Personalities: Do You Know Someone Who Lives for Perfectionism?


 
By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

Perfect Pete comes home after analyzing the best route to get there the fastest during rush hour traffic.  He is disappointed that no one notices he saved two minutes by taking a new route and can’t believe the lack of attention to detail by his family.  After all, there is the right way to come home which takes the least amount of time and then there are the several wrong ways to come home which take more time.  And he has found the best.  “Why can’t they appreciate the difference between the right way and the wrong way?” he mutters, “Life would be so much easier if everyone did everything the right way.”  Not only does he have to work with people who don’t care about quality, but now he has to live with them as well.  It is enough to send him in a sour mood as once again he is alone in his rightness.  He spends the rest of the evening barely talking to his family because not only did they not realize he was home early, when he finally told them about it they were totally unimpressed and even made fun of him.

Sound familiar?  If so, then your someone is a “C” in the DISC personality profile which is “Conscientious”.  Their motto in life is to “Get it done right”, for them quality not only matters but it is the most important element.  There will be no shortcuts with this personality as they take a long time to make a decision because they analyze every last detail from every angle they can find.  For them, they want to be known as a person who is cautious, calculated, detail-oriented, and thorough.   But all of this perfectionism comes at a cost as they default to moody, arrogant and self-righteous behaviors.  As a profession, they make excellent attorneys, artists, doctors, engineers, accountants and pilots.  Basically any profession which demands accuracy is a natural fit for their personality.

As a Spouse.  Having a spouse with this personality can be frustrating as they are not likely to accept your opinion of what is right and what is wrong with a long and drawn out fight.  The only way to win an argument with this personality is to dig your heals in the sand and don’t give ground.  This group sees giving ground as a weakness in your thinking.  On the positive side, they should be managing all of your finances as they make excellent, however frustrating, financial planners.  If the decision does not need to be made right away, let them research it as you know they will find the best possible choice and you will not be disappointed with the results.

As a Friend.  Be prepared to be confronted in a not so nice manner with a laundry list of all of your flaws.  The good news is that they don’t sugar coat anything so you can count on them to be as straight as an arrow with you and usually sarcastic to boot.  While they will spend time splitting pennies over a halved dinner check, they will not be the one to pick up the phone and call you to go somewhere.  If they are your friend, you will have to be the social director but the good news is that if they don’t want to do something, they will let you know.  The bad news is that they will never let you forget a bad time or a mistake.

As a Co-Worker.  Be on guard because they will intentionally lose you in the details in an effort to out-smart, out-think and out-analyze you.  They are not doing this because they are competitive; rather they are doing this because they are convinced that they are right and want to make sure that you know it and appreciate it.  If they have designed a process, then rest assured that it is good but if you have designed a process, then they will find the flaw and point it out at nauseam.  Don’t give this personality a deadline as they are sure to change it because, well let’s just say they have a ton of “because’s” and they are usually right.  However, if the project requires a level of perfectionism, give it to them and it will be perfect. 

As a Child.  It starts early with demanding that everyone play by their own rules even if the rules are not the real rules but the ones the child made up.  You see, this child knows how to write better rules then the maker of the game so make sure you know “their rules” and are playing by them or they will throw a fit.  It is usually their way or the highway and while they don’t have fully developed analytical skills yet, they can be pretty convincing as to why you should do things their way.  Don’t give in, just listen and praise them for the suggestion, but do not argue.  This is a pointless venture which will only alienate you from your child in the future.

This personality knows all of the “whys” to nearly every question because they have already asked, researched, and analyzed the answers.  Their attention to detail makes them quite gifted, excellent musicians, careful surgeons, and fiscally responsible adults.  So if you come across a Perfect Pete don’t run away, instead let them manage a detailed project following all of their suggestions and everything will be just fine.

 

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About the author-
Chris Hammond is a
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

 

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