Myers Briggs-itis is one of the potential side effects of going to counseling graduate school that they didn’t tell me about when I applied.
My addiction to the Myers Briggs personality type assessment — that nifty tool that gives you a four-letter excuse for pretty much any aspect of your personality — got real as soon as I read my results.
ENFP! I was an ENFP. I wasn’t just a kinda-sorta ENFP, either. I was an off-the-charts Extroverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiver, the polar opposite of the Introverted Sensing Thinking Judger (ISTJ.) I had hit pay day of self-comprehension. I wasn’t just disorganized, flighty, impulsive, and incapable of linear thought! I was a big picture thinker with creativity you simply could not handle. (Clearly I couldn’t, anyway.) I didn’t simply “talk too much” or “require constant entertainment.” Take that, third grade nun teacher and at least one ex-boyfriend. My energy was externally directed, and I got mine from everyone else, so I needed them and they needed me. And let’s not talk about the dishes in my sink. Those were just … there. Let’s blame that on the N or the P, shall we?
I spent a few years post-degree and in the first phase of my career, which also happened to coincide with the first busy days of the Internet, participating in ENFP chat groups and e-mail lists. I met at least one person who is still my Facebook friend, as a matter of fact, whom I bet still has dishes in her sink tonight, too. Of course as it was an ENFP-driven enterprise with no Js anywhere to keep things on track, the groupa died down and I — surprise — got distracted by something bright and shiny called “the whole rest of the Internet.”
The Internet gave me another gift this month when I found this celebrity Myers Briggs infographic by Boris Benko. I rekindled my old infatuation with reading about type, and then, I learned something that pleased me greatly:
Sandra Bullock is an ENFP, too. As if having legitimate explanations for some of my more challenging traits weren’t enough, now I can say I have something in common with one of my favorite (beautiful, talented, independent) actresses, too. I’ve always appreciated how Bullock pursues life on her own terms and isn’t afraid to share that when she speaks up in public. It’s refreshing. Knowing she’s an ENFP makes it even better.
Please note that I never denied being a huge geek about this or any other thing.
In the years since, I’ve had a great time teaching personality types to my students in career counseling courses. It’s not an exact science, of course, and no test or assessment can tell you the whole truth about who you are and how you function. It certainly can’t, I’m well aware, excuse all of your challenges and explain all of your strengths. The Myers Briggs, however, can still be a pretty good indicator of how we move about the world. It’s really helpful in career exploration, and can come in handy with relationship issues, too. (My ex, an extreme introvert, probably suffered a little less as a result of what I read that helped me understand him better, even if our relationship didn’t go the distance.)
Want to learn your type? There are a few resources on the web that can give you a reasonably accurate assessment, including this one at CelebrityTypes. There’s no real substitute for taking the actual Myers Briggs Type Indicator and having a certified counselor interpret it, but that said? Have fun with it. I know I do.
Here’s a look at the 16 Myers Briggs types, and some celebrities who fit each one:
ESTJ | OVERSEER
ESTJs live in a world of facts and concrete needs. They live in the present, with their eye constantly scanning their personal environment to make sure that everything is running smoothly and systematically.
What do Hillary Clinton and Judge Judy have in common with three presidents? They’re allegedly ESTJs, along with Andrew Jackson, Lyndon Johnson, and James Monroe.
ESFJ | SUPPORTER
ESFJs are people persons. They love people. They are warmly interested in others. They use their Sensing and Judging characteristics to gather specific, detailed information about others and turn this information into supportive judgment.
Famous ESFJs include Hugh Jackman, Penelope Cruz, Desmond Tutu, Sarah Palin, Bill Clinton, and Sally Field.
ISTJ | EXAMINER
ISTJs are very loyal, faithful, and dependable. They place great importance on honesty and integrity. They are good citizens who can be depended upon to do the right thing for their families and communities.
Natalie Portman, Warren Buffet, George Washington, Sean Connery, and Amazon owner Jeff Bezos — all ISTJs — would make a fascinating dinner party, indeed.
ISFJ | DEFENDER
ISFJs have a rich inner world that is not usually obvious to observers. They constantly take in information about people and situations that is personally important to them, and store it away.
Who knew Kate Middleton and Kanye had this in common? Other famous ISFJs include Christopher Walken, George H.W. Bush, and Mother Teresa.
ESTP | PERSUADE
Enthusiastic and excitable, ESTPs are “doers” who live in the world of action. Blunt, straightforward risk-takers, they are willing to plunge right into things and get their hands dirty.
ESTPs count among their number Angelina Jolie, Kevin Spacey, Donald Trump, George Bush, and Winston Churchill. I’d agree with “doers.”
ESFP | ENTERTAINER
For the ESFP, the entire world is a stage. They love to be the center of attention and perform for people. They’re constantly putting on a show for others to entertain them and make them happy.
President Bill Clinton and Miley Cyrus are personality type twins? Apparently so. Megan Fox, Leonardo DiCaprio and Richard Branson are also ESFPs.
ISTP | CRAFTSMAN
ISTPs can see the easiest and most expedient route to completing a task, and they do not waste their effort on unnecessary things. They often act as trouble-shooters, rising to meet the needs of the occasion.
Ashton Kutcher is joined by fellow ISTPs Steve Jobs, Clint Eastwood, the Dalai Lama, and Vladimir Putin. Thankfully, he’d be adept at tweeting out all the good stuff if that crowd got together.
ISFP | ARTIST
ISFPs live in the world of sensation and possibilities. They are keenly in tune with the way things look, taste, sound, feel, and smell. They have a strong, aesthetic appreciation for art and are likely to be artists in some form.
David Beckham, Brad Pitt, Michael Jackson, and Steven Spielberg are among Rihanna’s fellow artist ISFPs.
ENTJ | CHIEF
ENTJs are natural born leaders. They live in a world of possibilities where they see all sorts of challenges to be surmounted, and they want to be the ones responsible for surmounting them.
This description sounds accurate for George Clooney, who continues to set and achieve artistic goals and has gained a voice as an activist in recent years, as well. Bill Gates, Charlize Theron, Margaret Thatcher, and Dick Cheney are among his fellow ENTJs.
ENTP | ORIGINATOR
ENTPs are idea people. Their perceptive abilities cause them to see possibilities anywhere. They get excited and enthusiastic about their ideas and are able to spread their enthusiasm to others.
Few have been better at spreading enthusiasm than President Obama with “Yes we can!” Benjamin Franklin made sure electricity caught on. Celine Dion gets people musically inspired and Leonardo DaVinci’s gift for creative thought is legendary. They, along with brilliant actor Robert Downey, Jr., are all ENTPs.
INTJ | STRATEGIST
INTJs are natural leaders, although they usually choose to stay in the background until they see a real need to take over the lead. They are the supreme strategists — always scanning available ideas and concepts.
I’d buy any CD of Jay’s, but one called The Strategist doesn’t seem so far-fetched. Other INTPs include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, radio inventor Nikola Tesla, Karl Marx, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
INTP | ENGINEER
INTPs live in the world of theoretical possibilities. They see everything in terms of how it could be improved or what it could be turned into. They live primarily inside their own minds, having the ability to analyze difficult problems.
Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin join Tina Fey as INTPs. I’d like to see her impressions of the first two, at least.
ENFJ | MENTOR
ENFJs are people-focused individuals. They live in the world of people possibilities. More so than any other type, they have excellent people skills. They understand and care about people and have a special talent for bringing out the best in others.
Bono, Oprah Winfrey, Pope John Paul II, Martin Luther King, and Ronald Reagan are all ENFJs who have made their mark with people around the world.
ENFP | ADVOCATE
ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things.
Sandra Bullock, Che Guevara, Arianna Huffington, Walt Disney, Mark Twain, and me: all ENFPs.
INFJ | CONFIDANT
INFJs are gentle, caring, complex, and highly intuitive individuals. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ personality type, making it the most rare of all the types.
Cate Blanchett, Mahatma Gandhi, Daniel Day Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and Ron Paul are among this rarest of personality types.
INFP | DREAMER
INFPs never seem to lose their sense of wonder. One might say they live their life through rose-colored glasses. Their job must be fun, though not raucous, and it must be meaningful to them.
Johnny Depp, John Kerry, John Lennon, William Shakespeare, and J.K. Rowling are all INFPs.
Type Descriptions via Famous Personality Types