect found among INTPs, and NTs in general, in forums like these) fit that narrative very well. I didn't doubt it for one second. I was top of my class in my primary school so it wasn't completely unfounded.
At that time I was having trouble with fitting in (not in the sense that I couldn't, I had a large circle of friends). I was growing tired of adjusting my own behaviour to harmonise with or impress others, I was tired of keeping up appearances, and this INTP persona/personality seemed like some sort of answer. It said that it was OK to be different! I was not the only one that felt that way.
This viewpoint definitely had an impact on my social development, although it was a minor player in the larger scheme of things.
I became increasingly anti-social and started to stick with a smaller and smaller circle of friends. I don't view this as a negative thing, the opposite in fact, but it was definitely not entirely positive - especially since that circle of friends was a very lazy bunch. Paradoxically I also tried to become "cooler" at the same time. Classic teenage years really, being a rebel, underage drinking, smoking, weed etc. etc.
I also became much more lethargic. I gave up on competitive swimming, as well as hockey. I was good at both. I now did only one sport where before I did three or four. I stopped caring about academic performance. School was way too easy and the results didn't really reflect intellect or understanding anyway - the only difference between 80-85% and 100% was only boring memorisation in my mind. So I did the bare minimum, eventually sleeping through classes or skipping them entirely. Mathematics and English were the exceptions. In my last year I tried again and my marks were better.
Then I went to university and failed wonderfully. Initially it was exciting, I thought I would finally experience "real" learning and tuition. That didn't happen. I realised it was basically school 2.0 - thicker textbooks edition. After a year and a half I started to completely bomb. (I also failed my first real attempt at a romantic relationship at about this time. I don't think it hurt me really - I wasn't really attached to her and it had only lasted for about 2-3 weeks. It was more the realisation that I wasn't ready for a relationship. It felt like I was a failure since I should ready for one at that age, namely 20-21).
I stopped caring at all. I went to maybe one or two classes a week, on the good weeks. I binged exam time, but eventually that became too difficult (focusing and thinking hard after such a long time of inactivity was impossible, I couldn't study for two days in a row even if I wanted to). I became increasingly isolated, actually failing courses was quite a shock to me (not consciously at the time, but in hindsight it really hit me hard) as I had over-achieved for a large portion of my life. I spend my time playing video games and smoking weed. I still had friends from my dormitory but they always had to come to me. I went to a psychiatrist and got prescribed anti-depressants, diagnosed with seasonal or triggered depression or some shit. I stopped smoking weed entirely at that time. I took the pills for a month or two before stopping, they did nothing good for me.
I took a semester off and then returned. I have had some periods of high activity, but they sort of collapse. It is like I start building good habits and changing - exercising and socialising more - and then I just stop. I feel like I am at the start of one now, but somehow I feel like this one will be longer lasting.
I have improved my studying habits a bit, but not much. At least I have the energy to study properly come exam times now.
I'm currently in my 5th year of study and I have finished two-thirds of two separate degrees (math/stats and economics). I initially studied a year and a half of actuarial science.
I gradually thought less about personality types and cognitive functions, viewing the system as too discrete and unrealistic. I would remember it now and then, but I quickly dismissed it as a painfully inaccurate and lacking description of what it means to be an individual - and I also wanted to avoid the negative impact thinking within the confines of that system had on my view of other people. In the past few days I revisited it, after thinking "hey maybe I'm not an INTP lols wouldn't that be something". Reading "Man and his symbols" by Jung also sparked renewed interest, it gave me a new appreciation of Jung's way of thinking about inner life and identity, even if it is unscientific it was very appealing to me.
Here's some QnA:
edit: It is hard to answer these in an unbiased fashion. It feels like am skewing the answers away from typical INTP answers. Like I want to change my view of myself, that realising that I have viewed myself incorrectly for some time will help me change. It is hard to explain it fully, because I think of myself as someone who is very objective.
1) What aspect of your personality made you unsure of your type?
I don't identify with Ne that much. Ni seems more like the kind of intuition I use. I have noticed I actually don't enjoy it when people talk in a way with these qualities: long-winded, or overly theoretical when it isn't needed, or they jump from point to point. I kind of just want them to get to the fucking point. I like mathematics as a subject but I've become aware that I might not enjoy playing and thinking about it for its own sake, like my idea of an INTP should. The most exciting thing about math for me is when I see the analogies it has with other structures in nature. Same with physics, it seems most interesting when actually applied in some fashion or when some law or structure can be used in a different context.
I was very good at sports for a long time, now less so because I'm not fit. But I still have good hand-eye coordination. Oh nice, just remembered a random memory that kind of fits. About 2-3 years ago I took shrooms and in the middle of the trip I just fucking zoned so hard: I played table tennis like a beast (I became extremely aware of the rhythm of the sound of the ball and also of the passage of time) and also effortlessly bounced a light soccer ball around (played keep ups).
2) What do you yearn for in life? Why?
Creating something awe inspiring, or something that some amount of people (doesn't have to be a large amount) view as significant. Being acknowledged as an independent thinker who came up with some interesting new perspective or idea. I yearn for harmony, to feel at peace. Those moments where you feel like there's no other possible place for you to be, you were meant to be there at that moment. I think mostly I just yearn to lose myself in something completely, being in the "zone", when competing or creating something might just be what I yearn the most - more than what is the result thereof. I'm not sure though, maybe it's not enough on its own.
Why? I want to be peaceful and satisfied with myself, I think everyone does. How to get there is what is different.
3) Think about a time where you felt like you were at your finest. Tell us what made you feel that way.
This is honestly hard for me, to narrow it down to one or two specific times. Probably times when I harness my own emotion and focus to enhance my performance in some area by a large margin. Those times where you feel like you can do anything. I also think of the rare times when I was completely at ease in a larger social group, when I thought I was being charming and confident, even though I was silent.
4) What makes you feel inferior?
The single most significant recent memory of feeling inferior (about 4 months ago), was because I failed to act and talk to a girl, who was also obviously interested in me. I was intimidated because she was in a large group of friends, and because she seemed so different to me. While I sat there unable to act, I rationalised that I was deluding myself, that she couldn't be interested in me, that she was too attractive and magical to be interested in someone as anti-social and incompetent as me.
5) What tends to weigh on your decisions? (Do you think about people, pro-cons, how you feel about it, etc.)
Pro-cons, some feeling definitely. Hard to describe really. Often I just make the easiest decision, in a risk-averse way.
6) When working on a project what is normally your emphasis? Do you like to have control of the outcome?
I do like to have control of the outcome. I prefer being in complete control myself. But I also don't mind if I can just lay the seeds for the project and then it takes on a life of its own, as long as I was the one planting the seeds I'm satisfied, probably, maybe.
7) Describe us a time where you had a lot of fun. How is your memory of it?
Recent roadtrip. My memory of it? Images of us driving, the feeling I had at certain times. Mostly images mixed with the general feeling I had at the time, some sensory experiences as well.
8) When you want to learn something new, what feels more natural for you? (Are you more prone to be hands on, to theorize, to memorize, etc)
I'm currently studying for exams so I'll use that as an example. When I learn a new piece of math, like a theorem and its implications, I firstly read through everything and try and understand what the theorem constitutes. Why it makes sense in isolation, when you consider its individual parts and where it comes from. How it can work. Often I already understand it then, I won't even need to apply it, but its kind of a loose understanding - like a slow one. I'll be able to use it but not without conscious effort and rehashing of the steps I took to originally understand it. I won't have an intuitive grasp of where its applicable or how it can be moulded, how it fits into other pieces. I won't have a feeling for its real meaning. I will only fully understand it after working through some examples or problems - and then stepping back and internalising it or just going even deeper after seeing it applied. Maybe I'll only understand it weeks or months later when I randomly encounter it or it randomly pops up as a solution to something.
9) How organized do you to think of yourself as?
Not very. Before I do a series of somethings I always form an idea in my head of the optimal order and shit, but apart from that I don't organise things. I very rarely organise externally in the form of lists or stuff like that. I mostly just keep a calendar in my head of times and deadlines and when I should be doing what - but I very often ignore it. When I say I should do something in the future that previous decision feels completely meaningless and empty when I actually arrive at that present time.
10) How do you judge new ideas? You try to understand the principles behind it to see if they make sense or do you look for information that supports it?
A mix of the two? Probably more the former, but I will always try out the idea in different examples or contexts to see how it works.
11) You find harmony by making sure everyone is doing fine and belonging to a given group or by making sure that you follow what you believe and being yourself?
The former. When I am in a group I put others ahead of myself, but in private that is not the case.
12) Are you the kind that thinks before speaking or do you speak before thinking? Do you prefer one-on-one communication or group discussions?
One-on-one. I think but not very long most of the time, and my speech tends to be concise and to the point. I definitely can't just start talking and go on without interruption.
13) Do you jump into action right away or do you like to know where are you jumping before leaping? Does action speaks more than words?
This is such a black or white question. I like to know where I am jumping if there's a need to or some risk. Action do speak louder than words, but that doesn't mean action is always needed, most of the time it isn't.
14) It's Saturday. You're at home, and your favorite show is about to start. Your friends call you for a night out. What will you do?
I only watch shows when I have already decided I'm going to spend the next few hours watching shows, so I wouldn't go. Sometimes I'll go for a night out when asked, but so rarely that I don't get asked much.
15) How do you act when you're stressed out?
Hard to answer for me. I've actually lived my life in such a non-stressful environment lately that its hard to tell. I probably start chain-smoking while searching frantically for some missed opportunity or way to fix the cause of the stress.
16) What makes you dislike the personalities of some people?
People who are loud and quick to judge. People who are fake. Fucking phonies.
17) Is there anything you really like talking about with other people?
Videogames, more specifically dota, its a complex game with endless options, so I enjoy talking about possible new strategies or things that have happened in games. I also just like talking about the general psychology and way of learning and improving at the game. The "metagame" of understanding how people and myself understand the game, and how people improve, is almost more interesting than the game itself to me. How different people see the game.
Any topic I find interesting at the time. Silly theories I have about how things work - normally they revolve around society at large.
18) What kind of things do pay the least attention to in your life
might do later im tired
19) How do your friends perceive you? What is wrong about their perception? ? What would your friends never say about your personality ?
might do later im tired
20) You got a whole day to do whatever you like. What kind of activities do you feel like doing?
might do later im tired
Alright that was fun, I actually got really into writing this. First time I've posted something this long or personal to a forum. Hopefully you guys can offer some interesting perspective. Note that I actually think much of MBTI is simply fanciful thinking, wanting things to be neater than they are, or pinning certain positive characteristics to yourself that might not exist, or doing the opposite to people you don't connect with. Its more that I find it an interesting glass/kaleidoscope/scope to look at myself from.