Last week I shared what behaviors define an achiever, now what about the behaviors of a connector? While achievers value success, connectors value relationships. Of course, we might have a good balance of both qualities, but typically a person is geared more towards one or the other. Connectors focus on people building, desire belonging, and like helping others. They aren’t as competitive and don’t get stressed out by things like achievers do. Connectors also have a greater ease in expressing themselves and invest time and energy into developing and maintaining deep, intimate relationships. They receive great comfort and joy from people rather than things.
The value of being a connector is obvious, but there is a downside when someone’s behavior is too skewed towards this approach. The negative aspects of connectors occur when they try too hard to please others, overextend themselves, can’t say no, and fixate on what others think about them. They place others above themselves, lose their own identity, and have difficulties setting boundaries. Their expectations of others may be unrealistic and they become disappointed, frustrated, and resentful of people, yet fear they’ll lose the connection if they speak up.
Connectors can work towards balance by working on expressing their needs assertively, become better boundary setters, and by accepting that they can’t make everyone happy. Also shifting their focus from finding purpose in others to other sources of meaning and fulfillment can make a big difference. Building self-worth that is not exclusively tied to other people and can be achieved independently of others can be another valuable mechanism to become less dependent on others for happiness.
Both the achiever behaviors and connector behaviors have great value when approached in moderation. Next week I will discuss when an achiever is married to a connector, which is the most common scenario that I see in my practice. I will also discuss the less common dynamics of two achievers or two connectors being married.