The Collegian
Friday, June 21, 2024

Myers-Briggs: helping relationships

I think it's safe to say that you can't classify a person in just a few words. But I also think it's safe to say that there are definitely "types" of people.

For my second and final Wellness class at the University of Richmond (thank God) I am taking a course on relationships. In our third week of class we discussed the Myers-Briggs psychological examination.

Upon analyzing the four dichotomies of results from the Myers-Briggs exam, we hypothesized how intercommunication and relationships among different "types" of people are affected in day-to-day life.

The four dichotomies of the Myers-Briggs exam are introversion and extroversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, and finally judgment and perception. The exam determines a person's 4-type personality combination preference.

Introversion vs. Extroversion

There seem to be two common mistakes people make when considering the terms introvert and extrovert.

Firstly, the word introvert has developed a somewhat negative connotation over the years.

Flash back to your first middle school social - you were too scared to ask a boy to dance so you sat alone on the bleachers wondering if you'd ever need a training bra. You were not an introvert. You were just shy. There's a difference.

And secondly, I think many of us assume that people are extroverted if they talk a lot. Being an extrovert has more to do with the perception of ideas and how one goes about centering oneself, not about whether or not you have diarrhea of the mouth.

Extroverts prefer to act. Their energy is based on their ability to act. And they will reflect on what they've done only after they've done it. Extroverts are able to find inner-balance around other people.

Introverts, on the other hand, prefer to reflect. Their energy is based on their ability to reflect while remaining inactive. They prefer to find balance in their lives while spending time alone.

Relationships among introverts and extroverts can be difficult if either of the two don't recognize that the other person may not gain peace and clarity with the same approach as they do.

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By identifying those differences and respecting your friend or partner's opposing views (and by recognizing that neither view is better than the other) you can make for a more positive relationship.

Intuition vs. Sensing

Intuition and sensing are functions that deal with how the mind perceives information. People who prefer sensing to intuition tend to be detail-oriented.

They often prefer facts and quantitative data rather than relying on guesses and instincts.

They often like looking at the smaller picture and the present moment. They use their five senses as a means for processing ideas.

People who prefer using their intuition are less detail-oriented and tend to look toward the future and at "the bigger picture." They are able to comprehend something that is more abstract and qualitative.

When discussed during my relationship course, my classmates generally agreed that people who prefer sensing often think that those who prefer intuition are flaky and don't care enough about anything.

Likewise, we agreed that those who prefer intuition often think sensors are nit-picky and anal-retentive.

But it's important to remember that sensors aren't asking questions and wanting the information to be a bother or to instigate an annoying situation.

And just as the sensor isn't trying to irritate the intuitive person, so is the intuitive person not aware that their somewhat laid-back mindset can be misconstrued as apathetic behavior.

Thinking vs. Feeling

Based on the information received from the gathering processes of intuition and sensing, thinkers and feelers will then make decisions based on that information.

Thinkers believe in following rules, justice and logic. Feelers look at a situation from all sides and tend to be more empathetic. Say, for instance, you were 15 minutes past your curfew back in high school.

If your dad was a thinker, he'd be pissed even though you were only late by a few minutes and he wouldn't want to hear your excuse for being late.

On the flip side, if he was a feeler, he'd ask why you were late and if you gave him a legitimate reason, he would be more understanding of your tardiness.

The term thinker is deceiving. Just because someone is a thinker doesn't mean he or she is smarter or has more depth.

In the same respect, feelers are not any more emotional than thinkers. Both ways of decision-making are considered rational. The difference is style of decision-making.

Judgment vs. Perception

Those who prefer judgment to perception typically like to see the issue, decide on the issue and then let the issue rest.

Judgers become angry when things aren't in order or aren't how they believe they should be. They are decisive and strategic and often act very quickly.

Perceivers, on the other hand, try to gather all elements of a situation before making a decision on anything. They tend to be spontaneous and adapt easily to changes in plans and situations.

So, you may be wondering, what is the point of this article? I guess in a way that can be answered by asking, what is the point of the Myers-Briggs test?

Not only does the test give insight into how you think and process information, but it also gives insight into the thought processes of others. This is beneficial because it allows for a more understanding approach in dealing with other ways of thinking.

Seriously though, how many times have you thought someone was doing something to intentionally piss you off? How many times has someone said to you, "Stop getting mad at me, this is just how I am."

By analyzing and understanding the different "types" of people out there, we can attempt to avoid making certain assumptions and start considering ways that will allow us to communicate more effectively with the people we meet.

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