What's Your Type?
Not only do Negotiators connect psychologically, they also have the ability to remain mentally 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 can be highly intuitive and creative. And they like to theorize. Perhaps their most distinctive characteristic is verbal fluency, the facility for finding the right words rapidly. 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 such placators 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 the possibilities, they can get bogged down in rumination as opposed to action. And in a relationship, their desire to connect and dissect all the subtle meanings between the two of you can become cloying and invasive.
Directors are particularly skilled at understanding machines and other rule-based systems, 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. Their interests can be narrow; but they pursue them deeply and thoroughly. And they can captivate those who share their hobbies.
Placating leaves the Director cold. He or she often chooses to do a good job rather than please others. In fact, Directors are the least socially skilled of the four types. When preoccupied with work or personal goals, they can appear aloof, distant, even cold, and are generally not interested in making social connections, with the exception of those that are useful or exciting to them.
As with the other types, the traits that make Directors so successful may become grating: For example, their confidence can veer into bragging, their exactitude turn uncompromising, and their forthrightness simply seem rude. And because they often see issues in black and white, they miss the nuances of social, business, and personal situations. But thanks to their dedication, loyalty, and interest in sharing ideas, Directors make close friends. And they can be fiercely protective of those they love.
Builders are cautious—but not fearful. They think concretely. They have a clear memory of yesterday's mistakes, so they prepare. These people are not impulsive with their money, their actions, or their feelings. Security is important to them. Structure and order are, too. Taking particular pride in upholding social norms, many are traditional, and they often have a strong moral streak. Builders don't get bored easily, which enables them to be methodical, hardworking, and dependable. Thanks to all these solid qualities, they tend to be regarded as pillars of the community.
But Builders can go overboard. In their quest to do things the "proper way," they can be intolerant of other ways. Indeed, they can be stubborn. And with their need for order, rules, and schedules, they can stifle spontaneity. Their stoicism can turn into pessimism, their conformity into rigidity, and their concrete thinking sometimes makes them too literal. Normally, however, Builders are community minded, industrious, and popular with colleagues and companions.
Explorers have more energy than most people; they tend to be restless, sometimes fast-paced. And they are highly curious—"For always roaming with a hungry heart," as Tennyson put it. Constantly generating new ideas or creative insights, they easily shift their attention from one thing to another. Although the classic Explorer is a race-car driver, South Pole trekker, or bad-boy rocker who lives hard, taking drugs and having risky sex, I know many who exercise their passion for adventure by reading several hours a day; collecting stamps, coins, or antiques; or walking through the byways of a city.
People quickly like most Explorers. Generous and sunny, they tend to be playful, sensual, sometimes hedonistic, often unpredictable, and regularly amusing. But they can be difficult to take—especially in a marriage. They do not tolerate boredom well. So they are generally not interested in routine social or business events. In fact, Explorers try to avoid routine of almost any kind, and can trample on another person's cherished beliefs and habits—not to mention be impatient.
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