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Dealing with Archetypal/Functional Opposites

Jan 12th, 2015

When using type as a healthy model, how do we recognize when we are dealing with an archetypal/functional opposite?  This question was recently asked of me, and I want to use this format to share my thoughts.

Differences can occur in our actions or in communication styles.  The opposition manifests itself through a feeling of "I wouldnít act like that, do that or say that".  I think it also manifests itself in communication when we find ourselves not being able to follow anotherís thought process, understand what they are saying, or find we struggle to stay engaged.

This situation recently ocurred when a person who had asked for time to talk with me about a specific business opportunity called and spent the entire conversation talking about another project. They avoided every move I made to bring the discussion to the topic that was supposed to be discussed.  

Knowing this person is my opposing personality (ISTJ vs ESTP) did not make the situation more comfortable for me, but did allow me to recognize the person was talking about what was most energizing for him at the moment instead of setting those thoughts aside to talk to me about the planned topic of discussion.  I had to force myself to take notes on what he was saying in order to avoid checking emails or engaging in other activities as he talked. 

Finally, after listening to him for 30 minutes I was able to get him to focus on the reason for the call and we rescheduled our call for another day.

When these situations arise, we could easily say we are in conflict with the person and just write it off as being wrong, or we could try to understand what might be causing the reactions we are having toward the other person. 

In this case I had to recognize the personís excitement about an opportunity that presented itself which he needed to share.  His need to use Se and Fe were so great that I needed to set my Si and Te aside until my friend could engage in a Te way another day. It could be that the other person was indeed wrong and should be ignored or corrected, or it could be that we are finding the function(s) the other person is using are not comfortable for us to use or engage. 

In my case, it was the latter.  We must learn how to flex and allow the other personís energy to have its time. It is important for us to rule out the opposition being caused by functional or archetypal opposition before we ignore the other person or inform them they are wrong.  To do this, we must look inside ourselves first to determine if the cause of the opposition is from within before pointing a finger -- an approach that I find much easier to write about than to apply.


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