Believable Characters, Part 2

Thanks for coming back to this deliciously useful series on creating believable characters. I’m pulling from several sources, but mostly Jeff Gerke’s book Plot vs. Character and David Keirsey’s book Please Understand Me II. Today’s post includes quite a bit of info from The Myers & Briggs Foundation website. In my last post, I listed the eight parts that going into making a full personality. Today I’m going to define half the terms. I’ll hit the other half in the next post.

The four parts are:

1.  Extrovert (E) or Introvert (I)
2.  Sensing (S) or Intuitive (N)
3.  Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
4.  Judgment (J) or Perception (P)

Let’s jump into the definitions.

1.  The first pair, extrovert or introvert, deal with where people put their attention and get their energy. (Note: for all of these, everyone experiences both patterns, but everyone leans more toward one than the other.)

Extrovert: Someone who is expressive and outgoing, who re-energizes by being with other people (the more the merrier). Someone who feels at home in the world and loves to make things happen. When faced with a problem, extroverts feel the need to talk about it, preferably with lots of people. They are more likely to jump into a project without allowing enough time to think it over.

Introvert: Someone who is reserved and seclusive, who re-energizes by being alone and dealing with ideas, pictures, memories, and internal workings. Introverts don’t necessarily avoid crowds, but they feel more comfortable in small groups or alone. They take time to reflect on ideas and are careful making decisions. They often enjoy the idea more than experiencing the real thing. They prefer having a few, close friends then making tons of friends they don’t know very well.

2.  The second pair, sensing or intuitive, deal with how people deal with incoming information. 

Sensing: Someone who is highly observant to the physical reality around them and what they see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. They are concerned with what is actual, present, current, and real. They notice facts and remember details. They look for the practical use of things and enjoy learning, and experience is the best way to learn. They work through problems by examining all the facts. They don’t always see possibilities.

Intuitive: Someone who is introspective or highly imaginative, who pays more attention to impressions or the meaning and patterns rather than the information itself. They work through problems by thinking them through, as opposed to hands-on. They’re interested in new things and what might be possible. They love to speculate on the future. They work with symbols and abstract theories. They are likely to remember events more as impressions than what actually happened. They are excellent at “reading between the lines” and envisioning new possibilities. 

That should keep you thinking until my next post, when I’ll cover thinking/feeling and judgment/perception.


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