Reading Type into Reading

June 2016. Originally copyrighted and posted in "Type for Life" by the Center for the Applications of Psychological Type, Gainesville, FL. Used with permission.

I don't usually spend a lot of time typing the people I meet either in person or in a book. And the people I spend time with are grateful for that!

But sometimes I just can't help it. That just happened when I read A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman and "met" Ove and his wife, Sonja. The book is about the impact (planned or not) one life can have on many others.

Ove seems like an ISTJ to me with his focus on structure and details and doing what needs to be done with little fuss and fanfare. He likes following the rules and seeing his world in straightforward ways. (Okay, so he goes a bit over the top into curmudgeon, but still, his basic personality is intact.)

Sonja is probably an ENFP, loving color and change and creativity and seeing potential in people. She cares about enjoying life wherever she is and in whatever circumstances she finds herself in.

He is loyal to those he loves, although the concept of love is a tough one for him to acknowledge. She accepts people for who they are and the concept of love is not a just a concept, but a reality.

She speaks and he listens, and they love one another deeply. We grow to love them both too.

Just to keep going with this opposites theme … if you know the RIASEC model, there's another chance to see differences! (RIASEC refers to Holland's six personality types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional.)

Ove is a "Realistic," dedicated real, tangible things with his building, and fixing. Sonja is the opposite, a "Social," into helping people grow and develop through her teaching of "unteachable" kids.

But he ends up building things all the time that help people! Someone's car breaks down, and he fixes it just to shut them up and stop asking for help. And no matter what he does, he seems to inadvertently help others. And in the process we see type development happening!

While getting acquainted with their characters, I was also reminded of some research on couples by Drs. Julie and John Gottman. They documented that on the average 69% of the issues couples have with one another will never be solved. But they can be discussed in civil ways and perhaps even accepted. Expecting the other person to change usually is unrealistic!!

That research was particularly helpful on a recent trip I took to Russia with my sweetie and another couple. When we would find ourselves being annoyed with our partners, we would pipe up, "okay, that's one of the 69%."

We would observe other couples bickering and think to ourselves, they probably were at 89%! But beyond that we did not type them.

I don't know if you read type into fictional characters, or real ones for that matter, but I can recommend this book, which is a good reminder that learning to accept differences helps in enjoying life!