Relator®: The Life-Long Friend

Do you have a friend or friends that you have known since grade school? When you meet someone, do you just “know” that person could be a “bestie”? If so, you may well have the CliftonStrengths® Talent Theme of Relator in your top 5. The Relator talent is very intuitive and the source of strong, life-long bonds. Read more about this intuitive and intimate talent…


Neurologically, emotionally, and even spiritually, humans are designed for relationships. People with Relator as a top talent live for relationships. Their friendships are a source of great joy and they love working towards a common goal on small, close-knit teams. While many people find vulnerability and intimacy intimidating, you are ready to take that risk in order to forge deep bonds with others. For you, the risk is worth the reward.

Leadership experts such as Patrick Lencioni, Brene Brown, John Townsend, and many others note that vulnerability is the fertile soil in which trust grows, and trust is foundational to every successful team. It follows that Relators’ vulnerability makes them great at helping to build strong teams.

Relators are highly intuitive. That intuition lets them know whether or not someone is likely to become a trusted friend. Relators have a conscious, or subconscious set of rules, a rubric, that describes the type of person they will let into their life. That rubric is the filter used by their intuition about people. As such, Relators are selective when it comes to their inner-circle friends.

It is not uncommon for Relators to feel uncomfortable in a crowd. They often are much more at ease in small gatherings of people, especially their friends and trusted allies. Relators tend to be dinner party people, not cocktail party people.

Here are some words that may also describe Relators:

  • Genuine
  • Authentic
  • Aloof
  • Caring
  • Loyal

Aloof? Yes. I have coached many Relators who are surprised to see that talent in their top 5 because they are introverted and not what we in America typically think of as “friendly.” That is in large part because the Relator already has enough close friends, or because that “rubric” mentioned above kicks in when their intuition tells them someone is an unlikely candidate for their inner circle. Of course, the other talents in their top 5 will also greatly influence the way their Relator talent shows up.

When I coach Relators, I always encourage them to take some time to identify the “unwritten rules” that shape their “friend rubric.” Bring the rules into the light and weigh them. Does each one really need to be a rule? Maybe some are less important than others. In so doing you will make more informed decisions and lessen the likelihood that you will miss out on some great relationships. To this day, one of my best friends is someone who wanted nothing to do with me when we first met. Thankfully, he was willing to get to know me and we became inseparable until marriage and career moved me across the country. Yet, 30 years later, every time I return home we always find a way to spend time together.

Is Relator in your top 5? What other things can you do to strengthen this talent? How is it affected by and affecting your other top talents? Go ahead and add this song to your playlist to remind yourself of what a great friend you are and to be the best friend you can be. After all, you’re a natural at it! Please leave a comment and share your experience with this intuitive, intimate, team-building talent.

CliftonStrengths” and the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are registered trademarks of Gallup, Inc. The graphic elements copyright © CoreClarity, Inc.

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