Monday, April 4, 2011

The Relativity of Relators

I enjoy taking personality tests and analyzing myself.  To me, it's a marker of growth to be aware of why we respond the way we do (or do not.) 

However, I have a hard time taking these tests and I rarely remember my results.  I've probably taken the Meyers-Briggs Personality Indicator test 4 or 5 times in the past decade or so.  I couldn't tell you if I received the same results each time (though I'm inclined to say they've been different.)  I always wish I could be someone simply defined as ENSJ or ITFP or whatever other combination there is...but I just don't remember.

Here's the thing.  These tests usually provide you with two words/descriptors and ask you to say which one you're more like.  And every time, almost every question, I want to say "both."  My invariable response is that it depends on the situation.

Last week I gained insight into why that might be.  During a team-building exercise at work, we were taught about The Platinum Rule, which goes a step beyond the Golden Rule.  Do unto others as they would want you to do.

I discovered that I'm a Relator, according to this model.  Relators have close, friendly relationships with others, have natural counseling skills, and are extremely supportive.  They tend to be good listeners and focus on getting acquainted and building trust.  None of this was surprising to me.  However, within the discussion about Relators, it turns out that we tend to see things from every angle and one of our common responses is "it depends." 

This made sense to me.  My ability to be a good counselor and a good listener is to understand others even when we have completely different backgrounds, opinions, and outlooks.  Everything becomes situational to me as empathize and try to see things from their point of view.

When I read The Enneagram last December, I had a hard time figuring out which one of the 9 types I am.  Now I understand that I had a hard time because I'm a relator.  I'm always looking for common bonds and interests with the people I meet.  Thus, while I have a personality all my own, I have an ability to study a situation from every angle and see how I fit in. 

To discover my Enneagram type, I had to consider my motivations, my tendencies, and my root issues. While some responses might be situational, what was I most likely to do? Tomorrow I'll share more about the Enneagram types and Wednesday I'll reveal what type I am.

In the meantime:
Do you like to take personality tests?  Have you ever changed an aspect of your personality (perhaps a weakness that was identified) because of one of these tests?  Do you remember your Meyers-Briggs results?


  1. I can see how you are a relator! I'm the same way as you with those tests, though. It really just depends on the situation- it's so hard to pick one or the other!

  2. I love these profile tests. I actually took one last year for business that NAILED me to a "t". I didn't think *anything* could be so accurate. Now I need to get back to finding it (hmmm...) and doing what it says on that test because then work won't seem like "work".


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