Relationships can be challenging. If you are living with a partner or spouse, then it’s likely that you will have experienced ‘little niggles’ that rapidly escalate into heated debates and possibly arguments on occasions.
Do you ever wonder WHY your partner acts in a specific way that seems irrational to you?
Do you try to convince them to do things differently but feel frustrated when they refuse?
Having worked with many couples, I know that this can cause great conflict.
Understanding the behaviour of your partner can alleviate this conflict and allow you to find better ways to communicate.
As individuals, we all have different preferences for sorting information. Some prefer to deal with big chunks of information, known as having a GLOBAL preference. Global people get easily get bored and frustrated with details.
Others prefer lots of detail and are known to have a SPECIFIC preference. These people get frustrated with summaries and overviews.
Without this knowledge in the early stages of my married life, I experienced conflict; most commonly when booking a holiday. We would agree on a destination, and I would immediately want to book the flights. In my mind, we would work out the rest such as transfers, hotels etc at a later date. As long as it was booked, the detail would follow in my mind.
My husband panicked at the thought of booking flights. He would say things like, “But we haven’t worked out how we will get to the airport, or transfers, or transfers times yet!” And I couldn’t for the life of me work out why he would need to plan in so much detail. I became frustrated with him, and he became frustrated with me. Booking holidays became a chore and involved many arguments. Until I learnt about GLOBAL and SPECIFIC preferences!
Discovering that I liked to deal with big chunks of information, and that my husband preferred details completely eradicated all conflict. He now understands that I’m a big vision person, and that details frustrate me. I understand that he needs to plan in detail so that he doesn’t feel frustrated.
Now we compromise and I understand that we can book flights, when he is aware and had paid attention to detail. He is aware that sometimes he needs to let some detail go and see the bigger picture. Booking a holiday is now far more pleasurable!
Think about your relationship, and as you both as individuals. Do you have a global or specific preference? Compare your preference to that of your partner. Could it be causing conflict in your relationship?
The good news is that both global and specific people have valuable skills that can work very well together.
Global people have the ability to see the bigger picture, and specific people have the ability to fine tune the detail. Working together they can be a powerful team.
Examples of this can be seen within businesses.
A business needs a global thinker, someone that is able to create a vision and see the bigger picture. Without specific people however, the business could be in danger of demise if the details are not taken into consideration.
Likewise if the business comprises only of specific people, then it’s likely that progress will be slow without the global people.
Think of your relationship in this way.
If you have different information sorting preferences, then you both have valuable skills that complement each other.
If you have the same global or specific preference, then simply be aware that sometimes you need to see the bigger picture or focus on the detail!
Knowledge is power! Use it!
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