I think I've figured out why I was disappointed with MBTI at one point. I just realized what I expected to be able to do with the system when I first got a glimpse of it.
Basically, I expected to be able to do something like this...
- Have NT friends for when I wanted to learn about abstract concepts without considering the human aspects or having emotions involved.
- Have NF friends around when I wanted help understanding the way an idea related to people (or psychological help/empathy for myself).
- Consult STs when I needed help figuring out how to do something practical.
- Get SFs to help me recognize and be sensitive to the practical aspects of relating to people.
Thus, it was really frustrating when I had to deal with bleed-over and messiness. I would tend to encounter people of multiple, disparate types in a single group which made choosing the best interaction style much more difficult. In other words, I wouldn't be able to associate separately with each group in order to make the best impression on each of them.
Also, people would sometimes test as types other than their actual type, and/or behave in atypical ways for their type. For instance, I would get stuck dealing with NTs whose logic was being affected by their feelings to such a degree that they were unreliable, and they would often try to share emotions or concern themselves with my well-being, which colored my interaction with them in such a way that they couldn't fulfill my original purpose for them. Many of them ended up filling the NF role quite well, however.
There was also confusion with the NFs. Many of them had been affected by NT or Sensor ideas to the point that their perceptions or judgments were diluted. They would sometimes be emotionally influenced to ignore their own perceptions and accept poorly designed abstractions conceived by Sensors. Or else they would be influenced by NTs to apply logic to themselves and the world and thus dull their awareness of how ideas affected or related to people (sadly I might be one of these). This made it impossible to feel like I had a good gauge of how abstractions related to the human side of things.
The worst problems came in dealing with Sensors. Instead of avoiding the abstract entirely, they would often denounce it, or very stubbornly declare poorly designed abstractions that they had come up with to be true. This was so infuriating that I couldn't deal with most of them. Also, it was often very difficult to communicate to them what I needed. A few of them were intelligent and helpful, but it was almost never in the area I expected.
I was hoping that I could use the system to identify what other people represent to me, and thus figure out how to get other people to fulfill the roles I needed outwardly to facilitate smoother interaction with them. It would also have been helpful in replacing friends that help focus certain qualities in myself as I go along, since it's very likely that I won't be able to hold on to the same ones indefinitely.
So I probably expected too much of MBTI to begin with, and that's why it didn't work for me.
Does that make sense?