I've posted a bunch of questionnaires on all the different sites on the Internet. Eventually I decided I was an INFJ, but now I'm not so sure for numerous reasons--now I'm thinking ISFP.
First, my childhood does not match a childhood INFJ, but it matches a childhood ISFP. Second, my mom says INFJ doesn't sound like me at all and ISFP is me to a T.
Going to fill out a questionnaire from PerC rather than try to talk about all the important things (reason being I'll probably forget crucial things and stress unimportant ones), but before that, here was me as a child:
From what I recall, which is foggy, I remember I made friends quickly and easily. I talked a lot whenever talking was allowed (I was good at following rules, so if someone told me to be quiet I would wait to talk again). I was, even at a very young age, very precocious, however. When I was 3 years old I took my first dance class and when we were backstage, everyone else started crying and saying they were afraid to go on. I flipped my little pigtails and said sassily, "If you don't want to go onstage, then I'll go all by myself and get the applause for ME!"
I was a perfectionist. Sometimes I was really bossy about it. I wasn't trying to be mean or boss other people around, but I expected everyone else to have the same perfectionism that I did. Like when we all went onstage for the finale in our recital when I was probably 8, maybe 9, this other girl was wearing a T-shirt and capris and Crocs. I told her she should take her Crocs off because they weren't dance shoes (I was bothered by the fact that she wasn't wearing her costume, but didn't comment). She told me to stop being so bossy, and I remember that hurting my feelings.
When I started piano lessons was because my brother had already started them, and after I heard him playing I wanted to. My mom talked to my piano teacher and my piano teacher said she thought I was too young--I was only 4. She said usually she doesn't start kids until they're 6, maybe 7, and she had never met a child that could sit still and follow directions for 30 minutes at any younger. Mom said she would pay her for a full lesson, to try it, and if I was squirmy she could send me out early and we'd wait a few years. I went in, was perfectly attentive the entire time, caught on easily, and never stopped taking lessons since.
I loved stories. Loved them. I used to write stories all the time, tried writing novels that I always abandoned (though at the current date I have completed 3 novels, have my 4th planned out, and have edited 2 novels of mine thoroughly), and would read the same book 100 times over. Sometimes I would read 5 books at a time and keep all the details straight. I used to love writing Harry Potter fanfics and switching up the details, like Harry's parents didn't die until he was older right before he went to Hogwarts, or it was Ginny who was born to his parents instead, so on, so forth. One time when I was maybe 5 a man who's friends with my mom told me if I could write him a 10 page story he would give me a bunch of silver dollars. He didn't actually believe I could. I wrote him an 11 page story about him and his wife and how he saved her from a dragon.
I really struggled with any school subject as a kid, though. I could barely retain history (unless it was the Holocaust, which I've always been very interested in, to this day), the scientific terms I couldn't keep straight confused me, and math frustrated me to the point I cried--especially when I got to multiplication and division. I do quite a bit better now, but getting the foundation down was really, really truly an uphill climb. It wasn't that I was lazy or ADHD. I focused very much and I wanted so badly to be good at it and I tried so hard, I just wasn't. I was a really smart kid, and everyone always told me I was a really smart kid, I just wasn't good at what you have to be good at to succeed in school.
I was really extroverted if I remember. I followed people around and badgered them about things they didn't care about, although adults enjoyed talking to me (people always told my mom how good of a kid I was.) Around age 11 is when I started getting more introspective. I started finding myself awkward in social situations that I didn't used to be awkward in, and I found myself following my brother or any friends I knew around like a lost puppy because I didn't know what to do. There was no negative situation that triggered any kind of mental unhealthiness, I just started getting quieter and quieter. I was drained all the time because everyone saw me as a social butterfly and I wanted to meet their expectations, so I tried to force myself to extrovert. Around age 12-13 when I discovered MBTI I let myself be more introverted and now I'm more energetic than I was around 11-12.
I was never really a space cadet like child INFJs and INFPs are described. I usually had my feet on the ground, despite my imaginative tendencies. I was never really shy, either.
A close family friend dug out a picture of me as a baby awhile ago and brought it over for me to see. I was probably one, with a huge smile on my chubby face, a McDonald's cup in my hands that it looked like I was about to throw, and I was laughing hysterically in the picture. The family friend's comment: "Even as an infant, your engaging personality showed through!"
Now I'm much more self conscious and introverted. I don't know if maybe I'm an unhealthy extrovert or if I'm confusing cognitive/social extrovertedness and introvertedness.
I asked my mom what I was like as a kid for a second opinion. She told me a few things: When I was little, I was a very aggressive baby. She had to move me from my crib to my toddler bed at age 1 because I kept crawling over the side of my crib, knowing I was going to plummet and hit my head.
She said I had to constantly be entertained--in church I would always run around and talk to the little girls next to me in effort to keep myself from getting too bored. She agreed with me on all of the aforementioned points that I brought up, and said I was very obedient. I showed her a list of ISFP child traits from PerC, here's her verdict:
ISFP young ones will love to be held, snuggled, cuddled... (Yes)
The ISFP baby really is a “cherub” smiling a lot early on (Yes)
The ISFP will like some alone time but will happily play with anyone who wants to most of the time (Yes)
These ... are especially the ones that may bond with a “blanky” (I had a blanky, a binky, and a teddy bear I drug around everywhere with me. She had to sew his ears back on multiple times)
This “type” child will cry more than some others…especially if yelled at, responding to loud noises, if they think they are being criticized (Hit the nail right on the head)
The ISFP child wants things to be soft, quiet, harmonious, friendly (yes)
ISFPs are likely to play with kids smaller than themselves for security motivators (I was never really around younger kids, so nothing to judge)
ISFPs usually like music, painting, drawing, clay, etc….creative ones loving “sensory” pleasures…they will explore quicker than others (Yes)
The ISFP child is easy-going, flexible, compliant most of the time, will shy away from anger, bullying, yelling, etc. (yes)
This child also need alone time (Yes)
The ISFP is the epitome of putting everything in the mouth ... (She doesn't remember)
The ISFP may suck their thumbs…need a bottle for longer periods of time ... (No)
ISFPs will usually share their feeling, getting hurt easily, wanting friend, etc. (yes)
ISFPs can excel athletically due to their sensing…but they really like the “group” team thing…want and need others….selectively (Yes at athletic excel. Depends on the team, she says.)
ISFPs love animals and have a kinship with them of sorts (Completely true)
For the adolescent ISFP ... they may underachieve academically... (Very true)
The ISFP adolescent will learn better with a teacher they’ve bonded with in a more one-on-one environment (Still true to this day)
They can be wonderful story tellers…natural grasp of the detailed and are dominantly “feeling” and emotional (Completely true)
In High School the ISFP may have difficulty declaring independence…they bond with parents, siblings strongly (Not really)
The adolescent ISFP may struggle with long range planning, college, career, etc more than some others (Definitely not, I had my career planned at age 10)
ISFPs have natural difficulty following/remembering rules, regulations, etc. (Absolutely not. Again, I was very obedient and got bossy if others didn't follow the rules.)
So, if you're still here after that wall of text, here's the PerC questionnaire. XD
1. 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 have no mental illnesses that I know of. Currently I'm pretty tired physically but I'm focused mentally, so it should be fine. I'm 15 years old, female, and fairly certain my enneagram is 4w3-6w7-9w1 so/sx.
2. What type(s) do you usually score as on tests?
In no particular order: ISFP, INFP, INFJ most often. I have occasionally gotten ENFJ and ESFP.
3. Click on this link: https://secure.flickr.com/explore/ Choose 2 photos and look at each for as long as you feel that you need. Copy and paste the photos here and write your impression of each of them.
I love the vividity. The clear cut line between where the rolling hills start and where the blue sky stops. The reflections in the water are stunningly gorgeous. Where the body of water drops off to what looks like a beach-y thing, it's almost like an optical illusion--I can't tell if there's a gap between the two where the water continues pouring down like a waterfall, or if it just stops there. There isn't much else to say besides the fact that it's very beautiful and vivid.
This picture feels almost haunting. I find it sucking me in. I wonder why the ship is sinking, and why it hasn't been totally submerged--is something underneath it? I wonder what the story of the ship is and where it is. Sometimes I find black and white pictures boring, but this one I find beautifully artistic. I just wish that I knew more about it. The ship seems strong and proud and profound, in some subconscious way, and is striking.
4. 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?
I would end up trying to split my attention between what I was fixing and the friend I was listening to--probably tuning the friend out and forgetting most of what they said. I would feel awful about this, so when they finished talking I would just make a bunch of noncommittal comments or comments that wouldn't tip them off that I hadn't been paying attention. Maybe later on I would try to get them to talk about it to me again without telling them that I'd been tuning them out. Like, "I was telling X friend about what you were saying about X topic, but I couldn't quite recall everything you were saying--could you tell me what you think again? I found it really interesting." I would probably be a little annoyed that they were talking to me while I was fixing something ("can't you see I'm busy?" in my head) but I would never say so for fear of upsetting them.
5a. What are some of your most important values?
Purity in most senses of the word. Love, friendship, loyalty, protection, safety, kindness. I also think you should know who you are and think past the superficial things in life. I think everyone is a human being and thus even if you disagree you should be very kind to one another.
5b. Can they change? What would be the reason if they changed?
If I got a lot of external input that eventually swayed me to research it and realize I was wrong, or a little input from someone that I saw highly, it would probably change. At this point, however, I've done enough research that I think those are pretty cemented in my life. I have a hard time with not being stubborn, so I may not admit that I was wrong if I realized that I was, but I wouldn't be stubborn to the point of stupidity. If no one could offer me any proof that I was wrong, or someone made a moronic argument about why I was wrong, then I would just laugh and brush it off.
6. You are in a car with some other people, 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?
Depends on what it was. If it wasn't something I felt really strongly about, I would just try to stay out of the debate/conversation/whatever until I got dragged in. If I did feel strongly about it, I would very kindly and passively state my opinion. If it was something I felt was a direct attack against me, I would feel offended, but avoid saying anything if at all possible. (I know a friend who was anorexic and went through a phase of calorie restricting myself, and I once heard a girl I know telling one of her friends "Today I didn't eat at all cuz I wanted to know what it would be like to be anorexic!" My friend who used to have an eating disorder and I just looked at each other, and I texted her and said "Anyone else feel personally offended?" I would have never brought it up to the other girls, though.) If I said anything, I would be very passive and avoid sounding like I was being stuck up or snobbish or unreasonable at all.
7. a) What activities energizes you the most? Why?
I have many artistic endeavors, but not all of them charge me... but not all of them drain me. Does that make sense? Dancing onstage charges me hugely. Learning choreography does not, but it doesn't drain me. Playing piano doesn't charge me, nor does it drain me, and I enjoy the ability to play it. Painting and drawing charges me sometimes, and don't charge me other times (but don't drain me either). Typically if painting charges me, it's something that was SUPER inspired that I listened to intense music while painting. Writing charges me a little, but not significantly. Writing psychology papers neither charges or drains me, and I enjoy it.
The time I remember feeling the most charged, it was a really nice day outside and I just laid out in a swimsuit to get a bit of a tan. I just stared up at the sky, feeling the wind on my skin, the towel under my back, and taking in the clouds. I wasn't even trying to find shapes in them, I was just looking at them. I was in a thought process so deep I didn't even know what I was thinking about.
Also, watching really artistic videos with beautiful cinematography and deep meanings, or really great AMVs, or movies, can really charge me. Examples:
7. b) What activities drains you the most? Why?
Math. Too much logic necessary. Science. Too much theoretical memorization necessary. Logical debates (especially against NTs, ESPECIALLY against INTJs, ESPECIALLY against INTJs on a topic I'm not the most informed on that they have looked into extensively. It's a death sentence for me) and talking to people who aren't very understanding.
8. Do you believe you are introverted or extroverted? Why do you believe that? (Please be as detailed as possible)
I think I'm introverted. When I'm around a lot of people, I go into sensory overload and completely withdraw and space out just a little bit. This is worse if it's with people I don't like. If it's with a small group that I feel comfortable around, I can pull myself out enough to interact with them, but it really doesn't energize me. I feel the most myself and the most in my comfort zone when I'm alone or talking to people on Facebook or texting them, doing my own thing--whatever I may feel like doing that day.
Sometimes, if I'm with the right people at the right time of day doing the right thing, I can get really really charged, but just interacting with people for the sake of being around people isn't really my thing.
9. Please describe yourself, what do you see as your greatest strengths and what do you see as your greatest weaknesses?
Describe myself? That's a big task and not an easy one. I seem really cheerful and not very deep (though not shallow or superficial) on the outside, but I have so many theories and emotions that I keep private on the inside. Even if I want to explain them to someone I don't know how. I feel really misunderstood a lot of the time. I hate being unique but I love it so much that I want to be, if that makes any sense. I want to be seen as artistic, but I think sometimes my fashion just comes across as eccentric. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is if other people think being eccentric is bad. I really love feeling needed and helping other people with their problems and I'm really finely tuned to the emotions of everyone else in a room but I don't know when to stop. It's like I just keep giving and giving even when there's nothing left to give and even when the other person just completely ignores me. I don't really get enough sleep almost ever (or I get too much) and I either eat too much or too little. I have grand plans and schemes for 5, 10 years in the future but no idea of how to get to them. I can be perfectionistic to a fault, and I tend too demand too much of myself and it can result in anxiety triggers. (The last two years I bombed my piano recital pieces due to not enough time to practice, despite being my teacher's best pianist--she said so, not me, I feel really awkward saying that XD--and now I feel anxious any time I play a piano recital piece for anyone even if it's not in a recital because I've set the expectations so high for myself that this year must be my comeback year!)
I can also be really manipulative, which makes me feel really bad because I hate doing that to other people and I think they'd hate me if they knew, but I have such a hard time not doing it. I know what other people's buttons are and exactly how to make them feel what I want them to feel for them to do what I want them to do.
10. Please describe yourself when you are feeling stressed. How do you act and why? Real life experiences are welcome.
I get really OCD. I'll dust my desk 5 times because I want to clean and I've run out of things to clean. Make sure my hair is perfect, not a strand out of place, and the wings of my eyeliner are perfectly even. I get really antsy and need to be in motion and doing something productive. I feel sick to my stomach and literally don't know how to make my muscles not tense. When I was around 12 if I got really stressed out I would sometimes snap at people, but I always felt really really really really really horribly awful, like I was going to puke, so I stopped doing that lol. So I guess now I'm mostly OCD.
11. What is your "soft spot" (the area that makes you upset if people mess with)?
I don't really know if I have one. I guess injustice makes me really mad/sad/lots of other things, and if people are trying to hurt me and they take it out on my boyfriend I get pretty upset. I'm not a person that gets super angry or super sad at the drop of a hat, though, so I don't really know what the one thing is that would make me more upset than anything. There are lots of things that I feel strongly about, but not a button to push if you will.
12. What are most of the ideas/thoughts you get generally centered around (try to expand your answers as much as possible)?
This is another tough one. When I think, it's so deep that I don't even know what I'm thinking about half the time if someone asks me. Well, I know, but I have no clue how to articulate it.
Lots of times I'm really poetic. I tend to think about people and their emotions a lot, and I kind of theorize a lot. It's not really logical though, it's more of about the nature of people--how we're so wonderfully broken and complete all at once, and all the different things that split us up into different pieces or can repair us. That kind of thing. I'm really not sure how to answer this question, it's so difficult to put my thoughts into words.
13. 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?
Depends on what it is. If I drew something and the proportions were off, and someone says, "You did really good on the shading but her head is like a huge watermelon", I may be a little irritated by the lack of tact in the phrasing but I would completely take the criticism because it was legit. If someone told me, "The forest is great but I think you need to add an animal!" I would be like "okay thanks for your input" but I would be thinking "Maybe I didn't want any animals in it, did you think of that? Maybe I wanted it to be mysterious and abandoned. Maybe if you want animals in a painting you should paint your own." Basically, if the criticism had a base I would happily take it, if not I would be annoyed--especially if it wasn't asked for.
Also, if someone gives me a criticism just because they don't like me. In dance, there's this other girl, and we have about the same skill level, the same strengths and weaknesses. Everyone loves her, but they don't really like me. So a lot of the time they'll give me criticisms about things her and I are both doing wrong, but they'll say she doesn't do the same thing even if she does. It really annoys me because it's not fair.
14. Anything beyond what has been discussed that you would like to add?
I tend to have difficulty describing myself accurately because I'll act like what everyone else expects of me. Right now I think you're all going to say ISFP and my mom said ISFP, so I'm portraying my Se. When I'm talking to someone who thinks I'm an INFJ, I tend to be more artistic and metaphorical in my word use. All of these are me, I'm not pretending to be something I'm not, and I feel like me while I'm doing it, but I'm showing a part of me, not the whole. I have a lot of layers and so the layer typically comes out that other people want to see/think they'll see. I have a hard time even knowing if I'm being truthful to myself because of the extent of this, I even do it internally. Like I said, I'm not acting--I'm being me--but the different sides of me are so drastically different that one person could say I was a type completely opposite of another.
So, yeah. Thanks for sticking around, that was probably a monster post. xD Input, please!