It’s been quiet around here. And not. One of my kids is gregarious, though he’s not uncomfortable with solitude. My other son leans toward introversion; he’s the kid who didn’t talk, at least, not with me.
Though both can spin a yarn these days, the contrast between my sons is striking. One’s an extrovert, and the other isn’t, which reminds me that I’ve known and loved big talkers and more frequently, those who are circumspect in their communications.
My style? I’m both.
Do you know your personality type? Do personality preferences guide your professional choices, or perhaps more importantly, your friends and romantic partners?
I can’t tell you how many times in my corporate life I had to take a Myers-Briggs test – or some variant. You know – Extrovert, Introvert, Thinking, Feeling, and so on. I never cared for this sort of testing process, and I always considered the results to be flawed (or muddled). I know my own propensity for performance, and equally, absolute ease with silence.
More than the thinking/feeling, judging/perception axes, it was the Extrovert-Introvert labels that seemed like pointless pigeon-holing to me. I am as easily classified as an introverted extrovert as I am an extroverted introvert. Frankly – trust and generosity seem like more substantive determinants of effective relationships than whether or not you’re expansive in your communication style.
Relationship style, communication style
I’m not wild about classifying people, though I recognize the usefulness at times. Yet I’ve always found it strange when online dating sites seek to match on “personality dimensions.” Since I’ve tried my hand at most of the popular cyber-venues, it’s an approach that hasn’t worked for me. Is it because I’m not easily slotted or because the test is flawed?
What about you? Do you consider yourself talkative? Are you a storyteller by nature, or prefer revealing yourself under the influence of slowly constructed confidences, or better yet – in writing? Do you seek relationships with those who are like you, or fit best with those who aren’t?
My grandfather was a storyteller and the definition of a big talker. My grandmother, his wife of 50 years, was more reserved. Oh, she had plenty to say, but she didn’t try to compete with her husband’s considerable flair for drama and natural talent for entertainment. I loved the contrast of the two – and enjoyed their different styles. I suspect they enjoyed them as well.
Temperament? Interests? Values? What makes relationship work?
So what makes some relationships sing, be they work or personal? Do you believe that certain “types” are more compatible with others – whether you’re pairing talkers and non-talkers, or talkers with others like themselves? What about those who give and those who take, or is it far more complex when dissecting what works in a relationship? How much does a common communication style help, or is it a matter of a complementary communication style?
I’ve often gravitated to men with fairly introspective personalities. Those who are extremely articulate, with humor that is wry rather than rowdy, and with little need to put on a show. On occasion, I’ve gone for the storyteller persona like my grandfather, and found pleasure in that as well.
As for a preference, I couldn’t say what it is, because I know myself to be chameleon-like in many ways, with an adaptive style that has proven beneficial in my life.
Yet one more reason that I reject the notion of categorizing individuals?
As for my natural inclinations, I’m a big talker, except when I’m not. I’m contentedly quiet, except when I’m not.
And it seems that both my sons share varying amounts of a similar tendency.
- Are you a talker? Are you paired with a talker?
- What about your children and their communication styles?
- Can a big talker still be a great listener?
- What do you think of personality tests used as predictors of good relationships?
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