Social styles are a topic that always generate a lot of interest when we talk about them, although it is not always clear what they are and what they are for. Some use the term relational intelligence and some improperly emotional intelligence. Social styles are often grouped into 4 macro-categories, but one of the most popular models has 16. In short, it is easy to get confused!
What are social styles?
To put it simply, we can say that they are a way of simplifying and working on the way we behave. Each of us is different from every other person, but we can identify salient traits and group different behaviours according to them. In this way, by creating macro-categories, it is easier to approach and reason about them.
If we take an example in a different sphere, the entire world population is divided into different heights and multiple shades of hair; but by dividing them into tall and short, light and dark hair, I can get 4 macro-groups of people.
As most models take their cue from the same source, analytical psychology and Carl Jung‘s studies, the classification vectors are often the same, or very similar, sometimes changing only the terminology used. The Myers-Briggs model uses four axes to create 16 subtypes: extroversion-introversion, sensitivity-intuition, reasoning-feeling and judgement-perception. In Digital Punk, we use the Merrill-Wilson two-axis model: extroversion-introversion and manifestation-of-emotions-control, creating 4 main quadrants (and 16 sub-quadrants).
Why have 4 quadrants?
We use this model because we find it more suitable for more practical and less academic training. In this way, each person, after having identified their position within the model, can choose which axis to work on to develop their versatility. The great benefit of understanding social styles is in fact to increase one’s ability to relate to others by approaching their way of behaving.