3 Common Miscommunications That Intuitives and Sensors Experience Everyday

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Last week, we discussed common miscommunications between Extroverts and Introverts.  This week, we'll move on to the Sensing (S) and Intuitive (N) aspect of personality.   According to most estimates, over 75% of the population has a Sensing (S) preference, and  25% of the population has an Intuitive (N) preference.  For those of you who are not familiar with personality theory, people who prefer Sensing prefer information that’s concrete and tangible. They like information that they can experience with their five senses, and that is tried, true, and practical.  They focus on the present moment more than the future.  People who prefer to process information using Intuition are more theoretical and abstract.  They like to experiment with new ways of doing things, and love ideas and concepts.   They focus on possibilities more than present moment realities. If you don’t know your personality type, here’s a free online test you can use to discover it.    As you can probably imagine, people with an Intuitive preference probably see the world completely different than folks with a Sensing preference.  With that in mind, here are 3 common miscommunications that Intuitives and Sensors have daily.


1.      Laying Out Plans for the Empire

Intuitive:  “I have a grand vision for my business”

Sensor: “Get your head out the clouds. That’s not realistic”. 

Folks with the Intuitive (N) preference focus on the big picture.  Often times, their visions come to them in a flash of inspiration, and are often experimental in nature.  Sensors need data that they can grasp, and prefer things that have already been proven to work.    Therefore, they may become cynical about the Intuitive’s idea if the Intuitive does not provide them with concrete details, or if the idea is too exotic.    Sometimes, the Sensor’s criticism is warranted as the Intuitive’s plan may not be practical.   Other times, a Sensor’s distrust of unproven concepts may cause them to doubt an otherwise brilliant idea. Whether it’s a business team deciding on which new product to launch or a married couple deciding on a large purchase, both parties will have to compromise in order to reconcile their differences in opinion on the best course of action.  


2.      TV and Entertainment Habits

Intuitive: “Hey, let’s watch this documentary on PBS”

Sensor: “That sounds boring”

Often times, an Intuitive’s interests are completely different than those of Sensors.  This could have implications for TV time.  The Intuitive may want to watch Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, while the Sensor would prefer to watch a reality show.  Intuitives are often drawn to educational television, while many Sensors feel like TV should be entertaining and relaxing.  On dates, the Intuitive may want to go to a museum, while the Sensor would prefer something more fun. Try to balance out this miscommunication by taking turns doing what each of you enjoy.   You’ll each probably find that the other’s interests are not as bad as you thought.



3.      Communication in General

Intuitive: “This conversation has no depth.”

Sensor: “Why must you always be so philosophical and analytical?”

 Sensors tend to communicate details (i.e. their day at work, a person’s behaviors), while Intuitives communicate concepts and hidden meanings (i.e. the meaning they get from work, a person’s motives).   This can often lead to an interesting tug of war regarding which direction the conversation goes.   Intuitives like to discuss things at a high, philosophical level and often jump from topic to topic.  The reason for this is that Intuitives think in webs, and one concept may cause them to discuss a related concept in their mental web.     On the other hand, Sensors think linearly and prefer to discuss specifics. They tend not to move on to another topic until they feel that all the details of the current one are finished. 

Intuitives are energized when speaking to others who share a philosophical way of looking at the world.  They can engage with fellow Intuitives for hours discussing their impressions of books they have read, high level ideas, and their views on the future.   Sensors find other Sensors relatable, and are able to easily share information about their hometowns, careers, TV preferences, and hobbies to find commonalities.  

However when communicating with one another, Sensors can accuse Intuitives of being too conceptual, and Intutives can accuse Sensors of being closed minded and boring.  Another issue is that each type often times says the exact same thing but in different ways, leading to further unnecessary conflict.    While it may be difficult initially, both types can learn to communicate effectively by asking for clarification on things they are not clear on, and by learning to value and appreciate each other’s perspectives.   

Can you think of other potential conflicts between Sensors and Intuitives?