Being an Advocate (INFJ-A)

About a month ago I found this site (https://www.16personalities.com/) which has a really simple and fast, yet accurate, personality type test. First I dismissed the test as ‘just another mediocre personality test’ as I only saw my results in numbers—e.g. I was 68% introverted. This didn’t tell me anything new and I closed the site. Later that day a friend started talking about the same site and how closely they profile matched their values. I was quite confounded as I never saw any such information on the site. Immediately after going back to my room (I live in a corridor) I checked the site again. Sure enough there was quite a lot of information about the 16 different personality types. I read about INFJ’s, also known as the Advocate, personality profile and I’d say about 90% of my personality matched. However, I tend to think myself more a thinking than feeling type so I checked out INTJs profile just to be sure how accurate it was. I must say I was quite surprised; the profile didn’t match at all and didn’t feel like me—notice how I say it didn’t feel like me, although I didn’t think of that at the time. I went on to check other profiles that I thought would closely match my personality, but none of them matched my personality.

I discovered a few new things about myself when read the profile and afterwards I decided to buy the full profiles for all personality types—I like to know how different people work, in addition I think they will be a great resource when I’ll write a fictional novel. So now I’m reading the full profile about advocates. Apparently I’m not so analytical that I thought, at least not when it comes to making decisions. Advocates are still good at analyzing and grasping abstract ideas and concepts, but also synthesize a bigger picture from all details. We’re not as good dealing with detail information directly, i.e. various facts, we need to put the facts into some context for them to make sense. This explains why I always had an easy time in school grasping bigger concepts, but never was fond of memorizing facts or just learning something here and there, I wanted meaning in what I learned. I can now see that not everyone is like me and there is actually some merit in learning details, even for an advocate.

That was a long tangent… Anyhow, I usually go with the things that feels right, if something doesn’t feels right it’s wrong (for me) to do. This has more to do with actions and principles than ideas, as I’m quite open to exploring different views (although they might not be my own). Although exploring or thinking about different views that I don’t agree with usually comes with some difficulties. There aren’t many people that understand that I’m not sharing the view I’m argumenting for, even though I constantly reminding them. In those situations I can feel their distaste for me. The reason I can argument for different views is that I want to find ‘the truth’. A friend of mine phrased it like (paraphrased):

When I’m argumenting for racism and nationalism but in the end fail to find any good arguments to support their claims I’m more certain that I actually have the ‘right’ beliefs.

This is part of the advocate’s and my nature: To have and follow principles we’ve tested and that rings true to us. Usually such principles are empathic as advocates are quite one of the more empathic personality types. We can, however, tend be a bit naïve and think that everything could be solved if there were more love in the world 😛

Another thing that intrigues me is that apparently I’m not supposed to find any interest in technology, computer science, or programming; instead I should be more interested in philosophy and social sciences. I think this has something to do with me growing up close to friend who was a computer nerd, which I totally also am. But even before that I was very interested in computers and games, I was fascinated by what you could do with them and how they worked. I feel at home when I create apps and programs that make my life easier. But the more I think about it I find it more fun to actually create things that are useful, either for me or preferably for many people. This aligns quite well with that advocates want to make a contribution to the world and help people, even through art. I guess games (and maybe apps) are some sort of art in this sense.

Still, I’m very interested in social sciences and I’ve even thought of becoming a teacher or psychotherapist—professions the full profile states as ‘ideal’ for advocates. They seem fun and challenging and maybe I’ll become a teacher or psychotherapist in a decade or so, who knows? For now though, I find programming is challenging and fun 🙂

We also have many grand ideas, that sometimes (mosttimes?) aren’t very practical. We like discussing ideas and abstracts things, usually plan create a plan but not a very detailed and practical plan. I still remember some of my early plans where I planned to be the best player in a game called Tibia. I planned that by month 3 months I will be this great, then by month 6 I will be super awesome. I decided how many hours I would have to play to get there (very rough and extremely inaccurate). I was so hyped by the fact that I was going to be the best player in Tibia and quite soon (in 1 year). Of course this didn’t work out very great at all 😛 Still I was 100% convinced that I could do this, and in one way I still am, just that I miscalculated a little and that this actually wasn’t my dream.

I tend to have this grand ideas and dreams quite often, usually when I really get into something. It could be that I feel like I could be the best piano player in the world. That I could start an organisation to help all beggers in Lund (where I live). I was quite close to creating an organisation, but someone else started that organisation just before me and then it wasn’t that interesting anymore. Advocates generally prefer creating some big change through an idea rather than volunteering. At first I was quite bogged down why I wasn’t interested in volunteering as I saw it as doing something good. Now I know why I’m not interested in it, which in turn makes me feel more at peace. I’ll probably try it one somewhere down the road as I like to try out everything.

There are only two things that don’t match very well with my personality type. I’m more like an analyst when it comes to comforting someone. I.e. I usually use logic and reason when comforting someone or helping, when they in fact just want someone to listen to, hold them and say it’s OK. I’m trying to be more of this but it’s usually hard as I’m not that physical with people I don’t have a really close relationship with, although I want to be more physical with everyone.

The other thing that doesn’t match is that I’m supposed to be a good orator (in addition to writing) and usually talk a lot. I’m not that good at talking and I’m usually the person that talks the least in a room. However, I can be very persuasive as I know what makes people tick (another advocate attribute) although I could never use it for personal gains. Or I could use it for personal gains for small things, e.g. if I want someone to watch a certain movie with me I can be very persuasive why they should watch it with me if I think they could like it.

If you want to know more about my personality type you can check out the Advocate’s personality page. Or maybe you want to try the 12 minute personality test yourself.

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