This is Part 2 of a two-part interview with Hunter Nuttall, discussing his e-book The Personality Puzzle: Understanding What Makes People Tick.
I know you like to figure out the types of those around you. Has your life at work and with friends and family improved since you’ve learned this? Do they sometimes get mad at you for “analyzing” them? 🙂
Oh, I never analyze people out loud, unless they’re already knowledgeable about the MBTI. The kind of well-meaning analysis you do with the MBTI is far more constructive than the judgmental analysis we’re subjected to every day, but people don’t know that.
Most people are very resistant to being labeled, thanks to all the people who have misused labels in the past. I think we’ve all had the unfortunate experience of being labeled with the word “introvert” by someone who was using it to box us in, or dismiss us, or condemn us.
Of course, the truth is that being an introvert is not a bad thing! And as such, “introvert” is not a bad word when used by someone who understands what it means. We can’t eliminate labels (try going for a whole day without using any nouns), but we need to be careful about making sure our intentions aren’t misunderstood.
As for figuring out the types of people around me, I’ve found that it helps tremendously in getting along with them. Because everyone has certain aspects of their personality that we don’t like at times.
It really helps to be able to see that they’re not trying to be difficult, but merely acting in accordance with their personality type. They’re doing what comes naturally to them, and may not even realize that it’s creating friction with us.
Also, we might not realize that our own type influences how we perceive other people. In other words, “It’s not you, it’s me” is sometimes true, because communication is a two-way street.
Finally, it really helps to see someone’s personality traits as flip sides of the same coin. For example, you might appreciate that someone is always calm and gentle around you. Then you might get frustrated when they can’t be tough and assertive when you want them to.
But it’s not fair to expect someone to change their personality whenever you think they should. People are what they are, and we have to take the good with the bad. Whatever you appreciate about someone, you also need to accept the downside that comes with it.
We have a really nice community of introverts here. As a successful, happy introvert, is there anything you’d like to tell them?
Although we’re outnumbered and misunderstood, don’t ever think of introversion as a handicap. Every personality type has pros and cons, so just accept this and go with what you are.
Being an introvert didn’t stop Jim Morrison from becoming a rock star, or Barack Obama from becoming president, or Johnny Carson from becoming a live TV host. And these are fields that aren’t exactly made for introverts, so imagine what you can do in a field that is.
Actually, nobody is completely introverted anyway. Being an “introvert” simply means that your dominant MBTI function is introverted. But every introvert’s auxiliary function is extraverted. It’s the psyche’s attempt to balance itself, since nobody can ignore either the internal or external world completely.
I used to feel the need to defend introversion as a valid personality type, hence my post “The Introverts Strike Back”. But now I’ve gotten that out of my system.
Today, I spend more time thinking about how I can better get along with people who are different from me, without having to change myself. If you’re an introvert, you can be proud to be one, but don’t think of extraverts as the enemy.
Just as with Part 1, Hunter will be around to respond to your comments, and also please remember to Digg, Stumble, Tweet, and otherwise share this if you like it!