Last week one of the things that went around our office, besides the usual gifs and banter, was a personality test. Most people had some opinion about tests in general or this test in particular. Some found them nothing more than silly horoscopes while others found themselves a bit confronted with parts of themselves they recognise but weren’t so happy about. It inspired conversations about the self we feel we are and the self we present to the world and how well they do or don’t match up.

I’m going to share a bit about my own test and what I learned from it. I invite you to share how you feel about personality tests!

The test in questions was the 16personalities.com and I ended up in the ‘Campaigner’ field. A bubbly social-butterfly type of person who can always see the bright side in the world. I had trouble with this test for a variety of reasons (not least of which was the inability to answer every single question with the answer “Depends on the situation..” which is how I feel about most things). But I also felt a discrepancy between how I portray myself and how I feel I am. While reading the results I often found myself upset. On the one hand I’m jealous of this personality type this test puts me in. This stupid test thinks I’m an airhead! or This stupid test thinks I’m magnetic to people, then why do I find it hard to fit in at times? or if I’m so extraverted why do I enjoy being alone often too? but what it came down to was this: This stupid test thinks I’m great, then why do I think I suck so much?

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This is not an overwhelming thought in my mind. But I realise that although I might tell myself I think I’m awesome, there is often this side-note of you are as awesome as you are capable of being or even just not as awesome as those other people.

Part of me felt this personality test flattened some of the three dimensionality my personality has. Didn’t do justice to it’s complicated nature. I might smile a lot and approach the world brightly, but this has been hard earned. It took hard work and effort to seem cheerful and to form friendships.

I found myself confronted with the way other people see me as I sometimes am and realised that the only person that isn’t ready to accept that person is me. I have trouble accepting that I might be anything but a socially awkward doofus. (even if socially awkward doofus is my strength!) I didn’t recognise this person as being me. Although I recognised it as how some others would speak of me. (albeit in a far more sparkly light)

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Finally there were some sections I found more confronting then others. When speaking of relationships it said this ENFP personality was likely to read far more meaning to interpersonal relationships than most others would. Can spend hours thinking about the specifics of interactions or how things influence other people and what drives them. I know I do this. When it wrote that they see failure of a relationship as failure of themselves because they poor their heart and soul into it and would be reluctant to try again, I saw myself. When they wrote about how sometimes it can be hard for other people to live up to the intense way this personality can view relationship, I saw my own relationships.

Over the past months I’ve had many a conversation where I’ve admitted that I am, beyond all other things, afraid to put myself in a fragile position. I don’t mind drawing some guy home at night but I am fearful of opening up to anyone. Sometimes I’ll consider moments to be absolutely magical and meaningful and I’ll keep that memory there, in that moment. Afraid to revisit them. Or even add to them. Part of me knows that no person can ever live up to this weird sense of romance that lives in my brain. I know that I’d frighten them off. Not that many people have passed by where I’d want to open up, but I realise that if I met someone (and there’s really only one guy I partly feel this way about) I wouldn’t open up to them. Because when those floodgates open I attach meaning to the world. I see meaning or beauty in the tiniest of things. Most of all other people. No one can keep up with that. So I keep that within myself as this small treasure that I keep safe. Occasionally I open myself up to friends and feel satisfied knowing that they keep it safe too. But I won’t open it to anyone who could hurt it. Not anymore.

Part of me realises that this might become a problem in the future. This might keep me alone, or rather, make me lonely. As loud as I told my lovelorn colleague that he just had to go visit the girl he is in love with, I could never take a risk like that myself. Not without clearly knowing succes was waiting for me. Because I know the world is not going to be able to live up to what I’d like it too, even though I deeply want it to.

This is what this personality test reminded me off. Although many paragraphs didn’t ring true at all, there were some things I was confronted with again.

How do you feel about personality tests? Have you ever read a description that made you think about yourself? An a-ha moment? Or are they all more expertly written horoscopes that anyone can feel apply to them?