The ability to deal with people effectively is one of the most useful skills you can possess. Knowing how a person thinks and having a general idea what some of their driving motivations are, will provide you with an edge in any form of communication with them. In reality, this ability may very well be the most important thing you will ever learn. Psychology is very powerful and extremely flexible in its practical applications. In this article we are going to look at some of the key concepts of personality and how they can be used by writers to create believable characters and at the same time provide a tool for interaction with people.
Personality is usually quite distinct and when you think about the people you know you will discover that their actual personalities will vary quite a bit. How you deal with these personalities also varies as what may work for one friend could actually have the opposite effect on a different friend. Usually, you have figured it out mostly by trial and error and maybe a lot of hurt feelings along the way. There is a tool that I use that makes the whole process much more efficient than simple trial and error and it gives a pretty good idea how specific personality types will react to specific situations. The tool which I like to use is referred to as the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
MBTI has been around for a very long time, in fact it was based off of a publication that was first published all the way back in 1921 by a pioneering psychologist named Carl Jung. Despite being around for a very long time, it is still very relevant because people are still pretty much the same on a psychology level today as they were in 1921. Obviously there are different stimuli nowadays, but how we react to given situations has not really fundamentally changed. The sixteen personality types that MBTI breaks down for us are just as useful today as they were back then.
MBTI provides you with a four letter personality type that is based on your preferences between four specific dichotomies. The first is extrovert (E) versus introvert (I), then Sensing (S) versus Intuition (N), thinking (T) versus feeling (F), and finally judging (J) versus Perception (P). When you measure where a person’s personality fits for each of these four categories, you are left with one of sixteen possible combinations. I am an introverted intuitive thinking judger or more simply stated, an INTJ. When I was first introduced to my personality type, I found it very useful as I could learn more about the INTJ’s and surprisingly discovered that a lot of what was written for my personality indicator was like a blueprint for how I think.
Once you have a good understanding of your own personality indicator, you can expand your understanding to various other personality types and in the process gain access to the blueprints for how others will behave based on their personality types. Obviously you will not know ahead of time what a person’s specific personality type is but with study and practice you can learn how to eyeball a person’s rough personality profile which will greatly improve your interactions with them. For example, the easiest one to figure out is whether or not the person is introverted or extroverted which then narrows the sixteen personality types down to eight. It is then a pretty easy step, for me to figure out if they are a feeler or a thinker which narrows the types down to four. If for instance, I have already discovered that the person is an extroverted feeler, I already know that they are going to appeal to an emotional approach whereas if they were an introverted thinker, a more factual non emotional approach would be more effective.
I have only just scratched the surface of this topic and for someone being introduced to MBTI for the first time, I would recommend that you just focus on yourself for now. Take the test, find out your MBTI type and do some reading on it. Self-discovery is always a good thing in my opinion. In the next personality article I am going to go in much more depth about using this as a tool for character creation for the writers and some general how to interact with people concepts for social media and live face to face meetings.
Candace Mountain is the author of the supernatural thriller The Daughter of Man which is available on Amazon for the kindle or as a trade paperback. Candace is also one of the major contributors for the digiLAUNCH project due out in 2012.Pin It