On this day in 1950, the first Peanuts comic strip was published. The series met with great success and transcended social movements and media.
One of the things that makes Peanuts work so well is the mix of the characters’ personality styles – it opens the door for conflict, reflection, and growth by learning from others. We like to watch the characters disagree about fundamentals and fall in love with each other’s peculiar traits. There are no “good guys” or “bad guys” – there are likeable and frustrating aspects of each personality, just as in life.
And, as in life, love and frustration are often paired – matches are made across personality styles. Two pairings are Lucy (a Direct personality) with Schroeder (a Systematic personality) and Sally (a Spirited personality) with Linus (a Considerate personality).
Lucy and Schroeder
Within the HRDQ Style Model, Lucy and Schroeder both fall on the low end of the expressiveness spectrum – Lucy with a high level of assertiveness, and Schroeder with a low level. Both value persistence, accuracy, commitment, and proficiency; and are good at exposition, work hard, and possess strength and resilience. Neither are comfortable bending their will or feeling emotionally compromised or vulnerable.
Systematic Schroeder’s commitment to accuracy in emulating Beethoven demands that he remain single – preventing him from considering Lucy’s advances, though he does betray a fondness for her periodically.
Direct Lucy wants to be “in charge” and is frustrated by the lack of progress in their relationship.
Sally and Linus
Sally and Linus are both highly expressive. Sally has a high level of assertiveness, and Linus has a low level. Both value consistency, accommodation, and personal relationships. Neither are great with finality or staying calm.
Spirited Sally freely expresses her love for Linus, but doesn’t pick up on his cues. She doesn’t accept that he’s not on board and gets upset with him often, despite her unwavering affection.
Considerate Linus never rejects Sally outright. He has difficulty asserting himself and relies on external crutches as a coping mechanism (security blanket). He may never definitively exile Sally to the “friend zone” in the interest of maintaining his relationship with the Brown family, as Charlie is his best friend.
Will these crazy kids ever get it together?
Well, no – the Peanuts comic strip ended in 2000. But, maybe! Right? Successful relationships rely on more than longevity and familiarity. To arrive at mutually beneficial interactions, everyone can flex their personality style:
- Someone with a Direct personality, like Lucy, can work on patience and try to be more open with their feelings.
- Someone with a Systematic personality, like Schroeder, can try to go with the flow more, and remain open to new opportunities – even when they don’t fit with the plan.
- Someone with a Spirited personality, like Sally, can take a breath and assess the full situation before pressing on.
- Someone with a Considerate personality, like Linus, can try to accept a more aggressive role when decisions need to be made, and know that being assertive is not the same as being mean.
Learn how to add “happily ever after” to your cartoon romance – and any of your other relationships – by learning about personality style and how it can make you a more effective communicator and team member – in all four dimensions.