The (NF)Empathist and the (NT)Analyst
What brings the EMPATHIST and ANALYST together? Whether or not they match on the dimensions of introversion-extraversion or judging-perception, it is their shared preference for intuition that usually makes these two types greet each other as kindred souls.
Three-fourths of the country is thought to belong to the various sensing personality types (8 of the Myers- Briggs' 16 types). Only about a quarter of the population is thought to be intuitive. Intuitives are used to being outnumbered, from an early age onward.
In school, the intuitives are the question-asking iconoclasts, the theorizers, the fantasizers, the creative anti-authoritarian kids who ask ``Why?'' whenever they're told to obey, the day dreamers who wonder ``what if...?''
Intuitives enjoy the company of other intuitives. They stick together, if only for their own protection! Other intuitives validate their basis of perception, of knowledge.
Other intuitives accept the value of theory, even if they can't understand or agree with a particular one. Intuitives have a tolerance for speculation, imagination and ideas per se, whether or not they carry the promise of a financial payoff.
In general, intuitive types aren't very materialistic. They'll accept a poorly paid professorship which grants freedom of expression, research and teaching, in preference to a highly paid position which carries no hope of autonomy or creative expression.
IDEALISM is one factor that attracts EMPATHISTs and ANALYSTs to each other: the greater importance of possibilities than realities, the belief that not everything of value is tangible.
INTELLIGENCE is another factor that draws intuitive to intuitive. The world of higher education particularly professional education is dominated by the intuitive personality types. Intuitive thinkers, especially, seem to thrive in the highest echelons of the conventional educational establishment.
Many intuitives equate intelligence with education and, thus, seek mates who have amassed credits, degrees and credentials.
Frankly speaking, intuitives have a hard time recognizing the skills of sensing types as intelligent. Clever, yes. Efficient, probably. But not intelligent. Most intuitives identify intuitive intelligence as real intelligence.
So, ANALYSTs and EMPATHISTs may be attracted to each other because of their shared idealism and intuitive intelligence, but they may also be attracted by virtue of their dissonance on the thinking-feeling dimension.
It's a rare adult EMPATHIST who hasn't been nagged and criticized by a parent, friend, lover or spouse about their lack of logic their blatant ignorance of the fact that this is a facts-and-figures world.
And it's a rare EMPATHIST who hasn't confronted some thinker-types along the way to point out to them that their unfeeling, unconscious way of conducting their personal relationships is basically painful to feeling types.
But, nonetheless, by some backwards psychology, ANALYSTS and EMPATHISTS may find each other totally irresistible!
The EMPATHIST's logic (and illogic!) may, at first, seem refreshing and unconventional to the ANALYST. The EMPATHIST's warm personal style and sensitive attention to others' emotional concerns may impress an ANALYST as suave and effective.
Besides, even a tough, independent ANALYST enjoys the solicitous appreciation and praise that EMPATHISTs typically bestow on those close to them!
But problems arise rather soon for this pair.
Problem number one is APPRECIATION AND CRITICISM, and it's generally yoked to problem number two: SPIRITUALITY AND LOGIC.
The well-intentioned ANALYST may try to ``help the EMPATHIST out'' with logical issues. Critiquing and criticizing every gesture, word and idea, the ANALYST is quite capable of crushing the EMPATHIST, who will try so hard to please and win approval.
Eventually, the ANALYST may succeed in paralyzing the EMPATHIST's motivational system. ``What's the use of trying, anyway?'' the EMPATHIST wonders. Life is too short. So the EMPATHIST just quits trying, and goes elsewhere in search of reinforcement.
There's unquestionable survival value in the EMPATHIST's retreat from the hypercritical ANALYST, but avoidance of criticism and competition may just convince the ANALYST mate, once and for all, that this partner doesn't have what it takes in terms of drive, initiative and competency.
The ANALYST is logical, whereas the EMPATHIST is spiritual. Both of them believe in the reality of ideas, but both have a hard time with each other's.
The EMPATHIST's preoccupation with relationships, other-worldly spirituality, and personal development may baffle and annoy the ANALYST, whose mind is probably elsewhere.
The ANALYST may find it impossible to understand why the EMPATHIST partner wants to be told ``I love you'' all the time. The ANALYST assumes that, once said or occasionally reiterated should be enough.
The EMPATHIST may find it difficult to understand why the ANALYST would refuse to go to church or participate in an uplifting personal-growth weekend or take a course in creative visualization or rebirthing or spiritual affirmation or unconditional love.
The EMPATHIST, who will put forth super-human effort to ensure that the ANALYST's friends are well-treated, will be frustrated by the lack of reciprocation on the part of the mate when the EMPATHIST's circle of friends is being entertained.
The ANALYST, who may be caustic, critical, or openly bored with the EMPATHIST's friends, really isn't interested in the mystical, humanistic, and touchy-feelie concerns of the EMPATHIST crowd unless they can, somehow, be related to theory.
A major conflict for the EMPATHIST and ANALYST concerns the ANALYST's obsessive identification of life with work. The ANALYST regards work as the central focus of life, a driving and uncompromising task-master. The EMPATHIST may well see the ANALYST mate as being ``married'' to the job, and this analysis isn't far from accurate!
It is hard for the EMPATHIST to understand that relationships just aren't terribly important to many ANALYSTs, except as a cushion, a backdrop, a comforting and consoling ``R and R'' retreat from temporary setbacks and disappointments at work.
To the extent that the loving relationship supports work, allows it to go on without interruption or compromise, then the ANALYST will be happy with the relationship.
If the relationship gets too demanding, impinges excessively on the ANALYST's sense of ``center'', then the ANALYST may bridle.
How does the ANALYST run away from a relationship that's pressing in on all sides, distracting the creative process from the endless stream of intellectual talks at hand? You guessed it! The ANALYST gets buried in work, comes home late or not at all, and drops into bed exhausted (too exhausted, if you catch my meaning!).
An ANALYST running away from a relationship may turn into a rather monochromatic character, boring black and white. The EMPATHIST may start to wonder whatever happened to that creativity that once attracted them to each other!
Without some awareness of the source of their conflict, the EMPATHIST and ANALYST may come to regard the other as lacking intuition, the very similarity which may have attracted them to each other in the first place!
Predictable Crises For This Combination:
1. The ANALYST may come to regard the EMPATHIST as a martian, with no sense of conventional logic.
2. The EMPATHIST may come to regard the ANALYST as a martian, with no sense of conventional feeling.
3. Both of them may resolve the conflict by deciding that the other is not intuitive (read: creative, intelligent) since neither can recognize the other's brand of intuition without feeling somewhat invalidated.
Possible Benefits For This Combination:
1. Both partners may learn to expand their sense of intelligence to include both thinking and feeling.
2. The ANALYST may learn to become more appreciative and reinforcing of others, and the EMPATHIST may learn to become more independent and self-reinforcing.
3. The ANALYST may come more in tune with the emotional realm, and the EMPATHIST may learn to develop greater competency in logical matters.
4. They may undertake shared projects tapping their common intuitive process and benefiting from task-assignments appropriate for their thinking or feeling preferences.