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  1. #1
    Senior Member OctaviaCaesar's Avatar
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    Question "Untypeable" Family Members

    I have two members of my family who have been difficult to type, and I am collecting information on what makes people behave against their type, especially in the family context. So, does anyone care to share (generalized!) portraits of family types who are "off" for whatever reason--how they manifest counter-type behaviours or do seemingly untypeable things?

    I'll start off. (Note: They have never taken the official MBTI, just internet approximations.) Sister 1 has always tested as an INFP. I can see that in her childhood, but she shows no orientation in adulthood toward Kiersey's Idealist traits--especially not self-actualization, which she laughs at me for being interested in. She has an F preference, I am pretty sure, being sensitive, but she is interested in science and is much like her INTJ boyfriend now; I wonder if he is the reason for this. She also has always been an amazing artist. I cannot figure out her type for sure.

    Sister 2 has tested TWICE as ENFP but this cannot be true. She is a textbook ESTP: as early as two years old perfect strangers would watch her and tell my mother, "I think you've got your boy there." To this day she is proud of being "one of the guys." She fits all the descriptions of an SP Artisan. I just don't know why there is such a discrepancy in the test results.

  2. #2
    Senior Member MerkW's Avatar
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    I know how you feel. It is highly irritating. My father is virtually "untypeable." He is definitely IxTx. INTP can be ruled out. That leaves us with INTJ, ISTP, and ISTJ. He is very much against tradition, so ISTJ then ends up seeming unlikely. He doesn't seem particularly N (I think he is borderline on the N/S dichotomy), which would make INTJ seem less likely. But he seems too organized and J-like to be an ISTP. If he were to take the cognitive functions test, I predict that he would score lowest on Fi and Fe.
    Clearly, whichever type he is, he is an abnormal version of it.

    The options...
    - An stressed-out INTJ who keeps his Ni to himself, and out of stress, uses his Se quite a bit more than usual.
    - A very, very untraditional ISTJ.
    - An organized ISTP who is not that much of a risk-taker and who appreciates politeness (Fe + Si) more than most ISTPs seem to.

    I suppose I'll just have to force a barrage of Jungian tests on him.
    "The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poet's must be beautiful; the ideas like the colours or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics..." - G.H. Hardy

    "Another roof, another proof." - Paul Erdős

    INTJ (I = 100, N = 100, T = 88, J = 43)
    Solitary/Idiosyncratic, 5w6 sp/sx
    RL(x)EI (RlxE|I|)- Inquisitive Dominant
    Reserved Idealist
    ILI-Ni/INTp

  3. #3
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    sis two sounds like me growing up! good ESTP! (did she like to beat up bullies? that would be another sign! )

    sis one- sounds vaguely like my sister- maybe an ISFP? My sis almost majored in a science, is rather influenced by her fiance and is VERY artistic!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  4. #4
    Senior Member OctaviaCaesar's Avatar
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    So, Merkw, I wonder what that means about your father's type development throughout his life, or lack thereof. Hopefully he is not psychotic, etc., at all...but what things would non-normal type development point to? Repression in earlier life?

  5. #5
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OctaviaCaesar View Post
    I have two members of my family who have been difficult to type, and I am collecting information on what makes people behave against their type, especially in the family context. So, does anyone care to share (generalized!) portraits of family types who are "off" for whatever reason--how they manifest counter-type behaviours or do seemingly untypeable things?

    I'll start off. (Note: They have never taken the official MBTI, just internet approximations.) Sister 1 has always tested as an INFP. I can see that in her childhood, but she shows no orientation in adulthood toward Kiersey's Idealist traits--especially not self-actualization, which she laughs at me for being interested in. She has an F preference, I am pretty sure, being sensitive, but she is interested in science and is much like her INTJ boyfriend now; I wonder if he is the reason for this. She also has always been an amazing artist. I cannot figure out her type for sure.

    Sister 2 has tested TWICE as ENFP but this cannot be true. She is a textbook ESTP: as early as two years old perfect strangers would watch her and tell my mother, "I think you've got your boy there." To this day she is proud of being "one of the guys." She fits all the descriptions of an SP Artisan. I just don't know why there is such a discrepancy in the test results.
    If sister 2 is an ESTP, then I would assume the reason she came up with ENFP is because she really doesn't know herself in a deep way.

  6. #6
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    My brother doesn't really fit with anything. He has taken an MBTI test 5 times, and gotten INTP, ISTP, ISTJ, ISFP, and ISTJ. He does seem more on the ISTP side, such as being less of a scheduler and his interests seem to lie in less emotional areas, but he has no qualities that really stand out strongly. (Currently, he's going to study German and international studies in college, tends to get average/slightly below average grades, does much less well on homework and tests, plays a bass outside of school and otherwise hangs out with a small/medium sized group of friends, doing typical "friends" stuff like movies, concerts, etc.)

  7. #7
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OctaviaCaesar View Post
    I have two members of my family who have been difficult to type
    Only two? Consider yourself lucky :P I cannot manage to type *anyone* in my family! First because I don't trust the online MBTI tests (they always get me wrong - INFP instead of INFJ - , and my ENFJ husband easily fooled one into typing him as INTP just because that's what he wanted to be at the time), so I don't even bother having my family members answer those tests. And second because I know my family too well: for every "clue" I can think of, I can also think of several times when they did the exact opposite!

    (Note: They have never taken the official MBTI, just internet approximations.) Sister 1 has always tested as an INFP. I can see that in her childhood, but she shows no orientation in adulthood toward Kiersey's Idealist traits--especially not self-actualization, which she laughs at me for being interested in. She has an F preference, I am pretty sure, being sensitive, but she is interested in science and is much like her INTJ boyfriend now; I wonder if he is the reason for this. She also has always been an amazing artist. I cannot figure out her type for sure.
    One possibility is INFJ. Hanging around lots of INTPs and INTJs as one tends to do when one is interested in science, and having an INTJ boyfriend, could explain her current disregard for spacey stuff like self-actualisation.

    Another possibility is INTJ. It's relatively easy for family members to mistake INTJs for Feelers, because INTJs much more freely express their Tertiary Fi with them: they show their emotional side in their family.

  8. #8
    Senior Member OctaviaCaesar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering View Post
    One possibility is INFJ. Hanging around lots of INTPs and INTJs as one tends to do when one is interested in science, and having an INTJ boyfriend, could explain her current disregard for spacey stuff like self-actualisation.

    Another possibility is INTJ. It's relatively easy for family members to mistake INTJs for Feelers, because INTJs much more freely express their Tertiary Fi with them: they show their emotional side in their family.
    Thank you, Wandering! Your ideas are wonderful. Before I went to college, I thought that my oldest little sister and I were the same soul in two bodies. She was always so good at being invisible and adapting to whomever she was around--I was duped! So I can see a case for INFJ from that point of view. Although, she is very P, I think, because our approach to homework schedules in college are opposite, and she is more easygoing than I am about deadlines. She was always called a crybaby by my father when she was young (he is ISTJ, btw) and so I always assumed she was a Feeler. However, not with me! She saves her juciest sarcasm and insults for me, it's weird. We have always had that relationship, too, at the same time that we were best friends. She told me today when I was trying to find out more about her type--which drives her nuts and she tells me I am unhealthily obsessed with this--that she has no orientation toward helping people. When she was little she wanted to be a doctor, but she didn't like telling others about this because they wouldn't understand that she just wanted to see and work on their insides, and didn't have a desire to save the world through the marvels of modern medicine.

    And this all leads me to wonder how birth order affects all of this, too...

  9. #9
    To the top of the world arcticangel02's Avatar
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    I don't hold much stock in birth order, Octavia, (because the three children in our household are nothing like what the stereotypical 'eldest child', 'middle child' and 'youngest child' are supposed to be) but I suppose that would also depend on the parents... and what type they are. To be honest I think there are just too many variables to really consider it. Maybe look at the parents, and if they've been strict or whatever with the child? (In your case, an ISTJ dad teasing your sister about being overtly F?)



    As far as hard-to-type individuals, I'm certain I've typed my mother (ISFP), but to someone who doesn't know her as well as I do, I have no doubt they'd have difficulties. My dad is an fairly obvious ESTJ, and it's curious to see how she's taken on some of his traits over 20-odd years of marriage. (He's been influenced by her, too, but in much less obvious ways.) Mum does come off like a TJ at times now - she's rarely emotional, quite rational and logical when dealing with things, and any sort of unfinished business drives her nuts: again, these are much more obvious in dad, but she clearly displays those traits too. Yet when she was younger, she never used to be anywhere near this organised, and when she was my age she was just as horrible as I am about bursting into tears in any sort of conflict. You wouldn't guess that now, but there you have it.

    So I would hazard a guess that spouses, especially over a long relationship, would have quite an effect on each other's personalities. As you get older, you become more well-rounded, so I can imagine it'd be very difficult to type a healthy adult in their 50s or older, unless you knew them very well. Maybe that's part of what's confusing things for you, Wandering?
    ANFP:
    Extraversion (52%) ---- Introversion (48%)
    Sensing (26%) ---- iNtuition (74%)
    Thinking (16%) ---- Feeling (84%)
    Judging (5%) ---- Perceiving (95%)

    9w1 so/sx/sp

  10. #10
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    My boyfriend is untypeable. He's tested ISTP, INFJ, and ENFJ. He also seems ISFJ. When I had him take a test with percentages, he was borderline on all traits. The only thing I can say for sure is that he has a strong Fe.

    Very frustrating!

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