Introduction to the MBTI 2

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So last week I explained the basics of the MBTI. This week I’ll mention the four main groupings:


This group makes up 38 percent of the population. SPs are the life of the party. They tend to be impulsive. They’re charming coversationalists. They like to try new things. Thee people like jobs involving action. They tend to focus on the process, on the doing of a thing. For example, if you have a piano virtuoso who is SP, it’s not because he or she had a goal of becoming a master pianist and dedicated hours to that goal. It’s because this individual enjoyed playing the piano so much, that he or she willingly sat there for hours honing the craft.

Also, if an SP is an actor, it’s because acting is fun, something he or she enjoys. An NF on the other hand becomes an actor because he or she wants to make ART.

SPs are great in a crisis. They tend to do well in positions that require one to examine the situation, and make the correct changes to fix things, regardless of how things have been done in the past.

SPs are pretty athletic and are more laid back in their disposition than others.


Remember that teacher’s pet in your second-grade class? She was probably an SJ. These people want to belong and to earn their place in the group. They tend to be obedient to rules, care deeply about other people, and honor tradition. Like SPs, they account for 38 percent of people.

SJs tend to gravitate toward service professions: teaching, administrative assistants, nursing, and counseling. If they see something that needs to be done, they tend to do it. If the SP is on stage, the SJ is working the lights and designing costumes.

SJs don’t like change. They also tend to be more pessimistic than the SP, who is optimistic by nature.


NTs are intellectual by nature. They are also more introspective than the previous two groups. NTs love knowledge for knowledge’s sake. They thrive on theories. For this reason, NTs are more likely to be found in college classrooms if they’re teaching. They do it because they are passionate about the subject. They like to work in fields related to the discovery and application of principles, such as scientists, engineers, securities analysts, things like that.

If you have a different opinion than an NT, it’s because you’re wrong. NTs can appear arrogant but they are also the most self-critical. You can win over an NT but you have to do it through well-thought out discussions.

NTs make up about 12 percent of the population. They’re very inquisitive. They solve problems in a practical and unsentimental way. They can be oblivious to the feelings of others.


NFs are highly visionary. They’re introspective and are driven self-discovery and self-actualization. Their goal is about becoming the person they can ultimately be. Integrity in action is huge to an NF. They are imaginative and passionate about a few causes. They make up 12 percent of people.

This group despises conflict and tries to smooth things out between family members. They are very compassionate and tend to be good listeners (as long as their minds aren’t caught up in an idea).

Occupations that appeal to the NF include writers, poets, journalists, psychologists, psychiatrists, ministers, and teachers (but as teachers they’ll probably be found in the social scientists and humanities). Knowing how this group tends to go into writing, look at how many books have a theme of discovering oneself. It might surprise you.

Inside of each of these groups are four subgroups. They have subtle differences. It’s worth studying them. But if you do, you’re probably an NF.

Of course, the more entertaining way to do it is by seeing who you would be in Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Doctor Who based on your personality type. I put Doctor Who below because I couldn’t find a good place to link it. WARNING: You might not like the result. Trust me. My daughter was pretty upset to learn she was Emperor Palpatine/Draco Malfoy/The Master.


Next time I’ll finally talk about how we can use this knowledge to make better characters in our novels, and to increase the psychological tension.


One thought on “Introduction to the MBTI 2

  1. Pingback: Giving your characters a personality – thehaversack

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