While there are undeniable and profound differences between Ss and Ns, Sensors bring a lot to the table. This thread looks at these same issues from a different angle than the discussion in this thread's sister thread: Are You Sick of Being an N in an S world?.
Here's my question for all you Ns out there: Share what makes being around an S so great for an N. What are the unique strengths of being a Sensor that you've come to appreciate. And to all you Ss, tell us Ns how our N-ness can sometimes drive you crazy. Do you have any tips for Ns who want to improve their N/S interactions?
Let me begin by sharing a discussion I had two weeks ago with my adorable ISTP boyfriend that shows how I have come to understand and appreciate Sensors (thanks to MBTI theory).
I talk about love with a capital L. This is the kind of love that the angels sing about. That you stand upon a mountaintop and proclaim to the world. That poets write about. This is love in its conceptual form. And being able to articulate one’s feelings is really important for this kind of love. (How very NF of me, btw.)
There was a time in my life that I would have said this kind of love was the only real kind of love there was…. That is Real with a capital R. And, I would have been ready to tell the Sensors I know that there was something wrong with them because they didn't express their feelings in the way I did. I might have accused them of being unable to dig deep into their feelings…. Sort of like they had some emotional block. I might even have gently encouraged them to go to therapy to help them get in touch with their feelings and get unblocked.
I’ve since come to understand that I was looking at things the wrong way. I was assuming that everyone thought like me. This was such a fundamental assumption for me that it had never even occurred to me that there was another way to think about love.
My boyfriend is a concrete thinker. He does not speak my native language (of abstraction) very well at all. So when he hears me make heartfelt declarations about how much I love him, he sometimes asks himself, ‘Why don’t I feel that way, too? Is there something wrong with me? Do I just not care for her as deeply as she cares for me?’ When he told me he was worried that he was fundamentally flawed in some way, here's what I told him:
Discuss. (Oh and you can see me and my ISTP hunny by looking at the attached thumbnail.)"You exude love. You show me you love me everyday in dozens of little ways. Like when you gave me your jacket to keep me warm last night. Like when you made me omelets for breakfast yesterday. Like when you remembered how I said I didn’t like the towels folded in a certain way and you folded them differently because you thought this would please me. These are all acts of love. This is love in its tangible form. And, this is you. There is nothing wrong with this.
"If you wait around until you can articulate your feelings in the way that I do, you’re going to wait a very, very long time. You’re never going to have these deep, meaningful emotional moments all the time that I have without even trying. You need to give up this idea that there is something wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you. We just communicate our feelings in very different ways.
"You ask yourself if you are a deep person. But you are asking the wrong questions. Instead, why don’t you ask yourself if you could be happy with a partner who primarily expresses herself not with actions, but by speaking about concepts?
"Are you willing to translate my expressions of love so you can understand them? Of course, I try to show you that I love you by my actions. But for me, the ‘money shot’ is the act of me articulating my feelings. You need to ask yourself if that’s enough for you. You need to ask yourself if you think I can make you happy for 30 years when in some ways we are speaking different languages and we will have to take this into account for the rest of our lives."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: You also may be interested in reading the sister to this thread: Are You Sick of Being an N in an S world?. This thread looks at the S/N communication gap from a different angle. The focus is on how Ns feel different from Sensors who make up 80% of the population. And it asks for Ns to share their frustrations and tips for improving S/N interactions.