Frum and Flipping recently wrote a post describing her Myer-Brigss personality type in the context of shidduchim. I have been sitting a post like this for a while now, so finally I have some incentive to write it.
To begin, I wholeheartedly believe in the theories present by Jung/Myer-Briggs in their Type Indicator (MBTI) research. I have seen the manifestations of interpersonal interaction follow the patterns associated to an individual’s particular typology. Furthermore, I have asked married people to take the test and read what their ideal spouse would be according to the compatibility guidelines, and in most cases the analysis provided a relatively accurate description of their spouse.
So if these four letters are so useful and accurate, why aren’t we using them? Why hasn’t this become the de facto method of personality reporting in out resume writing routine wherein we require all participants entering the shidduch scene to submit their MBTI?
There is no way that would work. People are afraid of labels. Yup, even though in principle a MBTI is not a label per se, it’s just a descriptor of your personality, classifications are verboten. We are individuals in the broadest sense of the term, are we not? How can we simply say that every single person falls into one of 16 typologies? Besides, between me and you, people don’t really have a clue what personality types are, what they mean, or how to use them.
The problem is further complicated by the fact that according to MBTI there are only 2 optimal configurations per type. If you were to tell people that you’d effectively be discarding 7/8 (or 87.5%) of their perspective dates solely on the basis of a rudimentary and subjective piece of psychological theory (which has been questioned by some experts and academics) you’d never get any support! More importantly, if you understand the implications of your typology, then you'd know how much information it contains about you and you might be averse to publicly disclosing it.
So what to do? On the one hand this little tool could theoretically revolutionize researching a potential date; on the other hand there is no way you’re going to get people to go along with it. The other issue is: in theory, any two individuals of sound mental health can get along regardless of their personalities, possibly making this an exercise in futility. Also, this “tool” would need to be created in a way so that it can be used in conjunction with our current system, because let’s face it, aside from political platforms, people don’t readily support change.
Let’s try this for a solution. How about we create an optional system where you fill out a standardized questionnaire which will contain all the aspects of a MBTI test as well as background and hashkofic questions. All answers would be store remotely and would not be accessible. Every respondent would be given a unique ID (Vis-à-vis like a dor yeshorim number or any number really). These numbers could then be queried against the database either by the parties involved or a shadchan (depending on how the system was built) and shortly thereafter receive a brief report containing any factors that may impede potential compatibility based on a myriad of factors. The report wouldn’t say yes or no, but it would highlight the areas of concern. It would then be either the individuals, parents, or shadchan's decision whether those factors are enough of a reason to reject the perspective date. Who knows, maybe with a little tweaking the database could generate perspective matches on its own and give the shadchanium some good ideas! (like a hybrid version Bored Jewish Guy's eHarmony experiment maybe?)
So what you do think? Does this system (albeit with some modification, collaboration, bug testing, support, and the help of some experts and Rabbis) have potential?