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bashful  |  dopey  |  sleepy  |  sneezy  |  doc  |  grumpy  |  happy


Some Strengths which Bashful may exhibit in a Group Meeting:

  • Does well in a focused and structured environment where the task at hand is clear.
  • Highly observant
  • Compelled to help others in need and are very sensitive to other people's feelings
  • Hard working, warm, and generous
  • Particularly in tune with their senses - observing, hearing, feeling what is going on in the meeting
  • Very accepting of other's viewpoints.
  • Tends to be traditional and conservative.
  • Remembers facts and details.
  • Does well when paired up with another person.

How do you know when you have a Bashful in your meeting?

  • Looks shy
  • May actually blush when spoken to
  • May avoid eye contact, look down, bow their head a little bit
  • May avoid looking at group leader, hoping not to be called on.
  • May try to hide in the middle of the group
  • Generally quiet
  • Waits to hear others' views before expressing his or hers

Some Difficult Behaviors which Bashful may exhibit in a Group Meeting:

  • Sometimes speaks in a muffled voice; hard to hear
  • Will not express opinoins unless called upon
  • Expresses incomplete opinions and allows others to finish sentances
  • Waits to hear everyone else's ideas and then may change what is written on their paper (seeks to conform)

Assumed Feelings Underlying BOTH Strengths and Weaknesses for Bashful:

  • May be afraid of being exposed and/or humiliated
  • May believe he or she has some socially unacceptable secret
  • May feel ashamed
  • May not have had enough experience being listened to carefully. May have grown up in an environment where their talk was not encouraged. Feels it is inappropriate to talk or take center stage.

How to Leverage Bashful Strengths:

  • In the initial go-round, ask an easy question which guarantees a correct response, "How long did it take to get here" What's your pet's name? How many siblings do you have?? This creates a quick sense of confidence in being able to give the right answer.
  • Pair them with another person - they come out of their introverted style somewhat when they are paired up with another person that they have to help
  • Give them time to jot down their reactions before calling upon them (so they can prepare a non-embarrassing response) Ask them to read what they wrote (vs. paraphrase.)
  • Ask them what they have observed in the group (since they have probably been busy collecting facts).
  • To reduce their anxiety, stress the fact that you will be addressing the issues in a structured, organized manner. (Review the outline or discussion guide for the group with them to the extent possible)
  • Give them recognition for their attention to detail and recall of facts
  • Avoid asking them to respond in an impromptu manner
  • If you can anticipate that your target will have a number of Bashfuls, you might consider giving them a homework assignment so that they can think through the subject at hand before attending the research (e.g., discussion on the use of tampons.)

Potential Interventions to Diffuse Bashful Problems:

  • When any hint of an embarrassing feeling or thought is admitted, Universalize!, "That's interesting because, lots of people have said that.?
  • Acknowledge that many topics are embarrassing to discuss
  • Be sensitive to non-verbal cues, probe gently rather than pushing for more, pause in your speech and listen compassionately
  • Encourage with touch (back of chair, not body ... to feel presence but not be intimidated)
  • Ask Bashful to read a response verbatim (a no risk participatory behavior)
  • Give praise
  • Stand to his right (this is often experienced as supportive).

General Description of Bashful Personality:

Bashfuls are warm and kind-hearted, and want to believe the best in people. They value harmony and cooperation, and are likely to be very sensitive to other people's feelings. Bashfuls have a highly active fertile inner world that is not usually obvious to observers. They are constantly taking in information about people and situations that is personally important to them, and storing it for later use. This tremendous store of knowledge is usually amazingly accurate, because the Bashful personality has an exceptional memory about things that are important to their value systems. Some Bashfuls have been known to recall a particular facial expression or conversation in precise detail years after the event occurred, if the situation made an impression on Bashful.

In a meeting, Bashful tends to keep a low profile. While very quiet and unlikely to make eye contact with the leader, Bashful is fully participating, taking everything in. He doesn't miss a beat with regard to sights, sounds and senses. Bashful is very conscious that his criticisms of other people or their ideas can hurt their feelings, and if asked for feedback regarding another person will steadfastly refrain from unnecessary criticism.

Bashfuls have a very clear idea of the way things should be, which they strive to attain. They value kindness, and respect traditions and laws. They tend to believe that existing rules are there because they work. Therefore, they're not likely to buy into doing things in a new way, unless they're shown in a concrete way why it's better than the established method.

Bashfuls learn through their senses more than books. They watch and practice to master what they need to do, more so than taking information in through academic means. They value practical application. Traditional methods of higher education, which require a lot of theorizing and abstraction, are likely to be a chore for Bashful.

Bashfuls are loyal and dependable. They believe in and follow time honored traditions. They may come from strict religious upbringings and while they may no longer adhere to the doctrines in a routinized manner, they follow the spirit of the law.

Bashfuls have an artistic sense or appreciation. They have a well-developed sense of space, function, and aesthetic appeal. This special ability, combined with their sensitivity to other's feelings and desires, makes them very likely to be great gift-givers - finding the right gift which will be truly appreciated by the recipient.

More so than other types, Bashfuls are attuned to their own internal feelings, as well as other people's feelings. They do not usually express their own feelings, keeping things inside. If they are negative feelings, they may build up inside Bashfuls until they turn into firm judgments against individuals which are difficult to unseed, once set. Bashfuls need to learn to express themselves, and find outlets for their powerful emotions. Under the apparent calm is a passionate person.

Just as Bashfuls are not likely to express their feelings, they are also not likely to let on that they know how others are feeling. However, they will speak up when they feel another individual really needs help, and in such cases they can truly help others become aware of their feelings.

Bashfuls feel a strong sense of responsibility and duty. They take their responsibilities very seriously, and can be counted on to follow through. For this reason, people naturally tend to rely on them. Bashfuls have a difficult time saying "no" when asked to do something, and may become over-burdened. In such cases, Bashfuls do not usually express their difficulties to others, because they intensely dislike conflict, and because they tend to place other people's needs over their own. Bashfuls need to learn to identify, value, and express their own needs, if they wish to avoid becoming over-worked and taken for granted.

Bashfuls need positive feedback from others. In the absence of positive feedback, or in the face of criticism, they become discouraged, and may even become depressed. When down on themselves or under great stress, Bashfuls begin to imagine all of the things that might go critically wrong in their life. They have strong feelings of inadequacy, and become convinced that "everything is all wrong", or "I can't do anything right".

Bashfuls are warm, generous, and dependable. They have many special gifts to offer, in their sensitivity to others, and their strong ability to keep things running smoothly. They need to remember to not be overly critical of themselves, and to give themselves some of the warmth and love which they freely dispense to others.


To read descriptions of the other Dwarf Personalities, choose an appropriate link below:

read more about general tips and techniques for creating an encouraging, supportive atmosphere for all participants in a group meeting.


About The Author
Dr. Sharon Livingston

Sharon Livingston, Ph.D. is founder and Co-President of The Looking Glass and Executive Solutions, Inc. Articles either about or by Dr. Livingston have appeared in The New York Times (several times - see 5/6/01 Long Island edition), Marketing News, Communication World, Adweek, The Washington Post, The Daily News, Newsday, Advertising and Communication Times, The American Bar Association Journal, Delta Sky, Discover, Beverage World, U.S. News and World Report, Quirks Marketing Review, and Winners. Her work has been referenced in The Group Depth Interview, a book published by Prentice-Hall, and Beyond Mind Games a book published by American Demographics. She has addressed gatherings of the American Marketing Association, the Advertising Research Foundation, the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Society, Qualitative Research Consultant Association, Marketing Research Associaiton, The Qualitative Research Council of the Advertising Research Foundation, Professional Marketing Research Society of Canada and the Sales Executive Clubs. Dr. Livingston holds a B.A. in Psychology, an M.A. in Organizational Behavior and a PhD in Clinical Psychology, has had extensive training in creative ideation procedures, group dynamics, applied psychological techniques and projective methods. She is currently on the Qualitative Research Council of the Advertising Research Foundation, is a current and founding member of QRCA - the Qualitative Research Consultant Association; a founding member of FFA - the Focus Facility Association, and is also a member of the American Marketing Association, and the National Association of Female Executives.



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