How to figure out your Myers-Briggs type

There are many tests out there to figure out your Myers-Briggs type. The free one I like currently is this one. (When it gives you the type at the end, ignore the fifth letter it tacks on the end.)

When you’re answering the questions in this test it’s important to check that you are answering according to the way you prefer to behave as opposed to the way you actually behave. For example:

  • If it asks you whether you’d prefer to stay at home and read a book on Friday nights or whether you’d rather go out to a party, you might be tempted to say ‘go to a party’ as that’s the cooler thing to do, or it’s what you actually do because your partner is a highly social person. But if you’d really rather stay at home … then choose that option!
  • If the test asks you whether you use cold hard logic to make a decision or whether people’s feelings are more important … you might be tempted to choose ‘cold hard logic’ as, in theory, this is the ‘right’ way to make decisions. But if your decision making tends to be influenced by how it’s going to affect others … answer in that vein.

It’s important to answer these questions according to what you prefer to do as opposed to what you’ve trained yourself to do over the years else the results they throw up won’t resonate.

If the results come back and they just don’t feel like you, or you feel you’re right on the border between two things, then have a read through the below to see if you can get off the fence! The best way to do a Myers-Briggs test is to sit down with an expert at the end to check over the results and tweak if necessary.

In the absence of being able to do that … the below will help:

Introvert (I) vs Extrovert (E)

This trait focuses on where you get your energy from.

  • In a nutshell, introverts recharge by having time alone/to themselves, extroverts recharge by being around other people.
  • Introverts do like people, but feel drained after spending time in the company of others. This is not true for extroverts. While extroverts may feel tired after (say) being out all night with people, they don’t feel drained. It’s important to understand the distinction between ‘tired’ and ‘drained’ in this particular context.
  • Extroverts do get tired and need some alone time (everyone does!), but while time alone can relieve tiredness, it doesn’t make them buzzy. They need to be around other people to feel ‘buzzy’.
  • Introverts legitimately feel energised and ready to take on the world after they’ve had a good few hours where they haven’t had to talk to anyone!
  • If you loathe small talk you are almost certainly an introvert. If you do your best problem solving by musing and mulling things over in your head, then you’re almost certainly an introvert.
  • If you find it hard to problem solve or you don’t really know what you think about something until you’ve had a chance to ‘talk things out’ with someone else – you’re likely an extrovert.
  • Shyness does not = introversion. Shyness is a social anxiety. There are many shy extroverts in this world!

Sensing (S) vs Intuition (N)

This is all about how you like to process information.

  • Intuitives are ‘big-picture’ thinkers. Sensers like details.
  • Intuitives will look at that information as a whole and are far more conceptual in nature. Sensers love getting into the nitty gritty of a situation or problem.
  • Ask an Intuitive to do something and they will get it done – but don’t ask them how they got it done. They have a picture of how they did it in their head, but the thought of breaking down their process into steps for you will explode their brain.
  • Sensers are the opposite – they love following steps and creating processes.
  • If you’re a Senser and someone wants you to do something for them, you need them to be very clear in their instructions and expectations. If you’re an Intuitive you’re better able to take a vague idea and turn it into reality.
  • Sensers will remember the fine details about an event or a situation. They will remember lines from a movie. Intuitives’ memory of the same situation will be ‘vaguer’ and involve more general/high level impressions.
  • Just because you like making lists doesn’t mean you are a Senser. That is more a Judging thing (see below).
  • If you hate following instructions and would rather someone just show you how to do something, you are most likely an Intuitive.

Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F)

This is about how you make decisions.

  • Thinkers tend to be very black and white in their decision making (taking hard facts into consideration rather than emotion).
  • Feelers see the ‘shades of grey’ in every situation.
  • Thinkers put more weight on objective principles and impersonal facts.
  • Feelers put more weight on personal concerns and the people involved.
  • Ultimately Feelers don’t make a decision without considering the impact it will have on other people.
  • Thinkers have a need to do things ‘right’ and be ‘right’. It’s not that they don’t value the feelings of others, but they value being ‘right’ more.

Judging (J) vs Perceiving (P)

This trait is mostly about how you interact with the world.

  • Judgers need life to be ordered. They don’t like uncertainty. They like to lock plans away well in advance. Loose ends or lack of closure can make them feel anxious. In short, Judgers like to feel in control of life.
  • For Judgers, the life of Perceivers can look chaotic. Time is a fluid concept for Perceivers. If you are always late and have no problems being late, then you are likely a Perceiver. If you don’t like being pinned down to a commitment of course of action, then you are likely a Perceiver. If you like to keep your options open, you are likely a Perceiver.
  • Perceivers like the ability to be spontaneous and flexible.
  • Judgers are also action takers. If something needs to be done, give it to a Judger.
  • Perceivers might have lots of great ideas … but are less driven to bring those ideas to fruition.
  • Don’t confuse a Judger’s need to be ‘in control’ of life with a need to be ‘organised’. Both Judgers and Perceivers can be organised. Judgers just don’t like people messing with their plans. Perceivers are more able to roll with the punches.