Thursday, November 14, 2013

On "Faking" Type

I periodically hear people, (especially INTJs and INTPs) claim that they can often act like a chameleon "pretending" to be the type they need to be. I think this is overstated and that most people don't fake it as well as they think they do.

Generally speaking, our less conscious functions tend to be blind spots. We just aren't as good at them or develop them as easily. Those of us that are introverts are especially at a disadvantage since, being more focused on their inner world than outer circumstances, we aren't quite as smooth in reading the social aspect of their environment. Of all types, introverts with thinking are slowest in this regard, since they also aren't as oriented to tap into others' values and feelings.

The things is, even when we know the "rules" we still have to decide when in ambiguous situations. Say, for example, an NT wants a job that happens to require interpersonal sensitivity (teaching, managing a social service agency, etc). They may be able to "play" NF well enough to get the job. At some point, though, there will be decisions where the expected course of action is unclear. In those, they'll automatically fall back on their own preference. They'll only be aware that they've acted contrary to what's expected when there's some sort of fall out or an anonymous method of evaluation in place. If no one communicates feedback directly, however, they may not be aware that they aren't successfully conforming to the prevailing preference of their given environment.

What I think can happen is that family environments can cause someone to develop certain tendencies, learning styles, or interests more often associated with another preference ( e.g. an INFP raised by ISTJs seeming like a sensing type at first glance). This usually is less deliberate, though, and the person will still display contradictory characteristics as the socialized behavior may conflict with natural inclinations.

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