The New Johari Window #18. Quadrant One: Continental School of Thought Regarding Interpersonal Needs and Quad One General Implications
The third type of trust (competency) is established in a relationship when we each exhibit the skill of interpersonal discernment. While the mystics of the Middle Ages used the process of discernment to determine which messages were coming from God and which were coming from the Devil, we can today, in our interpersonal relationships, also engage in discernment. We can mutually determine which messages (models of interpersonal relationship) are a good fit (godly) and which are a bad fit (ungodly). We can be mutually thoughtful in our selection of appropriate domains of Quad One we should bring to this specific relationship.
We can collaborate in discerning which type of relationship we should establish, given all of the various models of relationship in our postmodern world. We live not only with a saturated self but also with saturated images of the successful interpersonal relationship. We must discern which is best for us in this setting and at this particular time. Unless we are hiding away in an enclave, we are faced with the diversity of many other relationships that exist in our life. We must mutually craft a relationship that may be similar to but is never quite the same as these other unique relationships.
The Three A’s: Finding Continuity in a World of Flux and Diversity
We benefit by viewing Quadrant One as a process rather than as a thing or an outcome. This is the “working space”. It is a matter of “becoming”—not being. We are not conveying who we are, but rather what we are becoming in this unique, dynamic relationship. As I have said repeatedly (in defense of Joe Luft), the Johari Window is not static. People out in the real world keep opening and closing their interpersonal windows—so they had better be strong, flexible and well-lubricated! Given this fluid, dynamic process, how does one gain any sense of continuity in one’s own sense of self or, more specifically, in one’s sense of another person’s “self.” I would suggest that there are three “A’s” that provide some guidance in our complex, unpredictable and turbulent world of interpersonal relationships: authenticity, alignment and appreciation.