Type Talk


by: Dr. Charles Seashore


These are but two of the items on my parents’ agenda during my early childhood. Little did I appreciate all that was involved in pursuing these two matters to the end of the line—or, should I say, to the bottom of a bottomless pit. Indeed, despite all the theories, books, films, and discussions I have had on these subjects, I still lack satisfactory answers as to the ultimate responses to these issues. You probably have your own list of admonitions, euphemisms, wise sayings, or free-floating bits of advice that haunt you from your past.

Still, I am intrigued with ideas and concepts that help me find a new angle on who I am and what others think of me. These days, there are compelling reasons to do so.

Diversity is upon us. Whatever the merits of living in a relatively homogeneous world of people somewhat like us, we find ourselves continually challenged, often confronted, even assaulted with others’ differences--—differences in perspectives, styles, beliefs, and feelings, to name just a few of the categories. It is very clear that our individual pursuits will bear fruit only to the degree to which we can not only understand these differences, but actually value and capitalize on them. At work, at home, and in our communities, our satisfactions are increasingly tied to our skills in building relationships with a wide variety of people, not just those who share our own particular perspective.

That is why the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been a welcome relief in the psychological-testing world—relief from the barrage of instruments built on various assessments of weaknesses, “good” and “bad” characteristics, or evidence of pathology.

The explosion of interest and use of the MBTI by the general public can be accounted for in large part by its descriptive and neutral characterization of the ways we perceive and relate to our world. It allows us to look at our uniqueness as our strength, our styles as useful, and our perceptions as assets. All told, that can be a strong foundation on which to pursue our goals and desires. And the benefits extend beyond ourselves: accepting the contributions of those who are fundamentally different from us can begin only when we start from the premise that there is no one “best” style.

Otto Kroeger and Janet Thuesen have been among the principal explorers and adaptors of the Myers-Briggs research instrument for use in the practical settings of everyday life. The framework of their book —Typewatching— is one that will appeal to the entire spectrum of psychological types and temperaments.

This is a book about interdependence and how to join with others in many mutually enhancing ways. We all require others to reach beyond the simple and the obvious. A profound appreciation of the whole orchestra can lead to a richness in playing our own part. The challenge for most of our loftier ambitions is to work through our differences—not avoiding, denying, or over-riding those whose perspectives are different from our own.

The surprise, as you will see, is that so much complexity and diversity can be captured through Typewatching using only four dimensions of human behavior. Of course, even the sixteen personality types and the four temperaments explored in these pages will never capture all the nuances of our individual uniqueness. But what is amazing is just how much ground can be covered.

Typewatching has proven to be an enormously productive way of looking at ourselves in a wide variety of settings, from time management to weight management. It is a tool that can be used across a wide span of age groups to help us reach challenging and commonly valued objectives. The combinations of eight letters help us to move easily from alphabet soup to a direct, plain-folks understanding of behavior. Typewatching is a skill for expanding ourselves and contributing to others.

In the pages that follow, Otto and Janet help us tolerate our foibles and frustrations with examples from our shared day-to-day activities. Laughing at ourselves and others is a delightful bonus of their illustrations of our jousting with the inevitable dilemmas of our existence. As one reads, it soon becomes clear that impossible conflicts, unreconcilable differences, and personality conflicts are amenable to new types of solutions when seen through the lens of Typewatching. Our hopeless dilemmas are turned to the light in such a way that vivid colors soon replace dull and draining grays. The differences that block us can be translated into differences that empower us.

Psychological tests and theories are controversial, to be sure, and the Myers-Briggs is no exception . For those of us who have used this instrument, however, it is real reassuring that informed and articulate skeptics often find a new edge or perspective on familiar or old puzzles and problems. Categorizing people may well be inevitable. But how we choose to categorize, for what purposes, and how we change and modify those perceptions over time is what this book is all about.

For those with profound doubts about any such scheme, this book may just still challenge you to be clearer about how you conceive of and relate to our intricate world. At the very least, it may help you to answer those two questions: What do you know about yourself? And why in the world do the neighbors think what they think?

Dr. Charles Seashore, ENTP, a Washington, D. C., psychologist, is on the faculty of several prestigious institutions, including the Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, California, The American University in Washington , D.C., Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore , and the NTL Institute in Arlington, Va.


“There are three fingers pointing back at you.


HIS IS A BOOK ABOUT NAME-CALLING IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER WE DO IT ALL THE TIME. You know the lines: “He’s such a space cadet.” Hey, smarty pants, what’s the answer?” “She’s such a brain!” “My boss is so uptight. “ “She’s such a big mouth. “ .“He’s a real mover and shaker!” Etc, etc, etc, etc. AND That’s just for starters.

The real point is, it’s almost second nature for us to pigeonhole and catalog people around us, though not always accurately or positively. But name- calling isn’t necessarily bad. Without labels and pigeonholes, a whole lot less communication would likely take place. Name-calling creates communication shortcuts that often facilitate our dealings with one another at work and at home, with friends, relatives, and veritable strangers . If someone tells you about a friend who is a “bundle of energy” or who is “happy-go-lucky,” you know pretty much what that means. Unfortunately, such labels can also lead to negative stereotypes and misunderstandings, sometimes hindering communications and creating many self-fulfilling prophesies.

WHY DO WE NAME-CALL? It starts when we become aware that someone displays a distinctive, identifying characteristic, whether it’s something we like or dislike. Name-calling is a method of cataloging people—much as we catalog our animals, buildings, and types o f art—a handy device to help us remember those identifying characteristics and store that information for future reference. You know that co-worker who likes things explained thoroughly and in detail before she can try something new? You’ve likely dubbed her a “slow learner” and made a mental note to take five minutes to explain to her something you could grasp in three. That friend who insists on reading every sign out loud during a car trip is the “chatter- box.” You learn to think twice before asking him to take a lazy Sunday drive to the mountains. And then there’s the “administrator,” the friend who can walk into a room and organize something—the furniture, a business, an event—in a matter of minutes. That’s someone you like to have around when chaos abounds, but not just necessarily when you want to have a lazy day.

Convenient and natural as this business of name-calling is, we tend to have mixed feelings about it, especially when it is done in the name of science. When a wise psychologist or other behavioral scientist creates a personality “coding” scheme— even one based on sound research and psychological theory—many of us become resistant and negative to the idea of typing while continuing our own very personal classifying and name-calling. The response itself often involves name-calling: “Those shrinks --- what do they know with their touch y-feely stufl?” In one sentence, someone resistant to being categorized unfairly categorizes an entire old profession and belittles the good work many in that profession do.


Typewatching is a constructive response to the inevitability of name-calling. It is based on the notion that as long as we’re going to do it, we might as well do it as skillfully, objectively, and constructively as possible . That’s what Type Talk is all about.

Type Talk is about Typewatching , an organized, scientifically validated approach to name-calling that has been used for more than forty years by individuals, many families, corporations, and yes, even governments who want to communicate better. Type-watching is real easy to learn and natural to use. With even moderate practice, it can help teachers teach and students learn, workers work and bosses boss. It can help lovers love, parents parent, and everyone to then accept themselves and others more easily. Best of all, Typewatching can be fun.

One curiosity about name-calling is that it often says as much about the caller as the callee . It’s like that old adage: When you point a finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you. Try it. And so it is with name-calling. Very often, when you put another person in a box or use a label, especially a negative one, it reflects as much on you as on the one you’re describing. Typewatching, then, is also about self-awareness.


The ideas in Type Talk stem from the work of a small cast of characters—more about them in a moment—but they also come from a cumulative total of fifteen years of personal and professional Typewatching on the part of your authors— not to mention many more years of people-watching. Otto came into Type-watching by a rather circuitous path. He was a clergyman in the late 1950s and a psychologist and behavioral scientist in the 1960s. The 1970s were spent as a new consultant in “organizational development,” a discipline that assesses the impact of human behavior on productivity in the workplace, during which time he was introduced to the psychological instruments on which Typewatching is based. In the late seventies, as an organizational development consultant, he helped to establish the Center for the Application of Psychological Type (CAPT), which is now the largest research center on Typewatching in the world. In 1978, he focused his business entirely on Typewatching.

Janet, too, has a varied background, which includes teaching —everything from preschool to elementary school to high school, and everyone from emotionally disturbed adolescents to chemically dependent inner-city women. In the late 1970s, she received a degree in counseling and organizational development, which she then put to use while working at the White House as assistant director of organizational development—the first time “OD” was formally used at that level of government. She spent a year at the Department of Education before becoming associated with Otto in 1981.

That association became more complete in 1985 when we were married. Together, through our seminars, lectures, and individual counseling, the two of us have now introduced more than ten thousand people to Typewatching, from Pentagon generals to parents and their teenage children. We apply Typewatching to everything, thus including friends, associates, children, pets, and the plans for our own wedding.

One of the great advantages of Typewatching, as we’ve learned over the years, is that it is a judgment-free psychological system, a way of explaining “normal” rather than abnormal psychology. There are no good or bad “types” in Typewatching, there are only differences. Typewatching celebrates those differences, using them creatively and constructively rather than to create strife. Typewatching removes negative attitudes, highlights obvious differences, and fosters inter- and intrapersonal growth . It enables us to view objectively actions that we might otherwise take personally. With Typewatching, the tendency for a friend to be frequently late, for example, might be viewed as a typological characteristic rather than a personal affront or a character defect. Typewatching elevates name-calling from a negative, “put-dowii’ tactic that mainly produces distance and distrust between people to a positive, healthy exercise with the potential for producing, not just harmony, but synergy at home as well as in the workplace.


Typewatching’s roots date back more than sixty years, when the Swiss- born psychiatrist C. C. Jung suggested that human behavior was not random but was in fact predictable and, therefore, classifiable. At the start, Jung was out of step with many of his colleagues because he suggested that the categories he proposed, for which he coined some new words, were not based on psychological sicknesses, abnormalities, or disproportionate drives. Instead, Jung said, all differences in behavior, which seem so obvious to the eye, are a result of preferences related to the basic functions our personalities perform throughout life. These preferences emerge early in life, forming the foundation of our personalities. Subsequent issues of life are translated through each of our basic personality preferences. Such preferences, said Jung, become the core of our attractions to and repulsions from people, tasks, and events all life long. (Jung’s 1923 work Psychological Types brilliantly outlines his classifications. However, unless you are either a very serious student of psychological typology or a masochist, the book is not likely to appeal to the lay reader.)

Fortunately for Jung’s work, two women, neither of whom were psychologists, became very interested in classifying peoplc’s observable behavior. One of them, Katharine Briggs, independently of Jung had begun as early as the turn of the century to classify the people around her based on their differences in living styles. Simply put, she came to the conclusion that different people approach life very differently. When Jung’s works appeared in English in 1923, Briggs set aside her own work and became an exhaustive student of Jung’s. With her exceptionally gifted daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, she spent the I 930s observing and developing better ways to measure these differences. Spurred by the onslaught of World War II and the observation that many people in the war effort were working in tasks unstilted to their abilities, the two women set out to design a psychological instrument that would explain, in scientifically rigorous and reliable terms, the many differences according to Jung’s Theory of Personality Preferences. And so was born the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The idea behind the MBTI was that it could be used to establish individual preferences and then to promote a more constructive use of the differences between people. Jung’s theory has become increasingly popular in the 1980s. due largely to the landmark accomplishments of this mother-daughter team.

More about the origins of MBTI later. For now, it is important only that you understand that much of your attraction toward specific people in your life is the result of your personality preferences. In this book we will attempt to identify and understand these preferences, then to show how such an understanding can make your life easier, happier, and more productive. After you are able to identify your preferences (and those of your friends, colleagues, and family), we will show you how to fit Typewatching into your work, home, school,

play, or wherever.


Do you prefer people who are the same as you, or people who are different?

If you’re like most people, you are initially attracted to people who are different but over time you find that those differences don’t wear well. In fact, at work, or with mates or children, after the initial attraction has subsided, you may even demand that these differences be eliminated: “Shape up or ship out.” Or, if you are not in a position to make such demands, you may simply become alienated.

It is interesting that we think we prefer differences, yet in reality few of us make much allowance for them. Though we may say “different strokes for different folks,” we are nonetheless resistant to those who buck conformity to “do their own thing.” In a family, company, or other organization, such non-conformity may be viewed as disloyal at best, dangerous or destructive at worst. But with Type-watching you will gain enough insight to understand the attractiveness of some of

those differences and will develop the patience to allow them to exist for the benefit of those whose lives you touch—as well as your own.

It all starts with greater self-awareness. By understanding what the Jung and Myers - Briggs classifications mean, you can then begin to identify your own personal preferences and how you are similar to and different from those closest to you. You can identify where those similarities and differences make for harmony and where they cause discord.

With that in mind let’s take a look at how your preferences are formed and what they mean for your life. Such self-insight is the key to Typewatching.


As we said, according to jungian theory you are born with a predisposition for certain personality preferences. In Typewatching, there are four pairs of preference alternatives. You are either Extraverted or Introverted, Sensing, Thinking or Feeling or Perceiving

These leanings, say Jung, reflect both genetic predispositions and whatever else is part of your earliest moments. As life develops, your environment greatly influences the direction your preferences will take.

Take, for example, the preference for Extraversion,* which we’ll examine in depth in Chapter Three. If you are predisposed to a preference for Extraversion, you will, barring an environment that is utterly hostile to Extraverted behavior, become an Extravert, but you still must translate that preference within the context of your particular situation in life. Birth order, the behavior of other family members, and other environmental factors are all part of the life forces affecting that context . For example, if you are an Extravert in a family of Introverts, you may be different from how you would be if you grew up in a family of other Extraverts—where “survival of the loudest” was the rule. You’ll be an Extravert in either case, but a different one.

* While the preferred dictionary spelling of this word is “extroversion,” Jung preferred “extra version,” which is the way it is spelled throughout his writings and throughout Typewatching literature, including this book.

As you grow and develop, your Extraversion also develops and matures. Over the years it takes on many different forms, you may appear to be quite different from decade to decade. Though your preference will continue to be for Extraversion, its strength or quality may give it a very different “flavor” at different stages of life.

Remember that we’re talking about preferences. By way of analogy, think of left- versus right-handedness . If you are right-handed, it doesn’t mean you never use your left hand. It simply means you prefer the right. And you may prefer it strongly, in which case you make relatively little use of your left hand, or you may prefer it barely if at all, in which case you border on being ambidextrous. The same is true for the preferences involved with Typewatching. You may prefer one characteristic a great deal, and another only slightly. As we further examine the Typewatching preferences, as we describe the two sides of each pair, you may find that you identify with both. Within each pair, however, there is one that you prefer — that you rely upon and to which you more naturally gravitate.


According to Typewatching theory, each of us develops a preference early in life and sticks with it. And the more we practice those preferences—intentionally or unintentionally—the more we rely on them with confidence and strength. That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of using our non-preferences from time to time. In fact, the more we mature, the more our non-preferences add richness and dimension to our lives. However, they never take the place of our original preferences. So, Extraverts never become Introverts, and vice versa. (Back to the left-hand, right-hand analogy. Right-handers do not become left-handers, and vice versa. The longer they live, the more they learn to use effectively their non-preferred hand. But no matter how long a right-hander lives, he or she will never become a left- hander.)

Perhaps another way to view this is to liken an individual’s type development to a house. Your type is like the foundation of a house: it doesn’t really experience many radical changes through life. The rest of the house, and especially that part readily seen by others, can be likened to your behavior, the outward appearance of your type. Over time, the house experiences many changes—an added room, a coat of paint, landscaping, interior renovations, and all the rest. The house, after twenty years of living, is changed significantly from what it was when it was built — but the foundation is still intact. So, too, with our personalities and behavior. Over the years, we experience many changes and may appear to be considerably different to a friend we haven’t seen in years . But like the house’s foundation, our personalities remain pretty much intact and the changes are, for the most part, merely behavioral.

This is not to rule out real change, growth, and development or to imply that we are all hopelessly rigid. But it does mean that change comes slowly to our more basic selves and that to affect change and growth in the malleable parts of our lives is a full-time job, day in, day out. Just to manage yourself and your own growth constitutes a busy day—never mind trying to “psych out” the rest of the world. Hence, it is our intention in this book to direct your energy primarily toward yourself—where Typewatching skills can best be used to maximize your every waking hour.


“Is it three fifty-two, or a little before four?

Y ou needn’t take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and know your “official” type to be a Typewatcher or derive benefit from applying Typewatching’s insights to your life. The Indicator is a finely tuned psychological instrument, which only trained, qualified individuals are allowed to purchase and administer. Anyway, many people don’t like to take formal psychological tests, although they may still have natural skills and instincts that make them good Typewatchers. The material in this chapter will give you a good working framework that will enable you to obtain an informal determination of your own and other people’s preferences.

If, however, you want a more in-depth reading and are interested in taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, write us (Otto Kroeger Associates, 3605-C Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, VA 22030) and please include a stamped, self-addressed legal-size envelope . We’ll provide you with information about MBTI resources in your area.

As this book unfolds, you will gradually develop an increasing understanding of your own preferences, as well as those of others. But to start out we’re going to give you some shortcuts to help you translate your everyday behavior into Typewatching terms. By counting how many of the statements in each section you agree with, you will see your own preferences beginning to emerge.

As you read the statements below, you’ll find that you agree with some strongly, some a little, and some not at all. You’ll also find that you may agree very strongly with some of the statements attributed to, say, Extraverts, as well as some of those attributed to Introverts; the same will probably be true for each of the other three pairs of preferences. This is quite natural. Remember, what we’re dealing with are preferences. Each of us has some Extraversion and some Introversion (as well as some of each of the other six characteristics). What Typewatching is all about is determining which alternatives you prefer to use.

                            Extraversion vs. Introversion

                            Sensing vs. iNtuition

                            Thinking vs . Feeling

                            Judging vs. Perceiving

First, we’ll deal with the way people prefer to interact with the world and the way they prefer to receive stimulation and energy: as Extraverts (E) or as Introverts (I).

If you are an Extravert (E) , you probably tend to talk first, think later, and don’t know what you’ll say until you hear yourself say it; it’s not uncommon for you to berate yourself with something like ‘Will I ever learn to keep my mouth shut?”

You probably know a lot of people, and count many of them among your close friends”; you like to include as many people as possible in your activities.

You don’t mind reading or having a conversation while the TV or radio is on in the background; in fact, you may well be oblivious to this ‘distraction.”

You are approachable and easily engaged by friends and strangers alike, though perhaps somewhat dominating in a conversation.

You find telephone calls to be welcome interruptions; you don’t hesitate to pick up the phone whenever you have something to tell someone.

You like going to parties and prefer to talk with many people instead of just a few; your conversations aren’t necessarily limited to those you already know, and you aren’t beyond revealing relatively personal things to veritable strangers.

You prefer generating ideas with a group than by yourself; you become drained if you spend too much time in reflective thinking without being able to bounce your thoughts off others.

You find listening more difficult than talking; you don’t like to give up the limelight and often get bored when you can’t participate actively in a conversation.

You look” with your mouth instead of your eyes—I lost my glasses. Has anyone seen my glasses? Who knows where my glasses are?”—and when you lose your train of thought, verbally “find” your way back—”Now, what was I saying? I think it had something to do with last night’s dinner. Oh, yes, it was about what Harriet said.”

You need affirmation from friends and associates about who you are, what you do, how you look, and just about everything else; you may think you’re doing a good job, but until you hear someone tell you, you don’t truly believe it.

If you are an Introvert (I), you probably;

You rehearse things before saying them and prefer that others would do the same; you often respond with “I’ll have to think about that” or “Let me tell you later.”

You enjoy the peace and quiet of having time to yourself; you find your private time too easily invaded and tend to adapt by developing a high power of concentration that can shut out TV, noisy kids, or nearby conversations.

You are perceived as “a great listener” but feel that others take advantage of you.

You have been called “shy” from time to time; whether or not you agree, you may come across to others as somewhat reserved and reflective.

You like to share special occasions with just one other person or perhaps a few close friends.

You wish that you could get your ideas out more forcefully; you resent those who blurt out things you were just about to say.

You like stating your thoughts or feelings without interruption; you allow others to do the same in the hope that they will reciprocate when it comes time for you to speak.

You need to “recharge” alone after you’ve’spent time socializing with a group; the more intense the encounter, the greater the chance you’ll feel drained afterward.

You were told by your parents to “go outside and play with your friends” when you were a child; your parents probably worried about you because you liked to be by yourself.

You believe that “talk is cheap”; you get suspicious if people are too complimentary, or irritated if they say something that’s already been said by someone else. The phrase “reinventing the wheel” may occur to you as you hear others chattering away.

Again, keep in mind that these are preferences . It is likely that you’ve agreed with some statements under each preference. That’s to be expected. Remember, also, that everything is relative . Some people may agree with every Extraverted statement and none of the Introverted ones. They are probably strong Extraverts. Others may agree with half the Extraverted statements and half the Introverted ones; their preference for one over the other is not as clear, although they probably do have a preference, if only a very slight one. There’s nothing at all wrong with having a very strong or a very weak preference, or entertaining strong but very conflicting preferences. In fact, that’s perfectly natural.

We can’t emphasize enough that there are no right or wrong choices. The beauty of Typewatching, as we’ve already said, is that there are no good or bad types; there are only differences.

Now we’ll take a look at the two ways people prefer to gather data: as Sensors (S) or as iNtuitives (N).

If you are a Sensor (S), you probably: prefer specific answers to specific questions; when you ask someone the time, ‘ou refer “three fift -two” and get irritated if the answer is “little before four” or “almost time to go.”

You like to concentrate on what you’re doing at the moment and generally don’t wonder about what’s next; moreover, you would rather do something than think about it.

You find most satisfying those jobs that yield some tangible result; as much as you may hate doing housekeeping, you would rather clean your office than think about where your career is headed.

You believe that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”; you don’t understand why some people have to try to improve everything.

You would rather work with facts and figures than ideas and theories; you like to hear things sequentially instead of randomly.

You think that fantasy is a dirty word; you wonder about people who seem to spend too much time indulging their imagination.

You read magazines from front to back; you don’t understand why some people prefer to dive into them anywhere they please.

You get frustrated when people don’t give you clear instructions, or when someone says “Here’s the overall plan—we’ll take care of the details later”; or worse, when you’ve heard clear instructions and others treat them as vague guidelines.

You are very literal in your use of words; you also take things literally and often find yourself asking, and being asked, “Are you serious or is that a joke?”

You find it easier to see the individual trees than the forest; at work, you are happy to focus in on your own job, and aren’t as concerned about how it fits into the larger scheme of things.

You subscribe to the notion that “seeing is believing”; if someone tells you “the train is here,” you know it really isn’t “here” until you can get on board.

If you are an iNtuitive (N), you probably: tend to think about several things at once; you are often accused by friends and colleagues of being absentminded.

You find the future and its possibilities more intriguing than frightening; you are usually more excited about where you’re going than where you are.

You believe that “boring details” is a redundancy.

You believe that time is relative; no matter what the hour, you aren’t late unless the meeting/meal/party has started without you.

You like figuring out how things work just for the sheer pleasure of doing so.

You are prone to puns and word games (you may even do these things standing up).

You find yourself seeking the connections and interrelatedness behind most things rather than accepting them at face value; you’re always asking “What does that mean?”

You tend to give general answers to most questions; you don’t understand why so many people can’t follow your directions, and you get irritated when people push you for specifics.

You would rather fantasize about spending your next paycheck than sit and balance your checkbook.

Again, you probably see yourself as having some of both preferences. Everyone has some Sensing characteristics and some iNtuitive ones. Besides, it is quite natural for the same person to perceive things differently at different times. Every April 15, for example, even the most iNtuitive individual must deal with the objective, hard facts and figures of taxes.

As you read these statements and try to identify your preferences, you’ll probably find some preferences emerging more clearly than others. This, too, is natural. You might, for example, be a very clear Extravert, a slight iNtuitive, a moderate Thinker, and a very clear Judger. In such a case, you’d identify with a lot of the Extravert and Judger statements, and fewer of the other two.

Next, we’ll look at how people prefer to make decisions: as Thinkers (T) or as Feelers (F).

If you are a Thinker (T), you probably: are able to stay cool, calm, and objective in situations when everyone else is upset.

You would rather settle a dispute based on what is fair and truthful rather than what will make people happy.

You enjoy proving a point for the sake of clarity; it’s not beyond you to argue both sides in a discussion simply to expand your intellectional horizons.

You are more firm-minded than gentle-hearted; if you disagree with people, you would rather tell them than say nothing and let them think they’re right.

You pride yourself on your objectivity despite the fact that some people accuse you of being cold and uncaring (you know this couldn’t be farther from the truth).

You don’t mind making difficult decisions and can’t understand why so many people get upset about things that aren’t relevant to the issue at hand.

You think it’s more important to be right than liked; you don’t believe it is necessary to like people in order to be able to work with them and do a good job.

You are impressed with and lend more credence to things that are logical and scientific; until you receive more information to justify Typewatching’s benefits, you are skeptical about what it can do.

You remember numbers and figures more readily than faces and names.

If you are a Feeler (F), you probably: consider a ‘~good decision” one that takes others’ feelings into account.

You feel that “love” cannot be defined; you take great offense at those who try to do so.

You will overextend yourself meeting other people’s needs; you’ll do almost anything to accommodate others, even at the expense of your own comfort.

You put yourself in other people’s moccasins; you are likely to be the one in a meeting who asks, “How will this affect the people involved?”

You enjoy providing needed services to people although you find that some people take advantage of you.

You find yourself wondering, “Doesn’t anyone care about what I want?” although you may have difficulty actually saying this to anyone.

You won’t hesitate to take back something you’ve said that you perceive has offended someone; as a result, you’re accused of being wishy-washy.

You prefer harmony over clarity; you are embarrassed by conflict in groups or family gatherings and will either try to avoid it. (“Let’s change the subject”) or smother it with love (“Let’s kiss and make up”).

You are often accused of taking things too’ personally.

Interestingly enough, Thinking and Feeling are the only two preferences that have gender-related issues. About two-thirds of all males are Thinkers and about the same proportion of females are Feelers. Again, this is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong. And not conforming to your sex’s preference is also neither good nor bad (though it may be inconvenient at times).

As you continue reading through these statements, you should consider checking your self-perceptions against a mate’s or colleague’s perception of you. Sometimes others see us in ways we can’t see ourselves.

Now on to the last set of preferences, which pertain to how people prefer to orient their lives—as structured and organized Judgers (J) or as spontaneous and adaptive Perceivers (P). Among other things, this preference determines what you most naturally share when you first open your mouth.

If you are a Judger (J), you probably: are always waiting for others, who never seem to be on time.

You have a place for everything, and aren’t satisfied until everything is in its place.

You know” that if everyone would simply do what they’re supposed to do (and when they’re supposed to do it), the world be a better place.

You wake up in the morning and know fairly well what your day is going to be like; you have a schedule and follow it and can become unraveled if things don’t go as planned.

You don’t like surprises, and make this well known to everyone.

You keep lists and use them; if you do something that’s not on your list, you may even add it to the list just so you can cross it off.

You thrive on order; you have a special system for keeping things in the refrigerator and dish drainer, hangers in your closets, and pictures on your walls.

You are accused of being angry when you’re not; you’re only stating your opinion.

You like to work things through to completion and get them out of the way, even if you know you’re going to have to do it over again later to get it right.


Some people, for a variety of reasons, are very resistant to the idea of Typewatching —and to psychology in general. Introverts, in their need for privacy, are often reluctant to reveal themselves. They may object to Typewatching, even if they believe in its virtues, simply out of fear of being “exposed.” As a result, they may become closet Typewatchers—doing it, but not sharing it. Sensors, in their quest for immediacy, can resist Type-watching because it is theoretical and abstract. Without being able to see its positive and immediate applicability, they will quickly become bored with it. Thinkers, in particular, are leery of the “soft” science of psychology. Unless you can objectively prove Typewatching’s validity and reliability, it may be brushed aside as being too “touchy-feely.” Feelers, on the other hand, can be initially resistant because “It puts people in boxes and takes away their individuality.” In general, Feelers prefer not to engage in activities that have any chance of hurting others’ feelings. Perceivers, who prefer to find alternatives to everything, may be resistant if they find sixteen different personality types to be too limiting. They may ask, “Why only sixteen types?”

If you are a Perceiver (P), you probably; are easily distracted; you can get “lost” between the front door and the car.

You love to explore the unknown, even if it’s something as simple as a new route home from work.

You don’t plan a task but wait and see what it demands; people accuse you of being disorganized, although you know better.

You have to depend on last-minute spurts of energy to meet deadlines; you usually make the deadline, although you may drive everyone else crazy in the process.

You don’t believe that “neatness counts,” even though you would prefer to have things in order; what’s important is creativity, spontaneity, and responsiveness.

You turn most work into play; if it can’t be made into fun, it probably isn’t worth doing.

You change the subject often in conversations; the new topic can be anything that enters your mind or walks into the room.

You don’t like to be pinned down about most things; you’d rather keep your options open.

You tend to usually make things less than definite from time to time, but not always—it all depends.




I N THE BEGINNING, IT CAN BE DIFFICULT ENOUGH TRYING TO UNDERSTAND each of the eight letters one at a time, let alone all four at once. Even if you understand, for example, what it means to say that someone is “Extraverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving,” you still may not fully comprehend all of what it means to be “EN F’P.”

FORTUNATELY, THERE ARE SEVERAL SHORTCUTS YOU CAN EMPLOY to make Typewatching easier to learn and use. One shortcut we believe to be particularly useful is to pick any two letters of an individual’s four- letter type, noting that three other types also include those two letters . You will discover that just knowing those two letters will give you a world of information about all four types, on the basis of which you can make some pretty accurate predictions.

Take Extraversion and Judging for example. The four types that share these two preferences are: ESTJ, ESFJ, ENFJ, and ENTJ All four types, though do different in many respects, have a lot in common. All EJs, for example, tend to “open mouth, engage brain,” that is, talk without thinking. EJs’ motto may be “Ready. Fire. Aim.” They are argumentative, somewhat abrasive, up front in their position on most issues—and freely impose same on anyone within range. They have a habit of cormplaining first, regardless of whether the issue at hand merits the complaint.

To take another example, look at the four types that share Introversion and iNtuition: IIVTJ, JNFJ, INFP, and IJVTP. Most INs would rather speculate as to why Rome is burning than actually fight the fire. They are speculative, reflective, introspective, conceptual, and highly abstract in orientation.

Now look at the four types that share Feeling and Perceiving: ISFP, INFP, ESFP and ENFP You should never have a party without an FP. They are fun, easy-going, responsive, and enjoy making other people happy.

We could go on, but you get the idea. You can do this with any two letters.

There is another two-letter-combination shortcut to Typewatching that is less random than the one described above. These combinations are called “Temperaments” and are the creation of David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, authors of Please Understand Me, another book abou t type. Temperaments are useful because they afford the widest base of accurate behavioral predictions. So even if we don’t understand how all four letters fit together, the two-letter Temperament helps us predict such things as how people teach, learn, lead others, entertain, manage money, and relate to others.

According to Keirsey and Bates, the S-N difference is the first key to deter-mining your Temperament. The reason, they say, is that differences in how people gather information from the world are the most basic of human differences. Without some understanding of “where someone is coming from” (as far as information- gathering goes), communication is extremely difficult, as each individual believes his or her own data are the data. If I see a tree and you see a forest, each of us believes we’re right—and we are—and distrusts the other’s information-gathering process. A tree is a tree is a tree to a Sensor; for an iNtuitive, a tree is part of a system, an organic whole called a “forest.” The tree therefore prompts images of the forest—when viewed by an iNtuitive. Is a cup half empty or half full? Sensors and iNtuitives each see it differently: iNtuitives, who see possibilities in everything, will be more optimistic about the glass’s contents; Sensors, who focus only on what’s actually there, not on what could be there, are less inclined to see the potential. Before either type begins to make a decision (Thinking or Feeling), and regardless of whether it’s expressed internally or externally (Introvert or Extravert), the data must first be gathered.

So the first letter of a Temperamenj is either S or N, the information-gathering function. The second letter of a Temperament is determined in part by what the first letter is. iNtuitives: If you are an iNtuitive, your preference for gathering data is abstract and conceptual. The second most important preference in reading your Temperament, according to Keirsey and Bates, is how you prefer to evaluate the data you have gathered: objectively (Thinking) or subjectively (Feeling). For iNtuitives, then, the two basic Temperament groups are: NF and NT.

Sensors: If, however, you are a Sensor—your preference for gathering information is concrete and tactile—the next most important preference is not how you evaluate the data but what you do with them: do you organize them (Judging) or continue to take them in, perhaps even seeking more (Perceiving). Thus, for Sensors, the two Temperament groups are: SJ and SP.

It isn’t really necessary that you understand the theory behind this method of organizing types. Even Keirsey recognizes that the theory may not be logical. But we believe it to be behaviorially sound, and our longtime Typewatching experiences bear this out.

Temperaments, however, do provide US with some genuine insights and useful tools for developing Typewatching skills.


Keeping in mind their limitations, let’s take a look at the different styles of each of the four Temperaments:


We have a swimming pool so we entertain a lot in the summer. Our SP guests always grab all the pool toys, head right into the water, and invent a new game.

The NFs sprawl on the lounge chairs and talk earnestly about life and people.

The NTs dangle their feet in the water, rib each other, and critique the issues and people in their profrssions.

And the SJs always, always find some work to do, like hanging up towels, husking corn, scrubbing the grill, or pulling weeds from the garden.

The NE Temperament

NFs look at the world and see possibilities (iNtuition), then translate those possibilities inter- and intrapersonally (Feeling). They eat, sleep, think, breathe, move, and love people. Representing about 12 percent of the U.S. population,* they are the idealists of life and they tend to serve causes that advance human interests: teaching, humanities, counseling, religion, and family medicine, among others. As idealistic do-gooders, NFs articulate and champion various causes—they create antidrunk-driving campaigns and peace movements and collect money to protect endangered species. But their sensitivity leads them to personalize any form of criticism, often resulting in their needlessly feeling hurt . Overall, NFs feel that the most important thing is to be in harmony with themselves and with others. Everything else will naturally fall into place.

According to Keirsey, NFs’ quest in life is for identity. This quest leads them forever to ask “Who am I?” (As fate would have it, the SJs, as you’ll see, are inclined to provide an answer —something like “You’re an airhead, that’s who you are.” For the NF, that simply fosters the next quest: “Who am I, now that I know that I’m an airhead?” And life goes on.)

The NF’s strengths—which, when maximized, become liabilities—include:

                    • a phenomenal capacity for working with people and drawing

                    out their best;

                    • being articulate and persuasive;

                    • a strong desire to help others;

                    • the ability to affirm others freely and easily.

Here, briefly, are some of the positive and negative ways the NF role plays out:

          • Management. NF managers are positive, affirming idealists

          whom others may like, but whose warm style makes it difficult

          for others to disagree with them. NF managers often have

          difficulty being firm supervisors and tend to give workers too

          much leeway.

          • Mating. As mates, NFs are often teddy bears who, out of a

          deep need to give and receive affection as well as to avoid

          conflict may inadvertently reduce a relationship to “a hug a day

          keeps problems away.” Unfortunately, there’s more to relation-

          ships than hugs and kisses.

          • Parenting. They provide unlimited warmth and affection, but

their ongoing quest for self-identity creates a confusing role

          model to a child trying to grow up. NF parents defend their

          children against all odds and in all situations.

          • Teaching. The beauty of NF teachers is their ability to make

          each individual student feel important and cared about. They

          make superb teachers, albeit a bit idealistic at times. Successful

          learning, in NFs’ eyes, is a product of students feeling happy

          and understood.

          • Learning. NF students like to please their teachers but, per-

          Imps more than SFs, take criticism too personally.

          • Money. This is one of the least important things to NFs.

          Ultimately, money is to be used for, but not at the expense of,

their ideals.



                              To an NT: “Have an interesting day.”

                              To an NE: “Have an inspiring day.”

                              To an SI:    “Have a productive day.”

                              To an SF. “Have fun today!”

The NT Temperament

NTs gather data consisting largely of abstractions and possibilities (iNtuition), which they filter through their objective decision-making process (Thinking). Their driving force, in their never-ending quest for competence, is to theorize and intellec-

tualize everything. Driven to try to understand the universe, they ask “Why?” (or “Why not?”) of everything: Why does this rule exist? Why can’t we do it differ-ently? NTs are enthusiastic pursuers of adventures who, in their enthusiasm, may take risks that unintentionally imperil people close to them.

Nts—who represent about 12 percent of the U.S. population*~learn by challenging any authority or source. They have their own standards and benchmarks for what is “competent,” against which they measure themselves and everybody else. They are always testing the system. Relentless in their pursuit of excellence, they can be very critical of their own and others’ shortcomings, and impatient when confronted with them.


The SI Temperament

SJs’ information-gathering process is practical and realistic (Sensing), to which they prefer to give organization and structure (Judging) . Sjs yearn to belong to some meaningful institutions and, as such, are the bill payers of life. They are the very foundations and backbone of society—America, Motherhood, and a Hot Lunch for Orphans. They are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, brave, clean, and reverent. They are stabilizing traditionalists who, as about 38 percent of the U.S. population,* represent the largest single Temperament group. As Judgers, their tendency is to

organize—people, furniture, schedules, organizations, and on and on. Just as people are integral to the NF, and conceptualization integral to the NT, SJs’ lives revolve around procedure. They have a procedure for everything, from making breakfast

to making love.

The SJ’s strengths—which, when maximized, become liabilities—include:

                                         • administration

                                         • dependability

                                         • the ability to take charge

                                         • always knowing who’s in charge

Here, briefly, are some of the positive and negative ways the Si role plays out:

                    • Management. SJs make phenomenal administrators of sys-

                    tems that require precision and organization. They have a ten-

                    dency to do what needs to be done today, often to the neglect

                    of what must be done tomorrow.

                    • Mating. Home and hearth are cornerstones of SJs’ relation-

                    ships. An SJ’s relationship roles are clearly defined and must not

                    vary. Rituals and traditions are a stabilizing factor, but the

                    rigidity with which they are carried out may become tedious.

                    • Parenting. SJs make clear who is the parent and who is the

                    child—and what is expected of each. Though sometimes overly

                    rigid, they provide the structure and boundaries many children

                    need. Such definition, though, can be confining, especially to a

                    child of a different type.

                    • Teaching. Punctuality and neatness cain at times be as impor-

                    tant as content, whether the subject at hand is an assignment, a

                    student’s appearance, or the condition pf someone’s locker.

                    • Learning. SJ students respond well to teachers who are orga-

ized and deliver what they promise. Their rigidity may make

them less than open to learning new things.

                    • Money. SJs are the money (and moneyed) people of the world

                    —the bankers, accountants, lawyers, and stockbrokers—who

                    conservatively guard society’s trust funds.

Fashion Temperaments

Who are the flashy dressers? Who is always color coordinated? How you dress has a lot to do with Temperaments, according to Sharon Summer and Sharon Jackson, marriage and family counselors at the Creative Development Center in Placentia, California.



          —Has a flair for combining styles, textures, and colors

          —Is often innovative, a trendsetter

          —Enjoys creating “unique” look

          —If saves clothes, may do so because to throw them away

          is to throw away a statement about self

          —Likes soft lines and colors

Fashion Image: Making a unique statement,flair, creating a personalized look.



          —Chooses clothes for comfort and utility, out of habit

          —Does not pay much attention to conventional practices

          —Considers price and durability

          —Keeps clothes for years; when they wear out considers it

          a personal offense

          —May wear what is easiest to get to, what is closest at


Fashion Image: Not a high priority, except as required by a job



          —Prefers a classic look

          —Buys clothes of quality, durability, value, longevity

          —Takes methodical care of clothing

          —May purchase a planned, coordinated outfit of related


          —Keeps clothes for years and cannot throw them away

          when they are not yet worn out

          —Will adhere to a prescribed color plan

Fashion Image: Wants a classic long-lasting look



          —Chooses clothes for impact

          —Prefers action-oriented garments that allow flexibility

          of movement

          —May tend toward “casual” dressing

          —Chooses brands and labels that others will recognize

          —Can be bold, dashing, daring in style

          —Can artfully intertwine bargains with designer labels

Fashion Image: Making an impact on others.

The SP Temperament

SPs’ data collection is practical and realistic (Sensing), to which they bring spontaneity and flexibility (Perceiving), which makes them the original “now” generation. Their Sensing grounds them in the reality of the moment, and their Perceiving keeps them open for other ways of dealing with that reality. The only thing an SP can be sure of is the moment; a “long-range plan” is a contradiction in terms. Their quest is for action, leading them to “act now, pay later.” About 35 percent of the U.S. public,* they are attracted to careers that have immediate, tangible rewards: firefighting, emergency medicine, mechanics, farming, carpentry, and anything involving technical skills. Although they are frequently misunder-stood because of their somewhat hedonistic, live-for-now nature, they make very excellent negotiators and troubleshooters.

The SP’s strengths—which, when maximized, become liabilities—include:

                              • practicality

                              • adept problem-solving skills, particularly at hands-on tasks

                              • resourcefulness

                              • a special sense of immediate needs

Here, briefly, are some of the positive and negative ways the SP role plays out:

          • Management. When a crisis needs solving, SP managers are

geniuses at generating solutions. But they are not above inten-

          tionally creating crises to solve, just to give them a sense of


          • Mating. Life with an SP can be a thrill a minute and a surprise

          a minute, which can be intense to a partner whose type de-

          mands predictability. Planning and structure are always low


          • Parenting. Their proclivity for life in the here and now means

that SPs may forget promises made~yesterday and neglect a vision for their child’s future—but deliver very handsomely on

mmediate expectations.

          • Teaching. SPs are best when teaching practical, hands-on

          skills, such as industrial arts, vocational-technical skills, and ele-

          mentary-school subjects, tending to shy away from areas that

          are more theoretical or abstract. Lesson plans are the banes of

          their existence.


                    SPs ask themselves. “Am 1 hungry?”

                    SJs ask themselves:         “Is it time for dessert?

                    NTs ask themselves:        “Am I in control?”

                    NFs ask themselves:        “Will it make me feel good?”

          • Learning. Because they tend to dismiss the relevancy of theo-

          retical courses, SP students often shun intellectual pursuits.

          They learn best those subjects that seem practical and immedi-

          ately rewarding.

          • Money. SPs are the original high rollers, tending to win big

          and lose big. Money, like almost everything else, is something

          “of the moment.” Budgets and financial plans are therefore out

          of the question.

As we said at the outset, Temperaments are a shortcut. Once you understand the basic characteristics of, say, an SP, you can then add on other preferences to get a fuller grasp of an individual’s type. An Extraverted-Thinking SP (an ESTP) is very >different from an Introverted-Feeling SP (an ISFP), although both share many SP traits, including the love of the immediate, hands-on experience, avoidance of theory and planning in favor of the reality of daily life, and disdain for rituals, procedures, and regulations. The ESTPs’ Extraversion and Thinking cause them to be more outgoing, often the life of the party; they are very engaging, “up” types, although they can be unintentionally abrasive. ISFPs, in contrast, are typically shy and retiring. Although they are very sensitive to people’s needs and feelings, they can be so self-effacing that they often negate their own positive qualities. Yet, in spite of their differences, because of their SP bond—their Temperament—ESTPs have more in common behaviorally with LSFPs (with whom they share two preferences) than with ESTJs (with whom they share three).

As you can see, Temperaments are an easy, albeit limited, way of observing and cataloging Typewatching behavior. While providing an incomplete picture when compared to using all four of an individual’s preferences, Temperaments canserve as handy references . For those interested in delving deeper into the subject of Temperaments, we can recommend no better source than Keirsey and Bates’s book.



Copyright @ 1988 - -By: Otto Froeger & Janet M. Thuesen

Published by: Delacorte Press

a division of

Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.

1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10017

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