Some time during the 1980s I heard about a book called Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates. The book is an approachable, simplified version of the Myers-Briggs Temperament Sorter. Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs are writers who took some of the ideas of Carol Jung (one of my favorites), specifically his ideas about personality types, and created a a psychological test designed to identify personality duality traits in order to sort the test takers into one of sixteen different personality types.
You can read more about this just about anywhere else online.
I took the test back in the 80s and got the personality type ENFP.
It fit. Like a glove. It was so accurate.
The test results mentioned small qualities of myself that I thought were kind of minor and private...while, there they were, in the book.
I'm proud to be an ENFP; I love what the test tells me about myself. All true, of course.
Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.
That wasn't the stuff that worried me, it was this stuff:
An ENFP who has "gone wrong" may be quite manipulative - and very good it...ENFPs sometimes make serious errors in judgment. They have an amazing ability to intuitively perceive the truth about a person or situation, but when they apply judgment to their perception, they may jump to the wrong conclusions....ENFPs who have not learned to follow through may have a difficult time remaining happy in marital relationships...ENFP parent as inconsistent and difficult to understand, as the children are pulled along in the whirlwind life of the ENFP. The ENFP become unhappy when they are confined to strict schedules or mundane tasks...ENFPs often suffer from muscle tension. They have a strong need to be independent, and resist being controlled or labelled. They need to maintain control over themselves, but they do not believe in controlling others. ENFPs have an utter dislike of dependence and suppression and they dislike following the rules. They are not to be depended on and seldom make responsible adults...ENFPs will get it started but not follow through with the mundane. They are overwhelmed with responsibility. Great with ideas, terrible with follow up. Very sensitive and get overwhelmed with the feelings of others.
All too true.
What my biggest fear was when I was single, besides all of my worry about snoring, was finding a partner who could be an excellent adult, understand when I couldn't always be good adulting, and not act surprised when I did, in fact, adult well. It's a trickly middle line. I was also afraid of sharing extreme dislike of rules and expectations. A partner needed to understand this part of my personality without getting annoyed with it. And I was afraid of being teased or belittled for my highly sensitive nature; I thought I would never find a truly good man.
And I found him.
And what I've found is that I'm perfect for him too.
Because of his temperament, Jer has difficulty considering outside-of-the-box solutions, he can have trouble seeing surprising connections, he doesn't make time for fun, he follows the rules, he is highly in-tuned to responsibilities and he struggles to listen to people's emotions around him. Together we round each other out quite nicely.
We already know that we balance each other, we bolster each other's weaker areas, but mostly we appreciate these qualities in each other. I'm all out there with my thoughts and feelings and passions. He has them too...but he is quite private about them, except for with me. It's lovely. It was cool the night he and I talked Myers-Briggs and discovered our profound compatibility, temperamentally speaking, of course.
I'm so grateful we found each other.