The dandelion laughed all summer when it failed to be a rose. Heather Johnson
People differ. It doesn’t take much study to realize that personality differences exist. You can enrich your relationships when you commit to understanding your individual differences.
Here is an example of how understanding preferences can minimize relationship conflict.
Example of Personality Differences
Les, my hubby, has a strong preference for Introversion. He prefers many activities on his own. taking time by himself. He thinks and thinks again before he decides or answers a question, and often goes for a walk before he responds. I have been known to chase him down the street yelling, “Well! What is your answer?” I have now learned to wait.
I have a strong preference for Extroversion. I feel excited to be with others and seek them out. I will talk on the phone for hours. I talk to hear what I think. I receive and send emails, am active on social media, have frequent visitors, and often attend meetings and conferences with friends.
One day I said, “Les, I wonder what the living room couch would look like on the north wall.” It was what I call a thought blurt. I had no intention of moving the couch. I merely wonder what it would look like against that wall. So, I was surprised to see Les moving that beast of a piece of furniture across the living room. He would only suggest moving a piece of furniture after giving it thorough thought.
Hats off to Carl Jung for helping me realize I need to say, “Just talking out loud.” I still have infrequent thought blurts but now Les usually checks before acting. Later, I asked Les to help me make a chart about Introversion to help me better communicate with him. We have fewer miscommunications and have learned about our different personalities!
Carl Jung Develops Personality Theory
Carol Jung (1875-1961), was a Swiss psychiatrist who studied archetypes and developed personality theories. It would prove to be helpful to many of us in accepting different behaviors of those with whom we live or work.
Jung described two opposite ways people energize themselves; Extroversion and Introversion. Les and I are polar opposite on this personal difference. People are either fatigued or energized when they spend time with others. Jung also observed other differences. One person will gather information by noticing what they see and hear (Sensing) while the other will use their gut (Intuition). One person will make a decision by analyzing the situation (Thinking) while the other will pay attention to the dynamos of the relationships (Feeling).
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Then Americans, Katherine Cook Briggs (1875-1968) and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers (1897-1980) came on the scene. They were enthusiastic observers of personality differences. With no formal education, they studied Jung’s work. They expanded upon his work adding a fourth and opposite personality dimension of Judging and Perceiving. Judging is a preference for coming to quickly to closure. Perceiving is a preference for options.
During the Second World War the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was used to place women in appropriate factory jobs. Regardless of resistance from academic organizations, the MBTI is now well acknowledged and translated into many languages. Over three million MBTIs are administered yearly in the United States. It is used for team building, personal development, marriage enhancement, career guidance, and parent/family coaching. Recent off-shoots of the MBTI are True Colors and Personality Dimensions.
We tend to have miscommunication and conflict with people who have opposite personality differences. Yet, we can use those conflicted moments to deepen and mature.
If our main companion has the same personality preferences conflict will be minimal. However, there may be a risk of the two of you having blind eyes to problems. With no opposing view, problems can be missed. Marital research indicates that having at least one personality preference opposite in the couple is helpful to family dynamics.
Overall having a sense of personality differences can help you in all of your relationships. Many psychologists and counselors, such as I, are certified in the MBTI and can administer a full inventory for you. But, if you want to take a simple and accessible quiz based on the MBTI, please go to this link: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp Let us know what you discover. OK?
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