Episode 11: Can A Personality Test Help You Find Your Perfect Long-Distance Partner?

Humanity has been interested in the topic of personality matching since the appearance of astrology. With modern psychology, we have designed a personality test that is often scary in its accuracy. In our new podcast episode of Long Distance Short, Ally and Greg Skloot are discussing the topic of personality matching in any type of relationship. You may finally find the answer to the most disturbing question: are you in an ideal relationship with your partner? You will definitely find the answer as well as learn a lot about yourself, so don’t hesitate to listen to the podcast NOW!

Welcome to another episode of Long Distance Short, GiftBasketsOverseas.com’s podcast where we talk to real people about the triumphs and tribulations in all kinds of long-distance relationships. Your host is Ally Winters, an international gift consultant who’s found success in her own long-distance romances and friendships.

And here’s today’s topic: Can A Personality Test Help You Find Your Perfect Long Distance Partner? Our guest is Greg Skloot, the co-founder of CrystalKnows (www.crystalknows.com), here to help us explore how to find a good personality test on the web, how to interpret them, and what they can actually tell you about a potential partner and your own relationship style. Let’s jump right in, Ally!

ALLY

Hello, our dear listeners of “Long Distance Short,” this is Ally, your host; and today we’ll be talking to Greg, the co-founder of CrystalKnows.com. And specifically, we’ll be talking about matchmaking, and personality matchmaking in particular, which I hope will be a very exciting conversation. So, hi, Greg, how are you?

GREG

Hey Ally, I’m great! Thank you so much for having me on the podcast!

ALLY

Yeah, I’m also very happy that you agreed to participate, because, mainly, this is a very interesting topic, and a lot of people are interested in those [personalities]. And it’s quite an open question right now, because people are getting to know about it more and more. So, specifically your company, Crystal: how do you connect with the topic of matchmaking? Why do [different people’s] personalities matter to you so much?

GREG

Sure! So, high level, Crystal is an app that can tell you anyone’s personality. We use a combination of traditional personality tests — anybody can sign up and take a free personality test and measure up themselves; and personality predictions, where we use AI machine learning to analyze someone’s résumé, your LinkedIn profile, and actually predict their personality type, without taking a test. I think, for the case of people wanting to know more about their significant other, and their relationship, we can probably agree to just take the personality test — and get the most accurate result.

And personalities can be so impactful at better understanding others! And whether it’s in a professional environment, or a personal environment, or a relationship, or a long-distance relationship, personality helps give clues to someone’s motivations, desired communication style, and when you understand someone’s personality, you can, what we call, communicate with empathy. So if you had empathy for how someone else thinks and how someone else communicates, you can adjust your natural style, even if it may be different than theirs, to align more with theirs, which will create a much more harmonious relationship.

And I think, especially when it comes to communication, — that will probably be one of the biggest topics we’ll talk about today, — it’s so critically important, especially if you’re in a long-distance relationship, to understand the right ways you can communicate with your partner. I think it will be so tremendously important for making your LDR a success!

ALLY

Makes sense! Empathy plays an important role now, even in the way people are hired: with their soft skills, and empathy is important there. Out of all the tests that we have, of our personalities and for personality matching, what test or what tests do you think are the best?

GREG

So, Crystal is based around DISC, which has been around for about a hundred years, and it’s very well scientifically validated; it’s often used in the workplace, but, really, relevant for anywhere. It’s based around this concept of a four-factor personality model, where there’s essentially four categories of personality traits, and everybody shares a bit of all of them, but typically, has a dominant one that they most likely fall into, and sometimes, a secondary one. In Crystal, we also like people taking an Enneagram test, a 16 Personalities test which is based on Myers/Briggs personality, and a Big Five personality test. So, all of those personality frameworks have pros and cons; I think Enneagram has gotten super popular, [but has] a bit less on the scientific validity, compared to others. We have found DISC to be just incredibly accurate, really easy to understand, and one with a lot of validity. So that’s typically the one we lean on the most.

ALLY

Okay! How would you describe those five personalities? Maybe you could give us some overall understanding?

GREG

It’s really easy; so, if everybody can kind of visualize with me: a circle — or a pie might be better, and the pie is cut into four equal slices. So, it’s cut twice in the middle; four slices. The top-left is the D; so, in DISC, there’s four types: D, I, S, and C, that’s where the word DISC comes from. So the top-left of the pie is the D personality type. This category is about, typically, people who are more assertive, fast-paced, goal-oriented, aggressive, domineering, take charge — so this personality type can be really, really helpful in an emergency situation when you need someone who’s going to lead us out; you want that D personality — they can be really helpful in guiding others to a big direction.

ALLY

That’s the personality type that takes action.

GREG

Exactly!

ALLY

Immediately. Okay.

GREG

And it’s important, as we go through these: each of these types has what we call blind spots, and strengths. None of them is better or worse than another, and you always want a balance of them. But while the strengths of that D personality are: take charge, lead us through a crisis, get stuff done, set career goals, — they can also sometimes be too aggressive, and sometimes too harsh, sometimes move too fast, that makes some people uncomfortable — and that’s one of the blind spots. So that’s the D. And that’s at the top left of that personality circle, the top-left slice of the pie.

To its right, on the top right, is the I. And the I’s are the imaginative, creative, big-picture, bold, adventurous — they’re the person who walks into a party, and everybody looks at them. They’re fun. Everybody likes the I’s. Now, at the same time, the blind spots: I’s can be disorganized, they can kind of bounce around from thing to thing and lose focus, and sometimes, they can really struggle when they have to follow rules or stay within structure. But they’re a ton of fun! So that’s the I’s, up in that top right. So now we have D, I…

And then, S. So the S, which is in the bottom right, so D — I — S, the S is stabilizing. So, supportive, caring, methodical, a bit more slower-paced, people-oriented. S’s are typically great at nurturing; an S can help someone when they’ve had a bad day. Caring for others.

ALLY

Like parents, right?

GREG

People say that S’s make really, really great parents; my mom is an S. So, a very good personality type to take care for others. At the same time, sometimes S’s can be passive-aggressive. They can let conflict bubble beneath the surface, and because they want to avoid conflict, they won’t bring it up and talk about it. Unlike a D, who will bring conflict up immediately! — and shove it to everybody’s face.

ALLY

Yeah, just resolve it as soon as possible. (laugh)

GREG

Exactly. And the S just wants to kick their can down the road; they don’t want to deal with the conflict. So that’s the S, the pluses and the minuses. And then finally, we have the C. So the C is the conscientious. This is the analytical, specific, precise, calculating, more process-oriented, logical. So if you needed somebody to help you build a bridge, and really make sure that bridge stands up, you want to bring in some C personalities. At the same time, sometimes C personalities can over-analyze things, and thus, move too slowly. Sometimes they can be too rigid, and not flexible enough. Sometimes they can be too autonomous, where they prefer to work alone, and are uncomfortable to work in a group. So that’s the strengths and blind spots of the C.

Everybody has some different combination [of those]; the way we think of it in Crystal, coming back to that pie — that pie is a map, and imagine it like a map with latitude and longitude. And everybody has a spot somewhere on the map, and you land in one of those four slices. But you can be a little bit closer — let’s say you’re D, and you can be a little bit closer to the I, right? To the right — or be closer to the C, to the bottom. So, for example, I am a D/C personality in DISC. I have some of the traits of the D, and then, a little bit less, traits of the C.

And we always say everybody… For example. Because I’m a D/C doesn’t mean that I can’t care for someone if they’ve had a bad day, all right? I can, but: it takes a lot of energy from me to do that. So a really great analogy is… we all have a home on this personality map in one of these slices of the pie. And imagine we have to drive from our home all the way across the map to do things that fall outside of our natural comfort zone; for me, for example, it’s caring for someone if they have had a bad day. I can do it, but it takes a lot of energy, and if I have to do that every day, I am going to run really low on gas to drive my car back and forth across the map.

ALLY

That is just such a great visualization!

GREG

I know, and you know what, to give full credit, my business partner who is an I, he’s an I/D personality, who’s really great at coming up with creative ideas, — he’s the one that came up with that analogy. Not surprisingly. He gets the credit.

ALLY

(laugh) Okay. For me, it’s like, the D type is a boss, right…

GREG

Yes.

ALLY

I types are the celebrities, right? The stars; S types are our parents, and the C’s are the bridge-builders.

GREG

Right!

ALLY

To simplify, but it is certainly more complicated than that. Okay.

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ALLY

So. Now we know the four types of personalities; we know that we should be somewhere in between of the two, I guess there are no ideal types…

GREG

Correct.

ALLY

Yeah, we are a combination of those things. So when we know, when we’ve tested ourselves, how do we know what matches us best? What is our perfect match?

GREG

Yeah — I wish it was that easy! And the fact is, everybody’s different, and we always hear in relationships, “opposites attract.” And that works for some people — it doesn’t work for others. Here’s a couple of ways to think about it from the perspective of a personality. So, — and I know we’re on a podcast right now, — but if you can all visualize with us.

We have this map, this circle, this pie, and we have the D on the top left, the I on its top right, the C on the bottom left, and the S on the bottom right. Right? The left side of the map, the D and the C, the top-left and the bottom-left, the D and the C tend to be more autonomous. So D’s and C’s tend to be more task-oriented rather than people-oriented. They can typically do better with more autonomy, more independence, and sometimes can get drained by lots and lots and lots of group interaction.

What that means is, D’s and C’s can sometimes get along really well, because they both can work independently and give each other space. And the C wants to organize all the details right, and the D wants to lead and get the picture right. And because the D wants to lead and the C doesn’t mind not leading, they tend to match really well.

ALLY

So, it’s like a boss and a good worker; the good manager who completes all the tasks and doesn’t ask for anybody’s help. (laugh)

GREG

That’s right. A D and a C, whether in a relationship or in a work environment, can go really well. The same with the I and the S; because the I is on the top, the top right, and the S is on the bottom. Both of them are very people-oriented, so I’s and S’s will sync really well: they both have a desire to spend time together, to be people-oriented, and neither wants to be super independent — that works well. And on the top of the map, the D and the I tend to be more forceful; they want to take control. So the I can lead, and the S is okay with organizing, and stabilizing, and following the I’s lead.

A good way to think of it is, the top and the bottom of the map: the top is leading, and the bottom is organizing. Another way to think of it is: the top is shaping the environment, and the bottom is organizing it. So when you think about it then, if you have two people on the top or the bottom, it can get a little bit more challenging. For example, you have a D and an I. The I is more people-oriented, the D is more autonomous; and they both want to control the environment. So we have what we call a control conflict. They both want it their way, and somebody always has to… There can only be one driver, so in every situation, someone has to sit in the passenger seat.

And, conversely, with the C and the S, both on the bottom of the map, neither of them might want to sit in the driver’s seat, which means they might delay making a big decision, they might not induce conflict, because no one necessarily wants to step up and be in the driver’s seat, and that can make them both uncomfortable.

Now, it’s very important that… My business partner — I’m a D/C, he’s an I/D. So we have a control conflict sometimes. And we get along, and we still have a really great partnership, so it doesn’t mean that those people — and in a personal relationship — it doesn’t mean that they can’t get along; it’s just that it’s important to understand where these conflicts may come from. A great way — and honestly, Ally, when you think about personality, a great way to think about it is, it gives us a language to explain people’s natural behavior.

ALLY

So, for us to speak a common language, or they are all a bit different? Please explain it.

GREG

Yeah, it’s like a common language: so if you have a C and an I, okay? In a long-distance relationship. And the C isn’t communicating that much, and the I assumes that that means the C doesn’t like them. Or doesn’t feel strongly about the relationship. But that might not be right at all; it turns out that the C’s natural personality is not going to be about constantly reaching out and texting about nothing very important. And that is not because the C doesn’t like the I, but because that’s just C’s natural personality state. And if the I understands that, then the I may be able to not necessarily get upset with the C when the C is not communicating as much as the I might want. If that makes sense.

ALLY

I think that’s really relatable (laugh).

GREG

Yeah, it’s a very common one. Because, especially with long-distance, it’s communication, right — it’s so important. And let me take it a little further: the D and the C are going to typically communicate much more factually, up to a point, and moreso, communicate just when necessary, whereas the I and the S are much more likely to reach out to just say hi, or want to have a more casual conversation, even if they’re busy.

So let’s come back to that the I and the C; to make that relationship work, both have to stretch from their natural zone: they have to drive across the map a little bit. The C has to recognize that maybe they need to communicate a bit more than they naturally would, to make the I more comfortable, and the I has to recognize that they shouldn’t get upset with the C, maybe they need to dial it down a little bit with their expectation for the C to communicate constantly, because that’s just C’s natural personality.

ALLY

So we need to take a step towards each other, basically.

GREG

Exactly.

ALLY

That’s the work we do in our relationships.

GREG

And setting those expectations, so they are more aligned with the reality of everybody’s personality.

ALLY

Okay. So, basically, there are no bad matches in this chart, right? We just need to find a common language and understand how to approach the person.

GREG

That’s right; I think that there are matches that may be more naturally easy, but that doesn’t mean that the other matches are bad, or won’t work at all. A D and a C, or an I and an S might not have those natural communication issues as much, because the I and the S both might want to communicate more casually, and the D and the C both might want to have their own independence, so they won’t have an issue. But they can still be running into plenty of other issues; so I would say that all of them, all of the matches can work. They require varying degrees of effort to shift out of the comfort zone, to — as you said very well — meet the other person halfway.

ALLY

Okay, this makes perfect sense. For example, I am in a long-distance relationship, and I want to understand how to get along with my future partner. Is there a tactful way to just suggest that they take this test and check?

GREG

I mean, honestly, it’s fun: we have thousands of people who just sign up for Crystal and take a personality test — it’s free to do it and see yourself; the best way to do it, if you want to lead the charge, why don’t you take it first, send your partner the results, they’re gonna think: wow, this is so cool; and then you say: can you take it, so I can see yours. And it becomes that reciprocity. I think starting that yourself and sharing your results is probably the best way to get the process started — to encourage them to join.

ALLY

And we can basically say: hey, I just took this test and had such and such results, and would you take it, too, so we could compare — something like this?

GREG

Yeah! Absolutely, I think that’s a very tactful way to do it.

ALLY

So the first step is done. Okay; then we know our personality types, we know, for example, that we are very different, so where is the best platform to check the peculiarities of that type, or maybe, we need to check how to find a common language. 

GREG

Yes — so, on our website, on CrystalKnows.com, you can take a personality test, see your results, we give you a bunch of insights; we have a bunch of free sources you can read, a nice webpage that goes into pretty intense detail about each type. And then, we have some tools that people can use to create more advanced — I call them reports, these are mostly used in the professional world, but I’ve certainly run them for pretty of my friends and their spouses.

ALLY

Oh, really?

GREG

Oh, all the time — that’s like my favorite thing to do: if friends come over for dinner, I literally — I am not making this up — the first thing we do is take those personality tests, and then you can see people, like, some of the things that are so helpful, with it. Seeing — there’s this cool visualization, a crystal, where you can see kind of a timeline. We call it a trait-meter, so it’s like a timeline for…

For example, it talks about risk tolerance, — from high to low risk tolerance, — and it shows, on this line, where each person is. So imagine, for example, in a long-distance relationship, maybe you’re talking about moving cities, and potentially even moving to the same city. And one person thinks: oh, this is great and let’s do it; and the other one is thinking about: well, yeah, but I’d have to get a whole new job, I’d have to get all new friends, and maybe in this new place — I don’t know if I’ll like it. People’s risk tolerances can really differ.

It’s the same way if that relationship goes to the next level and you want to buy a house. Just one person would seem like: oh, yes, let’s invest the money; and the other is: ooh, I don’t know if we should do that right now.

ALLY

Uh-huh, “I prefer to save.”

GREG

Exactly! So, understanding everybody’s risk tolerance is so important. And this is where, like, a D and an I might have more similar risk tolerance than a D and a C. Or a D and an S. So if a D and an S are in a relationship, or an I and an S are in a relationship, a problem that can be encountered is, the I wants to go on crazy, risky adventures, and the S wants to build more stable life at home. That’s something that you really have to think about — of course, I’m generalizing, but that can become a conflict. And so, do they now feel like they’re not aligned or on the same page?

Again, all these problems already existed, but the personality test, and the visuals, and the reports, and the polls from the sites like Crystal, give you a language to look at it, and see it, and go: “Oh! I see why we’re in fighting about making this big change in our lives: it’s because I’m way more risk-tolerant than you. That makes more sense! So now that I understand, I have to throttle it down and not expect you to just be ready to go and make a major life change at the same pace I am, when we have such different risk tolerances.”

ALLY

Okay, and for example, and this is a really big issue in long-distance relationships: one person wants to stay in their home city, and the other one wants them to move to another country. In this case, do such people need to break up, or can we just have another look at the situation, and… Is this solvable, shall we say? Can we solve this?

GREG

For sure — I think a lot of it… I certainly think it’s solvable. I mean, most things are solvable; so in this case, it would be about pace. For example, let’s say we have a D and an S in a relationship. This would be an “opposites attract” type or relationship.

ALLY

Okay.

GREG

They are both thinking about moving to a new city; the D, because they are naturally more faster-paced and are more tolerant of risk, might be able to go to a city where neither of them have lived before, and make the move in four weeks. You know, they’re ready to go now.

ALLY

Okay.

GREG

And the S might still be excited about the idea of coming together in the same city, but may be more comfortable in a city that they’ve tried before. And maybe they need more of a three-month window to make the move. So the idea is, the D can slow down a little bit and recognize that the S is gonna need a little bit more time to get comfortable with the idea; you know, maybe they go and they rent an AirBnB for a few weeks, so the S can really feel that out and get more comfortable.

Basically, the takeaway is, the D needs to throttle back a little bit and not push the S to rush into a decision; and the S has to be open to trying things, like maybe living in that AirBnB, still taking a jump with the D to try something new. So, as you said before — it’s a great way of saying it — it’s meeting in the middle: the D is throttling down a little bit, the S is throttling up a little bit, and they’re meeting in an area where they recognize that they have differences, but they can get to the same spot, with just a slightly different pace.

ALLY

Okay, makes sense! So, it cannot be that one person does everything, and the other does nothing. Yeah, totally!

GREG

(chuckle) That would likely not be a recipe for long-term success!

ALLY

Oh yeah. You also mentioned before that such tests are used not only in romantic relationships, but also in some business relationships. It may be interesting for our listeners to hear how these can be used at work, and why they can be important.

GREG

Yeah, it’s a great point. In the workplace, there are a lot of the same challenges, so two people — peers, or coworkers, who work together, like a manager and an employee, right; let’s even talk about that risk tolerance, right? Let’s say: we have a team at work, and the employee wants to try all these new strategies that have never been done before. Let’s say that she is an I, so she is always exploring new ideas, loves it, and may not always be on time for meetings, but when she’s there, she’s always pitching really exciting ideas that can push the company to the next level. And she has a manager who is a C! Who is really good at making sure that the company is operating smoothly, that all the details are organized — and he’s much less risk-tolerant.

Without understanding personality, the manager thinks: Gosh, this employee is — she’s just all over the place; she’s not reliable, and her new ideas could ruin the company. And from the employee’s perspective, it’s: ugh, my manager is just so rigid, and stodgy, and he never wants to try any of these exciting new things that can be so great for the company.

But the thing is, if they understand that and collaborate together, then we can use his C traits to take her new ideas — and kind of find the flaws in them, and mature them into something that can actually be implemented in the company. So the C and the I, in some ways, fit together like a puzzle piece: they had each other’s missing pieces.

That’s very much how Drew, my business partner, and I work together: he comes up with a big, bold, new idea as an I, and then I take them and I kind of whittle them down, and figure out the pieces that are actually feasible, and I influence them. And he’s much better at coming up with ideas than me, and I am much better at actually executing on ideas and making them real.

ALLY

Yeah, this one will work and this one won’t; you can go this way and not that way.

GREG

Exactly! We fit together like a puzzle piece. And that concept applies — the same with the long-distance relationship if we take the D and the S, where the D can handle the… When maybe they have to do the negotiating to buy a house, and negotiate with a real estate agent, the D is probably gonna be more suited to do that, and when that D is maybe home sick from work for a few days, or, a better example, when that D had a really bad day at work, he’s gonna be so grateful to have that S partner who can be empathetic, and caring, and help him process those emotions, whereas he might struggle with that a bit more. If that makes sense.

ALLY

Okay, well it’s very interesting — because look: on the one hand, we need more effort to reach something in the middle with the type that is different from ours; but on the other hand, it’s very helpful for us to have somebody who’s absolutely different from us in any kind of partnership, because this is something like an ideal partnership — like an extroverted/introverted together, and together they may help each other in different situations.

I think that this idea is going to get much more popular, and I hope it will, especially in the future when managers will not only look at how workers work, but also at how they get along, and at their ideas and stuff. So I’m really happy that we met today, and I, for myself, have learned a lot. This explains a lot, basically!

GREG

I am so glad to hear it! If people have enjoyed it and want to get more details, we have a ton of free resources on my website, CrystalKnows.com, and a little while ago, we actually published a book, too, called “Predicting Personality” — it goes into a bunch more depth on some of this stuff. So for those who want to learn more, read the next step, just search for “Predicting Personality”, and get a read — because that goes into quite a bit more depth into how this personality stuff works, for those who want to look under the hood of the car, if that makes sense.

ALLY

Yeah, it certainly does. Well, great, so we will leave some links for our listeners if they are interested — I’m sure they will be — just for them to learn about this more, to help their partners participate and take the test, and I certainly think I need to do it for myself. (laugh) We’ll see. Can you predict a personality type just by looking at a person, from the first glance? Or, alternatively, how much time do you need?

GREG

(laugh) I would say, — and this is what I love about DISC, is it’s just so easy to learn, and once everybody — I encourage everybody to read up a little bit about it, because it’s just so easy to learn, — and once you learn it, it becomes almost this another sense, like smell and taste. Now that I think about it so much, I definitely do — when I meet someone new, I’m constantly thinking: oh wow, he’s an extreme I, or… Oh Gosh, I’m on a call with someone and they’re asking me all these detailed questions, and I’m thinking: yep, I got a C personality here. So, as you learn more about it, it definitely becomes more intuitive, and you can predict it just using your eyes and your ears, which is pretty cool.

ALLY

Uh-huh, interesting! And also, these types can both be applied to extroverts and introverts, for example, the D type? Or can only an extrovert be a D?

GREG

So, extroversion — it can apply through all of them; in general, I’s and S’s tend to be more people-oriented, so you can argue that that’s kind of similar to extroversion, whereas D’s and C’s tend to be more task-oriented, so that’s a little bit more towards introversion.

But, and it’s very important, you always see, people are a mush; so, for example, for myself: I’m a D/C. So I’m both on the left side of the map. I am what I think, what I call a social introvert, which means I love building friendships, and relationships, and having one-on-one deep conversations — I don’t have a ton of fun at big parties. (chuckle) If that makes sense. Whereas Drew, my I business partner, loves throwing big parties — and I show up for a few minutes, and I’m like: I can’t do this.

So, there are certainly some correlations between introversion and extroversion, and I encourage everybody, too, if you look on Crystal, you can take the 16 Personalities test, the one based on Myers/Briggs, and that will give you some more insight into extroversion/introversion as well.

ALLY

Okay, this makes perfect sense. Great insight, Greg, thank you so much!

GREG

Absolutely! And thanks so much for having me.

ALLY

As I’ve said, I will leave all the links in our blog; one more time, thank you for this great episode, and for the exciting information — I think it will be useful to our listeners. So, we’ll see you on our podcast in a month’s time; this is Long Distance Short, your long-distance relationship podcast. Bye-bye!

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Thanks for listening to “Long Distance Short” — GiftBasketsOverseas.com’s podcast with real people in real long-distance relationships. Make sure to subscribe, and keep tuning in for a new episode every month. If you have any questions or ideas for a future podcast, make sure to drop us a line at [email protected] — that’s [email protected].

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