How to Fight Fair by Personality Type
We are more likely than not to have a different view or perspective than most any person we relate to. Simple disagreements therefore happen all the time. More often than we like, the simple disagreements quickly become terribly complicated.
Are you like me in that the complicated disagreements tend to happen over and over again with certain people in your life? Here are some tips on how to break this cycle when we get stuck. These were suggested by Judy Provost, director of Personal Counseling at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.
Evenly matched fighters
Here in this chart are the terms most commonly associated with the model of personality development created by Isabel Briggs Myers, the author of the world's most widely used personality inventory, the MBTI or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®.
Myers concluded there were four primary ways people differed from one another, which are defined elsewhere. She labeled these differences "preferences", which are represented by the following dichotomies.
Four primary ways people differ from each other
When our type doesn't match the other person's type, we may find we fight about how we fight more than what we're really fighting about. Consider these ways each of the four dichotomies gets stuck in a complicated disagreement when confronting each other, and then how to get unstuck and fight more fairly.
Extravert vs Introvert
The Extravert wants to confront the problem now. However, the Introvert wants to withdraw to try to understand it; figure it out. Should they confront the problem before the Introvert has figured it out, he or she in confusion will lose the argument and so just have to start it up again later. On the other hand, the Extravert becomes frustrated or even panicky by the wait for the Introvert to "figure it out", so he or she tries to corner the Introvert into dealing with it now.
UNSTUCK - Fighting Fair
The Extravert gives the Introvert advanced notice, like "I'm having a problem with X-issue. When can we talk later about this?" In return, the Introvert says, "Sure, just give me an hour to think about it," (or some minimal amount of delay time).
Should the quarrel suddenly come up without time to say this to set a later time, it is the Introvert who'd best tell the Extravert that he or she needs time to think, but will get back to them soon.
Sensing vs iNtuition
The iNtuition type wants to discuss the patterns of the relationship, what it means and where it is going. They make broad generalizations saying something like, "You're too negative." The Sensing type wants to argue the specific facts, saying, "Tell me exactly what I said that was so negative." Or, he or she may bring up individual incidents that contradict the generalization the iNtuition type makes; like, "Just last Sunday I said something positive!" The iNtuition type will then think the Sensing type is just nit-picking, and the Sensing thinks the iNtuition type is reading too much into things.
UNSTUCK - Fighting Fair
It tends to be easier for the iNtuition type to "play" at being a Sensing type than vice versa. He or she can rehearse ahead of time, or work out on paper, how to present their case in a linear, concrete style listing out the facts of the issue; at the same time trying to avoid any embellishments or abstract language. The Sensing type can then ask for clarification on what is presented, "Wait a minute, you skipped something, it seems," instead of getting confused over all the complications and generalities.
Forgiveness and Blame
Thinking vs Feeling
The Feeling type starts the argument by revealing feelings, then insists the Thinking type respond revealing his or her feelings, also. The Thinking type, however, responds with what he or she thinks, instead, leaving the Feeling type thinking it's a hold-out. Or, the Thinking type starts the argument with a thought, then rejects the Feeling type's feeling response as irrelevant to the argument, or immature.
UNSTUCK - Fighting fair
First, each allows the other to react in their own way. Then later, after some time has passed, each does a communication check with the other. The Feeling type responds to what the Thinking type presents, saying, "If I were in your place, I'd feel X-feeling." The Thinking type accepts the Feeling description and responds, It looks to me like this-Y and that-Z is happening." These tactics give each of them a chance to rephrase the problem in their own style, while at the same time respecting the style of the other.
Judging vs Perceiving
The Judging type demands that the Perceiving type make a definite decision or choice right there on the spot: "Are you willing to commit yourself to a decision or not?" The Perceiving type avoids a definite reply and tries to play both sides keeping the options open. "Right now I have a leaning toward this and yet don't want to let go of the other option, yet." Or, the Perceiving type will agree to something, but not treat the decision as final, changing their mind several times down the road.
UNSTUCK - Fighting fair
Don't make demands, Judging types! It causes the Perceiving types to feel trapped or caged in, and they'll want to rebel. Instead, put your question in more of a data collecting mode: "What are the pros and cons of our getting this car?" You're more likely to get a little closure if you begin with an opening.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
Understand that Judging types aren't really asking for your signature in blood, Perceiving types! They just need to know that there is some kind of plan in operation that will lead to a decision. So, make your information gathering process sound and make apparent to them that a plan is in the making. "Over the next three weeks, I'm going to do some hard thinking about this, and we should discuss it at least each weekend." Then, keep the Judging type informed of all the information you gather and engage him or her some way in the information gathering process.
Suggestions for each of the 16 personality types
- How to Remove Communication Blocks by Personality Type
Personal strengths become a weakness when we don't manage it well. Each personality type can take specific action to remove the heavy rock blocking communication.
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