1. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Word Association Problem: Need help for my book

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Sidewinder, May 24, 2011.

    My book is using a model of behavioural analysis called the interpersonal circle. I'm trying to figure out how to adapt this model properly for our purposes, and I'm having some trouble finding the right words:

    What do the following adjectives have in common?

    Group A:

    Nurturing
    Sensitive
    Modest
    Accommodating

    Group B:

    Cautious
    Assertive
    Competitive
    Managerial

    I need a term to describe Group A and a term to describe Group B. I keep trying on different terms, but none of them seem to encapsulate it. The closest I've come is "Selfless" for Group A and "Selfish" for Group B. But I don't think this is quite right because for example, being Managerial isn't always selfish, and being Modest isn't always selfless.

    Can anyone think of a better pair of terms to describe these groups?

    EDIT: More info --

    Group A can be described as Yielding and Connecting. Group B can Be described as Controlling and Separating. (Notice how leading isn't always a selfish act, just as following isn't always selfless.)
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Without going all S&M on you.... Submissive and Dominant come to mind, but that's maybe not where you want to go....
     
  3. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah that's the other option. But that describes the control/yield polarity. Connecting isn't always submissive, just as separating isn't always dominant.
     
  4. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Just the first ones that came to mind with what you have listed. "Cautious" is throwing me off in Group B. Do you mean contemplative, a planner? In that context?

    EDIT: To clarify, I ask that because when I hear the word "cautious" I usually think "hesitant" or "hesitating" or "restrained" and that seems counter-intuitive to be in a grouping with "assertive" for the direction you seem to be going. Not that people can't be both in different situations, just that it makes it more difficult to put a single word label on the grouping, if that makes sense. Of course I could be the only one who thinks that when they hear the word "cautious" and that's cool too :p
     
  5. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cautious as in around others. All of these words describe behaviour towards others. Sorry -- should have specified that.
     
  6. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Okay so it does seem a little counter-intuitive to me to be there with assertive (at least as far as trying to find a single word label). Dominant does work though, because it doesn't always mean forceful, cruel, etc. that people often think. I'm just not sure you want that spin on it.
     
  7. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    More info: There are a lot of ways this circle has been applied. The adjectives used vary depending on the purposes for which it is being used. Here are a few links that have some more examples of applicable adjectives:

    http://willmeekphd.com/item/the-interpersonal-circle-model

    http://www.personalityresearch.org/interpersonal/ipcirc.html

    http://www.interpersonalcircle.com/overview.htm

    Our problem is that usually the circle is divided into quadrants, and each quadrant is discussed as an entity. But for our purposes, we want to group the polarities together, and talk about behaviour that exhibits those polarities. (Haha -- complicated, I know.) Basically we want to tilt the circle 45 degrees clockwise and talk about the top half vs. the bottom half. There's another guy who did this, but he invented his own terms and they aren't descriptive.
     
  8. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    OKay so you want to tilt it 45 degrees clockwise, split it across the middle and keep all of those descriptions in there and talk about them vs. each other? (Which explains why you don't want to use sub/dom, lol) I'm repeating just to make sure I understand. You need ONE word for each half?
     
  9. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, or I need to invent a term. It doesn't have to be a single word. But basically the two terms should be antonyms.

    To explain why dominant/submissive doesn't work -- separating behaviour doesn't have to be dominant. For example, running away from someone is separating/yielding. In the same way, coming on to someone is connecting/dominant.
     
  10. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I have to respectfully disagree on that one point. Seperating behavior can indeed be dominant. Walking away from someone (such as depriving them of your presence for a misdeed) can indeed be a dominant behavior and is reminding a submissive partner of their place. It all depends on the context. The same as a submissive partner will often come on to someone in a desperate plea for attention because even if they get shoved away, they had attention for a moment. So that "running away" is not submissive in that context and that "connecting" is not dominant in the other one.

    EDIT: Do you have the full list of words? It's hurting my eyes trying to read that to see them all....
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Sidewinder, have you looked into the Myers & Briggs Personality Type stuff? (For example, I'm an ENTP). That'll help you out a lot.

    From what I can see right now, it seems that group A is more driven by emotion and a desire for comfort and intimacy, while group B is more driven by thinking and logic. With that system, everyone is either an E or I [introvert/extrovert], N or S [physical senses or imagination and intuition], T or F [do you make decisions based on logical thought processes or emotion/feelings], and P or J [deals with how judgmental you are, whether you're messy or tidy, conventional or not, whether you care what people think or not etc]

    As far as a concrete word choice: maybe "Caregivers" and "Analyzers"? Just a thought.
     
  12. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Alright I think I got them. I must say the way they split up (if I did it right) is well, an interesting view. Anyway, I guess if you can't use the term Dom/sub (though I still really think they fit best) how about going really old school and just call them the Follower and the leader. That's pretty much how they shape up anyway. Or how about animals? (not being sarcastic) From what you have here there is a definite feel of the Lion and the sheep. Could just be me....

    EDIT: Good idea Mal... I'm an ENFsomething, lol. Don't remember.. been a while....
     
  13. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I'm not getting that this is a dom/sub thing. Being modest or nurturing doesn't make someone submissive, and being managerial isn't necessarily an issue of domianance. Haven't you ever met a take-charge nurturer who is great with kids but also a strong person? Think Super Nanny. And haven't you ever met someone who's very managerial, deals with organizing stuff all the time, but really is a wimp who cringes in fear over someone else in the office? It seems there's one person like that in any given situation.

    I'd say we're talking more about personality differences and preferences than one being in control of the other, and one being dominant when the other is submissive.

    You could, however, argue that each type is dominant in some areas and submissive in others. For example, if the two people are running a daycare together, the nurturing person will be the dominant one with being in charge of the situation, but if the same two people are planning the details of taking those daycare kids on a field trip (organizing buses, chaperones, budgets etc) then the managerial person might be better equipped to handle most of it.

    Some people are cut out for certain things and others aren't, I think that's what it comes down to, and Sidewinder's differentiating into groups by figuring, in general, what is a given personality type cut out for and not cut out for.

    Another way of looking at the issue -- and it's much simpler than Myers-Briggs -- is the system of Gold, Green, Blue and Orange personality types.
     
  14. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I know what he's doing. That's what I said when I said people can be both. I'm not arguing with him.... I'm trying to help him.

    EDIT: And it's a Dom/sub thing because people have a preconceived idea of what those two words mean and usually what they think is incorrect. They think Dominant means strictly overbearing, forceful, arrogant, controlling, etc. and that submissive means weak, defferent, serving, selfless, etc. All I'm saying is it's not that simple, it's so much more than that, and it does fit. Without getting into a debate about it though (which I'm totally not interested in) that's all I was trying to say. The same thing you did. That people are both. That's all.
     
  15. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Mal -- Yeah I've done Myers Briggs. I'm (I/E)NFP. Every time I take the test I get bang on 50/50 between I/E. It's not quite the same as the interpersonal circle though, because it's less about behaviour and more about the characteristics that LEAD to behaviour. The cool thing about the interpersonal circle is that where you fall on the different polarities can vary, depending on who you're interacting with. That's why I think it's the most interesting way of assessing personality that I've ever encountered -- because it takes into account that we are different people, depending on who we interact with.

    Caregivers and Analyzers isn't quite right. Caregiving is too close to connecting without describing the yielding quality. Analyzing isn't necessary for controlling or separating.

    @Trish: Thanks, I realize you're trying to help. Your input is definitely appreciated. And yeah, people express both qualities. The whole point is that all of these things are strengths when expressed in a balanced way. If you can be both controlling and yielding at the appropriate times, then you're a balanced person. Same with separating/connecting. Some people are stronger in one area over another, and it varies depending on who you're interacting with. We're often inclined toward one set of behaviour but then forced to take another role when someone else is counting on us to.

    Dominant/submissive doesn't quite capture it because those are terms often used to describe the control/yield polarity. Like I said, you can express separating behaviour in a submissive way (running away from someone, for example.)

    Do you guys think it's too offensive to use the terms "masculine" and "feminine?" I have been leaning away from this because I don't want to come across the wrong way, but traditionally these are masculine and feminine traits. I'm sort of strongly leaning towards this. It's like the ying/yang symbol, where the masculine has that little dot of feminine in it, as the feminine has that little dot of masculine. To express well balanced behaviour, you have to possess traits from both sides.
     
  16. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I think that using Masculine/Feminine will have the same problems as using Dominant/submissive. Masculine is traditionally thought of as Dominant, Feminine as submissive. I don't see the difference in connotation?
     
  17. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well because there is the other spectrum as well. Connecting (Loving, warmth, intimacy) is traditionally feminine, whereas separating (Conflict, calculating/rational behaviour, detachment) are traditionally masculine. Dom/sub is a different polarity is all.

    Again, recognizing that this is not how all men and women do or should behave, but I think there are tendencies.
     
  18. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Plus I agree that it might come across wrong. Someone who's a guy who has the feminine traits or vice versa might feel like people like them aren't being taken into account, or that it's stereotypical. Not trying to be overly PC or anything, just my 2 cents.
     
  19. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    @ SW I don't disagree with that, I think I'm just confused with the lists. I guess you could make them Masculine/Feminine I just don't really see the difference. Preference I suppose. Which is fine, it's your book of course, lol. Are you going to have sub lists? I ask because of "(loving, warmth, intimacy).... (Conflict, calculating/rational behaviour, detachment)" The only one of those words on what I saw is Detached.....
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm still caught on "cautious" - to me, that seems to conflict with all three of the other words in its group. Do you mean something like aloof or standoffish or cold or distant, someone who doesn't like close personal relationships? I can see how "cautious" could mean that, but it's far from the primary meaning of the word for me. To me, a cautious person would probably run away from others, rather than trying to manage them or be assertive toward them or competitive with them.

    So I'll go forward assuming that the first word is, say, "aloof".

    If these were describing leadership styles, I'd say that the first is the consensus style and the second the autocratic or hierarchical style.

    Or you could say that the first person is focused on relationships and the second is focused on status. Cooperation versus control? Affable versus autocratic?

    I don't see feminine and masculine working here.

    ChickenFreak
     
  21. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm open to suggestions besides masculine/feminine, and I can see the problems. But in honesty I'm strongly leaning towards it. It makes a lot of sense. I think I'll have to read the book by Leary to make sure I've got this right first though. (FYI this is the theory of behaviour that made Timothy Leary famous before he went crazy and did a lot of drugs.) Anyway, it's legit and based on a lot of behavioural research and studies. Before Leary was a kook he had a respectable claim to fame.

    @Mal -- Yeah that's the exact same reservation I had but I think I can spin it right using ying-yang. The masculine is supposed to embody feminine qualities as well. Our USP (Unique selling proposition) is basically that nice guys can still be nice guys and get the girl. It's still a bit problematic but it might be the best I can do.

    @Trish -- I'm gonna be pretty scrupulous about what adjectives I end up choosing in the end, but these words effectively convey the characteristics I'm looking for (ie. the ones in the original post). I might edit them a bit. Not sure yet. Yes, there will be sub-lists, but they won't be adjectives. They'll be behavioural patterns that we're identifying as "turn-ons" and "turn-offs."

    @ChickenFreak -- Basically there's a negative and a positive way to express these traits -- a balanced and an unbalanced. A cautious person expressing that behaviour in a negative way would be standoffish and cold, but expressing it in a positive way would simply be careful about who he associates with. Those are just examples. That's similar to assertive in the sense that it's self-oriented or self-interested behaviour.

    Aloof kinda has a negative connotation so I'd say that's caution expressed in an unbalanced way.

    "Cooperation versus control" and "affable versus autocratic" each really only describe one of the two polarities. Not both.

    The bolded part is interesting. I think it's probably true to some extent. However, yielding behaviour isn't necessarily relationship focused. Modesty expressed in a negative way can be the opposite, in fact. In the same way, separating behaviour (caution/standoffish-ness) doesn't necessarily confer status. That could be a hermit or a loner for example. So it only really covers about 3/4 of the circle. Interesting, though.

    Care to explain why masculine/feminine don't work? I'm not 100% on those terms yet, as I say. I'm just leaning strongly towards them.
     
  22. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have no problem with you disliking aloof, but I still think that "cautious" is too ambiguous. Now, if you're just using it for yourself, that doesn't matter, but if the word will appear in whatever the final work is, I think that a different one is called for.

    Can you clarify what you mean here?

    It sort of depends on how much you want to offend people. :) I think that you'd be working with stereotypical masculine and feminine characteristics rather than real ones, and people tend to get offended by stereotypes. Sixty years ago, it could be fine, but I don't think that it would work well now.

    ChickenFreak
     
  23. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ok I'll think about that. The adjectives aren't set in stone yet.

    In brief: 2 polarities. Hate/Love and Dom/Sub (Those aren't the terms I'm using but they are the ones on other versions of the circle).

    Affable describes Love better than Sub, and autocratic describes Dom better than hate. Control = Dom. Co-op = Love. More or less. Makes more sense if you look at the other adjectives -- Control vs. Yield and Separate vs. Connect. Check out the links if it's still not clear.

    If it's an issue of being PC, I'm not too worried about that. I'll just be as delicate as possible. And I think the ying-yang thing could lend it some legitimacy and PC-ness (in that men can have feminine qualities and vice versa).

    Do you think it's a matter of stereotypes or archetypes? I'm sure you could think of mythic patterns of masculinity and femininity that apply here. Are there any of the adjectives (besides cautious maybe) that don't seem to be associated with masculinity or femininity?
     
  24. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    It's called yin-yang not ying-yang (you may want to look the second one up in the urban dictionary to see why you should maybe make sure you don't make that mistake in the book......)

    (didn't say anything before because I thought it was a typo)
     
  25. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh haha. Thanks. I've been corrected on that before, but it's an old habit to type "ying."
     

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