E-Harmony Personality Profile

Introduction to Agreeableness
This section of your profile describes your interactions with other people. The ways we communicate our feelings, beliefs and ideas to others are influenced by our cultural backgrounds, the way we were raised, and sometimes which side of the bed we got up on this morning. Some of us are very mindful of others making decisions we hope will be in their best interests, even if it means sometimes neglecting our own interests. Others of us believe each person should be responsible for themselves, taking deep pride in our own character and independence with a firm belief that others are best served by doing the same. The following describes how you engage with others; illustrating the dimension of your personality that determines your independence or your desire to reach out and touch others in meaningful ways.

You Are Best Described As:
Taking care of others and taking care of yourself

Words That Describe You:
  • Fair
  • Considered
  • Collaborative
  • Responsive
  • Sensible
  • Diplomatic
  • Contemplative
  • Indulgent
  • Rational
A General Description of How You Interact with Others
You are important. So are other people, especially if they are in trouble. You have a tender heart, but you know how to establish and keep personal boundaries. You are empathetic and compassionate, but you also believe that it’s best if people solve their own problems and learn to take care of themselves, if they are able.You are deeply moved by the needs of others, but you know that if you don’t take good care of yourself, you’ll wind up being of no use to anyone. So yours is a thoughtful compassion. You strive to be fair and sensible, taking care of others while also taking care of yourself.When someone really is in trouble, you like to collaborate with them toward a solution; they do their part, you do yours. You consider carefully, and respond in a sensible way; they do their part, and together you move through the difficulty.You seldom act impulsively; rather, when a problem arises, you take your time to think through the situation. This contemplative quality usually means that you’ll arrive at a diplomatic solution, one that’s fair for the other person and also fair to you. It’s frequently a win/win situation.

Negative Reactions Others May Have Toward You
For people who are ruled by tender-hearted compassion, your more diplomatic response to problems might seem too cool, too focused on fairness and not filled enough with sympathy and selflessness.For them, when someone’s life is on fire, what is needed is not collaboration but rescue. And the person who experiences their life on fire may resent the time you take to contemplate. “I need you, and I need you NOW! This isn’t about fairness, it’s about the fire.” “All deliberate speed” may seem too deliberate and not fast enough, either to the more compassionate or to people in genuine trouble.At the other end of the spectrum of compassion, those who believe people should take care of themselves may find even your thoughtful sympathies too soft. They expect people, themselves included, to work their own way out of trouble. They are convinced that the helping hand you lend just fosters dependence and is not good for the development of character, either in you or in the person you assist.

Positive Responses Others May Have Toward You
Many people, perhaps the majority, will come to appreciate your balance as a compassionate person. The more they get to know you, the more they will admire your thoughtful compassion for others and its compliment in the sensible ways you take good care of yourself.Those whom you help will appreciate the way you leave them with their dignity by expecting them to collaborate in their own rescue. Those who are more tender-hearted will find in you a balance they lack; when they’ve run out of energy because they fail to take good care of themselves, you will still have enough compassion left to lift others out of trouble.Even the tough-hearted, those who believe people should solve their own problems, might come to admire your tenderness which they don’t find in themselves. So the people you help will be grateful, and the people who see your balance between self and others will admire you. Certainly, balanced is not bad at all as a way to be known among your friends.

Introduction to Openness
How firmly committed are you to the ideas and beliefs that govern your thinking and guide your behaviour? Some people trust their current ideas and beliefs the way a climber trusts the mountain; whichever way they move, whether the climb is on a familiar trail or over new ground, there is something solid beneath them, something they count on.For others, new ideas, new solutions to old problems, new beliefs that replace tired convictions are like welcome wind in their sails. They can hardly wait to tack in a new direction and ride a new idea through uncharted waters. If it’s new, it’s interesting, and they’re ready to explore.The following paragraphs describe your responses to new ways of thinking and believing. How do you handle new information? Are you more like the climber on a familiar mountain or a sailor with a tiller in hand and a fresh breeze to propel you? How you integrate and process new information about the world and about others is a core aspect of your personality.

On the Openness Dimension you are:

Words That Describe You:
  • Original
  • Inventive
  • Thinker
  • Brave
  • Eccentric
  • Avant-Garde
  • Out-of-Touch
  • Unique
A General Description of How You Approach New Information and Experiences
You think like an artist. Or better, you SEE like an artist. While most people look at life’s straight lines, its height and depth and width, you’re bending the lines with your imagination and turning black and white into shades of blue and yellow. And in conversations at work or with your friends you want to ask, “Do you see what I see?” A few might, most don’t, but you’ve piqued everyone’s curiosity with your own original and inventive ways of thinking.You can, if you must, think in conventional ways. But left on your own, you’ll usually opt for the eccentric or avant-garde; in fact you’re usually bored with what everyone else is comfortable with. You learn from reading, talking, watching people and other fauna and flora, and simply sitting in the soft chair of your mind and wondering how people would learn how to count if they could only use uneven numbers. You are out in front of conventional ideas, bravely originally defining true and false, right and wrong, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Negative Reactions Others May Have Toward You
You drive through life faster than the speed limit, and when you hit speed bumps, and you hit a lot of them with your mind distracted from the straight line ahead your wheels leave the ground.For people who like life at a safer speed, you move too fast and lose touch too often with the solid ground they prefer, hence their discomfort with you. As odd as you might find this, many people feel safe in the shelter of the world they already know. They like the familiar. They breathe easily and sleep deeply knowing with more certainty how the world works. So although they might enjoy your company and be curious about your latest notion of how to count backwards by threes, they can only take you in small doses. And they wish you’d quit trying to push the boundaries of their personal and social cosmos.

Positive Responses Others May Have Toward You
Even those whom you make uncomfortable know, as just about everyone does, that you’re not a flake. You think well, and even your wildest fancies have their roots in the deep soil of sound ideas and tested beliefs. So even if some people don’t want to drive at high speed with you, they will respect you for your courage as an innovative and unconventional thinker. You lend colour and imagination to what would otherwise be the straight black and white lines of their work world and social environments.A few more daring people of your circle might even learn from you to take a risk they would otherwise never consider. As comfortable as they are on solid ground, they may be curious about what it would be like to go faster than the speed limit, or paint the living room two shades of blue, or question ideas or beliefs they’ve fingered like sacred beads since they were children.After all, they watch you do it, and you seem no worse for the risks you take. In fact, your eyes are wider and your breath quicker, and maybe they can find at least a bit of this for themselves. To be certain, they don’t want their wheels to leave the ground, but maybe the next time they approach a speed bump they might just brace themselves and speed up just a little bit.

Introduction to Emotional Stability
We’re born with the capacity to feel deeply, so it’s as natural as breathing to experience a range of emotions. Fear and joy and sadness, anger and shame and disgust lie somewhere within each of us. Ah, but to what extent do we control these emotions, and to what extent do they control us? How you answer this question of how your emotions play out in your life has a great deal to do with your levels of personal satisfaction and with the character of your relationships with others. Do you manage your emotions well, keeping them in check with your thinking and your willpower, or are you someone who lets emotions have their way, giving in to the wild dance of feelings? The following paragraphs describe your emotional range in terms of being a person who is emotionally steady or someone who is responsive to whatever feelings swell up in you.

On Emotional Stability you are:

Words That Describe You:
  • Open
  • Accessible
  • Too Sensitive
  • Reachable
  • Candid
  • Unguarded
A General Description of Your Reactivity
You are an emotional person. In some ways, we are all emotional; we feel joy, anger, sadness and fear; some of us more powerfully than others – and you more powerfully than most. Your emotions are closer to the surface, and your feelings more obvious to you than is the case with most people. You’ve got your life in a good place, your dominant mood is upbeat, and unless life has been particularly trying for you, you greatly enjoy the richness and intensity of life that being so open with your emotions brings you.Sure there are times when your feelings come very close to the surface, and life becomes more complicated. At these times you may grow self-conscious, or feel a bit anxious. But all in all, you much prefer being open with your emotions, breathing in all that life offers, than shutting down any part of your emotional experience. Granted, there may be times when these emotions are hard but you realize that is part of life. And more often than not you feel enriched by your emotions, by your ability to be open to all that life brings you. You know that even when you have those times that get you down, there will be even more times when you see life in ways that others just can’t.

Negative Reactions Others May Have Toward You
Undoubtedly you have met some people who get uncomfortable being around you because your feelings are so close to the surface. They may keep a bit of distance, especially around any subject that might trigger an emotional topic they are uncomfortable with. Over time, they might even stay away from you more and more. You will find you have decisions to make; do you temper your style for their comfort or do you hope they will find ways to become more comfortable with emotional expressions? Given the richness that seems to stem from your emotional life the most meaningful response is probably very apparent to you.

Positive Responses Others May Have Toward You
You are a cherished companion for those friends who can handle emotions well. They will appreciate the candor with which you express even difficult feelings like anger and fear. Your openness will make intimate conversations even more intimate, and make the connections between you as friends deeper and stronger. Some people who have trouble expressing their feelings might find in you a good example of how to be more vulnerable and more open. Your willingness and ability to share your emotions could encourage them to share theirs, and invite them into ways of being friends that will help enrich their lives.

Introduction to Conscientiousness
It’s a work day, breakfast is over, and you’re dressed and ready. So how will you approach the tasks at hand? Some people work best with a clear schedule, a set of priorities and a due date for every step in the process. Others are, shall we say, less regimented. They approach a task with as much imagination as organisation, and with a willingness to bend and modify in order to exercise some urge of creativity.How about you? Do you walk in a straight line toward a clear goal, or are you more likely to dance your way down whatever path will get you wherever it is you’re headed? The following paragraphs describe ways in which you approach the tasks life brings to you, and to what extent you are focused or flexible in how you choose to proceed.

Your approach toward your obligations is:

Words That Describe You:
  • Spontaneous
  • Intuitive
  • Perceptive
  • Natural
  • Somewhat Disorganised
  • Unpredictable At Times
A General Description of How You Interact with Others
When there’s a job to be done, like most people you want to know what the goal is and when it’s to be completed. For you, that’s a start. Next you want to know what the plan is to get to the goal. So you lay out a plan, or at least the major points of a plan: “Organise the kitchen sometime this spring” or “Get the project at work done as soon as possible.” You don’t need an in-depth specification of every little detail; in fact you prefer not to work that way. You lay out your goals, develop a general plan, and then you get things done.You believe in intuition as well as organisation. As such, you trust impulses as much as strategies and you value spontaneity as much as you do efficiency. In a word, you like to keep it flexible. When you set out to accomplish a task, you prefer to have some room to manoeuvre. Like an artist, you find that the best way to reach a goal is not always in a straight line. Some of the most productive times for you are the unplanned moments of inspiration and creativity that just come to you. While you do keep to a general plan, those times of pure vision and originality are what really drive you.Some of the people who rely completely on an organised approach to getting things done may be surprised at your efficiency. But there is a definite method to your approach. With a creative flair that others may not have anticipated, the original plan gets met and there are often a few extra accomplishments along the way. Your comfort zone starts with a task and a plan but it also requires the freedom to be able to go with your instincts and impulses so that you can not just accomplish the task, you also have the option to explore something brand new along the way.

Negative Reactions Others May Have Toward You
People may have problems with your style for two reasons. First, you don’t always follow the rules or go along with detailed plans, whether at work or at home. Those who need the details to stay on task just don’t quite understand how you are going to get it all done. Second, while you get things done – the way you veer off course at times and use your creativity may leave others wondering what went on. Some people find all this creativity and thinking “out-of-the-box” at odds with their desire to follow a clear course. And this causes not only some confusion it may also spark some anger toward you at times. Even you would likely admit that living and working with you takes someone who is able to let you do your thing at times. If someone is really tied to a rigid approach to how things should get done, there is clearly the potential for some conflict with you.Every workplace and home does need a modicum of reliability and a decent amount or order and organisation if it is to accommodate the mix of people who work or live there. That leads to a serious question for you: Are there times when your creative, though at times unpredictable, style keeps others off balance? Are there some plans that should be sacred, some space always well organised, some charts left as designed? Are there are some things you could change that would allow those who live and work with you to feel more in control; changes that wouldn’t impinge on your creative processes? If others are finding your style to be difficult to deal with you may want to consider how you can all work together most efficiently.

Positive Responses Others May Have Toward You
The truth is that your work style gets things done, often with more beauty, fun, creativity and imagination than others could ever manage. But your style is very unique to you. Flexibility is essential to your style. With your creativity and flexibility the path you take to any goal can make everyone’s accomplishments more inventive and enjoyable. Bringing some extra enjoyment to people’s work can be a real asset; one you may want to use more consciously.Deep down inside there’s also another truth you should consider. A lot of people wish they had some of whatever it is that you’ve got. They get so bogged down reading the committee notes or checking the project calendar that they seldom just cut loose and let their impulses run. They neglect their intuition to the point that it barely whispers – that is, until you come along with yours shouting out loud and remind everyone in the room that there’s something to listen to besides the original plan and the orderly, organised path laid out to get there. So not only do you enhance the accomplishments of the group, you also enhance the lives of each member willing to find in themselves the spontaneity that is your trademark personal characteristic.

Introduction to Extraversion
Some days you want to hang out by yourself, not answer the phone, and make the world go away. The next day you e-mail everyone, schedule lunch with a friend, and try to find an evening gathering to take part in. It may be the phases of the moon, or something you ate; some days are just like that. In actuality, your desire to be with others or to be alone reflects something deep in your personality. Some of us are more comfortable by ourselves or with one or two friends, while others of us crave the crowd and can’t stand it when the house is empty or the phone doesn’t ring. The following paragraphs describe your fundamental desires about being with other people; whether you are generally an outgoing person or more reserved, if you seek adventures with others, if you tend toward assertiveness or kindness.

When it comes to Extraversion you are:

Words That Describe You:
  • Moderate
  • Amiable
  • Laid-back
  • Temperate
  • Relaxed
  • Poised
  • Civil
  • Uncommitted
  • Pleasant
A General Description of How You Interact with Others
Lucky you! You enjoy your own company as much as you enjoy the company of others. You are a great conversationalist and thrive in the wonderful kinds of connections you know how to have with your family and friends. You also equally enjoy your own company, whether sitting in a favourite chair with your book and soft music playing or meandering in the woods by yourself. You like coming home to your family or your roommate; but if no one is home, you find quiet, solitary time to be just as pleasurable. What a great combination to enjoy being outgoing and to be just as comfortable being reserved. Lucky you!!Because you are so amiable and relaxed, you are comfortable with almost any group of family or friends. Whether they are pumped up and lively or calm and subdued, you remain at ease. If someone needs to take over the conversation, you are comfortable taking the lead; you can also lay back and let someone else be in charge. If the conversation gets rowdy, your moderate demeanour will often draw it down to a more temperate level. If someone in the group loses their cool, you will most likely maintain your poise, and if they get nasty you know how to keep a civil tongue.You may find yourself out of balance on occasion. If you’re alone too much, you may need to get in touch with someone. If you spend too much time with your family and friends, you may need to sneak off for a day by yourself, to putter and read and clear your head of the noise of too much conversation. When you’re at your best, you live with a rhythm of time with others, time alone, time with others, time alone It’s a satisfying, comfortable balance. Lucky you!

Negative Reactions Others May Have Toward You
You may occasionally run into problems with other people. Since not everyone is as balanced as you are, close friends and family may get frustrated with you, or you with them. They may be more sociable and outgoing, and find you too laid-back and relaxed. They want conversations to be lively and passionate while you keep things amiable and civil. Or others may be more quiet and reserved than you, and when you’re in one of your more animated moments they may wish you would back off. You may be ready to put more energy into a conversation than they are comfortable with.And your balance may be a problem. Other people may be consistently more sociable or more reserved than you, and find you to hard to read, some may even say you ride the fence. Others may find themselves envious of your ability to be outgoing at times, and at other times comfortably reserved. If you pay attention to pick up these cues you will be in a better position to know how you want to interact with such folks.

Positive Responses Others May Have Toward You
Most people will truly appreciate your flexibility in social situations. They will like you for your amiable warmth and your willingness to engage, and for your ability to sit back and let others take the lead or the spotlight. They will appreciate ways in which you temper what could become intemperate moments; by remaining poised and relaxed when others; temperatures are rising, you keep things civil and sane.You are as good at listening and following as you are at talking and leading, and people will often appreciate your ability to adapt to the situation. Because you are sometimes outgoing and sometimes reserved, you will make most people comfortable in your presence, and they will truly enjoy your company.ADVANCED PERSONALITY PROFILE

Modesty: Your Personalised Description
When you set your mind to it, and especially when your heart’s in it, you listen carefully to the person in front of you and pay attention to their needs. With your closest friends or with a partner, what they say, what they want, whatever is on their minds matters to you. Which is where the part about “your mind” and “your heart” comes clear – you tell and show them you care.If the person you’re listening to isn’t real close to you, you may not stay as focused on them. You may, sooner rather than later, turn the conversation to what’s on your mind, not theirs. Ah, but if your heart’s involved, it’s a different matter. When you deeply care for someone, your thoughts will follow your affection toward whatever your friend or partner is saying, and you listen very carefully, very patiently. In these moments, it’s not about who is getting to talk the most or whose needs are the focus of the conversation. You wrap your heart around whatever they have to share, and stay there, full of affection and attention.The result is that because you listen and care, they will want to listen to and care for you as well. They trust your attention to be genuine; they can tell you’re not trying to find fault with them or take advantage of what they tell you for your personal gain: the relational see-saw game of putting them down to elevate your own ego is not one you play. No, it’s about them, not you. So they are willing to give back what they receive, and turn their attention to whatever it is you want or need to share.But if your heart’s not in it, it can be a different deal. Your mind wanders off of their concerns: “Is this a good use of my time? Don’t they realise I’ve got my own life to take care of, not just theirs?” And you lose your focus on them. When your heart’s not in it conversations drift off as your mind turns its attention from them to you, from them to something you need to be doing, from them to someone or something that you care about.Maybe the smartest thing you can do, or at least the first thing, is to be aware of this in yourself. You know how to take care of other people. But it works best for you when the person in front of you is someone you’ve got your heart as well as your mind invested in. With others who you don’t have deep feelings for it is difficult for you to keep your mind’s huge capacity on them. Once you’re aware of this, you may or may not choose to try to change it. But at least it will keep you from being confused about why you are or are not able to stay focused on the needs of this particular person.

Generosity: Your Personalised Description
In the arithmetic of generosity you’ve found an equation that works pretty well for you. You know when taking care of others means lending a hand and when the best way to take care of them is to leave them alone and let them take care of themselves. You know when it’s time to focus your kindness on them and when you need to turn your attention to yourself so that your own life stays sane and lively. You can be generous when generosity is called for but you are not indiscriminate with your generosity, doling it out when it isn’t required. You give enough to help when help is needed, but you take enough time and keep enough of your resources to insure that your own life goes well. Such is the arithmetic of your generosity.Since you know how to be generous, it is curious that you stop short of giving all you’ve got. It’s as if you are afraid that you might deplete yourself, as if there’s not enough in you, not enough of you to let your generosity run free. Or perhaps your caution has as much to do with your view of other people as with your fear of emptying yourself. Maybe you have a genuine concern that people will become dependant if you offer them too much, and that what they should do most of the time is dive down into their own treasure chest of time and energy and inner resources and pull up what they need to get through. Perhaps it’s both: you don’t want to run dry, and you want other people to find their solution in themselves and not from you. Whatever the case, it is curious that you have more to give than you give.Your closest friends and your partner may alternate between genuine gratitude and confusion. Gratitude, because when you come through for them, you come through big time: you show up, you stay, you give what you’ve got, and they thrive. Confusion, because there are times when you don’t show up, or show up only briefly or with little in your hands, and slide off to take care of yourself while they’re still trying to climb out of whatever ditch they’ve fallen into. When you’re there for them, you’re really there, and they’re grateful. But it’s confusing when you don’t show up; they wonder where you are and why you’re not there when they need you.Still, the arithmetic works for you. You give what you can, but not more than you can. For the rest, you want people to take care of themselves, use their own resources and not just yours. This equation keeps you close enough to know what intimacy is, but sane and lively in your own life as well.

Social Awareness: Your Personalised Description
“Who are you?” Whether or not we ask the question directly, one of the things we want to know about the person in front of us is who they really are. If we can figure that out, we know whether we can trust them and whether we want to spend much time getting closer. It’s difficult to know someone if they keep a bunch of stuff hidden, like what they really think or believe, or how they really feel. With these people, answering the “Who are you?” question is a trek through a dark forest of innuendo and misdirection.But not with you. You are who you say you are. You believe what you say you believe. When someone wants to know what you think or feel, you tell them, and what you tell them is the direct truth. Even if you have something that most people would hide, you put it out there; you’re not afraid to share what some people refer to as “the dark side” that is in each of us.Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. You are very open, but there are some things about yourself you hold onto. You’re selective about which truths you share, at least initially. You have to make your way to a pretty deep trust before you tell some truths, like those “dark side” truths. But usually, you get there; in time, you muscle up the courage to get in touch and own up to what’s really going on.If you’re selective at first about which truths to share, you’re also selective about whom you share with. Maybe it’s experience that taught you, or maybe just your intuition, but you sense when someone is or is not trustworthy. If they’re not, you know how to keep the cards well hidden: let out enough truth about yourself to keep it interesting, but nothing that could get you in trouble. It’s not a sport for you, but you can play the game if you have to. But when someone close to you proves to be reliable, it’s “game over” for hiding, and you let whatever is inside you out into the conversation. No wonder these relationships with your closest friends and your partner can get so intimate; when you’re willing to be so candid, it elicits candour from them, and the intimacy gets deeper and deeper.

Information Processor: Your Personalised Description
It’s easy to imagine you sitting in front of your computer screen checking emails and surfing the net for a project you’re working on while your land-line phone rings and then your cell phone rings. Okay, so maybe you’ve upgraded and now several of these functions are performed by one integrated instrument; the point is it’s easy to imagine you taking in a great deal of information and enjoying the rush of it; processing it with skill and quickly figuring out how to use it effectively.The same quality is true in your relationships. When your friends or your partner tells another chapter of their story or catches you up on their day you actually hear what they’re saying, fit it in with the other bits and pieces you know about them, and communicate back to them that you got what they said and understand what they mean and how it modifies or confirms what you already know about them. All this is to say that you process information well. You catch on quickly to what the data mean, you analyze problems accurately and you use this knowledge to think ahead about how this information alters your decisions about what to do and how to do it.Here are a couple of things to consider. First, we’re reminded all the time about the difference between information and knowledge, and you may want to be cautious about assuming that your ability with information is the same as knowledge. Some people who can handle an intense flow of data and sift and sort it nevertheless don’t do very well in fitting it in to some bigger picture. Just how your particular piece of a work project affects and is affected by what’s going on down the hall is something you may not be as good at as you are at sorting data. And learning another piece of information about your friend or partner doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll use it wisely; facts always need to find their meaning in the nest of feelings and beliefs in another person. So be careful to note the difference between information and knowledge.Even with this caution you should celebrate you ability to process information so well. It is undoubtedly one of the most useful tools you could possess in this Information Age. Your proficiency with information can play a positive role in making your relationships thrive as well. If you use this skill to handle the “people” part of the data stream that is your life, both you and your colleagues and friends and your partner will be better off for this gift you bring.

Inquisitive: Your Personalised Description
You are the inquisitive child who never stopped asking “Why?” Well into adulthood you still have an insatiable curiosity about the way the world works and why people behave in certain ways and not in others. Where most people would ask a question, get an answer and be satisfied, you press on. “Why do men and women deal differently with problems between them?” “Men are problem solvers and want to find a solution, while women are more interested in relating so they want to talk things through.” Enough for some people. Ah, but you want to know, “Is this a difference in their brain structure, or is this something learned through cultural influences?” Probably some of each. Enough then, right? Not so fast. “But why don’t cultures just alter the way we nurture women and men and try to resolve this difference?” And on and on and on. Why? Why? Why?Your curiosity keeps you stimulated, keeps you thinking and exploring and growing. You’re always seeking out new facts, or new interpretations of known facts, or new comparisons of various interpretations. . . . .well, you get the point. You just keep pushing out the edges of the envelope, hungering for more information, more understanding. All of this makes you a very interesting person. You are lit up with your own curiosity; your mind is lively, your imagination always switched on, and you consistently have new insights that captivate you.Most of the time, your friends and colleagues are fascinated with what you bring to the conversation. Like few in the group, you have a way of taking conversations to a higher level by asking – and sometimes answering – questions no one else is dealing with and pushing everyone forward toward new knowledge. In your work environment your inquisitiveness requires the entire team to think outside the box, to be restless with what is now routine and willing to explore another way to make the product or offer the service. Among your friends and with your partner you are the one who gets everyone to consider a different approach to recurring problems or a different way to understand why you love one another and what it means to make commitments for the long run.But sometimes enough is enough. You exhaust the curiosity of others even as you’re moving on to the thirteenth level of Why. They’re ready to settle in to some boring conversation about ordinary stuff because their brains are worn out by your questions. “Give it a rest” is what they think, whether they say it or not.So you’ve got to be discreet with your inquisitiveness. On your own, have at it as long as you wish. But in the company of others learn when you’ve gone far enough and need to back off. Your curiosity is one of your great gifts to your work colleagues, your friends and even your partner and you don’t want to spoil the gift by wearing out its welcome.

Perceptiveness: Your Personalised Description
When you have your mind’s eye open and your ears attuned, you don’t miss much. You see what’s going on around you, not just the obvious but also the subtleties of peoples’ behaviour and intentions. You hear what’s being said by your friends and your work colleagues and even catch those nuances that many other people miss. When you are looking and listening carefully you know well how other people are reacting to you, and why, and you read them like pages of an open book.But for some reason or reasons there are moments or circumstances when you just don’t get it. Like the monkeys with their hands covering their eyes and pressed over their ears, there are occasions when you See No Evil and Hear No Evil nor much else of what is going on around you. It’s as if you are momentarily struck blind and deaf to the obvious and the nuanced and you wind up the fool you don’t ever want to be.What happens to you in these moments? Maybe you just stop paying attention. You are distracted by something that seems more important – a concern you’re pondering or a fantasy you’re enjoying or some situation at work or at home that you can’t take your mind’s eye off of. Perhaps you think the situation or the person in front of you isn’t that important; they don’t matter that much to you and they cannot possibly hurt you. Then suddenly you’ve slipped on a banana peel and you don’t know why.Look, you’re smart enough not to get caught off guard like this. There is ample evidence from all the times you see and hear so well that you don’t need to slip into these moments of naivete or density that get you into trouble. Maybe you could use your friends or your partner to nudge you when your mind wanders off; and maybe you can learn some mental disciplines that will help you keep your mind on what’s right in front of you. Most of the time you’re nobody’s fool; you’d be wiser still to increase that time and minimize those awkward moments when you take a mental or emotional pratfall.

Anger Management: Your Personalised Description
It’s hard to tell with you: does anger sometimes overtake you and you just can’t help but explode, or do you choose when and where not to erupt? Because sometimes you seem in perfect control, even in circumstances where others might go Boom. At other times a slight provocation and you’re the emotional arsonist, setting off what seems in retrospect an unnecessary conflagration. So it’s hard to tell whether you pick your spots and choose when to explode, or whether in those moments you really cannot help yourself, your anger just gets the better of you.Are you clear which of these is true, or at least true more often? It would probably help you to know. It’s obvious that anger lives in you in ways that you can feel it, and probably feel it rising up when an argument ensues. Anger is as natural as breathing to all of us, something born in us to help us protect ourselves from enemies real or imagined. More than some people, you are aware of your anger. The question is, do you manage it, or does it manage you. Here’s a guess: you are more in charge of your anger than you realise. You probably don’t explode in situations that would be very costly to you: say, at your boss or at the road rage candidate on the freeway. You are more likely to explode when you can get away with it without too much collateral damage: with the friend you always disagree with or the partner with whom you’ve turned arguing into a regular substitute for communication.If it is your choice, then you might want to consider keeping your anger under better management. Here’s what we know: the most predictable outcome of the expression of hostility in any relationship is the expression of more hostility. Anger is self-perpetuating. So it’s always – yes, ALWAYS – better to avoid exploding when you can. If it’s not your choice, if anger rises up like “the monster in the basement” climbing the stairs toward you, then you might want to get some help in understanding where it comes from and why it has such power that it can take you over even when you don’t want it to.For most people, anger is a tricky emotion. It’s even more so for you, because sometimes you seem in charge of it and sometimes it seems in charge of you. The more you understand your anger and the more you take control of it, the more successful you’ll be in managing this tricky emotion and the more successful you’ll be in every one of your relationships.

Emotional Strength: Your Personalised Description
Sometimes you deal with stress pretty well. If the stress comes on slowly and if it doesn’t get too intense, you find you can often rally your inner resources and find ways to cope with even pretty intense stress. But there are times when stress catches you unprepared; either you don’t see it coming or, even if you do, you have a hard time mustering the inner resources to fend it off and fight your way through it. Worry can turn into panic, and pretty soon you feel like you are losing control. At times you even feel like you have lost your way; you cannot figure out what to do, which step to take next, whom to turn to or even where to run away and hide.You’ve probably always struggled with this. Maybe you grew up with a group of friends or in a family where you couldn’t find solid ground to stand upon in your relationships with them. Or perhaps you were steadier early on but something that was pretty difficult for you has knocked you off balance: the loss of someone you relied upon, an illness that shook your sense of security, some act of betrayal that left you feeling demoralized. If this is the case it may be helpful if you can you trace the history of your difficult relationship to stressful circumstances? Maybe you’ll learn something more about the nature of the problem if you can pinpoint its inception, and maybe if you know when and how it began you’ll know better how to guard against recurrence and to recover when you’ve been slammed down again.Here are a couple of suggestions for protecting yourself. First, you may want to live a life that protects you from stress. Not that we are saying you should never challenge yourself just that you may want to pick your challenges. Don’t take on more responsibility than you are comfortable with. So take on only those responsibilities you can manage well, using the resources you know you have; and only enough social life to keep it interesting without making it too demanding.Second, as with everyone, you can deal with stress so much more effectively if you have at least a few very reliable friends. Maybe the better strategy is to make sure you can go deep with one or two people, particularly people who have earned your trust and with whom you feel safe enough to share your worries. Many people find that if they have the chance to talk things through with someone it precludes the worries from getting the upper hand. So investing in these close relationships will give you somewhere to turn when stress rises and, even in those circumstances when panic sets in, someone who can help you pull out of whatever deep water you have gotten in to.Be gentle with yourself. As long as you stay within what you can manage well you have great strengths and the ability to succeed, even thrive. But don’t push out too far; your experience has taught you that you don’t do well when you start to get in over your head. You will have to be wise with your choices and thoughtful about the people you trust.
Ease with Others: Your Personalised Description
You trust people. Not many people, but some. You know them well, they’ve proven their loyalty over time, and you’re confident they won’t let you down when the pressure comes. For the rest, you’re not so sure. After all, how can you trust people you don’t know? But it can be a fine line between being prudently cautious and being so cautious that you rule out getting to know people who could bring something good to your life.You’re certainly not like one of those people who stay in their homes and trust only their closest friends and screen all their calls and won’t answer to a stranger and don’t venture anywhere new. Remember the lines from that song? “Paranoia strikes deep/into your life it will creep./ It starts when you’re always afraid/to step out of line, the man come and take you away”? No, that’s not you. You’re not that cautious. But you’re pretty careful. You just aren’t sure it’s wise to trust people you don’t know well, and although danger doesn’t lurk around every corner it’s out there somewhere, and you want to be prudent enough to avoid it. You truly enjoy your friends, but when they’re not available you’d just as soon hang out with yourself than wade into the company of strangers at some social function.Some of your friends take more risks that you do; they go to new places and hang out with new people and eat new food and try on new experiences. At times it may be frustrating to them that you won’t leap at what they consider great opportunities; it’s a drag to them to have to try to persuade you despite your worries to come along. Sometimes it’s easier for them, and maybe for you, to just let you stay at home.You are comfortable in your life with others provided you stay within what you’ve decided are safe and reasonable boundaries. You enjoy the people close to you, you like the routines of your life and the regular stops you make for food and entertainment and vacations. You’re careful, to be sure, but not confined; there’s enough room to roam that life is full for you.The other news is that some of your best friends and perhaps even your partner want to wander in a wider circle and may get frustrated with your caution. You and they will adjust to the parameters as you continue on your journey, work out the differences, and make your way. Perhaps what you need most is patience and understanding, not being hard on yourself for wanting to keep your boundaries nor hard on others who want to help you expand your circle of relationships. Maybe you will find there are times when you enjoy expanding that circle, maybe not. But with patience and understanding it all can work out pretty well.

Efficient: Your Personalised Description
You’re not a clock-watcher. When you work you often get absorbed and, once absorbed, you can easily lose track of time while you pour yourself into whatever it is you are working on. So what’s right in front of you usually gets done very well, whether it’s a project at work or cupboards in the garage that need straightening or the art-piece you’ve been working on for months. Oh, and about that clock: does it really matter how long it takes, just so the work reflects your ability and you’re satisfied when it’s finished?One word for your work is Effective. If someone wants something done with excellence, you’re often their person. Very effective. But when it comes to being efficient? Well, that’s a different story. Efficiency is about the wise use of time. And that’s just not very important to you. It’s not how long it takes but how well it’s done that matters to you. So time slips away, schedules may get lost in the fog of concentration you bring to the work at hand. “It’s due tomorrow afternoon, you know.” “Really? Tomorrow? Well, I’ll see what I can do.” And often, despite your intentions to really stick to the timeline, “Tomorrow afternoon” for you is a guideline, not a deadline. And as far as the persons who are hoping you will get things finished tomorrow, you hope they will recognize that if you miss the “deadline,” they will understand that when you do get it done it will be well worth the wait.But here’s the risk you run by emphasizing the integrity of your process at the expense of timelines. Some people probably do get angry with you, right? The people you work with and – this could be more of a problem – the people you live with sometimes do find you exasperating. If they get their plans get waylaid by your tardiness; their schedules get disrupted because your schedule was on a different timeline than theirs; things can build up for some people. You know this, and you try: “I’ll keep on a schedule on this one, get a running start, and not do anything else until I get it done by the due date”. Sometimes this works. But at other times, there’s this tangent that, like the moon’s eclipse on a summer night, you just have to attend to.The least you can do is own up. It may not be much, but it might help to acknowledge that you gave it a try but it just didn’t get done as they had hoped for. Much of our culture values timeliness. It may be a cultural difference, or you may truly work most effectively by getting into a zone. But that seems to be you and no one benefits if you pretend that the next time you’ll be very different. You are effective but maybe not always terribly efficient. So don’t set yourself and everyone else up for more disappointment by promising something different the next time. Be gracious about it, but also truthful. And maybe you and they will come to some agreement that accommodates both your need to work on your own and their need for timeliness.

Leader: Your Personalised Description
What makes you such an effective leader? Brains? It helps to be smart, but there are legendary leaders who weren’t the smartest one in the room. Charisma? Maybe sometimes, but some charismatic types are so suspiciously “out there” or such charlatans that they shouldn’t be followed, even if they sometimes are. Vision? Maybe this gets closer, but even some visionary people are too shy or too out in front to lead others toward some goal. So what is it that makes you such a good leader?Here are some qualities of a good leader. A leader takes charge when the situation calls for someone to be in control. A leader directly faces the obstacles in front of them rather than shying away. A leader quickly comes up with a solution to whatever the problem is. A leader makes decisions and moves forward. Brains help, charisma might be a factor, and it doesn’t hurt to be a visionary. But leadership is more practical: Take charge, face the obstacle, find a solution, make the decision and move.Do you recognize yourself here? You should, because way more than most people you have these qualities of leadership. It’s always your choice, of course, whether to accept and exercise leadership, but when the situation calls for it and you are willing, you’ve got what it takes.You probably already know this about yourself, because at this point in your life you’ve been in leadership positions quite often. You may seek the role, or it may come to you by default because no one else will step forward, or perhaps your friends and loved ones formally or informally “elect” you to the job because they’ve come to trust you to be in charge. It’s quite a compliment. You’ve earned the respect and confidence of people who matter to you, and you deserve the position you’re in.It’s also quite a burden for some, maybe for you. Time and again, in work and family and social situations, you’re the one chosen to figure things out and set the course and make the decisions and, well, it gets old, or at least tiring. Can’t someone else just once take over and let you slide back into the pack and follow rather than lead? It would be nice. And it may happen occasionally. But only occasionally because, frankly, most times you’re simply the best candidate for the job. Everyone else knows it, and you probably know it yourself even when it’s the last thing you want.

Here’s a danger to watch out for. Since you are so well equipped to lead you may get in over your head, accepting responsibilities in so many places that even you cannot juggle all the balls you have in the air. In many organisations the rule of thumb is, if you want something done right, ask the busiest person you know. When it comes to positions of leadership that may be you. And you may be beyond even your large capacities to lead. So be prudent; say No when you ought to and Yes when you want to, and marshal your great leadership skills for those moments when you are just the right person for the job.

Planner: Your Personalised Description
Around the same time each year you buy yourself a new planner, or sit down in front of a scheduling program and, when you can find an hour of the time between meetings and social events you organise dates that are already committed: monthly meetings of various work and volunteer organisations, the date of your cousin’s wedding, tentative vacations plans to ski for a weekend in January and take two weeks in the summer somewhere where it’s warm. Then week by week, or sometimes every two weeks, you keep the planner up to date with stuff that comes up at work, dates with friends, a concert you bought tickets for and need to find a friend to take, reminders of your parents’ anniversary, various birthdays and baby showers – the dedicated times that form the skeleton you hang the flesh and blood of your life on.Maybe the person you’re closest to at work or your best friend or your partner is a little more organised than you are; they’ve written in lunch commitments two months in advance, every staff meeting at work, and notes to themselves to read for an evening or hike on a Saturday: they’ve lined out their lives on the pages of their planner. You’re more willing than they are to make up most of it as you go along; you plan enough not to miss the essential commitments, but then keep yourself flexible so you can respond in a day – or sometimes in an hour, or a few minutes – to something that comes up. And you’re comfortable with this much order combined with this much spontaneity. You don’t forget important things, but you allow yourself the breathing room to say Yes or No depending upon what comes walking toward you.This doesn’t make you a flake, or mean that you’re irresponsible. In fact you are at your most efficient and productive, make your best contributions and find the greatest satisfaction precisely because you have just enough structure to know where you’re going and enough freedom to take your time with work or friends, respond when something unexpected comes along, and really concentrate on what’s in front of you without being distracted by some note in your calendar reminding you to run off to the stationary store because you’ll run out of supplies by a week from Friday.People with more detailed plans might find you frustrating; when they can answer immediately Yes or No to an invitation weeks in advance just by checking their well-documented calendars, you have to say, “I’m not sure, let me get back to you”. But frankly, that’s the best response for you. You need the time, because you always want room to commit or not commit, depending upon what emerges as the next best use of your time and energy. This is in fact one of your great strengths; you know how to marshal your resources and allot time and energy in ways that keep you both productive and happy. Enough planning to know the general lay of the land, and enough flexibility to change directions or priorities: it works very well for you.So at the same time next year you’ll buy your annual planner, find an hour sooner or later, and go through this ritual of ordering your life just enough to keep yourself on track but not so much that you give up the freedom to say Yes to something new that seems in the moment to be exactly what you want to do.

You won’t try just anything. Sky-diving or bunji-jumping off a bridge–maybe. But short of the truly insane, you’re usually up for it. There’s a new piece of equipment at the gym that is suppose to stretch muscles you didn’t know you had, or a stranger from some central African nation who shows up at parties who no one else knows how to talk with; you dive in, ache for a week after the stretching and still aren’t sure why the stranger is here or where she’s from but at least you told her to call if she needs help finding her way around town.

What you’ve discovered is that this kind of stepping out is fun. You discover things about yourself and the world you wouldn’t know if you laid back in the crowd and waited for someone else to risk it. Why not be the first one to move? So you move, and most of the time the result is, if nothing else, fun. Sometimes it’s more than fun. You meet someone who opens up a new world to you or face a challenge that convinces you you’re more courageous than you thought. On those occasions when you can persuade a couple of friends to join you in the venture the daring of it, experienced together, welds you to one another. To be sure, once in a while you step out into some new adventure and land on your back pockets. No harm, no foul. Just a lesson about life: not every adventure turns out to be a good one. Sometimes the trip into the jungle takes you to “the heart of darkness”. But only occasionally. Most of the time you and those who risk it with you find something not as magical as Oz but better than whatever would have happened if you’d stayed at home in your wing chair watching re-runs of Seinfeld.

The only problem may be your partner. If you match up well on the adventure scale, what a trip! There you are on the jungle trail, wondering together what that sound was that could have been a roar, could have been a pleasurable moan, but certainly wasn’t anything you’ve heard at home. But if you don’t match up, if you wind up on the jungle trail and they’re at home with Jerry and George and Kramer and Elaine, it could be trouble. If you run across this problem as you set out on your adventures, stop. Sit down together. Talk through what does and doesn’t work in the relationship when one of you but not both of you takes off. Honor your commitment to listen carefully, talk openly and find a common ground. Then when you’ve agreed together, have whatever adventures work for both of you, even if you aren’t together on the jungle trail.

Good Word: Your Personalised Description
Sometimes a conversation is a verbal wrestling match for you. You have strong opinions, a ripe vocabulary and a desire to express what you truly feel and believe. At the same time you are a kind person who respects other people just because they’re people, and even if you disagree with them you want to treat them with dignity. So your friend comes out with some opinion you disagree with and states it is as fact, not opinion. You can feel it: the strong “What nonsense!!” on the back of your tongue, your lungs ready to pump up the volume of your reaction. Or you could go with your kinder self. Lower the volume, find some benign word like “Interesting”, and wait until the heat in you subsides before expressing what you think. You could go either way.In fact that’s what happens. Sometimes your critic speaks, at other times the saint in you. Sometimes you turn up the volume, at other times you simply nod until something quieter slips out like a whisper. Sometimes what you deliver is a verbal punch that bruises the other person, at other times you find the good word to speak even if it isn’t the whole of what you really want to say.Your response may depend upon the person in front of you. If it’s someone you like or if you’re in a particularly good place in the relationship, it’s easier to be kind. If it’s someone you don’t care for or if your relationship is on edge, here comes the hammer. Maybe it depends upon the mood your in. If you slept well and the day is moving smoothly you dip into your dictionary of kindness. But if you got up on the wrong side of the bed or the wrong side of your moody self, there’s that collection of verbal rocks you keep for days like this. You might want to learn something about yourself: can you figure out when you do and when you don’t opt for the good word?

Here’s something that’s true which you may or may not know. In relationships you care about, language matters. Not only the intent of what you say – “I was just trying to tell you my true feelings” – but also, and more importantly, the impact. Whatever your motives, if your words land like the stone that left David’s sling shot and struck Goliath’s forehead, the impact on your relationship may be lethal. Like all weapons, words can kill, even if that wasn’t your intent. So given the choice – and words are always, yes always, chosen – you might want to expand your dictionary of kindness and ditch those verbal stones in some deep stream. You and your friends and your partner will all be safer in the long run.

Take Charge: Your Personalised Description
As a leader you’re something of an enigma. In some situations you will state your case, lay out your plan and lead the way. In other circumstances you shove your hands in your pockets, press your lips together and wait for someone else to say, “Let’s go this way”. In some situations you stand up for yourself even against the strong or manipulative voices of people in charge. In other circumstances you appear to let people shove you around as if you have too little self-respect or just don’t care enough to fight for what you believe in and who you are. Sometimes a strong leader, sometimes a passive follower. You are an enigma as a leader.Why the inconsistency? Perhaps it depends upon the people you’re with. If there’s a particularly strong leader in the crowd you slide toward the margin and let them take over. You’re not someone to challenge someone bent on leading. But if the person or group you’re with has no other clear leader you’ll step up, make the call and lead the way. Or maybe it depends upon the circumstance. If the decision to take charge is about something you’re very good at, no problem: you voice your opinion with confidence, win the debate with less convincing points of view and lead the way.Maybe the different styles arise not because of the people you’re with or the problem you’re dealing with but from some uncertainty inside you. On your best days your anxiety is at rest; you can assert yourself with confidence and trust your opinions and your decisions. On other days, when the worry monster rattles its chains in the basement, you’re reluctant to take charge for fear that you’ll walk in the wrong direction or lead the group into a ditch on the side of the road.

This inconsistency may be confusing to your friends and your partner. Since you take leadership on occasion they may identify you as someone whom they can trust to take charge. On those good days you come through for them. But on days when you’re passive and waiting for someone else to lead they wonder where you’ve gone. With your closest friends and especially with your partner it will be important to talk through what you know about yourself as a leader. If you can figure out your own inconsistency and share with them what you discover, both you and they will avoid the worst of the frustrations that come when you rotate between being out front and waiting for someone else to lead.


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