How the four main personality types cope being isolated with their families or alone

So we’re well into week 3 of restrictive measures.  Are families coping well or ready to throttle each other?  By understanding the strengths, struggles, fears and blind spots of family members can help us accept each other for who we are and take steps to support each other during this lockdown.

Do you recognise your own traits in the table below?  Do you recognise your family members too?

Meeting the needs of your family members can help you cope more easily.  You’re in this together so make the most of connecting with the ones you love.  Not forgetting your distanced friends and family either so take a look below and make a difference.

D – DominantInfluencing
Our Dominant style is fast paced, positive, charming, driven and determined.  These people like to get things done.  They have people to see and places to be!  The D personality style won’t like loss of control, having rules imposed upon them or being confined to home if they disagree with the reasoning behind the decision.  They may well bend the rules if they can justify their actions in their own minds.  The D style is fast paced, positive and driven.  Living alone, they cope well but may find prolonged isolation difficult as they prefer to be involved and have control, discipline and purpose.  They dislike being bored so need to make sure they have a long task list!Influencers love nothing more than social interaction and the more the better!  They are our happy go lucky fun loving social butterflies. isolation will make them feel sad and they may wilt with lack of social interaction and fun with friends.  They can be disorganised and dislike attention to detail.  They crave social acceptance and popularity.  I’s are generally positive, enthusiastic and fun loving.  They enjoy spending some time alone if they are absorbed in something they find interesting , avoiding detail and succeeding in their tasks quickly.  They will be the first to be connecting with you on video calls and you probably won’t get a word in edgeways!

If you are isolated in your family with a D style, they will want to have plenty to do to keep them engaged and motivated and will want to be on the go, getting jobs done, exercising and expecting others to participate too!  They want to win and are very competitive, preferring to be centre stage.  If they feel stressed by being constricted, they can be hurtful and may be perceived as aggressive. They could take out frustrations on others by being abrupt, insensitive and demandingIf you are isolated with an I style, involve them in coming up with family routines and plans.  Give them something fun to get stuck into, like creating a vegetable patch or coming up with a special dinner menu or organising an evening of games or a quiz (as long as they don’t have to compile the quiz!) If they are feeling stressed they will become emotional, dramatic and will not be shy about complaining to every family member!  Having said that, they are innately positive, sometimes unrealistically optimistic which might grate on other family members
To support the D style, either remotely or within families at home, make sure they have plenty of tasks to complete and give them some autonomy, something to be in charge of. It may be a good time to sort out or resolve tasks that have been put on the back burner.  The D style will enjoy the challenge!  Avoid being overly emotional and needy.  Be direct but respectful in your approach.  Acknowledge their successes.  If you know a D style who is living alone, keep in contact by checking in on them by phone or text.To support the I style, give them plenty of time to talk, praise them and give them recognition for things they have done well such as coping with isolation or for sticking to plans and routines and for keeping everyone’s spirits up.  They need a friendly and harmonious environment and really get a buzz when others visibly join in with their activities. If you know an I style who is living alone, frequently keep in touch and encourage them to talk about how they feel.  Let them do most of the talking and give them plenty of praise and flattery!
The Conscious style is reserved and more task focussed so is comfortable in isolation and often prefers solitude to being amongst loud emotional people.  They enjoy quiet time to think and reflect upon completing tasks correctly.  Measure twice, cut once!  They are minded to create a plan for home working or will find tasks to complete in the home and garden.  Routine is second nature to the C style.  They are low risk takers and compliant with rules.  Although not demonstrative with emotions, the C style does feel emotions but struggles to voice them.  If they are worried, they will internalise their feelings, will become pessimistic and will retreatThe S style are patient, reliable, loyal and steady who enjoy the company of others and are known for being people pleasers.  They will accept the conditions of being isolated and do enjoy their own company but do seek out the company of their few close friends and prefer to do things together.   They are great listeners and it won’t surprise you to learn that this personality type often works in the caring industries. They seek reassurance so could become hesitant, indecisive and lack confidence with prolonged isolation.  This personality style could find it difficult adapting to swift and significant change and will need support to adjust
If you are living with a C style, you can support them by giving them time to reflect, giving them specific and well defined tasks to complete.  If stressed they will slow the pace, which family members may find frustrating, but knowing this helps family members to accept it.  Acknowledge their accomplishments, contribution, particularly the quality  or accuracy of their contribution.  Being correct is everything to a C style.  They may come across as picky or overly critical but this comes from their strive for perfection.If you are living with an S style, they will be looking after you and making sure that your welfare is a priority, often above their own wellbeing. If stressed, they can become withdrawn and can be perceived as being stubborn, passive aggressive and uncommunicative.  Come up with a plan together, involving the whole family and make sure that the S style person is included.  Acknowledge their contribution with sincerity and show them that you value them.  Do not take advantage of their people pleasing personality because this will put undue stress on them and eventually they will snap and no one will want to experience that!
To support a C style either remotely or at home, consistency, quality and excellence is key.  Allow them their quiet thinking time but also involve them in family activities such as compiling a quiz, baking a favourite cake, creating art activities.  Encourage them to have a little fun too.  Although they don’t wear their hearts on their sleeve, ask them how they are coping with this new way of living and what they need to help them feel comfortable with it.  Maintain lines of communication but avoid being overly emotional and communicate by text/email too as it will give the C style time to reflect and respond in their own time.To support an S style either remotely or at home, encourage them to talk about their feelings and to ask for what they need to make this whole experience more manageable for them.  Show them appreciation and offer to take on some of their workload as they can be put upon.  The S style needs to feel safe and secure so give them reassurance and time to adjust. For an S style living alone, call them and ask them how they are doing, how they are coping and what they are doing to keep busy.  Acknowledge their progress and give them sincere appreciation.  As well as speaking to them, send them text and email messages to let them know that you re thinking about them as they will appreciate your friendship and loyalty

Maintain harmony within the home by accepting family members for who they are is so important.  We all have traits that irritate others so a little acceptance and understanding will go a long way.  Talk about how you are coping and take time to listen to each other but avoid offering solutions as most people just want to sound off and let their voice be heard.

This time in isolation as a family is a true gift to bring families together.  No one says it’s easy to co-exist 24/7 but if you are all prepared to work at it and understand the traits of your family members, it will enrich your relationship for life.

Julie Brown

Licenced DISC trainer and Professional Coach

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