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Sensors vs. Intuitives—The Dating Game

In the dating game, the Sensing and Intuitive Myers-Briggs preferences can be a source of excitement and, at the same time, confusion.

Sensors are realistic about dating partners. They judge other people by what they do and say. Being grounded in objective reality, they aren’t impressed by phony facades or bragging. They clearly see the good and the bad in the here and now. Intuitives, with their active imaginations, are more titillated by the possibilities in their minds than what’s actually taking place in the present. They extrapolate from the evidence in front of them and don’t take it at face value. Sensors may fantasize, too, but they’re more likely to do it after the fact. Their perceptions in the moment must agree with what’s going on in reality, rather than their wishful thinking about the future.

Sensors are more tuned to their senses: how the date looks and sounds, whether he or she smells nice and has agreeable tastes in music and food. For them, the dating experience happens through the five senses. Intuitives are more interested in their hunches about the person. They experience dates more in the sense of potential for the future. The Intuitive is more interested in images conjured up by their imaginations—in other words, what the date should be like, more than what he or she actually is.

For Sensors, the date begins only when the two parties stand face to face. For Intuitives, the date begins as soon as arrangements are made. That leaves plenty of time to fantasize about possibilities.

One problem arises when the two types actually get together for their date. Sensors may have trouble following the Intuitive’s many trains of thought. Because good conversation is a major factor in the early phases of the dating game, the differences between the two types begin to emerge sooner rather than later. Sensors like to talk about concrete things: people they’ve met, experiences they’ve had, places they’ve been—with specifics provided in detail. Intuitives would rather talk about their dreams, visions, ideas, and other intangibles.

One aggravating problem for both parties lies in the details each provides. Sensing partners tend to interrupt the stories of their partners with corrections about dates, places, and so on. The Intuitive is less interested in minute details than in the main theme of the story.

Here’s an example of a story about poor restaurant service that Joe is telling friends:

Joe: We were eating at Chez Pierre, and they brought me a Martini instead of a Bloody Mary.

Susan: They brought you a Manhattan by mistake.

Joe: Then it took almost an hour to deliver my entrée.

Susan: It was 40 minutes.

Joe: And the trout wasn’t even cooked thoroughly.

Susan: You ordered grouper that night.

You can see how this couple could run into irritating conflicts over time—with the Sensing person aggravated by her partner’s factual errors and the Intuitive’s annoyance at being interrupted and contradicted like a small child.

For Sensors, it’s important that facts be presented correctly. The details are as important as flow and underlying meaning. For the Intuitive, the underlying message takes stage center.