Obsessed with the Myers-Briggs quiz? Know every enneagram by heart? Here’s why you love personality quizzes so much – and if they actually work.
If 2018 was the year of the horoscope, 2019 is the year of the personality quiz. Whether it’s uncovering what type of Christmas personality you have or learning what kind of employee you are, it seems like everyone is turning to a quiz to reveal their true self – but it’s not just about self-exploration.
Armed with the knowledge of your personality type, quizzes like the psychologist-created Myers-Briggs test or the more self-guided Enneagram Quiz claim that you can use this information to live your best life possible. By analysing your strongest traits, it’s thought that you can do everything from finally reaching your goals to knowing how to quit sugar, which houseplants you should buy and whether or not you should work from home.
Why do we love personality quizzes so much?
If you thought it’s because we’re all secretly obsessed with ourselves, you’re only half right. Really, it’s because we crave two things: to be understood and to belong.
“People love an easy way to gain insight into their unique patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours,” explains psychologist Mary Hoang from The Indigo Project. “For the same reason some people love astrology, some people love the sense of categorisation personality quizzes provide as they allow us to know ourselves and others a little better.”
When you take a quiz and are given a label or group to fit into, you not only feel understood, you also feel like you’re part of a club. “Some people can feel a sense of belonging and this makes sense,” adds Hoang. “It’s comforting to know that you’re not the only one thinking, feeling or behaving the way you do.”
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How can personality quizzes help you?
According to Hoang, personality quizzes can provide a framework you can use to better interpret yourself. “They should be used as a tool for self-reflection,” she explains. And while personality tests can be used for discovering simple things like what kind of pizza you are or what sex position you like best, they can also be used for more meaningful insights like these:
They boost your self-awareness
“The most useful aspect of personality quizzes is their ability to draw your attention to certain parts of yourself,” explains Hoang. “When you answer questions thoughtfully and objectively, you can develop a little more awareness into some of the deeper parts of yourself – what your needs and wants might be and how your thoughts, feelings and behaviours change depending on context.”
For example, if you’ve always felt nervous in big crowds and never known why, a personality quiz might reveal that you’re a little introverted. Or, if you have a habit of saying yes before asking for details, a quiz might reveal that you’re impulsive – or that you’re a people-pleaser. By understanding why you do or feel certain things during particular situations, you can either avoid them or seek them out, and you can also make more informed choices.
They highlight your strengths and weaknesses
Another major benefit of taking a personality quiz is that it can reveal what you’re good at and where you need a little help. “Quizzes can draw your attention to aspects of your personality that can help drive you forward and also better understand the aspects that are holding you back,” says Hoang.
Take this for instance: If you’re stuck in a job that requires a lot of admin and number-crunching but a personality quiz reveals that you’re a creative type who likes to lead, you might realise you’re better suited to another career. “Understanding your strengths allows you to invest more energy into these areas and it might even guide you towards particular vocations or hobbies that might align well with those strengths,” adds Hoang.
Of course, understanding your weaknesses is just as important. “When you can identify the areas in which you fall short, you can actively work on improving them or surround yourself with people who are more adept,” Hoang tips.
They help you understand others
“As you experience life through your own individual lens, personality quizzes can be handy in understanding the world from another person’s perspective,” notes Hoang. “You might never think, feel or behave in a certain way, so it can be hard to relate to someone who does.”
By learning about other personality types, though, you’re better able to empathise with people and feel more compassionate towards them, which means you’ll more clearly understand why someone has a different reaction or opinion to you and be able to identify their own triggers and needs.
A word of warning
At the end of the day, a personality quiz is just a quiz. It can’t replace an in-depth session with a qualified psychologist and it also can’t reveal everything about you – you’re a lot more nuanced than a multiple choice test could ever show!
“While most people do have enduring traits and characteristics, it’s important to recognize that you’re also quite flexible. We all possess the capacity to change and grow, and just because a quiz has labelled you an introvert doesn’t mean you have to ditch your dreams of singing in a rock band or becoming a great public speaker,” notes Hoang.
How obsessed with personality quizzes are you really?
Read the below scenarios and give yourself one point for every statement you agree with. The more points you score, the more obsessed you are!
1. You include your enneagram or Myers-Briggs personality type on your Instagram and Tinder bio
2. You’ve used a personality quiz to find out what kind of pizza topping best suits you more than once
3. You know what an enneagram or Myers-Briggs personality quiz actually is.
4. You try to answer personality quizzes for your friends to better understand them.
5. You also tell your friends what their personality type is and explain how they can better reach their potential.
6. You’ve seriously reconsidered applying for a job because the skill set didn’t match up with your personality type.
If you scored…
0-2: You’re nowhere near obsessed
You’re probably a horoscope cynic and the only personality quizzes you take are the ones used by potential employers. While it’s great that you don’t want to be put in a box, try to remember that most quizzes just want to draw your attention to aspects of yourself you haven’t thought about.
3-4: You’re mildly obsessed
You wouldn’t base a life-changing decision on the results of a quiz but you’d definitely think about it. You’re open to learning more about yourself and seeing where you fit in the world but you also don’t believe that a quiz can know everything about you. You know you’re way more complicated!
5-6: You’re seriously obsessed
You’ve taken more quizzes than you can count and can recognise enneagram acronyms from a mile away. While your dedication is impressive, remember that a quiz can’t capture the true depth of who you are. Know that people can change and that you don’t have to agree with everything you read – it’s okay to be unique!