What’s Your Type?

Reading People Book

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.

Personality Systems

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:

  • Introverts/Extroverts
  • 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).

  • Noise
  • Clutter
  • Texture
  • People
  • Consecutive errands
  • Big feelings
  • Information overload
  • Media
  • Decisions

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.”

* * *

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

46 thoughts on “What’s Your Type?

  1. Michele Morin

    “Getting out of my own way” and “becoming the best version of myself” were two of the most helpful concepts I gained from Anne’s book. I’ve been eager to read your review because I wondered what you’d glean from the book! I’m an INTJ, Enneagram 3, wing 4.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love hearing what other people’s types are! Thanks for sharing yours, Michele. I didn’t know you were a 3 (although I should because of all you accomplish!, but I would have guessed the 4 wing because of your creativity in writing.

  2. Lesley

    This is the second review I’ve read of this book and it sounds great. I find personality typing really interesting. Learning about Myers Briggs and that I am INFJ was actually very freeing- it helped me to understand myself and accept aspects of my personality that I had just thought were weird! It also helped a lot in understanding others better.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes! It has helped me also, not only to accept some of my own traits (which to others probably seem weird!), but also to be more understanding of others. I recognized much of the Highly Sensitive People traits in my youngest daughter, and now it makes sense that she always wanted tags cut out of her clothing, was annoyed when anyone would chew too loudly, etc. Understanding is so critical to being more compassionate. Thanks, Lesley!

  3. Trudy

    I love learning here, Lisa. 🙂 Every time I have taken a personality test, I end up to be an INFJ. The J part has always troubled me, too, but every time it would pop up again. The other traits clicked, but that one? Ouch! I prayed that I am not judgmental. So thank you for clearing that up for me! Whew! I feel so much better. 🙂 Blessings and hugs!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That little “J” has gotten a lot of us, Trudy! ha. I’m glad Anne wrote about it because several of us are obviously resonating with it. Sometimes I will take a different test because I think surely my type isn’t accurate, but I always come back as an ISFJ anyway. 🙂

  4. June

    After reading your this interesting post, as well as others you have posted on the topic I believe I may be an HSP. Which might explain why I’ve never done any of these tests, lol 😉

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I really related to the section on HSP too, June! I definitely see it in my youngest daughter, who is even more sensitive than I am. It really helps explain some of our issues. 🙂

  5. Linda Stoll

    I’m a big Anne Bogel fan … this looks like an interesting read. I’ve never been attracted to all the personality tests and types, but I appreciated the HSP descriptions as I’ve found that to be true for people in my world.

    Thanks, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I listen to all of Anne’s podcasts to get book suggestions. She has introduced me to lots of fiction that I didn’t know about. I’d love to hear more of her non-fiction recommendations as well. Well, maybe not because I don’t need a longer to-read list! 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Anybody who knows their type already would probably enjoy this book, so I’m lumping you into that category, Kristin. 🙂 I’m now looking forward to Gretchen Rubin’s book on the 4 Tendencies.

  6. floyd

    I’m a BIACS… (bull in a china shop).

    I do find this interesting. So often I’ve come to realize that just because we speak the same language doesn’t mean we understand one another. I also find it fascinating that the things we often see in ourselves we resent in others.

    I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      haha. I could name a few other BIACS as well. And you’re right: even speaking the same exact words doesn’t mean that we are communicating the same ideas. Tower of Babel continues to haunt us.

  7. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    I am definitely a highly sensitive person. I see and feel things in a BIG way. This can be hard as a person to live like this, but I also think it contributes to my sense of compassion for others. Whatever label I am – I am learning to love and use the way God created me.
    Bev xx

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree with you, Bev. I’ve discovered having sensitive friends like you can be a benefit to our relationships. I’m glad, too, that God made us just the way he wanted us!

  8. Hannah

    Hi Lisa! I am an ENFP and also MBTI obsessed- haha! I have always been fascinated by all the different things that make up our person (personality, love language, spiritual gifts, family history) and how they each build a little part of the big picture. We often talk about these things with our student leadership group as part of being self-aware and recognising that each of us has different strengths and weaknesses and together we make up the body of Christ. I never knew there was a book like this so will have to add it to my reading list! Thanks for sharing! (visiting from S&L)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We are of like-mind then, Hannah! I find this all so interesting as well. (But I know not everyone does, and that’s okay too.) How wonderful that you are using your knowledge to speak with students. Sometimes we underrate the importance of self-knowledge in our faith, but I agree with that you it can reveal the beauty of the intricacy of the body of Christ. Blessings to you.

  9. ~ linda

    Most interesting. I did not know there were so many different tests. I have taken a couple over the years and recall that I am introverted and sensitive, but do not recall much else. I am glad to know the definition for some of the terms used. They were taken negatively by me back when. You read the most interesting books, Lisa! Thanks.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Some of these tests were new to me too, Linda. Who knew we could be categorized in so many ways? ha. I am introverted and sensitive too—which I knew even without a test. 🙂

  10. Mari-Anna Stålnacke

    Hi, Lisa! Great post, as usual. Yes, I know my type. I’m an ENFP. I used to be a thinker before I had my kids though. I think knowing your type helps you to understand why you (or others) behave in certain ways. In some ways, it’s like discovering the treasure God made you. Thanks again for enriching your readers’ minds. Blessings upon blessings!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I so agree with you, Mari-Anna—understanding more about ourselves and others helps us discover the beautiful things that God put inside each person, gifts that may go unnoticed if we don’t pay close attention. Have a great weekend, friend!

  11. Liz

    This is so great! It is important to know how to leverage your strengths and either mitigate or complement areas where you are less adept. Knowing who I am and how the people around me are wired is so key to sustaining lasting relationships with relatively little drama! Thanks for sharing about this!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I agree that understanding other people’s types as well as our own is so valuable in keep our relationships strong and healthy. I know a little better where to give grace, and also know how to tap into others and my own strengths in ways I might not have before.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I really appreciated how she included the good and bad of so many different frameworks. Who has time to read thoroughly on each one? It was nice having information on them all in one place.

  12. Debbie Wilson

    Lisa, this was so interesting. I’m highly sensitive, but didn’t know it was a category. A family member thrives on controversial news and I have to tell them to quit showing me all of it. 🙂 Same with loud noises. Very interesting. I’m a J and my husband is a P. Makes life interesting!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The highly sensitive person is one of the newer things to me, too. My sister mentioned it to me awhile back, but I haven’t heard much more about it since then, so I was glad to rediscover it in Anne’s book. I’m wondering if my husband is a P also…that would explain a lot of things since I’m a J. ha.

  13. Jean Wise

    I sure do enjoy these personality resources you find. I am an INFJ and number three on the enneagram. I need to attend another workshop on this stuff – just love learning. Will check out that book too. Thanks!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I was talking to another three this week who was telling me about a new book about the enneagram. She said it was wonderful and really goes into all 27 (yikes!) types. ha. I believe it’s also the same book that Ian Morgan Cron has suggested, called The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz. But that’s the 5 in me always wanting to read one more book, learn a little more, etc. ha.

        1. LisaNotes Post author

          Yes, we do, Jean! I’m getting myself in a bind of late with my love for books. Books that I’ve put on hold at the library are all becoming available at the same time and I don’t have time to read them all. ha.

  14. TC Avey

    This book sounds both fun and enlightening!
    I’m definitely a Thinking type and have been called blunt. It has hurt my feelings when I’m called that because it wasn’t my intent. I can see how understanding myself and others personalities can be extremely helpful.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Isn’t it amazing how others can assume otherwise about us when we have the best intentions, but our personalities just clashed along the way? I’ve had that happen before as well. (And I’ve also been on the other side of that, too.) Wouldn’t it be insightful if we all had greater clarity into each other’s hearts like God does into ours?

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