Friday, February 25, 2011

Opposites Attract

When Mrs M and I first met, probably at a time when our personalities were still being formed (yes, I'm still waiting), we didn't realise we had done the 'opposites attract' thing. The advert might have been:

INTP seeks ESFJ for mutual frustration and lifelong disagreement

Time wasters may be acceptable

The thing we tumbled to, after about fifteen to twenty years because we're not quick on the draw, was that both of us could operate as long as we knew who was in charge. Every bit of our life can be divided into projects and sub-projects and one of us leads with the other person only doing precisely what they are asked and no more. Suggestions are welcome (shall we take this pot of burning black stuff off the heat now?) but taking over is not. You can tell me what to do or you can tell me how to do it but you can't tell me both.

Well it works for us. I'll plan and book the holiday but Mrs M will be in charge of currency, lotions and potions. She will be in charge of how the house looks and I will put rinse-aid and salt in the dishwasher. She will be nice to our friends and offer to look after their dog for a week; I'll walk, feed and administer medicine to same dog (hang on; something went wrong here).

Anyway it's stood us well and I think I have learned to spot trouble in other relationships caused by the same mismatch. In one, notorious, case my colleagues and I co-ran a project for seventeen years using the principle 'whoever appears to be in charge is.' If one of us made a decision the others absolutely stood by it and worked with it. I have never known such harmony. We probably did less than three things 'great' but we did thousands 'good enough.'

After a week or so of working where the parameters aren't so clear I need to be alone. Badly.

Which is helpful. Because a little meditation and contemplation, followed by a recommitment to adaptability, saves killing people too often. By the way I will be less likely to carry out this plan if you look good in heels.

Excuse me now but I need to go and plan a murder.

No comments: