What’s Your Type?
It’s a big question. It can be answered lots of ways.
So Anne Bogel wrote a book of potential answers, Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything.
“When you learn about your type—the good and the bad—this knowledge can serve as your guardrail. It’s much easier to keep from falling off the edge of the road if your eyes are wide open and the path is lit.”
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, an ESTP or an INFJ, an Enneagram 2 or a 7, this book will teach you about the personality type you are (and potentially about the type you’re attracted to).
But is it actually helpful to know your personality type?
Some people say it puts you in a box you can’t escape. But according to Anne (and I agree with her), instead of boxing you in, knowing more about yourself helps you open the lid so you can step out.
Reading People is an excellent primer for prying open the lids of many boxes. Anne addresses the most popular personality typing systems, one by one. They include:
- Highly Sensitive People
- Five Love Languages
- Keirsey’s Temperaments
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
- MBTI Cognitive Functions
- Clifton StrengthsFinder
- The Enneagram
She points out the strengths and weaknesses of each system, shows where you can find online quizzes for them, and what you can do with the information you discover.
“My personality isn’t a limiting label; instead, understanding my personality has blown my possibilities wide open. Because I understand myself better, I can navigate the world a little better. I’ve learned how to get out of my own way.”
But don’t let the briefness of information on each type fool you. I thought I already knew the basics on most of these systems and wouldn’t learn much. But I was wrong. Even among the types I was most familiar with (Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram), I learned many new things.
In the Details
For example, did you even know HSP was a thing? Here are common triggers that Anne shares about Highly Sensitive People (HSP).
- Consecutive errands
- Big feelings
- Information overload
Not all those are triggers for me, but many are, which explains why I’m selective about how much news I watch or which stories I read.
“Many HSPs choose to abstain from news sites (and stay off social media in the wake of big events). They don’t do it because they’re cold and callous; they do it because they can’t carry the pain of the world on their own.”
I also appreciate Anne’s definitions of Judging vs Perceiving in the Myers-Briggs framework. I’ve never felt totally comfortable being a J—Judging, if it implies being judgmental. But Anne explains no; that’s not what it means in this context.
“Judging means this type prefers to have decisions (aka judgments) behind them (settled). They feel more comfortable once the decision, whatever it is, is made. Perceiving means ‘preferring to take in information.’ Perceivers prefer to postpone decisions in order to stay open to new information as long as possible.”
Ahhh. (I had a lot of those moments with this book.) Maybe that’s why, as a J, I don’t like spending an hour deciding where to eat; just make a decision (even if it’s not optimal) and go already.
Do you see yourself or your partner in any of these scenarios?
“Thinking types may feel they’re being considerate by getting straight to the point in a conversation, unaware that their feeling friends perceive them as uncomfortably blunt.
Intuitive types may think they’re contributing by sharing their grand plans in a team meeting, unaware that the thought of making so many changes at once completely stresses out their sensing colleagues.
Extroverted types may feel disappointed when their spouses don’t immediately respond with enthusiasm to their ideas, ignorant that they just need time to think the ideas over.”
Erase Some Blind Spots
We all have blind spots in our perceptions of ourselves and our perceptions of others. But erasing some of those spots by recognizing personality styles can prove helpful in our relationships.
“Communication is the main challenge we face when we interact closely with people of different types because each of us interprets, understands, and acts in different ways.”
It’s not always fun learning more about ourselves. Or easy. I say that as a sensitive, introverted, ISFJ-A, Enneagram 5, wing 6 female.
And changing our type is highly unlikely nor recommended. There is no better or worse type. And we’re all a combination of many types anyway.
But understanding ourselves more clearly is always beneficial. It helps us navigate our circumstances more wisely. And with Anne as a guide, understanding ourselves also assures us we’re not alone, nor are we crazy.
“The goal is, as always, to become more ourselves—our true selves—instead of getting tripped up by the stumbling blocks that tend to befall each personality type.
Personal growth takes us out of unhealthy reflexive actions and enables us to be more fully ourselves, more present, more aware, and more intentional.”
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Do you know your type? Please share in the comments.
You may already know Anne Bogel from her blog Modern Mrs. Darcy or her podcast What Should I Read Next. I highly recommend both.
If you order Reading People before September 19 (release date), you’ll also get these freebies:
- A free download of the audio version of the book
- Access to Anne’s online “What’s Your Reading Personality?” class
My thanks to Baker Books
for the review copy of this book
sharing with Susan, Deb, Dawn, Debbie,
Carmen, Brenda, Holley, Kristin