If you’ve ever tried to communicate with someone you don’t share a common spoken language with, you know how frustrating it can be to get even your basic needs across, let alone your thoughts and feelings. If I only speak Japanese and you only speak Russian, we’re going to have communication issues. Similarly, what if we both speak English, but speak very different internal languages in the way we conceptualize the world? This kind of disparity in language can be frustrating too, yet most of us face it regularly. We should be able to make the other person “get it,” but we just can’t seem to get our point across (or make it understood). And here’s the clincher–this often occurs not just with people that we may encounter once or twice, but with people that we have important relationships with. Sometimes even romantic relationships. It’s just one more reason that knowing your four-letter MBTI personality type is extremely helpful, and knowing your significant other’s four-letter type is that much more advantageous to your relationship.
Sensing vs. Intuition
Once the newness of a romantic relationship starts to fade, it’s not uncommon for couples to find that they actually have some pretty large communication challenges. In the language of the Myers-Briggs assessment, these kinds of differences in perspective often emerge from a disparity in preference for Intuition (N) versus Sensing (S). For someone with a preference for Intuition, it’s natural to jump straight to the big picture and see all the elements of a situation as a web of possibilities. For someone who prefers Sensing, the big picture comes not all at once, but via a methodical survey of each of its parts.
The miscommunications that can arise from differing preferences for Intuition or Sensing can make everyday communication more difficult, but when they rear their heads in romantic relationships, they can make for a downright turn-off. Fortunately, there’s a way you can turn this dynamic around and potentially make your partner more attractive (and easier to communicate with) just by changing they way you think and applying this little piece of type theory.
Make Your Romantic Partner More Attractive (Without That Snapchat Filter)
Being exposed to a perspective outside your usual preference can be jarring, and can also make that perspective seem flawed on face value. No one wants to see their partner as illogical, short-sighted, or flawed in their thinking, but these feelings can be hard to avoid if you’re not prepared to accommodate different ways of understanding.
If an Sensing/Intuition preference difference exists in your relationship, learning to reserve judgement and trust a perspective that’s not natively familiar to you can enrich your planning and decision-making power as a couple and help you appreciate a valuable difference rather than a flaw.
Try the following strategies when you and your partner are falling into an S/N understanding trap:
- Try accepting that when it seems like you and your partner are on completely different pages, you might actually be heading for the same big-picture conclusion. Leaving this possibility open can help both Intuitives and Sensing types avoid the trap of closing the door too quickly on the other person’s ideas. Even if you turn out to be headed toward different conclusions, it’s good to know it’s for real, and not because something got lost in translation.
- Recognize how both Sensing and Intuition perspectives can feel to the opposite type. An S-oriented step by step survey can make someone with preferences for Intuition feel like they’re being led through a cave with a dim candle: only able to see a fraction of their surroundings. That’s enough to make anyone nervous! Equally, an N-style big picture approach can leave those with preferences for Sensing feeling like they’re in a beautiful house that might not have any methodically-laid foundation (just as scary). No one wants to lead their partner into one of those scenarios.
While ideally everyone could tweak their style at will to accommodate their partner (it’s called flexing), that’s not always realistic. However, simply being able to recognize that your partner is not deliberately leading you on an upsetting walk through a dim cave, and is not acting irrationally or short sightedly will make them a better person in your eyes.
On top of that, recognizing the beauty in their differences and their individuality will make them more attractive in your eyes.