About a month ago, when the show started, I blogged about my obsession with the CBS reality show
Big Brother
, and subsequently, “Survivor”, which came out of my having gone through the audition process for the show a decade ago. One of the reasons I get so drawn into these shows is that human behaviour tends to fascinate me, and figuring people out is a little like figuring out a puzzle. When I’m not emotionally invested in a situation, but can watch others play out little dramas with one another, it’s compelling to me.

One of the things I talked about is how reality TV sparked a strong belief in the Meyers-Briggs/Keirsey personality inventories, as CBS (as well as many other reality TV casting crews) rely on this test to get a feel of who someone is, how they interact with others, and how they can be expected to interact with others. The formula started out with 16 contestants, equating to the 16 personality types. When you throw in other differences, such as upbringing, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and general outlook on life, the task of assembling the right cast is kind of the ultimate psychological experiment. (for instance, while I made it to the final round of casting for the show, I didn’t get on. The girl who was chosen in favour of me shares my Meyers-Briggs/Keirsey personality type: ENFP. )

After posting about this, I started getting Google searches asking what the Meyers-Briggs typology for current Big Brother 14 houseguests is; in specific, people seem to wonder about Ian and Danielle. While the answer is, I don’t know—only the houseguests and the CBS psychologists know for sure—I can hazard an educated guess regarding most of the contestants, beginning with Janelle. The others simply weren’t around long enough and didn’t get enough air time for me to make a fair assessment. I will say, I don’t think there’s one of each personality type in the house this season, likely due to the returning players throwing off the balance. There are more “N” (intuitive) types than average, and many of them have demonstrated they’re very strongly expressed “N”s.

To answer your question, Ian is actually the easiest for me to type, because I seem to have a soft spot for this personality type in my life. Consequently, I have a soft spot for Ian, and despite his social awkwardness and perhaps being the geekiest guy I’ve ever seen anywhere, there is something that makes your heart really go out to him. He has so much passion, and treasures every little moment and experience and victory, while needing to be coaxed out of his shell every step of the way. Ian is undoubtedly an INFJ, despite his background in chemical engineering and brilliant mind, as well as his love of strategy, which would make him a “T”. He’s clearly introverted, but when comfortable with others, has an uncanny insight into people, as if he sees things in people that not everyone does. You get the sense he’s a lot deeper than what he’s putting out there. He’s deeply invested in things; for instance, crying when his coach gave him money as a prize, not really having ambitions to win Big Brother, but wanting to make it to the jury, being affected when the girl he is crushing on in the house (who is his exact opposite, unsuitable for him in almost every way, but epitomizes the idea of “free-spiritedness” he so wants in his world) goes on a “date” with a guy who’s more of a match for her. He’s also fussy about certain things; yelling at Britney for leaving half-eaten candy in his space, and fastidiously showering multiple times a day, and straightening up his space.

Danielle is a little harder to read, because she attempts to play games, putting up a different face for different people. Yet, she’s hopelessly transparent and unable to put her rational side above her feeling side when it comes time to make moves, although she swears she can. She is clearly an “F” personality, and her stubbornness when it comes to opinions she holds about certain people and situations makes her less flexible than she appears to be. She is not a pushover, although she can be mistaken for one, and is one of the hardest people in the house to get to change her stance on something once she’s made up her mind (usually for personal reasons.) These are trademarks of a “J” personality. She is clearly not intuitive; she seeks out physical companionship from Shane without being able to read his feelings about her accurately, and she seeks out Britney to fill the intuitive space in her game play, asking Britney “how she feels about so-and-so”. This makes her an “S”. While she’s outgoing and personable and loves attention, she seems to thrive in one-on-one or small group conversations, like most “I”‘s, but this is probably the least strongly expressed of her traits. So, Danielle is an ISFJ. Reading the description, it’s pretty spot on regarding both how she’s playing her game and who she is behind the game.

There’s no ENFP in the house this season; I suspect that there probably was, but the person was eliminated (players were dropped a week before the show’s airing, or evicted very early. So, I’ll have to root for the person closest to my personality type, the snarky-yet-emotional, and spot-on intuitive Britney. She’s a very typical INFP, although she can lean towards the extroverted when it suits her, and can temporarily switch into “thinking” mode when it is necessary. Her greatest strength, like most “NFP” combinations, is her ability to adapt; her greatest weakness is a tendency to avoid making waves, even when her intuition says she’s not making the choice that’s best for her. However, as long as she’s around, she’ll be resilient and come up with an alternate plan. Her snarky sense of humour, generally unthreatening physique and demeanour, and appearance of not spending too much time plotting and planning makes her endearing to most, and if not, she is underestimated by those who will be voted out first because they overestimate themselves.

I’m pulling for the unlikely alliance of Ian and Britney to make it to the end, although it’s not so unlikely. It turns out Britney’s not the superficial, dumb blonde type that’s there to be easily manipulated; she started off as pre-med in college. And her husband is a geeky guy who she discusses bringing out of his shell and falling in love with him. It’s natural that Ian looks up to Britney, and Britney sees him as a younger brother she may develop a genuine attachment to. In the end, she would choose him over her good friend Danielle, or her former teammate Shane, likely because Ian plays a similar game…intelligent, less than threatening, and aware of what’s going on at all times.

Oh, and for the record, tonight’s evictee, Wil, is another NF personality type; ENFJ. He shares a personality type with some of Big Brother’s most memorable players, people who didn’t win on multiple occasions because they had the intuition to figure things out, but couldn’t find a way to emotionally process the information and come up with a plan that would work. Last season’s Rachel Reilly (who did win, on her second try) and Jeff Schroeder are both ENFJ’s, although Rachel probably borders on ENFP.

Although it seems that an INTJ (the Mastermind) would win the game, Mike Boogie is actually an ENTJ who fancies himself a mastermind. He’s just a little too talkative to be the true INTJ he needs to be, sharing information he doesn’t need to share at times. His arrogance and need for attention keeps him from playing the game that Will Kirby, the ultimate INTJ, played and won. ENTJs and INTJs are not the same, and can’t play the same game successfully. Frank, (ESFP) who charms people by being the ultimate “P” (if he were any more laid back, you’d believe he was stoned), clueless Ashley (ISFP), information-gathering Jen (INTP), and alpha-male Shane who is willing to go with the flow (ESTP) are probably going to stick around longer. To round out the cast, compassionate but aware Dan is an ISTP, loud, opinionated Joe is an ESFJ, and scheming, manipulative Janelle was the other side to his coin, ESTJ.

Is there one of everyone? Just about. Unless Frank is truly an ENFP, they’re missing me this season. Most likely the season’s ENFP was the one who turned things upside down by demonstrating ENFPs gone wrong can be downright scary: Willie Hantz, or brash New Yorker JoJo, who was not willing to compromise her authenticity for anyone or anything.

An interesting question for CBS: Which personality type has won Big Brother most often? What about Survivor?

I bet somewhere, a psychology student thinks that’s an excellent topic for a paper. You’re welcome. :P

If you know me, or have followed my page for any length of time, you know I’m a huge fan of the Meyers-Briggs Personality Inventory, and by extension, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. Although not everyone agrees with me on the actual psychological merit behind these tests, I can say that these tests have pegged me almost dead-on, down to the percentages in which certain aspects of my personality are expressed and what personality attributes are most significant to me in terms of how I relate to others.

Although I don’t always listen, this test has never steered me wrong in telling me (or warning me) about my compatibility with friends, lovers, enemies, and acquaintances. My lifelong friends tend to be of one or two distinct personality types. The people with whom I have the most natural and interesting bonds tend to be of one or two distinct personality types. The people I’ve dated but shouldn’t have, and tried to be friends with, but just couldn’t, all have ended up being the same personality type. The people I trusted who then stabbed me in the back happened to be of a particular personality type. I don’t always follow the intuitive voice that accompanies learning someone is not Meyers-Briggs compatible with me, and that usually does not work out peacefully or end well, but I give this test credit for somehow understanding me, and who might fit into my life, and how, and why. In some cases, it sees more clearly and understands my relationships with others better than I do.

Anyhow, if you’re not familiar with Meyers-Briggs, or put my unwavering belief in it on the same level as the fact that I check my horoscope every day and have my tarot cards read, and firmly believe I am intuitively developed enough that I have “psychic dreams” and “visions”—you will not care about this post. However, if you do know your Meyers-Briggs type, you’ll be amused by this little article, breaking the 16 archetypes down into their animal equivalents.

Unsurprisingly, I am one of the most loving and peaceful of all the animals: the dolphin.

I’m just not performing on command for your entertainment, damn it. :p Unless I feel like it. Or you bribe me. Or there’s a really big audience. *laughs*

We all know I’m a big fan of the Meyers-Briggs personality inventory, largely because I’ve yet to find a psychological test that describes me as well as this one does. It’s also fairly spot-on with describing many people I know. I’ve “typed” most of my close friends over time, and have found it ironic that certain people with whom I share certain relationship/friendship-oriented traits and challenges end up having the same personality type.

Somehow, a discussion about M-B types got started on my FB page this evening, and it led me to this site, which is pretty comprehensive about providing details regarding each type of personality. The link above is to the page for my type, ENFP, but all 16 are listed. It’s a good starting point if you don’t know much about what your type supposedly says about you.

One of the more interesting features on the page, though, is the Relationship Pairing section. The idea is that there is no compatible or incompatible type of person for someone, but that each type has a natural relationship with each of the other 15 types (16 if you include relationships between two people of the same type), each with its own set of benefits and challenges. If you buy into the whole Meyers-Briggs thing extending to how people interact in work and personal relationships, this tells you your “ideal” relationship with a person of another type. It doesn’t necessarily follow that the more similar letters you have, the closer your relationship will be.

For a while, I’ve noticed I seemed to have a love/hate relationship with INTJs. I am initially very attracted to people of this personality type (even if I don’t know they are of that type), but the friendship or relationship tends to be characterised by a lot of drama, arguing, or inability to communicate on the same level. I have at least two friends I like a great deal and have been in my life for a long time, but I suffer with the same emotional/communication issues with both. We always work through things because for all our differences, there’s actually a high level of understanding…but it’s a complex communication dynamic. I have a former INTJ friend who ended our friendship over our inability to communicate in a manner that wasn’t heavily emotionally charged. INTJ friendships and relationships are challenging for me, yet I seem to seek them out without meaning to.

On the other hand, I have a relatively new friend who describes himself as an INTJ, but with whom I have none of these issues. Most of the time, we have a really high level of tolerance, understanding, compatibility, and ability to discuss feelings with one another, something I do not share with other INTJs. It is odd that we communicate as peacefully as we do, and have as much in common as we do. I believe he may be closer to an INFJ.

So, because I was curious, I looked up my thing with certain personality types, and how we’re supposed to get along, and why it’s so frustrating, communication-wise.

Apparently, the INTJ is my “Pedagogue”, defined as a relationship where each is both the other’s mentor and student: has a “parent to child” feel. This explains why most of my INTJ friendships are with people I find extremely intelligent, may have been romantically or spiritually drawn to at some point, and by whom I constantly feel challenged and rejected, something that both exhausts me and drives me to seek that person’s approval even further. I often feel a connection and a disconnection with this type at the exact same time.

Meanwhile, the INFJ is my “Contrast”; a relationship defined by point and counterpoint on each function. Three of my closest friends are INFJs, although the relationships haven’t been entirely conflict-free. They are, however, some of the strongest relationships in my life, marked by a seemingly easy level of emotional understanding and the ability to talk for hours. Two of these are the type of friends with whom I’m so close, I’ve wondered at various points in time, “Is this who I’m supposed to end up with?”

A friend that I play trivia with is someone I joke is the quiet version of me; although we’re very different, we think on the same wavelength. We have the same annoying habits of interrupting people and thinking tangentially and getting carried away from the point of things. We can complete one another’s sentences, get on the same train of thought very easily, and know what the other person means through seemingly random words or gestures. We’ve had maybe one disagreement that lasted for all of 5 minutes in all the time we’ve known one another. Not surprisingly, he is an INFP, very close to me on the personality spectrum. Our relationship? We’re meant to be “Pals”, people who work and play well together, and have minimal natural type conflict.

The Guy I Am Currently Dating is quite opposite of my personality type, an ISTP. Our relationship is defined as a “Novelty”, something I didn’t necessarily like hearing, until I saw the definition was “intriguingly different; interestingly so.”. That’s not such a bad thing; I like intrigue and interest.

However, there are some instances where the test is just plain wrong. An old friend of mine, one with whom I naturally get on extremely well with little effort, who rarely offends me or hurts my feelings despite being both rational and direct, identified himself today as an ESTP. M-B describes our relationship as an “Enigma”, someone who is a puzzle and foreign in every facet. I find this couldn’t be further from how we interact; we actually understand one another quite easily. He mentioned perhaps he should take the test again, and I’d agree. ;) It doesn’t get everyone correctly. *laughs*

The question is, if each type has a different relationship, which is most likely to be compatible with you in terms of love, romance, or long-term relationships of any sort?

Here’s what I learned about me and my personal relationships: “Although two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy relationship, ENFP’s natural partner is the INTJ, or the INFJ. ENFP’s dominant function of Extraverted Intuition is best matched with a partner whose dominant function is Introverted Intuition.”

So, yeah…those friends I fight with, feel challenged by, sometimes engage in relationships that are emotionally draining or end in chaos, but still can talk to for hours on end and relate to without effort…well, those are really the people who are most naturally suited to be in my life. It’s the ones I gravitate towards almost by instinct, no matter how little sense it seems to make.

It seems I actually do really well with finding people who are intuitive matches for me. They’re often the friendships that are confusing on some level, because they don’t always end up as platonic that should be. I have “history” with most of my INTJ and INFJ friends, but in the end, they’re still some of my closest friends and confusing relationships. They are the people who either stay in my life through everything, or leave slamming doors and hurling hurtful condemnations that aren’t ever forgotten. Only time ever tells which it will be.

But I’m glad the test doesn’t know everything, because it never would have matched me up with The Guy I Am Currently Dating, and we’d have missed out on a whole lot. :) Sometimes, novelties last a really long time…*laughs*