Do you prefer people who are the same as you, or people who are different? If you’re like most people, you’re originally attracted to individuals who are different. Over time, however, you may find that the very traits that appealed to you, now get on your nerves. If you’re an American from San Diego attracted to a person from the Bronx, you may think the New York street accent delightful at first. Within six months, a New York accent may be the last thing you want to hear. You might even go as far as demanding the person modify his or her way of talking. If that demand seems too much for you or your friend, you may just wind up feeling alienated.
It’s interesting to consider that as much as we think we prefer the novel and unique in other people, we wish later on that they’d be more like us. In the long run, we may find our attraction soured by people who insist on “doing their own thing,” especially when it departs from conformity. In a family, business, or community organization, such nonconformity may even be regarded as disloyal or slightly dangerous.
When you’re more respectful of all the different types of people in the Myers-Briggs spectrum, you may be more tolerant of the differences among various people. You can identify the differences between you and other folks and allow the attachment to grow or diminish with the passage of time—without feeling the need to change the other person more to your way of thinking and behaving. It requires insight and patience to allow other people to develop in a relationship in ways natural to them.
It all starts with self-awareness. By recognizing your own tendencies, strengths and weakness you can acknowledge the justification for all individuals to live according to their own lights. If their behavior is not aggressive or destructive, you can view them the same way you view your own personality, with interest and tolerance. You can see where personality differences and similarities can be used for the purpose of harmony, not discord. If, for example, you are a Myers-Briggs Judging (J) type and your friend is a Perceiving (P) type, you might find that his or her inclination to be tardy for appointments is simply a trait that comes naturally. Waiting in a restaurant for your luncheon date might be okay on one or two occasions but after that it becomes irritating. You begin thinking about how irresponsible and thoughtless the person is—how negligent of your busy schedule.
How to Manage
There are several options. One is to bring a book with you, knowing that you’re destined to wait in the restaurant for 15 to 30 minutes. Another is to announce that after a 10-minute wait, you’re going to cancel the lunch date and move on. A third approach is to explain the negative effect their tardiness has on you and how it lowers your estimation of them as friends or partners. In other words, ask for compromise. It may be that your argument persuades the friend to at least be more prompt some of the time. If this is the case, their positive behavior should earn positive reinforcement from you to encourage repeat performances.
A compromise option is to tell them how important it is to you that they be on time; you feel disrespected when they’re not. Give them a 15-minute leeway and bring along something to occupy yourself in that vacuum. Then, let them know politely, if they can’t manage that, you’ll leave the restaurant after 15 minutes and go some place else to eat.
Framing your behavior and that of others in terms of Myers-Briggs traits is one way to make your relationships function more smoothly, and give you greater peace of mind. You no longer need to go through your life being aggravated at half your family, friends, and co-workers.