A little while back I started a thread about whether or not types are real, and I went on to say that I wasn't convinced that everyone fit perfectly into one of the 16 functional arrangements of model A. I went on to say that I didn't see why it's impossible for someone to, for example, value both Fe and Fi or Si and Ni. I concluded by pretty much saying that even if socionics is accurate and valid, studying it and associating yourself with a type does most people more harm than good. And associating other people in their lives with a type and assuming that there's a certain intertype relation at play has the potential to be (and many times is) even more harmful.
After that I backed off from socionics. Recently I've started considering various aspects of it again, and while my understanding of the theory has not changed for the most part, I've revised my stance on the matter. I'll start by quoting this post since it contains a lot of the reasons for my current stance on socionics:
After giving the subject some more thought, I've decided that while there's no way to KNOW if socionics is accurate (or if it is true of all humans), it seems more likely than not that it is. Can a person value both Fe and Fi or Ni and Si? While I wouldn't be so arrogant as to say that I know for certain that this is or is not possible, it seems unlikely that it is. My primary reason for this belief is written in my sig... it's all about the axes. If one believes that each function is the counterpart of another function, model A makes perfect sense, as do the existence of 16 different functional arrangements, 8 dual pairs, and 4 quadras.Originally Posted by Joy
Here comes the But...
The trouble is that most socionics hobbyists, even if they understand socionics, cannot type other people accurately. A significant percentage of them (probably at least 25%, possibly as much as 50%) have not even typed themselves correctly. I feel that most people must study socionics for a lengthy period of time before they can be certain of their type. In the very least they should not "type" themselves (or allow others to "type" them) until they really understand the functions (information elements), Model A, and intertype relations (especially duality). It is unwise to decide on a type when you are relatively new to socionics and then stick to it, especially if you don't give other types full and open minded consideration, and especially if you're going to type others and build your understanding of socionics based on what you think your type is. Unfortunately, it is pretty difficult not to do so. The answer is, I suppose, to do as implied and not assume a type for yourself for a long time. That said, it's as curios soul said... socionics won't truly make total sense to you until you, after a relatively lengthy period of learning about socionics, discover your true type. It's only when that happens that other people's types really begin to become apparent to you. That said, it's probably healthier overall for most people if they don't associate themselves with a type.
And even more importantly, there is no way to know that you have accurately typed a person over the internet (or that they have accurately typed themselves), much less truly observe them as an example of a type. (Typing by comparison is most likely a terribly inaccurate practice irl as well.) We can type people here based on their descriptions of themselves, the way we perceive their reactions to other members (who may or may not be typed correctly), and their online personas... but at the end of the day, there is no reliably accurate way to determine one's type online (or often irl for that matter). This is not to say that we shouldn't offer our opinions of other people's types, but we should understand first of all, that we are not professionals, and secondly that even professionals would most likely have to observe a person closely irl for a relatively lengthy amount of time and in different scenarios in order to be reasonably certain of that person's type.
So what good is socionics to us if we can't even know that we're typing people correctly? Well, people who understand the theory well and have had a lot of life experience will most likely be able to type at least a few people in their lives accurately. And even if we can't KNOW a person's type, it may be helpful in dealing with others simply to understand functional preferences and temperaments.
And if we can't really observe each other sufficiently in this form of communication to know that we are typing them accurately (and to understand their "type traits" even if they are typed correctly), what's the point in discussing our types, especially if we understand that we could be forming misconceptions about types and functions by doing so? Well... it's fun. That's what it comes down to. However, people should not just assume their type or anyone else's is correct and not seriously consider other types. I suspect that a lot of people do so because they don't want to look like an idiot to the rest of the socionics community... but to me it seems much more idiotic to assume a type when you first learn about socionics and then cling to it.
In summary, my stance is that it is most likely true that everyone has a socionics type, and while this form of communication may work reasonably well for learning the theory of socionics, it is pretty much useless for learning the practice/application of socionics.
A lot of the people here should stop assuming that they know their type or that they can recognize other types (especially over the internet). Have fun suggesting and considering types for others (and for a lot of people, themselves as well), but realize that that's all that you're doing. And, most importantly, don't take this stuff too seriously.