While in my 4 years studying MBTI and the Jungian Psychological Types, I have come across a few issues, but I believe that the sensing (S) vs intuitive(N) is the worst or the most misunderstood dichotomy of all.
My First Results
When I was first introduced to MBTI I remember taking the online Human Numeric’s test, just like probably most, if not all people who wanted to find out their MBTI type has done. When I first had taken it, I had the result of ESTJ. Now, an ISFP testing as an ESTJ is a complete baffle to me. But I am going with the conclusion that I clicked on the answers that I thought the test wanted to hear. Well, “test” because let’s face it MBTI doesn’t have any wrong or right answers, unless you are a Sensor and you decide to take an interest in learning more about MBTI.
A Second Go
I thought for a couple of months that the profile of an ESTJ fitted me very well. Now, looking back, I cannot say why I did. But I decided to take the test again, just to double check my results. This time I tested as an ENFP. Now, to me when I got this result I jumped for joy everything about “The Journalist” or “The Inspirer“ made sense to me. I read every word and agreed with it. I was creative, future oriented, energetic, a dreamer, and abstract. This result was perfect for me.
I then decided to join the forums to seek out similar people to myself, and found a whole lot of ENFP’s on there, and it was an amazing experience. Finding people whom agreed with your point of view, and a whole lot of them too.
While on there I heard of lot of N vs S issues, and to be honest I still hear the same old issues, 4 years on. “We can’t communicate to them.” “They don’t understand us.” “They don’t see past what is in front of them.” and of course the usual “They aren’t as intelligent as us.” At the time, I believe I typed each of my friends as an intuitive, apart from the ones that I found “dull”. Or I thought weren’t very academic. Nice typism, there.
I think I went around with the ENFP label for a couple of months too. Re-taking a few tests to confirm my results, and every time I would test out as an ENFP.
Then I believe people on the forums started talking about the “Cognitive Functions”. Using abbreviations that I couldn’t wrap my head around. So, I continued to ignore people’s posts when they talked about them because it looked complicated and too advanced.
It wasn’t until one of the people who promoted the use of cognitive functions came to me, and asked me what my Dominant Function was, did I admit to not having a clue about them. She then asked me to take a cognitive function test just to help guide her to getting my correct type.
I don’t remember the exact results, but I do remember her saying to me that my use of Extraverted Thinking was low and my Introverted Feeling was around the 40% mark. Meaning that I am very likely either an ISFP or INFP and my most likely result was ISFP.
I think I would be getting into another issue if I talked about me trying to accept that I was introverted, but that’s for another day.
I do believe it had taken me a month to come to the realisation that I was an ISFP. I denied it over and over. “I can draw, but I’m no ‘Artist’.” “I’m not the best singer.” “I’m not practical.” “I am intelligent.” I was not going to accept that I was a Sensor. Not at all.
Where The Problem Lies
Of course, I believe the promotion of S vs N online doesn’t help anyone come to the correct best type fit, but I believe the problem comes from both Myers – Briggs and David Keirsey.
I won’t say the Jung’s work is an exact science, but I will say that the work of Myers – Briggs and Keirsey are very horoscope like in nature. Their type descriptions can almost fit anyone, and I won’t get started on how much I disagree with Kerisey’s Temperament’s. But they do promote a hierarchy of types; placing Intuitive (N) types as the ones that are creative, Introverts (I) having a mind of their own, Judging (J) types have their feet on the ground and that the Thinking (T) ones are intelligent.
So, who comes out on top? INTJ’s. Which just goes to show why so many people on the forums and around the internet claim to be INTJ’s. The INTJ’s forums in my opinion have a bunch of people who are mistypes.
From experience most people who type anyone they know as a SJ, they are usually people who are authoritarian types. Their parents, their grandparents, their teachers, their bosses and the list goes on. SJ’s are portrayed as the dull, play by the rules types. Who is going to admit that they are basically robots without putting much creative input into their daily lives? No one, because no one is a clean cut as that.
Again, from experience people who usually put people they know into the SP box, usually say these are the kind of people who don’t generally think things through. That they are only guided by sensation, and they will do most things to get a thrill. People usually type anyone they feel is a “dumb jock” into the SP category.
Both SJ’s and SP’s are said to take things “too literally” and to have little creativity, when in fact Jung said nothing about Intuition being abstract. It is introversion that is abstract.
Because these types get such bad stereotypes people then opt for either being a NT, or a NF, and to pick all they have to ask themselves is “I am people oriented or do I prefer to think about ‘bigger’ matters?”
How I Finalised
I believe when I took myself away from relying on the profile descriptions, and stopped looking at everything literally, was when I found some clarity.
Your type has nothing to do with who you are as a person. It’s about your thought process, and what you naturally value above all else. Your character doesn’t equal your type. Remember, that you fit the type, the type does not fix you.
The best thing you can do is to research everything for yourself, and to get unbiased conclusions about the functions.