Based on recent results, I am an INTJ, 3w4 Capricorn with a Scorpio moon. Isn't that so fun to say? Listing off your personality types can feel great, because it provides a sense of belonging, a validation of who you are. It also provides an ideal self for you to strive towards, as well as a way to justify your quirks and oddities. Finally, you understand how your mind works.
But do you?
In early high school, I was obsessed with the MBTI system. Back then, I could type anyone and everyone, and I could explain the exact reasoning behind my thoughts. "You have so much Se and Ti," I'd say, "You've got to be an ESTP." The person I'd be talking to would stare at me blankly, confused by the personality test jargon, and eventually they would accept my diagnosis and move on. I loved doing that. I loved telling people, "You are doing this action because you are X type, which makes perfect sense." I was intuitive and perceptive as it was, so it made perfect sense at the time.
The issue I did not anticipate was that my personality test obsession would prevent me from getting to know individuals as 𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑢𝑎𝑙𝑠, and not just members of a category. I was dealing with my own issues, and I took it out on others. Deep depression and anxiety made it hard for me to trust my dealings with people, so I relied on MBTI to help me cope. I also, idiotically, convinced myself that I was incapable of logical reasoning, because I was typed as an ENFJ at the time. This meant that I was meant to care exclusively about emotions, and logic HAD to be hard for me. Strange, considering how logical I've become since letting go of the MBTI system.
What is it about personality tests that makes them so attractive to us, and why do we choose to believe them, even when all science says that they are wrong? And it does say that, by the way. Astrology has no evidence to prove it whatsoever, except for anecdotal incidents of broad horoscopes coming true.
However, I'd argue astrology is actually less harmful than MBTI, or other so-called personality "typing" systems, such as Enneagram. Astrology is so broad, that it does, in fact, seem to apply to everyone. MBTI and Enneagram, on the other hand, base their typing on a series of answers to questions, many of which will change depending on the test-taker's mood. Worse yet, tests like the MBTI set up a series of false dichotomies. They tell you that you cant be logical if you're compassionate, and you can't be organized if you don't also make plans months in advance. No psychologist supports these findings.
Based on the views of the modern personality psychologist community, the closest thing to an accurate personality test that we've got is the Big Five test, which measures extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and neuroticism. But even the Big Five is often considered to be problematic.
The fundamental issue that this gets to is that people are unique. When you shove them into boxes, you're forcing them into your ideal image of them, and that simply doesn't work. I understand that people like to have control, and I completely relate to that. Dealing with complex human beings is really, really stressful, especially if you have a mental illness. I would know. However, if you're able to acknowledge your own complexity, if you're sometimes concerned that you don't fit your "type" exactly, then why would you apply that theory to everyone else? Especially when the science doesn't support the theory!
Human beings are complicated, but that's what makes us so wonderful. We're unique and individual, and you can't force us into boxes so easily. Learn to interact with people as people, not as the categories that you'd like them to fit into.