Take this academic retrospective with a grain of salt. No 10-page research paper or even four-page essays on the self-regulation of the advertising industry will appear here… I’m (almost) a college graduate and smart enough to know that no one wants to read that shit – nor do I care to relive them.
I guess it’s really a stretch to think you’d want to read this writing exercise either, but it’s short, sweet, informal, and at the least, I know my father will appreciate it…
Untitled musings on personality tests as related to my father
By Chrissy Astbury
There’s this personality test called the Myers-Briggs. I think just about everyone ends up taking it at some point and I had to take it in high school. It takes like an hour or so and I remember sitting in a computer lab, answering about a million interchangeable yes/no questions like: “You almost never… initiative conversation with a stranger at a party” or “You feel involved when you… watch TV soaps.” And a few weeks later you get a piece of paper telling you if you’re introverted or extroverted, sensing or intuitive, thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving, and what the combination of the four traits says about you. I think it was supposed to be a find-your-career type exercise.
Anyway, I get my results and take them home to show my parents – good dinner conversation – and we’re talking about it and they seem to remember taking the Myers-Briggs as a joke or something back in the seventies. Naturally, my mom ends up digging through a bunch of old boxes and finding their results – great dinner conversation.
So, we’re comparing our results and as it turns out, my dad and I are not only the same combination of traits, but the same percentage each way. His hand-written form and my computer-generated printout both include a bar graph showing each of the opposing trait and what percentage each way you are. Our graphs are identical.
Not that it’s really surprising or anything, having spent the first 17 years of my life in a race to crack every joke before he beats me to it. It really makes perfect sense. But to see actual personality test results confirming that my father is basically a much taller, much older, manlier and more freckled version of myself is kind of funny.
You see, we are ever so slightly introverted as well as intuitive, thinking, and perceiving. According to the booklet, INTP’s are described as “sarcastic” (check), “creative” (check), “independent” (check), “pioneers of thought in our society” (check), and “self aggrandizing” (big check).
Not only is he my father and naturally wrapped around my pinky finger, but we’re best friends with identical personalities. Needless to say, dinner conversation that night was all kinds of warm and fuzzy.