where are they now: 3 more updates from letter-writers

Here are three updates from letter-writers who had their questions answered here this year.

1. I’m sick of being the office therapist

I did see your call for updates and to be honest, felt a bit ashamed. My progress here is not where I want it to be and this continues to be a struggle. On the bright side, I’ve pared down the unhealthy interactions to a small group of three. One of the women I now consider a friend outside of work and she is reciprocal with listening and the occasional venting. This friendship works for me and I trust her. The other two are the bane of my existence. The worst offender has been the worst, no surprise there – sending a barrage of passive aggressive texts and emails (to which I never respond), badmouthing me constantly when I’m not around (which I find out from the other two). She is very nice to my face, even going so far as to leave random gifts and treats like cupcakes and packs of gum on my desk. It’s so manipulative. Then I hear about the disparaging things she says behind my back – personal things, never work-related. I’m not too concerned with her because our assignments only sort of overlap and we’re equals on the company ladder. I’m really trying to keep it professional and polished but she stresses me out. I want her to just be my co-worker and leave the rest alone but it’s become pretty obvious that she’s dysfunctional in all of her relationships, both personally and professionally. I see her doing the same thing to other co-workers, now that I’m more aware of it.

I know that almost all of it comes down to my own emotional boundaries and responsibilities and what have historically allowed. Her behavior toward me exists only because I used to let it happen daily. The third person I mention isn’t a big deal, just the occasional complaints and general negativity. When I brusquely change the subject, he picks up on the social cue and it’s becoming less frequent.

Now that I’ve had some time since you originally answered my letter, I’m seeing the whole thing as a case study – both in how I can improve as a legitimate person in the workforce and in how the nature/culture of my company is a little bit toxic and lacking boundaries. To summarize, it still falls on me to have a zero tolerance policy and be more consistent with the boundary. I still need to be more professional and cautious, focused on the big picture and my role. I’m a high achiever within my department but I’m positive that the interpersonal stuff has held me back in terms of moving upward. I’m a work in progress and I’m not going to give up.

Thanks again for the good advice, and to all of the thoughtful commenters too.

2. Should I warn my staff about a medication’s mood-altering side effects?

I did end up giving a very vague, “sorry if I seem off, it’s not you, it’s me.” Your response offered me a different perspective, which I appreciated, and while there were plenty of reasons not to, I err’d on the side of a vague explanation. My staff took it well, and the general consensus was “thanks for letting us know.” In hindsight, I think it was my own anxiety fueling this desire to be transparent–I was so worried about my mood affecting their work that it seemed a logical conclusion. Since then, I’ve fully adjusted to my dosage and have been doing much better.

So at work, this resolved; however, some of the comments left a very sour taste in my mouth. Someone commented that I must “fancy myself disabled” which frankly, was a grossly offensive conclusion to reach. Mental health unfortunately is such a dicey topic, but I expected better from AAM readers.

Note from Alison about this: That was indeed a messed-up thing for someone to say.

Can I address that though? The reality is that whenever you bring together a large group of strangers from diverse walks of life together, you’ll end up with lots of varying viewpoints and some of them may sound off-base or outright offensive. But those tend to be outliers, and I’d hate to see them taken as representative of the site’s commenters in general, because it’s not representative of the majority of voices here (although of course when something seems especially off-base or shocking, it’s easier for it to loom larger than everything else). I want to point this out because I’ve seen people sometimes give inordinate weight to the comments of one or two people and let those one or two people characterize the discussion in their minds, when literally hundreds of others are saying something different.

In any case, I’m glad you’re doing better!

3. I’m being asked to take the Meyers-Briggs test as part of applying to a training program

Thanks so much to you and all the commenters for your feedback on my struggles with the Myers Briggs.

After my question ran, I read this article. Similar to how ardent followers feel after taking Myers Briggs, I felt a great sense of relief and a logical justification for why the test turned me off after all these years. In summary: the two people who developed the test have no zero psychological background; no one fits into two diametrically opposed categories all the time; the results can’t be duplicated; and no psychology professional would ever use it in her work. In other words, the results are BS. (Note from Alison: I’m presenting the letter here unedited but probably am obligated to note that I haven’t fact-checked any of this — although I do see that the National Academy of Sciences review committee judged that the test hasn’t demonstrated adequate validity.)

I asked the HR manager about the role of Myers Briggs in the management trainings. She said it was one of three tests used in the training she oversees — the other was a 360 feedback and one other I can’t remember. She said, “The results are used as a way to know yourself better in the workplace, but it’s not used exclusively in any way, including screening.” But when I broached the issues laid out in the article, the HR manager immediately defended the test and insisted we keep using it.

I also found the source of why some people introduce themselves with their test result. One other executive training had people take Myers Briggs beforehand so that the training leaders could openly discuss the results. Each participant’s result was announced and discussed by everyone. (Ew!) Then participants were lined up according to their rating. At the end, everyone was encouraged to broadcast their Myers Briggs personality type when they met new people, even going as far as to put it on your business card.

More departments are spending thousands of dollars for this test, and that makes me cringe because we’re facing budget shortfalls. I once brought up the Vox article in a staff meeting, and I immediately got some nasty responses. I suppose that the guaranteed certainty of the results is what makes people cling to it even in the face of scientific criticism.

Rather than try to change the tide, I took one of your commenters’ advice. From now on, I’m going to fool the test. If I’m applying for a management position, I’ll tick off the boxes for an extroverted leader. If I’m applying for something that takes quiet dedication, I’ll tick off the boxes for an introverted worker.

Yet another note from Alison: I totally understand why you’ve ended up there, but presenting yourself as something you’re not during a hiring process is a good way to end up in a job that isn’t a good fit — or where your manager doesn’t think you’re a good fit, which can be worse — so proceed with caution there.

{ 127 comments… read them below }

  1. Not Karen*

    #3: “no psychology professional would ever use it in her work”

    Really? The last therapist I went to had me take it… I agree it’s BS at worst and silly at best. Yes, I’m introverted. I didn’t need a test to tell me that!

    1. A Non*

      I’ve also had therapists use it as a tool, but less as ‘this is who you are’ and more as a ‘lookit, you’re not exactly like your overly-controlling parents, and that is okay’. It’s a good tool for opening up discussions. I’d be leery of a therapist who used MBTI types to guide their work with their clients, it’s definitely not built for that.

    2. Amy G. Golly*

      I was asked to take the M-B test as part of a class on administration and management during grad school; we were supposed to discuss how our personality might shape our role as a manager. In that context, it was a very useful jumping off point for examining how personality might influence leadership style.

      Beyond that? I would be mortified if my place of business wanted me take the test and then use my results in any meaningful way. I must have taken the test a dozen times over the course of my life, often scoring different results. Not once has my result seemed any more than 50% accurate to who I am and how I actually behave. Would my boss say, “Oh, that personality type doesn’t make a good leader?” or “That personality is better-suited to x role so we won’t hire her for y?” No thank you!

      1. phyllisB*

        When I returned to college in the nineties, this was a popular test. All the BOT students were required to take it. My results were surprisingly accurate. However, one of the positions it recommended for me was secretary at an elementary school. Um..no. I like kids just fine, but I am a horrible typist and hate office work. (So you ask, why was I taking BOT classes? I changed direction right after this.)

    3. Ad Astra*

      Every time I take an M-B test I’m right between two labels in every category. It’s so annoying when my friends are like, “Hey, what’s your Myers-Briggs again?”

    4. Brooke*

      I have a MA in Clinical Psychology.

      While the MBTI is by no means lauded by the profession, it’s rarely villified. It’s not bunk, but like any tool you have to be mindful of what it is (and is not) intended for. It does NOT determine mental illness or posit that any of the types are good or bad. The types simply describe a framework by which someone is likely to see the world. It’s a tool, and like other tools, it’s something that CAN be useful if someone chooses to see the usefulness.

      1. neverjaunty*

        Oh, c’mon. “Chooses to see the usefulness” is saying that the test can never fail, it can only be failed – in other words, there’s no room for doubt in whether it has value. That’s not a good way to evaluate whether a test is meaningful.

        I am really surprised to hear someone with a degree in psychology defending a test grounded in Jungian theory that sorts people into four sets of rigid binaries.

        1. catsAreCool*

          If you read up on M-B, there will be details explain that there is a continuum and that people shouldn’t be pigeonholed based on their types. Typing is helpful for communication and understanding.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        “it’s something that CAN be useful if someone chooses to see the usefulness.”

        Yikes. So the criteria for choosing to use a tool is choosing to see it as useful? That does not sound scientific to me.

        1. hbc*

          No, it’s choosing to use it in the way it’s useful. You don’t get a sledge hammer and say, “Hey, this is a lousy tool, it doesn’t handle carpet nails well and doesn’t do a thing about screws.”

          My husband and I generally both come out borderline Introverted on MB. We are nothing alike in terms of our socializing–I’m shy but am very caring, while he’s a actually very social but hates almost everyone. You could see it as a failure that we’re put in the same box, but it’s technically a correct box as it’s defined, and we never would have thought about it in this way if we hadn’t used this very rough assessment tool.

      3. Honeybee*

        My grad degree is in psychology too, and while it’s true that the MBTI usually isn’t vilified by the field I think it’s more because people kind of don’t think of it on a regular basis. It is true, however, that Myers and Briggs didn’t have any formal psychological training (and certainly not any in psychometrics), that it’s based on Jungian theory (which in and of itself is not seen as being of empirical value by modern psychologists) and that the test itself is not very reliable (people get different results when they take it repeatedly, sometimes as little as a few weeks apart). It’s also true that there’s no evidence of the validity of the constructs and actually, there’s evidence to the contrary. For example, thinking and feeling don’t exist on a continuum. A person doesn’t either mostly think or mostly feel; people do both of them in all kinds of situations. There’s also no evidence showing its utility in…anything.

        And even aside from all that, Myers and Briggs designed the test to be administered by a professional who is trained to give the MBTI (and it’s an expensive training and an expensive test). So any version of the MBTI that’s given on an internet or paper questionnaire isn’t the real one anyway.

  2. A Non*

    “At the end, everyone was encouraged to broadcast their Myers Briggs personality type when they met new people, even going as far as to put it on your business card.”

    What the what? I like the Meyer-Briggs system, but that’s going waaaaaay too far. I’d be put off by that office culture as well.

    1. Apostrophina*

      Right? If I saw this written on a business card, I’d probably be googling to find out what an INFJ (or whatever) credential might be…

      1. louise*

        Now I kind of love the idea of considering my introverted nature a credential. “Hi, I’m Louise and I’m a certified Introvert.”

        1. OhNo*

          Oh man, that’s a great visual.b “No introverting without a license!” “Sorry, you can’t take this meeting, you don’t have your extrovert certification.”

    2. AnotherAlison*

      We have some sort of training where people do Strengthfinders, and I see email signatures with their strengths in the signature. I think it’s weird.

      It does seem that they do it with higher-up people, which to me seems backwards. Um, I hope you’ve already figured out what the guy you promoted to EVP is good at. It might be somewhat useful in identifying hidden traits in your new grads. . .most of us are engineers, but you could steer the engineer with “woo” strengths towards sales.

      1. Snarkus Aurelius*

        Right? If you don’t know why you hired/promoted this person beyond a personality test rating, you’ve messed up big time.

        I’d add that the test might not “work” with the younger crowd because they’re starting out and they’ll change a lot between 22 and 30. (I know I did!)

        1. NotherName*

          Also, I’d be willing to bet that you could have two people who test as exactly the same but their skillsets wouldn’t match. People are more than just some data in a test. (FYI – not a fan of these types of tests. Especially since I get the impression that the people who really boost them in the corporate world don’t have any kind of background in or understanding of the social sciences. I can see how they could be helpful in a non-corporate environment, as some of the other posters have noted.)

      2. justsomeone*

        I’ve done the MBTI and the Strengthsfinder and I preferred the Strengths finder if only because it gave me a vocabulary to use to describe some of the things I do – “activator” to show that I’m someone that may not come up with the ideas, but I’m good at taking someone’s idea and helping to “activate” the project and get the ball rolling.

        But I agree – it’s weird to see people put that kind of info in email signatures….

        1. ChelseaNH*

          That’s where I see the value — expressing the concepts and providing the language for exploring some of the differences that people have. But using it like some kind of certification? Nope.

        2. OhNo*

          Same. I like having the language to describe my strengths, but I mean… I already knew what they were, and so did all of my colleagues. (When we went over our results in a staff meeting, the whole thing was a repeated chorus of “Oh yeah, that makes perfect sense for you.”)

          And really, what’s the point in putting that in an email signature? I can only assume it’s a self-advertising thing, which is just silly because you can have a theoretical strength that you aren’t actually any good at in practice.

      3. Person of Interest*

        I’ve taken Strengthsfinders a couple of times as part of company training. Same as M-B, you have to use it for its intended purpose which is NOT identifying “what you are good at” or “skill sets” but rather, how you tend to approach tasks. I found it especially useful for understanding how best to motivate my direct reports, especially since they were Empathy/Harmony-type people, and those strengths were much lower on my own list. It’s also good for creating project teams with a diversity of approaches, so it helps you avoid too much group-think.

        I too found the Strengths helpful in giving me language to use in interviews about how I approach my work.

  3. Polly*

    #2 – I remember that discussion. The commenter who said that was clearly projecting experiences with their own manager(s) (who may or may not have anxiety or anything similar to what you were dealing with) onto your letter. I also have anxiety and remember finding that offense. Just wanted to say – I hear ya! But I think you can disregard that particular line of thought as a non sequitur.

  4. The Cosmic Avenger*

    Personally, I wouldn’t try to fake it on a M-B test only because I probably would not want to work somewhere that put that much stock in them anyway!

    1. Juli G.*

      Yeah, I’m feeling like this isn’t a good long term place of employment for the OP. This workplace is all in on MB!

        1. neverjaunty*

          Exactly – and then nastily defended it rather than admit they had been in the wrong. THAT is the sign of a very dysfunctional work team.

    2. Florida*

      Aren’t good tests set up in such a way that you can’t fake them? I forget what it’s called but they ask the same question in several ways and if you don’t answer it the same way each time, they know you are faking it.

      1. Ife*

        I hate that, because even when I try to answer honestly, if you change the way you frame the question, you may very well get a different but still honest answer from me!

        I think there is also a strategy where they take whatever answer you give, and invert it. So if the question is “I would never lie,” and you answer “Strongly Agree,” they change it into a “Strongly Disagree” when they calculate your score. The theory being, that an “honest” person would never choose strongly agree, but a dishonest person would. Which seems pretty perverse, there is no way to win there, but there you have it.

        1. something*

          I have an MS in clinical psychology, and I’ve never heard of this (though that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s not true). What I have heard of is called reverse scoring. This would be used in an example such as the following: the assessment is designed to determine the extent of someone’s depressive symptoms–the higher the score, the greater the extent of the depressive symptom. The question is, “I find it easy to see the beauty in the world around me”. The answers range from 1 (not at all) to 5 (all the time). One would reverse score this item because scores closer to one indicate the presence of the concept being measured (in this case, depressive symptoms).

  5. Jane*

    In response to #3: I have gotten a lot lf value out of the Myers Briggs test, but I would be very unhappy about running into it at work. I understand that the test is not terribly replicable, and has been debunked as a complete description of people, but the types that I am the closest to are incredibly accurate descriptions of how I think. Despite this, I do not think in binary code, and would not want an employer making assumptions about my motives based on Myers Briggs. If I am ever in a position to take the test at work, I will likely throw one letter. It would be close enough to my actual type that I would not be miscast, but would have the potential to completely change how I was perceived. -an ENTJ with an introverted side and a substantial amount of empathy who is not an emotionless power hungry manipulator.

    1. Pinkie Pie Chart*

      I find my letters change with how I feel. I’m close to the middle for 3 with one outlier, which is more useful to me than knowing I’m an extrovert sometimes and an introvert others.

  6. Escalating Eris*

    Re the Myers Briggs test: I personally am a fan (it’s taught me a lot about myself and helped me to be more tolerant of the extraverted sensing majority). BUT I’m not keen on its use in the workplace or in job interviews – I imagine that it’s far too tempting for many employers to use it as a reason for discrimination and pigeonholing. “How can this person possibly be good at sales or customer service when they’re an introvert?”

    1. Not me*

      Unfortunately, that’s where it’s really popular – because the people who fund a good deal of research on the test are the same people who sell the test itself and training.

    2. katamia*

      Yeah, I’ve found my MBTI test results (completely consistent since middle school, whether it’s the full one or just a silly Internet one I’m taking because I’m bored) to be valuable for me in life overall, but a lot of the stereotypical jobs for my type aren’t things that I’m really happy doing.

      I’d also never announce my personality type in an interview or to new coworkers or anything. They should get to know me as me rather than as my MBTI type.

    3. catsAreCool*

      I like the M-B test because I felt somehow different than most people, and that always worried me a little, and when I found out I’m an INTJ (which is a small percent of the population), I could look back at things and understand why I felt different.

  7. Artemesia*

    MB gets used a lot in management training. It is not a valid measure but it can be a helpful tool to get people to reflect on the different things people bring to the table i.e. that people vary in their gifts and in what they are comfortable with and that the person in your team you find difficult may in fact be bringing a perspective that is useful. The MB was once used on a very dysfunctional board of directors I was on. The organization had been spinning its wheels forever — if we had been ending the Viet Nam war we would still have been discussing the shape of the meeting table (yes I am that old). When we were sorted out on MB and arrayed along the dimensions physically in the room, it was fairly hilarious. I and one other person were at one end and everyone else clustered at the other. And yes, he and I wanted to make things happen and the others were into processing their frigging feelings. I have used an even less valid quick and dirty assessment based on the Kolb model which also helps people reflect on differences productively. Some people tend to jump the gun and go for solutions that are not perhaps fully considered; others tend to blue sky and dither forever. Recognizing the value of each and the way they can complement rather than hinder each other can improve group functioning.

    The danger is in not using them as a tool for reflecting on how I perceive issues and act but on assuming they are absolutes about a person and thus limiting. Most people find them somewhat resonant and of course they do because the questions are fairly transparent. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that they are an extrovert or introvert for example — although the definitions often do come as a surprise.

    1. newreader*

      I agree that MB (and other similar assessments) can be a good tool for reflection and should never be used as an absolute measure. I’ve worked for the same organization for years and different departments and grouped have used MB at various times. In most cases it was a way to understand that we are all different in our work styles and approaches. The intended outcome was to be more mindful of how we interact with each other and recognize that different people have different motivations, not to pigeon-hole people or base employment decisions off of the results.

      I can understand why some people are turned off by the concept of MB if they have experienced situations where the results were used inappropriately. But when used appropriately, this can be a useful tool.

    2. Graciosa*

      I’m glad to see thoughtful comments that reflect more of my own ideas about the appropriate role of Myers-Briggs. I was recently jumped on a bit after mentioning it – there seems to be a strong cadre of people now who are totally opposed to it and treat anyone who thinks it has some value as the the poor, foolish victim of a scam no intelligent person would fall for.

      I don’t believe an MBTI should be used to label people or excuse behavior in the workplace (along the “I can’t do X because of my MBTI” lines) but I do find it a helpful framework for thinking about why people respond as they do in various situations, and how I can manage myself and my interactions with others to be more effective at work.

      And that’s actually a fair amount of value in itself (and a lot more than I’ve received from other training at work!).

  8. Anon Accountant*

    It’s been written on here it’s not just about getting a job but about getting the right job for YOU. You need a job that is the right fit for you. It may take longer to find but it’s much better than winding up in a job that’s a very bad fit.

    I know it’s hard job searching OP but a good job fit is best for you.

  9. MommaTRex*

    OP #1: Thanks for the update, even though you felt sheepish! It sounds like you are making progress; remember it’s hard to change these kinds of dynamics overnight. Hang in there and keep up the good work!

    P.S. I used to have one of those coworkers who would treat you so lovely to your face and then stab you in the back. Although it seems like they shouldn’t be so difficult to deal with, it can be really tough. The best I could do was distance myself as much as possible and keep our interactions professional. Still was a huge sigh of relief when she left!

  10. BRR*

    #1 Don’t worry about “the worst.” It sounds like she has created a reputation and nobody will take to heart what she says about you.

  11. Gandalf the Nude*

    OP1, it sounds like you are doing a lot better. I don’t know how many “patients” you had at your peak, but knocking it down to 3, including one who’s now more friend than patient and one who’s taking your hints and backing off, sounds like good progress to me! And that worst offender sounds like a loon. But I bet she’s known enough for it that any reaction she’d have to you cutting her off would reflect on her and not you.

    Best of luck to you! As someone else who gets to hear everyone’s life stories, you have my sympathy!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Yeah, this isn’t something you get up one day and just do in its entirety. It’s a process and it’s basically a new life habit. That means it will take a while to take shape. OP, it sounds like you have put a lot of time and thought into it and I am sure that very soon you will be quite pleased with yourself.

  12. Blurgle*

    Re. disability.

    It’s amazing how we all have these stereotypical ideas of what disability looks like that are, more often then not, the result of Hollywood scriptwriters (with no medical training) working on deadline rather than the reality of disability. It’s so important for managers not to assume we ‘know’ what accommodations are necessary for someone when we don’t.

    How many people assume the mentally ill are either scary men with guns or neurotic pampered women who just need to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps?

    How many think everyone who uses a wheelchair must be paralyzed, so if they stand or walk a bit they must be a “faker”? (Note: the paralyzed make up a small percentage of those who use chairs.) This often makes disabled people have to prove themselves over and over again and jump through metaphorical hoops until they get the hint: you might have to accommodate them by law, but (sigh) it’s really haaaaaaard, so you don’t want to.

    How many think invisible disabilities like hearing impairment, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, etc., etc. are either exaggerated or fake? (I had this issue with my severe allergies, where a manager wouldn’t accept a doctor’s note from my family physician and would only accept one from an allergist – despite there being no allergist in our community, and the nearest one having a one-year waiting list for non-emergency appointments (and a note for a boss is as non-emergent as you get).)

    How many people belittle the overweight woman using a scooter, as if she couldn’t have gained weight due to, I don’t know, not being mobile enough to exercise?

    It just goes on and on. People are so eager to call out disabled people and smugly “prove” they aren’t “really” disabled, and I think it’s just plain denial – I’m better than that, it’ll never happen to me. Which is not a good attitude for anyone to have because it’s so intensely cruel, but especially not for someone who has the power to hire and fire people.

    1. A Non*

      I worked across the street from a place that employed 500+ visually impaired people and ended up riding the bus with many of them. I learned a lot about disability – for starters, a lot of the people using canes had some vision, just not very much. And some of them were also deaf. So there was one guy carrying a cane who would walk out in front of the bus (after it stopped!) to try to get a good look at which number it was, all while people are shouting the number to him, which he couldn’t hear. We got off at the same stop, so I always watched to make sure he got where he was going okay. I think he needed a hand once out of dozens of times. He was far more capable of navigating the world than I would have expected.

      All that to say, disabilities are complicated. Everyone’s issues are slightly different, and what they can and can’t do may be radically different than what you’d expect. And small accommodations can mean the difference between living freely and being really restricted in what they can do. The more we can learn that as a society, the less we’ll be dicks to disabled people.

      1. Finny*

        Yes. I am legally blind and use a white cane while out in the world, on public transit, in malls and airports (where the security screeners frequently grab my cane to take it away from me without telling me they are doing so), etc. Yet I do have some vision–for example, I can read text on my cell phone and while shelving books at my job.

      2. OriginalEmma*

        In learning more about designing cities for disabled folks, I learned a lot about various types of vision loss. This makes things like multi-sensory pedestrian crossings so important – a user may have focal vision loss (a big ol’ black spot in front of their vision – stick your finger in front of your eye and move it when you look around), peripheral vision loss (tunnel vision, essentially), field cut vision loss, and other types of sensory disabilities. Additionally, my deceased grandmother had left-field vision loss, so she could not see out of the left sides of either eye. This is a weird, tangentially way of saying that, yes, sensory disabilities aren’t an all-or-nothing game!

        1. NotherName*

          Also, there are visual and other disabilities that some people can have and it’s never a problem until, say, there isn’t enough contrast for a colorblind person to read an important warning. (FTR – I am not at all saying that this would be comparable to some visual problems. However, as someone with severe myopia and other eye problems, I am very aware that I would be considered blind in an era that didn’t have the corrective lens technology available today.)

          I work on a web site that must meet 508-compliance guidelines. It’s interesting to find out how many people don’t realize that there’s more to accessibility than just making sure a screen reader can access a site.

          1. OriginalEmma*

            I remember reading a line that was, essentially, disability being more about environment than the individual. Your example about contrast and colorblindness is a great example.

            My boyfriend was telling me about websites and accessibility issues – like comment sections returning to the top when the page refreshes, those awful marquee picture/link setups that every website from Digg to The Atlantic love nowadays, and other issues.

    2. bassclefchick*

      *clapping* VERY well said! Thank you! I have several friends with MS and Fibromyalgia and they’ve all said at one time or another that they are tired of having to prove their disability is “real”. And as someone who struggles with depression, I can’t just “get over it” and “be happy” no matter how much I want to do so.

      We need to remember that no one is perfect and we all have something we struggle with.

      1. Elfie*

        Thank you so much, what a great way of putting it. My husband has a rare condition, which includes (amongst other things) mobility issues. He has a walking stick, but doesn’t use it, because it actually makes him more unstable. However, his work won’t make any accommodations for his mobility unless he uses his walking stick. So basically, he has to fit into their narrow minded idea of what a disabled person ‘should’ do, even if it makes his life harder. For what? To justify their preconceptions??

    3. OhNo*

      I agree with bassclefchick: very well said.

      Plus, our society very much has a hierarchical model of disability: if you aren’t The Most Disabled, then you aren’t really disabled and so your wants/needs/issues don’t matter. As someone with a more “normal” disability (paralyzed wheelchair user), I am constantly irritated how many people try to use my existence to invalidate other disabilities. Just because I use a chair and can’t walk, doesn’t mean the people who can walk and use a chair are any less disabled. Just because my disability is visible doesn’t mean invisible disabilities somehow don’t “count”.

      It’s gross to try and pit different types of disabilities against each other to make the argument about “validity”. This is not Highlander – there can be more than one type of “real” disability in the world.

    4. Anonsie*

      This is exactly what I came here to say.

      And as Alison notes, when you get a crowd together, you’re going to get a murmur of the uninformed (to the downright inflammatory) through it, but it is true that every time something health related pops up here I am always disappointed at a chunk of the responses. Sometimes it’s just a few people and sometimes it’s a larger trend depending on the subject. And while I agree that I don’t characterize the quality of the comments here overall because of it, I do feel that this is one specific arena where our commentunity (eh? eh?) isn’t really ahead of the curve the way they are with most things.

      This isn’t an indictment of AAM, it’s just indicative of how much we just don’t talk about this and no one really knows much about it unless they’re in some way close to someone who deals with it or deals with it themselves.

      1. Jill*

        I think all the animosity toward the disabled is in the same arena as animosity toward those on food stamps or other welfare programs. Unfortunately there are people who scam all of these types of programs.

        And people who work and pay taxes, then, use the rationale that people one disability or food stamps or government funded whatever are getting “my money” and since it’s “my money” I am within my rights to judge you. Including pointing out how “fake” your disability is. (Never mind that not every poor person uses welfare programs and not every disabled person gets disability checks. Ugh.)

  13. BadPlanning*

    OP #1 — The term “extinction burst” was just brought up in comments from an earlier post. Your coworker may be going through the worst/burst portion reacting to your new boundaries. The “gets worse before it gets better” portion. Hang in there!

    Related to OP#3. My company offered a couple of classes related to personality and we did divide up according to our types (we did the True Colors version). I thought it was pretty interesting — of course, we were there voluntarily (probably — I suppose a manager could have pushed people to take the class) and with a variety of coworkers — not just my immediate coworkers. Like many things, it’s a good tool, but not a magically Good for Everything.

  14. Anna*

    To OP 1: Having and maintaining boundaries is something that takes practice. It sounds like you’ve started to practice and are getting better at it. Keep it up and soon you’ll be able to shut it down. I might also recommend you ask other people not to tell you what the “worst” is saying about you to them. It doesn’t help you and just feeds in to the drama you’re working on avoiding.

    1. Rana*

      This. I was going to say exactly that. You don’t need to know what she’s saying about you, since no one is taking it seriously and all it does is make you uncomfortable. Tell the people who keep relaying this information to stop doing it; otherwise she’s sort of using them as another way to get at you, and you don’t need that.

    2. fposte*

      The other thing I’d say is that “having boundaries” is a really abstract concept; you can know that you want to do it without knowing exactly what actions to take or statements to make. That’s part of experience and education (which usually means watching and reading about good possibilities). So it can take a while to get the hang of putting it into practice, and it doesn’t mean anything bad about you that it’s not immediate.

  15. LisaP*

    ” In summary: the two people who developed the test have no zero psychological background”

    The system is based on Carl Jung’s work. Heard of him?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think the OP’s point was that the two people who developed the test didn’t have psychological training; Isabelle Myers had a bachelors in political science and no academic affiliation. Her mother, who helped her develop it, had a degree in agriculture and worked as a teacher.

    2. Snarkus Aurelius*

      But Jung also said there’s no such person who is a pure personality type. Yes, it’s based on his work but the test itself is problematic.

    3. Walnut*

      Yeah, Carl Jung created the test based on his general ideas and hypotheses of oppositional character traits, though. It originated as a thought experiment. And there’s been a lot of change in how social science fields handle evidence and validity since Jung’s time.

      Something can be useful without being rigorous, but it’s worthwhile to point out that a test isn’t rigorous if someone is trying to use that test as part of their decision-making process about another person’s livelihood…

      -an INTJ

    4. Honeybee*

      One, that doesn’t matter. I don’t know biology, and I can “base” my idea of research on my interpretation of Rosalind Franklin’s work, but without the appropriate training I have no idea whether I’m doing right or not.

      And secondly, Carl Jung is an admirable figure in the early history of psychology but quite frankly some of his ideas have no empirical basis, either. Some of his ideas were actually more philosophical and religious in nature than psychological. Some concepts he came up with (like introversion and extraversion) have been supported by empirical evidence, but some (like archetypes, personas and alchemy) have not.

  16. LisaP*

    Also, a significant amount of psychology studies can’t be duplicated

    Basically, psychology itself is BS. So if MBTI is BS too, it fits right in.

    As for me, I like it because it fits my observations and is a useful tool for recognizing other people’s strengths. Do I think it’s a hard science? No. But it doesn’t have to be. Human behavior is too complex and subjective for the scientific method.

    1. INFJ*

      I agree. You can’t judge a psychological tool the same way you would a scientific laboratory test.

      I may be biased, but….

      Just because you don’t get any value out of the test and those around you are using the results inappropriately doesn’t mean it’s “bs”

          1. A Non*

            We’re the rarest until someone starts talking about MBTI on the internet, and then we show up like ants at a picnic. (I’m also an INFJ.)

            1. AnotherAlison*

              I’m only second rarest (but equally rare for a female), and I have concluded that no xSxJ people care about MBTI. I mean, if you’re just like everyone else, you probably never worry about this stuff, right?

              1. Turanga Leela*

                A consultant friend of mine used to joke that SPs are the ones who leave before the training is over.

            2. TempestuousTeapot*

              I have to agree with that. I have not seen so many INFJ types in one place before. ENFP here. :)

      1. Anna*

        Except that you should be able to have reliability and validity at the barest minimum and what people who have looked at it are saying is that it has neither.

        The first place I learned about the difference in reliability and validity was in a psychology class, so I’m not sure they would agree you can’t judge them the same. I think a lot of people in the profession would argue that you can and you should, because they want to be viewed as a science, too.

      2. Snarkus Aurelius*

        Agreed but given those facts, M-B shouldn’t be given the weight or funds that it has right now, especially taxpayer dollars.

      3. Honeybee*

        You absolutely can. There’s an entire field that’s risen up around that. It’s called psychometrics.

    2. something*

      Hear hear! Also, there is an important distinction to be made between tests that are appropriate/ valid in a psychological testing/ treatment context, and those tests that may be appropriate (if not scientifically validated) in other contexts.

      The MB, like Stengthfinders and, frankly IQ assessments, are more like party tricks–they’re kind of fun and can be a valuable tool to generate insight, but one should be extremely cautious about putting too much stock in them. Grading, sorting, and including and excluding people from groups on the basis of these kinds of results is inappropriate.

    3. Honeybee*

      Er…no. Reproducibility is not the same thing as test-retest reliability.

      Also, reproducibility is a problem across many scientific fields, not just psychology. Psychology has simply been in the news for it the most recently.

      And no, human behavior isn’t too complex and subjective for the scientific method. Humans behave in remarkably predictable ways. (For example, liking something because it fits your observations is a really good example of confirmation bias, which is something most people are susceptible to!)

  17. olympiasepiriot*

    I don’t necessarily agree with Alison’s warning about “presenting yourself as something you’re not during a hiring process is a good way to end up in a job that isn’t a good fit”. Given how MB is *maybe* useful for self-reflection only and seems to be rather discredited, I don’t see this as misrepresentation. I’d like to trust a person to be able to imagine if they have the soft skills for a job description and not let the category assigned by a dubious paper game (it doesn’t feel like anything more than a party game to me when I’ve taken it…psychology mad libs) be a determining item.

    I took this a couple of times and I was scored as such a mixed character that it only reinforced my perception that these things are dubious (based on my single data point).

    1. olympiasepiriot*

      Actually, I remember I’ve taken it 3 times (at 3 different ages). And, each time it gave different results, BTW. This also made me deeply suspicious. Seems like if it was accurate each time, then we can change based on environment, life experiences, and motivations. If it wasn’t accurate, then, well, it isn’t even internally consistent or I am a really weird duck.

      My encouragement of ‘misrepresentation’ is not meant to make people actually lie. If you can do quiet, solo analysis and dig through data and that’s what the job needs, then I feel it is fine to highlight that on the ‘personality test’. If you need to be in sales and happy-to-see-lemme-take-you-to-this-great-place-and-a-game, then, hey, if you can do that well, highlight those skills and don’t bother telling them you’ll have dug through all available data about the target client company and individuals, too, in your Research Librarian Mode.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        I’m not in my area of expertise, but if I recall from my own scores, I was very high on my I, T, and J scores, and more moderate in my N. I’ve always tested the same, starting with a real test when I was 18 by the college counseling department and then on internet tests. I have tried to test differently on internet tests — not to the point the OP talks about, but more if there were two answers I was about the same on, I tried to pick the least INTJ answer. I still got INTJ results.

        All that to say it seems there’s going to be a whole lot of people who would be very close to the center on all I/E, N/S, F/T, J/P categories who could easily get any mix of letters on any given test, while others of us are going to be more definite to one extreme and will typically get the same results. (If “I” to “E” is -50 to +50, I could test 43-47. You could be a -2-2 which would flip you from E to I. I don’t know the real scale.) Am I misinterpreting how the test works?

        1. Kelly L.*

          I usually get the same answer most times, but I feel like I’m pretty much always conscious of which answer goes with which result? So I feel like my result ends up being what traits I value most, rather than what traits I actually have. It’s like a wishful-thinking version of myself that’s probably nicer than the real one.

        2. Lindsay J*

          Yeah I’m pretty middling on my scores.

          I most consistently test as INTJ. However, I also have also tested as INTP, INFJ, and ENTJ before.

  18. Bibliovore*

    although I understand what the poster is saying about Meyers Briggs test, I have taken it in various circumstances “officially” and end up in the same category overtime. ENTJ. The first time, was 30 years ago and it really did help me understand and be more patient with other personality types that I worked with. Then as a member of a non-profit board- mostly was a way to icebreaker as we went through our board duties. Then in my present position- also only used as “ice-breaker” “discussion starter” for team meetings.

  19. Anonicorn*

    I dislike the MTBI for a number of reasons, but partly because their descriptions read like wildlife documentaries.

    Here you can see the elusive INTJ attempting to put itself forward in a work context before retreating back to its quiet space. The collection of ESFPs have scared it off with excessive chit-chat.

  20. Vicki*

    #3 – That’s Adam Grant’s article. Mr Grant is a follower of Trait theory. MBTI is Type theory.
    A friend of mine gave me a perfect analogy to trait theory vs type theory. The trait theorists complaining about the Jung / MBTI are like people who complain about Geometry because it isn’t algebra.
    They are two _different_was to look at personality. Different ways.

    True – Isabel Myers wasn’t a psychologist. However, she was a college-educated woman at a time when women weren’t expected to go to college and she learned quite a bit about statistics and testing by apprenticing herself to people who could teach her. Also, it’s not her theory; she created the inventory. The theory is Carl Jung’s and he _was_ a psychologist.

    The inventory does demonstrate re-test validity as good or better than similar assessments. But it’s not an objective scientific measurement. It’s a subjective personal inventory.

    It gives you the same results every time _if you answer the questions the same way. If you answer the questions differently? It gives you different results.

    Think about that! If you answer the questions differently, you get you different results. Doesn’t that actually _make sense_?

    The MBTI is a self-discovery tool. The HR person who said “The results are used as a way to know yourself better in the workplace, but it’s not used exclusively in any way, including screening.” is correct.

    The MBTI should not be used in hiring (it’s against the ethics of the MBTI to use it for hiring). But please don’t misunderstand Adam Grant’s rants for truth. He has his own agenda and his agenda is that “Geometry is better than Algebra”.

      1. fposte*

        Heh. I’m old enough to remember when astrology got talked about with this amount of frequency and fervor, too.

        Don’t get me wrong–I love self-understanding, and I think it can be hugely helpful to understand that other people aren’t driven by the same things you are. And I totally agree that a considerable amount of psychological, and for that matter medical, research is pretty damn soft too. But I see that as a reason to interrogate other weak research, not to give this one a pass, and I don’t think this is as valid or economically worthwhile a tool as it is popular.

        1. neverjaunty*

          Exactly. And if it’s just a self-discovery tool, why the heck are HR departments so in love with it? Jungian psychology really, really shouldn’t have a role in evaluating employees.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Thank you for saying this, I was trying to figure out what rubbed me the wrong way. Yep, people need explanations for things, hey, I like explanations as much as anyone else.
        Horoscopes used to explain everything for us. Now we have MB. in twenty years it will be something else.
        I am in favor of all types of learning. I do get concerned when I see heavy reliance on one thing- I felt that way about horoscopes.. There are many ways to learn about one’s self and others. I’d prefer a varied approach for thinking about human nature and relationships. Heavy reliance on one tool is putting all the eggs in one basket.

        peach. Now I have a song stuck in my head….”When the moon is in the second house and Jupiter’s aligned with Mars….”

      3. catsAreCool*

        Horoscopes = telling you who you are based on when you were born.
        M-B = giving you some insight into traits you’re likely to have based on questions you answered that are related to the traits.

        They don’t seem the same to me.

        1. Snarkus Aurielius*

          But like horoscopes, the questions, answer options, and labels are vague enough that any result could apply to anyone’s personality characteristics because no one exhibits one trait all the time.

          Sometimes I’m introverted; sometimes I’m extroverted. Depends. Either label would fit me.

    1. Honeybee*

      The MBTI’s test-retest reliability is actually not “as good or better” than other personality assessments. It’s far worse. About half the people who take it test into a different type within 9 months, and most people test into a different type past 9 months.

      Well, yes, of course, if you answer the questions differently you will get different results. That’s not what’s at issue here…for a psychological test to be reliable assuming the construct doesn’t change, a person should answer the same way or a similar way every single time they take it. For example with the Beck Depression Inventory, a person may answer differently depending on whether or not they are depressed at the time that they take it. And two different people with the same level of depression may answer the individual questions differently (i.e., one person may have trouble sleeping as a symptom of depression whereas another may not). However, they will get a similar score, because the BDI has been constructed to yield similar scores even if separate depressed people answer differently to individual questions.

      The assumption that MBTI operates under is that your personality type stays relatively stable throughout your life, but people answer differently depending on the situations that they’re in and where they are developmentally. But a reliable test isn’t supposed to function like that.

      And I say that as someone who actually likes the MBTI. But, I like it because it’s fun to think about my personality in that way and because (like many people) confirmation bias is strong – I usually get results that reflect what I think about myself, which makes me happy. It’s not a valid psychological testing tool (although I’m not sure it’s intended to be anyway).

  21. Ghost Umbrella*

    The Myers-Briggs test told me I have the same personality type as Puddleglum the Marshwiggle, so I want to believe.

    1. Honeybee*

      One chart told me I had the same personality type as Darth Vader, which made me want to believe in both the validity of the test and the validity of whoever decided that Darth Vader was an ESTJ.

  22. periwinkle*

    We use a variety of personality tests at my company including MBTI, Birkman, and DISC. The facilitator in our department points out that these tests measure your preferences at the time you take the tests; you are not a “type”, you have preferences and you can behave in ways that aren’t necessarily in your preference area.

    There are others in the company who rely blindly on it, though, to the point where you might not get their respect if you’re the wrong type. Seriously, WTF? A colleague found himself working with such a person who insisted that he take a certain test (which I’ve never heard of), so we decided on the right persona and gamed the test to get it. Not “accurate” but if you’re going to be irrational about it, you haven’t merited accuracy…

    1. Honeybee*

      Yeah, that’s the way I’ve heard trained MBTI facilitators refer to it. Everyone has the capability to act in any of the ways of any of the four areas, but the MBTI (and most personality inventories and strengths tests) is about the ways in which we prefer to function.

      1. So Very Anonymous*

        Which is how I’d rather see this kind of test be used. I usually score as a high P, I get disorganized easily, and I have to function sometimes as a J in order to be able to get things done. That just seems normal to me — like the test can also suggest areas where you may need to think about balancing out your tendencies/preferences in order to be effective. Current workplace, I see a lot more “I don’t have to X because I’m an introvert” type of thing. Which is why I’m not feeling very sanguine about us being tested.

        (I remember once saying in an MB-related conversation with a colleague about another colleague whose flightiness and disorganization was affecting my work, “I just can’t keep on always having to compensate for her P-ness!” WHOOPS.)

  23. So Very Anonymous*

    We are going to have to take the MBTI test by department sometime in the new year, and I am dreading it (and may arrange to be elsewhere, frankly). I know what letters I will get, there is already very obvious bias against some of the categories I fall into, and the last time I had to officially take the test, the majority group in one category made fun of the people in the minority (including me). I suspect something along those lines will happen again — it’s not a dept known for dealing well with differences. I find my results are pretty much on track, though I fluctuate in some categories. I think the test can be easily misused though, and in our case it seems like something that HR is imposing without any real knowledge of our existing culture.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I’m sorry. I hope you get called away or have a sudden meeting and you end up not taking the test. That abuse is just over the top.

      1. So Very Anonymous*

        I should add that the making fun happened in a course, not at this workplace. We were supposed to spend two whole class sessions going over the MBTI results, and I cut class for the second day because UGH. Wasn’t impressed with the professor not shutting down the snarkiness. I think it can be a useful tool, but if it’s just used to pigeonhole people into boxes, I’m skeptical.

  24. Anemone*

    As a manager and a member of senior leadership, I like having these kinds of personality tests for one sole reason: if I know more about your personality, communication and management style, I will increase my chances of having a positive work experience with you.

    I had my team of 4 take the Myers Briggs and had them meet with the career facilitator to talk about their individual results. Then, as a team, we shared our results and looked at how it could improve internal team communications. It was helpful for me to find out that some of my team aren’t receptive to my communication style not because of me per se, but because they receive instructions better in a slightly different way. It also highlighted where interpersonal conflict arose in the team and why.

    If a CEO were to use this, (s)he would have a very good understanding of the DNA of the leadership team. So maybe certain projects are led more by the creatives and others are led more by those who like to follow the rules. Par for the course on knowing how to best utilize the team based on these personality factors and drivers.

    I would go so far as to declare Myers Brigg as the only valid tool out there or to advertise my type to everyone on my LinkedIn, but it can act as a valuable conduit in understanding group and individual dynamics.

    1. neverjaunty*

      If you had a career facilitator, why did you need to know their Myers-Briggs results? Presumably the career facilitator could talk to you about improving internal team communications without sorting everybody into sets of binary, either-or boxes.

    2. olympiasepiriot*

      Why do you need a test to know how to communicate? Just practice communicating with the person and make observations. People are actually more individual than these tests and that goes for their communication style, too.

      I also suspect these tests might have better correlation in a group us everyone is from the same culture. I can’t imagine that a test would magically make it easier for let’s say a team with a mix of US nationals, Japanese, and English to communicate well.

      1. UK JAM*

        People often find it hard to communicate about their communication preferences though, and these tests give a framework to talk around. Most of my team did a Myers-Briggs style one just for fun a few months ago (one team member did it and emailed it around, there was no ‘work’ motivation for doing it), and the resulting discussion did help me understand how some difficulties we’ve had might have related to me being an introvert managing a team of extroverts.

        1. olympiasepiriot*

          Ok, but what I suggested wasn’t about asking someone to communicate their communication preferences but for people to practice communicating with each other and make observations individually about them.

  25. Another INFJ here*

    I work in leadership development, so I have vast familiarity with personality assessments, and I really wanted to comment to the M-B poster, especially on the part about checking themselves off something they may not be to “fool” the test. When taken and used properly (hiring is not a proper use of M-B and most assessments out there), the assessments give you insight into how you best work as a person and how those around you can best work with you. It’s used heavily by training programs, including the one I manage, to help people learn more about themselves and instead of resisting it, you could take a moment to think about your results and whether they are telling in some part about who you are as a person and how you could use the results to your advantage rather than citing a random article where (as a previous poster aptly mentioned) the author has a clear bias. There are a million versions of the test out there – take a few and see if the results come out generally the same every time. Take it honestly rather than how you think you should answer for a work or personal situation, and see what you learn. A proper employer will only use your M-B profile to help you make the most of your work situation. That’s the case in my workplace and I’m thrilled for it. IE, I used to get feedback all the time about not contributing in meetings, but as an Introvert, I take longer to process and I do so internally, so people knowing than I’m an I has significantly minimized the number of comments I’ve gotten about my quietness and my colleagues will often follow up with me afterwards for feedback. I’ve used similar tactics with the team that I manage. There is no right or wrong way to be, and I can tell you for a fact that misrepresenting yourself will not work. People with M-B experience will know whether you’re an I or an E fairly quickly (that one being especially telling), and because of your resistance and unwillingness to familiarize yourself with the assessment, you won’t be able to explain why you act differently than you stated in your “fooled” results. There are no jobs that are suited for extroverts (as an I, I’ve had to step outside my I a lot because my program management history has required a lot of “on” time and that’s very hard for an I) or introverts or Ps or Js. Every type can work for every job if you know how to work with the strengths. I hope you’ll reconsider your resistance and look at it as an opportunity.

    1. Snarkus Aurielius*

      If you think someone is misrepresenting himself, then you don’t need a personality test to tell you that, no? You already know what this person is like. Plus no one is an introvert or an extrovert 100% of the time. Jung even said that.

    2. olympiasepiriot*

      Now, you see, I think you’re asking a lot of others. If you’d been getting lots of feedback that you are too quiet in meetings but you already know that you need more time to process thoughts, why on earth weren’t you checking in with the meeting facilitator later with your well-organized and probably still relevant afterthoughts? Why make other people circle back to you on this? You’re invited or demanded to be at a meeting for a purpose, I assume if you were asked for a contribution the purpose wasn’t just to fill the room so the meeting looked important.

      I’ve gotten feedback over the years about things that piss people off (as well as good stuff) and I pay attention to that; I don’t think it’s appropriate to make others be aware of your MB assessment so *they* can come up with a communication workaround. Introvert or extrovert, we have a responsibility not to be wallflowers when we are on a team.

      1. Another INFJ/OP*

        You read too much into my comment. I don’t ask anyone to do the work around my personality traits. I said that knowing those traits for myself and others has been helpful to all of us in not making assumptions about behaviors that are influenced by those traits. We’re all still professionals who do the hard work as needed, M-B is simply an additional tool to help us all work better.

  26. Nelly*

    Myers Briggs is as plausible as the blood type personality beliefs currently in favour in Japan, but not as awful as the ‘star sign’ management beliefs I had in a job a few years ago. I was promoted ‘despite’ being a Scorpio, but had a boss who didn’t trust Scorpios or Geminis or some other signs, and favoured Libras and Leos. Insane! When she asked me for my star sign I said Copernican, but she didn’t get the joke and had HR forward her my birth date so she could work it out. Wackos.

    1. olympiasepiriot*

      Oh. Good. Grief.

      I can’t imagine what it would be like to have someone taking that approach.

  27. Sue Wilson*

    I don’t like it because I find the question don’t compute with the way I think at all, since I’m more outcome-oriented. Questions like “In this situation would you use X (perceiving thing) or Y (judging thing)” are entirely unanswerable to me because my behavior would be so context-specific. I might as well sort myself into a Hogwarts house and I’d probably get something more accurate.

    1. Honeybee*

      That’s one of the things I don’t like about MBTI. I try to answer the spirit of the question, but some of the dichotomies are a bit ridiculous. I’m neither an extravert nor an introvert – I lie somewhere in the middle of the two. So those questions are really hard for me to answer and I always confuse the test.

      Like one asks me to rate “You find it difficult to introduce yourself to people.” Well…in what context? A random person I met on the street? A new person in a crowded party full of people I know? At a networking happy hour for my company or at a random event I went to on a Saturday night? Or one asks “You often feel like you have to justify yourself to people.” Context is super important here. I do at work…because I’m a scientist, so part of my job is justifying myself to people. But in my personal life? No.

      One of my pet peeves is when they inevitably use something similar to “You are a relatively reserved and quiet person”, which I think is a fundamental misunderstanding of introversion (but is often a question used to rate that). My husband is a very loud, not-very-reserved introvert.

  28. One of the Sarahs*

    This is making me shudder, because I score on these tests as “person whose answer isn’t on the chart” and “person who gets frustrated having to pigeonhole myself”. I have done various tests as they’ve fallen in and out of fashion, but the most useful thing to me was learning abut different learning styles, or communication styles, where we could still do the “people are different” stuff without the pigeonholing.

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