Have you ever seen four-letter acronyms like INFJ, INFP, or ISTP, and wondered what they mean?
Despite how it sounds, they don’t refer to government agencies or strange diseases. Those four letters represent personality types in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator system, and they can reveal a lot about what makes you and others tick.
Of course, there are a lot of things a personality assessment can’t tell you. It can’t recommend the perfect mate—unfortunately love just isn’t that simple—and your personality type shouldn’t be the only building block in the foundation of your identity. Your upbringing, experiences, and a countless number of other factors create who you are, and no test can account for all those things. Certain situations may bring out different aspects of your personality—the test may reveal you’re an introvert, but you know that at times you surprisingly act like an extrovert. In other words, you’re still an individual, and you probably won’t fit neatly in every way into a personality-type box.
Nevertheless, knowing your personality type can be powerful for your self-growth and development. Many types, particularly the INFJ, INFP, or INTJ, who typically feel misunderstood, report finally feeling like their lives make sense. Personality typing can clue you in to your mind’s natural preferences and help you understand why you make decisions in the way that you do. This may make relationships and past experiences make more sense. You may even find comfort in knowing there are other people out there who think like you and struggle in the same ways. Ultimately, the self-knowledge you gain from knowing your type may lead you to grow in new ways and actually start loving yourself.
Of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, eight are introverted and eight are extroverted. In cartoon form, here are the introverted ones, courtesy of artist Kriti Gaur of MBTI Cartoons. Which of these introverted types resonates with you?
1. ISFJ, the Defender
14 percent of the general U.S. adult population—19 percent women and 8 percent men
Famous ISFJs: Mother Teresa, Laura Bush, Kate Middleton, Rosa Parks, and Clara Barton
2. ISTJ, the Inspector
12 percent of the general U.S. adult population—7 percent women and 16 percent men
Famous ISTJs: Queen Elizabeth II, Harry Truman, Warren Buffett, Queen Victoria, and J.D. Rockefeller
3. ISFP, the Composer/Artist
9 percent of the general U.S. adult population—10 percent women and 8 percent men
Famous ISFPs: Cher, Barbra Streisand, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bob Dylan, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jimi Hendrix, and Michael Jackson
4. ISTP, the Craftsman
5 percent of the general U.S. adult population—2 percent women and 9 percent men
Famous ISTPs: Lance Armstrong, Bruce Lee, Miles Davis, Tiger Woods, Chuck Yaeger, Clint Eastwood, and Amelia Earhart
5. INFJ, the Counselor
1-2 percent of the general U.S. adult population (the rarest type)—2 percent women and 1 percent men
Famous INFJs: Mohandas Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Emily Bronte, Carl Jung, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Florence Nightingale, Shirley MacLaine, Jimmy Carter, and Edward Snowden
6. INTJ, the Mastermind
2 percent of the general U.S. adult population—1 percent women and 3 percent men
Famous INTJs: Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates, Dwight Eisenhower, Alan Greenspan, Ulysses S. Grant, Stephen Hawking, John Maynard Keynes, Ayn Rand, Isaac Asimov, C.S. Lewis, and Cormac McCarthy
7. INFP, the Idealist
4 percent of the general U.S. adult population—5 percent women and 4 percent men
Famous INFPs: Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Rogers, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Tori Amos, Morrissey, Chloe Sevigny, William Shakespeare, Bill Watterson, A.A. Milne, Helen Keller, Carl Rogers, Susan Cain (author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking) and Isabel Briggs Myers (creator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)
8. INTP, the Architect
3 percent of the general U.S. adult population—2 percent women and 5 percent men
Famous INTPs: Albert Einstein, Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Sir Isaac Newton, and Charles Darwin
Finally, personality typing reveals that no two introverts are exactly alike. But we love this cartoon, again from Kriti, that shows we’re all bound by a common need for solitude and the inner journey: