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The Strength in Relationships
19 May 2010

by I/O

The four strongest inter-type relations are Dual, Super-ego, Semi-Dual and Illusionary pairs with Super-Ego being the easiest to start. This article assigns strength factors to Socionics' inter-type relations based on Maslov's hierarchy of needs. Successful relationships provide a sense of security and mutual understanding for both partners. These needs underpin communication, trust, friendship, intimacy, and or a sense of belonging or family. A strong relationship would also have to promote the esteem and actualization of both partners. Although Socionics inter-type descriptions are fairly accurate, the relative strengths of relationships do not appear all that well delineated. Note that you should first read about Maslov as well as my articles entitled My Take on Temperament and The Functioning of Type, which differ from traditional Socionics' explanations.

Security is a sense by both partners that they are stronger in a relationship than they would be alone; they both sense that some of their weaknesses are covered off by the other partner. This complementing occurs between Types when one partner primarily operates in closed-loop mode and the other open-loop, and when the preferences of one partner complement rather than compete with those of the other (thinking, T complementing feeling, F, and sensing, S complementing intuitive, N).

Understanding occurs when the root processing (habitual, problem solving and communication styles) of one partner is understood by or familiar to the other, and both instinctively know that the other really does understand. Note that understanding does not imply agreement. Therefore, understanding is better supported when the temperament of both partners operate in similar modes (either open or closed-loop) and or both share preferences (T or F and S or N).

Esteem is promoted when both partners think and feel they contribute equally to the relationship. This implies that a partner will not normally think or feel that he or she can better fulfil the other's role. Note that role does not refer to specific tasks. Both partners need to sense that they are best suited for their particular roles and should instinctively know that their partner benefits from their efforts. Esteem is better supported when preferences are not shared so partners do not trample each other's turf.

Actualization is promoted when both partners feel they are able to freely function outside the relationship as individuals. This state is better supported when both partners are travelling the same path or sharing a life philosophy. Therefore, both partners tend to be more comfortable stepping out when both temperaments are either input or output oriented (p or j).

Now, let's assign values to the above paragraphs based on Maslov's hierarchy: security a value of 4, understanding 3, esteem 2 and actualization 1. The numbers themselves are not significant other than indicating the level in the hierarchy, 4 being the greater need or higher value. Based upon the above, the mix of temperament in a relationship supports some of the above needs so hence can be assigned values:

-one partner primarily operates in open-loop mode, the other closed-loop
(covers each other's weaknesses creating a more secure environment)
4
-both partners primarily operate in open-loop or closed-loop mode
(there's inherent understanding between partners)
3
-both having either input (p) or output (j) leading temperament
(similar understanding of needs for achieving goals plus actualization potential)
5 (4+1)
-input leads the temperament of one, output leads the other
(divisive vision of how life should proceed such as how to set or achieve goals)
0

The mix of preferences in a relationship can also be assigned values:

-one partner has a dominant or secondary T preference, the other F
(covering each other's weaknesses creates security plus esteem potential)
6 (4+2)
-both partners have a dominant or secondary T or F preference
(inherent understanding of rationalization preferences between partners)
3
-one partner has a dominant or secondary S preference, the other N
(covering each other's weaknesses creates security plus esteem potential)
6 (4+2)
-both partners have a dominant or secondary S or N preference
(inherent understanding of perception preferences between partners)
3

One can estimate a relative strength for each inter-type pair by multiplying the sum of the applicable temperament values to the sum of the applicable preference values, which gives the following results:


Duality (4+5)*(6+6) = 108
Super ego (3+5)*(6+6) = 96
Semi-dual (4+5)*(6+3) = 81
Illusionary (4+5)*(3+6) = 81
Comparative (3+5)*(3+6) = 72
Look-alike (3+5)*(6+3) = 72
Contrary (4+5)*(3+3) = 54
Identical (3+5)*(3+3) = 48
Activity (4+0)*(6+6) = 48
Conflicting (3+0)*(6+6) = 36
Benefit (4+0)*(6+3) = 36
Supervision (3+0)*(6+3) = 27
Quasi-identical (4+0)*(3+3) = 24
Mirror (3+0)*(3+3) = 18

Note that it is assumed that preferences are superimposed on temperament; hence, multiplication (*) of temperament and preference totals is necessary. These calculations also assume that the separations among Maslov's levels of need are equidistant. A higher total indicates a greater potential for success in a relationship, but this by itself is no guarantee of success.

Let's now digress to when we first meet someone who could be a potential partner or mate; the perception of needs would be different from those described above, and visceral gratification would become a common goal whether it be of a sexual, curiosity or alliance nature. Both would be somewhat guarded so security would no longer be a discriminating factor. The temperament values would therefore change to:

-one partner primarily operates open-loop, the other closed-loop
(partners' primary temperament processes out of sync, unfamiliar)
0
-both partners primarily operate open-loop or closed-loop
(partners' primary temperament processes in sync, familiar)
3
-both partners having either input or output leading temperament
(one has an inherent understanding how the other operates)
3
-input leads one partner called the receiver, output leads in the sender
(output feeds input - symbiosis promotes esteem plus actualization)
3 (2+1)

The preference values would also change to:

-one partner has a dominant or secondary T preference, the other F
(bringing different strengths feed esteem plus actualization of both)
3 (2+1)
-both partners have a dominant or secondary T or F preference
(inherent understanding of rationalization preferences between partners)
3
-one partner has a dominant or secondary S preference, the other N
(bringing different strengths feed esteem plus actualization of both)
3 (2+1)
-both partners have a dominant or secondary S or N preference
(inherent understanding of perception preferences between partners)
3

The above values indicate that people who share either open-loop or closed-loop temperaments would initially gravitate toward one another because all other contributing factors would cancel each other. Note that Dual pairs do not have this initial attraction. There is also an implication that super-ego, long-term relationships may be the more common - an 80% solution that can be kindled by a visceral attraction. Other easy-to-start, relatively strong relationships would be Comparative and Look-a-like pairs. However, as one may initially have very strong attraction to a particular type, long-term coexistence may develop unforeseen complications as temperaments and preferences emerge and interact.
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