All interpersonal relationships face similar challenges. It is how you respond that makes or breaks the bond. Relationships should be about two people. There must be a match somewhere-something to relate around-whether the commonality is values, life-theme, career, shared history, type, chemistry, or philosophy of life.
Keys to Relationship Success
Each of us has our own definition of how to relate, and the language of love two people share so easily at some moments can unravel at others. Many times, two otherwise intelligent people believe they are blatantly and obviously communicating their needs and values, when in fact little gets through, because each is working from different core assumptions, interpreting remarks and gestures differently, or looking for an altogether different set of signals. Even seemingly self-explanatory words like passion and trust, intimacy and communication, and commitment and respect can actually hide tremendous differences. Each temperament has its own language.
What you can trust in a relationship is that people will act according to their temperament core needs and values, their type's themes, and the life-themes and attitudes and beliefs that flavor who they are. Even when people agree in principle they go on doing things differently! When there are problems, you do not always need to "fix" them or back off and distance yourself. You can simply give the other person more space to be who he or she is. And you do not need to change each other or yourself, only change what parts of yourselves you show to each other.
Use the guidelines below to help you understand and perhaps discover some strategies for your relationships. These are particularly useful in bringing together the four major ingredients on the previous page.
Idealists recognize the importance of sitting with and exploring their values and emotional needs. Insisting they always "be there" for you and not allowing them space to discover other parts of themselves may end your relationship. Idealists also need to allow others more emotional room than they themselves usually need–few people are as talented as Idealists in living with and resolving conflicting feelings. Support Idealists in any new quests or interests with the understanding that they will probably come around again in time to revisit and reintegrate the relationship. They will disassociate from a person they believe can't grow with them. Many Idealists are strong on intimacy and are able to "go there"–and stay there–more than most.
Rationals prefer time to think–a conceptual space to understand what's going on. Ignoring their ideas without listening or attacking reason as a way to understand interpersonal interactions, will leave them cold. Rationals also need to make allowances for others here. Most people do not have the same talent or get the same energizing feeling from analyzing, maximizing and redesigning a relationship. Engage the Rationals' ideas and explicitly ask them to come up with new ones if you disagree. They may not go somewhere in a relationship if they feel incompetent at it and detest when others try to think for them. Many Rationals are strong on compatibility–two people should fit into the big picture of each other's lives with a way to relate.