I’ve seen far too many people say something like: “I read articles about philosophy, all my friends say I’m caring, and I like to solve puzzles, does this mean I’m an INFJ?” The answer is no, it doesn’t. If you ask that question, you’re not only wasting your time writing it, but you’re wasting my time getting me to read it. The same goes for 99% of the MBTI memes and the people that say some behavior is limited to a type or group of types. Do you want to waste your time with stereotypes and old wife’s tales, or do you want information that’s actually useful? Keep reading to find out why you shouldn’t assign behaviors to types.
Let’s start by reviewing behaviorism. According to simplypsychology.org:
Behaviorism refers to a psychological approach which emphasizes scientific and objective methods of investigation. The approach is only concerned with observable stimulus-response behaviors, and states all behaviors are learned through interaction with the environment.
In layman’s terms, it means judging someone’s internal state by observing their behaviors. Behaviorism is a barbaric way of approaching psychology because it doesn’t account for your thoughts, your feelings, or your true motivations. Behaviorism hasn’t been widely accepted for several decades for that reason. A person’s cognition is every bit as important, if not more important, than a person’s behavior.
Chase does use behaviors as examples in his videos about type, but they’re only common illustrations that are not meant to be used as typing criterion. Maybe INFJs don’t usually get their driver’s licenses early in life, but that doesn’t mean every INFJ waits until the last possible moment. It’s a trend, not an absolute. There are very few behaviors that can be used to type people and they fall into twelve categories: direct, informative, control, movement, initiating, responding, abstract, concrete, systematic, interest, affiliative, and pragmatic.
Look familiar? They should, because those are the terms that describe the temperaments and interaction styles in C.S. Joseph’s type grid. Those categories are used as a code for reading a person’s cognition through their actions. If a person is direct most of the time, then that’s how they think: directly. If a person consistently does what works instead of what’s best for the group, then their thought process is likely to be pragmatic. Chase’s type grid is based on a person’s <em>nature</em>, their <em>thought processes</em>, not on what a person likes to do in their free time or what a person has done in their past.
Anyone can feel embarrassed, anyone can do the right thing, and anyone can be considerate or selfish. Most people will fire an under-performing employee, but different types do it for different reasons. Any type can be intelligent and knowledgeable—just because you have a mentally stimulating conversation with someone doesn’t mean they are an intuitive type. In fact, some of the smartest people I know are sensing types. So please stop trying to use behaviors that can’t be tied to the twelve type grid categories to type yourself or type other people.
C. S. Joseph
Founder, CEO – CSJ.life