Courteous Compromise Between Feelers and Thinkers

Courteous Compromise Between Feelers and Thinkers

Responses to the Honesty blog revealed an overall request for less-accusatory communication between Thinker/Feeler relationships. Opposites attract but understanding and appreciating each other is another story requiring simple and workable solutions. As we focus on the adjacent decision-making preferences of Temperament--Thinking & Feeling in MBTI talk, keep in mind that both groups think/feel they are right which means allowing each other to be true to their preference by enabling courteous compromise.

To assist Feelers, we will zero in on understanding Thinkers—offering a feather in their caps. Observing Jim, who was a Sensing Head-Logic-Thinker from a ring side-seat of 65 years, I watched him deal with butane customers and farmers in Pecos, minister to Thinkers and Feelers at several churches, work side by side with contractors as he led in building several units, share the parenting of four, assist with babysitting  grandchildren, nurture close relationships with our large extended families, and volunteer many hours in the Optimist Club reaching out to youth. I admired his honest endeavor to learn as much about Temperament as possible to help him communicate courteously.  Gaining a solid appreciation for Thinkers from Jim, has splashed over on understanding and appreciation for all Thinkers—Sensing and Intuitive--in general.

A dating couple experiencing Thinker/Feeler oppositeness amid Covid challenges wrote: “After seeing each other 1 day in 5 weeks, we saw each other a little bit two days and now again because his parents have Covid we are separated 10-14 days at least!  Bill takes it matter-of-factly, which hurt at first.  His immediate concern was to protect me, which I appreciate, but it seemed like he didn't care about being separated again.  I'm sure that's my feeling side coming out with his thinking-sensing side.  It hurts but it's also fun to understand since I'd like to have reasonable expectations.”

“My husband and I are exact opposites! He is a thinker. I am a feeler. Every day I try to be careful how I word things. Fifty-four years and I am still crazy about him, but some conversations can be " trying"".... So, I'm trying to heed your advice. “

“I could see me in a lot of your examples, plus things have been said to me that didn’t feel like complements, especially by my father.”

“Your message is so appropriate for me, especially today. It’s our anniversary; Charlie and I have been married 30 years. I am definitely a feeler and he a thinker. This can be very difficult at times. What I dislike the most however, is his inability to ever say he’s sorry.”

60% of males are Head-Logic   Thinkers, but 40% are female.

60% of females are   Heart-Logic Feelers, but 40 % are male.

Feeling (Heart-Logic) men are attracted to Head-Logic (Thinker) women. Occasionally two Thinkers or two feelers find themselves in decision making situations. I find it interesting that Thinkers just agree to disagree and Feelers look for a mediator. Employment situations present challenges in dialogue as does parenting and extended family relationships.  Parents are concerned that Feeling sons will be pushed around and Thinking daughters considered uncaring. The sooner we all become knowledgeable about legitimate differences, accept and manage them wisely, will relaxed and healthier relationships prevail.

75% of Thinkers are Sensing, majoring on today, preferring hands-on black and white facts and figures, while 25% of Thinkers are Intuitive, focused on tomorrow, gifted in analysis, ideas and design.

All Thinkers tend to make decisions based on facts, figures, possibilities and experience minus emotions. They stick with their decisions until someone provides added information which can adjust their reasoning. After an event, Thinkers can toss it. When I discovered my purse was missing as I was running errands, I relayed my panicked and emotional concern aloud in the car where my four-year-old grandson was a passenger. Retracing our trip to the grocery, luckily someone had turned it in. As we drove home, I kept expounding “Oh, I’m so relieved. I didn’t know what I would do. I’m so thankful someone was honest and turned it in.”  Then, came a Thinking voice from the back seat, “Grandma, it’s over.”  Shortly afterwards, I apologized to him for scolding him for something he hadn’t done and he responded with “It’s over.”  An excellent, long-lasting lesson for this feeling grandmother from a Head-Logic, Thinking four-year-old.

Thinkers can work with people with whom they disagree. They do appreciate harmony, however. (Feelers strive for harmony and accept disagreement to maintain harmony). When confronted, Thinkers get mad, first, then hurt later on after they think about it.  (Feelers get hurt first, then mad after they think about it). If a Thinker becomes upset with something you said or did, they may express their displeasure but likely will not mention it again unless a feeler brings it up. They dislike continual rehearsal of infractions.! Feelers wear their hearts on their sleeves while Thinkers tuck their emotions in a back pocket.

Sympathy or approval from Thinkers is not always evident or easy to get. When I sighed heavily at 9:30 pm after seeing many clients one day, I said to Jim “Oh, I am so tired.” He said, “Well, who makes out your schedule?”  I wanted approval not a solution. I was working on ‘I’ statements and being honest, so rather than showing my disappointment that he didn’t give me the appreciation I was after, I said, “I could use a hug rather than a sermon right now.”  He took me in his arms.  But he didn’t say he was sorry. I don’t think I ever heard him say he was sorry.  He probably said it to himself but never aloud. I know he regretted failures on his part.

Because Thinkers are not easily pushed around, Feelers are afforded security and protection. Jim would never allow the children to sass me. “You heard your mother”, I can still hear his voice. Moms need that kind of support from Dads, especially, if you’re dealing with a Thinking child/teen who believes he/she is right about everything.

Thinkers keep their word and do not shirk responsibilities. They say what they mean and mean what they say.  Unfortunately, we all know Thinkers who do not resemble all that’s said here, choosing to violate laws and break rules.

Thinkers are not easily persuaded by one person. Their first answer is “no” and their second answer is “no”. But if two people or someone they respect greatly attempts to persuade or convince, that often works.

Thinkers do cry, but not often.  In our early marriage when I displayed upset with tears, Jim said “Waterworks will get you nowhere”. Jim was always composed at funerals, except the one for a teenaged church member who lost his life in a hunting accident. On the way to the grave site in trying to ease his sadness, I asked “Are you going to cry at my funeral?” and he said quickly with a smile “Depends on how old you are.” He would become choked up when preaching in relaying a story about someone, especially a child, who was mistreated.  As he grew older, his emotions moved to his shirt pocket. Although he was confident about forever life after death, he shed tears when he knew he was soon to leave me and the family. “Are you going to be all right,” was his last question.

Jim, a Sensing Thinker who’d rather make difficult decisions, work on cars, build a shelf, or repair what’s broken, exemplified deep passion by answering the call from God to prepare for the ministry so that people would be given the opportunity to nurture a relationship with the Lord. He committed himself to many years of theological study, preparing sermons, counseling, visiting hospitals, prisons, officiating at weddings, funerals, dedications—leading a selfless life. He never doubted his call or complained about responsibilities. He was well known for his always smiling friendliness, genuine love for everyone, willingness to listen, humor, generosity and helpfulness. I was privileged to share life and ministry with him.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace. Heb. 6:10 (NIV) 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…”  Heb. 10-23-24 (NIV)