In today’s extremely connected world, where people are used to “socializing” through their phones, tablets or computers, it’s very rare that you find someone that knows how to be a true friend.
We never really have a full “How to be a good friend” course, not it school, nor at home. Yes, we learn manners, we learn to be nice, honest and many other things that are really, truly useful, but you’re reading this to become even better and I plan on delivering on your expectation.
In the very first article I’ve written, I mention a book that changed my life completely. In English, the book is called “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, but the Romanian translation of the title is “The Secrets to Success” and I believe that it’s better than the original.
I love the book because it gives you a set of principles, in the form of real life stories and examples, on how to be a better person, and I couldn’t write an article on “How to get along with anyone” without at least mentioning it. If you haven’t read the book yet, I really hope that you take the time to do so.
I might do a book review later on, but today, I would like to talk to you about the four different personality types that distinguish each one of us. No one is completely one type or the other, but rather a unique mixture of the four, with one of them (usually) being predominant.
I’ve learned about them from many different sources, but the person that managed to describe the four personalities in the most concrete (and funniest) manner was Dr. Kevin Leman in his book “Have a New You by Friday“.
Amongst other things, in his book, Dr. Leman writes about real life stories that he has witnessed and compares the personality types to dog breeds. I loved his metaphors (because I also love dogs) and so I’ll use them in this article. Enjoy!
The Great Dane (Dominant/Choleric)
People that are Dominant tend to be demanding, driving, forceful, daring, determined and competitive. They love a challenge. They love solving problems, the more difficult the better. They love being the one that takes the decision (even if they have no clue what the discussion is about).
These people want results. NOW! They are willing to take risks and accept full responsibility for their actions. They move quickly and assertively. They don’t want to hear about the details, just get right to the point.
You can feel it when a Great Dane comes into the room. They usually have high levels of confidence. If they don’t like you, it’s better just to get out of their way.
On the other hand, if you want them to like you, be sure to stand your ground. They way to a Dane’s heart is through respect. If he/she sees that you stand strong, even if they don’t agree with you, they will respect you.
You never tell a Great Dane that they’re wrong. Oh no, don’t go there. What you can do, is present them with new information, something they did not know before, and then let *them* take the right decision. After all, they are the ones that take decisions around here.
Try not to misjudge a Great Dane for their sometimes rude way of being. The friendship of a Great Dane is worth it’s weight in gold. If they love you, they will move mountains to see that you’re needs are met. If they hate you… well, let’s not go into details there.
The Yorkie (Influencing/Sanguine)
These guys have the most fun. They’re persuasive, inspiring, enthusiastic, sociable and charming. They are the people that light up the event. Dane’s actually dislike Yorkies sometimes because they steal the scene.
For a Yorkie, if it’s not fun, it’s just not worth it. They love to chat, play games and even work, if they enjoy what they’re doing. These are the people that call everyone up in the weekend so they go out somewhere.
Of course they don’t organize the event themselves. Nah, that’s just too boring. They always have at least one Poodle friend (more on Poodles later) that they convince to organize the party or event for them. They just want to be sure that it happens.
Yorkies also usually talk faster. They don’t like details very much either because they’re boring, but they *do* love hearing the news. They are the one’s you can ask “What happened last night?” and then be prepared to listen for one or two hours. (if you’re lucky)
You can become friends with a Yorkies in 5 minutes. If they find you interesting, you’re looking at your next best friend (from their point of view, at least). Of course, at any time, you can become “old news” to a Yorkie and that means that they will probably move to the next best friend.
They don’t care about who’s right or wrong, they just want everyone (especially themselves) to have fun, even if it means that they have to do something dumb to get there. Opposite to the next type of people on the list, Yorkies are volatile and ever-changing. Don’t hate them for changing their minds a lot, it’s just how they are.
The Irish Setter (Steady/Phlegmatic)
Ahhh, the Irish Setter. The world would be in total chaos without these guys. They are patient, predictable, passive, complacent, stable and consistent. Their main concern? Make sure everyone’s happy. That’s it.
You need at least one Setter in every team, even more so if there is also a Dane and a Poodle around. Uh, now that’s a war-zone.
Irish Setters are the most patient people you’ll ever meet. They are excellent listeners and they can be very good in teaching or coaching their team. They are very loyal. An Irish Setter friend is a friend for life. They have a high tolerance for human stupidity (even if it affects them) as long as you say you’re sorry and mean it.
They don’t really like change though. They prefer stability. If something is working today, it’s OK the way it is, don’t try to improve it. Setters usually stay in the same city or position for long periods of time and have difficulties in making new friends, not because they don’t like other people, but just because they don’t open up so fast.
They also like knowing the details and love the words “Guarantee” and “I promise” more than anyone else. They like it when people talk slowly. They aren’t in a rush anywhere, so take your time.
They usually don’t like to take decisions and prefer it if others just decide. They are OK with anything you choose, as long as everyone’s happy. Can you imagine two Irish Setters deciding on where to go out for dinner?
The Poodle (Compliant/Melancholic)
Lastly, we have the Poodle. Poodles are cautious, perfectionist, systematic, careful, analytical and orderly. They are happiest when things are done right, as they should be. Why? Because that’s what the manual says.
They love rules and standards. Their life mantra is “Rules are made to be followed” and just love to be on top of everything, making sure that everyone does what they should be doing.
Poodles accept change only if done correctly. You don’t just buy a new phone for everyone in the company. No way! First, you need to make a needs assessment. Why needs a new phone and who doesn’t. They to make an *in-debt* research of the market to see which phone will be the best for our specific needs and then a hundred other steps to make sure everything is done correctly.
Poodles love details, the more, the better. They don’t just focus on the details, they notice them… every time. You’ve made one typo in an official document!? Run! Don’t look back!
Poodles also love to be organizers, managers, quality assurance specialists and so on. They don’t care as much about other people’s happiness as they do about having everything done by the book.
Lawyers, accountants, managers, these are perfect positions for a Poodle. If they can show you a paragraph from a 1000 page book that clearly states why you can or cannot do what you want to do, they’re in Heaven.
When are you in Heaven? What makes you happy? As I’ve mentioned at the beginning, we all have a bit of every personality, but which one is predominant in you?
Do you believe that you have to have a word (preferably the last word) in every conversation, like the Great Dane, or you couldn’t care less and just want to have fun like the Yorkie? Maybe you’re often the peace-keeper that makes sure everyone’s happy, like the Irish Setter, or you always seem to notice all the details and can’t be fully at peace until it’s done the way it should be done.
Whatever you are, you’re unique in your own way, just like each and every one of your friends. I hope this (long) article has helped you to better understand yourself and those around you and can use it’s contents to get along better with others.
As a final tip, I would just like to ask you to smile. Smile more. People today are bombarded with hundreds of things all day that diminish their energy and vibrancy. Bring a bit of light into their lives by being nice. They are actually so used to people that don’t care, that if they see you smile all the time, they might just think you’re a bit weird, but that’s OK. It’s better to be a bit weird than to be a robot, just like everyone else.
People are capable of amazing things (you included!), so try to judge less and understand more. You can make the world a better place, one person at a time.
Creating a better tomorrow,