Friday, 15 January 2016

Socionics Relations #4: The 'Wonky' Ones

In Socionics, each type is thought to have a certain, set relation to each other type, resulting in 16 separate relations and 136 possible pairings to be had between people of specific types.

In the previous three articles on Socionics & Relations, we covered relations that were 'symmetric' in nature. This means that the relation was shared in the same way between both parties, each having the same attitude towards the other. In this fourth instalment, we look instead at the asymmetric, 'wonky' relations. These are where there is an element of imbalance, or something is unrequited. Frequently, participants in 'wonky' relations will relate to each other in different ways. Consequently, any difficulty in these relationships is one-sided, rather than felt mutually.

Unlike with symmetric relations, the interaction that one type has with another in 'wonky' relations is not returned in kind. Instead, the interaction is passed on to another, third type. From there, it is passed onto a fourth, and so on, until it reaches the type we started with. Consequently, 'wonky' relations are not represented in terms of a closed relationship between two types, but is instead a ring of four types. There are two main kinds of asymmetric relation, with their being four rings of four types for each.

Because of the 'wonky' relations existing in a ring, we must also consider the direction it is turning in. We can go round in a clockwise direction, with the relation being seen as active or superior: one type doing something to the other. Alternatively, we can go anti-clockwise, with the relation becoming passive or inferior type's: one type having something done to it. For this reason, we could say that there are two different relations happening at once. Two kinds of asymmetric relation exist each in two directions, making four.


Supervision is the more simple of the 'wonky' relations. Most crudely, it can be described as similar to conflict, only that one side doesn't fight back. This is correct, in so far as supervision depends on the interaction between the Leading function of one type and the Vulnerable type of the other. In addition, these types are often of opposite temperaments, leading to very different levels of energy. However, the lack of mutuality makes this more complicated than conflict.  As mentioned before, each asymmetric relation exists in two parts. For this reason, we can divide supervision into an active and passive form, one type being the Supervisor, while the other type is the Supervisee.

The Supervisor forms the active half of supervision. Utilising the Leading function, Supervisors supervise with the areas they possess confidence, capability and certainty. Consequently, they are always on the stronger side of the relation and are the ones to decide the terms of what is right and wrong in it. However, their judgement of the relation can easily make them dissatisfied, seeing the Supervisee as having something fundamentally wrong with them, while at the same time, seemingly unwilling to improve themselves in the area of importance. Supervisors may often hang around out of benign concern for their Supervisees, although just as often, they might react with mild incredulity to the Supervisee's ineptness. Nevertheless, their adaptive Creative function will match the strong Leading function of the Supervisee, causing them to understand what their Supervisee is about and pity them more often than having disdain. Should they stay closer for longer, the supervisor will usually have to lapse their standards for the Supervisee and expect less of them, or continue to 'help' with increasing frustration from both sides.

The Supervisee forms the passive half of Supervision. Utilising the 'blind spot' Vulnerable function, Supervisees are left open to the criticisms of their Supervisors. Being naturally unable to adjust to, improve on, or even appreciate the area being supervised, the Supervisee may feel like a dunce around their Supervisor, not understanding why a fuss is being made over them, but getting the impression that they are perpetually on the verge of doing something wrong. To many, this may be an irritating drag that they will have to put up with or walk away from. To others, the constant disapproval from the Supervisor can make them feel unappreciated and unvalued. Furthermore, Supervisees may feel helpless in that they are unable to find fault with their Supervisors, as the Leading function of the former matches up with the flexible and capable Creative function of the latter.

The four rings of Supervision are as follows:

  1. ...-> ILE -> LSI -> SEE -> EII -> ILE...
  2. ...-> SEI -> EIE -> ILI -> LSE -> SEI...
  3. ...-> ESE -> SLI -> LIE -> IEI -> ESE...
  4. ...-> LII -> IEE -> ESI -> SLE -> LII...


Between this and Supervision, Benefit is the more complicated 'wonky' relation of the two, and by far more complicated than any other in the Socion. It is perhaps most externally similar to a half-way Activity relation, with there being a partial similarity of values, and a partial difference in abilities, while possessing a similar competing energy. However, the asymmetry of this relation can quickly change such tendencies. Once again, the benefit relation can be divided into two parts, with the active, superior type in the relation being known as the Benefactor, while the passive, inferior type in the relation being known as the Beneficiary.

The Benefactor forms the active half of Benefit. In this case, the Benefactor usually begins by seeing the Beneficiary as someone quite familiar and similar to them. The Benefactor's strong Leading function will match with the Beneficiary's equally strong Demonstrative function, meaning that superficially, they will seem  to the Benefactor to be doing similar things, despite having very different reasons for doing so. Soon, the Benefactor will realise that their Beneficiary is actually a very needy person, and will ask or expect much assistance from the Benefactor's capable and flexible Creative function. However, much demand on this function can feel like a burden to the Benefactor, who is not accustomed to applying their Creative function in this proactive way, and would much rather do so with their dominant, Leading function. At the same time, the Benefactor will feel increasing sense of injustice with the relationship, as they find the Beneficiary completely unwilling to satisfy their needs in return. The Benefactor's needy Suggestive function goes neglected by the Beneficiary's 'blind spot' Vulnerable function, resulting in what feels like an unfair, one-sided relationship. This can worsen with the Benefactor becoming accustomed to being selfless and doting on their Beneficiary, or otherwise, breaking off the relation indignantly and leaving a highly dependent Beneficiary.

The Beneficiary forms the passive half of Benefit. Often the first impression Beneficiary has of the Benefactor is that they are slightly buffoonish, with the Beneficiary's strong and dominant Leading function finding the stubborn and overconfident Mobilising function of the Benefactor to be both silly and non-threatening. However, after spending time with their Benefactor, they will notice a subtler quality to them attracts deeper interest. The Suggestive function of the Beneficiary, needing a lot of care, becomes attracted to the flexible Creative function of the Benefactor, which at first is happy to oblige and help out. Despite this, the Suggestive function of the Beneficiary is never really satisfied, as the Creative function is too innocuous and flexible to give them the strong support they need. Furthermore, the little help given is often smothered in a dominant Leading function that feels wrong-headed and backward to the Beneficiary's Demonstrative function, making it very hard to satisfy the Suggestive function. This may cause the Beneficiary to ask for more and more help, becoming increasingly dependent, while the Benefactor becomes increasingly tired of providing what they need. Alternatively, all the Beneficiary needs is to see their Suggestive function met more effectively by someone else, and, feeling satisfied elsewhere, can break off the relation quite suddenly, leaving the Benefactor reeling at the waste of their effort.

The four rings of Benefit are as follows:

  1. ...-> ILE -> EIE -> SEE -> LSE -> ILE...
  2. ...-> SEI -> LSI -> ILI -> EII -> SEI...
  3. ...-> ESE -> IEE -> LIE -> SLE -> ESE...
  4. ...-> LII -> SLI -> ESI -> IEI -> LII...

This concludes the Socionics & Relations series.

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