Posted by: jt | December 16, 2008

it’s a j-preferenced world (i’d prefer marshmallows, thanks)

Disclaimer: This post assumes a basic knowledge of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I’m too tired and cranky to annotate for you if you lack that. JFGI.

I’m Little Miss Crankypants today. I didn’t get much sleep last night and I’ve just been a little edgy and distracted all day.

I probably didn’t sleep because I was so enraged after my mom told me how my grandpa had stopped taking a medication that had really been helping him, because my grandparents just couldn’t afford it. This is not the first time my grandparents have either stopped taking or independently reduced their dosage of prescriptions because they can’t afford the full amount. My level of fury is beyond coherent sentences about that.

Insert blind rage involving phrases like, “most privileged nation in the world” and “complete travesty” and “goddamn motherfucking stupidass Republicans” and “shame.”

My irksomeness is exacerbated by the fact that I’ve been spending a fair amount lot of time around someone who has an extremely strong j-preference. They’re an INFJ which, despite its apparent rarity, I’ve had both the pleasure and misfortune of knowing quite a few – some of them very well.

Amber is the perfect example of an INFJ who I see as a having well-balanced j-preference. Her “judging” tendencies seem to manifest in that she’s a planner; she likes to have decisions made; she likes for things to be in order (I love the Tweets about her desk needing cleaning).

While Amber is well-balanced in that regard, I’m not. I’m absolutely, unequivocally p-preferenced. I have no natural j tendencies whatsoever. I love nothing more than infinite possibilities and I only make decisions when forced; I function best in a mild state of disarray (but I know exactly where everything is); I drove over 3,000 miles across the country with no set route – I just referenced my map along the way.

I love being p-preferenced, but it’s incredibly frustrating sometimes because it’s just a j-preferenced world. Bills are supposed to be paid on time; plane tickets need to be purchased early for the best prices; deadlines must be met in the workplace.


Some of this I can accept as necessity. Some of it is crap and utterly arbitrary, but I get that I live in a j-preferenced culture. I find it oppressive, but you get used to it.

Some of it.

As an INFP, I’m clashing with this person on the judging vs. perceiving lines. Having spent so much time with INFJs, I almost know their profile as well as my own and it’s all I can do not to point out the painfully cliché traits that are the sign of an INFJ-out-of-balance and are driving me nuts:

May be unaware (and sometimes uncaring) of how they come across to others

Don’t tell me that people think you’re mean and it doesn’t matter. If people think you’re mean, particularly on a frequent basis, then you’re likely being mean. Grow the fuck up and learn how to interact with people nicely. Haven’t you seen the bumper sticker? Mean people suck.

May quickly dismiss input from others without really considering it


May believe that they’re always right

Oh, lord. Guess what, honey, you’re not the only one who’s strongly intuitive and oh my god do not project your judgment on me. As the girl who hates things being “final,” I’m inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt and maybe – just maybe – consider that they may be lacking skills, not intelligence. You’ve got a helluva lot to learn (everyone does) and you’d get there faster if you’d listen instead of dismissing perspectives out of hand.

May be cuttingly derisive and sarcastic towards others

Please see previous on bumper stickers and sucking.

I feel like I’m being inundated with judgment all day long. A seemingly innocuous comment about excitement over snow (not made by me) somehow devolves into preferring winter because people wear more clothes and girls aren’t running around scantily clad and that’s just wrong.

And my head spins.

A comment over the length of someone’s application leads to decisive, repetitive, emphatic urging to reject it out of hand, without considering any possible merits, qualifications or experiences. Oh, and nevermind that you haven’t seen it.

And my head spins.

My natural inclination is to push back and un-judge all of the judgment, but that just leads to continual petty discussions-bordering-on-arguments filled with “cuttingly derisive and sarcastic” comments.

And my head spins.

I just don’t understand. I cannot make sense of thinking that you know what’s right for other people. Why the fuck do you care what other people wear? Why does it offend you if not-your-intern has a page and a half long cover letter? How the hell can you declare what is right or wrong for others?

Stop judging people!!!

[sigh] I’ve been reduced to excessive punctuation.

Tomorrow will be a better day. I will sleep tonight. I will not be Little Miss Crankypants tomorrow.

And, god help me, I will find a way to communicate through the relentless judgment. I will.

I will.



  1. Aw shucks, I’m glad you think I’m well-adjusted.

    And as much as I loved Mr. Men books as I child, I just have to say… SEXIST!!! What about Ms. Women?


  2. Where is your “excessive punctuation” tag??

  3. And one other thought! P-preference or not, I hope you can appreciate that my need to clean my desk on a regular basis is a sanitation thing. Something about the air in my office, my desk accumulates dust more quickly than normal. If I don’t dust on a regular basis my allergies act up, plus it’s just gross. I don’t think cleanliness has anything to do with MBPT!

    Speaking of four-letter acronyms…

    At first, I thought “JFGI” was some kind of inversion of “INFJ,” or something. I also love that for people who don’t know what it means, JFGI is the kind of thing they have to Google. We’ve become recursive.

  4. :D Hey, this is a judgment free zone. I appreciate your need to clean your desk, in general.

    And…I think there are probably some correlations to neatness and j/p preferences. You’re just more likely to notice is something is messy, while (whilst!) I’m more likely to be absorbed in things of far greater importance (to me) and just not realize that it’s dusty. Of course, that flies completely out the window if cleanliness becomes extremely important to me. :-)

    Also, yes, I was stuck in an infinite meta loop the first time I saw “JFGI.” Best. Acronym. Ever.

  5. Oh!!! I added an excessive punctuation tag!!!

    Such thrills…

  6. This reminds me: I wasn’t going to say anything the first time, but I noticed when you posted the picture of Fed that the surface he’s sitting on is dusty.


  7. Heh. Perfect example. That was the back of a bookcase that hadn’t seen light in a year and a half until I started packing. I looked at the dust and thought, Eh, it can wait.


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