This question needs a library of answers built upon personal stories. One thing I know for sure is that some little seldom-mentioned things matter.

One of these critical considerations is energy level. You can only pretend to be a member of the other tribe for so long. While some people can readily adjust their pace to match the circumstances: I am talking about the people who can’t. People motivated to enjoy an active lifestyle have a powerful connection as do those who like to take it easy such as cozying up with the Sunday paper and a cup of coffee on the weekend.

There is not a lot that can be done to navigate vast differences in energy levels when they exist. I have seen this be an unacknowledged deal-breaker in business partnerships. The high energy person can ultimately feel that they are always ahead pulling the other along. Resentment builds up on the one side and resistance increases on the other side. The person who has the lower (or “differently paced”) energy level feels unappreciated and without a place in the partnership. This is a difficult thing to discuss because typically motivation tendencies don’t change and yet when a partnership isn’t working that is exactly what each wants to demand of the other “If you could only do it this (read MY) way…”

I once asked a friend why they stopped inviting a mutual friend of ours to their country “getaway”. “We couldn’t take it any longer. He couldn’t sit still for a minute and we got tired of finding “make work” projects to keep him happy for the weekend. He was driving us crazy.” This story also works in reverse with high action people being dragged down by people who won’t “DO anything …who just want to chill all the time. They just SIT there.” Parties or dinner out may work as a way to socialize but a whole weekend together can strain the friendship.

Beyond any Introversion – Extraversion differences this is a core motivational difference. The Reiss Desire Profile is a trait based model that looks at core motivation. You can read an outline of all 16 motivational traits here.

I don’t believe that one’s motivational make-up is anything to be deluded about changing in a person. In the case of energy level, the best you can do is agree to disagree or find and commit to a mutually acceptable agreement on the distribution of power and responsibility. The answer lies in honesty.

But then again as John Lennon points out…love may conquer all

It’s been a hard day’s night, and I been working like a dog
It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you I’ll find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright

Category: Relationships
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