Sunday, September 27, 2009


Guess what I have in common with Ayn Rand, Rudy Guiliani, and Chevy Chase. Guess. Come on, guess.

Fine, I'll just tell you.

We share the same Myers-Briggs personality profile, which is, according to its authors, 75% accurate. Wikipedia describes it thusly:

I – Introversion preferred to Extraversion: INTJs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).

N – iNtuition preferred to Sensing: INTJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.

T – Thinking preferred to Feeling: INTJs tend to value objective criteria above personal preference. When making decisions they generally give more weight to logic than to social considerations.

J – Judgment preferred to Perception: INTJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability, which to perceptive types may seem limiting.

I never really put much stock in this, but I was feeling every inch of my type last weekend during an end-of-season beach trip with 5/6ths of the girls from Dinner Club. We spent almost all of our time together in group conversation, hanging out on a deck wtih books or knitting on our laps, cocktails in hand, chatting about anything and nothing (though after several bottles of wine one night the conversation would have been deemed offensive in a NFL locker room).

From previous bigger group weekends at my friend's place on a ski resort I knew I had a tendancy to remove myself from the core group at times, even if just for a few minutes to clean up the kitchen or flip through a magazine. But I noticed I was really tired at the end of the first day, and would feel truly relaxed only in the times when a group of 3 would go shoe shopping, or a group of 2 would go on a beer run, or everyone was taking a mid-afternoon nap except for one other person.

I love these women, each of them, and there were moments where I was cognizant of the fact that I was so happy to be a part of this as I know it's a rare and special thing to have good women friends. I'm just wired the way I'm wired, and I can feel myself burning energy to stay involved in a group conversation.

It makes me think that professionally it would help to know the cognitive functioning style of our patients, as I can't imagine that these basic tendancies change post injury. The whole point of communication is to enter into exchanges that connect you to someone - to meet a basic need, draw someone close to you, exchange information. Successful communication is a spiritual process, in my humble opinion, and if it is a situation that fits our profile, then it feeds us and gives us energy that we continue to shower back onto those around us. I wonder how often we press patients into communication situations that don't feed them because we're using our own models of what feels good.

There definitely seems to be something to this personality style business. My sister recently took the test and in four letters explained the reasons we wanted to kill each other for the majority of our teenage years under the same roof - ESFP, the exact opposite of INTJ. Nature, not nurture.

No comments: