Judger/Perceiver Challenges: Death By A Thousand Cuts

Small judger/perceiver challenges add up over time and can seriously erode our relationships in significant ways, both at home and at work.

Judger/Perceiver Challenges

Of all the challenges out there in the world of people with different personalities trying to get along with one another, the Judger/Perceiver dimension is not the most difficult to navigate. There is a general awareness in the mainstream that people differ in terms of how they approach planning and making decisions, with some appreciation for these basic differences. However, it is this particular aspect of personality type that tends to chip away at the quality of our relationships little by little, day by day.

In our view, it’s not a really obvious issue to a lot of people, but rather death by a thousand cuts… lots of small things that add up over time and which can seriously erode our relationships in significant ways, both at home and at work. Here’s a quick characterization of both the Judging and Perceiving side of things, common challenges, and some suggestions for more peacefully navigating this difference.

A note on terminology… “Judging” or “Judger” does not imply that the person is judgmental and neither does “Perceiving” or “Perceiver” imply someone is perceptive. These are just terms used in the field of personality type.

Judger/Perceiver Challenges - Two P's in a Pod
Judger/Perceiver challenge - All about judgers


Generally time-conscious and organized, those who have a preference for Judging like to have a plan and then stick to it. They typically feel a sense of discomfort or unease when things are not planned out, and this generates energy for them to reach for closure and to put a plan in place. Once secured with a plan, Judgers tend to relax a bit. In taking on assignments, they generally want to break the work into even segments and take those in a sequence which ends up leaving them mostly finished a safe distance from the deadline.

Granted, in these hectic modern times very few things go according to plan and so many Judgers experience higher levels of stress because they’re not provided with the opportunity to operate in their preferred style for much of the time. When plans change, Judgers usually go through a brief mourning period… before re-grouping to put a new plan in place. If you or people you know book their travel months and months ahead of schedule and usually have their bags packed days in advance of their departure, those are both good clues for the Judger preference.

Judger/Perceiver challenge - All about perceivers


Unlike their Judging friends, Perceivers typically have a relaxed and casual relationship with time and making plans. They tend to experience an unease and heartburn when they are required to make a choice as they would prefer to leave their options open. Because Perceivers are not as focused on the planning piece, when those plans change they tend to move on without too much fuss or ruffled feathers. 

On the other hand, Perceivers often reflect on the missed opportunities that their natural desire to put off decision making and planning can produce. They are often drawn to the Judgers in their life to help them in these areas. If you find yourself or others overwhelmed with too many choices in the store, love seeing what might happen this coming weekend without making plans, and generally have an easy time “going with the flow,” those are good evidence of the natural Perceiving style.

The burst of adrenaline the Perceivers receive as the deadline looms ahead of them is a necessary ingredient for them to produce their finest work. In other words, they don’t want to flirt with possibly missing the deadline; they just need to feel the sense of urgency a deadline generates in order to kick it into gear and get things done.

The Top 5 Judger/Perceiver Challenges

Judger/Perceiver Challenges - Don't Say Relax

1. Don't Use the "R" Word

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. Perceivers often find themselves tempted to offer stress management advice along the lines of “Hey, you need to relax!” or “Dude, you need to chill out.” Unfortunately, this does not produce the desired effect. Read more here on alternatives to using the “R” word (“relax”) and those like it…

Judger/Perceiver Challenges - Urgency

2. Urgency Around Important Deadlines

Perceivers pride themselves on keeping their cool when things get intense. Because of this, they may convey the wrong impression to their Judger colleagues… namely, that they don’t understand the intensity of the situation and aren’t going to take the necessary action. Read more here about this dynamic and how to solve it.

Judger/Perceiver Challenges - Friday

3. I'll get that to you by Friday

It’s fun to learn how people define the same words differently based on their personality type. When Judgers commit to getting you something “by Friday,” it often means something entirely different than when a Perceiver uses the exact same words. The result is another small “cut” in the fabric of the relationship and underlying trust. Read more here about the best ways to navigate this one.

Judger/Perceiver Challenges - Mixing Work and Play

4. Mixing Work and Play (or Not)

Whereas Perceivers are usually energized by mixing work and play in a back-and-forth cycle, Judgers tend to keep the two very separate. This is another place where natural differences can create significant trust issues and break down the quality of the relationship and both parties’ ability to collaborate effectively. Read more here.

Judger/Perceiver Challenges - Time

5. From now until the end of time

In the absence of a deadline, Judgers may be surprised to learn that Perceivers believe a request to do something can be completed any time between the moment you asked and the end of time itself. Without agreeing to a timeline or deadline, this is a recipe for disappointment and chagrin. Read more here.

Apart from the specific techniques provided in the other articles, the overarching thing to keep in mind about this dynamic is that the person who differs from you is not intentionally trying to annoy you. These basic differences are wired in and the person is simply seeking to live out their life the way they prefer – without necessarily being aware of the frustrations or annoyance it may bring for you.

This article is part of a blog series focused on the common challenges that different personalities run into when trying to work and play together.

Rob Toomey

Rob Toomey

President and Co-Founder of TypeCoach

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