Different people are different. OK, you knew that already. Something else you may know is that there are people who think, believe, and act in ways that can seem baffling.
At some point, you will likely find yourself working, interacting, perhaps even living with (or married to) someone who is quite different from you. How can you cope with these differences?
Information can help! While we can’t control what other people do, we can learn—about ourselves and others. Is your goal to get along in a way that is satisfying for both of you? If so, learning your personality “type” could provide interesting, helpful information, such as:
Are you an introvert who doesn’t like groups and never wants to be the center of attention? Or an extravert who loves gatherings—the bigger the better—and who can’t wait to be the life of the party?
There are other strengths and differences too. Do you choose activities on the spur of the moment and get satisfaction from spontaneity? Or do you like planning details and get satisfaction from working the plan?
Are you invigorated by working through conflict, never shrinking from an argument? Or do you avoid conflict, no matter what?
Do you get satisfaction from achieving whatever goal you have set? Or are you fueled by praise and admiration from other people?
Do you thrive on imagination? Or is the “here and now” the focus of your life?
Are you someone who can’t rest until a task is completed to your satisfaction? Or do you love to start new projects, hopping easily from one task to another; if things never get finished, no problem!
Do you pride yourself on your logical mind, taking a methodical approach to everything you do? Do you like rules and procedures? Or do you have little patience for details, feel constrained by procedures, and never met a rule you couldn’t find a way to circumvent?
Each of these characteristics has its value; that is, one “type” is not better than another. And a characteristic doesn’t define what you can or cannot do. It just highlights that some approaches come more naturally to you than others.
As an example, being an introvert doesn’t mean that you can’t have a successful career in public speaking. It may take more energy and preparation on your part to comfortably stand up and speak than it does for your extraverted neighbour, but it doesn’t mean that you “can’t” do it.
In other words, just because you have certain characteristics doesn’t mean that you can give up responsibility for yourself and blame your fate on personality!
Do you know your “type”? I can suggest websites which offer free questionnaires, so if you are curious and want to give it a try, contact me.
Professionals use a variety of assessment tools, and an on-line questionnaire will not be the same quality as a professionally administered assessment. However, you may still get information to help you understand yourself and others better.
Next post, I’ll look at how you might use that information to get along better with those “different” types.