“Can you talk to a stranger for an hour?”
Despite coming from a computer, the question felt almost aggressive. Of course I can talk to a stranger for an hour. I was a reporter for over a decade; you can’t do that job without learning to talk to almost anyone for an hour.
Still, I wanted to say no. Just like I’d wanted to say no to several other questions the computer had just posed, even though the true answers were all yeses. It was the night before a school-sponsored Myers-Briggs personality workshop, and I was taking the famous test for the first time. And I was starting to think it was rigged. Every time I admitted that I could make small talk or navigate a party, I knew I was edging one step closer to being labeled an extrovert. What the test didn’t seem to understand was that my social skills are just that – skills. Learned skills. I was not born gregarious. One of my mom’s favorite stories from my grade school years is about the time one of my teachers called her in for a meeting to discuss how many recesses I was spending in the school library. In junior high, if my best friend was sick, there was a good chance I’d end up eating lunch alone. Still, when I walked into the workshop the next day, there was only one component of my personality the test was able to distinguish unequivocally: according to Myers and Briggs, I am an extrovert.
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