Several years ago, my wife and I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (MBTI). We came out different in every letter. We used to say that we were exact opposites. Over time, we changed our lingo to say that we are perfect complements. To be honest, there are times when those differences kind of rub one another the wrong way. But we have learned to appreciate and celebrate the differences.
Here are 10 areas in which people are different adapted from Dr. Steve Stephens (Marriage: Experiencing the Best) that I found in Lists to Live By: For Everything that Really Matters. Great for couples and for teams!
1. Extrovert or Introvert: Extroverts love crowds while introverts would rather spend time in solitude or with a close friend. Extroverts are energized by people and introverts are recharged by time alone.
2. Leaper or Looker: Leapers take risks; when they see an opportunity, they want to jump on it before it’s too late. Lookers are more cautious. They like to carefully check out all the options before making a decision.
3. Outliner or Detailer: Outliners have a general focus and look at the big picture. They think in terms of direction and getting things done. Detailers look at the nuts and bolts. Their concern is how to get things done.
4. Spender or Saver: If spenders have extra money, they want to spend-on themselves, on others, on worthy causes, on anything! If savers have extra money, they want to put it away for a rainy day.
5. Planner or Flexer: Planners love structure with everything organized and neatly packaged. They like schedules and deadlines. Flexers bend with the flow of life and take things as they come. They tend to be spontaneous and laid back. Loose ends don’t bother them because they believe everything will work out.
6. Scurrier or Ambler: Scurriers are always busy. Speed and efficiency are their watchwords-accomplish as much as you can as fast as you can. Amblers take their time and set their own pace. The might not do as much, but they enjoy what they do.
7. Thinker or Feeler: Thinkers focus on facts and principles. They base decisions on objective data and tend to be task oriented. Feelers focus on people and emotions. They base decisions on subjective data and tend to be relationship oriented.
8. Dreamer or Worker: Dreamers are creative people who love to come up with ideas. They are optimistic and oriented toward the future. Workers are practical. They like to take other people’s ideas and make them happen. They tend to be realistic and focus on the present.
9. Collector or Tosser: Collectors gather things. They hate to throw away anything because they just might need it sometime. Tossers get rid of things. They hate clutter and insist that if you haven’t used something lately, you probably never will.
10. Juggler or Holder: Jugglers are multi-channeled and can deal with many things simultaneously. Holders are single-channeled and can only deal with one, maybe two things at a time or they become overwhelmed and stressed.
Each of our spouses, our teammates, our kids are different and unique. We need one another. That not only creates balance and variety which is fun, but can also create challenges which are fun-ky. Talk about and celebrate these differences. You will learn to see others not as exact opposites to be endured, but perfect complements to be enjoyed.
Do you recognize yourself in these descriptions? Do you recognize your spouse, your kids or teammates?
How do you think understanding these difference could help your relationship?