Art of getting through to other people | Sunday Observer

Art of getting through to other people

12 June, 2021

Most problems in marriage, office work and friendship arise as a result of our inability to understand the communicating style of others. No two people think alike. However much you love a person, you cannot expect the other person to think like you. The celebrated Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung has dealt with this problem in depth in his “Psychological types” which remains a classic even today.

Carl Jung has identified four distinct behavioural categories. Those who find themselves in the same category tend to wear the same type of clothes, carry the same type of handbags or see the same type of films. I still remember the two colleagues who worked with me some time ago.

They used to come together in the morning and sign the attendance register. They go to the canteen together and have breakfast. When one person applies for leave, the other will invariably fill a leave application form. Most of the time, they used to wear similar clothes. Even after leaving the organisation, they found jobs in another company. They were nicknamed “inseparables.”

Sometimes you may have found it difficult to talk with certain people. On the other hand, we find it easy to talk with others. Psychologists have suggested many ways to break the barriers and get through to other people. Communication experts say it is all a matter of our communicating style. If our styles are similar, we think alike, enjoy the same type of activities and share similar interests in life. However, if our communicating styles are dissimilar, we fail to have a meaningful conversation. Even worse, we may offend each other unintentionally. This can be disastrous in marriage, business and all other social contacts.

The Thinker

The first type of communicator we meet in society is the Thinker. He may not be a philosopher like Socrates or Aristotle. But he is a well-organised person. You can spot such a person immediately by the way he dresses himself and keeps his working environment. Such people do not jump to conclusions. They weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. When once they make a decision, they stick to it. The Thinker may be somewhat conservative in his attitudes, but he is sure to do any job well. He gives the world a much needed sense of direction and unity. Arnold Toynbee and Oliver Wendell Holmes were great Thinkers whose occupations required painstaking research and accuracy.

The Thinker has a negative side as well. He is likely to get bogged down in details. According to the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, one in every four Americans qualifies as a Thinker. Most Thinkers end up as engineers, data-processing specialists, lawyers, accountants and teachers.

The Feeler

As opposed to the Thinker, the Feeler tends to be emotional, spontaneous and introspective. He loves the company of people, adventure and involvement in social activities. Florence Nightingale and Mother Teresa were great Feelers. Their hearts were full of the milk of human kindness. They always tried to help those who were suffering from diseases or poverty.

This is because their decisions were based on feelings. Feelers tend to be self-indulgent. They are warm in their speech and letter writing. Those who belong to other types will consider the Feeler as a nuisance. According to communication experts, Feelers account for 25 per cent of the population. You will find Feelers among doctors, nurses, salesmen, writers and poets.

The Intuitor

The Intuitor belongs to the third category. He is imaginative and futuristic in his thinking. He enjoys psychological activities such as mind-reading and face-reading. He is not good at technology. Sometimes he may not know how to send an e-mail. The great physicist Albert Einstein was an Intuitor. Once he misplaced his train ticket. When he started rummaging for it, the ticket checker said, “Don’t worry, Professor Einstein, I know who you are.” Einstein replied, “Without my ticket, how will I know where to get off?”

The Intuitor gets impatient when others do not understand him. He is usually uncompromising and impractical. According to a rough estimate, one in ten people is an Intuitor. Most inventors, artists, scientists and architects fall into this category.

The Sensor

The Sensor belongs to the fourth category. He is spirited, moving and goal-oriented. About 40 percent of Americans are Sensors. Teddy Roosevelt and John Wayne were well-known Sensors. The Sensor enjoys the thrill of the chase. He always wants to do something. Even the former US President Donald Trump was a Sensor who did not accept his defeat at the Presidential election. You cannot control Sensors easily. At his best, the Sensor is a dynamo. At his worst, the Sensor acts in a dangerous way.

When you know what types of people you are surrounded by, you will know yourself better. When you know who you are, you can get along with others quite easily. If you know the other person’s style, you can adjust yourself without offending him. Wherever you happen to be you will meet people belonging to the above categories.

Remember that Sensors do not settle for the basics. Thinkers are very methodical in their approach. Intuitors are rather unpredictable in their behaviour. Feelers fill up their environment with bright colours. Even over the phone you can identify them. If a person sounds warm and friendly, he is a Feeler. The Intuitor is somewhat erratic. The Sensor is always in a hurry. The Thinker is deliberate in his attitude.

Sometimes, Sensors, Thinkers, Intuitors and Feelers tend to clash. According to an old Japanese tale, a belligerent samurai who was a Sensor once challenged a Zen master who was a Thinker to explain the concept of heaven and hell. The Zen master said, “You’re nothing but a lout.

I can’t waste my time with the likes of you.” The samurai flew into a rage, pulled out his sword and yelled, “I could kill you for your impertinence.” The Zen master said, “That’s hell.” On hearing the truth, the samurai calmed down and sheathed his sword. Then he bowed to the Zen master for his wisdom and insight. The Zen master said, “That’s heaven.”

When a Thinker meets another thinker there will be absolute harmony. The Dalai Lama who is a Thinker usually speaks in Tibetan. He is always accompanied by Thupten Jinpa, his English language interpreter. Jinpa listens with rapt attention when His Holiness delivers a talk. One day, The Dalai Lama spoke in Tibetan for 15 minutes without pausing for the translation into English.

It seemed an impossibly long passage for any interpreter to track. After Dalai Lama finished his speech, Jinpa remained silent for several minutes. The audience stirred with palpable consternation at the memory challenge Jinpa faced. Suddenly Jinpa started his translation and he too went on for 15 minutes without a pause. The miracle happened because both of them were Thinkers.

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