The Reluctant Participant - The Intellectual's Holiday Style

PERSONAL GROWTH

The Reluctant Participant - The Intellectual's Holiday Style

Theory best comes alive with examples of people demonstrating behaviours and today I have a sample of the Holiday Survival Style of the Intellectual that typifies the behaviour of these people. The social expectations of the holidays cause the Intellectual no end of challenge. Generally introverted and focused more on ideas, information and other mental constructs, having a full month of socializing thrust on them can press their self-protective buttons right from the get go. Their primary striving is to be knowledgeable and the holidays call on us to be experiential, being involved with others in our family, business and social network. There is no real place for them to get their primary needs met.

In general, Intellectuals do not spend a lot of time developing social skills and, as a result, they can be socially awkward. Their relationships are often limited to family and a few close friends. In addition, their detached approach to relationships causes them to relate to people as objects, making people feel like specimens rather than human beings. With their orientation to gathering information and deep interest in figuring out the way things work, their direct questioning and critiquing of others can be destructive, and can have an undermining effect on their relationships. They don’t tend to factor in the feelings of others, demonstrating a lack of both empathy and tact.

It is not that Intellectuals don’t enjoy the season, but do not like to go to social situations where they cannot be relatively invisible or where they can play an active role so they don’t have to interact with strangers. They can be very anxious when they have to go to the homes of family and disguise it by becoming critical of the environment, the food, the conversation. For example, a colleague, Wendy, who’s Striving Style is Performer, had her sister Barb (Socializer) and husband Jerry (Intellectual) over for their annual Christmas get together on the weekend. She was very excited about the visit, as she loves spending time with her sister. She also takes pleasure from having opportunities to entertain and show off her beautiful home and children. Ralph was so anxious about being in her home and out of his comfort zone that he spent the majority of the afternoon dismissing Wendy’s ideas for redecorating her home; rejecting and devaluing her choice of wine; and criticizing her views on whatever subject matter was introduced. Wendy was hurt and disappointed by the experience and withdrew her energy to protect herself from the criticisms. Her need for recognition for her accomplishments left unmet. She is reluctant to have him back to her home anytime soon, which would likely suit Jerry’s self protective agenda very well.

Tomorrow I will continue with how the Intellectual might approach the season so that he doesn’t turn into the “Grinch” who takes the pleasure out of the celebrations.

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