Decoding Personality: The Secret to a Happy (and beautiful) Home

Dated: 06/01/2018

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     Relationships, values, and decisions- the intangible aspects of home that very much play into our happiness and satisfaction. Understanding different personality types may very well be the key to figuring out what has meaning to the individuals in your family, what they need in their personal space, and how to achieve consensus with your home purchasing and design goals.

Carl Jung realized that we all have preferred ways to use our mental capacities, and broke them down into different categories of how we make decisions. In the 1940's Katharine Cook Briggs, and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, dedicated their lives to understanding and dissecting his theories to create an accessible and easy to understand personality profiles. We all use these eight processes at any given time, but prefer one to another, so there is no right or wrong way, and it does not determine how well someone will perform a specific job or task.

There are 16 personality types comprised of four spaces, and eight different letters, with three places representing different stages of the decision making process. Chances are that you've been tested a few times, and know if you're an ESFJ, INTJ, or an INTP, or one of the many other combinations.

The first place, either I or E, is reserved for how we focus our energy, either inwardly or outwardly; Introverts recharge through solitude, while Extraverts recharge with the company of others. (Yes, my S friends, I deliberately spelled it with an A.)

The second place denotes how we gather information- Sensing or Intuition. Since the 'I' was taken todenote Introversion, they opted to use N to denote Intuition. S people are keen observers of concrete facts- how the space looks. the colors of the painting, and immediate data, while I's pick up on abstract ideas, impressions, and patterns. A sensing person may break information down into established categories in their mind, while an intuitive tosses it around with other concepts to make connections and better understand the subject at hand. A equals A, vs A is like J or D or similar to R. Sensing people speak in facts, while intuitives are strong on metaphors.

The third place denotes how we process that information- Thinking or Feeling. Thinkers are all about the facts and are able to make tough decisions, especially in the corporate world. In fact, ST's are disproportionately represented in the management and executive level of most corporations. They read the data and know what needs to be done to reach their goals. Feeling isn't about feelings, but is about factoring other people into their decision making process. F's want to know how decisions will affect others and work towards win-win situations. The F-type is common in human resources, nursing and social work where they can express their care for others.

The final place denotes what we do with our decisions. The MBTI refers to them as Judging and Perception, which can be confusing. It is better to look at it as actions. J's need closure and love to make lists and cross things off. They see decisions as final, while P's do not- they are comfortable with things left open-ended to revisit later. J's are planners and want structure, while P's are spontaneous and likely to go with the flow.

One would think a partner with the same MBTI as us would make us happy, but it does not, because similar processes mean similar weaknesses- which would drive us crazy. Two ESTJ's could come to two different factual and well-thought out decisions with no one willing to budge and a whole lot of loud "external processing". Conversely, two ISFP's would know what needs to be done, but no one would be willing to do it, and would walk away in silence. Different types use their strengths to compliment one another’s stretches.

Our homes are the setting for endless decisions and work- two big areas of conflict. Knowing what is important to your partner will help to understand what they value and need in a home- from house hunting to how it is furnished. It's common for an NF to want a beautiful and comfortable home that will serve the needs of the family, while an ST will not place the same value on redecorating- nothing is broken, and 'pretty' isn't a logical reason to spend money to renovate the kitchen or replace the furniture. Updating is, for example, a very logical decision, because our homes are product-based investments and updates increase the desirability of the house when it comes to resale, and the earlier you update, the more likely you are to recoup a greater portion of your investment due to the rate of appreciation. By understanding one another's processes and needs all voices can be properly heard and served.

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Nicole Baxter

As a practicing Interior Designer with 25 years of residential design and construction experience, a licensed REALTOR, and certified Myers Briggs administrator, Nicole is a professional house whispere....

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