In this, the third article of a series on the theory underlying the Social Priority Tests, we look at how understanding the human experiences of personal "neediness" and specifically, distractions in and around "sensation," can affect our abilities to understand ourselves and each other. We also begin to look at how the social priority of "sensation" affects us in times wherein we relive injury, and how knowing this can actually help us to heal our injuries and help others to heal theirs.
the First of the Four Social Priorities
the Little Pink Comfort Pillow
What we'll explore now are the four Social Priorities, beginning with the first of the four; comfort / sensation.
Now if you look at the little pink icon above, what you'll see is the "Little Pink Comfort Pillow," the icon we've chosen to represent this need.
Please know, this icon also represents the first of the four ways in which people want others to meet their needs, and the first of the four ways they may offer to meet the needs of others as well.
What do I call these people, those who first look to resolve people's needs with comfort / sensation?
I call these people, "comfort first" people.
So what is a "comfort first" person like?
To begin with, a comfort first person is a person for whom whom comfort / sensation is the highest social priority. Thus, a"comfort first" person is someone who will spend hours and hours getting the right couch for their back. Or the right couch for someone else's back, depending on their character type.
They'll also spend whole days trying to find the right shoes for their feet, sometimes, to the point of wearing their feet out while they search for the right shoes. All this in the name of the comfort they believe they will eventually get.
Then again, they may do all this but only for someone else's feet, and not for their own feet.
Either way though, a comfort first person thinks of comfort as the first solution to peoples' needs, whether these needs be their own or someone else's.
What else do they do?
Sometimes they spend days, weeks, or even months searching for the just right mattress for their bed. And sometimes they do this for someone else's needs such as their spouses. Either way though, to these people, "comfort" is a need people should never have to do without.
And speaking of comfort, comfort first people may at times appear rude. Or they may seem to dislike you, or to want to hurt your feelings. However, although these things may in fact be going on, more likely, they are simply putting someone's comfort first.
For example, if they decline an offer to sit in your living room, even when there are special guests, they may be declining simply because they see no comfortable enough place for them to sit. Or perhaps, for all your other guests to sit.
In extreme situations, they may even tell you over and over how uncomfortable they feel. Or they may ask you over and over if you uncomfortable, even in times wherein you've already told them many times you're fine.
Then there's the "do you want to go hiking or camping " problem. In this case, they may turn down even a request they to take a brief walk with you, this even on the nicest of days and even if you are their best friend. Are they mad at you? Not at all. They may simply be worried that their shoes may pinch their feet. Or that there might be no tasty food or cool water available. Or no comfortable enough restrooms close by.
Then again, they may take you up on your offer to hike or camp out only to ask you again and again if you are too hot, or too tired, or hungry, or if your shoes are pinching your feet.
So can you recognize anyone you know yet?
If you can, then in all likelihood, these people are what I call comfort first people. They make comfort and sensations; to give or get comfort or pleasant sensations; their highest social priority. And at the very least, they make avoiding unpleasant sensations and uncomfortable situations a very high priority.
The Secondary Priorities of a Comfort First Person
So far, we've described the social priorities of a comfort first person. Obviously, though, there is a lot more to people then just this one focus though. Here is where peoples' secondary priorities come in, and for a "comfort first" person, there are three secondary social priorities; neatness, understanding, and freedom.
How do these three secondary priorities affect a comfort first person? Let's start with those people who have a neatness secondary.
Comfort first with a neatness secondary means the person will need a comfortable home but also, that their comfort will largely depend on having "a place for everything and everything in it's place."
Their closets? Oh, my God. Their closets must be both well organized and beautiful. And they will also need their things to be easy to see and easy to get at.
How do these people differ from comfort first people with an understanding secondary?
Comfort first people with an understanding secondary will also want their homes, and closets, to be comfortable. However, in most cases, the neatness aspect of their homes will take a back seat to how cleverly their homes are designed.
For them, an ingenious or clever design will take precedence over easy access. And over neatness itself. Perhaps even over beauty, in fact. Unless, of course, the beauty has a deeper meaning, like that the interior design of the closet resembles an ancient Egyptian method of burial storage. Or that it is a holistically designed, energy wise, and consciousness-stimulating armoire type closet.
So yes, comfort first understanding second people need comfort too, but they must get their comfort in a clever or ingenious manner.
Now how about comfort first people with a freedom secondary, the third and last secondary possibility?
Comfort first, freedom second people will also want their homes to be comfortable. However, they may define comfort as that their homes are open and airy, homes with lots of space to move things around.
They may also require lots of glass and light and would probably prefer non-traditional designs. Or at the very least, they'll need some kind of emphasis on breaking the usual laws of design.
And their closets?
Well lit, with everything easy to see. Or a total mess with no regard to how this may affect anyone else. Except them, of course. They wouldn't want to inconvenience themselves. Or feel forced to clean up a mess.
So if "piles" or "stacks" work for them and they're comfortable with this, then piles it is and screw anyone who tells them otherwise. Or they may feel the need to pressure someone else to make their living space comfortable, and if they don't want to, complain to the person for hours about how uncomfortable their living space is.
Here then are the three secondary social priorities for a comfort first person; neatness, understanding, and freedom.
The Lesser Priorities of a Comfort First Person
Finally, we come to the third and fourth social priorities for comfort first people.
Now if you look at the six columns of possibilities I've placed above, what you'll realize is, there are six possible combinations for comfort first people, if you count all the ways to prioritize the four social priorities.
What we'll now focus on are the six possible, lower priorities a comfort first person may have, the six lesser priorities. Let me begin with this: peoples' upper two, social priorities pretty well define who they are in ordinary situations. In fact, if this was all you knew about them, you'd know quite a bit about how to get along with them. So if this is true, that these lessor priorities affect people very little, then why do we need to bother with them in the first place?
Because of the one condition I've stated in which these upper two priorities hold true; "in ordinary situations."
So what happens to peoples' social priorities when situations are not ordinary, for instance, when people relive an injury?
The order of peoples' social priorities reverse.
Here then is what makes knowing peoples' lower two priorities so important. What makes knowing these two priorities so important is that, when people relive injury, they experience their social priorities in reverse, at least, as what they see as important. For example, when comfort first people relive injury, they lose their sense of being uncomfortable and focus on whatever is normally their lowest social priority.
What does this look like though?
Let's begin with the first of the six columns I've placed above. Here, we see a comfort first person who has a neatness secondary with freedom as their lowest social priority. What are these people like?
Normally, they will think nothing of the time it takes to get what they see as "neatly packaged comforts." For instance, they may be willing to travel great distances in order to get a great dinner or a particularly comfortable couch, if the restaurant, or furniture store, is very neat and well organized. However, in times wherein they relive injury, they may refuse to even consider such trips, and may instead focus entirely on not being forced to do anything.
In extreme cases, they may be downright ornery and may disregard their own or someone else's comfort when in these situations, this in total contradiction to how you know them to behave normally.
What is happening?
These people are reliving an injury. Thus, their normal social priorities have reversed. Further, seeing peoples' behaviors so totally contradict their normal ways of behaving is what makes knowing peoples' lower two priorities so important. Why? Because we can know what to expect when these people are at their worst. And we can know what they will feel they need best, the form of help they will most want.
For instance, with the freedom last people I've just described, we can be sensitive to the possibility they may feel forced, even though we normally may not worry about this with them at all.
Can you begin to see how knowing peoples' social priorities could help you to know them better? And know their needs?
Now, rather than go through all the other possibilities here, let me just point out, even though there are only four social priorities, there are a whole heck of a lot of ways people can behave even within just the few scenarios we've already mentioned. In fact, if we were to simply count the pure, theoretical possibilities, there are close to a hundred personalities. And we haven't even looked at the other three first priorities.
What are people with those priorities like? Let's take a look. Remember, there are three other first social priorities, neatness, understanding, and freedom.