What I Learned About People From Personality Tests

Updated February 10, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Laura Angers

Personality tests are assessments that are thought to reveal something about the person who takes them; and they can be useful to people individually or in groups. If you are ready to learn more about yourself and the people close to you in your life, keep reading.

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Why Do We Take Personality Tests

Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to "find" themselves, so it makes sense that eventually, someone would develop personality tests. Taking personality tests can be a great way to learn more about yourself and others. With a history that reaches back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, personality tests have evolved greatly since their creation. Ranging from quantifiable assessments done by psychologists to those of the teen-magazine variety, there are so many options available, regardless of the time limit, familiarity, and focus.

Even though they can simply be fun to take on your own, or maybe during a night at home with some friends, the revealing and thought-provoking results often give greater insight into the type of person you are, as well as the person you are trying to be.

Personality tests are also used frequently by workplaces to figure out how employees may interact with each other. These tests can assess what department someone might be suited to join, whether that person is a natural leader, and how an individual will respond to conflict. However, on a more personal level, you, too, can use personality tests to look deeper into your relationships and social interactions. After taking personality tests with my friends and family, I have learned so much from my  results. Through these results, I have grown to understand my family far better, from their needs and wants to their behaviors and fears.

However, before jumping into the interpersonal benefits of personality tests, you might be wondering how you can find accurate personality tests, what the best personality testing methods are, and how the results of these tests can change your life.

Types Of Personality Tests

There are so many personality tests out there that it can be difficult to figure out what the best personality testing method will be, and which tests will be the most accurate. It can be daunting to get started, but I've collected a short list of well-known personality tests that will start your journey into understanding.

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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): The first test on the list is probably what most people think of when personality tests come to mind. I took it for the first time in a high school health class, and by the time most people enter the working world, they have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) at least once. People who take the test can expect to be given one of the 16 personality types; the types themselves are broken down into four letters that indicate a variety of things about their personalities. How introverted or extroverted someone is, the way a person processes information, how decisions are made, and how someone interacts with the world are all things that someone taking the MBTI can expect to learn.

The Big Five: Used commonly in the business world, the Big Five Personality test is a highly respected test that measures five personality traits. People like to refer to these traits as OCEAN: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. This test explores how people interact with their environment and the people around them, which also makes it useful in the workplace.

Enneagram: The Enneagram is made up of nine personality types. Numbered one through nine, these results can help you understand the motives behind your friends' actions. Focused on the reasons behind people's behavior, this test dives deep into individuals' fears, anxieties, and inspirations, so beware: this test can be pretty revealing!

The Most Accurate Personality Test?

Personality tests can often take up a lot of time with their pages of questions; and when combined with the emotional toll of all that soul-searching, people are often wary of these types of assessments. Others simply doubt the accuracy of these tests, relegating them to the realm of fortune-tellers and tarot cards.

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It makes sense, then, that people would want to know that they are using the best personality testing method, or at least an accurate personality test that will truly reveal something about them.

Despite being one of the most well-known tests out there, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is not as trendy as it has been in the past, leaving people unclear as to whether it is truly the most accurate personality test available. Even so, it is still widely used in work environments, and is often considered to be one of the more accurate tests available.

However, the Big Five and the Enneagram are becoming more and more noteworthy as accurate ways to learn about the people in your life and how your personality meshes with theirs. In particular, businesses have recently begun veering toward the Big Five as a way to screen potential employees and find their strengths, which may support its accuracy. The Enneagram is also lauded for its usefulness as a tool for self-discovery and self-improvement.

As you can see, different personality tests are often considered more useful or accurate within a certain context, or when applied to a specific purpose. If you want a broad picture of your personality, it might be best to take a variety of personality tests and analyze your results for the areas of overlap. Over time, you will gain a better understanding of yourself, which may help you spot the most accurate personality tests.

What I Learned

My sister is a big personality test enthusiast, so she often sits me down with my mom and dad to take some new personality test. Even though I balked at first, personality tests became a way that our family could communicate about the things that were bothering us. Rather than randomly exploding at someone about their behavior, we could use the results to express our concerns in a nonjudgmental way. Personality tests have helped me understand why my mom and dad are such a great team, why my sister likes to plan big get-togethers for the family, and even why certain fights break out between us.

Learning why someone does the things that they do and how that fits into their identity can be helpful. Now, I don't get mad as quickly when someone behaves differently than I expect; instead, I try to think about what I know from their personality test results and how I can address the issue more comfortably and calmly.

My personality test results can also help me with my romantic relationship. Even though I know by now that I am compatible with my fiancée, it can be nice to understand how we can be a better team, how we can support each other best, and what we can do to be better partners to each other. Personality tests help us understand each other's motives, but also help us realize how to be more considerate of each other. For example, my personality test results gave him insight into why I, as a very neurotic perfectionist, was bothered by his socks on the bathroom floor, just as I am growing to understand why my penchant to over-plan can be bothersome to someone more improvisational like he is!

What Can You Do Next?

Understanding yourself and those close to you is a worthy goal—a goal that, when combined with conversation and observation, can be supplemented by personality tests. Although it is true that accurate personality tests can help you start to repair relationships, build better teams, and explore your psyche, they are not the only method of self-improvement on which you should rely. It is important to remember that personality tests should not be considered a replacement for psychological assessment, and of course, that there is a margin of error in any type of testing. That means that no personality test, regardless of its methodology, can be considered completely accurate and without fault.

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Delve Into Your Personality With BetterHelp

Additionally, a growing number of studies suggest that online therapy can help those experiencing a wide range of complicated emotions arising out of personality issues. In a broad-based study published in World Psychiatry, researchers showed that online therapy, and in particular cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is an effective method of treating the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a number of other mental health concerns. With cognitive-behavioral therapy, participants are assisted in understanding and replacing the negative thoughts that can lead to unwanted behaviors and emotions, including those arising out of specific personality traits.

As outlined above, if you’re experiencing symptoms of personality-related disorders, or have other mental health concerns, online therapy can help. With BetterHelp, you can participate in counseling from the comfort of your own home (or wherever you have an internet connection). A licensed counselor can help you better understand your personality, and how it affects your thoughts and behaviors. Read below for reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from those who have sought help in the past.

Counselor Reviews

“Joy noticed aspects of my personality right away, and suggested a task-based plan that had clear goals for each step. She helped me isolate topics and stay focused when things were stressful and jumbled up in my mind. Her handle on the BetterHelp website is incredible--she has worksheets and goal marks and is very communicative via the chat. She made me feel heard from even my daily journals. Her attentive care was firm and self-assured, which helped me feel like I am in control of my life again.”

“Pat is wonderful and provides a non-judgmental experience that works well with my personality. She is a wealth of knowledge and provides a perfect balance of compassion with ‘tell it to me straight.’”

Conclusion

Just like personality tests can help you learn about your friends and family, a short questionnaire is used by BetterHelp to gain important information about you. This ensures that they can place you with a counselor that will be right for you and your needs. If you are tired of struggling to understand yourself and those around you, talk to an expert today.

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