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Thinking vs. Feeling
My partner Frank and I were at a restaurant the other day and after I ate I got on my cell phone to check my email. After about ten minutes he asked “are you ready to leave?” I thought to myself that it should be obvious I was not ready to leave because I was on my cell phone. I said nothing but this triggered some negative emotions. I put the cell phone away and got up to leave. He said, “What’s your hurry?”
In the past, this would have frustrated me and I would have said, “I thought you wanted to leave.” Instead I asked him why he asked me if I was ready to leave if he was not ready to leave. He said he did not know. I decided that he just wanted me to put down my cell phone and give him some attention, but he did not know how to ask me.
I asked Frank again why he asked me if I wanted to leave and he said: “I don’t know.” I said, “How can you not know why you ask something?” He said, “I cannot explain it.”
This last statement by Frank is the key to this whole issue. I am a thinking person. I am very logical and know exactly why I do things and can explain why I feel one way or the other. Frank is a feeling person. He is not logical. He does things based on his feelings at the time.
There are advantages to each personality type and disadvantages. When you have one of each in a relationship, it is a challenge. You argue a lot unless you learn to understand each other and be really patient.
As a logical person I like to plan ahead and get organized. I want to plan the next day and the next , including what we are going to eat each day. Frank likes to decide what he wants to eat based on what he feels ten minutes before he eats. I can’t even get him to tell me what he wants until we are at the drive through, and even then he is not sure. This used to drive me nuts until I accepted it and just went with the flow without resentment.
As a thinking person, I am always in a hurry because I know exactly what I want--whatever is logical at the time. Frank likes to take his time so he can get in touch with how he feels before he acts. This is like the story of the "The Tortoise and the Hare," in Aesop's Fables. It is hard to admit, but the tortoise won the race.
In defining comparability for my book Addiction to Love, I said partners should be alike or have a high level of tolerance for the other person’s differences. Since this is the age of multiple relationships, you can try each of these and see which one work for you before you get married or make a commitment..
I used to think I needed a logical partner so we would not argue. But God chose Frank for me, and I think he made the right choice because feeling people tend to be very forgiving if they love you. They can go from anger to being really calm and loving soon after a disagreement. I need this.
It is also important to mention that people are born with a certain personality type and so there is no reason to judge anyone who is different from you. Furthermore, there should be no shame in being who you are. I am a recovering alcoholic, and I used to study other alcoholics. I concluded that the most common reason introverts drink is because they want to be extroverted. They do not like being themselves.
While we need to be true to our own nature, it is important to be flexible around others. How do we do this? Well this is why God gave us love. If we love our partner, we want to be compatible. If we love our neighbor, we want to get along. Love is a social lubricant. This it is the one thing that all religions have in common when you get to the heart of their dogma.
To a thinking person knowledge is very important. For me, knowing why Frank and I argue is the beginning of changing how I react to the things he does and the things he feels. Frank doesn’t care why. He just wants to get along and so he has learned to be very loving and tolerant around me. This shows me how much he loves me, and it makes me want to love him even more.
In conclusion, I would like to say if you are a feeling type try to think ahead when your partner really needs you to, and if you are a thinking type don’t go nuts when your partner needs to live in the moment. Both planning and living in the moment are good traits, at the right time, and we all need to learn how to do both.
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