Jun 16, 2008

Online Compatibility Tools

I recommend reading the article "How Do I Love Thee?" about online dating sites which use some kind of compatibility algorithm. The creators of these websites have gotten pretty far using personal experience, insight, and data processing tools. There is enough money in this field to propel the work along -- probably more than in the field of just psychological types (i.e. MBTI), much less socionics.

I won't pretend that knowing socionics gives one an advantage over these guys. After gaining extensive personal experience with socionics you will start to wonder what distinguishes the duals you really click with from the others that you are relatively comfortable with but indifferent towards, and why you are drawn to certain non-duals and not to others. And that puts you at the beginning stages of trying to understand compatibility. So, let's not be too smug about our "hidden" knowledge :-)

Let me pull out some of the important conclusions that these people have come to:

  • The more peripheral your traits (intellect, abilities, etc.), the fewer good matches you will have. This makes patience essential.
  • "...one of Warren’s longtime observations: namely, that the members of a happy couple are far more similar to each other than are the members of an unhappy couple. Compatibility, in other words, rests on shared traits."
  • At the same time, "You don’t want two obsessives,” he explained. “They’ll drive each other crazy. You don’t find two control freaks in a great marriage."
  • "Fifty percent of the ball game is finding two people who are stable." Instability may mean incompatibility with nearly everyone.
  • “Long-term satisfaction is not the same as short-term attraction. A lot of people, when they see their initial matches, it’s like, ‘This is crap!’” In other words, long-term attraction tends to grow on you.
  • "Don’t have sex if you don’t want to fall in love.”
  • "The problem with sites like eHarmony, she believes, is that they place too much emphasis on similarity, whereas, in her view, falling in love depends on two elements: similarity and complementarity." (My own limited encounters with eHarmony confirm this)
  • “We also want someone who masks our flaws,” she explained. “For example, people with poor social skills sometimes gravitate toward people with good social skills. I’m an Explorer, so I don’t really need a partner who is socially skilled. That’s not essential to me. But it may be essential to a Director, who’s generally less socially skilled.” Of course, this totally jives with socionics. However there are different ways of "lacking social skills" (think SLE vs. LSE's weaknesses).
  • "Schwartz’s Duet model consists of a mere forty-eight questions and focuses on eight specific personality characteristics: romantic impulsivity, personal energy, outlook, predictability, flexibility, decision-making style, emotionality, and self-nurturing style. On the first four, she believes, a well-suited couple should be similar; on the last four, however, a couple can thrive on either similarity or difference."
Also interesting is the fact that so much of our personality depends on levels of different hormones and/or the genes that determine these levels:
"Genes for the activity of dopamine are associated with motivation, curiosity,
anxiety, and optimism. Genes for the metabolism of serotonin, another
neurotransmitter, tend to modulate one’s degree of calm, stability, popularity,
and religiosity. Testosterone is associated with being rational, analytical,
exacting, independent, logical, rank-oriented, competitive, irreverent, and
narcissistic. And the hormone estrogen is associated with being imaginative,
creative, insightful, humane, sympathetic, agreeable, flexible, and verbal."

A big part of the article is about trying to figure out which traits need to be similar and which need to be different for optimal satisfaction. I've written some of my own ideas here. The search goes on.

Jun 15, 2008

SLI Type Description

SLI in a nutshell

The SLI is an experience-oriented type that welcomes adventure and new impressions while maintaining sensory balance and internal integrity. The SLI strives to maximize enjoyment, ease, and utility while preserving autonomy from strong emotional stimuli.

Typical characteristics

introverted sensing as a leading function means that the SLI learns about the world primarily through direct personal experience rather than through contemplation, analysis, or talking about things with people. "An experience is worth a thousand words" might describe the SLI's attitude towards learning. SLIs strive to have direct experiences with things they are interested in rather than being content with simply learning of their existence as, say, extraverted intuition types often are. As an introtim, the SLI is less interested in the objective facts of external reality than in their impact on the individual. Ultimately, the SLI is most interested in building a world where he and those close to him can be comfortable and have their needs met.

The SLI easily and naturally provides for his own physiological needs and usually has a need to take care of others as well: pets, close friends and family, houseplants... SLIs typically empathize with those whose physical needs have not been met and usually are quick to respond to genuine signs of helplessness and neediness in others, as long as the person who needs assistance is not hyper or melodramatic. SLIs tend to have a strong maternal (parental) instinct and tend to be attentive parents and leaders with a lenient management style. They are against forcing anyone to do anything and look for ways of motivating people by offering satisfaction of their individual needs and desires.

SLIs are attentive to the day-to-day behavior patterns, lifestyles, and tastes and preferences of those around them, as well as what and how they eat, how they dress, how they respond to different stimuli, and many other details of their physical existence. Only when they have directly experienced these aspects of a person do they feel that they truly know them. Contrast this to ethical extratims who can come to know people well through emotional interaction (conversation) in a matter of hours. The SLI's mechanism is slow, but thorough; SLIs are limited in how many people they can know well, but they learn about them "inside out."

SLIs tend to feel distant from all people whom they do not physically interact with on a day-to-day basis. As soon as they begin to interact with a person on a near-daily basis, that person begins to occupy their consciousness and affect their inner life. In contrast, many other types are able to effectively ignore people around them and keep distant others in their thoughts. SLIs easily forget about those who are not near them and thus rarely take the initiative in digging up old contacts. The inherent potential of these distant and myriad contacts is most often lost, and the SLI is left to cultivate the opportunities directly around him, believing that if something distant and external is really important, it will find him itself. This is due to extraverted intuition as a suggestive function.

Despite their often emotionless and indifferent exterior, SLIs are fun-loving and adventurous. They feel most comfortable interacting with people informally in situations with some physical or hands-on component, such as watching at something together, building something, walking around, touching things, or otherwise involving their senses and body. The more formal and purely verbal interaction is, the less involved they feel and the more unsure they are of how to behave.

All SLIs share an affinity for simplicity -- a reduction of all that is extraneous, superfluous, unused, unneeded. Since their inner world is most affected by their day-to-day living habits and the objects and people they interact with on a daily basis, complexities in these areas make clear thought and feeling difficult. SLIs are resistant to fashions and ideas that increase complexity and demonstrate independence and a lack of stereotyped thinking in their lifestyle choices and personal habits. It is almost impossible to get an SLI to do something that is more complicated than what he is already doing. The same holds true on a mental level; SLIs admire people who are able to reduce phenomena to their essential characteristics, thus making it easier and easier to think about things.

SLIs easily lose their clarity of thought when people direct anger and negative emotions at them, and discord in their personal relationships makes them feel depressed and helpless. They prefer an atmosphere of polite good will or at least businesslike emotional neutrality and tire of strong emotions such as anxiety, worry, or bad feelings between people, but also euphoria and overenthusiasm.

SLIs tend to be "down to earth" and "laid back" and become excited only by positive sensory experience or when others approach them with playful, good-natured humor and "positive energy." Otherwise, SLIs can become uncommonly stubborn if people use too much emotion, abstract reasoning, haste, or pressure when dealing with them. To get through to an SLI, give him personal sensory experience (introverted sensing), a dispassioned account of the facts (extraverted logic), fascinating prospects (extraverted intuition), or a warm and sensitive attitude (introverted ethics).