I originally posted this on PerC, and these were the two suggested types. It's possible I could be neither, but either way, I'm open to feedback.
Is there anything that may affect the way you answer the questions? For example, a stressful time, mental illness, medications, special life circumstances? Other useful information includes sex, age, and current state of mind.
I’m in my late-twenties. My current state of mind is calm and I’m not being medicated for anything, unless spring allergies count.
Click on this link: Flickr: Explore! Look at the random photo for about 30 seconds. Copy and paste it here, and write about your impression of it.
flickr [dot] com / photos/ eva_patikian / 8652092505/
In this photo, the first word that came to mind was “forlorn;” the hue of the colors has been dimmed, and the woman in the center hides her face. However, this photo bothers me because there are a lot of little things that are at odds with each other, and I can’t discern whether that sense of confusion was intended or not. The woman hides her face, but her body is subtly turned towards the camera. Is she truly the focal point? Is this how she feels about spring? (the fact that cherry blossoms are often used as both a symbol of new beginnings and of death makes me wonder). Is there any significance to what she’s wearing? What does the composition ultimately mean, in the sense that it’s trying to communicate to the viewer?
You are with a group of people in a car, heading to a different town to see your favourite band/artist/musician. Suddenly, the car breaks down for an unknown reason in the middle of nowhere. What are your initial thoughts? What are your outward reactions?
I know very little about cars, but even so, I’d probably try and see if it’s an obvious problem than can easily be solved (e.g. out of gas). Otherwise, it’s time to call AAA and make alternative arrangements. This would be immensely irritating, especially if the concert was something I’ve been looking forward to for a while, but I’d try not to look upset since I prefer people thinking I’m more on the calm and reasonable side than I am. I think that, if my group didn’t seem too upset about it and was willing to call it an excursion (if we couldn’t make it to the concert at all) and do something else fun at a later date, I’d handle things much better.
You somehow make it to the concert. The driver wants to go to the afterparty that was announced (and assure you they won't drink so they can drive back later). How do you feel about this party? What do you do?
If I’ve just been to a concert, I’m probably far, far too over-stimulated to handle a party. I’ll probably be a little put-out and definitely wouldn’t believe the driver would be okay to drink after the fact, unless it was someone I knew personally and their word meant something. If the party is on the small side and has only a few friends of my concert-group, I’d probably just suck it up and deal, and try not to let my annoyance show. I’m almost always considerably more amenable to extended socializing after I’ve had a few drinks, so this might not be so bad.
On the drive back, your friends are talking. A friend makes a claim that clashes with your current beliefs. What is your inward reaction? What do you outwardly say?
Well, how severe is this clash of beliefs? If it’s something like chunky peanut butter being superior to smooth, then I’ll roll my eyes and offer my condolences for their tastes (jokingly, of course). If they’re against gay marriage or something equally bigoted, then they’d cease being a friend in that moment, and I’d wonder whether I could convince everyone to throw them out of the car. While I enjoy a good debate every now and again, I’m not wasting my time and energy on willful ignorance and prejudice, and I'd rather get the car ride over with as quickly and painlessly as possible. If it was something that I found particularly objectionable, then I would confront them in private, but it's very likely I'd simply stop associating with them if my feelings were hurt.
What would you do if you actually saw/experienced something that clashes with your previous beliefs, experiences, and habits?
If there’s compelling evidence to the contrary of something I believe, I’m very likely to change my mind. For example, I don’t believe that elephants come in orange because I have neither seen nor heard of an orange elephant. There is no research supporting evidence of an orange elephant, and no one I know has heard of such. However, if I were to leave my house one day and an orange elephant was grazing on the tree on my front lawn, clearly, I would have to reassess my way of thinking when it comes to elephants and their color schemes. It doesn’t matter if it’s an aberration, really; if an orange elephant is possible and exists, who’s to say there aren’t more? There could also be red and yellow elephants that give birth to orange elephants. In this instance, it’s obvious that the rules are no longer what I thought they were, so there’s no reason to hold onto them.
What are some of your most important values? How did you come about determining them? How can they change?
I have a general, all-purpose “treat others with common courtesy” rule which encompasses everything from standard modes of politeness to being aware of social/emotional boundaries and knowing when to overstep for the other person’s benefit and when to mind my own business by keeping a respectful distance. This has been determined through trial and error, and so far, seems to work the best for me and those around me. I say “common courtesy,” but something I’ve also learned is that courtesy isn’t common; it is, therefore, more appropriate to say that I strive to see everyone as an individual with unique needs and desires, and to treat them as kindly as the situation warrants. This means that I tend to be more socially progressive, overall, and that I place a high value on honesty, integrity, and so on.
Addendum: this is the only value I have that never changes, actually. What I deem important tends to vary as my needs and priorities shift, and I honestly can't say I spend very much time reflecting on this subject.
a) What about your personality most distinguishes you from everyone else? b) If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be? Why?
a) There’s a tendency I have to actively resist participating in any sort of trend unless it’s something that interests me or if I think that my participation will have a positive impact in some way. I’ve never been able to do things merely because other people are; I derive no enjoyment from that, and that’s been a consistent point of contention between me and others. I’ve been called very self-centered because of this, but I believe it is self-centered to force the participation of others in something they aren’t interested in, for the sake of group cohesion. By contrast, I believe I understand why some people feel as if they and all their associates must have the exact same interests, and similar feelings about said interests-- or, at least, must behave as they do. There’s a certain sense of security and unity in that sameness, in the sense that potential conflicts are minimized and everyone seems to understand each other. Realistically speaking, though, this is never the case.
b) I think I would like to be far, far less empathetic, or less analytical, in the interests of bringing more balance to my psyche. Sometimes, I get tired of the perpetual tug of war between my instinct to detach and observe critically, and my drive to get involved and help. It also means that I never know what kind of impression I’m leaving; some of those who have met me in mode A think I’m very cold and horrible, and those who have met me in mode B think I’m the squishiest person ever. It’s very strange.
How do you treat hunches or gut feelings? In what situations are they most often triggered?
This is difficult to answer because a certain amount of this is a constant, for me. It’s easy for me to look at the complex interplay between groups of people or work processes and “see ahead” to a probable outcome. I follow my hunches if they’re particularly strong or compelling, and it’s a fairly often occurrence for me to, for example, feel that I should take a different route to work, only to arrive and hear about an accident somewhere along my usual way. My instincts about people are usually good, and while I don’t feel very strongly that anyone is good or bad, I can often tell on first meeting if so-and-so has a cordial veneer but is really kind of a prick and should be mostly avoided.
a) What activities energize you most? b) What activities drain you most? Why?
a) I’m energized by brief, spontaneous conversations that result in a really deep and passionate emotional connection, but soon after, the crash hits, and I need to retreat to process the events and how I feel about them. In addition, activities that most people (so it seems to me) would do to relax are actually what energize me; solo walks, anything crafty, reading, writing, and listening to certain types of music. My mood and energy levels are actually very tied to music; I need my daily dose of D&B to get me up and active in the morning.
b) Repetitive, detail-oriented tasks and I don’t get along. I’m a very patient, focused person, but I find myself quickly becoming frustrated and scatterbrained with anything that requires too many small processes performed over and over again. I also greatly dislike prolonged socializing with large groups of people and interpersonal conflict.
What do you repress about your outward behavior or internal thought process when around others? Why?
When I was a child, people found me very strange. I suppose it was thought of as cute, at first, but as I grew older, that changed and it seemed like I was unsettling them. I was quiet, but insightful and very perceptive, and over time, I learned to hide that perceptiveness except around a select group of people. In some ways, this feels like a betrayal of who I am, as well as dishonest, but it’s much better than dealing with the awkwardness of people spreading rumors that you’re psychic, when it’s more that you’re observant. And, even then, that would probably seem creepy to some. Even so, it’s not so much repression as a very careful and selective method of self-disclosure that I’ve found causes the least amount of problems.
Some supplemental questions:
You are on the clock to fix something, a friend of yours sits beside you and gives a lot of interesting ideas, none of them actually help or are related to your situation, but they are still something you find interesting. What is your reaction? What do you say? What do you do? What's your train of thought?
In all honesty, if I knew my friend was prone to doing precisely that, I would pre-empt the situation and tell them I’m working with time constraints and would have to get back to them later. If it were one of my own projects, I might get irritated initially but would quickly allow myself to be pleasantly distracted, but if I’m on the clock, then this task needs to be taken care of ASAP.
On the drive back from the event at question 3, the people in the car are talking. Someone makes a claim that you see as immoral/rude/cruel. What is your inward reaction? What do you think? What do you say?
There are a couple ways I can answer this, because my response will be different whether I’m feeling insulted/offended or not.
It depends on the context. I come from a family of people who say ridiculously rude things for the sake of humor, and that sort of thing is fine as long as everyone present is familiar with and accepting of the dynamic.
If I can tell someone is getting agitated or uncomfortable, I have a tendency to abruptly cut in with a subject change. With the car example, that would probably be the best course of action, since fully engaging (i.e. turning it into a debate or an argument) will drag in people who would otherwise not want to be involved and they wouldn’t readily have the option of removing themselves from the situation. I say this, but I know if what was said made me angry enough, I’d make it into an issue right then and there without regard for the social consequences.
Unfortunately, I shut down when personally offended or insulted, especially so if it’s from a friend, because I don’t want to lose them as a friend... but it’s hard to brush off the rude/cruel comment anyway and I’ll end up feeling hurt for quite a while afterward.
What makes you feel inferior?
I wouldn’t say “inferior,” but I do have three main areas in which I become self-conscious.
I’m constantly striving to be more creative with my writing and art and develop a style that’s very uniquely mine, however, I feel that I always fall short, and it makes me frustrated and envious of those who seem to have found their groove, so to speak. I know that I’m capable (intellectually, anyway...), but it’s difficult to translate what I see in my head to paper, and I have a tendency to lapse into a state of inertia whenever things aren’t progressing exactly as I want them to, which only increases the feelings of inferiority, since... well, the fact that this is a problem is a problem. The circular nature of it is ridiculous and humiliating because I consciously recognize that it’s self-perpetuating and self-destructive.
The above makes me question whether I’m as intelligent as I’ve been led to believe, but it’s not the only thing. I’m very bookish, but I have a horrible memory when it comes to precise detail like dates, times, and locations; my particular type of intelligence isn’t a traditional intellectualism - I’ve spent years trying to make myself distinct in this way - but I still feel residual social pressures to appear well-educated in the sort of nebulous way one tends to define that.
I’m not very athletic, prone to bizarre allergic reactions and illness, and just generally don’t have as much stamina as most people seem to. My utter uselessness in the physical realm is something I often try to compensate for, but my inability to pay proper attention to my surroundings means I wind up injured. My performance decreases sharply if I know I’m being observed, as well.
What's your opinion of getting frequent feedback on what you do? (Someone pointing out what is good, what is bad, what and how to improve) Is there a limit to how often you want feedback? If so, what is the limit?
I have a tendency to directly ask for feedback when I think I’ve hit a wall, or I think there’s room for improvement, and am generally rather comfortable with criticism if it’s constructive. However, I don’t like people who complain but offer no alternatives or possible solutions, and I’m not apt to consider their opinions valid since they’re bereft of substance. If someone was coming up to me and picking at everything I do, regardless of how small, I think I would get annoyed very quickly. I also don’t particularly enjoy being criticized on a work-in-progress, largely because I have the end result in mind already, and nitpicking the process wouldn’t mean much in the long run.