” He boasted that he was an INTJ (a rare MBTI profile most notably shared with Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, he confided) and was curious if I’d ever taken the test.I could only give some half-baked combination of letters based on a shaky memory of undergrad psych but in retrospect, I should have really responded with STFU.When mother-daughter team Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers started expanding Carl Jung’s personality theories to create an identity typology in 1926, they saw it as a way to help people find happiness through a better understanding of themselves and their preferences.They took Jung’s idea that four key elements in our personalities (sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking) determine how we experience the world and define everything from our interests and values to our needs and motivations.A few months ago, I was two hours into a date that I felt was going exceptionally well.We’d exchanged all of the standard getting-to-know-you questions with excellent results.
“The internet is just saturated with these personality quizzes and you do have to wonder why this one has more authority,” says Landry*, an ENTP on OKCupid.“TBH [this man and his letter sequences] I just don’t think we have a ton in common,” he texted.Where he was an I, I was an E and that was all he needed to pass on a happy lifetime of southern-rap-soundtracked cross-country drives.We both enjoyed bike riding (admittedly, not a shocker in Brooklyn), were united in our distaste for veggies, and shared a love of junk food that would rival that of any teenager.The evening had entered phase “banter foreplay” when out of nowhere he asked, “So, what’s your Myers-Briggs personality type?Thanks to Tinder and OKCupid (and Hinge and Grindr and Happn and Flutter and Bumble and Raya and whatever app is about to come out tomorrow), there is a seemingly endless supply of options, and to make sense of them, we make snap decisions based on very little information. We do, and then we have to hope that the few hours we spend with a person won’t be a waste of time or the preamble to the news story about how we went missing.Should you swipe left on someone just because they list the Grateful Dead as their favorite band? The Myers-Briggs data on someone’s profile offers another, more efficient way to tighten the process.It might be more scientific than the man-bun question, even.You could save yourself three or four dates by going off of what those four letters tell you.It seems like a small percentage, but OKCupid’s data-crunchers assure me that it’s actually significant to have something new trending across so many profiles. Post-rejection, his identification with the antisocial Unabomber began to explain some things. If we’d continued on because we were sexually attracted to one another and both loved David Byrne, our relationship probably wouldn’t have lasted — and not just because he’s the kind of person who would break things off based on a quiz you can take for free on the internet, and I am not.It’s become enough of a “thing” that people have parody answers on their profile (e.g., MBTI: IDGAF). He’s emotionally reserved while I’m full of emotion. Dating today seeks to streamline a deeply emotional process.