Several have asked how different temperaments handle Covid-19 Pandemic. Understanding people “who march to a different drummer” is helpful in proving others’ authenticity. First, a brief refresher for those who are acquainted with MBTI and have your profile and information on understanding personalities for the rest.
Extrovert-75 % of population -people prone, people charge them up, positive outlook
Introvert-25% - Privacy prone -people drain them, negative and more cautious outlook
Sensing –75% Hands-on, rely on black and white facts and figures, predictable
iNtuitive-25% - Mind-on rely on ideas and reasons, unpredictable
Feeling – 60% female, 40% male heart logic, harmony necessary, need approval, affirmation
Thinking- 60% male, 40% female, head Logic, can work without harmony, want trust and respect
Structured-50 % organized, schedule plans, work, then play, natural leaders, give directions
(Perceptive) Unstructured-50% follow impulses, dislike giving orders, play, then work, good with crisis.
Keep in mind that everyone has some of every preference but responds first with their favorite ones. During crises we quickly access whichever preference is needed, often surprising ourselves in what we’re capable of handling. For details check out the first chapters in my books, How to Get Along with Everyone and Self Esteem—Gift From God available in hard copy, E-book Kindle as well as blog, ruthmcrobertsward.com. You may find yourself on one side or the other in the snatches of the following conversations:
“I’m a different person when in unfamiliar situations or with certain people. With some I’m very relaxed; with others, I’m a bit up-tight. “
“Why do some people self-appoint themselves as authorities in charge? I don’t know who to listen to.”
“I resent those who join our group talking, completely ignoring that a conversation was going on before he/she entered. Don’t they know that interrupting or monopolizing the conversation is very rude?”
“In committee work, my practical suggestions are always put on hold while others go into great detail with their ‘wonderful’ ideas, analysis and possibilities. It seems they enjoy stirring the pot.”
“I am uncomfortable with people who look bored, mad, sad and are silent.”
“I’ve been accused of bringing out the worst in some people. They want to argue right off the bat about just anything. I’ve learned to keep my opinions to myself for mental safety.”
“I feel insecure when someone won’t trust me. I hate that feeling. I’m a thinker and don’t often use the word feel. Even using that word makes me feel weak.”
Self-analysis is good for all of us. Take a good look at how you think/feel and behave. Attempt to ascertain how you might be coming across to those that you meet regularly. Are you cooperative, kind, attentive, helpful, irritated, appreciative, supportive, generous? Willing to accept others? Examine yourself: am I being pushy, bossy, obstinate, helpless, using the silent treatment, wish washy, talk in circles, stubborn?
We should all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that everyone has, feelings, thinks, considers facts, ideas and does all the above at times. Our very best friends aren’t about to tell us how we ‘try their patience’, even if we ask. The best approach, I conjecture, is to know who we are by God’s design and be aware how our particular temperament might gnaw at someone who is opposite but also contributing to solutions.
I’m reminded of a trip I took back to school in Chicago in the early ‘50’s when the train stopped a distance from our destination with jerks and jolts. Everyone got quiet. The conductor arrived very soon announcing: “We have train troubles; repairs may take a while. Do not leave the car.” We had no cell phones back then to alert those waiting. A man in a suit yelled at the conductor “At least give us an idea of how long. This delay is ridiculous”. A mother with two young children rummaged for toys and snacks in her carry-on. A lady adjacent to my seat adjusted her pillow to grab a nap. A man across the aisle continued to study a huge book and take notes. A group of teens played Monopoly. This shutdown affected all of us. It became crystal clear to the entire crowd that we were all facing cancellation, changes and upset to normal routine. Just like how Covid 19’s closings today are impacting the lives of couples, singles, children with confusion. Most wonder, “What am I going to do? My plans totally disrupted and my life is being reshaped.” All are on high alert!
How does mixing Covid with temperament play out? When you know who you are, you’ll understand why certain restrictions are either easy or difficult for you to follow. If you work from home or have children who either attend on different schedules or take classes remotely, you may have to tolerate the crowding, having to keep young ones on target, making lunches and adjusting to changes no one can control for now.
An Extroverted Intuitive may dream up so many possibilities in a crisis like Covid, they cannot be silent, which drives Sensing people bonkers who prefer considering one solution at a time. Blending personalities is proven to be the most sensible and wisest way to get along. To say, “That’s the way God made me and I’m not going to change my behavior just to please someone else,” is an immature attitude that won’t fly for long.
If you find yourself in crowded situations, endeavor to neutralize your very strong, natural expressions or behavior and especially when you are with someone you know is very different. When Covid throws you into a noisy house or into a completely silent one, decide how to adjust or access the best preference to use. I encourage Extroverts to acquiesce to Introverts because it’s easier for them to be quiet than for Introverts to put up with constant conversation and noise. While encouraging Extroverts, to be less vocal, I also urge Introverts to smile a bit more often and be physically available to interact. Smiles, to me, are like the music when you’re waiting for a rep on the phone that assures you someone is still on the line.
What we like about ourselves may drive another up the wall. It’s true, Extroverts often don’t know what they’re thinking until they hear themselves talk, but they can practice thinking before speaking, like Introverts do all the time. Extroverts, please be patient and give Introverts mental editing time.
Crises appear easier for Spontaneous people to handle. They work faster and become very organized in the process of dealing with crises and rather enjoy surprises. Structured people are the opposite preferring to know ahead of time when something is going to fall apart. They like to plan ahead and be ready.
It’s up to each of us to respect others’ preferences. Think about who you’ll deal with today. What do you admire; what becomes difficult? Thinkers assume that they are in charge because they have an inner sense of responsibility. Respect those who resist assuming any responsibility, aware that you are like that at times.
Sensing people like to gather all the supplies and are not as comfortable playing anything by ear, unless it’s an instrument. Intuitives, both Extroverted and Introverted, are equipped to move quickly from one idea or plan to another. Extroverts often talk about solutions while Introverts are more likely to listen and act.
Ask God for wisdom as you deal with changed routine and unexpected meltdowns. Ask the Lord for patience and understanding. Respect others’ space, belongings, house-rules of where to eat, shoes on or off. Be diligent with masking and social distancing. Pray that your children away in college will patiently follow school rules and adjust to changes in learning styles and make wise social decisions.
Several have shared that with time on their hands, they’ve caught up on reading, put together huge puzzles, completed long-neglected house and yard projects, golfed alone and even brought out the Legos.
Search me, God, and know my heart. See if there is any offensive way in me.” Ps. 139:23-24. Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lam. 3:40
God is closer than anyone else and knows how to help us with everything, even our frustrations and fears.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us unending encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (NIV) II Thess 2:16-27