Linear or Divergent Thinker?

I love my partner; however, what I am about to describe is one of his attributes that drives me most crazy, and my alternate approach is nerve-wracking to him.

That is, my partner is a linear thinker. One thing at a time. Do what’s on your mind when you think of it. Get the job done, then move on to the next in sequence.

Me? I am a divergent thinker. I often think of the “big picture” and organize my tasks logically, but not necessarily sequentially.

This is how we are different: my partner will be setting the table for dinner. He will notice that the napkin holder is low, so he will go to the cupboard to get more. He will notice that the supply of napkins in the kitchen cupboard is low, so he will immediately go into the basement where we store a larger supply to get more.

Okay, that all makes sense. But he should finish setting the table first, rather than carry the forks and knives in his hands as he makes these treks around the kitchen and basement (this would be funny if it weren’t true!)

For me? Well, here’s an example of what I do that is similar in task accomplishment, but from a different style of organization. When I am preparing a meal, I will pull out all the ingredients that are needed to make it and put them on the kitchen island. I will begin making my creation. As I go along, I realize that I have used up two or three items. But that’s okay, I know there are more in the basement pantry. I “make a mental note of it” while I finish preparing the meal. While the meal is cooking, I will then go get the items that need to be replenished.

Trouble is, that works fine most of the time, but being the absent-minded type, there are often times when I forget to go get the stuff we need, and remember it later. My partner and I will be seated in our basement watching TV, and I’ll remember, “oh, yeah, right… I need this-n-that.” I will get it out of the basement pantry and put it on the steps, so I will see it and remember to bring it up when we finish watching TV and go up to bed.

My partner, on the other hand, will harrumph and sigh, and just bring the items up right then, leaving the TV show running and missing part of it.

My partner’s way of doing things “when seen, right now” causes me consternation. For example, when my leg was broken and I was seated at the kitchen table, he would bring me my plate, but leave my glass of milk on the counter while he went and filled the napkin holder, put an extra knife away, put a pan in the sink and washed it, then brought me my milk and sat down himself to eat. There were times when the food would get cold while he was doing all these tasks so exactly and so sequentially.

Who’s right? Which way is best? Well, in almost 17 years, neither of us believes that the other’s approach is correct. However, we manage and deal with our quirks and idiosyncrasies, even though my way is better. I love him, always. (smile.)

Life is short: how do you think?

One thought on “Linear or Divergent Thinker?

  1. There are some similarities between TLAG Sabina (The Lovely And Gracious sabina) and I. That's what completes the .. relationship. Its a relationship and in a true relationship opposites make up the difference. My wife makes up the stuff I lack .. and together we are complete. It's an awesome thing! 23 years, she is my other half .. and he is yours. I suspect "divorce" never is a word when you argue. Its a special thing .. guard it.

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