My Judger Tells All: Confessions of a J

9:00 AM

Let me give you a crash-course in what it means to be a J on the Myers-Briggs scale:

People who prefer the Myers-Briggs Judging Preference may...
  • like to make decisions, or at least like to have things decided
  • look task oriented
  • like to make lists of things to do
  • like to get their work done before playing
  • plan work to avoid rushing just before deadline
  • sometimes make decisions too quickly without enough information
  • sometimes focus so much on the goal or plan that they miss the need to change directions at times (source: Know Your Type)

Guilty as charged. In fact, as I write this, I have my Evernote tab open with bulletpointed writing ideas, I'm texting my P roomie about making a decision to do the internship I learned about three days ago (because I've already made up my mind about it), and I skimmed through a book for my research outline due two weeks from now.

And let me tell you about my lists.


My mother gave me this college planner for two years in a row. I swear by it. It comes with me in my backpack. It sleeps beside me on my desk. I flip through it like it's a stressful version of Facebook. Isn't it beautiful? This is my favorite page. Scribbles in the margins, multicolored felt-tip pens, highlighters, firm, crossed out strokes. This was the week after winter break, and as you can see, it was awful. Writing down lists and crossing them out made it bearable.

If you think I'm crazy, you should see my family.

I'm not actually organized. I throw things into piles -- that's my organization. Once the piles start merging and birthing baby piles, that's when I get OCD. I just think lists and organization are pretty on a theoretical level, but my family's lifeblood rests in organization. My mother made each child individual school binders and schedules. We worked according to a daily schedule (that nobody ever followed because we all had our own that involved waking up two hours after the designated school start time). Actually, the schedule has become quite lax. When I come home, dinner can be at any time. That's odd to me.

It bugs me, my family's J-ness -- not because I don't appreciate organized homes and timely dinners. It just interferes with my J-ness. For instance, I barely made it to work on time because I was hunting for my work pants for ten minutes. I swear I left them in the specific pile on the floor. Was I going crazy? I looked everywhere that I could have put them. I looked everywhere that my mom could have put them. It finally dawned on me that I needed to look everywhere my sister could have put them. In the nick of time, I found my work pants neatly folded on a hanger in my closet.

I tend to leave piles everywhere I go -- a pile of laptop stuff on the couch, a pile of clothes on the bedroom floor, a pile of books and papers on the counter. As I systematically move from pile to pile, need to need, my mom or sister follows behind me, straightening it up, putting things back where they go. By the time I cycle back to the first pile, it's gone. It's not just me, though.

When I got home the other day, my mom pointed me to a stack of mail paper-clipped together and placed on the counter. (She paper clipped it?) It was gone. Fortunately, my dad confessed before we spent ten minutes hunting for my lost financial information: he'd tucked the paper-clipped stack into my financial folder that he'd organized and created for me years ago.

I learned most of my habits from my dad. He leaves sticky notes for himself and other people, just like me. He books flights and hotel reservations months ahead of time, like I'm about to do. He sets times for arrival and departure and gets anxious when that time has departed but we have not. Me too.

Of course, not everyone in my family is a J. I was late to a bachelorette party because a P sister hung out behind locked bathroom doors for forever. I had set my alarm to allow myself enough time to get ready, but no...my plans of looking nice for a tie-dye party were ruined. When I finally made it out to the car, I arranged my tissue boxes (leftover from the road trip) and looked for the McDonald's trash bag. It was gone. Who moved my McDonald's trash bag? I needed my McDonald's trash bag. It worked a million times better than floppy Walmart bags. I specifically saved that McDonald's trash bag for the specific purpose of housing my used tissues in the car until I got over my cold. Who did it?

Oh. My dad. My dad who went to turn off the "oil change" warning on my dashboard. It makes sense that he would throw out my trash bag. He's a J. Like me.

Do you need to come out of the closet as a J? I'd love to hear your J stories!

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14 impressions

  1. Hahahaha, oh yes. I understand. As an ISFJ I relate too well with the love of listmaking, decision making and timeliness. Of course, when put into real life situations, I hate making decisions when under pressure and sometimes struggle meeting deadlines (or I stay up all night in order to meet them ... I like the challenge).

    So, yes, I can relate. Thankfully, I married an INTJ who is even more timely and decision prone than I and my best of friends is an ENFP who tends to shake me from my stuck-in-the-mudness and brings fun into my sometimes (too) orderly life.

    I love life and I love the different types which make it up.

    Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed this!

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    1. Ahhh, I'm so glad I'm not the only one! Seriously, I'm so thankful for my P friends. Life would be incredibly boring without them! ;)

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  2. Bailey first of all thanks for your comment on my blog! Made my day! If we weren't states away I'd totally meet with you for coffee because I think, as a fellow J, we do indeed have a lot in common. Hahaha I've been a J since I was 7 and made checklists for my daily routine. My boyfriend is a P. Actually, we are basically opposites. I'm an IST(sometimes F)J and he's an ENFP. I marveled when I made the discovery we were opposites. He said, "I could have told you that." lol. That's because he's an ENFP. ISTJ=clueless about stuff like that unless it's presented in list format. :)

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    1. I'm so glad, Karen! I'm so happy you returned the favor! :D My boyfriend and I are TOTAL OPPOSITES too -- E/INFJ for me, ISTP for him. We've got some ISTJs and ENFPs in my family too...sooo, if you guys ever start a family, you'll probably end up as crazy as mine. *cough* ;)

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  3. I relate to this so.stinkin.much. Yes.

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    1. I just can't get over how many other people are Js! Seriously...living among Ps at college makes me feel like a rare breed. ;) Thanks for commenting, Sarah!!

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    2. I know....I am totally fascinated by the whole personality thing - the first question I want to ask someone is usually "what are you on Myers Briggs?". This can either lead to a wonderful conversation or a blank stare. I'm learning how to navigate. ;-)

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    3. ME. TOO. (And it's weird how many people don't even know what Myers Briggs is!! How do you live without this information??) In fact, when I was getting to know the girls on my hall (I'm an RA), I asked them if they were introverted or extroverted. Then I knew how much to expect them to talk and open up. Most of them were introverts. I did a lot of talking. ;)

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    4. I know, right?! HOW CAN YOU EVEN UNDERSTAND WHO YOU ARE.

      I like people like you. Thank you for understanding that we introverts don't always know how to fill in the conversation gaps.....you make life much less awkward. ;-)

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    5. Oh, honey. You don't even KNOW awkward until you've met me. ;) :D

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  4. The meyer briggs personality test!! I'm obsessed with it, if you can't already tell. I'm an INFP and I love it and hate it. Stuff gets complicated in my head. Anyway. I despise lists and love spontaneity but I still like to accomplish things. Judger-types sometimes drive me nuts because they always seem smarter (I guess they are) but there's a lot to learn from them and things get done better with them.

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    1. I don't know if I've met an INFP before! How cool is that?? (I'm sometimes INFJ. :)) All of my friends are Ps. ALL OF THEM. I love Ps. They drive me crazy for the opposite reasons Js drive you crazy. But I love 'em anyway. ;)

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  5. I don't think I've commented on your blog before (I've been following for quite a while though), but I think I have to now that you've mentioned the MBTI. I'm an INTJ (low J preference, though), and I've got a nice balance of perceivers and judgers in my family. From what I've seen of the (often wildly inaccurate) statistics, Js are supposed to be the majority of the population, so you're definitely not alone. My sister is an INFJ and she amazes me with her powers of organization. I don't have the patience to use things like calenders and planners and lists (I drive her crazy)--either it's important enough to stick in my head or it's not. Like I said, I have a fairly low J preference. I am definitely not a P though. My INTP mother drives me crazy--a good crazy--sometimes with her abhorrence of concrete plans and commitment to anything that requires leaving the house.
    That being said, does it seem to you that most P traits are often generally treated as inferior or even as character flaws? Most of the Ps I know have a hard time keeping up with/respecting deadlines. Their sense of spontaneity is often labelled as being flighty or reckless (especially SPs). Despite my attempts to appreciate their unique gifts, I still just don't always 'get' Ps. Any thoughts?

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    1. Oh, goodness. That's such a great question! I want to do a more detailed blog post on living with Ps, so stay tuned for that. For right now, I think it's important to do three things:

      (1) Always assume that when a P appears to be shirking their duties, they're actually just expressing their personality. Sometimes Ps are lazy and irresponsible. And sometimes they actually are just way more chill about life than we crazy stressed Js are! I always try to give my P friends the benefit of the doubt before lecturing them.

      (2) Speaking of which, don't lecture Ps very often. They don't really like rules, deadlines, and certain ways of doing things. It's better to ask questions before lecturing...and then realize that if they're tuning you out, it's probably because you're lecturing them like a J.

      (3) I forgot what the third thing was. Oh! MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER. DO NOT EVER rush a P to make a decision. They honestly can't or on principle don't like to make split second decisions or opinions during conversation. Sometimes it's best to do important conversations and decision making in stages, allowing them ample time (maybe days, weeks, months even) to think through their thoughts. When a P says, "I don't know," they really mean it. And they also mean, "I'm not going to formulate an opinion on this until I'm ready." It's super annoying, especially when making big plans with Ps, so I've been learning lots of patience. :P

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Hit me with your best thought! I'm very interested in your unique perspective. If you'd like to discuss things in private, feel free to email me! :)