Our orientation to the external world

This section Judging-Perceiving Preferences will delve deeper into how we orient ourselves to the external world.

This mainly talks about whether we desire closure and conclusion in our environment or we seek openness and experience from it.

Like all the other dichotomies, these two differences can lead to differences in our lifestyle and the way we choose to run our daily activities, and often lead to conflict as well.

External Orientation and the 
Judging-Perceiving Preferences

Judging people desire and seek closure in their lives. They want things to be settled and work to be concluded as soon as possible, and therefore they like to make decisions. Judging in this case should not be confused with judgmental, which has a negative implication.

Perceiving people desire and seek openness in their lives. They prefer to keep their options open and will resist making any decisions up till the last possible moment. Perceiving in this case should not be confused with perceptive, as both Judging and Perceiving types can be perceptive. 

These differences will run through the whole life of the individual. From arranging schedules, budgeting finances, planning events, the Judging individual wants all these to be settled, and often finds it hard to understand the Perceiving individual who seems not to want to settle any of these. 

The result is that Judging individuals often form a very bad impression of Perceiving individuals, and look upon them as unreliable, passive and purposeless people.  

However, the Perceiving individuals see a life to be experienced, and hence they want to take things as they come. They strongly believe that the new information will cause them to change their decisions and thereby resist making any decision too early. 

Who’s right? Of course neither. Whether anyone should make a decision or stay open to new possibilities is often dependent on the situation, and the key for any individual is to learn when to adopt a Judging stance or a Perceiving stance. 

Nonetheless, personality preferences state that individuals, if given a choice, will prefer one over the other. 

Behavioural Traits

Below is a list of some observable distinguishing behaviour of Judgers and Perceivers:

  • Judgers generally enjoy keeping a schedule, while Perceivers don’t.

    It would be a mistake to say that Perceivers don’t keep a schedule. In a world where most people are driven by productivity and efficiency, keeping schedules is an important part of our lives. 

    However, it is the Judgers that ENJOY the process of keeping a schedule. They like to settle things, and that includes the appointments, meetings that they have. Leaving things open or unconfirmed unsettles them, and they want to find closure as soon as possible.

    Perceivers, if they do keep a schedule, would tell you that they do it because it is useful or helpful for them, but if they were honest, they would tell you they DO NOT ENJOY the process of doing it. Perceivers actually find keeping a schedule stifling and constricting to their casual, spontaneous nature. 

    The same actually applies to the finances of an individual. Most Judgers will keep track of their expenditure mentally or physically because the recording of it gives them a sense of control. Perceivers, on the other hand, don’t do so, and if they do, it is often done reluctantly and only because they feel it is absolutely necessary. 

  • Judgers look finished with their dressing; Perceivers generally don’t.

    Judgers often even plan their dressing in advance. Usually, they would have planned their outfit for the day the night before. For some, they may even plan a week in advance how they will wear their clothes with considerations like not wearing the same clothes on the same day of the week or what combinations of clothing to wear.

    The result is that Judgers look finished with their dressing. Even if it’s a casual occasion, the combination of outfits, accessories and even their hair look suitable for the occasion, and they appear well thought out.

    Perceivers, on the other hand, do not see a need to decide on their outfit until the same morning. That is usually when they will pick the first outfit in the wardrobe or the first shirt in the stack. 

    The result is that Perceivers often look casual and unfinished in their dressing. Maybe the colour combination’s not perfect, or they’re lacking an accessory or two. In generally, they look more casual than what the occasion requires.

    Of course, the exception is for big days like wedding dinners or grand events, where most people would plan their outfits long in advance. 

  • Judgers are scheduled in their projects, while Perceivers report bursts of energy near the deadline.

    Judgers take a planned approach to project completion. When given a project or task to do, they will plan out their work in accordance to their current schedule. They will take purposeful step by step measures to complete the task, and their work will be completed in a scheduled manner. 

    If the project is due in a month’s time, their work will be divided evenly across 4 weeks according to their schedule. 

    Perceivers, unless trained, take a spontaneous approach to project completion. Often, they do not have the motivation to complete a task until it is extremely close to the deadline. Then, they will find a burst of energy to complete everything at once, sometimes even forgoing their sleep or rest. 

    If the project is due in a month, the Perceivers will do most, if not all of the work in the last few days of the last week. 

    As a result, a Perceiver’s work may come out incomplete or filled with careless errors, and as a result, viewed upon poorly by Judgers especially. 

  • Judgers may fall into the trap of being judgmental while Perceivers may fall into a trap of passivity. 

    While Judging itself does not mean being judgmental, Judgers may sometimes fall into the trap of becoming judgemental of others. Because of their desire for closure, Judgers often want to decide if something is right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate and so on. This may result in them pre-judging others when they have not received all available information.

    Judgers can do well if they suspend their conclusion in order to listen and request for more information. They may form a different and more accurate conclusion with new information.

    Similarly, Perceivers in their desire for openness and new information may refuse to make a decision even when it is absolutely necessary and fall into the trap of passivity. Perceiving at its worst is an individual who just wants to drift through life, not wanting to make any decisions for themselves or their lives and allows the forces of life and the will of others to push them wherever. 

    While being flexible and open to changes is a good virtue, Perceivers must learn to know when closure is necessary. Sometimes a bad decision can be better than no decision at all. 

Learn more about the other preferences:

Extroversion - Introversion: How we draw energy
Sensing-Intuition: How we perceive information
Thinking-Feeling: How we make decisions

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