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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Net quizzes help us fill in the blanks

By Treena Shapiro
Advertiser Columnist

So, it turns out that my beer personality is a Heineken.

My mommy type: Pretty in the City, but don't ask me why, since if I were a dog, I'd be a pug, not the loveliest of breeds. If I'm headed into the office, though, I need to find a phone booth along the way so I can transform into a beagle, because that's my dog personality type at work.

While I'm confessing my secret dog identity, I might as well reveal my superpower, too: super speed. Deadlines? Bring 'em on!

Why am I compelled to find out these things about myself? I mean, really, is answering a few multiple-choice questions on an Internet quiz really going to reveal something about myself I don't already know?

I don't need an e-mail inbox full of test results to tell me that I'm a complete dork. The fact that I set up an extra e-mail account to catch spam associated with these tests is more revealing than the fact that my inner rock star is Britney Spears. (The quiz labeled her "rock," not me.)

I don't seek out personality quizzes, but how can I resist if they somehow find me?

My friends, addicts like me, forward them along. We bond over our results. We speculate over whether Heineken and Guinness personalities are more compatible than Aries and Leos.

About a dozen years ago, a new group of friends asked me to take the Myers-Briggs personality test to see whether I'd fit in with the crowd. It turned out most of us had unusual personality types (mine was introverted-feeling-intuitive-perceptive) and yet we all managed to find each other.

I recently retook the test and found that I've become a little more extroverted over the years. Do insecurities erode with age?

A Dr. Phil personality test a friend circulated showed that many of my colleagues share similar personality traits. Who would think journalists would be perceived as "fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting?" (That was a rhetorical question, not part of a quiz. Do not answer.)

The Dr. Phil test reminded me that I'm quick to hit delete when a chain letter ends up in my inbox, no matter what doom and gloom will befall me. However, if an e-mail tells me to answer five questions about myself and send it off to five friends, that's something else entirely.

For whatever reason, those kinds of questionnaires compel us to reveal embarrassing truths about ourselves, like a love of "Grease 2," the presence of A-Teens on our iPods or the fact that we once quit a job to avoid cleaning the men's room.

Why the compulsion to share? Is it:

a) Fun,

b) A way to learn more about ourselves and friends,

c) An excuse to be a narcissist?

I'm not worried. Even if it's actually some weird neurosis that makes me fill in those blanks, I'll be just fine. After all, according to yet another quiz, my theme song is, "I Will Survive."

Reach Treena Shapiro at tshapiro@honoluluadvertiser.com. Read her daily blog at blogs.honoluluadvertiser.com.