MBTI shifts over time | INFJ Forum

MBTI shifts over time


Regular Poster
Apr 12, 2024
I have heard that it's not uncommon for these metrics to change across time. I'm curious if anyone here has any experience with this.

The last time I took the MBTI (16personalities - unsure if there's a better free alternative) I was firmly in all four INFJ categories. This was back in 2021. I'm so glad I had the foresight at the time to take a screenshot of the breakdown.
97% Introverted, 64% Intuitive, 65% Feeling, 57% Judging, (63% Turbulent)

My most recent taken last week has me much farther out on the J, but sitting pretty close to 50% on both N and F.
100% Introverted, 55% Intuitive, 51% Feeling, 82% Judging, (67% Turbulent)

There is zero doubt in my mind that I am an introvert and always have been. But the way in which the other three dimensions all shifted over the past three years seems interesting. I've been finding myself wondering over the past week if I took this assessment again three years from now if the trends might continue in a similar direction. I've looked over the INTJ details and that feels similarly in alignment - especially when I think about approaches that I take at work.

Probably back to overthinking, but I've found myself considering how the work sphere may have helped shape this, and how more often over the past few years I've found myself having to be aware of and separate myself from my feelings about various things. I think foster care - and probably parenting in general - forces one to put his/her feelings to the side as well. There have been a lot of events that have taken place where it feels like a recurring theme has been "there are feelings and those matter, but they are not painting the whole picture."

It is also fascinating to me that the Judging piece ramped up as much as it did. I was perusing the "J vs P differences" sticky thread and musing over some of the examples given. In the way of an anecdote, one thing my wife does is sets timers and works on Task A until the timer goes off, then immediately shifts to Task B and resets the timer. Then back to Task A. And she adheres to this very rigidly. There have been times where the dishwasher is 97% empty and there's maybe two glasses left that need to be put away, but they will remain there for the next 20-30 minutes until she's back on "kitchen time". Leaving a task undone right at the finish line like this just feels monumentally wrong to me. It hasn't prompted arguments or anything - we're pretty accepting of one another's differences. But I'm as confused by this as she is of some of my own behaviors - like the desire to complete one thing before moving on to something else. Like in my mind it's like, "You didn't want to put those last two glasses away and have that mental checklist list item ticked off before restarting your timer?"

Is any of this relatable in any way?
It's more likely that your self conception has shifted due to new roles.
Cognitive functions don't really change in that short amount of time.
There is evidence of minimal change over an entire lifespan but actual type change may be observed say from childhood to age 70+
Or alternatively it may be altered slightly through trauma.
MBTi doesn't really do a good job of reflecting actual behaviors, only general principals of self conception.
So you'll answer differently based on various circumstances and stressors in your life and get different results.
This makes a lot of sense. My kneejerk thought is that it has me wondering if there's some value to re-taking the assessment periodically over time and calculating the averages. I imagine mood, stressors, time of day, week vs. weekend, energy levels, moon phase, astrological sign, etc. could all play a role in how the questions are answered.
Don't forget to also account for animal stampedes and rain dances, amirite @Asa
This makes a lot of sense. My kneejerk thought is that it has me wondering if there's some value to re-taking the assessment periodically over time and calculating the averages. I imagine mood, stressors, time of day, week vs. weekend, energy levels, moon phase, astrological sign, etc. could all play a role in how the questions are answered.
You probably won't get a lot of objective value out of retaking the tests over and over. The trouble is that our answers are biased by all sorts of things, including our social environment and its predominant type patterns. As we go further into understanding MBTI other biases come into play, such as having too much understanding of how the questions relate to the predicted type, and our own emotional identification with or rejection of particular types.

There's all sorts of reasons why the questionnaires give you different results over time, not least of which is how accurate they are constructed intrinsically. A good way to get more accurate results is to get hold of a couple of good books that explain the theory and how it relates to the way each of the 16 types experiences the world, then with some introspection you can start to settle on which one is your nearest match. Something to watch out for is that some of the functions are quite difficult to grasp conceptually. Introverted Intuition is one of these and the way it's described online and in the literature can sound different from a real life inner experience of it. I found that I related pretty strongly to things like the patterning and the use of metaphor that comes with Ni, but the real supporting indicator for me was actually Se - it's so very obviously my inferior and I go around in a dream a lot of the time :tearsofjoy:. You may find it helpful to look for your inferior as a support for what you think is your dominant.

Another thing that biases us is a sort of prejudice. I come from the boomer generation, and for us Fe seems like a female characteristic at first sight - in fact that prejudice goes back into the depths of time and Jung himself seems to have thought along similar lines. This is nonsense of course and is much less an issue for later generations, but even so there are other biases. Perhaps an insidious one these days is to think of S as being of intrinsically inferior intelligence to N which again is nonsense - all these things can affect the way we subconsciously answer the MBTI questionnaires. These biases can carry over into how we relate to the literature as well.

A good way to get rid of bias and seek out your true type is through social contact. The forum is a good place to meet other INFJs, for example, and you can explore here how your own orientation matches theirs. When I joined a few years ago, I wasn't sure if I understood and related to Fe correctly and one of my aims was explore it here. I found that this social contact was really important in settling INFJ as my best fit type. Again, I must stress that the problem is not so much grasping the bare bones but understanding what the key functions feel like on the inside so we can match our own orientation to the right ones.
Interestingly, an acquaintance is an MBTI coach and mentioned shifting types recently. She claimed her type changes according to the strengths she needs to focus on for different roles, but that she has a core type. Her core type is based on the one she tests with most often and her understanding of the functions. She's recently been using the test to monitor her functions, rather than her overall type.

Depending on your stage of life, relationships, job, environment, and what others are demanding from you, the percentages of each function could shift. How you perceive that function also affects the test.

Something else I often see is people who flip to different types when they're in the grip and mistake that type for their real type.
I type as ENFP, but when in a state of nonintegrated trauma, active drug addiction, and unmedicated ADHD (long past), I will type as INFP. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯