Do Opposites Attract or Attack?
Any type can have a successful romantic relationship with any other type. Any pairing will
have difficulties, and type makes it easy to predict problems each pairing will face. We'll
be looking at a number of different pairings which can occur along with the advantages and
disadvantages of each. A successful romance depends more on non-type-based factors, such as
maturity levels, goals, values, culture, religious beliefs and similar issues that it depends
on the types of the people in the romance. However, understanding type is generally very
beneficial to relationships.
Most of the time, people are attracted to people similar to themselves but with some
different characteristics that can compensate for their weaknesses. All the same, some
people find themselves attracted to their exact personality opposites. These relationships
have an extremely high learning curve, and many can't make the curve. If the couple can
learn to communicate effectively, their relationship is likely to be very powerful.
With most opposite pairings, one person will end up doing more of the work to keep the
relationship going, generally because the partner will be more naturally satisfied. In
Idealist Teacher (ENFJ) - Artisan Crafter (ISTP) and Idealist Counselor (INFJ) - Artisan
Promoter (ESTP) pairings, the Idealists will spend more time working to understand their
Artisan partners as they strive to find ground for intimacy. Similarly, Rational
Inventor (ENTP) - Guardian Protector (ISFJ) and Rational Architect (INTP) - Guardian
Provider (ESFJ) pairings will likely have hardworking Guardians supporting their mates'
needs to create systems and inventions.
When people are attracted to their temperamental opposite, they are often attracted to
certain things the other does that they don't do well. We'll examine one pairing. Kory, an
Artisan Performer (ESFP) was drawn to Christa, a Rational Mastermind (INTJ) because of his
admiration for her orderly mind and life and deep thinking. In turn, she was drawn to his
vivacious optimism and living life large. In the short term, this mutual admiration society
worked quite well. Christa appreciated sincerely given respect while Kory enjoyed loosening
her up a bit.
In the long term, the differences tend to become more and more insufferable. Kory's slap
dash way of doing things irritated, money problems escalated, and Christa felt hemmed in by
his demand for constant attention. Kory began to wither from a lack of praise, wondering
what was wrong with the now cold-hearted lover who had been so warm.
In order for this relationship to work, both partners need to understand their own needs
and the needs of their partner. The warring needs between a Mastermind and a Performer are
the Mastermind's need for long periods of time to do thinking work and the Performer's need
for constant admiration. If they want to make a go of it, the Mastermind will need to learn
to provide lots of admiration, and the Performer will need to learn to allow the partner a
lot of space and to seek admiration from other appropriate sources during those times.
Fortunately, Performers generally understand a desire for freedom from constraints. While
Kory still felt hurt, he realized that Christa wasn't rejecting him; she just needed time to
think by herself. Christa realized that Kory could not get enough praise, so she made sure to
say something upbeat and positive every day. She told Kory that she needs time alone but that
she also needs to relax and play to bring out her best work. Kory was much happier when he
figured out that she really needed him. He was able to back off some and give Christa more
space. In turn, Christa felt freer to express her appreciation of him.
If the two can find ways to get their needs met both in and out of the relationship,
their partnership can not just survive but thrive. If they have children, those children
will be exposed to a wide variety of human behaviors just in their own household. The
children will be more likely to grow up to accept people as they are.