Friday, June 6, 2008

Personality Differences

In my last post, I talked about differences of opinions, but there are lots of different personalities out there, and sometimes the reason we have a problem with someone isn't that we disagree, but simply that we don't know how to understand how to 'interpret' the other person.

For instance, when one person is upset about something you did, they will just ignore it or suggest shyly that they don't like it when someone does such and so. While the next person will come right out and tell you that you did this, this and this, that they didn't like it and that you have to change your ways.
Now neither one of these approaches is the best way, one may be more offensive than the other, but neither of them are truly sinful... they're just different.

Of course, us Homeschoolers get a chance to deal with many different personalities on a daily basis with our brothers and sisters, but our particular family has boundaries that other families don't. We may think that it is rude to say something that a different family has no problem with.
That is why what my Mom calls 'Interpretation' is so important. (It's also called thinking the best of people.)

Let's say that your best friend at church has a tendency to speak their mind a little too forcefully and doesn't always have the best discretion about what to say, but you know that they really care about you. So on Sunday, this friend walks up to you and tells you, point blank, that your dress is ugly and immodest. Then they walk away and the next time you talk to them they seem to have forgotten all about it. Ok, now you can either look at it as your friend being a jerk, or think about it in context of their character. It may not have been right of them to handle the situation like they did, but maybe it wasn't them trying to be hurtful, it was just them not thinking before they spoke.

Or maybe someone is very quiet and when you walk over and try to be friendly, they kind of just smile shyly and then look away.

A while ago I realized that I wasn't 'interpreting' someone I love correctly. Now this person has a VERY different personality from me, and often would say something that was meant to be firm, but I would interpret it as anger.
After talking to my Mom about it, I realized that it wasn't the person's fault that I had a problem with them... it was my fault because I wasn't thinking about them in the context of their character, which is very 'definite', but I was interpreting them by MY character. If I had spoken the way they did, I would have been very angry, but I was supposed to look at THEIR personality, not MINE!

So, yeah, try it out with the person that bugs you the most, in your family or anywhere. ;-)

1 comment:

Miss Eybright said...


Thank you for this post. I must have problems with this, or rather, I know that I have problems with this with a certain member of my family. Little things that they do annoy me to no end, even though they are just things that are a part of their character.

Have a very bright, very cheerful day!
Miss Eyebright