How Does Your World See You?

In this fourth in the series on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), we’ll cover what the MBTI describes as your “outer life,” or how you prefer to interact with the world around you, your demeanor.

The MBTI says, “Some people interact with the outside world when they are taking in information. Whether they use the Sensing preference or the Intuitive preference, they are still interacting in the outside world.” Others interact more when they have a decision to make. This pairing is a bit complex, because it covers how you “act on the outside,” not how you prefer to be as a whole.

For instance, when it comes to dealing with the outer world, people who tend to focus on making decisions would be labeled as “Judging” because they tend to like things decided. Those who focus more on information rather than decisions prefer a “Perceiving” way of interacting.

interaction smarnadAs the MBTI says, “One person may feel very orderly/structured (J) on the inside, yet their outer life looks spontaneous and adaptable (P). Another person may feel very curious and open-ended (P) in their inner world, yet their outer life looks more structured or decided (J).”

If you are the “Judging” type, you usually appear to others to enjoy an orderly, organized way of life, based on decisions and control. Yet inside you may feel more flexible. You usually dislike “going with the flow” and prefer to have a plan. You enjoy to-do lists and work before plan. You may occasionally miss important information if your eye is only on the prize.

If you are a “Perceiver,” you probably appear to others to be fairly spontaneous and adaptive. You prefer flexibility to organization, and stay open to new information. You may be decisive on the inside, but in your interactions, you are more open. You can be stimulated by an approaching deadline. Sometimes you stay open to new information so long you miss making decisions when they are needed.

You can see the value of understanding this pairing in relationships. A Judging-based spouse may need more structure and planning than the more Perceiving-based spouse, who enjoys creativity and flexibility. It is important to remember that these characteristics relate only to how the spouse prefers to interact with the outside world.

A Perceiving spouse might struggle with their Judging partner’s quickness to make judgments, or with seeming controlling or critical behavior. And yet the Perceiver may be just as quick to judge, yet does it internally and not in outward interactions.

In our next post in this series, we will go into more detail on the combinations of the four pairings we have covered (Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I), Sensing (S) or Intuition (N), Thinking (T) or Feeling (F), and Judging (J) or Perceiving (P), and how these type indicators can help us understand the people and relationships in our everyday world.


(image credit smarnad)

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