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Relationships - The Secrets of Personality Type Revealed




Excerpted from
Just Your Type : Create the Relationship You've Always Wanted Using the Secrets of Personality Type
By Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron-Tieger

You are about to learn about - or perhaps expand your understanding of - a fascinating and well-respected tool that will give you powerful new insights into yourself, your partner, and all the important people in your life. Of the many systems that philosophers, psychologists, and all-around wise people throughout the ages have devised to understand people, we think Personality Type is one of the best. Since its rise in popularity in the early 1970s, it has enjoyed worldwide acclaim because it's easy to learn and understand, it has a host of practical applications, it explains a lot about why people do the things they do, and it recognizes the value and uniqueness of every person.

Based originally on the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and the American mother-daughter team of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, Personality Type identifies and explains the fundamental ways people behave naturally. It explains how we prefer to interact with the world, are energized, notice the world around us, make decisions, and organize our lives. By expanding upon Jung's work, Katharine and Isabel developed and published the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) instrument, the most popular and widely respected personality assessment instrument in the world. Uses of Personality Type are varied and include career counseling, management training, team building, personal therapy, training for educators, and parent effectiveness training.

By the end of this chapter, you will have a pretty good idea of your own personality type and, if you're in a relationship, of your partner's type as well. In fact, you'll find that going through this process together will be fun and probably will help you identify your "true" types more quickly. But before we get started, we'd like to share a few general principles about Personality Type:

1. We believe that everyone is born with one true personality type and that although we all change greatly as we develop and mature, our type remains the same.

2. All types are equally valuable. There are no better or worse, healthy or sick, intelligent or unintelligent types, and all have their own strengths and weaknesses.

3. Every individual is unique. Although people who share the same type have a lot in common, we all have different parents, genes, and experiences that exert a tremendous influence over what kind of people we become. And although Type provides invaluable insights, it doesn't explain everything! One hundred people of the same type will have a lot in common with one another, but they certainly won't be identical.

4. In the American culture, some personality type characteristics are more highly valued than others. Type is a great tool for helping people understand and appreciate people who may be very different from them in small and great ways.

There are four dimensions of Personality Type, each of which is an important aspect of our personalities. It's helpful to think of each of these dimensions as a continuum, with two ends and a midpoint, much like a scale.

For each of the four dimensions, every person has a natural, inborn preference for one side or the other of the midpoint. By preference, we mean an essentially unconscious preference, not a conscious choice. It's the way that feels the most natural and comfortable to us - the way we automatically behave. For the first dimension, Extraversion or Introversion, if you fall on the Extraversion side, you are called an Extravert, and if you fall on the Introversion side, you are called an Introvert. People display these preferences to varying degrees, but for the time being, you don't need to be concerned about the strength of your preference on any of these scales. What's most important is to figure out on which side of the midpoint you (and your partner) fall.

One more important thing to keep in mind: although we all have a preference for one side or the other on each of these four type dimensions, everyone uses both sides of each dimension at certain times. In other words, one is primarily an Extravert, not exclusively an Extravert. The same is true for the other type dimensions.

Ready to Figure Out Your Type?

Figuring out your type is like putting together a puzzle: some pieces are harder to identify and some reveal more than others. And it's essentially a process of elimination. Your goal is to determine which of the sixteen types fits you best by eliminating those that don't fit you well.

As you read about each of the four Type dimensions, try to figure out which side of each one more aptly describes you and jot down your observations. These will come in handy when it's time to verify that you've identified your one true type. As you go through this exercise, you may notice that it's much easier for you to identify some of your preferences than others. This happens to most people. Don't worry about deciding absolutely all four of your preferences at this time; rather, think of them as a "working hypothesis" for now. And remember, there is no such thing as a pure Extravert or Introvert - we all use both sides of our personalities throughout the day, though not at the same time or with the same ease. We just have a natural preference for one side over the other. So let's take a look at the first type dimension: are you an Extravert or an Introvert?



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