Relationship issues and your MBTI personality type: J vs. P

It is a well-known fact that different people handle difficult relationship issues differently.

What is annoying and painful however is when someone gives us advice stating that it worked for them in a past and therefore should and will work for you too. You listen to that advice and… feel awful. This is because deep in your guts you know that it is ‘not you’ and it will not work for you.

Why is that? Why do different things work differently for different people? Why do we feel like we need ‘a custom-made’ advice to make it work just for us? Are we crazy feeling this way?

There are many reasons as to why, and many answers to this question. I thought I would share my observation and reasoning about it and see if you agree with me.

Very quickly. Your relationship issues handling depends on your MBTI personality type. What is MBTI? I have an easy to understand article about it here, but in essence it is a set of traits and characteristics that makes up your personal profile. It is not just some behavioral profile. It is how you perceive and process incoming information. Be it factual or emotional, it does not matter.

One of the characteristics I would like to talk about today is your ability to handle uncertainty.

Seriously, how do you personally handle uncertainty? Are you mostly a ‘black and white’ person or  a ‘grey’ one? Let’s identify something first.

You are a Judger (J) or 'black and white person' if:

~ you like to plan ahead of time
~ you always have a plan A and plan B (in case plan A will not work) or plan C in case A and B will not work
~ unfinished tasks bother you. You prefer for things to be ‘finished’ and ‘complete’. Incomplete things give you anxiety
~ you are organized and pay attention to detail

You are a Perceiver (P) or a 'grey person' if:

~ you prefer to be in the moment and not to plan anything ahead of time
~ you are a poor planer because again, you would rather be in the moment and make a decision right there and then
~ you like to keep your options open
~ you are the ‘last minute’ person

Notice how these two are not just different, they are the opposites.

And now guess what? If you are a ‘J’ and your partner is a ‘P’ then there will be a great deal of frustration between you two. The sad part is that we cannot change our preferences, this is how we were wired for life. The only good thing that could come out of this knowledge is understanding the other person and why they do what they do. Plus, knowing their type – P or J – could help us predict their behavior.

Here is how it plays out in typical relationship scenarios:

~ If you are a J then ‘unresolved’ and ‘unfinished’ things drive you crazy. If you have been dating for a while and you feel like it is time to move forward or consummate your relationship, then you will naturally make plans for this to happen. You want things to have the logical end.

Now, if your partner is a P, then all this planning and nagging to move forward will be perceived by him as some sort of freakish control. You see, he is in the moment and he does not think ahead of time. That’s his style. He has been wired like this. Just like you cannot live in the moment and cannot live without pre-planning first he cannot live with plans. To him it is too rigid and inflexible. Their motto is ‘let’s wait and see’.

~ If you are a P and  your partner is a J then you will feel controlled and at times suffocated by their constant desire to organize, to schedule, to re-organize, to make things right, and to get things done. In case they are your ex you will be asked a million questions, multiple scenarios with multiple details will be replayed and re-hashed until a logical end or some sort of solution has been reached.

INTERESTING FACT: Multiple statistical data shows that Js are better achievers (than Ps) in their careers and personal life. I am personally not surprised by this. Are you?

The danger of these differences is that we mis-interpret them. If things do not go our way we immediately assume that our partner does not care and does not love us. We do not really think about their perspective of things and how it is different to them. All we see is their stubborn ways of doing their own thing over and over again without consideration of our feelings.

We may think that if they loved us enough they would accommodate i.e. stop being less controlling (if you are a P living with a J) or stop being so disorganized (if you are a J living with a P). And as they never change and never seem to make an effort to change we think that they are either ‘not getting it’ or doing it on purpose to punish us for something.

Of course, it is not always the truth AND if you are opposites then it is never the truth. You are just opposites!

How to make Js and Ps co-exist peacefully:

Well, it is rather a tough question. It depends on the ‘severity’ of your P or J trait. If you were to take a test (it is free here), then you will notice that the P and J have numerical values. In essence, the closer you are to the middle, the less extreme you are which means less issues with your partner (provided they are your opposite).

Advise for Js: Remember, your P partner is all in the moment. He is a ‘last minute’ person and is super spontaneous. Use it to your advantage! What it means to you is that getting things done with this person won’t require planning.

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I know it sounds weird, but asking them to do something NOW will work much better than planning and committing to making things happen LATER in the future. If you need something of them ask them to do it NOW. Today or now – this is how they operate. And no, it won’t make them cranky, I promise.

Advise to Ps: You may want to appreciate your J partner who takes care of things ahead of time which on some level makes your life easier. Who likes unexpected nasty surprises? Their planning and working on getting things done does not mean they are trying to control you.

The best approach here would be asking your J partner what needs to be done RIGHT NOW. Even though your J likes to plan he/she will still find something for you to help him/her with at that moment.  Also, instead of waiting until the last minute why not ask your J partner to help you with upcoming future projects or to just pre-plan/organize something? They are very good at it these tasks. Use it to your advantage!

The described above approach will work for the both of you because:

~ it creates a sense of being useful and valuable to each other
~ it helps to reduce anxiety and long term frustration
~ it gives you both confidence that even though you are different you can still make it work
~ you won’t feel rejected or misunderstood
~ it will bring your relationship to a whole new level

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