How to Deal With Personality Clashes

Hey there! It’s Marcus Santer again, sharing another slice of my journey in the fascinating world of couples therapy.

I’ve got a story for you today, one that I hope you can either relate to or learn from.

At university I had a friend with an amazing way of always being upbeat. Let’s call him James. Every time I’d talk about a hurdle in life, James would reply with a cheerful spin on it. And me? Well, I’m a bit of a realist. You can imagine how our conversations went: him playing the sun, and me, the raincloud.

Sounds familiar?

It got me thinking about the couples I meet in my practice.

Perhaps you’ve experienced it too? That personality clash with your partner. Could be that it’s the introvert-extrovert tango or the age-old dance between a meticulous planner and a free spirit.

Personality clashes are common, and they’re not just limited to romantic relationships.

They can happen with friends, family members, and even co-workers.

So, what do you do when you find yourself in such a pickle?

Do you just throw your hands up and blame it on “irreconcilable differences”?

You could.

But I believe there’s a better way.

Let’s dive into five solutions together.

1. Acknowledge Differences, But Focus on Strengths.
Firstly, I want you to recognise it’s perfectly okay to have different personalities. In fact, it can be beneficial. James, with his eternal optimism, often lifted me up when I was feeling down. And sometimes, I brought the reality he needed. Your partner’s strengths can complement yours in ways you never realised. The trick is to focus on these strengths rather than harping on the differences.

2. Listen So As To Understand.
You know the drill. You’re trying to explain something to your partner, and they’re already formulating their response before you’ve even finished. It happens to the best of us. Instead, try to listen to understand, not just to reply. Let them speak, process their words, and then form a response. This tiny act can work wonders.

3. Find Common Ground.
Between my rainy outlook and James’ sunshine perspective, we had many disagreements. But we also had shared loves – like that curry shop on the corner or our weekly trip for film night. Find activities or topics that both you and your partner enjoy and build on them. It can act as a bridge when the waters of personality differences get rough.

4. Seek Outside Perspective.
Sometimes, having a third person’s view can help. This doesn’t necessarily mean seeking therapy (though it’s always an option). Even chatting with a mutual friend or trusted family member can provide insights you hadn’t considered. They might see strengths and synergies in your relationship that you’ve been too close to notice.

5. Commit to Continuous Growth.
Relationships are never static. Like plants they’re either growing or wilting, just like we do. And with each day, there’s an opportunity for growth. This might mean reading a book on relationships, attending workshops, or simply having a heart-to-heart with your partner about how to navigate your differences.

I’ll leave you with this thought…

…Your relationship, with all its quirks and clashes, is unique. It’s something only the two of you share. So, instead of seeing personality differences as barriers, consider them as challenges. Challenges that, when navigated correctly, can lead to a deeper connection.

And if you want support with this challenge, I can help.

Click this link –> Couples Only Counselling to discover more about the services I offer to serious couples in serious relationships.

Stay strong, stay connected, and always strive for understanding.

Until next time.