October 22, 2019
By Maryn Lilies
There are quite a few different personality typing methodologies out there, but of them, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most well-known and frequently used.
Developed by the mother-daughter duo, Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, and based on notable psychiatrist Carl Jung’s philosophies, the MBTI attempts to describe how people experience and interact with their surroundings, according to four key psychological functions:
How we direct and receive energy (Extraversion or Introversion)
How we process information and stimuli (Sensing or Intuition)
How we make decisions (Thinking or Feeling)
How we approach the outside world (Judging or Perceiving)
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test shows you where you fall on the continuum of each function, as each of us has all of these elements within our personality—it just helps clarify which ones we prefer and rely on most frequently in our daily lives. As such, there are 16 different Myers-Briggs personality types you could potentially fall into.
Your Myers-Briggs personality type is comprised of four letters—one from each of these categories. So in order to figure yours out, in the context of how you act during the holidays, read these descriptions below and see which letter from each pairing best represents you.
Here’s how to tell what your Myers-Briggs personality type is, based on how you act during holiday events and gatherings:
Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)
“Extraversion and Introversion have to do with how we prefer to direct and receive energy,” explains Marta Koonz, MBTI Expert and Senior Consultant at The Myers-Briggs Company.
You might be more Extraverted if:
“Do you just love all those holiday gatherings? The opportunity to get out and see everyone?” asks Koonz. “People who prefer Extraversion often have […] lots of events to go to and people to see during the holiday season. At gatherings, they often introduce themselves to everyone and may be the last to leave the party. Instead of lengthy conversations, you’ll find them working the room, moving from group to group to ensure they connect with as many people as possible!” If this sounds like you, it’s likely that you have an E in your MBTI personality type.
Holiday advice for Extraverts:
“Extraverted love, when poured out too quickly, can overwhelm an Introvert,” explain Poppy and Geoff Spencer, a husband-and-wife team of family and relationship counselors certified in Myers-Briggs. So, “If you’re an Extravert and you know your BFF or another holiday part guest is quiet, dial down your enthusiasm and give your Introverted friend a really nice gift of a soft greeting and a gentle hug,” the couple suggests. “Even though you’re prone to giving all-encompassing hugs, consider counting to 3 before you reach out to embrace your more timid guest.” This will help put them at ease and settle in to the holiday festivities more gradually.
You might be more Introverted if:
“Prefer to stay home with a mug of hot cocoa and a good book (or movie)? You may have a preference for Introversion. People who have a preference for Introversion may not even make it to the party, happy to take advantage of the quiet time when everyone else is out of the house. When they do show up, they typically find one or two people to have an in-depth conversation with, talking for hours about the selected topics that interest them,” explains Koonz.
Holiday advice for Introverts:
Even if you generally shy away from big gatherings hosted by Extraverted friends or avoid going to events where you only know one or two guests, according to the Spencers, “There are things Introverts can do to make holiday gatherings an enjoyable experience.” For example, “Introverts can arrive late, after the first yelps of joy have escaped the hosts’ mouth” and the initial buzz has subdued, they suggest. “After all, an Extravert can only yelp a dozen or so times, before they finally tone things down.” Bringing a close companion or planning to stay for just a short amount of time, rather than the whole thing, can also help.
Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)
The next layer of your Myers-Briggs personality type has to do with your preferences for taking in information, explains Koonz.
You might prefer Sensing if:
“Do you remember Aunt Tilly’s favorite tea? Or what was on the menu for last year’s holiday feast?,” asks Koonz. “People with a preference for Sensing pay attention to the details. They notice who is wearing what, and what music is playing in the background. And that cute snowman decoration they bought you last year? Yep—they’ll notice if it’s not out this year.”
Holiday advice for Sensing personality types:
“If you have a preference for sensing (S)—meaning you like to get your information through your five senses—then the holidays can often over-stimulate you,” the Spencers comment. “Be aware that sight, sound, touch, taste, and hearing can reach an epic level” during holiday gatherings. And while there’s not too much you can do about it, mentally preparing yourself can help.
You might prefer Intuition if:
“Do you find yourself looking at the holiday food table and thinking, ‘Those little puff pastries reminds me of the appetizers at the party we went to last week. I wonder if they bought them at the same store? Maybe they made them. If I had a recipe, I’m sure I could make them. Where would I find a recipe to do that? I should look up recipes tonight. Did I bring my laptop home?’” asks Koonz. If you’re Intuitive, “All of this happens in a split second, with no one else even knowing that this internal dialogue has occurred,” she explains. “All they hear is, ‘I need to borrow your laptop when we get home.’ Huh? If this is you, you may have a preference for Intuition—for imagining possibilities.”
Holiday advice for Intuitive personality types:
“If you have a preference for Intuition, you get your information through gut instincts,” the Spencers explain. “You’ll be tuned into—and prepared for—the already heightened atmosphere and drama that usually sneaks its way into many holiday gatherings,” which can be a strength in such dynamic scenarios and help you navigate conversations with all different types of party guests with ease.
Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
“If you’re a Feeler or Thinker, this function informs you of how you make decisions,” Poppy and Geoff explain.
You might prefer Thinking if:
“Are you the person who steps back and analyzes how everything is going to fit into the car? The one who organizes who is going to bring what to the party and points out what’s wrong with the way the room is set up for the gathering?” asks Koonz. If so, you might be a Thinker. “People with a preference for Thinking use logic to make decisions.”
Holiday advice for Thinkers:
“Thinkers may objectively determine who should be invited to the gathering based on how many people will fit in the space, often forgetting to factor in whose feelings might be hurt by not being included,” says Koonz. So make sure to take a moment to consider your choices from an emotional standpoint, too, to avoid creating any holiday drama with friends and family.
You might prefer Feeling if:
“If you do consider the impact on people in your decision making, you may have a preference for Feeling,” Koonz shares. “People with a preference for Feeling are empathetic and compassionate in their decision making, bringing the values they hold for themselves and others to bear on their decisions.” For example, “As they determine the seating arrangements for the family gathering, they factor in that Uncle Bob and Cousin Maude don’t quite see eye to eye and would rather not sit next to each other,” Koonz elaborates. “Or, they may make or buy unique gifts for each person on their list, ensuring that each person feels special.”
Holiday advice for Feelers:
“Feelers can have a pendulum swing of emotions, loving the holiday joy in one moment, and missing an elderly family member who passed earlier in the year in the next,” explain Poppy and Geoff, so be careful not to let your range of emotions overwhelm you or detract from your holiday fun.
Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)
“Judging and Perceiving have to do with our preferences for approaching the outside world,” says Koonz. Poppy and Geoff add, “This function describes when you make decisions.”
You might be more Judging if:
“Do you have a list? Do you check it twice? Are all your holiday events clearly marked on your calendar? Shopping list made weeks before the big event? You may have a preference for Judging,” says Koonz, if that sounds like you. “People with a preference for Judging like to make a plan and follow the plan. They prefer to have a schedule, to have things decided. They’ll even have extra presents stashed away, just in case an extra person shows up for their gathering.” Poppy and Geoff add: “A judger is ready on time, has lists of everything, and is very comfortable leaving one topic—and one group of people—(aka, working the room), to go to the next.”
Holiday advice for Judging personality types:
Remember that just because you’re hyper-organized and fast-moving when it comes to planning timelines and making decisions, not everyone else is. “This is often a clash point for many who have have opposite functions,” says Poppy and Geoff, and should be kept in mind for planning purposes. When inviting a Perceiver to your holiday event, “Don’t ask them to bring an appetizer (ask them to bring a dessert instead), as they will invariably arrive late. Also, it’s best not to delegate to a Perceiver when you need a quick turnaround on a decision,” since their timing for taking action will likely to be quite different than what you’d anticipated.
You might be more Perceiving if:
“People with a preference for Perceiving like to keep their options open,” says Koonz. “They tend to live life with flexibility and spontaneity as their guides. Last minute invites and changes to the plan don’t phase them—it just makes their day more exciting!” Are you guilty of any of the following?: “Last minute dash to the store to get that perfect present? Waiting to decide whether to accept that invitation to one party because something else may come up?” If so, you may have a preference for Perceiving, according to Koonz.
Holiday advice for Perceiving personality types:
Compared to their Judging counterparts, “Perceivers are not as well prepared,” says the Spencers.”If they are engaged in a small group that stimulates them, they will remain there. “It is not important for Perceivers to mingle just for the sake of mingling,” they explain, so if you prefer Perceiving, consciously making an effort to break out of your comfort zone and connect with a few people you may not interact with frequently could be a good exercise for you to try this holiday season.