Recently The Pastor suggested that I go on a business trip with him. The place he was traveling to was a major city that is known to be sunny and warm in the winter. It has interesting restaurants and art galleries. There is an amazing zoo and botanical gardens with plants I have never seen before. This sounded like a good deal to me so I quickly agreed.
I then started making plans.
I am super introverted so my plans mostly involved doing things alone while The Pastor was at his conferences and meetings. I envisioned myself hiking in the desert wilderness by day (I had never even seen a desert in real life before!) and exploring the city alone in the evenings. Dinners would be eaten with The Pastor in intimate restaurants or alone in our hotel room. It was going to be wonderful.
“You know,” The Pastor said one day “you will be expected to attend some of these conferences and meetings with me. I told everyone that I was bringing my wife. They all can’t wait to meet you!”
I started to feel sick. My head started to spin. “Um, how many people are we talking about?” I asked.
“Oh, at least 30,000 people will be there. Probably more!”
His eyes were sparkling and he had a dreamy look in his eyes as he thought about all of those people. Obviously the man is a serious extrovert.
“Whoa, thirty thousand?!” I asked as I developed a sudden passionate interest in plane ticket refunds.
He had all of the excitement of Buddy the elf talking about sugar.
“Oh, they’re all going to love you so much, and you’re going to love them, and we’ll all be packed into a huge professional basketball arena together with loud music and everyone will be cheering and dancing and maybe we’ll make it onto the jumbotron…”
It was at this point that The Pastor noticed the look on my face. I was somewhat green. My eyes were open wide with terror. I was somewhere between tossing my cookies and running away. I was definitely one exclamation point away from never ever going on another trip again.
The Pastor thought. The Pastor thought very quickly.
“Just think,” he said in his most soothing voice “Thirty thousand very different people all gathered together and you can just sit there quietly and watch them all. We’ll probably get a seat far up in the stadium so nobody will really notice us, but you can just people watch all day long.”
Bingo. The trip was on again and I was excited.
You see, I absolutely adore observing people. As someone whose social skills are not always the best, watching people helps me to be a little less offensive. If I watch anyone long enough I can figure out what motivates and offends them. I can see what brings them joy and what makes them cry. This way I can carry out a conversation with them that includes a minimum of offending and crying, because apparently just blurting out whatever comes into your head, even if it offends people or makes them cry, makes people not like you so much. Who knew?
After watching people for all of my forty some years on the planet, I have noticed that people can actually be organized by their personalities. Organizing people by their personalities it very helpful when trying to not offend them or make them cry, because as it turns out, different things are offensive or sad to different people.
Now I know that I am not the first person to notice personality types, but I had a hard time remembering the way other people organized them. I couldn’t remember the difference between an INQJ or an Urchin or a Purple. I created my own system and based it all on Winnie the Pooh characters, because that’s something visual enough for me to remember. Maybe you’ll find it helpful.
We have to start with the Tiggers because if you don’t start with the Tiggers you will lose their attention. Tiggers are very high energy and usually wearing their happy face. Tiggers look you directly in the eye, except when they are scanning the crowd for the next person they get to talk to. Tiggers are pretty sure that they are likable and that most people want to hang out with them. It’s easy to spot a Tigger because they are usually the loudest person at the party. Also they are always AT the party. Life is basically one big party for a Tigger. They use the word “Awesome!” a lot and love fist bumps, high fives, and loud clothing.
The best thing about being around Tiggers is that they know everybody and want to make sure that everybody knows each other. If you want to meet new people, hang out with a Tigger. They are also great at creating a festive, joy filled atmosphere. They make excellent MCs and entertainers. They know where all the best places to hang out are and will drop everything to take you there. Want to do some spur of the moment traveling but don’t want to do it alone? Bring a Tigger along and you’ll have a party you will not soon forget.
The difficult thing about Tiggers is that they don’t usually go very deep. You can have a lengthy conversation with a Tigger and walk away realizing that you don’t really know much about them and they don’t really seem to know much about you. They are frequently easy to distract and don’t do well with monotonous jobs. If you want to destroy the soul of a Tigger, force them to work in a cubicle or factory.
Tiggers are easy to deal with. Just smile and nod. They love you dearly if you laugh at their stories and tell them how great they are. Don’t be afraid to try new things with a Tigger. They will never judge you and will love any sense of adventure you bring to the table. Don’t bog Tiggers down with your problems or details. They won’t know how to deal with it anyway. Also, never try to tie down a Tigger or force them to be serious. Tiggers don’t do well in cages.
Next we’ll talk about the Rabbits, because Rabbits probably have better things to do than read this blog. While the look on a Tigger’s face is always a smile, the look on a Rabbit’s face is usually determination. You can pick out a Rabbit at a party because they are the ones fussing about whether or not there is enough to drink and eat. They will be scurrying around cleaning things up and making sure everyone has what they need. Rabbits are busy and frequently earn titles like “Super Mom”. They are excellent at getting everyone where they need to be with all the things that they need to bring. Rabbits are dependable and organized.
The best thing about being a Rabbit is that you are impressing the heck out of the rest of us. We seriously don’t know how you do it. If your child is a Rabbit, they always get good grades and keep their room cleaner than the rest of your children. Rabbits focus well and rarely fall off task when they are on a mission. If you need to get something done and done well, ask a Rabbit. They will do more than you asked them to, and have charts and graphs ready to prove their efficiency.
The hard thing about being around Rabbits is the stress. They can do it all and do it well and, if you are not a Rabbit too, trying to keep up with a Rabbit can be exhausting. Being around Rabbits can also make you feel a little inadequate. If you are friends with a Rabbit, you have to make sure you are not comparing yourself to them. Mature Rabbits understand that they are a unique breed and don’t expect you to do everything they do. They probably appreciate your creativity or ability to relax. Rabbits love nothing more than to have a plan, so don’t overwhelm them with your spontaneity. They will scurry away if you do.
Rabbits are nice to work with because you can pretty much tell them about the end result you want and stand back. You do not want to micromanage Rabbits because they will probably do the task better and more efficiently without you anyway. Rabbits are great at monotonous tasks, as long as you don’t mind them finding a better, faster way to do it. Rabbits tend to love jobs that involve organizing or numbers. They will keep things very professional at work and always do what is expected of them as long as you make your expectations clear.
Next comes Piglet. Piglets don’t mind being third because Piglets are very understanding. Piglets can be found at a party because they are the ones with a concerned look on their face listening to and comforting the crying drunk girl. Piglets are always willing to lend an ear or a hand. Or anything else they have that you may need. If you have a tragedy, Piglets will instantly be at your door with dinner and an appropriate card.
The best thing about Piglets is that they are amazing friends. They form deep friendships and listen very well. They are truly concerned about you and really do want the best for you. They will sacrifice just about anything for their friends and family without even thinking twice. Piglets are also very devoted. You can mess up a lot and a Piglet will understand. Piglets rarely judge and will defend you to anyone who does.
The difficult things about being a Piglet is the anxiety. Piglets can be so sensitive that they end up worrying more about your problems than you do. While Tiggers are distracted by anything shiny, Piglets can be distracted by anyone in distress. Piglets also need to be cautious with their big hearts as they are the most likely to be taken advantage of. When sharing a problem with a Piglet, expect to get a lot of sympathy. Do not expect to get a lot of advice. If you want to turn a Piglet off, make a cruel statement at someone else’s expense.
When Piglets are looking for a job, they tend to want to be things like social workers. These jobs may not be the best for them, however as the Piglet may become over involved and eventually depressed. Piglets do very well at customer service. A Piglet can be very happy at any job where they feel they are helping.
Eyore is last because that’s where Eyores expect to be anyway. Eyores are easy to spot because they are not at the party. Ever. Parties are exhausting and Eyores see no point in going to them. Eyores can get a bad rap because they seem so negative, but the truth is that they are just the most sensitive of all the personalities. They are a little tricky to be friends with because they let very few people in, but once you are their friend they are fiercely loyal and protective.
The best thing about Eyores is that they aren’t uncomfortable with your silence or grief. They know how to just sit quietly and hold your hand, while at the same time they are not afraid to point out your stupid mistakes. If you want to know where you went wrong, ask an Eyore, they will not be afraid to tell you the truth. Eyores know all the best books and movies because they are highly critical of these things. They are also not afraid to give you a kick in the pants when you need some motivation.
The difficult thing about being friends with an Eyore is that they don’t really want to spend a ton of time with you. Unless you are one of their closest friends or a direct family member, don’t expect to spend too much time with an Eyore. They are easily depressed and frequently tend to rain on your parade. They don’t really realize that they are being so negative, they just notice things. Eyores are very misunderstood because everyone wants them to be more like a Tigger. They don’t realize that it’s okay to be an Eyore.
Eyores thrive in jobs where they mostly work alone. They are good at things like computer programming and repairing mechanical things because they notice everything and can find the problem that needs to be fixed. Eyores should never work at jobs involving customer service because they will exhaust both the customer and the Eyore. If you need someone to proofread your paper, ask an Eyore. For reasons I don’t understand yet, I have also noticed that Eyores frequently make good chefs.
Now I see you reading this and thinking But Snarky, I don’t really fall into any of these! I’m more of a Piglet crossed with an Eyore! Yes, very few people fit completely into one category. People are complex! Also, you may feel a little more Tiggerish one day and a little more Pigletish another. That’s okay! Also, if you can’t figure out which one you are, look for the description that makes you think That’s not a category! That’s just how everyone is! No my dear, that’s how you are, and that’s why you are so special!
I feel that I should also point out that I am in no way a trained psychologist. I just like to watch people.
So I did go on the trip with The Pastor. I did watch over thirty thousand people act all Tiggerish, Rabbitish, Pigletish, and even a few Eyorish. It was fascinating. We did not end up on the jumbotron. The Pastor was a little upset about that, but then he was distracted by something shiny and just bounced off happily.