Entries for month: January 2014

Experiencing Another Perspective

One of the best things about knowing type is accepting that people do things differently from you – they are not trying to be contrary, undermining or annoying in the process.   But that is not the same thing as truly experiencing those differences. 

As an ESTJ and an Experiential on the MBTI Step® II™ tool, part of the way I understand things and their meaning is to try things out.  So here goes my attempt at trying out different preferences within my opposite type:

To experience Introversion, I notice what it feels like to lose myself in a book or to lose myself in a writing project.  There is a focus and a calmness that comes over me. I concentrate deeply on what is inside my head.  I lose track of time. 

Yesterday when I was writing, I was startled to see the time and chagrinned to realize that I should have left for appointments much earlier than I did!

To experience Intuition, I feel myself stepping back from a situation and noticing the patterns of behaviors and asking myself, “What does this mean?” 

I even use metaphors in my communications (or at least appreciate them).  Reading a Louise Penny mystery recently, I chuckled at the metaphoric description of a chubby child in her winter pageant costume of a snowflake; the writer said she looked more like a snowdrift.  

To experience Feeling, I recall the sad time putting a beloved family pet “to sleep.”  Logically, it should have been an easy call – the pet wasn’t eating, needed to be carried outside, etc.  But it’s not easy when you love a pet.  Trying to find harmony within the decision and how it affects everyone is wrenching.

I also experience (introverted) Feeling when I’m describing a particularly moving event to someone else.  I feel goose bumps of recognition that “yes, this is important!” 

To experience Perceiving, all I have to do is go on a driving trip with a Perceiving type, stopping wherever the spirit moves us, making decisions about where to stay at a time when driving is no longer fun.  I’ve discovered more interesting places and things that way. 

For example, I bet you didn’t know when the first sundae was served (on a Sunday in 1881!), and where:  Two Rivers, Wisconsin.  Yup, Perceiving led me there and let me experience eating one there as well!!

To experience my opposite, INFP, well that is a stretch.  A good friend, the late John DiTiberio who was an INFP, once told me he would coach me in how to do so.  He said I’d need a prop – a newspaper.  I was to sit in a corner of the room absorbed in it, not peaking over the top. 

At his Memorial Service, there was a picture of him with his three-year-old INFP identical twin daughters.  You guessed it – all three were “reading” newspapers.

How do you experience your opposites?   If the preferences I portrayed are yours, did I get close in my descriptions to at least some of what you experience?


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Christmas Gifts Differing

Christmas is over and it’s my favorite time of the season, when the house is empty and I get to sit back and look at my tree, remember all the good food and gifts, and think about all of the people we celebrated with. I’m an Introvert, so I have the most fun when I’m reflecting on social occasions.

The very first thing I remember about the people this Christmas was the smiles. People’s smiles are the most beautiful thing about them. They are what sunshine is to nature, what lights are to the Christmas tree. And when I think of the standout smiles that greeted me this season, I realize they were mostly on the faces of the extraverts. What would Christmas be without the happy smiles of the confident extraverts, at the front door, across the table, across the room? That’s the gift they give to me that I treasure the most.

Then I remember the quiet people, who glow rather than gleam, who aren’t vying for attention or center stage, but are happy to sit back and enjoy the people-show. They bring a bit of peace to these get-togethers. They’re like the fires in the background that make the room feel cozy and warm. Most of the quiet watchers in my world are Introverts, and that’s the gift they give me that I treasure the most.

The Sensing types…where do I begin? Christmas is an amazing opportunity for them to express their talents in making things pleasing to the senses. This year, my Sensing daughter gave me six outfits that fit me perfectly and make me look better than I ever have. A Sensing friend cooked a meal that tasted like the best thing in life, another decorated their home in a way that captured the very essence of the Christmas spirit, and another did gift wrapping that was so beautiful it was a gift in itself. For all of the tastes, sights, smells, sounds and textures of Christmas, I thank the Ss for their amazing gifts. 

The Intuitives, well, they gave some “out of the box” gifts that were really a hit. One N gave a gift that was so funny we were all laughing to tears. (I can’t describe it because it’s tasteless.) Another gave us several packets of seeds taken from the favorite flowers in his garden, with pictures on the packets of his kids holding the flowers. How did he think of that? For most of my Christmas experiences of the unique and the unusual, I thank the Ns.

The gifts of the Ts at Christmas are a little harder to recall, but then I start to remember that while all of the hugging, wild exclaiming and present opening was going on, there were some pretty wry and witty comments being uttered in the background. You know what I mean. Some of the Ts in my life provided a little saltiness to balance out the excesses of sugar at Christmas, and for the chuckles they gave me, I thank them.

Christmas is about expressing our love for the people in our lives, and no one does that better than the Fs. I especially love how most Fs receive gifts. They don’t have to remind themselves that it’s the thought that counts; they are genuinely grateful for the time, money, thought and work that someone put into trying to please them, even if it’s a gift they won’t get much use out of. They know how to make you feel as if you are the best gift-giver in the world, and for that, and all of the other honest expressions of warmth and kindness, I thank the Fs.  

Christmas is an organizational challenge for everyone, even Js, but it’s wonderful to see some of the events that they put together. Whether entertaining at home, bringing gifts and food to someone else’s party, or arranging a get-together in a restaurant, there are a lot of to-do lists involved, and it’s the Js who amaze me with their ability to bring together a large amount of people, places, food and gifts to make a memorable get-together. For most of the well-orchestrated events that I attended this season, I thank the Js. 

Then, for all of the people who so good-naturedly went along with all of the planning that the Js did, I thank the Ps. Also, I thank them for showing up unexpected, or calling and inviting us to meet them at an impromptu get together. They threw me off my guard, but I had so much fun with them that I doubt that planning could have made it better. For those delightful surprises, I thank the Ps.

To all of the types that made my Christmas great, thank you for your Christmas gifts differing. 


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