The 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types
S = Sensing Types - SJ & SP N = iNtuitive Types - NF & NT
analytical gif Drivers Gif
amiables.gif Expressives GIF

What Do The Letters Mean?


Sensing Judging

Traditionalist General Information
TRADITIONALISTS SJs, being CONCRETE in communicating and COOPERATIVE in implementing goals, can become highly skilled in LOGISTICS. Thus their most practiced and developed intelligent operations are often supervising and inspecting (SJT administering), or supplying and protecting (SJF conserving). And they would if they could be magistrates watching over these forms of social facilitation.

The SJs comprise roughly 45% of the population and are the largest group of the four groups. The SJs exist primarily to be useful to the social units they belong to. Usefulness and a sense of Belonging are two important drives for the Traditionalist.

So the SJs must belong, and this belonging must be earned. Here is no freeloader, urging his dependancy upon the donor as if it were his god-given right. Dependency for the SJ, is neither a legitamate condition nor desire. The SJ feels guilty for his dependency as if derelict in his duty and negligent of his obligations. Moreover, he must be the giver, not the receiver; the caretaker, not the cared for. SJ Angel

This is almost a parental attitude in the SJ, and it makes appearance early in life. If we watch a newly convened kindergarten class, we can easily observe about a dozen five year olds earnestly and tensely seeking out the cues which tell them what they are "s'posed to do." The rest of the children (mostly SPs with a smattering of NFs and NTs) are more like puppies, tusseling, sniffing, and chewing the happy hours away. School is made for the SJs and largely run by SJs and kept mainly to transform these frolicking puppies into serious, duty-oriented little parents, who seek only to know what they are "supposed to do."

By the time the SJ shows up at school he has already shifted from the fraternal to the praternal outlook. Of course, he will feel dependent for many years, all through childhood (until he gets a paper route or other earning source), but the feeling is not enjoyed in the least. This is not a desire for independence (as it is with the SP); rather it is an unfulfilled desire to serve, as if the SJ is impatient to be useful.

They are proud of themselves in the degree they are reliable in action, respect themselves in the degree they do good deeds, and feel confident of themselves in the degree they are respectable. In search of security as they are the "Security Seeking Personality" -- trusting in legitimacy and hungering for membership. They are usually stoical about the present, pessimistic about the future, fatalistic about the past, and their preferred time and place is the past and the gateway.

Many of SJs actions are directed towards preparation for life's setbacks and untoward events that are bound to occur. The SJ is realistic about error and shortages. Best set aside something for rainy days.

Ant And Grasshopper Analogy for SP-SJ Relationships
Aesop's "The Ant and The Grasshopper" gives us a splendid analogy for viewing the reciprocal relationship of SJ and SP. In the fable, the Ant is industriously and dutifully transporting large crumbs of bread from site to storage while the Grasshopper reclines on a blade of grass near Ant's path, playing the fiddle, chewing tobacco, and singing, "The World Owes Me A Living." Ant, without losing stride in his burdensome work, scolds Grasshopper for not preparing for the upcoming winter months. "Join me," urges Ant, "and we will together fill the storehouse, thus ensuring that none will suffer cold or hunger." Grasshopper replies, "And, if you keep up this feverish pace you won't make it until winter, succumbing to ulcers, high blood pressure, or colitis. Join me on my blade of grass, and we will enjoy together the warm summer, the food that abounds, and celebrate the word's debt to us in song." Each, of course, ignores the others request and goes on his merry way or tedious way. When it turns out to be a long, cold, hungry winter, Grasshopper must knock at Ant's door and stand there frostbitten and starving; Ant, snug in his storehouse of goodies can only let Grasshopper in. And so it is with SJs and SPs-they marry each other or get into relationships with high frequency and play out this eternal drama.

Membership Hunger
The SJs desire to become useful often comes in the guise of membership hunger. Here the SJ appears to have a larger appetite than others. To belong to social units is central to her style. The SJ recognizes by her actions the social nature of man. She, far more than others, creates and fosters the continuity of social units: the family, the church, the service club, the municipality, and the corporation. The social unit can become for the SJ an end in itself, just as action is its own end for the SP. The
SP, on the other hand, may join the social unit, but he requires and expects that unit to serve and fulfill his needs in return for membership.

Tradition becomes more and more important as the SJ gets older. Look for the SJ member of the family, club, church, or company to observe traditions. If traditional ceremonies and celebrations are nonexistant, the thorough-going SJ soon manages to establish some and thereafter maintain them.

Serving Others
The SJ has a keen sense for detecting ingratitude and lack of appreciation, dealing as he does in giving, service, and care. Strangely though, he cannot ask for gratitude or appreciation because it is his duty to give, serve, and care for. She feels obligated, responsible, and burdened, and wants to feel that way. To feel otherwise is to be useless and not belong. To receive, be served, and be taken care of are not legitimate desires and must be expunged and hidden from oneself whenever they appear. Witness the SJ who goes to a party, but in order to have a good time helps the host serve refreshments and clean up afterwards! On the other hand, watch an
SP throw a party and note that the SJ guests end up catering to his desires. True, he started it, but look who finished it!

Traditionalist Communication
Like their Experiencer cousins, Traditionalists talk for the most part about the concrete particulars theyh observe in their material or social surroundings. They might listen politely to conversation on theoretical or fanciful topics, but they tend not to respond in kind and will shift to more concrete things to talk about, more solid and sensible topics, such as goods and services, food and clothing, credits and debits, prices and wages, gains and losses, transportation and recreation, weather and shelter, accidents and disaster, rich and poor, famous and infamous, radio, TV, and the movies. Of course they can and will discuss abstractions, but lacking much interest in them, they are inclined to shift the conversation away from the abstract to the concrete.

Traditionalist speech is coherent in the associative sense, which means they move from one topic to another associatively rather than deductively or inductively, as do Conceptualists or Idealists. When Traditionalists are reminded of something, however distant from or unrelated topic at hand, the mention it. And often this reminds others of something else, who then mention that. And so the conversation goes from topic to topic, by contiguity rather than implication, like a row of dominoes, each toppling the next. Such conversations are interesting to all who participate, since each is speaking of what is pertinent to his or her own life, but no single topic is pursued at length, and issues, if surfaced, tend not to get settled. SJs aare very good at this sort of small talk, something their opposites, the NTs are very poor at-which puts the SJs firmly in the social driver's seat and the NTs in the trailer.

On topics that interest them Traditionalists are able to store an enormous fund of facts which they will call up and, again, freely associate in conversation. They can remember people's names, birthdays, the names of their friends' parents and children, how those children are doing in school, who their relatives' friends are, who's gotten what job, and son, one bit of information easily calling forth another.

This is concrete information, concerning specific persons, products, times, and places, and lending itself to comparative value (this better than that) and amount (too much, not enough). It is the storage, retrieval, and effortless association of such data that makes Traditionalists the most comfortable at conversation of all types.

Besides being associative and comparative, Traditionalist speech is predominantly orthodox. SJs are ever wary of putting on airs or getting fancy in what they say. So they tend to use a rather conventional vocabulary and phrasing, often throwing in old sayings, proverbs, and adages (particularly about value and amount), such as "a penny saved is a penny earned", "a stitch in time saves nine".

At the same time, Traditionalist speech if often laced wiht admonition. SJs are inclined to warn others of possible danger, whether of hurting themselves or others-"be careful, you'll hurt yourself".

Traditionalists usually avoid shadowy hand gestures when they speak. But when they do get animated out come the hands: the index finger wages in warning, or the fist rises in front of them-the square menacing fist of the SPs, but a fist with the thumb atop the curled index finger, as if holding the reins and driving a team of horses. And perhaps most familiar of all, SJs will bring one or both hands down swiftly in a chopping motion to emphasize their statements or to cut off further discussion.

Traditionalist Occupation Choices
There is no mystery surrounding the SJs choice of work. The institutions call him and he comes to them to establish them, nurture them, and maintain their continuity and perpetuity. Teaching, preaching, accounting, banking, clerking, and medicating, rehabilitating, securing, insuring, and managing. Educationally they go for commerce, avocationally for regulations, and vocationally for material work. The SJ is the conservator no matter where she goes or who she's with or what she does. She saves, one way or another, sooner or later. Her complement, the
SP, spends, one way or another, sooner or later. The SJ is the cornerstone, flywheel, and stabilizer of society, and we might well rejoice at his or her presence.

Conservation can be so strong a desire in the SJ that it can cloud his or her judgement in the face of taking on additional responsibility. If the conserving SJ perceives a potential loss of somthing, then the SJ may take on the added responsibility, which may be too much for the SJ. The SJ worries, "If I don't do it, who will?" Of course the SJ feels some bitterness over the lack of appreciation and even feel a sense of loss, ironically occasioned by the very act of trying to prevent loss. But this feeling of not being appreciated is not something the SJ can express freely, since he is after all indebted and obligated by his very nature.

The SJ is society's natural historian.

SJ Traditionalist Mating

If there is one temperament that best fulfills the traditional, family-oriented mating role, it is the Traditionalists. Traditionalists are quite content, even proud, to seem themselves (and to be seen) as the "Good Wife" and the "Devoted Husband". Loyal, dependable, hard-working, given to nesting and to nurturing, Traditionalists provide a solid foundation for all our civilized institutions, including the instituion of marriage.

Traditionalist Courtship
Traditionalists have these institutions very much in mind when they begin to date. In general, SJs go out with others not so much for the excitement and variety of it (like
SP Experiencers), but in order to take part in social activities, to practice social graces, to observe community or family traditions, and ultimately to find a suitable mate. In this comparison with Experiencers, it is easy to see Traditionalists as over-serious, and to wonder, "is it true Experiencers (like blondes) have more fun?" But we must remember that Traditionalists want to have fun, too-only this is their fun, the preparation for, and the participation in, social activities.

Nor do social activities need to be thought of as boring. Although Traditionalists have little interest in wild parties or racy entertainment, many love going on dates to popular movies, to church or school dances, to amusement parks, to civic attractions (zoos, gardens, historical monuments), as well as popular restaurants, hit plays, long-running musicals, and the like, not only to have a good time, but to do their part as active, supportive memebers of the community. Further, the extraverted SJs do indeed like to go to parties, not to let loose, mind you, but to interact socially-to help mark special occassions, to keep up with friends and colleagues, and to be a part of social or civic events, such as dinner parties, charity balls, and VIP receptions. And though always reluctant to spend money, once in awhile Traditionalists love to go to really impressive places, a famous hotel dining room, for example, where they can feel treated like royalty.

On these formal occasions, a female Traditionalist likes to receive traditional tokens of esteem (flowers, candy) from her escort, but even on the most ordinary dates she expects to be treated with the best of manners, like a lady, with doors opened for her, chair pushed in after her, and help on with her coat. In the same way, the Traditionalist male always tries to behave like a gentleman, and will attned his date wtih old-fashioned courtesy, standing when she enters the room, for instance, and walking her to her door at the end of the evening. SJ men are also happy to take responsibility for the proper scheduling of an evening, arriving punctually, making sure of dinner reservations, arranging for tickets in advance, and so on, leaving nothing to chance or to whim. On their side, SJ women also like their dates to be punctual, but they themselves have the habit of fussing over last minute details of dress or makeup, and consequently often keep their dates waiting.

With so much of a Traditionalist's interpersonal energy given over to observing the social ettiquette of dating, there is little left for sexual exploration. Of course, the SJs have just as much curiosity as the next person-they are rarely prudes-and they are often quite affectionate with steady boyfriends or girlfriends. But they are never casual or irresponsible about sex-they do not sleep around-and even with their steadies they are cautious about going too far. SJ's tend to regard pre-marital sex in moral terms, as if chastity were Good and sexuality Evil. They also speak of pre-marital sex as a matter of sanitation, referring to a virgin as someone "pure", "clean", or "spotless," and picturing someone sexually active as "dirty", "trashy", or "stained". And, most telling of all, SJs think of pre-marital sex in terms of spending and saving: they are opposed to "free love" and "cheap" sexual experiences, just as they are intent on keeping their "treasure" under lock and key, and on "saving" themselves for marriage.

Female Traditionalists, in particular, usually have only limited sexual experience before they marry, even in the age of sexual freedom. For SJs, there is always the unexpressed atttitude that "nice girls don't". If they do, it is likely that peer pressure lead them into sexual activity because it was the thing to do. Male Traditionalists have more opportunity, and more social sanction, to sew their wild oats, but they tend not to do so joyously and freely like SP Experiencers, feeling instead a sense of responsibility to their partner, and feeling dishonest, even shabby, if they take advantage of a young woman. Not that Traditionalists are rigidly straightlaced. When SJ males are in social contact with other males-for example, at conventions, hunting trips, on the golf course-they can rival the SPs in their command of off-color language and repetoire of sexual jokes. And female SJs, while often prim and proper in public, can have a surprisingly earthy side in private with close female friends, and can enjoy jokes and sexual gossip with a playful shake of the head and a teasing "aren't you awful". it is with members of the opposite sex that Traditionalists are alert to be on their best behavior.

The Traditionalists' caution and conventionality can put other types off at first, but become quite attractive, when the other temperaments are ready to settle down, and start a family. NF Idealists, torn about life and identity, can feel safe in the hands of Traditionalists, calmed by their unambiguous values and knowledge of the world, and they will project a kind of nobility of spirit onto the Traditionalist's sense of moral earnestness. NT Conceptualists who often dismiss social traditions as being trivial, are generally more critical of Traditionalists, but can be attracted by their social skills, as well as by their family loyalty and their competence in handling the demands of home and hearth. However, it is the high flying SP Experiencers who are the most attracted to the Traditionalists-that is, when the SP is finally looking to settle down. Under the marriage impulse, SPs are drawn to SJs as to a place of stability and safe harbor where they can rest and recover from their adventures, and they will sometimes place the SJ on a moral pedestal, seeing them as someone more civilized than they, a lady or a gentleman who might be able to straighten them up or make them fly right.

In some cases, naturally, the Traditionalist style can cause problems for the other temperaments. Idealists, Conceptualists, and Experiencers all in their own way have a strong desire for individuality that can clash with the Traditionalist's stubborn sense of tradition, compliance, and regulation. SPs press for unrestrained action, NFs search for the unique personal identities, and NTs resist any and all constraints on their freedom of thought. This willingness of othe other temperaments to strike out on their own, and explore new territory both attracts and troubles SJs, and when it troubles them enough to make them dig in their heels, it can be the cause of broken relationships.

Traditionalist Married Life
After the ceremonies have been observed (including the carefully arranged honeymoon), Traditionalists will turn their attention to what they consider the serious business of living-establishing a home and family, cultivating a circle of friends, making social connections, and getting ahead in their career. The certainty and predictability of married life is much more to their liking than the whirl of dating (courtship is something one does before vows are taken), and at this point SJs are likely to begin neglecting romance, which can prove disappointing to mates of other tempraments. SJs are content to live on an even keel, are happy to keep within established routines, and seldom complain of boredom. To be sure, they tend to suppress emotional spontaneity, although when fatigued or under stress they can suddenly flare into grouchiness, or sink into gloom for no apparant reason. For the most part, however, SJs are good-hearted, good-natured adherents of the tried-and-true. They may enjoy eating out at the same restaurant, say, every Friday evening, or they may be willing to visit the same vacation spot year after year, looking forward to the same recreational activities with the same people in the same place.

Clearly, tradition has a strong importance for the Traditionalist. First of all, they have a diligent sense of family history, and greatly value stories and information about their families. They like to keep in touch with extended family circle and they enjoy entertaining relatives especially with holiday customs such as the Thanksgiving turkey, and the Easter ham. In addition a Traditionalist mate will likely belong to traditional civic groups of the community-the Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, the League of Women Voters, and will probably will be knowledgable of the status heirarchy and pecking orders in those groups. School and church related activities , PTA fund raisers, Christmas bazaars, Father's Club pancake breakfasts, may often occupy the SJs free time. They feel good about taking part in community based organizations, both charitable and social, from volunteering to the March of Dimes to supporting the home town ball team, whether professional, college, or even high school.

SJs keep up their house and yard faithfully, and they accept their neighbors to do likewise, to show pride of ownership, certainly, but also to maintain property values in the neighborhood. SJs tend to be careful with money and are likely budget strictly planning well for the future, sometimes at the cost of much sacrifice in the present. Insurance policies, savings amounts, government bonds, and other conservative investments make sense to Traditionalists, who understand their safety. Also understood is the value of property, tools, clothes, and the like. Clothing, especially should be simple and durable-SJs dress conservatively, appropriately and they often make their own clothes. Goods of all kinds should be used up, worn out, and then not thrown away, but donated to a charitable agency. "Waste not, want not" is understood and honored as a motto by the Traditionalist.

Traditionalists are usually conservative about their sexual practics, and are apt to establish their routines early in marriage and to observe them throughout life. The unexpected and unusual are not usually a part of the married SJ's sexual repertoire, making it unlikely for them to experiment very much with sexual approaches or techniques-or partners. Although certainly not blind to the charms of others, SJs prefer sex with their lawfully wedded partner, and generally speadking, they are more comfortable making love at an accustomed time and in an accustomed place, a regularity which becomes more and more pronounced as the years go by. At bottom, married SJs regard sex as a means of reproduction rather than a form of recreation and both male and female SJs may reflect the attitude that having children, who will bring joy and comfort, and who will continue the family line, is expected and desirable in marriage. While this is less true in our so called sexually liberated age, the view of sex as recreation is still not ordinarily held by most married Traditionalists.

Traditional mates may have some difficulty understanding the emotional needs of other types, particularly the NF Idealists and the NT Conceptualists, for whom transactions outside of the bedroom loom vital as a precursor to sexual response. The notion of getting turned on by books or ideas-philosophy, psychology, literature-does not make much sense to SJs. Sex is sex and philosophy is philosophy. Nor does emotional conflict seem to carry over into the bedroom for SJs. They can be angry with their mates, even scolding them, and then expect them to come to bed with open arms, having separated these criticisms from the sexual relationship.

Not only in the bedroom, but also in many other areas of married life, Traditionalists tend to communicate a nurturing attitude as well as a critical attitude. Thus, for the SJ, caring for the mate means having responsibility both for seeing t hem safe and well-provided for, and for seeing that they know the Right Thing to do and the Right Way to do it, which means the ways learned from parents and social tradition. SJs have a sure sense of what is Good and what is Right, and they do not hesitate to impose their values and procedures onto their mates in the form of the Pygmalion Projects. This is not to say that all Traditionalists are devoted to Pygmalion Projects, but it does appear that their parental disposition seems naturally turned toward trying to shape up their mates's attitudes and actions. SJs care deeply that their loved ones, of whatever age or temperament, grow up and start behaving responsibly, or sensibly, or respectfully, as the case may be, and, again, they are not shy about communicating their expectations.

SJ Pairings
Despite their tendancy to take a firm hand with their loved ones, Traditionalists can mate happily with all the temperaments, especially if the mating partner in each case places a high value on home and family. But there are pitfalls.

SJ Traditionalist to NF Idealist
Traditionalists share with
Idealists a concern for society and for the morality of behavior, a wish to do right and to help other people; and at the same time they can be impressed by the NFs' spirituality and eye for potentiality, so different from their own down-to-earth, traditional way of life. But there are also areas of incompatibility. Traditionalists can be quite critical of Idealist enthusiasm, their propensity to get carried away with an idea, which the SJ worries might break with tradition and jeopardize a stable home. And they can be badly frustrated when asked by NFs to increase the depth and the meaning of the relationship, with no clue on how to proceed, and with their renewed efforts to stabilize and solidify the marriage only taken as a sign of superficiality.

SJ Traditionalist to NT Conceptualist
Traditionalists are comfortable with the Conceptualists skeptical attitude and obsession with their work, which seem very much like their own pessimism and sense of duty; and they often admire the NTs' ingenuity, which is such a reach from their own reliance on by-the-book routine. However, Traditionalists can feel blocked out of a Conceptualist's cognitive life, and feel the scorn that many NT's hold for routine and convention. Indeed, of all the temperaments NTs are perhaps the appreciative of the SJ's interest in everyday household matters, and all too often neglect to thank their Traditionalist mates for their caring, keeping, and stabilizing effect in the marriage.

SJ Traditionalist to SJ Traditionalist
Traditionalists have similar ups and downs mating with other Traditionalists. Two SJs can be attracted to each other and get on surprisingly well together. In the first place, Traditionalists are are not particularly troubled by familiarity or predictability in a relationship-being two peas in a pod sounds rather comfortable to them. And then the two SJs share so much interest in domestic stability, including a devotion to home and family, an industrious work ethic, conservative attitudes towards parenting, recreation, spending and saving, toward memberships, collecting, civic responsibility, and so on, not to mention an appreciation for each other's carefulness and willingness to do thankless jobs. But this marriage also presents its problems. Two Traditionalists can step all over each other trying to run the house and do for each other, both insisting that their routine is the right one. And worse, in SJ-SJ marriages the critical attitude of one mate is met with the same critical attitude in the other. Imagine two umpires, each steadfastly tryhing to call the other's balls and strikes. We can safely guess that this sort of relationship will have its share of conflicts.

SJ Traditionalist to SP Experiencer Marriage
The most common marriage pairing found between all the temperament types is the SJ married to the Experiencer SP. There are two primary reasons for this frequent combination. First, the two temperaments compliment each other well. Also both types comprise 85% of the general population and so the odds are high that they will find each other when courting. Not only do Experiencers and Traditionalists both make their home in the concrete world of Sensing, but their complimentary natures seem to fill a void in each others temperaments. Here is the adventurous, fun loving SP, bursting with energy and yearing for excitement of new experiences, attracted to the concerned and responsible SJ, the "Rock of Gibralter" stand watch over the established rules and traditions of society. In may ways, the match seems incongruous and difficult to account for, and yet the frequency with which SPs choose to marry SJs is compelling. Perhaps the seeking of the stability they lack, perhaps wanting some missing center of their lives, perhaps just needing someone to take care of them-whatever the reason, Experiencers choose Traditionalists by far over any other temperament.

And just as frequently these SP-SJ marriages to well over time, with Experiencers and Traditionalists often finding a comfortable balance in their opposition: the SJ able to settle the SP down a good deal, and the SP able to loosen up the SJ. Indeed, it often takes the moral weight of Traditionalists expectations to get Experiencers off of their motorcycles (surfboards, airplanes, race cars, sail-boats) long enough to get careers built or to raise families, just as it takes the high jinx of Experiencers to bring a smile to the Traditionalist's face and help them to bear up under the burdens of life. In many cases, SP-SJ marriages resemble the relationship between a mischievous child and a caretaking parent. SP husbands, in particular, tend to call their SJ wives "Mother", just as SJ wives often refer to their SP husbands as just another one of their "boys". The inherent conflicts in such a relationship may even be enjoyable up to a certain point; the Experiencer likes to have someone to tease, and the Traditionalist likes to have someone to care for. Points of conflict are there, to be sure-between impulse and deliberation, between insubordination and respect for duty, between spending and saving-but as long as these differences are taken in stride, with tolerance and good will on both sides, SP-SJ marriages go along nicely, and the Pygmalion Projects remain benign as they should be. SPs should learn to demonstrate their appreciation for the stability and protectiveness that the Traditionalist brings to the relationship and the SJ needs to allow the Experiencer freedom to play and to value the joy that the Experiencer brings to the journey of Life. For mutual growth, the Traditionalist should be included in some of the play of the Experiencer and the Experiencer, by the same token, needs to willingly participate in some of the family, social, and civic duties that the Traditionalist values as important.

Famous Traditionalists