According to Jay Shetty, there are three types of roles people play in their relationships with others. The Fixer, the Fragile One, or the Supporter. Which role do you play? If you’re not sure, try this quick exercise to find out.
Ask yourself the following three questions, and rate your answer on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being “Not at all” and 10 being “Yes, a lot”. Be honest in your answers.
Question #1: Do I find myself constantly trying to solve, nurture, or make the other person better? Am I involved in trying to improve, grow and make the other person better? Am I trying to make it happen for them and trying to carry them?
Question #2: In relationships, do I feel that I rely on my partner a lot? Do I go to them with my problems or complaints and issues? Do I expect them to be able to find solutions for me?
Question #3: Do I support my partner? Do I value their dreams? Do I respect their time and space? How do they like to spend their time in that space? Do I always want them to change it? Do I truly understand, acknowledge, and recognize who they are and what they’re doing? Or do I genuinely want them to change inside?
The question you rank the highest is the type of relationship personality you operate in. If you score highest on the first question, you are a Fixer. The second question pertains to Fragile personality type. And the third question is about the Supporter.
In this article, Jay Shetty breaks down each relationship type and teaches us how to use our relationship type to create positive communication between us and others.
Jay Shetty admits there have been times in his life when he was a Fixer.
“When I met Radhi, in the beginning she would often go to her mother or her sister for advice and insight before she’d come to me,” Jay Shetty shares. “That’s how she was raised. She was always around those people. My male ego was hurt by that because my male ego wanted to be the Fixer. I wanted to be the person she came to with all her problems. But here’s what I realized. When people in the past had done that to me, I felt overwhelmed, used and drained. I couldn’t keep doing it. My ego wanted it even though I couldn’t handle it.”
According to Jay Shetty, the ego seeks that significance, but gaining significance from being a Fixer is not sustainable or satisfying. It runs out quickly. So, he realized that instead of being disappointed, he should instead be happy Radhi had more than one person she could go to when she needed help.
When you are a Fixer, you feel obligated to take care of everyone’s needs. You think their happiness is your job, and you do whatever you can to nurture them. This makes you sensitive to everything they do. Your relationship becomes more like a parent/child relationship where you’re forcing your partner into the child role.
Are you the go-to for your friends when they have a problem or the one who tries to keep the peace in the group? It’s okay to be a Fixer in certain situations, but it can become overwhelming when you don’t see the results you expect.
“The Fixer wants to be everything for their partner because they get their significance from having the answers,” explains Jay Shetty. “When their partner doesn’t change, the Fixer feels disappointed.
Even worse, the Fixer may turn inward and start judging themselves. They start to feel unqualified and think the lack of results is all their fault because they haven’t been a good coach.” This, says Jay Shetty, leads to disappointment and overwhelm.
Here are some tips Fixers can use to help manage their Fixer tendencies.
- Ask your partner how you and your abilities can support—not fix—them.
- Help your partner get introduced and connected with other people they can go to for guidance.
- Embody the supporter mindset. Your partner has their own personal journey to go on. They don’t have to grow the way you grow. Give them space to guide their journey and make their own decisions and choices.
The second personality type Jay Shetty refers to is the Fragile. Fragile does not mean you are weak or useless. You’re incredible as you are, but you are wounded, hurt, and unsure of yourself. You look to others for confidence and expect them to provide it for you.
If you’re a Fragile personality, past experiences may have contributed to your reliance on others. Maybe your parents did everything for you. You never learned how to build confidence in yourself, so you constantly seek validation and assurance or need another person to do the work for you.
The Fragile seek relationships with Fixers because the Fixer will embrace them and take care of their needs. They do all the things you do not want to do yourself. Look out though, cautions Jay Shetty! If you become too much for the Fixer to handle, they may leave you.
In the wake of their departure, you feel hurt, angry, and lost. You go looking for someone to help you get through it and end up with another Fixer. That relationship works for a while until that Fixer leaves too, and you are sent back into that downward spiral.
“You end up in a constant spiral of looking for someone to fix you,” explains Jay Shetty. “You feel broken, and you want someone to stick the parts of you together. When they leave you, you keep letting them break you apart. You never learn to grow yourself or take responsibility for your own happiness, your own joy, and your own success. You always think it’s someone else’s fault that you haven’t gotten to where you want to be.”
This is the victim mindset. You believe everything bad happens only to you and that there is no way out. This puts you in a weak position because it stops you from taking accountability for your life.
How do you quiet the Fragile mentality?
Think about how you have been hurt and broken, and ask yourself where to start creating the breakthroughs. Think about how to find answers to things in the pain that you have gone through. Look for solace and peace in yourself instead of others. Do not outsource your joy. Find your purpose and passion and start creating joy in that.
The Supporter does what they can to help their partner, but does not judge themselves based on the other person’s results.
“Their purpose is their priority,” explains Jay Shetty. ”They prioritize their purpose, and they remind their partners to prioritize theirs. They are full of reminders and cues and noticing rather than doing it for the other person.”
Jay Shetty explains the difference between the Supporter and the Fixer is the Fixer thinks they can solve everything. The Supporter acknowledges what they can help with and what they can’t. The Fixer obsesses over all of their partner’s flaws. The Supporter is patient as they find their own feet and focus on their growth while their partner discovers their path.
The Supporter is someone who stabilizes themselves first then uses that stabilization to help the other person. In real life, this looks like the Supporter encouraging their partner to get a workout in rather than leading the workout themselves.
When Roles Don’t Work
So what happens when you put two unhealthy roles together? According to Jay Shetty, it’s a recipe for relationship disaster.
Put a Fragile and a Fixer together, and the Fixer will try to help the Fragile. For a while, it will work. Eventually, however, the Fixer will run out of energy and leave the Fragile feeling despondent.
When a Fixer is in a relationship with a Fixer, they both drive each other crazy because they both want to improve each other. Instead of fixing themselves and growing, they’re both trying to fix the other person.
When a Fragile is in a relationship with a Fragile, neither feel a sense of home because they’re both looking to the other for that security. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that the other is too anxious for them because they are dealing with their own anxiety on top of it.
The Supporter role is what everyone should aspire to. It allows for equal partner communication, enabling them to act as a team. So how can you start making a transition to being a Supporter?
“The first step is looking back and thinking, ‘What are the areas of my life that I’m always seeking validation in?’” explains Jay Shetty. “Then ask yourself what you can do for yourself in those areas to build your confidence.”
When you are in a relationship, both partners learn from each other. If you are a Fragile or a Fixer, raise your vibration to become a Supporter and see its benefit on your relationships.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “3 Personality Types in Relationships” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.