My latest foray into being reminded of my MBTI type has sparked kind of an obsession with typing. Probably because I never, not once, in all the 13+ years since I was originally exposed to it, thought to wonder if I was a rare type. It just…never occurred to me that types were not spread evenly across the population. Turns out, they’re not. Some types claim as much as 15-17% of the population (nearly 1 in 5!) while others hover at 2%.
I am, apparently, the rarest subtype of all: an INTJ female (approximately 0.5% of the US population, thus approximately 1% of the female population, thus encountered at a rate of approximately 1 in 100 females). I may not be one in a million, but one in a hundred is still pretty slim odds. I am not sure I could name 99 other women I know well enough to be sure I was seeing their real personality (versus the construct they create for non-intimates), and I would guess that most men couldn’t, either. So while it might lack the romance of the hyperbole, in practical terms “not one woman in a hundred” is quite hard to find.
A sub-Reddit exists for 2X-INTJ’s, and reading through the posts there has been quite revalatory for me. It confirms my type–so many of the things they talk about are things I have experienced too many times to count (being accused of having A Look, getting looked at like you’re an alien, having people react negatively to your directness,having no problem speaking to someone “higher up the foodchain” when you have an idea, being confused by normal social interactions, being bored by other women, getting along much better with men, and on and on), and 90% of the perspectives expressed on work, friendship, relationships, felt like I could have written them–but also tells me that I am not nearly as far on the T spectrum as many INTJ women. This is consonant with how I tested, which was something like 100% preference for introversion, 57% for intuition, 5% for thinking, and 20% for judging.
Someone had posted a link to an article about INTJ females in pop culture, and how Katniss from The Hunger Games trilogy and Hermione from the Harry Potter series present the two paths for INTJ, Scientific (Katniss) and Creative (Hermione). There is some contention on the main INTJ forum about whether Hermione really is INTJ, or if she is ISTJ or INFJ. Personally, I would classify her as an INTJ who has strong development of the tertiary function (feeling), but maybe that’s projecting because I have felt since book 1 that Hermione was pretty much exactly like me. Not just in the positive ways of being really smart and logical and loyal, but also the obnoxious classroom behavior of being a know-it-all and a teacher’s pet and not having any friends and constantly reading and correcting people…yeah. I really liked the article and its presentation of two types. I am definitely the Creative type as described (and not just for the obvious reason of being an author)–the part that particularly hit me was about wanting to free people from intellectual chains. I’m passionately libertarian and often write posts (politics aside) aimed at getting people to re-think the structures around them, whether they are socio-political or current accepted formula in romance novels.
I have blogged before about being concerned that I’m making a bunch of characters exactly like me. I have no intention of trying to fabricate the experience of being another type, but I do think being aware of my own type and its tics and tells can help me avoid writing characters who are all the same (AKA, me). Or, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good As It Gets, “I just think about what I would do and then take all logic and accountability away.” There it is–the perfect formula for writing ESFP’s. 🙂