Personalities (and understanding our own)
Personalities are an interesting topic for me. In discussing what constitutes an indivitual personality, I recall concocting a description of how personalities present themselves. Tell me if this idea holds water.
We all have a basket of personality traits (behaviors) that present themselves in different combinations depending on the situations and people around us. For example, our general demeanor might be different at work than at a party because we focus on different objectives in the two settings. Likewise, we may be a follower when we are a new participate in a group, but an instant leader when we enter a classroom of second graders.
Some traits will follow us everywhere, like a positive outlook on life (or that eternal black cloud), while others will surface only in certain settings. I had a high school friend who would stutter in front of his father, but nowhere else. And then we all know people who are shy around strangers, but when they become comfortable with everyone around them, the wild side shows up.
I can even point to a few people that adversely effect my own personality. I don’t like the person I become around these people. I genuinely like one guy who’s personality brings out something in me that I don’t like. The ironic result is that I enjoy time with him, but am depressed afterward.
I don’t think it should be a goal to have a perfectly consistent and predictable personality throughout life. That could make you boring. But what havoc results from the change your personality takes over time? And where is this havoc more dramatic than in your significant relationships?
What happens to a dating relationship, or marriage, when those subtle changes in personality combinations makes you less attracted to your partner, or them less attracted to you? I believe relationships end when one, or both people become unattractive to the other. Interestingly, the personality changes that flip the switch could be very subtle.
To tie this into my previous post, I believe that I can point to some relationships in the past where I became insecure in the relationship. My personality then changed. I became less attractive, and was appropriately dumped. It was a hard learned lesson, but one with far reaching consequences.
Why didn't that relationship work?
How many dating relationships do you have in your life before you find one that works? (Some of us never do find one that works, unfortunately.) The answer is “lots”. When you look back over your history of dating, what do you see? Is there a common theme? When you go through that long list of relationships that ended, can you find an uncolored truth about why the relationship ended?
For example, could you say:
Most of my relationships are ended by the other person. They get tired of me because...
Most of my relationships ended because we fought over money, or sex, or priorities.
Most of my relationships ended because I/they couldn’t commit.
I actually have two answers. One for relationships ended by me, and a different one for relationships ended by her.
So tell me, what did it for you? What most often inflicted the death blow in your past relationships?
A charged up whale spotted a whaling ship and then turned to his girlfriend. Lets approach the ship from below and then blow out our air hole at the same time to capsize the ship.
Their efforts were a great success, capsizing the ship and sending it to the ocean floor. The sailors escaped the sinking ship and swam for the shore. The whale once again turned to his girlfriend and said “Lets stop the sailors to prevent them from bringing another ship.”
At this point his girlfriend gave him a reluctant look. “I went along with the blow job, but I absolutely refuse to swallow the seamen.”
A Jewish Confession
An 80 year-old man went into the confessional and told the priest the following:
"Father, I am an 80 year-old man, I'm married, I have 4 children and 11 grandchildren. Last night I strayed and had an affair with two 18 year-old girls. We partied and made love all night long."
The priest said, "My son, when was the last time you were at confession?"
The old man said, "I've never been to confession. I'm Jewish."
The priest said, "Then why are you here telling me this?"
The old man said, "Father, I'm telling everyone!"