Southern Man

Friday, May 06, 2011

Thinkers and Feelers

Some recent family drama has led Southern Man to reflect on the personality types of various family members. Today's lecture will focus on Thinking and Feeling. puts it this way:
Thinkers decide based primarily on logic, and when they do so, they consider a decision to be made. They tend to see the world in black and white and dislike fuzziness. Perhaps because people are so variable, they focus on tangible things, seeking truth and use of clear rules. At work, they are task-oriented, seek to create clear value. Interacting with them tends to brief and business-like. They may be seen as cold and heartless by Feelers.

Feelers decide based primarily through social considerations, listening to their heart and considering the feelings of others. They see life as a human existence and material things as being subservient to this. They value harmony and use tact in their interactions with others. At work, they are sociable and people-oriented and make many decisions based on values (more than value). They may be seen as unreliable and emotional by Thinkers.

When Southern Man and his ex were in post-divorce reconciliation counseling (with the incomparable Dr. Jim Talley) we did a lot of personality testing. Ex tested as a hard-against-the-wall feeler; Southern Man was nearly as extreme a thinker. In hindsight, this actually explains a lot and it taught Southern Man how to deal with her more effectively. In particular, it explained why any discussion with her based on reason and logic ended in raised voices and shouting and screaming and how to avoid those conflicts in the future.

So here is Southern Man's unprofessional evaluation of the rest of the family, in terms of his observations on how they differ from the norm:

Teen son got a healthy dose of his mother's personality and is much more a feeler than the average guy. Teen daughter, on the other hand, tends to be more of a thinker than the norm for girls, to the point that it upsets her that in some situations she doesn't feel as much emotion as she thinks she should. This actually makes perfect sense to Southern Man. Eleven-year-old daughter seems to be the most balanced of the three.

Southern Man's little sister is also a full-fledged feeler. Based on some of her Facebook posts Southern Man sometimes wonders if she thinks at all. Indeed, some of the aforementioned recent family drama was an argument with her in which Southern Man was judged to be unfeeling and insensitive. She's a terrific aunt, though, so all is forgiven. Southern Man's brother (the middle child) is probably the most balanced of us three in this regard.

Southern Man's father and mother both lean thinker, which explains their relatively emotionless relationship. They've been together for fifty-plus years, though, so whatever they do seems to work for them. And they are without a doubt the World's Best Grandparents. lists some tongue-in-cheek prayers for each of the sixteen Jungian personality types. Southern Man's is:

Lord, keep me open to others' ideas, WRONG though they may be. Amen!


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