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DISC - Newsletter #022 SOCIAL COMPATIBILITY

Updated: Jan 6, 2020


So what happens when different personality types get together socially? Well, the four basic behavioral styles mix and match into ten combinations. Behavioral science research shows clearly which combinations - prior to use of The Platinum Rule - mesh or clash naturally.

For starters, people with similar tendencies are most compatible with one another socially. That's because those with common interests, habits, and approaches help reinforce each other's self-esteem.


So it won't surprise you to learn that the most naturally compatible combinations in social situations are: Compliant - Compliant

Steady - Steady

Interactive - Interactive


Where, you ask, are the Dominant Styles? Well, they also tend to flock to one another - at least for awhile. But they possess such a strong competitiveness that even the Dominant - Dominant relationship isn't quite as naturally harmonious as the others.


That pairing does, however, show up under the moderately compatible category: Dominant - Dominant

Steady - Compliant

Dominant - Interactive

Interactive - Steady


Compatibility doesn't come quite as naturally in these cases. But with effort, progress is possible and, in fact, success in working with less compatible individuals can be an esteem builder in each case.

Dominant and Interactive Styles share an outward focus and often similar interests. Steady and Compliant Styles, on the other hand, are both inward-oriented and may like the same kinds of activities.


Both Interactive and Steady Styles aspire to be in a supportive relationship. Usually, though, it's the Steady Style who's in the giving role and the Interactive Style who's the receiver.


Meanwhile, the fast-paced, extroverted Dominant and Interactive Styles commonly find it hard to develop rapport with the easygoing, quieter Steady and Compliant Styles, who are less decisive and enthusiastic. And the Steady and Compliant Styles, in turn, find the Dominant Style less desirable because they're too pushy, too loud, and often demand too much of them.


Therefore, of all ten combinations, these three pairs are often the least naturally compatible socially:

Dominant - Steady

Interactive - Compliant

Dominant - Compliant


To the Dominant Style, who just wants to get things done, and to the Interactive Style, who just wants to have fun, the cautious Compliant Style and Steady Style can be drags. While Steady Styles often resign themselves to tolerate the forwardness of Dominant and Interactive Styles, the Compliant Style frequently just prefers to be alone.


What's more, even when relaxing, the Compliant Style wants to do all things right. Whether it's just grilling hot dogs, chatting about politics, or setting up the croquet wickets, the Compliant Style sets standards and judges himself and others by how they meet them. The Compliant Style, in the eyes of the Dominant or Interactive Styles, is not living as much as he is just serving time. By and large, never the twain shall meet - at least unless and until The Platinum Rule is practiced.


On the positive side, though, there is a fascination factor in these three pairings, and bridges can be built. Given positive energy, the natural differences can fuel attraction, particularly when one style sees what it can learn from another. A Dominant Style, for example, may see how he can become more patient and responsive to others by taking a cue from a Steady Style. A Steady Style, meanwhile, may be able to draw on the Dominant Style's strengths for taking charge and accepting risk.

Similarly, a sensitive Interactive can see how she can learn DISCretion from the Compliant Style, and the Compliant Style perceives that she can become more relaxed and sociable by being around the Interactive Style.


Perhaps the most difficult hurdles socially are posed by the Dominant - Compliant relationship. For it to work, both must yield their personal control needs, with the Dominant Style deciding to give the type of space the Compliant Style needs, and the Compliant Style learning to be much more direct and open about his concerns with the Dominant Style.

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