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Eureka: Three personality types
by Jay Gutman
2017-11-05 09:20:45
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Some say introvert and extrovert. Others say open/closed, conscientious/careless, introvert/extrovert, friendly/detached and neurotic/confident. My favorite personality type distinction is the three personality types, the first being the emotional type, the second being the factual type and the third being the narrative type. My field observations have led me to partly conclude that each individual belongs to one of three personality types, and rarely to two at a time.

pers01_400Let me break the personality types for you. First you have the emotional type. The emotional type tends to live life based on emotions, alternating between joy and anger, elation and sadness. The emotional type will communicate mainly with emotions. If you give them facts they will respond with emotions. If you tell them stories they will react with emotions. At work if you give them an order they will tend to respond with emotions, either openly or in their mind. Reading the newspaper will be an emotional roller coaster for them. They will prefer emotion-filled action or sports or melodramas to the more narrative or fact-based books or stories.

As those of you who have been reading me or listening to me over the years will know, I fit into the narrative type of personality. Having worked with emotion-people centered organizations, I can tell you I did not fit in well in those organizations. I would announce that a mission was complete and the reaction would be a cry of joy, rather than asking me to tell the backstory, which was frustrating for me. I would announce bad news and the reaction would be immediate anger and rebuke rather than asking me what went wrong and how it can be fixed.

I dated a few emotional types and of course I would be the one sitting down and telling stories while they prefered activities that kept their emotions running, like travelling to weird places, watching emotion-charged melodramas, going to noisy rock concerts or hiking on grueling tracks. They cried a lot and were angry a lot, which often left me scratching my head, because I wanted to hear the story. And of course when I asked for directions, rather than telling me the story, I would get rebuked for having no sense of direction.

When with the emotional type, the factual type will tend to use silence as his usual weapon, while the narrative type will often try to reason the emotional type with storytelling, which I'm afraid is a mistake.

The best weapon with the emotional type is to scare them, because fear is one emotion that can get the best of them. Another weapon is to pepper them with joy by constantly showering them with gifts and good news, which unfortunately can be addictive as their high emotions can run low if they are not feeling that they are getting constant attention. Emotional people understand emotional people best, as their conversations will often revolve around emotions. You can spot emotional people laughing hard, yelling, or sharing videos containing highly emotional material.

Now the the factual personality type. This personality type is the kind who likes facts, who believes facts are set in stone, and who communicates almost exclusively with facts. Emotions tend to be flat. Conversations with them will often be an enumeration of facts, often dry facts, often still and facts you can not negotiate. If you ask a factual type for information, they will give it all to you, no questions allowed, no reactions allowed. The emotional type will tend to answer with emotions which the factual type will supress, while the narrative type may have questions that the factual type will suppress.

In a lecture hall for example, an emotional type might lecture on the fairness or unfairness of life, while the factual type might give a long enumeration of facts, either in choronological or category based order. The narrative type will come up with a story that can often lead to a dialogue with the audience. Humor with emotional types is of course charged with emotions, with the factual type will be a one-liner. Narrative types may give a long story with mutltiple punch lines.

Now to the narrative type, of which I am a proud member. The narrative type will have a story to tell, but will also want to hear other peoples' stories. As I said emotional types tend to connect with emotions and their conversations will be filled with “I like that” or “I hate that.” The factual type will simply try to gather simple facts on the other person, those facts carved in stone like age or hometown. The narrative type will want to hear other people's life story and will be eager to share theirs.

During negotiations the emotional type will either be pleased or insulted, and often impatient. The factual type will give you a hard time if you don't get the facts right, and you may have a flawless product but the slightest mistake or flaw will be noticed by the factual type. The narrative type will want good stories, and tends not to sign anything if the negotiation doesn't linger on for hours and feature a series of excellent stories.

Now two more things. First, as a narrative type, a few problems I've encountered with other types. With emotional types I felt I could not fit in because they did not care to seem about the story. My story constantly got interrupted by cries of joy or despair. With factual types my story tends to be corrected and criticized when there are gaps in accuracy.

Last thing. Having lived around the world, all three types exist in all cultures. I've met Koreans that fit into the narrative type and Norwegians who fit into the emotional type. There can be some stereotypes, as most Korean organizations prefer emotional or factual types but tend to do without the narrative type. In Scandinavia emotional types are rarely put forward, though they exist. Same goes for women. The stereotype goes with most women being the emotional type, but I have met quite a few factual type women or narrative type women.

Note: I'm not the one who came out with this typology and don't claim ownership of it. I heard someone mention it on television, but despite researching psychology papers and indexes for this typology, I couldn't find any study or literature revolving around this typology. 

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Emanuel Paparella2017-11-05 11:20:07
Perhaps the universe is an intimation that there is an interesting story being told and not just facts being dished out, that man does not just gather facts scientifically but interprets them poetically. In the beginning, indeed, was the word!

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