** Prior knowledge of Game of Thrones not needed. This article has NO SPOILERS. **
On Game of Thrones, Jon Snow is known as a leader, master fighter, and alleged illegitimate child of a royal family.
According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Jon Snow is an "ISFP". Introversion, Sensing, Feeling and Perception.
Therefore, Jon Snow, for the most part, is a reserved guy who is pragmatic, relying on his experiences. He does not like to be in front of a crowd, nor looks at the bigger picture. He prefers everyone to get along, finding it difficult to make decisions that hurt others. He is spontaneous and agile, preferring not to make many complex plans.
This Reddit thread from 2013 argues Jon Snow is not an ISFP, but an INFP. Others on the internet think he is an INFJ.
Anybody who has watched the show or read the books would agree: people that take Jon Snow's MBTI results seriously are harming their perception of his complex character.
Any person who has known you long enough would agree: people that take your MBTI results seriously are harming their perception of your complex character.
It's good to know modern versions of the MBTI will not classify you strictly as one type or another. They rate the four values on a spectrum. Here are my results from July 2017.
This is an improvement. It doesn't paint everything black or white, and everything is more quantifiable.
The key defense for the MBTI is the concept of "cognitive functions". It argues that each of the 16 personality types has different sides to them. These sides are Ne, Ni, Se, Si, Fe, Fi, Te and Ti.
Depending on your type, these 8 "sides" will rank according to how much your personality type uses it. I am type ENFP. My top four "sides" are Extroverted Intuition, Introverted Feeling, Extroverted Thinking, and Introverted Sensing (Ne, Fi, Te, Si) in that order.
I disagree with it because the 8 "sides" feel like horoscope readings, close enough to have similarities to you, but vague enough to apply to many people. But it's good to know that just because I scored 100% extroversion, it doesn't mean I'm incapable of Introverted Feelings. In fact, it's my second "side".
And I still argue against it for three reasons.
1. 50% of people who re-test get a different result
This is over a short 5-week period. To put that into perspective, half of all employees will "change" their MBTI personality at least twice before the quarterly review every 13 weeks.
89 of Fortune 100 companies use it to classify their employees at the very beginning. Sometimes during the interview process. Are you willing to have your career path altered based on a personality test that does not consistently produce the same results?
2. The four spectrums do not give any further breakdown
If you wanted to know how exactly the MBTI decided you are a Thinker rather than a Feeler, tough luck.
You might agree with "The truth should be more important than other's feelings", agree with "You worry if your actions affect other people" and strongly disagree with "It's difficult to relate to other people's feelings".
The test will take the average of these three answers to determine whether you're more "logical" or "emotional". There's no room for nuance. No nuance means it's hard to take action.
3. You cannot have a "bad" personality
Nobody's feelings like getting hurt. It's a large reason for MBTI's worldwide success and appeal. Any person on the planet can fit comfortably into one of 16 categories. I share ENFP with Robert Downey Jr., Quentin Tarantino, and Willy Wonka.
If you strongly agree that "you tend to put off work until the last minute", you're not a lazy, undisciplined soon-to-be-unemployed. You are a "free soul who questions the need of strict deadlines, preferring to keep your options open rather than stick to a fixed plan".
If you strongly agree that " you rarely worry about how your actions affect other people", You're a logical "Ti" Introvert, not an a**hole 😉
It's difficult to turn results into actions to improve yourself
You're left with an inconsistent personality test that does not give you actionable details, sorted into one of 16 cute categories where you're almost never wrong. There's a subreddit circle jerk for every Type.
Personality is important when considering romantic partners. This means there are good and bad personalities. You'll know if someone is narcissistic if they "feel superior to other people". Yes, that was an actual question in the test. And no, according to MBTI, there is no wrong answer.
If you want your dating game (or anything in life) to be more rewarding, change starts with yourself.
So where do we go from here?
I found a viable MBTI alternative that addresses all of its issues. Introducing the "Big Five".
The five broad dimensions go from a scale of 0 to 99. This scale is relative to the general population who also took the test. Each dimension contains several smaller "facets" that also scale from 0 to 99.
If you believe people should be categorised, everybody is a winner, or that "people never change", you won't like what I have next.
This image is from my Big Five test. My average Agreeableness score is 78, but looking at each facet closely shows places that might need improving. The most obvious is Modesty. I boast a lot. Perhaps I should boast less, or at least boast a bit more low-key.
The second most obvious is Morality, which in this test is defined as how direct I am when dealing with others. People who score low make a lot of white lies. People who score high can be blunt. Perhaps my morality is okay where it is, or at least I should try be more direct in a diplomatic way.
A less obvious one is Trust. I trust people too much. If I want fulfill my lifelong dream of being an "edu-preneur", I cannot afford to be ripped off. I need to doubt people's intentions more, because some seed investors might be quite greedy.
This is just 3 of 7 facets, in 1 of 5 dimensions. The Neuroticism dimension in particular is a goldmine. It scores your bad personality traits. Do you see the potential power?
Take me to the tests!
If you want to take the MBTI, here's my personal favourite. It has a detailed report at the end going over your strengths, weaknesses, relationships, and working style. However, I hope this article taught you to take not just a grain, but a sack full of salt when reading your report.
If you've never taken the Big Five, here's my personal favourite. You will know exactly what is measured, how their conclusions are drawn, and whether you agree with the scoring or not. Start making specific moves to improve yourself.