My personality traits don’t determine my destiny, they inform it.
If you listen to Anne Bogel’s podcast What Should I Read Next or read her blog Modern Mrs. Darcy, you’re probably aware that she’s more than a little into personality. (And if you don’t know who Anne Bogel is, for shame! Just kidding. But seriously, go check out her blog and podcast. They are very well done!) Before Anne, I wasn’t really aware of all the personality typing books and programs out there, aside from whatever quiz we were made to take in high school that supposedly told us what job we would be good at. Now? I’m fascinated.
Anne’s book, Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, is no boring textbook. It is a primer that covers the basics of the most popular personality typing systems and why they can be helpful. And not just for understanding yourself, but understanding your family and friends, and how to communicate better with them. She has done all the hard work of extensively researching popular personality frameworks (such as the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, and the Five Love Languages) and putting the most important information in a book that is, honestly, fun to read. And quite enlightening.
As I read the book, I kept thinking, “yes, yes, yes, this is me, and this explains a lot.” (And in case you’re wondering, I’m an INFJ, enneagram 2.) Anne is a talented writer, and she explains that different personalities, and how we often mis-type ourselves, so well. For example, I’ve been told for most of my life that because I was involved with theatre and choir and wasn’t shy onstage that I was an outgoing extrovert. So I always wondered if something was wrong with me because I really prefer staying home with my family to going out, often have to talk myself into going out with friends (not because I don’t want to see them, but because I would just rather be at home), and have anxiety over making phone calls to strangers. Turns out, I’m not crazy, weird, or an extrovert. I’m an introvert who happens to be comfortable on a stage. (You really can’t see the audience when those blinding lights are on.) If I had realized this earlier, I think it would have helped me make some different decisions, or at least make more informed decisions. I identified with almost zero extroverted traits, and almost all the introverted ones, and that was eye-opening.
In addition to realizing some important things about my own personality, I was able to learn how to better communicate with people who have different personality types than my own. Knowing where I’m coming from, personality wise, and understanding where another person may be coming from, has already helped me become less frustrated. (And I’m sure helped my family become less frustrated with talking to me!)
For me, Reading People was life changing, and I don’t say that about many books. Anne makes all the personality types and research incredibly accessible, when all of that information can be overwhelming due to the sheer volume of it. Her insights in mis-typing yourself because of environment or how other people have typed you are worth their weight in gold alone. If you have always thought of yourself in a certain way, and don’t understand why you don’t quite fit into your environment, or never really connected with the type you thought you were, this book is for you. It will help you understand more about your own personality, as well as those around you.
Another thing I love about Reading People is that you don’t have to read straight through. You can pick and choose the chapters that are interesting to you, only read about your specific type, and then go back and read some more if you want more information. It is truly a great resource.