Somatotype and Relationships

Somatotype Relationship Charts

This section is going to introduce a series of 24 charts that list the degree of compatibility
between various somatotypes.  To fully understand this section it is best to become familiar with the section  SOMATOTYPE AND PERSONALITY .  There are 4 dimensions involved in my system of understanding somatotype.  Each dimension varies on a scale of 1 to 7 with 1 being the minimum expression of a dimension and 7 being the maximum. Each dimension corresponds to one of the four basic functions of an organsim.

Endomorphy = Visceral = Contentment – Satisfaction – Comfort
Mesomorphy = Muscle = Action – Control – Dominance
Ectomorphy = Nervous System = Safety – Defense – Boundary – Status
Sensomorphy/Balance = Sensory System = Orientation – Novelty Seeking – Curiosity

In this section we are going to be primarily concerned with the rank of the systems making up a particular somatotype.  So if a somatotype is a 5, 1½, 2, (3½) the rank of the systems would be:  1.Viseral 5    2. Sensory 3½   3. Nervous 2   4. Muscular 1½           Rank order is expressed from left (highest) to right (lowest). In the above example you have V S N M .

Since there are four systems that means there would be 24 combinations of those systems. This provides a rich conceptual framework for describing a range of personalities.  Each of these 24 permutations has a special relationship with all the others. The relationship will vary from a situation where there is a match in the rank of the four components, all the way down to where the other person has the order completely reversed.  For example if one person is a V M N S and another person is also a V M N S you could expect they will have the potential for a strong relationship because the corresponding systems in each have the same rank. On the other hand a V M N S might have a difficult relationship with a  S N M V because their rank order is completely reversed.

There is a way of calculating the degree of difference between two arrangements. It’s a simple game of “unscramble”. The score is based on the number of moves necessary to make the patterns match.  Let’s say you want to find the difference between

S N M Vand N S M V 

You can see that the S moves 1 step lower and the N moves one step higher making a total of 2 moves.

Now look at the difference between

S N M V and V N M S.

In this case S moves 3 steps down and the V  moves 3 steps up making a total of 6 moves. Total opposites would involve 8 moves.

Here is a diagram that may help you visualize this process. This example requires a total of 8 moves to unscramble.

scramble 1

The N moves down 2 positions.  The S moves down 2 positions.

The V moves up 1 position. The M moves up 3 positions.

This totals up to 8 moves.

Example of relationship chart for M V S N


The Type listed at the top is the Subject of the chart.    As you follow down the column you notice a change in color depending on the index of similarity between other types and the type under consideration.  The index is based on the number of moves necessary to make the other types similar.

The Blue section are the types that are most similar.  You can expect a strong connection between these types.  There is the suggestion that they might easily lead to intimacy.  They have the capacity to be life partners.  The types that are similar don’t need to work hard to establish a relationship.  Nature has done that for them.

The Yellow section could be considered rivals.  A Rival is not necessarily an Enemy. Originally, the term is derived from the idea of people sharing the same river.  They have something in common.  They also are close enough to balance their  similarities with some slight differences.  This can lead to some very creative adaptations in the context of a task group that has been established to work as a team.

The Red section is the largest.  It consists of the odds and ends that could be called acquaintances.  They might be thought of as the indifferent group.  They aren’t going to go out of their way to seek the company of the type that is the focus of the list.  If they are forced to work together for long periods of time frictions will emerge.  They can set aside their differences for short periods of time in the interest of accomplishing a shared goal.

The Green section is as small as the Blue section.  This is fortunate because they are likely to experience serious discomfort in attempting to share space with the person that is the subject of the list.

The following charts will show each combination and how it relates to the others. We’ll examine the significance of these relationships later.  Once you find your somatotype and its rank order of your systems you will be in a position to obtain some very interesting insights into current and past relationships.


Visceral Relationships



Muscular Relationships  


Nervous relationships




Sensory Relationships


These charts can be applied to the major relationships in life.  Here are a few.

Life mate selection.  If being married to your best friend is your goal make sure you marry someone in the blue area.  Not liking the person you are married to is obviously going to end up badly.  Just keep in mind that there are people who should not be married to each other.  You can waste a lot of time coming to terms with an enemy under the same roof.  If a person’s somatotype is opposite of their mate or potential mate then serious conflict becomes a real possibility.  Sometimes there may be advantages to marrying someone in the indifferent (Red) area.  If you are an extremely meso-ecto male you will have a hard time finding  a female in the “friend”  territory.  In that case someone who tends to feel indifferent about you might be a good option.  Marriage relationships are about sex and friendship but also division of labor.  As long as the sexual aspect is fulfilling two people can comfortably pursue their own interests and friends and take care of their “sphere” of responsibilities.  To make a good life mate selection you need to first of all “know your self”  “know your somatotype”.

Team Building.  There are thousands of books on building teams.  Once a goal is determined it is a matter of getting the people who share the goal to achieve a synergy of effort.  Knowing which people are likely to be able to work together is the key.  Understanding the relationship code of each member and discussing how each member can contribute shouldn’t  be simply trial and error.  Somatotype can remove some of  the “error” part.  It is devastating for a group to be half-way done with a project and then have everything fall apart due to a personality clash.  You aren’t looking for buddies when building a team.  You are looking for people who can get along and still bring unique perspectives to the situation.  Again it starts with knowing yourself.

Occupational Choice. Career counselors understand the significance of specific personality traits associated with occupational choice.  While there is a lot of flexibility in occupational choice you will want to especially stay away from areas that are completely opposite of your somatotype code.  Many times a person will get into a career that isn’t ideally matched but they make a success of it because they are out of their usual box and can bring a fresh perspective.   For example the “manager” role usually is filled by a person who may be quite different from the people they are managing.   I will be posting more information on career and somatotype in the near future.

The Most Important Relationship is the relationship you have with YOUR SELF.  This brings up a picture of two selves in one.  Some have even suggested we are like committees.  When we take a look at ourselves as a hierarchy of functions the self-as-committee view has some reality. Depending on which function is dominant we will have a corresponding need for peace and harmony,  action and control, safety and status, or novelty and orientation.

The binary relationship is something that is well known in philosophy, psychology, religion.  It is the biological YOU, referred to as the authentic or original YOU and the adapted YOU that has formed in reaction to your social and physical environment. Psychotherapy endeavors to help a person sort out the “real” person from their “adaptive or in many cases maladaptive” personality.

So how does somatotype enter into the equation? The billion dollar secret is that the structure of our bodies defines our core personality but NOT our present personality with its many adaptations. It is fairly easy to discover your somatotype. It is not easy for people to understand that somatotype is the key to understanding their core. Finding yourself by understanding your somatotype is the basic premise of everything on this website.

What’s the matter with all the other techniques that claim to be the key to self discovery (enlightenment) ?  Let’s examine some of these techniques and the failure they share.

Proverbial sayings. Maxims. Recipes. The problem is that there are hundreds of thousands of these pithy sayings and it is easy to find contradictions. Here is an

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” in opposition to “He who hesitates is lost”

Which advice are you going to take. It turns out that these expressions are really examples of quotes lifted out of their context. Fools rush in… was originally a quote from an essay by Alexander Pope expressing his feelings about the literary critics of his day (1688-1744).

“He who hesitates… was originally “The woman that deliberates is lost” from Joseph Addison’s Play “Cato”(1712) It refers to the idea that if a woman has to think about a gentleman’s proposal he probably isn’t the right one for her and she is liable to be led on.

There seems to be no definite pattern to the admonitions that are given in these wise saying.  What may seem like generally good advice may not be an adequate guide for all persons.  One of the dangers with counseling/coaching is that there is a tendency to impose one’s own model of an emotionally healthy person on others.  Maslow became one of his own biggest critics in regard to his definition of a self-actualizing person. Maslow had some interesting things to say about self-actualization that the management gurus have never heard.  Mark E. Koltko-Rivera elaborated on
an added level to the Maslow hierarchy commonly referred to as Self-Transcendence. (“Rediscovering the Later Version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Transcendence and Opportunities for Theory, Research, and Unification”by Mark E. Koltko-Rivera Review of General Psychology 2006, Vol. 10, No. 4, 302–317) Koltko-Rivera draws upon journals published about ten years after Maslow’s death. One of my favorite tidbits from those journals is quoted on the main page of this website.

___“Ectomorphs and endomorphs are clearly as healthy or ‘normal’ as mesomorphs.” ___ “The Journals of A.H. Maslow Vol II.” , 1979

I will return to the subject of Self-Transcendence in a future post.

Meditative Techniques make up another method of getting to the “Real Self”. Whether you employ techniques of concentration meditation or mindfulness meditation the data you are receiving is generated by your adapted self which has already changed in some degree from your original self. It’s most effective benefit seems to be the establishment of contact with your body by quieting down all the maxims you have swallowed (introjected) from the influence of your family and society in general through its pop-culture. Once you have learned the technique you are confronted with much of the same endless barrage of wise sayings and reminders. You are at the mercy of what presents itself together with the exhortations you are able to draw up as reminders. It falls short of being a system that provides something objective about the core identity
that differentiates one individual from another.

Free Association/Dream Therapy/Rational Therapy and just about everything else. These all have the same weakness – an absence of a structure that can identify the core SELF. They are limited to discussing identity issues with an adapted self  because that’s the most accessible self being  the current self that is engaged. After adaptations become habitual it may be asking too much to expect the true self to make a clear exposition. This is not a denouncement of these techniques but a way to emphasize the need to have some objective information about a person’s core identity to start with, so therapy can be shortened. If you want to get back home from a journey it helps to know where “home” is.

Paper and Pencil Personality Inventories need to be called to task. Do personality tests reveal the core personality or the adapted personality?  Since it is the adapted personality that takes the test it would be safe to say that these tests reflect the personality that takes the test. This means that, at best, these tests accurately measure only a person’s adapted personality. If a person has made a very poor adaptation the results will be radically out of tune with the person’s natural or core self.  This is probably why the correlations between somatotype and the written test result , are quite low. Sheldon’s own research was based on personal interviews which was  criticized for the inappropriateness of the personality assessment interviews being executed by the same person that made the somatotype assessment. Now that Sheldon’s somatotype technique is available on this site perhaps someone with a professional interest and access to a substantial number of subjects could arrange for a good test based on professional assessments obtained from extensive interviews similar to what Sheldon originally did..


It costs you nothing but a little time to follow the instructions at                                      HOW TO SOMATOTYPE and find your somatotype. After you identify your somatotype take any four quadrant personality inventory and see if the rank of the four scales matches the rank of the body systems as indicated by your somatotype. The DISC type test has been used extensively and it is pretty clear by description which scales would correspond to the somatotype dimensions.

Dominance = Mesomorphy
Influence = Centrimorphy (Balance)
Steadiness= Endomorphy
Compliance = Ectomorphy.

Using the relationship chart that matches your somatotype system ranks, compare it with the results of the DISC test. If it is identical or in the Blue zone you probably have a good adaptive personality. If it is in the Yellow zone you may have some minor issues that reflect adaptations based on your occupational adjustments or some recent conflict. The red zone would represent some deeper conflict with parents or siblings. If you are in the Green zone you should probably have some time with a therapist to discuss these issues. It wouldn’t hurt to find a therapist that would be open to learning about the somatotype technique.

Harmonizing one’s inner core with an extreme (maladaptive) personality often require  important decisions which could foment  a life crisis. These crises are usually complicated by lack of financial means to accommodate the situation.  Divorce or career change are expensive. When you haven’t got an objective understanding of your core self it fogs your presentation to a lot of people in your life. These are difficult situations and it is wise to take counsel to keep a clear head.





































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