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Same or Opposite Types?

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.

Self Awareness

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.

Little Girl Voices

Some young women routinely talk in a girlish tone of voice. Their voice is sing-song, they speak in a breathy way, and their statements end on a questioning note. They seem to be eternally smiling, no matter how serious the subject at hand. Their body language has an impish quality—soft and demure. They sound like seven-year-old girls, not adult women. While higher voices are natural to females because they have shorter vocal folds than men, the trait is exaggerated in women with little-girl voices.

Unfortunately, if the habit continues into middle age, their voices begin to sound shrill and ear-splitting. Their cries of merriment sound more like the cackle of chickens than the deeper-pitched laughter of mature women.

Respect

In a business setting, these girl-women aren’t perceived as having the executive presence necessary to command respect. They don’t grow in their roles or advance their careers. Some, older women, reaching an age where they realize that their abnormally high voices are more of a handicap than an asset, employ vocal coaches to help them overcome their years-long habit. While higher voices are governed partly by DNA, they are also a consequence of unconscious intention. Despite protestations of a desire for job advancement, these women continue in old speaking patterns—often because they don’t realize the negative effect.

Power

Subconsciously, they wish to minimize their power. They have emotional conflicts about the influence they’ve earned over some men and many women. By speaking like little girls, they throw off the cloak of power. Employing a tone of voice that goes up at the end, a woman can leave the impression that she is simply asking questions or making suggestions rather than mandating decisions outright. While this approach may make colleagues feel less intimidated, it erodes a woman’s influence overall and has an unfavorable effect on her opportunities for the future.

One purpose served by the little-girl voice is to disarm others and stave off any negative input. When a woman makes herself sound young and vulnerable, she sends the message that she can’t or won’t defend herself, so her listeners shouldn’t be rough on her. She is, in fact, protecting herself from challenges—negative feedback and unpleasant news—all of which a professional person needs to be prepared for in order to grow and develop. By avoiding consequences in the present, she erects a barrier to her long-term career advancement.

It Works

In a sense, the little-girl’s voice works. Although many women are unaware of their habit of using a sing-song tone of voice, they are smart enough to know that something in their communication pattern is getting them what they want. They don’t have to deal with difficult conversations and negative feedback nearly as often, and they’re less accountable for tough decisions. However, what may temporarily boost their confidence results in a loss of credibility over the long haul.

Conclusion

Young women living in today’s pop culture get little incentive to act like grown-ups. Even the wardrobes celebrated by the media tend to be childish. Many outfits look more like Halloween costumes. With all the games and impulse gratification offered by various forms of media, we live in a cultural climate of juvenile proportions. For young women, acting like a school-girl doesn’t even ring false. If anything, resorting to age-appropriate behavior seems like a downhill ride to becoming an old maid.