December is koo koo ka ka insano (thank you, Ilana Wexler). There are so many places to go, people to see, and things to achieve before the year comes to an end. Among all of the craziness, knowledge of personality types can be incredibly helpful in understanding yourself and others. Especially with all the socializing and family-time we pack into the holiday season, it’s crucial to keep in mind that not everyone functions the exact same way you do.
Where do they get their energy? How are they taking in information? What are they taking into consideration when they make decisions? How do they approach the outside world?
Take a look at these holiday descriptors for each type to recognize not only which you personally prefer, but also the people you’re interacting with this December.
How are they celebrating the holidays?
This person is looking forward to the end-of-the-year work parties and family gatherings. Even after an eventful day at work, they’re ready to work the room with their gregarious energy. For those who prefer extroversion, the holiday season is all about absorbing the caring energy and magic in the air. Those who prefer extraversion are likely to experience the holiday season in some type of experiential and interactive way. You might find them volunteering with a group, Christmas caroling, hosting a gift exchange, or winning the ugly sweater contest at a party.
This person prefers to recharge by reflecting on their own, so these sociable holiday parties filling up their calendar is quite draining. It’s not that they aren’t friendly, they simply prefer to connect with people on a more intimate level. Dinner with a small group would be far more appealing than a crowded room of acquaintances. In their ideal world, you can find them curled up by the fire, watching a Christmas movie, and decorating the tree. The hustle of crowded shopping takes those who prefer introversion away from their inner world, so online shopping is their jam. They might even prefer to write family and friends a thoughtful card to connect and wish them happy holidays.
What are their preferred gifts?
If you’re buying a gift for someone who prefers Sensing, they’re going to love something practical they can put to good use in their life. They like to take in information using their five senses and appreciate the facts and details. Maybe try a candle or a quality electronic or piece of clothing they’ve had their eyes on.
If you’re buying a gift for someone who prefers Intuition, they’re going to love something with deep meaning or that they can experience. They are oriented towards the future possibilities, so if your gift creates the framework, they’ll fill in the blanks with their imagination! Think concert tickets, a cooking class, or a thoughtful scavenger hunt.
How do they deal with family drama?
If there’s family drama around the holidays, the person who prefers thinking is going to be more likely to analyze the situation at hand with an objective perspective. Fair to them means everyone gets treated equally, so if the older sibling had to wait to bring a plus one to Christmas dinner, so do the rest of the siblings. This person is very cause and effect, and when taken too far can become brash or too tough-minded.
The person who prefers feeling is going to take a more empathetic approach to the family drama. This person prefers to lead with compassion and assess the impact any decision will have on the people involved based on values. Fair to them means everyone is treated as an individual, so it doesn’t matter what the rules were for the older sibling, they’re bringing their date if they want to. This person is guided by personal and social values, may appear tender-hearted, and often seeks harmony. Without a fair balance of a thinking personality, the person who prefers feeling may lose sight of using logic in their decision making and do what would ruffle the fewest feathers.
How do they prepare for the holidays?
This person started shopping in November (at least) and will do whatever they can to avoid any last-minute shopping. They prefer a scheduled, systematic and organized approach to the holiday season. Right after Thanksgiving, they’re likely to have their holiday greeting cards hit the mailboxes, the house decorated and RSVPs for their holiday social events taken care of. Without a balance of the perceiving personality, the person who prefers judging might get highly stressed when last-minute factors throw a wrench in the plans they’ve established.
This person probably started shopping on the 20th and finished wrapping on Christmas Eve. They’re likely to say something along the lines of, “I can’t believe Christmas is next week!” Even though it’s on the 25th every year. Those who prefer perceiving are flexible, casual, adaptable and pressure-prompted, so this last-minute effort is actually when they do their best work. They aren’t likely to buy gifts too far in advance, because what if they think of a better gift idea later on? Without a balance of a judging personality, though, the person who prefers perceiving might have that “not enough” feeling or frustration with themselves, and friends might be unfolding a 8.5” x 11” print out of the order confirmation instead of holding the actual gift in hand.
Now that you have an idea of how the eight different personality preferences show up, I challenge you to become aware of them within yourself and others.
Are you being kind to yourself and working with what your natural preferences are? Or are you forcing yourself out-of-preference to check things off and get through the holidays?
Remember, personality type is not a diagnosis or something that should be limiting in any way. Simply put, it’s a great tool to understand why you are the way you are.
You are awesome, by the way.