Saturday, January 29, 2011

Personality tests and how I am unassertive and Isaac is super imaginative

In the Fall when Isaac was taking a counseling course (very begrudgingly, I might add), we took a marriage assessment as a part of the course. Part of the assessment was a personality test, and we took it at our local Starbucks, giggling as we got to questions that particularly fit one or the other of us, or disagreements we'd had in the past. Every now and then one of us would lean over and fill in an answer for the other, while the other rolled their eyes or chuckled at the irony of that particular question in our relationship.

I don't know what personality assessment the materials used, but the results were fascinating in a couple of areas. Most of it wasn't a surprise or we just fell in the mid range and it was rather unremarkable. In our personality results each of us had one area in which our results were very strong. For Isaac, he scored nearly as high as you possibly could in the "imaginative" section. Each category was on a range, and I believe imaginative was in contrast to practical.

This surprised him, since he's in a field that is known for being rather dry (theology), and he thinks of me as the creative one since I love drawing and photography. I, however, was not surprised. As a kid he had a vivid imagination. I'm told he could play for hours, and he loved to build and create. This is in contrast to me, who never played make believe... ever. Even in my art - I drew from photography. I hate creative writing. Isaac also managed to imagine all sorts of weird things as a kid, like there being a clown (clowns being terrifying, not fun) hiding under the bathtub (like, in the ground) ready to climb up and scare children. Now, as an adult, he still loves to build with lego. He loves things like physics, which I actually think takes a lot of imagination - I'm too practical for it. He loves to think up situations like, "what if we were all on a desert island.... " and talk about all the ins and outs of it. He loves to play Civilization rather than shooter computer games, because in it he can build and create. I think it's what keeps him riveted to games and media as well - it gets him thinking. On the other hand, I can barely concentrate if there are dishes in the sink that need to be done.
On the other hand, my highest and strongest score was in the category of submissiveness. This made me laugh aloud, because we have had numerous discussions about my discomfort with the term "submission", and how I don't feel like I am submissive, and Isaac teases me for my extreme stubbornness. So, yes, this result really surprised me. I think it makes a bit more sense when you consider that the opposite end of the scale was "dominant". I don't think submissiveness is the opposite of dominance, at least not the typical evangelical view of submission. I think it's more like... unassertive. And yeah, that's me.

It's partly cultural - It's not very socially acceptable either in Indonesia or in the missions culture I was in to be demanding. For instance - at a restaurant the other week I ordered something that wasn't available, so I had to quickly pick something off the menu without a chance to further peruse. I saw something that looked good and ordered it, only to immediately realize that it was the most expensive thing on the menu, double the price of what Isaac ordered. Despite the fact that I had JUST ordered it, I felt like I couldn't take it back and pick something else. Didn't want to bother the waitress, despite the fact that... that's what she's there for. Total lack of assertiveness.

I never send food back when it isn't made right. I never ask for help. I am quite independent and love to plan and explore on my own, but I hate to decide plans for a group lest it bother anyone. In my work I much prefer to have other people come up with ideas and give me clear direction so that I can help implement the vision, but I absolutely hate being put in charge of people and told to boss them around.

Actually, it was a bit surprising that I scored SO highly as unassertive and Isaac only scored just above the mid-range towards the dominant side. Most people perceive him as being very dominant and me just being average. I'm still not sure his results are accurate - he IS more dominant that mid-range! :)

The test challenged the test-takers to consider the places where they have the strongest tendencies and to see how these strengths can be used, and how you can mellow out when they are negative. It's true that I have to work at assertiveness in this American culture that so values it. It is SO hard for me, though. Absolutely goes against the grain.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

Very interesting! I love doing personality tests. I would probably come up with a result similar to yours on the assertive thing. I don't like to make things harder for anyone!