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Helen Fisher's Four Personality Types

Helen Fisher's Four Personality Types

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Published by: nezyayik on Jan 31, 2012
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 What's Your Love Type?By Helen Fisher, PhDO, The Oprah Magazine|From the June 2007 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine 
Her bags are always packed. His bliss is Barcalounging with the TiVo and family puggle.Do they have a future together? Helen Fisher, PhD, says you can predict a couple'schances of happiness based on which of four personality types they fit into. And she's gota 500-couple, O-sponsored survey to prove it.
"They went quietly down into the roaring streets, inseparable and blessed..." So wroteDickens in
Little Dorrit
. We all want a happy partnership, but what is that? And howcan we differentiate between an intoxicating attraction that will end in a flameout andthe kind of chemistry that makes for long-term compatibility? Using my latest research(the subject of my next book), I designed a survey for
magazine to explore why—andhow—certain couples click so well, and why others are plagued by tension and misery.I began with a theory. Since antiquity, poets, philosophers, and physicians haveclassified people into four styles of temperament. For Plato, they were the Artisan,Guardian, Idealist, and Rational. I have come to call them the Explorer, Builder,Negotiator, and Director. Each basic type, I suspect, is associated with a distinct clusterof genes—along with the expression of certain brain chemicals and a unique collectionof personality traits. When people pair up, I propose, they tend to fall for a typedifferent from their own, pulled by an unconscious biological appetite to create moregenetic variety in their young and to raise their children with a wider array of parenting skills. Furthermore, each kind of pair will have its own joys and challenges,so a Builder married to a Director might face one set of highs and lows; a Negotiator-Explorer couple, another.To see how these ideas play out in the real world, we e-mailed thousands of married
 readers and asked each spouse to complete our online survey independently (oncepartners hit "submit," they couldn't read each other's answers). Part of the survey 
consisted of questions I had originally developed for the new dating/relationship siteChemistry.com (see"Do We Click?") to determine a person's love type. Otherquestions addressed issues that might cause friction in the relationship—money, sex,respect, boredom—as well as levels of general happiness.Then I studied the hundreds of pages of data collected by Beta Research Corporation,the company that carried out the survey for us, on 500 couples who answered ourquestionnaire. With some respondents as young as 21 and others in their 60s, theaverage age for women was 47 and for men, 49. Some 83 percent of couples hadchildren, many still living at home. And on average, the spouses had been married 16 years. Were some pairings more compatible than others? Are certain types better leftunwed?
We're each a mix of all four of Helen Fisher's relationship categories, but weexpress some traits more regularly than others. For example, you might primarily be an Explorer and secondarily a Negotiator, but then not have muchBuilder in you. As you read on, you'll probably guess both your primary and secondary types, as well as those of your mate.
The Negotiator
 Negotiators have specific personality traits that have been linked with estrogen. Although estrogen is known as a female sex hormone, men have it, too, and there areplenty of male Negotiators. As the name suggests, this type is superb at handlingpeople. Negotiators instinctively know what others are thinking and feeling. They artfully read facial expressions, postures, gestures, and tone of voice. Their interest inidentity extends not only to others but to themselves. So they are introspective andself-analytical—men and women who take pleasure in journeying into their thoughtsand motives. As a result, when they form a partnership, they like to delve deeply intothe strengths and weaknesses of the relationship.Not only do Negotiators connect psychologically, they also have the ability to remainmentally flexible. When they make decisions, they weigh many variables and consider
 various ways to proceed; they see things contextually, rather than linearly—I call it web thinking. As a result, they tend to be comfortable with ambiguity. Negotiators canbe highly intuitive and creative. And they like to theorize. Perhaps their mostdistinctive characteristic is verbal fluency, the facility for finding the right wordsrapidly. With this skill—alongside an agreeable and accommodating nature,compassion, social savvy, and patience—the Negotiator can be very friendly,diplomatic, and authentic.But as with all qualities, these traits can warp. Negotiators sometimes become suchplacators they appear wishy-washy to the point of spinelessness. Because they're not willing to confront, they can turn to backstabbing. With their need to examine all thepossibilities, they can get bogged down in rumination as opposed to action. And in arelationship, their desire to connect and dissect all the subtle meanings between thetwo of you can become cloying and invasive.
The Director
Specific activities in the testosterone system are what distinguishes this type. Again,although we think of the hormone as male, it is shared by both sexes, and there aremany full-blooded women Directors. Whatever the gender, people of this type arecompetitive. They strive to be top dog and have many skills to get there. They arepragmatic, tough-minded, and most notably decisive, able to make up their mindsrapidly, even when faced with difficult choices. Rational analysis, logical reasoning,and objectivity are their core strengths. They also pay attention to details and canfocus their attention to the exclusion of everything around them—an ability thatenables them to weed out extraneous data and progress on a straightforward pathtoward a specific goal: the solution. Many Directors are also ingenious, theoretical, andbold in their ideas. Moreover, they are willing to take unpopular, even dangerouspaths, to get to the truth. So they persist and often win.Directors are particularly skilled at understanding machines and other rule-basedsystems, from computers and math problems to the details of biology, world finance,or architecture. They excel at sports, and often have an acute ear for all kinds of music.

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