Thinkers and Feelers

The other day at work, I ran into a situation in which someone accidentally damaged a piece of the property, and I asked my bosses’ permission to confront the person about it. I don’t seek out confrontation, but when someone hurts something or someone I know, I’m compelled to say something.

Survivor returns tonight, which makes me think: How cool would it be to have Survivor: Thinkers vs. Feelers? Or Introverts vs. Extroverts?

My boss had a very wise response, something he and I have learned over the years. He said that I should consult an F before confronting this person.

By F, he meant a Feeler. Someone who relies on their feelings to make decisions and someone whose feelings are intrinsically tied to everything they do.

If you’re familiar with Myers-Briggs, you know that the opposite of an F is a T, a thinker. Thinkers are people who reply on their minds, not their hearts, for decisions. They have emotions, of course, but they separate those emotions from most of what they do.

I’m a high T. A very high T.

Ts and Fs tend to clash. Ts don’t understand why Fs are so emotional; Fs don’t understand why Ts are so stoic.

So at work, us Ts have learned that when we need to say something that someone might have a strong reaction to, we first consult an F on staff to make sure we convey the message in an effective way. That’s what my boss was saying today in regards to the person who accidentally damaged our property.

But as I read his e-mail, I realized something, and I made this statement. It might rub people the wrong way, but I stand by it: Every F needs a good T to make them realize that their feelings don’t matter when they hurt other people/property.

I want to point out that the converse is also true: Every T needs a good F to make them realize that they affect other people’s feelings when they hurt people/property.

My point is in this particular situation is that, sure, this person may not handle the confrontation well. No one likes being told that they screwed up. They’re going to feel bad. But their feelings don’t matter in this situation. This isn’t about them. This is about property that they damaged, and they need to know that what they did was wrong without padding or buffers. I don’t think this is a situation when I should mold my normally blunt words into a soft, gentle, sympathetic explanation. Their right to that approach disappeared when they carelessly destroyed property.

Do you agree? If you comment, please let us know if you’re a thinker or a feeler.