living with an INFJ

I got a bit overwhelmed yesterday by the sheer volume of books I need to read, and DVDs I have to watch. Over the past few months I’ve amassed a pile of each medium for that mythical period in my life when “I’ll have more time.” Alas, as soon as one pressure is lifted, another usually takes its place. Still, I’m hacking away at a couple of books, though they’re film industry related. I’m enjoying them but they are kind of classified as “work”.

Sometimes, it takes Martin to haul me back on these matters. There is a constant background babble that implies I’m not doing enough, and so I generate a lot of work for myself to belay that sense of inadequacy. Some months ago I promised Martin I would take off one day a week, where I wouldn’t do anything I perceived as “work”, and I would relax.

I’m not very good at it.

When he took me to task about it lately, I blamed it on College. But, that’s probably not the whole truth.

Being a freelancer, and also working on a career that pays off only after a long-term investment of time, effort and money, means that I experience a huge pressure to show results. Any time I’m doing something for a laugh, there’s a creeping anxiety behind it that I’m lazy, and should be using my free time “better.”

It’s a great way to keep myself motivated when I want to achieve goals, but it has its drawbacks.

I’m not so obsessive that I can’t drown out the internal gainsayer that calls me a feckless dosser and tosses rocks (little ones) at my skull, but sometimes I don’t dodge so well.

My desk is beginning to bother me, so it’s time to sort it out. I can only endure a desk with piles of magazines, comics, DVDs, and books (neatly stacked, however) for so long. I had an excuse because of all the papers I had due recently, but that time has past. I need to tidy my desk. I think it is a sign of wanting to get my brain in order. To streamline and declutter it, and prepare it for the next project. I don’t mind my desk, or my house, lapsing into occasional states of untidiness (something I’ve had to train myself to endure), but the longer the situation is protracted, the more it irritates me. The final straw is approaching, and the mess will have to be resolved.

It’s an indicator of my personality type, which is INFJ (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging personality). I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test three times (the third time a couple of minutes ago) and I’m an INFJ each time.

It’s weird reading the definition because some of it describes the way I view the world quite strongly. Apparently the INFJ group is the most uncommon of the personality types, with only 1.5% of the population being so inclined (if you want to believe the statistics). I was amused when I noticed that the common appellation for the group is that of “Author”, “Seer”, or “Counsellor-Idealist”. Though, I’ve never been too keen on the dolphin as the symbol of the group. I’d have preferred something that is less identified with wishy-washy stoners–though, dolphins aren’t that cute, and are capable of some very nasty behaviour; never trust an animal that smiles that much…

Of course, these categories rarely talk about the negative aspect of being an INFJ, which I’m sure, many of my friends could tell me! It is hinted at, in one description I read, that INFJs are prone to personality problems, probably manifesting from some of our more paradoxical impulses (i.e “These bozos are quietly insane; they just hide their freakish notions better than some.”).

The various personality groups remind me that I should remember them when creating characters. It’s an easy shorthand for establishing realistic personalities, because the Myers-Briggs types reflect that people are not straightforward, but often hold contrary opinions. That kind of complexity is important in creating three-dimensional, and real, fictional characters.