Friday, May 20, 2005

You know that whole Myers-Briggs business of INFP, ESTJ, etc? Introvert versus extrovert, thinking versus feeling? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, take a short version of the test here and find out your personality type.

I'm a self-proclaimed pseudo-expert on it now because I recently had to bring everyone on my team up to speed on the subject. And as INFPs tend to be "awkard and uncomfortable with expressing themselves verbally," I can't explain anything to anyone unless I feel like an expert.

Anyway, while I was doing a ridiculous amount of reading on the subject, I started thinking that in the face-to-face world there's a certain type of person who is most socially prized – the ENFP. They're outgoing, warm, idealistic, creative, and enthusiastic. ENFPs are well-liked and highly regarded by everyone around them, and social interactions are as natural as breathing.

This is not at all me, but it's the way I've always wished I was. I admire people who can carry on effortless conversations and make others feel instantly welcome and at ease at a party.

It seems like everywhere I look the world is filled with these friendly, expressive, chatty people… so what is wrong with me? I'd rather write about how I feel than talk about it, I feel perfectly happy in a room by myself, and if I'm at a party I'd really rather sit and get to know one person well than struggle to remember a room full of names and personal details.

I used to think I didn't like people, but that's not true. I'm actually pretty much neurotic about wanting people to be happy and trying to make sure everyone gets along. I'm just a less-is-more gal when it comes to socializing. And that makes me different and weird.

But the dynamics in the blogging world seem completely reversed.

People who would rather write than talk are naturally drawn to blogs, whereas people who are happiest around friends are out interacting in the physical world. The online world is a place where the loudest voice is not necessarily the one that attracts attention – it's the most articulate voice. It's the one with something interesting to say. People who can effortlessly shape words into thoughts and new ideas, who can draw emotion out of the reader, those are the most socially prized types among bloggers.

So the introverts who always felt different and weird in a world of extroverts come online and find a world populated largely by other introverts. Where everyone's weird, no one is.

It's nice that we all have a place, that's all.


skywind8 said...

You might find this article on introversion and intelligence to be interesting reading. I think it's another confirmation of your observation of the blogging world.

kara said...

i wonder if that makes me, an ENTP, the odd duck in the blogging world. :) (i didn't take the test again, i remember my type from my personality class.)

Mindy said...

So what happens if you don't fit either world? I rather get to know someone at a party, get to know them etc. I'm not good at fake socializing etc. But I'm not a popular blogger either...

Gary said...

What if you'd just rather stay home and try and decide if you like London Calling better than Abbey Road?

Gary O'Brien said...

Wait. I figured that out. It makes me AM/FM, right?