Using personality tests for character development

As a resident advisor in college, I had to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. Every year, we took this test. I also took it the two years I was part of the Student Leader Fellowship Program at Northern.

These tests are helpful, obviously, to better know yourself and what motivates you as a person. In programs and jobs that I’ve had in college and beyond, it was crucial to know these things so you can better relate to residents, or peers, or staff members, or students.

I love taking these tests. When I started in college, I was an ENFJ. If you want to learn about the 16 personality types or take your own, check it out here. ENFJs are known for being energetic, creative, and sympathetic people. Two years later, when I was in my first of three senior years and getting more and more annoyed with people, I had a slight shift to INFJ. I wasn’t an extrovert anymore. I could still be energetic and sympathetic, but the biggest difference is that when I need to recharge, I need to do it in a place with few people.

It’s why, I believe, I’m handling this social distancing just fine and dandy, thank you very much.

About a year ago, I learned about enneagram tests, which caught my attention. It relates to our emotions and how they guide how we handle different situations. There are nine types. I’m a three, The Achiever. I know. Most of you are not surprised by that fact.

I don’t want to give away anything about my newest manuscript that I’m really getting into (seriously almost at 20k words in two weeks!), but I thought of my three main characters. They are in a situation where they are surrounded by other teenagers, and they, like most teenagers, are motivated by emotions more so than anything else. I’m just getting to know these characters. In order to know how they would handle certain situations, I decided to run each one through the enneagram test.

Completing the test as the character actually gives you a lot of insight. I don’t want to give much away, but again, you can discover more of these on your own. Before starting the test, I had my characters pegged as three different personality types: Enthusiast, Peacemaker, and Perfectionist. I was actually surprised when I was correct with each of my characters. That let me know that I have an insight into what makes them tick.

What was interesting, however, is that two of them I felt as understanding each other more than the third. That’s not really interesting because that happens in peer groups all of the time. What was truly interesting is that those two characters shared the same second dominant trait. I laughed when I saw that. No wonder they made a connection to each other quicker!

If you want to take these tests for yourself, or if you are struggling to get in the mind of your character (whether it is teenager, grandparent, or mermaid), I highly recommend these tests!

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