• Michael Wood and Ricky Britner

Our Temperament Needs

We all have needs that range in degree. One person may have a physical need to eat more often, while another may need to eat less. You’ll also find that some people enjoy hugs, whereas others don’t have a need to hug. Equally, we have temperament needs that also vary.


Learning our Temperaments helps us see how our minds are wired—how we get energized, receive information, make decisions, and orient ourselves in the world. Understanding our needs gives us insight into another aspect of our temperament and what motivates behaviors in regard to how much interaction we want with others.


Moreover, it’s understood that we have needs that are expressive (shown) and needs which are responsive (wanted). One person may give hugs to another who doesn’t want hugs. In the same light a person may want hugs, but not know how to welcome them.


Temperament theory is that which is beyond our physiological needs for food, safety, etc. Within our temperament needs (expressive/responsive), they are placed in three categories: inclusion, control, and affection. These needs being met are the motivating force at the forefront of how we operate. Also, knowing about temperament needs gives us a better sense of why we seek out or avoid certain situations, as well as why we seek to be “satisfied” or to have those needs met. Unlike character/personality, which are developed throughout our life’s experiences, temperament is our natural hard drive we’re born with. It’s in this area where our needs exist. Everyone has the desire to express and receive in the areas of Inclusion, Control, and Affection. These interpersonal needs range from low, medium, to high depending on the intensity level to get them met. All temperaments have these needs.


Let’s look at inclusion, control and affection areas of temperaments:


Inclusion, sometimes called Involvement, is the need to establish and maintain surface relationships…namely, the need to belong. The desire to be recognized, to be a part of the group, is wanted Inclusion. It could be a work group, a book club, a family circle, a sports team, a volunteer group, or even an organization. The other side of this temperament need is expressed Inclusion—the drive to include others, to decide who to include. For some, Inclusion is not a strong motivating factor, while for others it is very important.


Control, sometimes called Influence. It is the need to establish and maintain satisfactory relationships with people, in terms of control and power (authority), as well as the willingness to make decision and take on responsibilities. How important is it to you to be in charge or to not be “managed” in any way? The need to lead, influence, provide structure, make the decisions is expressed Control. Wanted Control is about how much you want others to lead, provide structure, set the goals, etc. For some, it may be difficult to delegate effectively, or they may overvalue competence (not valuing a learning experience, but instead seeing a mistake as a disaster). For others, the strong need for independence and freedom from responsibility may limit their effectiveness in relationships.


Affection, sometimes called Connection, is about one-to-one relationships and the emotional ties and warm connections between people. Wanted Affection has to do with how much warmth and closeness you want in relationships. Think about how often you disclose your feelings to individuals and how willing you are to listen to theirs. How important is it for you to be liked by others? How many individuals are you close to, and how would you define close? Do you have a few deeper relationships or do you consider everyone you meet (get acquainted with) a friend? Expressed Affection is about how willing you are to develop a close and warm connection with another person. How often do you act in ways that encourage closeness to another? Because of differences in this temperament need, some people may be perceived as unapproachable, while others may be disappointed in a relationship because the other person doesn’t accept the depth and intensity that they want and need. If we are seeking to have our temperament needs met and our current circumstances (work or home, for example) don’t meet them, we will actively seek to get these needs met in other ways.


In conclusion, our temperament needs motivate individual’s thoughts and behavior.

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