Understanding Personality Differences in Relationships

Understanding personality differences in relationships can help you appreciate the people you love, such as partners, spouses, children, and friends. Rather than judging your partner’s behavior, you can learn to appreciate it as a reflection of his or her personality type. Maybe you will even learn to laugh instead of being offended by it. Although you can use the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator Instrument on your own to discover your personality type, only a counselor, coach, or therapist who is certified to administer the instrument can help you unlock the true meaning of your personality preferences.

Thinkers vs. Feelers

Ask yourself the following questions: are you the kind of person who tends to make decisions rationally? Do you prefer the truth even when it may hurt to hear it? Do people accuse you of being indifferent or insensitive to others’ feelings? Or are you a “people person”? Are you someone who follows her heart? Do people sometimes see you as a “head in the clouds” or overly emotional person? If you find yourself in the former, then you may be more of a Thinker. Those who identify with the latter are considered Feelers. The third criterion in personality types is the Thinking or Feeling perception. It distinguishes people’s preferred preferences for dealing with conflict resolution and decision-making.

Not All Decisions Are Made the Same Way

Everyone uses “thinking” for some decisions and “feeling” for others. “Thinking” means that you make decisions using logic, whereas “feeling” means your emotions guide your decisions. However, it’s important not to confuse “thinking” with intelligence, nor “feeling” with emotion. Everyone has emotions about the decisions they make, whether they are based on logic or people and circumstances. The type of decision-making that is more effortless or comfortable defines your preference. Just because a person has an innate or preferred way of making decisions and dealing with conflict does not mean that he or she cannot utilize a different process.

Decision-Making in Relationships

Personality differences can sometimes cause conflict in relationships. Take, for instance, a partner who tends to analyze the pros and cons of a decision. Perhaps your spouse prefers logic and consistency–regardless of his own or other people’s wishes, he strives for fairness and equity. A partner who makes decisions by taking into consideration the points of view of the people involved might find this difficult. She may want to be compassionate above consistent and will make decisions that maintain harmony. A thinker may see this behavior as idealistic or indirect. It’s easy for a thinker to become frustrated with his partner’s inability to see or communicate the “hard truths.” Likewise, a partner’s directness may be painful for a feeling partner.

Working Together to Make Decisions

On the other hand, some argue that every relationship should have one Thinker and one Feeler. A relationship between people with these personality differences can achieve a unique balance. Thinkers tend to see the negatives first, while feelers see the positive. This can be helpful in a relationship because a thinker will try to fix the problems that a feeler might find overwhelming or make a bigger deal than they are.

If you and your partner are struggling to communicate across your personality differences, call Lisa Ryan. I can help you learn more about the differences between thinkers and feelers. Understanding your personality types can help you and your partner find healthy ways to discuss differences in the way you make decisions. Call me at 203-226-8800 or click here to reach me by email.

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