A BGRS Blog post by Lexter Woodley (PhD Geography, Environment and Development Studies)
Whether it concerns colleagues, friends, family or your life partner … it is good to know on which points you (dis)agree. Not so much to possibly distance yourself from that person, but to be able to work more effectively on the relationship. One way to do this is to ask yourself and the other person questions. Below is a book tip, which also includes references to research data, for light-hearted but instructive conversations.
In these unprecedented times, reflection on yourself and on your environment may be of greater value than ever. You may have been in isolation or quarantine with your partner for weeks, gaining new insights into how your personalities relate to each other. While studies show that similarities or complementarities in partners’ personalities may not determine a successful relationship (Eysenck & Wakefield, 1981; Groves, 2016; Rosowsky et al., 2012), it is nice to keep personalities in harmony. Or perhaps you have seen your colleagues in a different light due to a changing work situation. It is good to keep in mind that guarding the bond with each other at work is important if connectedness with colleagues is a factor for your job satisfaction.
As a headhunter/recruiter, I bring people together and I am actively busy with reaching out to others to make suitable matches. As a PhD student, I bring ideas together about intra-household dynamics between men and women to eventually publish as articles and complete my thesis. Already having a lot on my plate, I was still curious about finding ways to reach out to others by sharing insights – whilst undertaking PhD research – about interpersonal relationships. This prompted me to bundle research-based statements about men/women issues and put them in book form. Indeed, the book tip mentioned above is therefore a shameless plug for my “Talk Data to Me” book, but if even only one statement could provide additional insight, understanding and knowledge between you and your intimate (as the book contains sexual references) interlocutor, then this plug is worth it.
In the spirit of this book, I provide “Battle of the Sexes” quizzes for groups, with statements that are also based on research data but are suitable for non-intimate individuals, such as colleagues. For example, I was recently invited to an online networking event where attendees competed for the most correct answers to my “yes/no” statements. The winners were the ones who, despite the limitations of not physically being in the same space, managed to bond with each other through video connection and live chat. If (the spirit of) my book could be a means to find online connection for these non-intimate persons, then my wish for you is that the hard copy of the book would create big sparks between you and the person who (possibly) suits you.
Eysenck, H.J., & Wakefield, J.A. (1981). Psychological factors as predictors of marital satisfaction. Advanced Behavioral Research and Therapy, 3, 151-192.
Groves, K.K. (2016). The role of spirituality in happy fifty-year marriages. Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Rosowsky, E., King, K.D., Coolidge, F.L., Rhoades, C.S., & Segal, D.L. (2012). Marital satisfaction and personality traits in long-term marriage: An exploratory study. Clinical Gerontologist, 35, 77-87.