The ability to build and maintain lasting, meaningful relationships with others is one of the most important skills we can develop. After all, this journey of life is not meant to be traveled alone —whether through work, a mixed family setting, sports and hobbies, a reunion of true friends, or a romantic partnership. And despite the varied nature of these basic relationships, every true relationship is built on an acceptance of one fundamental principle:
Every one of us is different: to form true relationships, we must first understand and embrace each other’s differences.
This sounds obvious and simple—but because I can’t stress enough how crucial this idea is to the very fabric of our joint human existence. Here’s why…
1. In order to understand others’ differences, we must first have a solid understanding of ourselves.
Before we can hope to truly understand another person, we need to get inside our own heads. We need to figure out not only what our needs, values, joys and strengths are but also what our typical responses to certain situations are, as well as why we respond the way we do at a deeper psychological level.
2. Through an understanding of our own values and needs, we can begin to identify the values and needs of others.
It’s human nature to react to others as if they see the world in the same way we do. However, by gaining a deeper understanding of our own personality type and drivers, our own ways of being and being recognized in the world, we start to recognize others in their unique ways as well.
Rather than subconsciously projecting your own focuses and preferences when for example asking your partner what they want to do tonight, you might be able to rather draw out their unique and genuine responses by asking questions that their personality type reacts best to. Then stay present and engaged in the conversation and LISTEN to their response. By opening up and shifting the relationship’s center, conversation is allowed to happen much more naturally and successfully.
3. With understanding comes identification of common ground, allowing deeper conversation in the other’s own language.
Recognizing someone’s personality type means that you also recognize those issues and ideas most important to the other person. This means that you can naturally offer interesting and appealing conversation. Instead of assuming that another person thinks and feels the way you do, once you’re able to notice both your differences and similarities, you can speak to others in a manner that complements the way they really do think and feel. The result? More meaningful connections and relationships.
Taking even these simple, although not necessarily easy steps can open up the opportunity to build and maintain the type of relationships you most want in your life.
By reaching a deeper awareness of your own primary personality type, you’ll start to understand how you differ on a fundamental level from other people—and it’s this recognition and embrace of difference that allows you to truly connect with others, regardless of their primary personality type.
Embrace your inner truth, live your purpose and make your contribution in the world.