Can we plan not to plan?


There are 2 types of people: those who make plans and those who make it (or screw it up) all last minute. Which type are you and, more importantly, how to survive a relationship if your partner is a complete opposite?

In socionics these 2 types of people are called Rationals and Irrationals and I am going to explain what exactly differs one from another. First of all lets establish that every person plans big things. Like a wedding, moving the house, etc. In the same time we are all known for occasional spontaneous behavior: you just get enough or suddenly decide something and – boom! To understand whether you are Rational or Irrational type, answer 3 questions:

  1. Are you more comfortable or productive when you have a reasonable schedule at work which you have to stick to? (Lets say you have to work from 10 to 6 and if you are done earlier you can leave at 5)
  2. Its Thursday. Do you know what are you doing this weekend?
  3. When you have a big project to accomplish, do you feel more comfortable and productive having deadlines for each stage of that project rather than having 1 deadline when everything has to be done?

If you answer 2 or 3 times Yes – you are most probably Rational type. If No – Irrational.

So the thing is: Rationals need to have a plan and Irrationals cannot have it to save their life. They are much more comfortable to act on the go, according to the situation. Rationals will stick to the plan and if it has to be – they will change the goal. For Irrationals changing the goal is uncomfortable and its easier to change the approach.

In the beginning of relationship you dont pay attention to it, but with time a couple (or business partners or whoever these people are to each other) becomes uncomfortable. One person feels unstable and insecure about future because another one keeps changing the agreements or even refuses to make them saying something like: “Lets just do it and then we will see how”. In the same time another person feels framed and thinks the first one is boring and limited with all his questions like: “Where shall we go for vacation next year?” or “Lets put together the development plan for our business for the next 6 months.” In life those two can be perceived by each other as being stubborn and not flexible. It can be frustrating, but its not the end of the world and actually can be dealt with. This is how.

Step 1:  Admit the difference and understand that another person is not doing it to annoy you, thats the way his mind works, thats all. You may also explain it to your partner, so you are both aware.

Step 2: a) If you a Rational, have a Plan B. And may be C =)  You most probably have it anyways. I would advice not to share your Plan B with your Irrational, cause having 2 different plans can drive him crazy 2 times faster :) Keep it to yourself.

You can also share responsibilities and set the goal (For example: We need to host a dinner. I will be responsible for invitations, entertainment and beverages and you will take care of food. Dinner is on Saturday at 6pm). You need to set the goal though, cause he will less likely change the goal (thats the nature of Irrationals) so he will do his part anyways. Just close your eyes on how he does it and let him deal with his part in his own way. Focus on planning your part.

b) If you are Irrational and you are pushed to plan your actions in future. Say “Ok, I agree to plan. What do you think we should do?” Trust me, before coming to you Rational already had an idea, so you just need to listen. Then say: “Sounds good, let me think what I can add and I will get back to you by next Monday?” You inform him that you will add (read: change) something, so he won’t be too upset when you come up with totally different ideas because both of you PLANNED to add something (get my point? ;)

You can also tell him: “Can we plan not to plan?” It works with small things like what to do this weekend. It sounds funny at first, but indeed it will make him more comfortable rather that you arguing with his plans.

Step 3: Give in from time to time. Not all the time, cause that will depress you, but lets say once a week. Or every 5th time you plan something – its up to you. Rationals: Sky will not fall. Somehow your Irrational has survived until now and he is actually successful in what he does, so sit back, relax and plan something which doesn’t involve him in your head (like to make a pie next week or to make a presentation at work).  Irrationals: Just go with it. Your rational has everything planned and foreseen, and he feels awesome when you agree to follow his plan. Take it as a moment of rest and enjoy things being done for you.