Understanding Optimistic People-Oriented People


We are in the middle of a series on understanding ourselves and others in order to better love others the way God loves them.  And we are examining different personality tendencies so we can understand ourselves better as well as those with which we come in contact.

Understanding my own personality tendencies and those of others gives me a better chance of loving others the way God desires and it allows me the opportunity to grow in allowing God to use my strengths more effectively for Him.

The last several weeks we looked at the strengths and weaknesses of Driven/Task-Oriented (D/TO) people.  And for the D/TO readers, I gave some suggestions on how to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses. And then we saw how to love D/TO people better.

This week we will be introducing the Optimistic/People-Oriented (O/PO) personality.

People who tend toward this personality type typically prefer an environment of fun and a lot of social interaction.  They also desire acceptance and social approval. This is so important to them they have difficultly being objective if there is some kind of social pressure involved.

O/PO people have a lot of friends (and considers most of them their best friends). They are very trusting and believe in others.  People are naturally drawn to O/PO people because they are optimistic, encouraging and fun to be around.  If you are having a party make sure you have at least one O/PO person there!

O/PO people genuinely want to help others but may end up overpromising, not on purpose, but out of sincere desire to help or make people happy.  The problem arises when the O/PO person has misgauged time and also ends up talking too long at one event so that they may not be able to make the next event (such as helping you move or give you a ride somewhere, or something else they promised you).

The ironic things is, even though O/PO people are people focused, they can come across as disingenuous, insincere or even insensitive.  For instance, an O/PO person may ask you about your vacation and really want to know about it, but they may interrupt with a whole new topic before you are done or move on to someone else while you are right in the middle of your story.  They don’t mean to be insensitive, they are just moving on to the next fun topic.

O/PO people are very verbal and usually have to think out loud.  Don’t hold them to everything that comes out of their mouths because they may not mean it; this is just how they process.

Because of their optimism and verbal skills, O/PO people usually make good salesmen.  They are enthusiastic and motivating.

Now, if you are a O/PO person, let me give you a few more ideas on how to utilize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

Typically, as I mentioned, this personality has difficulty with gauging time.  Try to be more realistic about how long things will take.  Recognize that you making others wait (or even worse, making them late) comes across as insensitive to them.  Since you like people and want to make others happy, here is an optimal opportunity to show your love and concern for others-be more realistic, leave earlier and shorten socializing.

Your verbal skills allow you to effectively deflect responsibility.  But know that even though you may not always be called on it, most people know when you are shifting blame or exaggerating (lying).

Work on your listening skills.  If you truly want people to feel good about themselves, let them speak. Silence in a conversation is not all bad.  You do not have to fill in those breaks with “something.”  Try to think more before you talk. Your casual talk can easily turn to gossip.

As you are making every effort you can to make someone feel comfortable, you can actually make them uncomfortable by your overt attempts.  Don’t assume everyone will appreciate your energy and enthusiasm.

Even though your tendency is to realize that people are more important than things or tasks, you can use this as an excuse for not accomplishing or following through.  It is easy for you to shrug off your irresponsible behavior or lack of follow through as “just the way you are” and not see it as sin that needs to be dealt with. Don’t make commitments or promises that you cannot keep.

God has given you an amazing ability to verbalize things usually in a fun and enjoyable way.  Be sure to use this gift unwaveringly in the face of opposition and God will do amazing things through you!

Next week we will discuss how to love the Optimistic/People-Oriented person well by looking at some biblical examples of how God loves the Optimistic/People-Oriented person perfectly.
Scot Wall is pastor of Magnolia Bible Church located at 31611 Nichols Sawmill Rd., Magnolia, TX, 77355. Send comments to ConsiderThis@magnoliabible.org.

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