I used to be a massive fan of Emode. As an insomnia-ridden teenager, I spent many a sleepless night frantically ticking boxes in page after page of tests designed to help me Discover Which Friend You Are! or What John Hughes 80’s Film Are You? On the odd occasion that I pick up a women’s glossy in the hair dressers, inevitably I’ll come across a similar quiz, for more grown up topics that face the modern women such as What Type is Your Ideal Man? or Find Out What Your Summer Style Is! Clearly, it’s not as easy as just looking in your wardrobe or actually being aware of the men you fancy.
But what is our fascination with personality tests? We tend to have some deep-rooted desire to discover ourselves, feeling perhaps that we go through life acting on impulse and reacting with character traits that we aren’t even aware of. There is a strange satisfaction after totting up your As, Bs and Cs to read a paragraph and silently exclaim, “Aha! I knew it!” (I’m Rachel, by the way. And Pretty in Pink.) We want to know who we are. There are rarely more than four or five categories we could fit into, and we feel a sort of comfortable safeness in our assigned group. “I’m not the only weird one, there are others that feel the same way.”
And then there is the journey of self-discovery that we all take in our lifetimes. I remember giving myself a half-smile and a blush when I realised that, actually, I did enjoy a bit of Eminem in spite of my protests. A huff and a puff when I admitted that, after many late night and adolesence-fuelled debates with my cousin, that perhaps the strict, formal idea of religion I was brought up in wasn’t the best way forward.
My “aha!” moment of 2012 came when I did a personality test in the fabulous Psychologies (“the magazine for those who want to know more and grow more” their tagline reads. “The thinking woman’s glossy,” as it’s known more informally.) After 27 years of being told/believing/desperately trying to behave like an extrovert, I was told after a series of questions written by physcotherapists, that I was, in fact, an introvert. A sudden sense of relief and “that’s why!” rushed over me. And that’s an incredible feeling.
More: read and subscribe to Psychologies here