For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the idea of categorizing people by their personalities. It started out with birth order. When I was younger, I would try to predict if my classmates were first borns, middle children, only children, or the babies in their families based on their personalities and actions. A bossy perfectionist? Likely a first born. The class clown that everyone loves? Probably either a middle child or the baby. I found the stereotypes associated with birth order to be fairly accurate in my own family structure, and I was intrigued in how my siblings helped shape me and my personality.
Through years of taking and analyzing any and all personality tests, I have become a self-proclaimed nerd on the subject. I still mentally predict what people’s personality types are once I start to get to know them, and a lot of the time, my predictions are correct. Personality tests have allowed me to become more self-aware and to acknowledge more fully the things that both motivate and discourage me. Every person has a unique way of looking at the world, and personality tests can help distinguish your ways of thinking from others.
With that being said, here are a few of my favorite personality tests that have helped me to know myself and other people better:
1. The Myers-Briggs test
Ah, yes. The iconic Myers-Briggs test. Let me just say this: if you don’t know your Myers-Briggs type, you are already behind in the world of personality tests. This test presents 16 possible types based on four different categories. According to this test, you are either an Introvert or an Extrovert, you process information by either Sensing or Intuition, you make decisions by either Thinking or Feeling, and you deal with the world by either Judging or Perceiving. Each type has its own archetype. For example, I am an ESFP, which is identified as the Entertainer. This test is a good place to start when diving deeper into your personal strengths and weaknesses. It also details how you relate to others in relationships, in the workplace, and in friendships. It is a good way to examine how your thinking patterns may be similar or different from other people in your life. In the words of Isabel Briggs Meyers, co-creator of the Myers-Briggs test, “it is up to each person to recognize his or her true preferences.” You can take the free, 12-minute test here.
2. The Enneagram
I was admittedly late to the game with the Enneagram, but it has quickly become one of my all-time favorites. The Enneagram is highly complex in its entirety, but in simple terms, it breaks personalities down into nine dominant types. Each type, simply named Type 1, Type 2, and so on, represent a person’s most dominant qualities. For example, I am a Type 3. The dominant characteristics of a 3 are adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious. This type is archetyped as the “achiever.” However, every type also has “wings.” The wings represent personality aspects that are present, but less so than the dominant type. My Type 3 is accompanied by a 2 wing. The 2 is categorized as the “helper,” and a combination of a 3 with a wing of 2 is considered to be a more specific archetype known as the “charmer.” The complexity of the Enneagram allows it to be, in my opinion, one of the most accurate personality tests available. When reading about my type, I became aware of things that I already knew about myself, but was never quite able to verbalize. Reading my Enneagram ignited a desire to self-reflect, both on my strengths and on my flaws. Being aware of my Enneagram type has caused me to look at situations in a completely different light, as I am now more aware of how I am prone to act due to my personality. If you want to take the quick, free version of the Enneagram, you can find it here.
3. The Temperament Quiz
Although technically this test doesn’t assess your personality, I consider temperament to be closely related. This lesser-known test examines four different “temperament types”: Melancholic, Choleric, Phlegmatic and Sanguine. Each temperament has different characteristics associated with it. I was amazed by this test because everyone I knew who took it found their types to be incredibly accurate to them, even though there are only 4 types represented. Again with this test, you get one dominant temperament and one secondary one. So, for example, I am considered to be a Sanguine-Phlegmatic. The website that this test is offered on also allows easy comparisons between you and your friends. If both of you take the test, you can enter each other’s information and then learn what the strengths and weaknesses in your relationship could be. If you’re interested in finding out your temperament, I suggest using this website.
Although there is no true scientific basis to these tests, I have learned a lot about myself and others by utilizing them. It is a good tool to use to become more self-aware and more conscious of how other people perceive the world.