Thinkers are people who pride them-selves on being objective. They respond according to ‘the principle of the thing’ and apply standards to measure the appropriateness of behaviour. They are often seen as critical (less accepting), who will always question others decisions before accepting them. They tend to step out of their situation and apply their logic to it, working through it in a sequential way until reaching a conclusion.
Feelers are more subjective. They make decisions based on their feelings, gut reactions, what is important to them, and how things affect other people. They value harmony highly, and will try to avoid argument, often to the point of doing something they don’t want just ‘for a quiet life’. They thus appear more accepting, and trusting of their ‘gut instincts’. In a situation they will not step out of it and reason, but stay within it to assess its impact on ‘the whole’. They see a problem not as something linear, but more like a web, where anything occurring on it is felt all over, by everyone connected to it. This is the only filter where there does seem to be an orientation based on gender. Most men describe themselves as Thinkers, while most women are more comfortable with Feeling. Perhaps no surprises there for you.
Misunderstandings between Thinkers and Feelers
Feelers are uncomfortable with conflict, particularly if they are also Intuitors. They will often go with the flow rather than speak against something.
If a Thinker mistakes this for agreement then resentment can begin to build. Thinkers will often take what is said as being all there is, and so can become confused when their Feeler partner goes back on something they thought was done and dusted. Conversations that begin with “But you said….” are classic between these two.
I often hear Feelers describing Thinkers as ‘uncaring’ and ‘cold’. They are neither. They just make a decision based on different criteria. The same goes the other way round. Feelers are not ‘over-emotional’, or ‘soft’, they just focus on different aspects of the issue. Our brains can either think, or they can feel, they cannot do both at the same time. With Feelers their emotional intelligence tends to be more highly valued than their intellectual, logical side. Reverse that for Thinkers. In a healthy relationship working something through both systems can go a long way to sorting out communication hitches.
Respect is important on both sides. Seeing as research is on the side of a sex divide with this filter I suppose it may be safer than usual to say mainly to the men that just because a women’s arguments are likely to based more around emotive issues, how other people will feel, how this will affect A, B, T and Z, how it would just be nicer to do it this way, that this has any less value than the sense you make of it. A
women’s reasoning may appear subjective to you, but the truth is that logic is really subjective as well. Because we make sense of the world through our filters nothing is really objective – i.e. ‘as it is’ – what we call objectivity is really only something subjective that a given majority of people agree with.
To the women I would say that stepping out and viewing a situation from a more disassociated position can give a different range of options. Feelings can distort perception in a way that sometimes can tie you in knots, and some-times it is only appropriate to look at how A affects B, not B, T, and Z. As I said earlier using both ways of thinking, and honouring both, can leave you with the most ways of solving something. I am also aware that it is easier said than done to overcome the way you habitually think – but the point is that it can be done if you are prepared to try n someone else’s head on.