Why not? They seemed to be what makes us popular.
We also are drawn to people who seem to act right – like us. We instinctively project onto them other traits we admire, even when they do not have them. In so doing, we narrow our view on what’s the right way to do things, missing many opportunities and friendships.
Are You Neurotic, Open, Extroverted or Agreeable?
Apparently NSA knows. An MIT Media Lab team, led by Patrick Tucker, author of The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move?, found that your metadata – including the way you use your phone, how you make calls, to whom, for how long and so on – can show your personality.
To discover and cultivate individuals who are different from you, begin by discovering which of the personality types in the widely used Five-Factor Model of Personality bests describe you:
- Neurotic: A higher than normal tendency to experience unpleasant emotions
- Open: Broadly curious and creative
- Extroverted: Looks toward others for stimulation
- Agreeable: Warm, compassionate and cooperative
- Conscientious: Self-disciplined, organized and eager for success
Make Our Differences Work For Us, Not Against Us
As an introverted journalist, I often acted outgoing when interviewing, yet went out of my way to forge a friendship with the chief financial officers in the media outlets that employed me because they acted more introverted. Even so, our multiple differences proved mutually beneficial. Usually CFOs are more linear, measuring success by numbers-based metrics, while my success depended on intuiting what people really meant, what they might be hiding and what to ask whom to get the best and most balanced story, written in ways that even those who were not familiar with the situation could understand and want to read.
Inevitably, that mutual support fostered learning, a strong friendship and a capacity to be more patient and adept at helping each other over time.