I, like many people on social media in the last two weeks, have kept myself entertained by taking personality quizzes on Zimbio and Buzzfeed. Answering questions like, “What do you do on a Saturday night?” and “What is your ideal quality in a mate?” I’ve discovered I am similar to Severus Snape, Adele, and Princess Leia. I should be living in Cape Town or Gotham City. And I should have applied to Harvard. But if I went to Hogwarts, the red and gold of Gryffindor would embrace me. These quizzes have told me that I’m loyal, creative, funny, caring, and that I put my family above others. Telling me where I fit into the real and fictional world. And even more entertaining was seeing where my friends and family fit.
It’s been a wonderfully fun distraction.
But nothing new. We’ve been doing this our entire lives. Trying to read into individual choices or preferences as a complete explanation for the types of people we are. And who we surround ourselves with. Asking our grade school friends what their favorite color (yellow) or number (five) is. As we got older, we asked them about Zodiac signs (Taurus) or birth order (youngest). Then, we assigned personalities by colleges attended, professions pursued, or neighborhoods lived in.
And no matter how old, or wise, we get, we’ll continue to look for ways to define ourselves or the people we surround ourselves with. We’ll try to latch onto one “defining” characteristic, quality, or choice. These quizzes, social media exchanges, are just a new way of doing it.
But I don’t need a quiz or zodiac sign to tell me that my brother is a creative person, my sister has strong leadership skills, or that my husband is a caring man. I don’t need to know that some of my friends are a bit type A or prefer to socialize in small groups rather than large parties. I already know my cousins’ dynamic personalities without needing to compare them to Games of Thrones characters. Because no two-minute quiz can replace the hours, weeks, years spent truly getting to know someone. And how getting to know someone can tell you so much about yourself.
So take the quizzes. Enjoy finding out if you’re Obi-Wan or the Dowager Countess. And share it with your friends. Use it as an icebreaker to find out more about the people you already know, but especially with the ones you hardly know. Start a conversation. Find out more about them. And then, find out more about yourself.