A rare, exotic bird

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I know a lot of people who are obsessed with Myers-Briggs (MBTI) assessments & I frequently get asked what I am. Last year we took an all-staff retreat day at work to do the assessment & learn more about each other and how we work as a team. It was informative but I didn’t fully grasp just what that meant for myself on a more personal level. We moved around the room to indicate how strongly we were of each quality (I was a 1 or 2 out of 5 for everything, which means that I am flexible) and then discussed how we work in dynamic. And then we went back to work and life moved on.

Last week, strolling¬†through Afton State Park, my friend Lee asked me what I am in Myers-Briggs. “INTSFJ-something,” I said. “You just named all the letters, basically,” he retorted. I shrugged. I don’t know. I’m something.

I looked it up at work the next day (actually, I referenced our chart indicating which Star Wars character we are – I am Obi-Wan Kenobi) and decided to do a quick Google search to learn more about what that means for me.

INFJ. Introverted, intuitive, judging, feeling.

I am less than 1% of the population. “Like a rare, exotic bird,” I texted Lee.

I spent the rest of the day going back & forth between reading about my personality and actually doing work. (And occasionally announcing to my co-workers something that would explain my tendencies around the office.)

I’ll admit that I’m someone who actually reads horoscopes and bases my activities around moon phases (Mystic Mamma is great, for those interested) but reading more about my own personality through Myers-Briggs was eye-opening on a new level. And strangely empowering.

It justified that I made the right career choice, indicating that INFJs do best in environments where our work has intrinsic meaning to bettering humankind – such as the non-profit sector. I’m creative and a natural communicator, making writing, marketing, and communications strong career paths (currently what I do professionally). Learning more about my MTBI empowered me to continue with my dreams of one day owning my own business, as INFJs often find best success in being their own boss.

According to the website 16 Personalities, an INFJ’s “eloquence and persuasiveness” and “quiet, determined idealism and imaginative expression” draws influence and make me highly desirable.

“A rare, exotic, and highly desirable bird,” I amended my text to Lee.

I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly desirable or influential person. I’ve had friends tell me that I should be a motivational speaker (eye roll) or a politician (I’m way too weak & politics turns me evil). But, the point that warmed my heart was that my personality draws friends to me (and then I’m highly picky and see through people’s facades and therefore keep a very small pool of very authentic friends – all of this is so true and I totally didn’t need a test to tell me so).

But, it was also interesting to read about my personality post-recent-breakup. I identified with a lot of what my personality is like in seeking relationship (both romantic and not) and it made me step back and ask, “What the hell…doesn’t everyone look for that?” Head scratch.

I’m a very monogamous, loyal person. I get that not everyone is that, but I cannot imagine myself any other way. In relationships, I become very committed to the other person and only have eyes for them. The last guy I dated, I dated for about 3 months before things went south. In conversations with him since, he seemed baffled that I liked him so much that I wanted to be with him, and that I wasn’t dating other people during our time together. Is this the new norm in dating? I cannot wrap my mind around dating someone for 3 months and not being totally committed to making that work. I only had eyes for that guy, starting probably about 2 weeks after our first date. I went on a couple of other dates after that, and the whole time I just wanted to be with him. It was the same in my last relationship. My love for the other person in a relationship runs unconditionally and very deeply. I get all heart eyes and cannot look the other way. (This has only happened 2 times in my life. I don’t find such companions very often. I’ve had other romantic relationships that were very “friend”-ish in that we enjoyed each other’s companionship but we were both very obviously just hanging out until something better came along…something which I am not doing any longer, now that I am not a teenager.)

I always look for someone who complements both my strengths and weaknesses. Someone who makes me feel safe and good, who can fight my fire with water, and who I can grow and adventure with. But I also like to have my space and don’t require a lot of attention or “maintenance.” (My friend Erik, who refers to me as his fake girlfriend, recently disagreed. “You’re more high maintenance than any of my real girlfriends ever were,” he said. This comment was a result of me wanting to get pizza before the baseball game.)

Apparently this is my INFJ personality: seeking depth in my relationships. Being intensely loyal and bound to that person (rather than that relationship). Seeking authenticity in the other. Having great enthusiasm & a sense of spontaneity for the relationship I am in & the person I am with. Embracing emotional & spiritual connection beyond physical. Growing into the other person, rather than alongside them. Requiring little attention & being fiercely independent. And being extremely picky in finding this partner.

(There were also a couple of lines on the 16 Personalities website that read, “their relationships will reach a level of depth and sincerity that most people can only dream of” and also that my ability to show love creates “a depth to the relationship that can hardly be described in conventional terms” which honestly sounds like a line from a bad YA novel. Ahem. Twilight.)

But, again – what the hell. Isn’t that what everyone looks for?

I don’t consider myself a hopeless romantic and I don’t really believe in the concept of “soul mates” (though I do believe in the concept of finding someone who moves you on a cosmic and undeniably deep level, as blogged about in A New Leaf). But what are you doing dating or in a relationship if you’re not looking for this unique type of depth, connection, and companionship?

It’s made me so curious. What is your ultimate goal in a relationship or dating?

2 thoughts on “A rare, exotic bird

  1. I’m also an INFJ! When I first learned about it a few years ago, I felt like “finally, an explanation for why I feel so weird.” I definitely agree about the relationships front! I haven’t dated much, but in general, I approach all relationships with the same yearning for something deeper. I can’t understand NOT wanting that. I’ve said before that I would rather have no friends/no partner than lots of friends/a partner that I don’t click with. Definitely agree with all of this!

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    1. I’m definitely that girl with very few friends, but all of them are very close. There are a few people I hang out with who make me uncomfortable, and I don’t usually keep them in my life for very long, for that reason. Love that you’re an INFJ also! We’re a rare breed (;

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