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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cleaning up our MBTI® language – I am a Thinker?

Written by Catherine Rains

For the next three weeks, we’re going to look at ways to bring our type language into the 21st century. Let’s start with the phrases “I am a Thinker”, or “He is Perceiver” to describe someone’s type preference. I have to admit I am guilty of using these phrases myself, particularly before I become a MBTI® Certification trainer, or even now when I’m talking very fast and just forget the new rules for talking type.

Sometimes it just seems natural to use these phrases to describe someone’s preference for a particular dichotomy; however it is now considered outdated. Try this instead – “I have a preference for Thinking”, or “He prefers Thinking”. Why are these phrases considered best practice when describing someone’s preference? When I describe myself as a Perceiver, it implies that this is all I am, putting me in a type box. With type, we always have a choice to flex to the other side, and have skills to use both sides of a preference pair. So I’m not JUST a Perceiver. I prefer Perceiving, and easily and effortlessly exhibit behaviors associated with this preference, but this is not all that I am. I often use behaviors associated with Judging when the situation calls for these skills, and am actually quite talented at doing so. So to describe myself as a Perceiver just isn’t accurate and it implies that this is the totality of who I am. Although hard to get used to at first, this newer phraseology better reflects the philosophy and intent behind using type to improve our everyday interactions.

Ever heard the phrases “I am an off the chart Extrovert” or “he is a huge Judger” to describe someone’s preference? Stay tuned for this topic next week as we continue our discussion around cleaning up type language.

1 comment:

  1. I'd also welcome some thoughts on correcting or addressing those "he's a huge Introvert!" kinds of comments when others make 'em. Those comments make me uncomfortable but I never know quite what to do....