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Mangling Interpersonal Relationships (Jeff Crowell)
(chuckle, management, heard it)

[Ed. note: I've seen this before and would love to know who the author is. Please email me at so we can properly credit you.]

My company offers a class called "Interpersonal Relationships"; the following is a spot-on sendup of the class and its objectives.

notes from

Copious research has conclusively shown that there are exactly two dimensions to human personality: self-control and evangelism.


The self-control scale denotes the degree to which a person maintains control of his or her emotions. Humans are evenly distributed along this scale with Spock at one end (although he is really half Vulcan) and Sally Field at the other (see Figure 1).

                    Figure 1.  Self-Control Scale 

Self-Control +---------------------------------------+ | | Spock Sally Field | | Shows absolutely no Operates purely on emotion whatsoever, unless emotion. Cries when under the influence of mind- reading "The Family Circus" altering drugs, such as pod or when nominated for an spray. Oscar.


The evangelism scale denotes the degree to which a person forces his or her opinions and beliefs on others. Like the self-control scale, humans are evenly distributed on this scale, with Supreme Court nominees on one end and Jimmy Swaggert at the other (see Figure 2).

                     Figure 2.  Evangelism Scale 

Evangelism +---------------------------------------+ | | Supreme Court Justice David Souter Swaggart (before being nominated) | | Opinions could not Offers opinions freely even be extricated and without provocation, through Senate judicial often frothing at the hearings. mouth and sweating profusely.


Where each person falls on the self-control and evangelism scales is genetically predetermined and can be calculated from a questionnaire of 20 or so questions that you give to five of your friends/coworkers. This questionnaire was scientifically engineered and is backed up by copious research, so regardless of who answers this questionnaire (convenience store clerks, your mother, your worst enemies), your location on the scales is always the same. Oh, there have been some exceptions, but they were due to people getting confused when filling in the dots on the questionnaire.


Copious research has shown that there are four quadrants in which we can stereotype human personalities (see Figure 3). This graph is derived from the two personality scales, with Evangelism as the X axis and Self-Control as the Y axis.

                 Figure 3.  The Personality Quadrants 

low E v a n g e l i s m high (0) +--------------------------+--------------------------+(20) | | | | | | | Anal-Retentives | Megalomaniacs | | | | | | | S | | | e | | | l | | | f | | | - | | | C +--------------------------+--------------------------+ o | | | n | | | t | Spineless Wimps | Psychotics | r | | | o | | | l | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | +--------------------------+--------------------------+ high (20)

Once your location on the scales is determined, we can plot your personality on a graph and pigeon-hole you for life! For example, if your questionnaire shows 1 on the Self-Control scale and 1 on the Evangelism scale, you would be classified as an Anal-Retentive, and are probably enjoying these numbers immensely. If you scored 19 on Self-Control and 19 on Evangelism, you are a Psychotic and are probably throwing a tantrum at this moment. Of course, there is no value judgement placed on any location in the quadrant: It's OK to be a Spineless Wimp; it's OK to by Psychotic; it's OK to be where-ever you are (although YOUR location is rather abnormal).

By definition, the personality type of a particular quadrant hates the personality type in the opposite quadrant. So, ARs hate Psychotics and vice versa; likewise for SWs and Megalomaniacs. Understanding the hatred between these groups is the first step to building good teamwork!

The Anal-Retentive Quadrant (The Author's Quadrant!)

  Characteristics:      Good with numbers, likes to work with machines 
                        more than humans, not fun at parties (unless everyone 
                        else is AR also), lots of them are engineers. 
  Nicknames:            Einstein, Good Engineer, Boring, The Computer 
  Favorite Phrase:      I need more data. 
  Handles Conflict by:  Playing video games. 
  Famous ARs:           Carl Sagan, Ayn Rand 

The Spineless Wimps Quadrant

  Characteristics:      Always friendly, always agreeable, make you feel good 
                        until you turn your back on them, soft handshake, good 
                        at organizing parties. 
  Nicknames:            Ol' Reliable, Mr(s). Happy, Two-Faced Rat 
  Favorite Phrase:      I agree. 
  Handles Conflict by:  Giving in and then not inviting you to the next party. 
  Famous SWs:           George Bush, Dan Quayle 

The Megalomaniacs Quadrant

  Characteristics:      Cold, decisive, power-hungry, has delusions of 
                        grandeur, lets you know where you stand (usually within 
                        earshot of a crowd), dictatorial. 
  Nicknames:            Idi Amin, The Dictator, The Robot, The Rotten Bastard 
  Favorite Phrase:      You're wrong! 
  Handles Conflict by:  Killing those who disagree. 
  Famous Ms:            Saddam Heussin, Alexander Haig 

The Psychotics Quadrant

  Characteristics:      Bubbly, bubbly, so-bubbly-you-want-to-strangle-them, 
                        obnoxious, insecure, humorous, fun at parties 
                        (especially when throwing a temper tantrum). 
  Nicknames:            Barrel-O-Fun, The Clown, The Psycho 
  Favorite Phrase:      I have a vision. 
  Handles Conflict by:  Threatening to kill self and everyone else. 
  Famous Ps:            Sam Kinnison, Sally Field 


In addition to the four quadrants, there is another dimension to personality (even though I said there were only two before). This other dimension is flexibility, also known as schizophrenia. This scale denotes how well can a person fake another personality type (see Figure 4).

                        Figure 4. The Flexibility Scale 

+--------------+--------------+-----------------+----------------+ | | | | | Catatonic Paranoid Split Personality Triphrenia Quadrophenia | | | | | Does not even Most people Manages to fake Three The ultimate have a are here. an additional personalities! in flexibil- personality. personality. ity. Can fake all four personality types.

Although we can never change our basic location in the personality quadrants, we can strive for and achieve greater flexibility! For example, you may be merely paranoid now, but with a little work in this course, you could become a split personality or even quadrophenic! The key to flexibility is understanding the other personality types so that you can quickly and easily pigeon-hole those around you and understand what makes them tick. Once you know how to do this, you will find that it is much easier to manipulate those around you!


You now know everything you need to better mangle impersonal relationships. Good luck! And remember: It's much easier to work with people once you've stereotyped them.

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