Don’t Say the “R” Word

Alternatives to saying “relax” to Judgers

Don't Say "Relax"

When Judgers start to feel a bit stressed, they tend to show it in their behavior. There might be a knotted brow, an intensity to how they talk, and it may seem like they are struggling to remain patient and calm. The natural reaction among Perceivers is to polarize from this set of behaviors and to try and amp up their calm, relaxed demeanor. And, they often find themselves tempted to offer stress management advice along the lines of “Hey, you need to relax!” or “Dude, you need to chill.” Unfortunately, this does not produce the desired effect.

Don't Say Relax

I can personalize this a bit by referencing the learning that I’ve had with my wife and business partner. We are quite far apart on this dimension of personality, with me leaning heavily into the Perceiver side, and her sitting firmly on the Judger side. Even with the knowledge of these basic/fundamental differences AND the understanding that neither of us is trying to annoy the other, it’s easy to unintentionally step on conversational landmines. The comic above is actually based on the number of times I underestimated the importance of having things done just a certain way before a party, trip, etc.

 

So, it would be my pleasure to share with you some words you might try swapping in to replace “Relax” and others

I get it. It’s important. I’m on it.

If your actual goal in speaking at that moment is to decrease the Judger’s stress level, this is a far more effective approach than trying to get them to “chill out.” When you tell them to relax, what ends up happening is that they ramp up their intensity and energy to try to make it MORE clear to you what’s at stake and how much they care about it.

I will say that, on the personal side of things, it is a very good idea to pair the words above with some form of action related to helping. Go get the ice for the party. Do something that takes something off the Judger’s list.

The next time you find yourself about to drop the R word on a Judger friend or colleague, catch yourself and see if you can steer towards smoother seas with something less inflammatory. And, if you’re a Judger yourself, you might consider educating your friends, family and co-workers about the unique impact words like Relax happen to have on your stress level.

Rob Toomey

Rob Toomey

President and Co-Founder of TypeCoach

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