If the Thinking vs Feeling scale is our output scale, ie how we make decisions, the ‘S-N’ scale is our input scale, how we take in information. Sensors are more grounded, they like the facts, the figures, the here and now, while Intuitors are more future oriented, they like pictures, ideas, and future possibilities. There are lots of clues to figuring out whether someone is a Sensor or an Intuitor, but a sure-fire way is to ask for directions. “Can you tell me how to get to your house for the party?”
“Of course; the address is 3 Roland Road and if you come in via the A120, you take the first exit marked “Braintree East,” then follow it to the roundabout. Take the second exit, signposted “Town Centre,” you’ll see a Texaco garage on your left. Follow this for half a mile until you come to the High School on your right and, at the junction, turn left in Maple Avenue. After 100 yards you’ll see a block of flats to your left, turn in there and my place is the third house on your right, painted blue, with a red Citroen parked in the drive. Be there for 7.00PM.”
Wow that’s like a personalised sat-nav isn’t it? How precise and detailed is that, you really couldn’t go wrong could you. You guess that was our Sensor, didn’t you? Shall we ask our Intuitor for the same directions?
“It’s really easy. Come off the A120 towards “Braintree,” near that bar, you know the big one with the funny barman, where we went on Mary’s leaving party. What a night that was! There’s a roundabout, with a really cool, tree-lined avenue, looks great this time of year. Head down there for a while and you can’t miss my place. See you for a great night. By the way do you know if Lois is coming?”
OK, OK that might be a little over-the-top but remember all behaviour has an impact and imagine if you needed the facts and details and got our second guy! It is the level of detail and specificity versus the more broad-brush, higher level that causes communication problems between Sensors and Intuitors.
You must have seen this at work or among friends. Jung, who remember invented the terms, described Sensing as: “…on the perception of actualities...These are the fact-minded men, in whom intellectual judgement, feeling, and intuition are driven into the background by the paramount importance of actual facts.”
And he described Intuitives this way: “...actual reality counts only in so far as it seems to harbour possibilities which then become the supreme motivating force, regardless of the way things actually are in the present.”
So often ‘communications issues’ are simply due to how each person takes in information. And, as with everything, once we know that, and we understand what’s at play, we can adapt our approach and modify our behaviour, thus removing any barriers, and just make everything smoother.