I was shopping the clearance tights and gloves in the girls' department at Target yesterday when a mother and daughter came up on the other side of the rack. The girl had apparently just dropped a part of her cookie and the mom refused to allow her to eat it off the floor. The girl whined and complained for a few seconds and then dramatically stated "This is the worst day of my life!" I couldn't actually see these people because of the rack, but I snickered loudly. The mom heard me and then in a voice that was obviously trying to restrain her own amusement said "Oh, it is not!" The girl then countered in an even more whiny voice about all the "horrible" things she had already had to endure this terrible morning. And it was only 9:30 am!
I moved on to look at some of the other clearance racks and was completely shocked to find the girl wasn't the 6 or 7 year old I had assumed, but was probably 3 or a really young 4, riding in the baby seat of the cart! I was shocked at how young she was! How does a child that age come up with such drama? How does the mom tolerate that kind of crap? Kaylin has a bit of flair for the dramatic, but at age 9 1/2 I don't think I've ever heard her say it was the worst day of her life! And the whining! I don't allow it. I mean, of course my kids whine, but I put a stop to it. I have no tolerance for whining. Over the past two years I've even majorly curbed the neighbor kids' whining. If they whine, they are sent home immediately. I do NOT work hard and then spend what relaxing time I have listening to whining. From anyone!
This got me thinking once again about different personality types and how they affect our lives. I started studying Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) a few years ago in an attempt to figure out some differences I was having with a coworker. While I think MBTI is an inexact "science" and majorly based on stereotypes, it does offer some amazing insights on how people can be so similar, yet come to completely different conclusions or how people can use completely different processes to reach the same conclusion. This knowledge has helped me be far more open-minded and more understanding of why certain people think the way they do. It has also helped me understand some of the communication mysteries of my marriage and helped me be more patient with some of my husband's quirks that used to drive me crazy :)
I first concentrated on Introverts v. Extraverts. Everyone knows obvious examples of each. Recently I've been concentrating on the differences between Thinkers and Feelers. Everyone thinks and everyone has emotions. The way one is categorized is by how they make most of their decisions. Feelers (F) make most of their decisions and come to conclusions based on emotional response and gut feeling. Thinkers(T) use fact and logic and mostly leave emotion out of the process. I am a strong T. A large majority of women (and I believe the majority of the population) are Fs. A good example of my T is my decision to have Brady-dog euthanized. I made my decision completely based on fact (not eating or drinking, not walking) and not at all on emotion (I don't want my dog to die- can the vets do something else for him?) I was completely confident I made the right decision, but no less sad than someone else who would have agonized over whether he was suffering enough to actually end his life. However, I admit that "maybe" X-rays and steroids (or whatever) would have bought me a bit more time with my dog. An F probably would have at least explored that possibility. I have no regrets.
A close coworker and I have recently had some misunderstandings based on our T-F divide. It's amazing to me that we can both be equally upset about the same big picture thing, but what we're actually focused on is completely different. I'm upset that A + B does not equal C. She's upset because her feelings are hurt. Or because of jealousy. I've found that I have to ask EXACTLY what's bothering her or I could literally never come up with it on my own. She is equally confused by my reaction and had assumed all along I was hurt or (add any emotional response) as well. I've found that if we have differences she takes them very personally and holds them against me. She sometimes even perceives them as an attack and will attack back, leaving me completely stunned as to where she is coming from. It's very, very confusing. I'm working to figure out a better way to communicate overall. In the end, we obviously want the same big picture thing, we just have majorly different approaches at how we get there.
So, does my cold-hearted T intolerance of drama prevent my daughter from becoming the drama queen she was destined to be? Or does it prevent her from becoming a complete snot like the little girl in the store? I can see "Target girl" growing up and allowing drama to take over her life. Every little thing will be construed as a huge deal and every day will be a battle. Yawn. I think we all know people like this and (at least I) want to slap some sense into them. But that's just my T talking.