As a trained psychologist, I am aware of the pros and cons of personality testing. They almost certainly reveal some aspects of a person, but not others. Their level of description is inevitably rather generic. Also, they are not strong on prediction, in a way what people are most interested in to engage with life better or at least differently. Rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater, I thought it might be an idea to take the personality test as a point of departure rather than a point of arrival. So, with a friend – CF, we are giving it a go. Feel free to join in.
Here is the result of CF’s personality test. CF engages with BC in using it as a springboard to gain a better insight into themselves. What do you reckon?
A Mediator (INFP)is someone who possesses the Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Prospecting personality traits. These rare personality types tend to be quiet, open-minded, and imaginative.
BC : I think that you are quiet, in contrast to being noisy. However, you are not quiet in the sense of ‘keeping quiet’, that is, suppressing your own ideas and thoughts. In fact, with respect to the latter, you are in many ways quite forward. I also think that you are open-minded, inasmuch as you listen and pay attention to other’s talking. However, the rate at which your mind opens can be a bit slow on occasions. I also think that you are imaginative – how much and with respect to what, I am not able to judge at this early stage.
CF : I agree with most of what you said. The ‘quiet’ part mostly applies, in my view, to social situations involving several people. I don’t like to be in the spotlight and in a social situation would tend to listen and observe rather than get involved in conversations. I even suffered from social anxiety in the past. As you have noticed, it does not apply to 1-to-1 conversations / relationships. I find it interesting that you see me as « forward », whereas I have considered myself (and been considered by others) shy and unassuming for many years (despite my « vibrant inner life »). I had never considered myself as a slow thinker but you might be right, I need time to process information. Btw, I have thought about the Palais Ideal and I think I finally understood where you wanted to guide my thought process….and indeed it took some time. But maybe this is not what you meant. I think the test uses the word « open-minded » as « non-judgemental » or « ability to go off the beaten path ». How do you understand the word « imaginative » ? What makes a person « imaginative » or « unimaginative »
BC : I think I meant ‘forward’ not so much as the opposite of backward as holding their own, once their position on some issue was worked out and clear to themselves. By imaginative, I mean going beyond the given, whatever that may be – perception, thought, beliefs etc. Not sure what ‘makes a person imaginative….Will think about it.
They may seem quiet or unassuming, Mediators (INFPs) have vibrant, passionate inner lives. Creative and imaginative, they happily lose themselves in daydreams, inventing all sorts of stories and conversations in their minds. These personalities are known for their sensitivity – Mediators can have profound emotional responses to music, art, nature, and the people around them.
Idealistic and empathetic, Mediators long for deep, soulful relationships, and they feel called to help others. But because this personality type makes up such a small portion of the population, Mediators may sometimes feel lonely or invisible, adrift in a world that doesn’t seem to appreciate the traits that make them unique.
The Gift of Empathy
Mediators share a sincere curiosity about the depths of human nature. Introspective to the core, they’re exquisitely attuned to their own thoughts and feelings, but they yearn to understand the people around them as well. Mediators are compassionate and nonjudgmental, always willing to hear another person’s story. When someone opens up to them or turns to them for comfort, they feel honored to listen and be of help.For Mediators, an ideal relationship of any kind is one in which both people feel comfortable sharing not just their wildest hopes and dreams but also their secret fears and vulnerabilities.
Empathy is among this personality type’s greatest gifts, but at times it can be a liability. The troubles of the world weigh heavily on Mediators’ shoulders, and these personalities can be vulnerable to internalizing other people’s negative moods or mindsets. Unless they learn to set boundaries, Mediators may feel overwhelmed by just how many wrongs there are that need to be set right.
Speaking Their Truth
Few things make Mediators more uneasy than pretending to be someone they aren’t. With their sensitivity and their commitment to authenticity, people with this personality type tend to crave opportunities for creative self-expression. It comes as no surprise, then, that many famous Mediators are poets, writers, actors, and artists. They can’t help but muse about the meaning and purpose of life, dreaming up all sorts of stories, ideas, and possibilities along the way.Mediators have a talent for self-expression. They may reveal their innermost thoughts and secrets through metaphors and fictional characters.
Through these imaginative landscapes, Mediators can explore their own inner nature as well as their place in the world. While this is a beautiful trait, these personalities sometimes show a tendency to daydream and fantasize rather than take action. To avoid feeling frustrated, unfulfilled, or incapable, Mediators need to make sure that they take steps to turn their dreams and ideas into reality.
In Search of a Calling
People with this personality type tend to feel directionless or stuck until they connect with a sense of purpose for their lives. For many Mediators, this purpose has something to do with uplifting others and their ability to feel other people’s suffering as if it were their own. While Mediators want to help everyone, they need to focus their energy and efforts – otherwise, they can end up exhausted.
Fortunately, like flowers in the spring, Mediators’ creativity and idealism can bloom even after the darkest of seasons. Although they know the world will never be perfect, Mediators still care about making it better however they can. This quiet belief in doing the right thing may explain why these personalities so often inspire compassion, kindness, and beauty wherever they go.