I learned something new about my husband recently. After 21 years of marriage…I learned something new! I was telling my friend Kristy that I was frustrated because I had called him when he was at Lowes and asked him to stop at the grocery store and grab something we needed. He acted irritated and gave me push back. Said he didn’t have time. I was ticked because I feel like that kind of thing happens a lot. I’ve interpreted it like this for years: If it’s not his idea, he acts like it won’t work. It drives me crazy!
Now Kristy and I had already discussed how different our personalities are. She’s an administrative whiz. She’s organized and likes to plan things. If you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time, you will know that I am not those things! (You can check out my post on my glaring faults here. Or one that highlights my difficulty with clutter here.) So when I mentioned why I was irritated with my hubby, she nodded and said, very matter-of-factly, “You changed his plans.” I what? “He already had his plan for while he was out and you changed it. I have trouble changing my plans too.”
WOW. I had never thought of it like that before. And it sounded so rational when she said it. I’m a FBTSOMP kinda girl. I “fly by the seat of my pants.” If someone calls me and asks me to add a stop to my itinerary, I say, “Sure” cuz it doesn’t bother me. (Incidentally, I rarely make all the stops on my list. But I know that I won’t. It’s just how I am. I’ve accepted it. Hubby always makes all the stops on his list. He plans it and he does it. End of story.) So I had never considered that when I ask him to do things that are last minute, I’m messing with his plans and its uncomfortable for him…it adds stress to his life. He likes to plan and he likes to stick to his plan. And that’s okay. It’s how he’s wired. I was looking at the situation through the lens of my personality…forgetting to take his personality into account. (And I never realized it all these years!)
I told him about what Kristy said and he nodded. As if it were just common knowledge that his frustration was because I was messing with his plans. (I think all you organized people must have a club where you sit around and discuss these things…or more likely, you don’t discuss them. Someone presents it with a power point with lots and lots of bullet points. If my peeps…you know, the disorganized FBTSOMP people, got together there would be no bullet points, most of us would be late but there would definitely be chocolate and cool music playing.)
But I digress (shocker!) Back to my story…ironically, ever since my talk with Bill, he’s been more willing to change his plans when I ask. (And he says to me every time, like a proud school-child with an A+ paper, “Did you see how I did that? I just changed my plans.” It’s quite cute.) And I’ve been more careful not to try and change things if I don’t really need to. A little understanding goes a long way.
I learned early on that just because someone sees things differently than me, doesn’t mean they are wrong. I love learning about the differences in personality traits and how they affect communication. It’s that old “walk a mile in his shoes” idea that we so often lose sight of. How about you? Is there someone in your life that is just different from you? Do you fall into the trap of thinking they are wrong just because they are different? Can you think of a time when different personality styles caused miscommunication? How did you work things out?
Are you an Introvert? Extrovert? Thinking? Feeling? Dominant Director? Influencer? Cautious Thinker? Security Minded? Phlegmatic? Sanguine? Melancholy? The list of personality styles is endless and dates back to Ancient Greece. But if you’ve never taken a look at any of these theories, it’s really worth a little of your time. In my next post I’ll go into more detail about personality traits/styles and give you some resources to learn more.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope your summer is going well! Try walking a mile in someone else’s shoes…but not when it’s really hot out.