Monday, April 20, 2009

Personality Theory

I've posted some before about Personality Theory. I even went through my period of denial about being an ENFP and claiming that I'm an INFP. Recently I invested more time into learning about some additional complexities that I hadn't though of before, which is how I determined my real type. I'll share the additional layers and how they work.

The first layer of the theory are the 16 different types themselves. They revolve around the four main categories that govern how an individual operates, mainly the I/E, N/S, F/T and J/P distinction. Rather than discussing each type, you can take the test or read about the different possibilities here.

The second layer is the interaction between the types. The same site I just mentioned includes a handy chart for determining the interaction between the types and how they work here. I was able to determine my type by taking various relationships I have and figuring out which relationships between myself and the other individuals fit correctly in the chart. Once I had solidified my type, I made a key insight.

Usually when you try to determine someone else's personality, you think of specific examples or general behavioral trends the person follows and map it to the right type. The problem with this is that there is a large bias based on the side of the person that you see. So you may be really introverted and then think someone else is just because you only see and interact with them in environments that accent those qualities in the targeted individual. Either that or your like/dislike of that person could influence you to project qualities onto them. So the only way to remove the bias is to look at the patterns of your relationship. Then you can map the actual pattern of your relationship back to the chart to determine what type they must be.

The third layer is the type of relationship you have with the person. The interaction may be a negative one, but if the person holds the right role in your life relative to you, then it could be just right for what you would want. An example would be a Mother having a supervision relationship with a child or a significant other being your duality type. I believe that when we line up the right interaction in the right role is where the idea of 'soul mate' relationships comes from. It's not that there is some uniqueness to the person that you were destined for each other, it's that you matched up all the components just right.

Clearly it is no simple task to engineer your whole social sphere. The nice thing about this knowledge is that you can spot problems early or open yourself up to possibilities that you would not have recognized otherwise. Maybe you know someone who is your duality type, but because you didn't hit off a great relationship right away you never invested the time to develop it further. You could be missing out on something truly exceptional, but with this knowledge you'll know it's worth putting in the extra effort for the potential of a rewarding long term relationship.

This is as deep as I have taken this at this point. There are a lot of other variables like background, interests, education, intelligence, environment, etc which play a role in the development of relationships. Those effects, like the effects of personality interactions, play a lesser role to the individuals desire to make a relationship work. Having the information provides a tool though for collecting information and using it to make more accurate decisions.

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