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A Therapist Reveals 9 Must-Know Personality Types For Relationship Compatibility

by Linda Carroll – Author, Marriage Counselor and Family Therapist

Personality Types Relationship Compatibility

Falling in love is never a straight line to “happily ever after.” Relationships go through seasons of change, renewal, darkness, and light.

How often have romantic relationships that started with so much love, passion and intimacy fizzled into relationships devoid of love, passion and desire?

How often have couples wondered ‘We loved each other so much, how did we get here?’

Why does this happen? Is it lack of effort, lack of intention, lack of appreciation, loss of love or all of them combined together?

Long-time therapist and couple’s coach Linda Carroll in Love Skills: The Key to Unlocking Lasting, Wholehearted Love, offers specific, effective solutions to the most common struggles that couples face. 

We hope you’ll enjoy this short except from the book.

Type One: The Idealist

Also called the Reformer or the Perfectionist. Ones are highly ethical, responsible, trustworthy, conscientious, and dedicated to improving themselves, others, and the world. At their best, they are inspirational moral heroes with the capacity to imagine and work toward their ideals.

However, Ones can also be judgmental, inflexible, and controlling — toward themselves, others, and situations that fall short of their exacting standards. They are often self-critical and sensitive to criticism and want to be seen as a “good person,” but their “perfectionistic” standard is often out of reach.

Tips for you in your relationship: 

As a One, it’s important to recognize that you can’t control other people’s perspectives or behaviors. Your partner’s differing point of view may be as valid as your own. Instead, focus on enjoying the present moment with your partner. Notice what’s going well. 

Develop curiosity and compassion for your partner’s objections rather than instantly responding defensively. The more you can appreciate yourself and accept life’s imperfections, the more easily you can roll with the fallibility of others.

Tips for partners: 

Those who are in a relationship with a One should do what they can to help their partner embrace imperfections as a natural part of being human. Encourage Ones to go easy on themselves and reinforce their goodness. 

Be aware of their sensitivity to criticism and be careful to express feedback as complaint about a specific behavior rather than judgment about their core selves. Make them laugh. Beneath a serious and perfectionistic exterior lies someone who, when they allow themselves to let go, is full of humor and love of life. 

Type Two: The Giver

Also called the Helper. Twos are relationship-oriented and other-oriented. They’re the empathetic, supportive, nurturing types who are always available to lend a helping hand and express their affection. At their best, they are altruistic and unconditional in their loving.

However, Twos’ drive to be seen as generous and caring stems from a belief that their value depends on what they give. As such, Twos can become knee-jerk people pleasers and are sometimes intrusive in their insistence on helping. They often forget to take care of themselves or to acknowledge their own needs.

Tips for you in your relationship: 

Remember to take care of yourself while taking care of your partner. Don’t let your own needs fall by the wayside, because people who aren’t nourishing themselves will eventually break down under stress. 

Ask your partner what he or she really needs and what behaviors constitute “going overboard” — for both you and your partner. Finally, don’t deny your partner the gift of looking after you. Work on increasing your ability to experience the joy of receiving as well as giving.

Tips for partners: 

If you’re in a relationship with a Two, be attentive to your partner’s needs. Twos will often ignore their own well-being in order to nurture you. Gently remind them that you can take care of yourself and encourage them to do the same for themselves. 

Encourage them to say “no” more often, and celebrate them when they do. Always express gratitude for their generosity, care, and support, while reminding them that you also care deeply about who they are and what they need. 

Type Three: The Performer

Also called the Achiever. Threes are all about personal success and accomplishments. They’re goal-oriented, full of energy to “do,” and usually competent in whatever activities they pursue. They are optimistic, and their favorite word is “done” (with a check mark). At their best, they are authentic and inspirational, infusing their “doing” with heart.

However, Threes’ focus on status and external validation stems from a core belief that their value is based on being a successful and efficient “doer.” This means Threes can be workaholics, inattentive to their own and others’ emotions, and overly adaptive to others’ expectations. They can also be overly competitive and vain.

Tips for you in your relationship: 

Make sure you’re not ignoring your partner’s needs because you’re so bent on achieving your own goals. Additionally, a relationship is not a conquest, nor is it about performing or being the “best” partner ever. Don’t push problems under the carpet in order to look good. 

Spend some time fostering your connection with your own emotions and focus on creating an authentic connection with your partner. You don’t need to impress your partner; you just need to be real. Your real work is understanding your strengths as a “human being,” not a “human doing.”

Tips for partners: 

If you’re in a relationship with a Three, encourage your partner to be attentive to his or her emotions and to feel free to express them to you. Show Threes that you care about who they are, not just what they’ve accomplished or how super busy they are. 

Because Threes tend to be very concerned about their careers and achievements, remind them to slow down and experience the value in having fun without needing to complete a task or attain a goal. At the same time let them know you are proud of them and their accomplishments.

Type Four: The Romantic

Also called the Individualist. Fours are extremely expressive, introspective, and creative people who feel things deeply. They seek meaning and depth in a relationship. At their best, they have tremendous resilience and can often turn their struggles into truly inspirational art, music, and other soulful expressions that touch others deeply.

Fours experience a sense of value by being unique, but they can also be dramatic and prone to melancholy. They’re preoccupied by a sense of longing, and their attention often goes to what’s missing in their lives, such as lost opportunities or someone else’s relationship that seems better than their own. Because they tend to focus on what they don’t have, they often find themselves disappointed and envious of others.

Tips for you in your relationship: 

You’re likely to be frequently caught up in your feelings. This is not necessarily a bad thing, so long as you regularly step back and observe what is going well in your life in addition to what may be lacking. Identify whether you are telling yourself a familiar, sad story that’s outdated. You’re probably great at sharing your emotional state with your partner, but make time to ask about your partner’s own. 

Your partner may not be as in touch with or as interested in feelings as you are, but ask anyway. In your quest for the extraordinary, remember that all relationships go through “ordinary” periods. It doesn’t mean something between you has gone wrong.

Tips for partners: 

Fours are typically impassioned about their feelings, so make sure to acknowledge and honor them. Show Fours that you really “get” them by not minimizing their longing for what is missing — but don’t take it personally. You can better appreciate their sensitivity, creativity, and emotional honesty when you know how to step back a little. Gratitude practices may serve you both well. 

Type Five: The Observer

Also called the Investigator. Fives are cerebral, curious, and independent. They tend to stand back and observe, choosing to remain private and focused on accumulating knowledge. They love information and are often experts on many topics, enjoying their discoveries of uncharted territories. At their best, they are visionary pioneers that project competence, clarity, calmness, and deep wisdom.

When stressed and vulnerable, they may revert to feeling a basic fear of being helpless and overwhelmed. This is why Fives want to understand everything and often isolate themselves from people. Fives do not easily get in touch with or express their thoughts and feelings, but they most definitely have them.

Tips for you in your relationship: 

Don’t be afraid of emotionally engaging with your partner: your discomfort or reluctance to be open doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe to do so. Push yourself to share more personal experiences and feelings, and learn to pick up more emotional cues about what’s going on with your partner.

Tips for partners: 

Recognize that Fives need space, so don’t take it personally. Allow them their alone time and accept when they choose not to offer their views or needs. At the same time, find small ways to show them that their feelings matter to you and that it’s helpful for both of you to be in the know when it comes to matters of the heart. Pay attention to their gestures of caring. Remember that their feelings run as deep as your own.

Type Six: The Loyal Skeptic

Also called the Loyalist. Sixes show deep commitment to their partner, friends, and beliefs. They are warm, playful, and reliable, with great humor. They are the bravest of the brave; honest and reliable, they expect no less of others.

Sixes are also cautious. Their attention tends to go to perceived threats and what might go wrong. This can create suspicion, inflexibility, and an ambivalence toward authority. 

On the one hand, they want to believe in an authority to be safe; on the other hand, they will question and doubt it. They prepare for the worst in an attempt to gain a sense of safety and security.

Tips for you in your relationship: 

Remember that everyone experiences insecurities, even though you may feel them more than others. When you become aware of your suspicions about your partner’s attention, ask yourself if it is your default distrust rather than actual evidence that is causing the doubts. 

Find as many ways as you can to feel compassion for your doubts and worries. Develop your own sense of empowerment, and trust your full range of feelings. There is no way to be safe! The authority (i.e., the power) has to come from within!

Tips for partners:

If you’re in a relationship with a Six, be consistent and deserving of your partner’s trust. Follow through on promises, because breaking them will set Sixes off on a dark path. Be aware that they tend to be uncertain and suspicious, so disclose your actions and feelings amply, perhaps more than you naturally would. 

Don’t be alarmed by their doubts; instead, learn to understand where they’re coming from, and don’t necessarily take them personally. Appreciate your partner’s loyalty and reliability.

Type Seven: The Epicure

Also called the Enthusiast. Sevens are playful, energetic, and productive. At their best, they are exciting visionaries with ideas that can bring joy and adventure to the people around them.

Sevens believe life has endless possibilities — but the people around them constantly limit their potential. In reaction, Sevens can become pleasure gluttons, slurping up exhilarating experiences and exhausting both themselves and those who are trying to keep up with them. They also feel a lot of anxiety, and their pleasure seeking is often an attempt to avoid feeling it. Their chase to find the next thing can also be unfocused and impulsive and then cause them to be depleted by their nonstop activity.

Tips for you in your relationship: 

Restlessness is normal for you, so don’t assume that your longing for something new is evidence of problems with your partner. What are some things you can do to reignite some excitement in your relationship? 

Remember too that all your new ideas and planning may be anxiety-producing for your partner. Reassure your partner it’s your creativity at work and that you don’t expect all of your ideas to come to fruition.

Tips for partners:

Don’t be surprised by your partner’s tendency to plan the next great adventure before the two of you have finished the one you’re currently experiencing! Greet your partner’s never-ending ideas with interest and patience, without feeling you need to say “yes” to every plan. 

Also remember that Sevens’ abundant optimism can hide their vulnerability and their fear of slowing down and feeling their feelings. Give them a lot of space and comfort to express their fears.

Type Eight: The Protector

Also called the Challenger. Eights are powerful and intense personalities who tend toward leading and protecting others. They are confident and strong and often use their strengths to address issues of social justice and to protect the vulnerable. At their best, they are magnanimous, courageous, and heroic.

However, these same strengths can be used to control, intimidate, and create confrontations. They believe the world is unjust and thus seek power, sometimes to an unhealthy degree. If they don’t vigilantly control and protect, they fear being harmed or controlled by others. They often deny their own limitations and can take on risky situations because they appear to be (and sometimes think they are) fearless.

Tips for you in your relationship: 

Remember, there’s power in vulnerability and tenderness. It takes strength to reveal your true emotions and to let others see this part of you. Practice paying attention to the impact of your strong personality and learn how to use this power wisely. 

Practice acknowledging (and trusting) when your partner knows what’s best for him or her without your input or actions. Be careful of a tendency to take on challenges that may be frightening to others, and practice letting others take charge sometimes.

Tips for partners: 

Eights can be wonderfully protective partners who make you feel secure. But don’t let their strength of personality keep you silent or submissive; stand up for yourself and stay firm about your point of view. If they’re being too overbearing or confrontational, make sure they know how their words and actions are affecting you. 

Remain calm and use “I” statements, so they don’t feel attacked. You don’t need to tell them to constrain themselves (that can be a uniquely stressful experience for Eights), but do encourage them to embrace softness. If they are trying to control your behavior, you can clearly ask them to stop. Don’t forget that under their bravado is a lot of vulnerability. Give them a safe place to express it.

Type Nine: The Mediator

Also called the Peacemaker. Nines care deeply about avoiding conflict and keeping the peace. When they are at their best, their ability to embrace many points of view can lead them into situations where they can help to heal challenging conflicts.

Although Nines tend to be easygoing, adaptable, and stable, at times they veer into being overly complacent, indecisive, or even stubborn, which can be a reaction to bending over backward to keep the peace. Nines can often preoccupy themselves with small, inessential comforts rather than addressing troubling issues head-on, and they tend to say “yes” when they mean “no.” At core, they fear not being loved or valued, so they avoid any perceived trouble by dodging conflict.

Tips for you in your relationship: 

Remember that you don’t need to go along with everything your partner does or wants just to keep the peace. If you disagree or feel upset by your partner’s words or actions, speak up. By constantly sweeping everything under the carpet, you’re only pushing the problems off to a later date, allowing tensions to pile up and eventually explode into something that may seriously damage your relationship. Acknowledging and valuing your own thoughts and feelings and addressing problems directly are what keep the peace in the long run.

Tips for partners: 

Make a habit of directly inquiring about Nines’ needs and desires, since they may not regularly express them. Nines infrequently acknowledge their anger directly, so if you sense stubbornness or passive aggression, ask about it up front. Give them space to air their frustrations. Appreciate their capacity to see the big picture and to hold many points of view.

Excerpted from the book Love Skills. Copyright ©2020 by Linda Carroll. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

Linda Carroll

Linda Carroll is the author of Love Skills and Love Cycles. While she has worked as a therapist and couple’s coach for over three decades and has acquired numerous certificates and degrees along the way, she says that her own thirty-five-year marriage is the primary source of her knowledge when it comes to the cycles of love. 

Visit her online at www.lindaacarroll.com.

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You may not, except with express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

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