“Harmony” as a Decision-Maker

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First see “How Your Mind Makes Decisions”

Extraverted Feeling (or what we’ve nicknamed Harmony) is the part of us that asks, “Is everyone getting their needs met?” When you make a choice that takes other people’s feelings and needs into consideration, you’re using Harmony. Obviously, conclusions reached can range from the very small to the very large.

Examples:

“I think I’ll eat toaster waffles this morning… oh, wait, Fred said he wanted those. I’ll do eggs, instead.”

“I hate my job, but I know it’s good for my family, so I’ll stay here until I know for sure I can provide for them in another way.”

“For God loved the world so much he gave his only begotten son…”

And so on.

People who use Harmony the most have an almost uncanny ability to understand social dynamics, unwritten social rules, and culture. That makes sense. If you want to make sure everyone’s feelings and needs are being taken into consideration, the best way to do that en masse is to observe etiquette. (One could argue that etiquette is one of the few things to which everyone has given silent consent.)

Harmony people are driven to create, well, harmony. They determine the value of information you give them based upon the emotional impact it will have on other people. If it works everyone into frenzy, it’s probably not going to land too well with them.

At best, they’re the quintessential “hostesses” of the world. They’re warm, inviting, and are happiest when they and their loved ones are in a big, squishy “cuddle puddle.” Think Oprah – she invites everyone to benefit from her hospitality, and she’s created a rabid fan base doing so.

On the flip side, they’re also fiercely protective of others, and can turn into Kyle’s mom from South Park when loved ones are threatened – lions and lionesses you wouldn’t want to mess with.

At worst, they’re emotionally volatile and controlling. They don’t know how to create harmony, but they’re still driven to do so. Oftentimes this is seen as trying to control other people in order to make them get along. Sometimes it’s not even as sophisticated as that. They have an idea in their head what’s ‘best for everyone’ and so that’s how it has to be.

In order to make the best decisions, Harmony people should remember two things. First, harmony isn’t about everyone pretending to get along, it’s about everyone getting their needs met. Controlling others may get the surface result you’re looking for, but you will be sacrificing happiness merely to avoid conflict. Sometimes conflict is what’s needed to ultimately reach true harmony. Some shit just has to rise to the surface before it can be skimmed.

Second, you’re part of “everyone” when considering needs. Sometimes taking a back seat for others is a valued gift, but if you do it at the expense of your needs you can only pretend for so long that everything’s okay. Your needs WILL surface, usually with a vengeance. Then everyone suffers. Attend to your needs concurrently with others, and you will actually be creating ‘harmony’.

Harmony people tend to have a blind spot in Accuracy.

Showing 14 comments
  • Rob
    Reply

    Thank you so much for posting this article. Unbelievable. It pegs me so well. In trying to care for everyone else, my needs went unmet for years, and those needs indeed came back something fierce. My physical health got to the point I couldn’t work due in part to my adoption of the immortal words of SpongeBob, “Pinky up!” and “I don’t need it!”

    And I love the car model. Very effective. Thanks again!

  • Joanie Littrel
    Reply

    As a recovering codependent, I know that I am not responsible for meeting everyone’s needs. Indeed everyone is responsible for meeting their own needs. I am disappointed that this ite is so short sighted.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      This is an article abstracting on a single cognitive function. It’s a description of how this function determines value without taking in any personal context or its relationship to other functions. By applying it to your very personal experience you’ve superimposed intent onto the article that, as a technical explanation, it would never have.

      If you’re looking for prescriptive advice around this function, I’d recommend checking out this article: https://personalityhacker.com/harmony-secret-weapon-infj/

      Cheers!

      -A-

      • Carolyn Mayer
        Reply

        Excellent Article. I for one do not think its right to put someone against their will to make u associate with them when they make u very uncomfortable due to their negative actions

    • Marjorie Browne
      Reply

      Sorry but I’m really not interested in obtaining “harmony”. I’m 81 years old and an introvert. I’ve felt like an inferior my whole life before I realized that. I like being alone — no more feelings of fear when having to meet in a group and trying to have conversations with them.

  • Dr. Thomas Amstrong
    Reply

    Dear Antonia,
    Thank you very much for sharing this. I was curious if you were aware of the Harmony Decision Maker App that was developed by Dr. Alan Barnard, CEO of Goldratt Research Labs. I have been using the App for some time and find it a very practical way to resolve the dark clouds we often face at work or home that cause disharmony in our life.
    I believe Dr. Barnard called the App “Harmony” because of his vision to help people get back Harmony in their life by offering them a step-by-step process to resolve decision conflicts within themselves or with others that was causing disharmony. I’m including the link below in case you wanted to check it out.
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/harmony-decision-maker/id1194396926?mt=8
    Best Regards
    Tom

  • A
    Reply

    As a 54 year old isfj , I have just this week discovered how I have sacrificed huge chunks of my life while ensuring everyone else’s happiness.
    There were times over the years when I did feel controlling and got unduly upset if u felt I was being rejected. Thank you Antonia & Joel for helping me see SBD understand my backseat driver.

  • ZADE
    Reply

    As an INFJ, I leave myself out of the equation often. I take into consideration everyone else except myself. I have to work harmonization with the inclusion of me too. :<)

  • Janette Schmidt
    Reply

    Very insightful and well researched. Have pinpointed my need very well. I have just recently gone on stress leave due to not taking care of myself meeting everyone else’s needs or, what I perceive to be, other’s needs. In the end I’m not meeting anyone’s needs very well. It was time to change my approach as I love to be friendly and approachable but a very bitter and angry person looks back in the mirror disappointing me. Thank you for helping me onto the best path to support finding me again.
    Everyday J

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