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"In Relationships"

How "Social Priorities" Affect How We Get Along

In this, the seventh article of a series on the theory underlying the Social Priority Tests, we look at how understanding the human experiences of personal "neediness" and distraction could change how we experience all our relationships. And help us to relate better to all those in our lives.

Freedom - the 4th Priority The Social Prioitiies in Classrrooms

Some Examples of How Social Priorities Affect a Relationship

How Social Prioirites Define Fit

Linda and Chris

What you see above are two Social Priority Charts, on the left, my friend Linda's, and on the right, her husband Chris'. Would it surprise you to know that despite being very intelligent, Linda has chosen to clean houses for a living for most of her adult life?

Please know, I am in no way judging her for doing this. I, myself, spent many years driving a truck for UPS. In fact, Linda herself has frequently questioned her choice of careers.

Let me also add that she owns this house cleaning business herself and that she does quite financially well with it.

Even so, it makes you wonder how people continue to choose to do these kinds of things when they question them so.

Now look at what her SPC shows: Her number one social priority is to "give neatness."

Does her cleaning business make sense now?

So what else could she be doing?

Well, at the dinner we had recently, I suggested she think about becoming a scientific researcher.

Her reaction?

She loved the idea and could not believe she had never considered it.

Now let's look at Linda's marriage. How does her SPS affect this part of her life?

First, let's look what her husband's social priorities are: first, to "get comfort"; second, to "get neatness." The very opposite of Linda's.

Same for his third and fourth social priorities; freedom and understanding. Both qualities have a crossed priority between these two people.

What does this mean, specifically, about their relationship?

So far, I've found it to mean the two people have a good match. Very balanced and yet very stimulating.

How about the places they could be closer to each other? In other words, is there anything they could do to improve their relationship?

Actually, yes. In fact, we spoke about this that night at dinner.

I suggested to Linda that if she would consciously give her husband comfort first, her husband would, without being asked, probably return neatness to her. Thus, they would both be filling each other's number one social priorities. Not only this, but they would also be filling them in what is the most natural order for each of them to both give and get.

So what would be a poor way for them to try to get their needs met?

For Linda to demand that Chris give her neatness the minute he walks in the door from work.


His social priority is to get comfort first, neatness second. More over, knowing Linda's husband's SPS, what Linda can count on is, if she gives him comfort first, he will want to give her neatness back, with little to no effort on her part. She probably wouldn't even have to try to get him to give it to her. Why? Because he is already programmed to want to give it to her, but only as a second response.

What about those who might now say, shouldn't Linda get her way first sometimes?

In truth, I'm sure she does. More over, as a matter of course, I believe nature should be the guiding priority, and rights second. Even then, "rights" seem to come into play only when there seems to be a problem. And form what I can see so far, these "problems" normally appear only what people fail to understand each others social priorities.

So the fact that Linda will pretty much always get her needs met or more specifically, that her husband will pretty much always want to met her needs if his needs for comfort are met first, should be the thing she remembers the most.


People are happiest when and if they follow their hearts. Rather than trying to live up to some legalistic interpretation of what is right for them then, if they follow their hearts more, they'll be living with less effort. And will feel closer to each other.

And if someone should criticize them for how them live?

Well, if someone is bothered by how Linda gets or gives in her relationship, then perhaps this person should take a look at their own social priorities. And keep their judgments to themselves.

Here then is the value in knowing peoples' Social Priority Charts. In an instant, you can see exactly what you need to get and give in order to best connect to each other. Naturally. And without the usual need to coerce or possible disrespect anyone.

Carlie and Forester

Here, we see another three / four couple, only this time, the two people have understanding and freedom as their first social priorities.

Let me start by saying, these two people still love each other. And admit to this. However, they've recently gotten divorced.

Obviously, they had unresolved problems. These differences aside though, the first thing you'll see if you compare their social priorities is that they are as opposite as two people can be.

As for their home life, they have two grown children, and I've put all four Social Priority Charts below.

Carlie and Forester's Family





So even with only a single glance and with not one psychological statement, what can you already see about this woman's family life?

She probably wanted to understand everyone and they probably couldn't have cared less about this.

They probably wanted to be free to do whatever they wanted and she must have been fine with this, even when it meant losing her own choices.

They most likely all wanted a comfortable home and she probably cared more about her home being neat, a difference which must have resulted in many, many fights to be sure.

And they probably all wanted more to do things than to talk about things, and she probably more wanted to have close talks and didn't care much what they did.

Sue and Arvin's Family





Here are the Social Priority Charts for another family, this time the family of a two / three couple.

What can you tell about this family?

For one thing, that this father and daughter have a natural connection; he needs to give things and she needs to get things.

For another, that the mother might often try to understand her son and have him brush her off or worse. She wants to get understanding. He couldn't care less about it.

What else?

That the father's career would most likely involve sorting something. It does. He owns an auto parts store.

However, although the son works there two, you can easily guess that he more cares about his days off than about how the store displays are.

An Emergence "Social Priority" Family Chart