The Spectator aka The Chillaxer
To review, since it’s taken me sooooo long to post this second blog, the Spectator is the sweet, kind, quiet, friendly woman that we all know and love. There is just not a bad thing to say about the Spectator because she is so easy to get along with. She is peaceful, shy, infinitely patient, content, and ever so pleasant. She is the female Frodo from Lord of the Rings, the female Clark Kent from Superman, and Mother Theresa all wrapped up into one. Because she is so diplomatic, Spectators are the glue that hold groups, families, and relationships together. We all need Spectators in our life.
Just as every temperament has both strengths and weaknesses, the Spectator can become isolated, feel invisible, and live passively if her flaws are not addressed.
To start Spectators are watchers so they do not get involved in activities, conversations, or causes. They just don’t care which makes them lazy at times. If given the choice, they would spend all their time watching TV and taking naps. (Which actually sounds really good right now.) Anyhoo, Spectators do have a real need for peace and quiet so make sure they get some time away from the action each and everyday. However there is a fine line for the Spectator between rest and laziness. Here’s how this can play out at dinnertime:
Non-Spectator Q: Where do you want to go to dinner?
Spectator A: I don’t know.
Non-Spectator Q: Are you hungry for anything in particular?
Spectator A: Nope.
Non-Spectator Q: How about Mexican?
Spectator A: Whatever.
And they mean it. It’s enough to make others lose their appetite.
Tip #1: Practice making decisions. Pick the dinner location. Choose the movie. Speak up in a group discussion. Find a cause that interests you and find one way to get involved. If you are parenting a Spectator, encourage them to try all of these AND do not criticize their choices.
Spectators are unemotional and just don’t get excited by much which can really suck the enthusiasm right out of a room. After many, many attempts at sharing my “great news” with a Spectator and receiving lukewarm responses, I learned to take my celebrations to an Entertainer, aka the Popular Sanguine. They always throw a party for good news.
Tip #2: If you are a Spectator try to match the energy of those who bring you good news. If they are smiling, smile back. If they are jumping around the room, stand and clap. If they are dancing, join in and let them lead you around the room in circles. You don’t have to go over the top, just join in so that you won’t live isolated from the joys of life.
Spectators are procrastinators. Procrastination is their main form of control. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the Powerful Choleric/Activator has the market on control because the Spectator is masterful in getting his way too. Instead of forcing others to do something for them, the Spectator will wait it out until someone else gets so sick of the delay that they do the work for them. Brilliant. This strategy allows the Spectator to chillax and live an easy-breezy life without much responsibility.
Tip #3: Make your Yes, Yes and your No, No. Matthew 5:37. Many times the Spectator agrees to do something that she never wanted to do in the first place. She said Yes when she meant No and, big surprise, it never happened. When we constantly drop the ball, we need to evaluate whether we ever really wanted to do something in the first place.
If you are raising a Spectator, DON’T DO THEIR WORK FOR THEM. Teach them to take responsibility. If they have work that needs to be done, set a time limit on the job with a consequence if the work doesn’t happen. Losing toys, privileges or being fined for not completing work can be pretty motivating even to a procrastinator. And check their chores because my experience is that our sweet Spectators will do anything, including lie, to get out of work.
If we do the work for the Spectators in our life, we will become resentful and angry. That’s not a fun way to live. And if we do the work, we are teaching those Spectators that we don’t think they are capable or competent to get things done. That’s demeaning. Respect your Spectators enough to believe that they can do it. And then leave the room, so you don’t make a nasty comment or do it for them.
Spectators are unmotivated. They are not goal oriented. If this is your child, their teacher will never check the box for “Seeks learning challenges independently” on their report card. One plus to this weakness is that the Spectator is unusually gifted in finding the path of least resistance, so if given some time, they can teach you how to complete many of your tasks in the easiest way possible.
Tip #4 To Motivate the Spectator in your Life (including yourself) do these things:
- Take the time to make a list of goals. Everyone has a dream, desire or a goal. Write it down on paper.
- Make it a positive goal. State what you will do instead of what you won’t do.
- Make your goal public. Tell someone. Post it on FB.
- Create a reward (fancy dinner, pair of shoes, pedicure, etc) for reaching your goal or the steps in-between.
- Set SMART goals. Make sure your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-specific. Becoming more calm is not a SMART goal.
- 6. Be aware of the voice of your inner critic and what it says about your goal. (ie. “you’ll never finish”, “you’re too stupid, lazy, fat, etc.”)
- 7. Replace that negative statement with a positive affirmation (“I will finish this. I am strong enough to do this. I can make a change.”)
Finally Spectators are conflict avoiders. The main desire of this temperament is PEACE so anything that threatens peace is avoided. Spectator moms be careful here. If you avoid conflict, hard conversations or communication in general with your kiddos, they may start to believe that you don’t care for them. They may start to feel neglected. Make sure that you are engaging. See my Blog, Teaching our Children to be Peacemakers.
Qualities such as kindness, adaptability and obedience make Spectators the easiest children to raise AND the easiest to overlook. They are not out leading the masses, talking incessantly or doing creative work and so they can be easily ignored.
From the childrens’ book, The Invisible Boy “Can you see Brian, the invisible boy? Even Mrs. Carlotti has trouble noticing him in her classroom. She’s too busy dealing with Nathan and Sophie. Nathan has problems with what Mrs. Carlotti calls “volume control.” He uses his outside voice inside too much. Sophie whines and complains when she doesn’t get her way. Nathan and Sophie take up a lot of space. Brian doesn’t. “
This is why the most important emotional needs of a Spectator are respect and self-worth. Spectators need to know that you SEE them, VALUE them, and APPRECIATE them. They are “God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works; which God prepared in advance for them to do.” Ephesians 2:10. Remind them of this all the time.
In two weeks we will look at the strengths of the Entertainer, the Popular Sanguine.
In the meantime, if you would like to determine what your true temperament is and how God can use your strengths and weaknesses to accomplish His purposes in your life, please contact me at real.life.coaching for a free assessment.