There are tools for understanding personality

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Jasen Williams Teen Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Jasen Williams
Teen Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Most everyone can think of two people who pretty much never get along. No matter if they are looking for a place to eat, talking about the latest movies, or just generally grating on each other’s temper, those two can consistently be counted on to disagree at some point in the discussion.

It’s easy to think that the two will eventually work it out after “getting used to” each other. But as I have discovered in the last couple of years, that process of accommodating a person who seems to conflict with your very fabric is a long and often painful one. It would be nice to find a way to circumvent that patience-testing process, especially if you have to work or study with that individual.

This is where the personality and love language tests come in. The personality tests ask a variety of questions that delve into your tendencies towards extroversion, introversion, types of decision making, and traits related to interactions with people and work.

As a small disclaimer, these sites are not perfect in identifying all of one’s personality traits or inclinations, but they still offer some uncanny insights into people and the how, why, what-for that accompanies their actions. In some tests, a letter is assigned to personality traits.

Extroverts are commonly defined as outgoing and expressive personalities, while Introverts are reserved and more introspective. There are certainly a variety of types of extroverts and introverts, like the difference between the party animal and the Type A “get-stuff-done” leader in the room.

Both are outgoing and dynamic in group situations, but are incredibly different in the actual interaction. And these differences are outlined in the next three letters of the formula.

For instance, my personality formula is ENTJ, or Extrovert, iNtuition, Thinking and Judgement. So I am more extrovert than introvert (more on that in a bit), more inclined to rely on logic and reasoning than my senses and feelings, and more likely to judge based on my reasoning than perceive what feeling is there.

Since it is a bit of a difficult explanation, two sites in particular, “16personalities.com” and “humanmetrics.com,” are both excellent to determine your personality type. If you look up your four-letter personality page, the site will lay out the traits, strengths, weaknesses and the implications of all of the personality types.

The fascinating thing about this is that we are all a mix of the traits and their opposition: no one is purely “Thinking” and no one is completely its counterpart “Feeling.” Nor are any of the traits bad; all of them have good and bad qualities.

I actually am a good example of this since I am an ambivert. If there was a scale of 1-100 with 1 being pure introvert and 100 straight extrovert, I would be 52 on the scale. So not only do I have a halfway inclination to draw energy from a crowd, I also have an equal compulsion to read a book quietly at home.

As a side note, there is a difference in being introverted and being shy. Introversion simply describes someone who is perfectly content with being alone with their own thoughts without giving an opinion, while shyness is based upon insecurity or nervousness.

Back in the application arena, this implies a common-sense way to work with one another. If you know that Billy has an inclination to use feeling as a basis for action and reaction, you will be aware that he is likely to be more affected by how a presentation makes him feel rather than how much logical credibility the presentation has.

Now imagine the amazing things this can be used for. If Billy and Troy were working on a presentation together and Troy had more of a logical train of thought, they could combine their talents of appeal to emotion and reason to create a presentation that was impactful in a multitude of ways.

On a somewhat more interpersonal level, there are the “Love Language” tests, which inquire about ways you reward, enjoy being rewarded, express love, and accept love best. There are five main categories of love languages: Acts of Service, Quality Time, Gifts, Physical Touch, and Words of Affirmation.

So if someone is continually giving everyone hugs and telling them how great they are, how should you show your appreciation for them? Probably likewise if you think that Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation are their primary love languages.

I cannot even begin to tell you the number of situations in high school that I was able to work through relatively well because of this combination of tools. The ability to have a small peek into the reasons and influences in other’s lives has created environments that allow for better collaboration and interactions for both my ASB and Boy Scout troop in the past. I’ll definitely have these in the back of my mind as life progresses to avoid the pointless conflicts and arguments.

Can you hear the doors of opportunity opening? That was what I heard when I realized why certain people give a crazy amount of gifts or work so hard to serve someone. It is the way they are expressing their love and appreciation. It revolutionized the way I talked to those who previously I could not make sense of due to the expressive emotion displayed or those who were difficult to reel into a conversation.

Are you wondering why I bother bringing up such a common sense item of interpersonal relationships? I do this because, as teenagers, we seem to be occasionally (and sometimes rightfully) dismissed as the rude, unapproachable or moody people who cannot even begin to understand the workings of the employment field or adulthood.

So let us humbly show that we can be sensitive and productive team workers with the ability to read situations and people by realizing the inner workings’ effect upon everyone. But then, maybe that’s just my inclination for productivity talking.

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Sharon Rice