Personality Impact

How Personality Impacts Relationships and Influences How We Interact with Others

Amazing, isn’t it? The differences in each of the four personality colors explain why we live in a world defined by the personalities of our children, spouses, bosses, managers, neighbors, leaders, elected and governing officials, and even the people we casually encounter in the course of living.

We judge them by how they connect or don’t connect with us. We accept or reject them significantly based on their personality traits, which are communicated by verbal and/or body language and by our reaction to what they say or do, support, or promote.

If you look at advertising materials, printed or televised, you can see which personality color the ad is directed to based on how it appeals to the potential buyer. Emotional ads, and anxiety and scare ads, appeal to one personality color. Strength-supporting ads appeal to another, and nurturing ads to yet a different personality. It’s much more definitive than ads that appear to be directed to the female buyer or the male buyer. You’re not only the target of the advertising media, you’re also the target of political and motivational messages based on your personality color. Since the preponderance of the four personality colors is Red, that’s the personality to which most advertising is directed.

For an interesting evening’s entertainment, gather a group of friends and/or family together, determine the personality color of each one, and then watch the TV programming and advertising to try to identify the personality colors of the characters, the presenters, the targets of the advertisements, and the announcers or presenters. You’ll find that looking for specific words, emotions, and styles, as a group, will heighten your understanding of the differences in the four personality colors. That understanding will help to moderate your natural judgment of others based on their personality differences from yours. Or, it may just heighten your understanding of the reasons why you don’t wish to be in the company of certain personalities, in which case you can minimize that exposure with full understanding of your reaction.

The objective of addressing personality in this manner is to begin the process of looking at individuals not just as you may know them but looking at them as definitive personality colors with definitive traits and behavior. What you’ll learn is that differences may be defused, opinions may be mollified, and acceptance of them may become more tolerable. They’re not trying to maliciously create issues; they’re just different than you are in the way they gather information and make decisions.

Now that you’re armed with a basic understanding of the elements of each of the four personality colors, what’s the next step? Let’s examine some scenarios where that understanding might change your decision or course of action. We’ll take two colors at a time in a typical day-to-day activity. We’ll look at it through the eyes of yesterday, when you didn’t understand personality, and the eyes of today, where your awareness of why people behave as they do will be seen through the understanding of personality color.

Scenario #1 – The Business World

Just yesterday, Mr. Red was asked by his Green manager to put together a plan to complete a complex landscaping design for a new customer. Mr. Red was told that he needed the plan to include the irrigation system, low voltage lighting, landscaping plants, the type of sod to be laid, fencing, and an array of unique containers and plants. He also was told to have it completed and priced out within a week.

Three days later, Manager Green asked Mr. Red how he was coming along on the plan and, specifically, if he had thought about using paving stones in his design; if he had selected the colors of the roses with lots of reds and pinks to go in the containers; and if he had decided to use evergreen trees, and not deciduous, to go against the back fence.

Not understanding the ongoing and constantly changing creativity of the Green personality, the Red response was to explode with frustration over being given hard specs with open details and a deadline, and then having specific things specified midterm.

His explosive response was to say, “You gave me the specs for the job and that’s what you’ll get. If you want to change them, either move the deadline or get someone else to do it for you! I’m tired of your constantly changing everything because you don’t think things through before you assign tightly scheduled projects.”

That response could result in Mr. Red’s termination of employment or maybe even worse if he had become verbally abusive.

Through the eyes of today, Mr. Red would have understood the personality of Manager Green and accepted that he did speak before he thought things through and that he did want to be part of anything creative. Mr. Red then might have asked later that first day if everything that he had been directed to do could be reviewed and if the details of what he was to produce could be confirmed before beginning the design work. That would have given Manager Green an opportunity to provide his thoughts on the specifics that he wanted included in the design, saving the confrontation, saving the wasted effort, and maybe even saving Mr. Red’s job.

Then, if Manager Green had understood his personality and Mr. Red’s, he wouldn’t have assigned the tight deadline but would have scheduled a meeting a day after introducing the job to add his new thoughts and review and confirm the specs. Only then would he have assigned the firm deadline, thus saving both of them potential conflict.

Changing the Personality Color Dynamic

How would that scenario look if we reversed the personality colors?

Just yesterday, Mr. Green was asked by his Red manager to put together a plan to complete a complex landscaping design for a new customer. Mr. Green was told he needed the plan to include the irrigation system, low voltage lighting, landscaping plants, the type of sod to be laid, fencing, and an array of unique containers and plants. He also was told to have it completed and priced out within a week.

Three days later, Mr. Green asked Manager Red if the plan deadline could slip a couple of days because he needed more time to look at all of the exciting landscape plants he discovered at a nursery he had not been to before. He said that he could make the results stunningly beautiful with unusual plants, and the customer would absolutely love it.

Manager Red said with some agitation, “I need to have those plans ready to be presented to our customer in four days. Can you do the job, or do I need to assign it to someone who can? You are three days into the project. Show me what you have done so far.”

Mr. Green’s face started to flush and his voice went up several octaves. He asked, “How can I get something with such artistic potential done on a tight deadline when the result is going to be enjoyed for years to come?” He further suggested, “If slapping something together, regardless of its beauty, is the most important thing, then maybe someone else should do it because I have a professional artistic standard for my work that I’m not willing to compromise!”

With an angry voice, Manager Red responded to Mr. Green, “Maybe you should be working for the Art Institute rather than for a landscape company; so why don’t you just go home now and come back tomorrow for a final paycheck, and then go find a place to work where deadlines and timeframes aren’t factors in job completion.”

Through the eyes of today, had Mr. Green understood the personality of Manager Red, he’d have asked the importance of the deadline and how much time he should spend searching for the right plants and containers to show their beauty to the customer rather than focusing on the mechanics of the project, which offered no visual impact. Then, he could have asked Manager Red to consider that the customer might be more satisfied if presented with beauty rather than just function, which is the basic mechanics and their cost, at their meeting the following week.

Manager Red could then have considered that Mr. Green had a good eye for design and color. He could have decided that he saw merit in the idea and asked Mr. Green to show him pictures of his recommended plants and containers and that he’d present the ideas to the customer himself. While Mr. Green would have liked to have been at the presentation, he wouldn’t have pressed the issue. He’d have recognized that Manager Red needed to be the one who received the credit for any unique and spectacular design ideas.

Scenario #2 – Relationship

Let’s take another scenario, this time with a couple—an Orange male, Frank, and a Yellow female, Joan.

As Frank was getting ready to go to work at his job as a manager of a supermarket that recently opened up in the neighborhood, he said to his wife, “I may be late coming home tonight, so let me know if I can pick up something for dinner.”

Joan said, “That’s a great idea. I won’t have to worry about having dinner ready when you get home, and then I can work late, too. I have a new employee to train and he seems to be struggling with understanding the complexities of his job. You’d think that a man with good educational credentials would pick things up readily. It makes me wonder what our educational system is turning loose in the job market.”

Frank said, “Now don’t be so quick to judge someone new to your business. You run a very technical operation and need to recognize that there’s a steep learning curve for anyone, even those coming out of today’s universities. Why don’t you go through the training manual that you wrote and give him time to assimilate it before you start criticizing him?”

Joan looked at him as if he were talking about one of their kids. “I don’t know how you manage your staff, but I don’t have time to hand-feed mine. They either show the initiative to learn what they need to do or they get to do it somewhere else. I run a very demanding, technical business, not a daycare center. You treat your employees as if you were their mother. Doesn’t that frustrate you when they take more than they give on the job? I’d rather do things myself than spend my entire time hand-holding.”

“You know, your cold, heavy-handed attitude really upsets me. I don’t know how to react when you show no patience or understanding for the people who work for you. They’re not a bunch of school kids. They have families to feed and careers to develop. Can’t you see the human side of them?”

“I’ll tell you what, Frank. Working for a living in this day and age requires strong leadership, dedicated employees, and little room for error. Why don’t you start holding your staff to the same level of accountability that you set for yourself? Hoping for perfection doesn’t cut it. Demanding perfection does.”

Through the eyes of today, had Joan understood that Frank cared as much for the welfare of the people that he was responsible for as for the product of their labor, she wouldn’t have been as critical of him with her opinions. Had Frank understood that Joan set very high standards of performance for herself and had no tolerance for anyone who didn’t do the same, he wouldn’t have been so quick to point out her perceived insensitivities.

Scenario #3 – Family

The next stop in the exploration of personalities is the family scenario. In this view, we have the Painter family: Ralph, the Red father; Olivia, the Orange mother; George, the Green 16-year-old son; and Yvonne, the Yellow 18-year-old daughter. They’re a very colorful family, and their interactions can be challenging and stressful.

Ralph works as a repairman for a utility company and is frequently on call during bad weather. Olivia works part time at a daycare center, taking care of preschool children and also is occasionally on call, in her case, for the preschool children’s family emergencies. George is a sophomore in high school and is very active in sports. Yvonne is a senior in the same high school and active in music and art programs. She considers her brother to be annoyingly juvenile and an ungrounded distraction. He considers her to be a pain in the backside and a snooty know-it-all. The schedules of both the students are filled with studies and school activities. The schedules of the parents are subject to the demands of their environments.

Here is a typical day in their lives.

It’s Monday morning in the Painter household.

“George, get out of the bathroom. I need to do my hair,” Yvonne yells.

“Why don’t you just cut it all off and then you can do it with your toothbrush,” he yells back.

Olivia says, “Will you two knock that stuff off and come down here for breakfast. I have to leave for the center in ten minutes, and your father is out the door already. I need to make sure that you both have a good breakfast to start your day healthy. If I didn’t force feed you, you’d both starve to death. How’s a mother supposed to do her job when all you both think about is getting out the door as quickly as possible?”

“Gee, Mom,” Yvonne responds, “I can always get something from the vending machine at school. All I need is a couple of dollars, and I’m well fed. You need to worry about that creature you call my brother, who eats anything that crawls or slithers through a swamp. What a goof-off he is. I don’t know how anyone can be so disconnected that he doesn’t even know what he has to do to pass a basic math class. He can’t even find the classroom without help.”

George was quick with his response. “Listen to miss know-it-all, who thinks she runs the world. Why don’t you just gulp down some witch’s brew and fly away. It’s a wonder that you can even get to school before lunchtime since it takes you so long to try to untangle that bird’s nest you wear on your head as hair.”

And so it goes every school day in “Painterville” where weekend interactions among the family members are even more reflective of their personality colors.

Olivia (Orange) wants nothing more than to have a well fed, happy, and happily compatible family.

Ralph (Red), who spends long days and many nights a month on emergency calls, in addition to the scheduled 40 hours during the week, wants a quiet house on weekends so he can enjoy a cold beverage and watch ball games or nap in his favorite chair.

George (Green) wants nothing more than nothing scheduled. His perfect weekend is spent playing whatever happens to be in season at the time and being spontaneous the remainder of the time as long as 100 percent of that time is at his discretion. His buddies count on him to be ready to go anywhere on a moment’s notice with no conditions as long as their only objective is to have fun.

Yvonne (Yellow) hopes that when she gets all of her homework done and double checked, she can help her girlfriends with theirs and help her mother figure out how to assemble the new mixer to make whatever pastry she bought it to do. Then in her spare time, she anticipates the opportunity to read the manual for the new smart phone that her boyfriend just got so she can teach him how to download the apps that he wants. She sees helping to solve everyone’s problems as the perfect weekend.

The Painter household is positioned to have a full weekend of self-satisfying activities with each member viewing the world through the eyes of their personality color and not understanding each other’s motivations or wishes.

Through the eyes of understanding personality responses, we now recognize that all Ralph wants is to be able to enjoy peace and quiet after working long and hard, day and night. His workday ends when he leaves the jobsite and arrives home to a quiet house where meals are served on time and where he manages his personal schedule very tightly. He wants to be acknowledged by his family for what he does, and appreciated without giving up control of his time and home environment.

Olivia wants to be able to take care of her home and family. She feels a compelling need to look after them, to make sure that they’re well fed and dressed. Her time and concern are dedicated to that same sense of responsibility at the daycare center where she works. She worries about everyone under her wings and spends little time caring for her own needs.

She’d like to be thanked for everything that she does, which is often taken for granted by her family and by everyone at the daycare center. What she considers to be caring for is sometimes interpreted as bullying and is frequently resented both at home and at work.

George asks for little and wants to spend his waking hours enjoying life’s fun and games. He sees his responsibility to be showing up at school on time when he can and getting by doing as little homework as possible. He views his free time as his to control and direct. He resents being told what he must do either at home or at school. His escape is to spend as much time as he can with his friends, playing games, and baiting his sister when she’s around. He’s viewed as juvenile and immature with a lack of responsibility and accountability.

Yvonne is a straight A student and loves school. She tutors her classmates whenever she has the opportunity. Her greatest sense of satisfaction is helping everyone she can with their problems. She’s analytical and logical in her thinking and seldom expresses any emotions in her interactions with family, friends, or even strangers. While she cares sincerely about people and their welfare, she chooses to resist becoming emotional in her responses. She’s viewed by many as cold and indifferent and lacking femininity.

Scenario #4 – Another Relationship

Our next visit is to the household of a middle-aged couple—Fran, an Orange, and Melvin, a Yellow. They’ve been together for a number of years and continue to try to deal with their differences.

“Goodbye, Fran. I’m off to work and should be home on time tonight,” Mel said as he kissed his wife while heading out the door.

“Have a good day and don’t forget that you’re meeting our son for lunch at the Hotdog Shack at 12:30. He’s really excited to tell you about his new car so show some enthusiasm even though you don’t approve of his choice. I think it’s a good car for a kid working in his first job and living on his own.”

He responded, “Do you want to tell me what to say or can I use my own words?” As he headed to the garage, he thought, “I wish I could walk out the door one time without being given instructions as if I were a ten year old.”

And Fran thought, “He has so much on his mind all the time. If I didn’t remind him of things, he’d forget everything other than work problems. It’s such a good thing that he has me to keep him on track. I don’t know how his administrative assistant can get anything done for him when he’s constantly in meetings and has no time to tell her what he wants. All I ever hear her say is that he assumes that she knows instinctively what he wants and she really struggles with that.”

Later that evening, sitting at the dinner table, Fran asked, “How was your day and lunch with our son? Did he want to take you for a ride? Did you like the car’s color and the radio? He was really excited about the eight-speaker system.”

“My day was normal, one meeting after another with phone calls in between. Lunch was okay, given hot dogs were the entree. We had a little time to catch up and most of it was filled with car talk. He’s certainly knowledgeable about the bells and whistles, but he couldn’t even tell me what kind of gas it burned or what the service intervals were. He offered to take me for a ride, but I didn’t have time for that so I asked him to bring it over on Saturday and then we would have time to do it right.”

“Oh, my goodness,” Fran said, “what time will he be coming over? I’ll need to go to the store and at least get a chicken. That’s his favorite dinner. Will he be bringing his girlfriend? I don’t know what she likes so I’ll just fix a big salad and a variety of vegetables and bake his favorite chocolate cake. Do you think she’ll like that, or should I call him to see what she eats?”

“No, I don’t think you should call anyone. Our son is bringing his car over here to take me for a ride. He won’t be staying or eating or entertaining his girlfriend. If you have a pot of hot coffee for him, that should be enough. Let’s just keep this simple and save the feasting for another time. You don’t need to feed everyone that walks through our door.”

“Why are you so critical of me when all I do is try to keep our family together? You’re always telling me what to do to keep household costs down, but you never consider what it takes to turn a house into a home. What I want is to take care of you and our family and see that you eat healthy meals and live in a clean house. What do you expect of me beyond that? Why don’t we have fun anymore like we used to? All you do is go to work and bring work home every night and sometimes even over weekends.”

“I know that I work long hours and don’t have much free time. That’s the price we pay to live in this house and enjoy the luxuries that come with it. All you do is worry about everything under this roof and under the roofs of our entire extended family as if you were responsible for all of them. You never have time for us to do anything like we used to, so I might as well work all of the time. That at least gives me the satisfaction of managing a successful business and keeping everything there under control. There’s a whole staff of people who depend on me to anticipate issues and resolve them before they become problems. That’s why we’re so successful. The only problem that I can’t fix is you and your need to mother everyone you come in contact with, whether they want you to or not.”

And so it goes, day after day, week after week, year after year. Neither is happy with the other because all they’re aware of are their own personality motivations. Fran is a caretaker. What’s important to her is overseeing the well-being of everyone within her sphere of influence. She doesn’t see any value in devoting time to her personal needs and likes. She’s most contented when surrounded by people who need and appreciate her.

Melvin sees Fran as a problem that he can’t solve. Whatever he does she considers as insensitive and self-serving. He wants nothing more than to solve the same problems that she continues to bring up day after day. He sees her as living to have problems to engender sympathy from everyone for the burden she carries. His natural instinct is to solve problems so he’s perpetually frustrated at his inability to do that for her. There’s no problem that should go unresolved in the world of the Yellow.

The result is that their lives are filled with dissatisfaction and frustration because they view the world only through their own personality color perspectives.

Too bad for both of them when a little understanding of personality could put love and vitality back into their lives and relationship. Fran would need to accept that the Yellow personality needs to solve problems in order to feel fulfilled and to accept that she perpetuates problems in order to feel needed. Problem recognition isn’t important. Self-recognition is.

Melvin must recognize that Fran needs to take care of people, be they family, friends, associates, or strangers. That caretaking extends to worrying about everything within sight and hearing distance. Worrying and fretting support her need to feel like a contributor to the well-being of her fellow beings. There’s no worry that will go unacknowledged in the world of the Orange. If Melvin is to resolve the frustration of living with his Orange wife, he must accept the reality that she needs to smother with care those she cares about, not because they pose a problem but rather because it’s a fulfilling, meaningful role for her. She, in effect, is doing the same thing that he is—solving problems that she sees other people having based on her standards of health and well-being or quality of life.

The issues that each of them create are fundamentally similar. They both want to solve the problems that they see or perceive in the lives of those they have a connection with. The downside for both of them is similar in that, frequently, the recipients of their suggestions or advice don’t share the belief that the problems exist, and that makes them annoyed or angry at the suggestions or the suggestor. Good intentions, bad results.

Putting It All Together

You’ve read a few examples of individuals functioning in their personality colors and experiencing difficulties in their relationships with associates, family, or friends. It happens daily in each of our lives.

We live in a world where interacting with others is the foundation of everything that we do. Unless we choose to live in total isolation, we can’t function without human contact. And, with that contact comes the challenges of our differences. We’re different in being male or female, being ages from one to one hundred, speaking different languages, having different educational or religious backgrounds, and having different levels of authority or finances. Virtually every element of life offers differences.

How then do we function and live a life of friendship, healthy relationships, productive achievements, and personal satisfaction? We do it by understanding that everyone is truly different in their makeup, their background, their education, their experiences, their upbringing, and their personal goals and objectives. We do it by investing time in understanding ourselves, our personality traits, and the traits of those we interact with. Sound like a big job? You’re right. It’s not only big, it’s lifelong. As an acorn growing out of the ground, once its roots are set, its growth process lasts a lifetime.

The same concept applies to the learning process. Your challenge is to reach out to the opportunities to learn as much as you can, or choose to, about personality because that’s the foundation for building relationships; and relationships are our direct connection with everyone who touches our lives.

Food for Thought

For an hour or a day or a week, look at yourself through the eyes of everyone you come in contact with. What do you look like to them? How do the personality differences that are hardwired into your mind and theirs mesh? Do you know yourself well enough to understand what draws favorable interactions or conflicting interactions? Do you know the personality traits of each of the four colors to be able to meet each person at their level in order to establish and maintain a productive relationship? Life depends on the success or lack of success we experience based on how we interact with, influence, submit to, or control those we connect with.

Look at life as a stage play, and envision that you’re a member of the cast. Your performance is a factor of how you get written into the script. And remember, it’s your life, and you’re the scriptwriter.

We hope you enjoy seeing the world and other people through the eyes of personality. Armed with this understanding, your world will change as will your interactions with the people in it. To begin, it’ll minimize conflict and reduce stress so you can create and enjoy healthy and mutually satisfying relationships.

Carol and Bruce Ritberger