Myers-Briggs and Our Four-Legged Friends

I spent most of Tuesday working on a reflection assignment for my Intro to Christian Spirituality class. It was a five-part assignment, with the first part being an exploration of my personality preference type and how that impacts the way I relate to God and express my faith. I thought a lot about being an INTJ for just over 20 years of my life but having transmorphed into an INFP over the past several years, due to growth in some pretty foundational areas.

Did you know you could change personality profiles? That's pretty amazing to me. I noticed the text I was reading referred to them as personality preference types, which helped me make sense of how this could happen (and did happen for me), since your preferences can change as your values change . . . and my values have certainly changed in a slow process over the past ten years.

So, since I spent most of Tuesday thinking in terms of Myers-Briggs, it seemed only natural that I begin psychoanalyzing Diva when I came to bed that night.

What's that you say? You've never heard of Myers-Briggs? Oh. Well, let me give you a short primer. Determine your personality preference type in four easy steps.

E-I: Extroversion or Introversion. If you're a people person, thrive in group settings, and find yourself gaining energy when around other people, you're likely an extrovert. If you protect your alone time carefully and find you need it to recharge and regain your center, you're likely an introvert.

S-N: Sensing or iNtuitive. How do you take in data when you're interacting in the world? If you rely heavily on your sensing organs and gravitate toward tactile, kinesthetic experiences, you're probably a sensing being. If you've learned you can trust inner promptings, have a discerning spirit, or often feel the pulse of what lies beneath or behind the surface of reality, you can bet you're an intuitive.

T-F: Thinking or Feeling. This one's pretty straightforward. Do you rely on analysis and objectivity to process and make decisions, or do you find yourself more often delving into the subjective realm of feelings when you're making sense of things?

J-P: Judging or Perceiving. Do you like to bring order, discipline, and resolution to the world around you? If so, you're likely a J. Are you more comfortable with spontaneity, messiness, and the open-ended, ambiguous side of life? In this case, you're probably a P.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program. On Tuesday night, I got only so far as proclaiming Diva an introvert before she scuttled from the room to take up residence on the farthest corner of the couch in our least-used room. Go figure.

So the next day, I resumed the conversation, this time involving Kirk as Diva nestled between us in a cavern of blankets. What personality type, I mused aloud, is Diva?

Definitely an introvert. She runs from other people and only really trusts one person implicitly: me. I got stuck trying to decide between sensing or intuitive; her incessant paw-pawing of blankets and her obsequious need for my physical touch would seem to make her a sensor, but whenever I'm feeling down, she seems to have a sixth sense about snuggling into my side and offering comfort. We decided that last part qualified her as a feeler for the third category, which freed us up to declare her a sensor in the second category. And finally, since she cleans herself obsessively, keeping her paws daintily pink and her white fur spots like snow, and she also likes to sit at windows for hours at a time, presiding over the rest of the creation under her purview, we decided she must fall into the orderly judging category.

Final score: Diva = ISFJ

This was fun. Kirk decided to issue a challenge. Name me any animal, he said, and I'll determine their personality profile.

Sure. How about Christian the Lion?

This lion, as the video demonstrates, loves people. He's practically giddy whenever he's with his favorite humans. Extrovert, for sure. Sensor, too, given the way he loves to play soccer and lope all over the African terrain as the head of his pride. And he's definitely a feeler; what else but love could overtake his natural lion instincts to eat humans when he stumbled upon his former owners in the lonely desert? He also must be a perceiver. Give him a London flat, a church courtyard, an African plain, or a human reunion tour . . . he'll roll with any of those punches.

Final score: Christian the Lion = ESFP

Okay, another. Curious George?

Totally an ESTP. He loves going on adventures and meeting new people with the Man in the Yellow Hat, which makes him an extrovert. He's always exploring new things in the world around him, which makes him a sensor. He's into figuring stuff out when he discovers it, so he's a thinker. And he gets himself in lots of scrapes, which only make him smile harder; that's the mark of a perceiver. (For the record, I know Curious George is not a four-legged friend, but let's just roll with it. It's a fun game, isn't it?)

Final score: Curious George = ESTP

But what about Solomon?

That's easy, Kirk said. F-A-T-Z.

Aww. Poor Sollie.

For the record, we decided he's an ESFP. He positively comes alive when Kirk enters the room, and he gets lazy, sleepy, and mopey when he's left alone for too long, all of which indicate he's an extrovert. He's all about eating plastic bags, graham crackers, fortune cookies, cheetos, and cheese, and all those textures on his palette must indicate he's into the sensory side of life. Our Sollie's a little . . . slow, so we're giving him the benefit of being strong on feelings. And since he often lolls onto his back when we walk into the room, letting his belly hang out with no shame, and regularly clambers onto our chests with pine dust from the litter box powdered all over his face, we're gonna have to say that indicates a little more absent-mindedness and a little more messiness went into that boy's makeup. That's right; our boy is a perceiver.

Final score: King Solomon = ESFP.

But there's still one final question: What personality type are you, and why?