This past weekend, a friend and I got together to have a conversation in real-time, via Google Docs. We called it blog-casting. Even though we make an effort to keep in touch regularly, this is the first time we’ve (intentionally) talked about Myers Briggs, personality and its impact on the way people view the world. We’ll see if this becomes a series on the blog. This time around, we talked about college majors, Terry Gross and the show, The Voice. The bold words are mine.
How did we meet?
Adey: One day, a young woman lost her mp3 player on a desolate & vast college campus.
Mak: One day, I lost my CD player, she stayed behind to help me look for it.
Adey: Is that really the first time we met? Where were we before we started walking towards the dining hall & looking for that mp3 player? And why does that seem like AGES ago?! It seems as though one day, very early in college, you were just there!
Mak: You were a friend of a friend. You were the second Ethiopian student introduced to me that first week, remember? I think we were all trying to figure out if we could become friends. I think we became friends after the CD player incident.
Adey: I think I know who introduced us and of course I remember that large group of girls that congregated early on first semester, freshman year. That early part of our relationship just seems fuzzy in comparison to all that came after 🙂
What was your first reaction when you first found out you were an INFP type?
Adey: Oh. That sounds about right. Wait, what does that letter mean again? And that other one…And who am I compatible with?
Mak: (for me): No! Please tell me it ain’t so. I’m one of those? I sound like a wimp. Unrealistic? Overly
sensitive? Not productive? I’m sure I’m an INFJ. I’ll take INFJ but I really want to be an INTJ. (3 days later). Okay, fine, I’m an INFP.
Adey: Haha, denial and then realization. I think I’m still understanding the entire profile of an INFP and Myers Briggs in general. You’re so adept at tossing those letters around and understanding how they correspond to people’s idiosyncrasies.
Mak: Hahaha…it’s because when I’m interested in something, I become obsessed with it. I could literally have majored in the stuff in college when I got interested in it. Learning about it became a hobby unto itself.
Adey: I see! I wonder if some kind of focus in psychology would have suited your interests? Obviously (this whole tandem typing thing is freaking me out LOL) with a double major & minors to fully encompass all your interests ;P
Mak: Good question. I’m thinking probably Positive Psychology would have been a good pick. as well as a minor in Marketing? Too bad hindsight is 20/20. Funny thing, a lot of INFPs our age I’ve come across have done Psychology-related studies. I think in college I was also still trying to please my parents with my choice of major. Psychology didn’t seem “sturdy” enough, I guess.
What about you? What major, in retrospect would have suited you and your interests?
Adey: Hmmm I wonder if there’s such a course of study out there. I know people study Positive Psych but a major? That would be really cool. And yeah I understand what you mean about a “sturdy” major. Of course I understand 🙂 Hate to say it but unless you’re genuinely devoted to the study of some aspect of psychology, it has the reputation of “filler” major, for those that don’t know what they want to do or want some easy path.
As for me, I think that question is still unanswered. My more recent interests in blogging and video content make me think Communications? That’s a broad enough field that can be tailored to all other interests one has I think. You can use those writing/media skills to delve into or communicate anything.
Mak: Funny that you mention Communications. It wasn’t till the last semester of Senior Year that I started to realize that Communications might have been a better fit for me. But still in my mind, I likened it to a “filler” or not “sturdy” enough major like Psychology…even though by that time I started blogging.
Earlier, you mentioned that a question you had when you realized you were an INFP was about who you were compatible with. Most NFs are said to care a great deal about Love, relationships and Romance. Any thoughts (wink wink, nudge nudge)?
Adey: LOL! This sounds like an NPR interview.
Mak: Terry Gross is my spirit animal, didn’t you know?
Adey: Haha! I like the sound of her voice. The thoughtfulness in it. Also I’m taking mental notes of your spirit animals.
In terms of personality compatibility, I realize I have this…fantasy of coupling with people, a person, uh yes a person, as in one at a time…who are also kind of internally oriented, with a gentle spirit to them.
Mak: Okay. How do you feel about the concept of Soul Mates? Do you believe in it? What about Destiny or Fate? Do you think we’re fated to be with a certain person?
Adey: I don’t believe in soulmates. It seems a very strange concept. There are so many people in the world…how can we only be slated for ultimate, fated compatibility with just one? Considering people’s patterns of mating (hehe)– I’ve heard the term used for people who haven’t ventured very far out of their social sphere or demographic. I sometimes think what they describe as their “soulmate” is just someone who shares many of their sociological norms/interests/way of being. That’s not a meeting of souls (lol) as much as simple compatibility.
It’s funny, yesterday I overheard a family conversation about marriage (or remarriage) late in life that I disagreed with, at least theoretically.
Strong intuition, creativity and a desire to make the world a better place are often cited as strengths that INFPs possess. What would you say are some of your strengths?
Adey: It’s probably not a healthy sign that this is one of my least favorite questions to answer.
Mak: You don’t have to answer it if you’re not ready to.
Adey: I love & appreciate that response.
Mak: No problem. I think we’re all free to and do operate according to our own unique timeline. No pressure, no rush.
Desire to avoid conflict at all costs, over-sensitivity and inability to make decisions are cited as weaknesses for INFPs. Which one do you relate to the most?
Adey: Uh, yeah…avoiding conflict.
Mak: Hahaha, I think for me at this point, it’s the over-sensitivity thing I’m working on. I’ll say I’m doing better today than I was, maybe a year or 2 ago. Definitely better than 10 years ago. My emotions were all over the place as a kid and as a teen.
A lot of INFPs are drawn to the arts, whether it be writing, singing, photography, etc. Any personal experiences you’d like to share?
Adey: Reading stands out as my most long-standing and intimate pastimes. Cliche as this metaphor is, I found so much comfort in that feeling of escape into another world, based in your mind and created by an outside source. It’s almost magical.
And I’ve had some level of attachment to music as far back as I can remember. My earliest & fondest family memories/associations are in a cousin’s apartment jammin to Bob and Sade and Janet. Then I sang in chorus for years in elementary & high school. College signaled the end of nurturing that creative release, as there just wasn’t time or mental space left for anything but not failing out of college.
Although in retrospect, if I’d only had the courage to rearrange my life and my priorities I could have made time for the activities that help me feel my best…but of course, these things are easier said than done.
What about after college? Did you go back to the same music you used to listen to? How did your music style change?
Adey: College widened my perspective in music as it did in many aspects of my identity/consciousness. I think I’ll always have an affinity to the music that I fell in love with in my youth– Lauryn, Bob, Sade etc. but now I think my favorite genre is the genre-less.
Mak: You mean, you like all genres?
Adey: Like those artists that straddle multiple genres or don’t categorize themselves. To use a an example in popular culture right now, my favorite artist from The Voice this season (don’t judge me, it’s a bonding tool between my tween sister & I, lol) is Amanda Brown. Well it might also be Melanie Martinez or Nicholas David…but I digress. I dig Amanda Brown so much because she didn’t let herself get pigeon-holed into the soul or R&B black girl on a major TV singing competition slot and established herself as a singer influenced by multiple genres. A fierce rock chick with soul chops.
Mak: She sounds interesting. I’ll add the video to the notes.
Alright, our last question. You get to stump me. Anything you’d like to ask?
Adey: Have you always had this gift for observation and an interest in how people operate? I can imagine you as a child who might spin tales about made-up characters, with nuanced personalities.
Mak: Hahaha. Somewhat. I was kinda known in my group of friends growing up as the kid with the stories. I worked on some stories so long and told them so often that I began to believe they were true.
Thank you, Adey, for letting me pick your brain this evening. We might have to do this again sometime soon.