Your temperament and using communication skills
Formed before we are born, temperament has four independent dimensions: people, data, emotions/reactions and organization/time that all run along a continuum. Some couples research has indicated that the more dimensions on which you and your partner are similar, the more likely you are to stay together. One of the main reasons for this is that we tend to figure that what we prefer is what our partner prefers. On special occasions, I want to have parties...large ones. Having one or two couples over for dinner is not a celebration in my mind, but it is in his. After a couple of years, I finally figured this out and quit trying to throw him birthday bashes and he learned to try to start throwing them for me.
If both partners are educated about each other's preferences, being different can work to your advantage because you can keep each other balanced.
Using a blue pen, mark all of the statements below that best describe you and using a black pen, mark all that best describe your partner. When you finish you will be able to see ways in which you are alike and ways in which you may have to make some allowances and learn to appreciate differences. I strongly suggest doing this worksheet for your children, your boss and anyone else with whom you frequently interact.
You can also read Dr. David Keirsey's book "Please Understand Me" and Alice and Lisa Fairhurst's book "Effective Teaching, Effective Learning" and visit my website http://www.police-counseling.com for more detailed information.
The people dimension is concerned with how we relate to others and interact with the world in general. Understanding people's preferences in this dimension will help you understand what sorts of environments and situations they will prefer and what will cause them stress.
Sensing/Intuitive, this is the data dimension. It roughly translates into how people approach life. In work-life these two temperaments often work together wonderfully. In relationships it can cause chaos.
Thinking and Feeling refers to how you interpret and react to life. For those of you Trekkies out there it is sort of a Commander Data vs. Counselor Troi.
The biggest stumbling block for people here is that feelers want their feelings acknowledged. It does not matter what they are upset about, what matters is that you acknowledge that they are upset. It does not matter what they are upset about, what matters is that you acknowledge that they are upset. (Yes, I repeated that sentence intentionally. It is that important) Until you do, you will find yourself at an impasse. Thinkers and feelers experience things with similar intensity, and are both quite adept at problem solving, They differ in the way they express themselves. When interacting with a thinker, do not try to normalize their emotions or talk a lot about how they are feeling. Talk about what they are thinking and their reactions. When interacting with a feeler, do not problem solve. Focus on feeling words and helping them know that you hear where they are coming from.
Have you ever been with a person who just will not do something unless it was on their calendar for at least 24 hours? Or a person who you can call at 4:30 to make plans for 5? Judgers and perceivers approach time and organization in very different ways.
Judgers and perceivers can live in harmony if they compromise. For example, I am an extreme judger, hubby is not. Therefore, I plan ahead so on the days he is off (as long as I can workout in the morning) we do what he wants to do the rest of the day no matter how spur of the moment. This way I still get to plan and get in the correct mindset and he does not have to follow my schedules, lists or routines. Many of my clinicians are also perceivers. I have learned that since they usually get things done late or at the last minute depending on spurts of energy, I give them plenty of advance notice and set the deadline for a week before it is really due.
In the end it is all in how you approach it. If you are open to appreciating that other's strengths and preferences can work to compliment yours, you will be able to make most relationships work. If you try to pigeon hole people and make them act, respond and live like you prefer, you are going to be fighting a losing battle.
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