Understanding the motivations of others is crucial for building a strong relationship, but what should you do when you’re close to someone with very different drivers from you?
I’ve found out how to answer that question in my own life! Here are four of the ways I’ve learned how to thrive with different motivations in interpersonal relationships.
Honor the Differences
Your first step in understanding different motivations is to honor the differences between you and others. In this article, I’ll be talking about my relationship with my husband but you can apply these approaches to any interpersonal relationship, be it with a coworker, friend, or family member.
In the same way that you would want to be respected and appreciated, you should make an effort to do that for others. My husband and I have almost completely opposite drivers but I’ve come to appreciate that a lot in our relationship! There is no right or wrong way to be, which is something TTI SI stresses (and it’s one of the reasons our assessments aren’t called tests; you can’t fail an assessment because there are no right or wrong answers!)
The best way that I have found to appreciate the differences is to have an open conversation and to try to put myself in his shoes to really understand why these drivers are meaningful to him while explaining and understanding my own drivers as well.
Learn from Your Partner
One of the best parts of being close to someone with opposite motivations is your opportunity to learn from them! Their point of view will focus on different aspects than your own and help you get a more holistic view of the world around you.
One of the ways to facilitate this learning is to start a conversation. Ask your partner to explain something that they’re passionate about and focus intently on listening. Make sure to ask lots of questions and mentally note how their motivation shows up in this area.
Once you’ve done that, look for a practical way to support one another’s motivations! My husband is very Altruistic while I am much more Intentional. I appreciate his kind and caring nature and his drive to help others— this trait of his shows brilliantly when we’re spending time with our large and still growing family. He teaches me the value of slowing down at times and really letting go and just enjoying the process of being present with our kids and helping without being tied to the outcome.
Make Time for What Matters to You
One of the best ways you can improve an interpersonal relationship is to take time for yourself! This might feel counterintuitive but when you’re taken care of, it will be easier for you to take care of the people you love.
My top driver is Intellectual — I get so much energy from learning new information and working to understand the world around me through research. I’m aware that not everyone around me likes as much information as I do, so I take time for myself by listening to podcasts, reading, learning, and developing myself. I share this information with my loved ones if they indicate they’d like to learn with me but try not to info-dump on them otherwise.
Take care of yourself and you’ll see positive benefits across your relationships and your life! You will be able to be your best self when you’re recharged and feeling good, and that will benefit the people around you as well.
Lean on Them in Other Areas
Finally, one of the benefits of loving someone with entirely different drivers than you is your ability to lean on each other for help. Since you’re actively learning from one another and working to understand different points of view, you can also help compensate for each other’s weaknesses.
For example, my husband does not like the spotlight and can be quite shy. He does love being part of a team and collaborating to get things done but can hesitate when it comes to stepping forward and getting in front of others. I’m much more Commanding so I’m able to handle situations that need a more hands-on approach and I’m happy to do so.
Start Thriving in Interpersonal Relationships
At the end of the day, if we have different motivational drivers than our partners, the best way to navigate the waters is to understand what drives each other and to truly honor the differences. There is no right or wrong answer to this dichotomy.
If you make sure to respect your partner, learn from them, lean on each other as needed, and then make time for what matters to you, you’re going to thrive!