Friday, October 3, 2014

Personality Types and Reading

I am a big MBTI personality type lover. Sometimes I feel embarrassed to tell people what my Type is because I think it reveals too much of me too quickly. Once you know my four letters you will understand the how I make the decisions I do, how I view the world, why I love to cheer on others. It affects all areas of my life, because it IS my personality! Thus, it stands to reason, that my personality type affects how I read and what I read.

First, a Googly-sourced graphic:
This grid shows a completely basic idea of what each personality type is like. If you don't know your type, a quick Google search can lead you to LOADS of information. I have consistently tested the same and after much reading (of course), I believe the tests are right. 

Using just this graphic, however, we could still make general conclusions about the books each type prefers. An ISTP, for example, may prefer YA as an individual, but would willing try adult literature, non-fiction, middle grade, etc. ENTPs, when forced to slow down and read :)), would probably choose a book with lots of action, thrillers, or mysteries. Change one letter, ESTPs probably wouldn't prefer science fiction or fantasy. 

Diving deeper into the personality types would, of course, give us even more information. An INTJ is self-confident, perfectionist, and often does what they 'know', or very systematic. I believe they would be very likely to stick to the genres they know and trust. They probably stick with a series from start to finish very faithfully. INTJs are also widely believed to have little patience with talk, flirtation, and the whole romantic processes. They are extremely private and don't 'invite' others in very easily. The generalization I will make here about reading would be that they probably prefer the 'slow burn' relationships. INTJs probably struggle to believe and enjoy the all-to-common these days inta-love. 

So *big breath* I have shared before in quick, and hopefully noticed, ways before: I am INFJ. Because of the combination of the N and F (iNtuition, Feeling), INFJs are widely known to be empathetic bunch of the types. They are often known as 'readers' of people. 

How does this relate to my reading? I think it gives me insight as to why I choose what I read and also influences what I enjoy in a book. As an INFJ, I can easily become too connected to characters when I read. When an author writes a convincing character and a compelling story, I need there to be a happy ending. Whatever is happening to that character is being translated onto my own life. If Character X is having a happy day, I have a happy day. If Character Y is being brutally attacked, I am hiding under my covers terrified. 

This is why I stay away from books that are gory and graphic. The pictures pop too easily in my head and then they stay there forever. Depression and anxiety books are a giant no-no for me because they hit too close to home. Any subject that is sad and depressing, poverty, the slave industry, war, I just can't handle reading about. I do truly care about those subjects. They are huge and important! But if I read about them 1. my heart shatters and/or 2. I place myself into that situation too easily...and get stuck there!

Typical characteristics of an INFJ

So there is a lengthy enough post for ya! 
I would LOVE to know what you think about personality types and reading choices. What is your type?? Do you see ways that it affects what you read? What you don't read?


  1. Lauren @ Books, Tea & MeOctober 3, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    This is so cool! Now I want to see what my personality type is and see how it relates to my reading habits. Great post :)

  2. I'm ISTJ, and I very much identify with my descriptive phrase. I've not seen that graphic before, but it's a perfect, concise description! It's interesting to think of how that relates to the books I like to read, because it is so applicable! I love characters who do what needs to be done- especially when they accomplish their task despite the hurdles. It's so satisfying! The MBTI test is quite uncanny really - it's the only personality test that I think has really worked for me.

  3. I'm an INTJ, and your analysis is pretty spot on-- for me at least. I have a tendency to stick to a handful of genres and I've re-read Harry Potter a zillion times. Romances and insta-love active my gag reflex. I have struggled with staying faithful series that I start, but now that I think of it, those series were usually genres that were out-side the norm.

  4. Oh yeah, I LOVE the MBTI! I just can't believe it took me this long to connect it to my reading life!

  5. Yes! You have to check out the MBTI types and let me know!

  6. Isn't it pretty awesome? I'm sure it won't apply perfectly to everyone, but I think it is really true.

  7. You probably won't be surprised to hear I usually score as an INTJ. ;)

  8. Not completely surprised :) Did I make a good assessment then?