I used to be a fixer, I still am a bit, I suppose. But I’ve fixed it, mostly.

When I see difficulty or a problem I have an urge to step forward and do something about it. This is partly due to altruism, but mainly it’s about something else; when I perceive helplessness I want to demonstrate possibilities.

What I’m talking about is my tendency to go into action when a situation or crisis demands it. I respond to necessity (as I see it) and to discomfort in the same way; I reduce the discomfort by doing what I can to fix the situation. I go into action mode.

Floaters, on the other hand… Well, they float… They wait for others to fix it. If you are a Fixer, Floaters can seem indecisive and under-confident.

But I think Fixers can unwittingly set up a cause-and-effect cycle. The more they fix the more likely it is that Floaters will float because they become:
a) Dependent on the Fixer wading in and sorting things out
b) Likely to hesitate or stand back out of respect; fixing it themselves would take away something that the Fixer needs.


Being quick to fix can also shut down creativity; when the Fixer imposes, ideas and suggestions the Floater might proffer are effectively eclipsed.

Another problem with the Fixer/Floater relationship is that Fixers prevent Floaters from developing skills and independence.

This happens, for example, in the workplace when a manager sees themselves as a Fixer, rather than simply as an effective Manager. It’s also the way some parents prevent their children from developing. Ditto husbands and wives (to use traditional terminology).

We learn confidence and develop independence through tackling challenges and fixing our own problems. Living in the shadow of a Fixer can prevent that.

See also

DIY Therapy, available to all

Effective Problem-Solving, doing vs chewing

I’m a psychologist, coach, and therapist. All my work is aimed at enabling people to improve personal aspects of their lives and work.


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