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.