I’m a 6 on the enneagram and an INFJ. From a personal perspective, I’ve always tried to rationalize why I am the way I am. I think everyone does. Everyone wants to know why they are the way they are. They have become the new fun thing and more often I have people asking what number I am and what’s my love language. Although I feel understood, it’s important to analyze why we do them. Are personality tests even helping? Let’s dive into some pros and cons and make sure we’re using them to our advantage in a positive way.
What are Personality Tests?
Personality quizzes help determine how you are as a person. I remember having to take someone in college if I wanted to sign up for a leadership position. There are quite a few different ones. Right now the enneagram is getting popular but there’s also the Myers Briggs, another that gives you a color and there are plenty of others. Personality tests are meant to help explain why you act or react in a certain way to situations and things.
Understanding people is a tricky thing. Having ways to know why they reach a certain way is helpful to be able to connect with them. Tools like these can help us understand people better and be able to connect genuinely. Everyone communicates differently and we also respond differently to situations. These tests show us why someone will jump at the chance to be the leader, while someone else will take it slow. That’s a good thing about these tests. It helps people to work with others in ways that don’t put them in situations they won’t do well in and help us have a common ground, instead of getting agitated. Some people are quiet leaders, others are outspoken followers, some like to procrastinate, while others want to help as much as they can. People are different and tools that help us deal with each other is always good.
I have a friend who likes to know people’s results because in return she treats them in a way that’s comfortable for them. This has built healthy relationships, which allows people to be understood and have boundaries set. I’ve talked about being INFJ before. I am an introvert but I tend to speak up when I am passionate about something. A sort of introverted extrovert. I was never the first person to volunteer to give a speech or become a leader of a group but I will talk a lot if I feel strongly about something. As a 6 on the enneagram, this helps explain to people around me why I overthink a lot and must always have a plan. But it helps give people a sort of guide to get why I tend to panic more than the average person.
That’s what these tests do right. They help navigate through communication and see where people can shine.
We are capable of changing. No person is stuck. The thing about these types of quizzes is that people try to justify who they are. Even if they’re hurting people. Don’t justify bad actions just because a personality quiz tells you, you are a certain way. Esther Houston (and even Louie Giglio) made a great point about not allowing quizzes to determine who you are. Everyone pegged her as an 8 since she posts a lot of dialogue on politics, issues, etc. But when she took the enneagram, her result was something other than that. So went on to explain that people are not so easy to define. We’re more complex than just being out into a number. She also says it’s basically like a horoscope where we can just project things and say “oh well” because the results said it, so it must be.
I feel like that’s where the issue lies. Taking these test results and thinking your actions, even bad ones, are justified. There’s a lot of joking tweets about astrological signs about how people try to say everything is okay even their bad actions just because they’re a certain sign. We are capable of growing and becoming better people. People are not confined to what tests or horoscopes say we have to be. Things can help define our personality but they’re not all of our personality. Humans are complex and we have to remember not to justify our actions when we’re meant to grow and improve.
My Final Thoughts
I’m not against these quizzes. I laugh at memes about the 6 enneagrams because I relate to it. They can be useful to help understand people. It’s definitely useful when applying to leadership positions to see how people would react to hard situations. I think people also need to take it with a grain of salt at times. Once we think that’s it to us and our personalities and actions are in a categorical box, we miss the point. As long as we don’t use them to justify our actions and more as a tool to facilitate interpersonal communications, we should be okay.
So are personality tests even helping? What are your thoughts on it?