by Yana Kane and Jenna Kriensky, Opinions writers
graphic by Julie Wang
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve received completely random answers from arbitrary online personality quizzes. Whether it’s BuzzFeed quizzes, appearance analyses or Hogwarts house sortings, the questionable results I receive often leave me wondering about the validity of quizzes that promise to give me life-changing insight about myself.
Although personality quizzes are far from accurate, everyone seems to obsess over them: they’ve become a cultural phenomenon. Good job, Gen Z! The growing obsession with quizzes has made me wonder how the results impact people’s perceptions of themselves.
Taking personality quizzes is harmless fun, but when people try to shape themselves into a specific persona an online test gives them or look for validation from other sources, problems occur.
Now, I don’t live by online quizzes — they’re not my Torah — but I do enjoy taking them sometimes. The MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) test compartmentalizes personality based on four theorized dimensions of personality types, as well as 23 more specific aspects they measure of your personality to make your result more accurate, if you answer truthfully.
When I took the MBTI test, it told me that I’m an ISTP (introverted, sensing, thinking, perceiving). I had no idea what this meant, so I relied on a super-accurate and quick Google search to find out that people with ISTP personalities are independent and like to have time alone to contemplate.
The further I scrolled through the internet, the more I convinced myself that I was in fact a model ISTP. With further research, I learned that Amelia Earhart, Steve Jobs and Tom Cruise are examples of famous ISTP personalities. Although I would like to consider myself an accomplished person, I doubt that I have much in common with these legends.
But subconsciously, this association facilitated by the MBTI quiz made me want to emulate the traits of these famous people; I tried to shape myself into them and this personality. This doesn’t mean I tried to learn how to fly planes, invent ground-breaking technology, live solely off of fruit, join the Church of Scientology or anything like that, but I found myself attempting to display the same characteristic traits as an ISTP individual.
As ISTPs are said to be chill and relaxed people, I put on a calm facade, even when I was upset. Sometimes they’re seen as the problem solvers of the group, so I took charge and tried to solve everyone else’s issues. With the weight of other people’s problems weighing heavily on me, I wasn’t able to focus on myself and my personal needs. I let the test influence me, my actions and, eventually, my mental health.
By relying on the test results to tell me who I was, I felt like I could fast-track a whole period of self-discovery in my life — I could just be told who I was, instead of figuring that out for myself. Now, I realize that this period of self-discovery is vital in understanding who I really am.
In the end, I shaped myself to be someone that I’m not. My biggest mistake was trying to find out who I am from external sources, whether from online quizzes or other people. It can take years, even decades, to figure out who you are. But don’t worry because everyone else around you is struggling with it too.
Overall, online quizzes, or any other outward pressures, should never dictate what you base your personality around. I know it seems near-impossible to reach that point, but trust me, it can happen. I am not saying to not take online quizzes anymore, but please, don’t take them seriously. I know it sounds cheesy, but you are “perfect just the way you are,” and since Bruno Mars said it, it has to be true.