The Leonardo/Straight-Liner Relationship Guide, Part 2:

The Leonardo’s Guide to Straight-Liner Friends and How Both Parties Can Make It Work

[This is a reworking of part of a chapter from the first edition of The Leonardo Trait]

The Leonardo/Straight-Liner Relationships Guide, Part 2 - The Leonardo Trait - Angie DixonWhat We Love About You

We love you. And these are some of the reasons.

You’re Solid and Stable.

We need to know something in our lives is going to last and always be there. That something is you.

You’re Intelligent.

We want someone we can carry on an intelligent conversation with. We know you’re intelligent because we don’t suffer fools.

You Try to Understand Us

We know you don’t get us. It’s okay. You try. You celebrate with us when we have victories and offer sympathy when we have setbacks. You do your best, and that’s all we can ask.

You Love Us.

‘Nuff said.

This is part 1 of a series on Leonardo/Straight Liner relationships. Part 2, “The Leonardo’s Guide to Straight-Liner Friends and Family,” is technically coming next Monday, but you can read it here if you’re impatient and it’s not next Monday yet J

What Makes Us Wail and Gnash Our Teeth

We’re not going to go into a lot of detail here, just sort of a list. Sometimes you drive us crazy.

  • You’re too predictable.
  • You’re too organized.
  • You just don’t get us sometimes.
  • We just don’t get you sometimes.

 Living Happily Every After

I think, with some adjustments and coping strategies in a few areas, most Straight Line/Leonardo partnerships can be very successful. My husband and I are very extreme in opposite directions, and have been happy together for 14 years now. In fact, we’ve been together over 14 years and happy all of it. Just to clarify.


Unless there’s a good reason not to, the Straight Liner should probably handle the finances, and the Leonardo should probably do the best he/she can just to write down checks, control spending, and stay in the budget. I’m generalizing, but that’s often the way it goes, and finances can be very tough on a relationship.

Work and Downtime

Straight Liners tend to work regular hours, mostly, and take weekends and evenings off. Leonardos, often, don’t. You may need to come to some agreement about when will be work time, when will be downtime, and when those traditions can be changed to accommodate a project. One thing I try to do, even if I’m planning to come back down and work, is to go to bed when Jim does, and talk to him until he turns out his light. Then I come back to my office. That is one of our few “our” times to talk, and I don’t miss it.

At the same time, the Straight Liner may need to make some allowances for the Leonardo’s need to hibernate. It’s not something we can control; sometimes we use all our energy and have to make more. Please be patient with us while we do that.

Reminders About HoneyDew Lists

No, you shouldn’t have to remind your Leonardo spouse to do things around the house. In an ideal world, we’d remember. We often don’t. But most of us, if you’ll remind us, send us a quick email, put a note on our computer monitor, will do it, and we’ll do it gladly. We just get sidetracked. Please try to understand.

Making Family a Priority

Something I am guilty of at times is not being with my family enough because I’m working. That’s sometimes a Straight Liner problem, too. You’ll have to figure out your own solution, of course, but do be aware that it can be a problem and you do need to address it.

Trying to Accept Each Other’s Passions

Straight Liners have passions. They’re called hobbies. Leonardos’ passions are called our life. We’ll try to understand you, if you’ll try to understand us. In fact, let’s talk about it.

The Most Important Thing

If I could only give you one, single, solitary piece of advice on living in a Straight Line/Leonardo couple, it would be this. Remember you love each other.

Sidebar: You’re Both Right

One thing I want to make abundantly clear here is that both sides are right, and neither is “wrong.” We are the way we are, and we love each other that way, but sometimes it’s easier if we can work something out to deal with the differences.

But we’re both okay just the way we are.

[This is part 2 of a series on Leonardo/Straight Liner relationships. You can read Part 2, “The Spouse’s Guide to Leonardos,” here.

The Leonardo/Straight-Liner Relationship Guide, Part 1:

The Spouse’s Guide to Leonardos

[This is a reworking of part of a chapter from the first edition of The Leonardo Trait]

The Leonardo/Straight-Liner Relationships Guide, Part 1 - The Leonardo Trait - Angie DixonJust a note: While I wrote this chapter for the Straight-Line spouse, I recommend that all Leonardos read it, as well. After all, don’t you want to know what someone’s telling your partner about you?

Another note: I recommend this chapter for best friends as well, because I can’t think of a closer non-spousal relationship.

The simple truth is, many Leonardos marry Straight-Liners, and this can be very difficult for both parties unless there’s a basic understanding of the Leonardo personality. This chapter will seek to help create that understanding on both sides.

An Imaginary Real-Life Couple

Let’s drop in on Mark and Lisa. Their names have not been changed; since I made these characters up, they can keep their real names.

At 24, Mark is almost finished with law school, has a fairly good shot at an associate position at the job where he’s spent his summers, and has his life completely under control. If you’ve guessed that Mark is not the Leonardo in this story, you can now pass GO and collect your $200.

Then Mark meets Lisa, a waitress at his local coffee house. Lisa, a painter, is working on a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Since she’s also an actress, she does a one-woman show on weekends. In her spare time, she restores vintage Volkswagens.

Mark is smitten. Lisa is bowled over. They begin dating.

The first year passes in a blur as each finishes a final year of school. Mark finds himself loosening up a little; Lisa finds herself settling into a routine at times. Marriage is mentioned, by both. Mark gets his dream job. A major gallery wants to show Lisa’s paintings. They set a wedding date and move in together. Life is great, and they are as perfectly happy as it’s possible to be.

At the two-year mark, they’ve been living together a year, and things are starting to get a little difficult at times. Lisa often stays up all night painting or rehearsing her show. For weeks at a time, she and Mark hardly see each other because of their respective hours. Mark feels that when he does manage to get home at a decent hour or have some time on the weekend, Lisa should spend it with him, but when she’s not painting, she seems to be sleeping for days on end.

Lisa feels that Mark doesn’t value her work because it’s not practical and tangible. She believes Mark doesn’t understand how hard she works or appreciate how much she needs her rest when she can get it.

Things seem to be going south, but neither knows what to do about it.

During the third year, however, they begin to understand their differences. Mark, a very settled Straight Liner, is expecting Lisa to work “regular” hours, and Lisa, a very strong-willed Leonardo, is expecting Mark to understand her working for 37 hours straight and then sleeping for 72.

Mark does value Lisa’s work. He just doesn’t understand how much it means to her, because his work, while he loves it, is work. Her work is her, period.

They dicuss, cuss, and discuss some more. Finally they agree to keep trying to understand each other and to each make some changes to accommodate the other—and to each accept some things about the other person.

Five years after their meeting, Mark and Lisa are again as happy as two people can possibly be, now married three years and expecting twins, which Lisa views as the ultimate Leonardo project.

What Makes Leonardos Lovable

Admit it, Mr./Mrs./Ms. Straight Liner. You find your Leonardo irresistible. Sure, sometimes you want to wring his or her neck, but you’re soul mates and you know it. Here are my thoughts on why that is.

We’re Fun.

Face it. Leonardos are a hoot. We love to laugh, and we love to think, and we love to laugh about things that most people don’t even think about. We can carry on a conversation about anything, and often do, if only with ourselves.

Our creative spirits make us highly entertaining.

We believe relationships, like life, are supposed to be enjoyable.

We want to have a good time, and we do.

We’re Intelligent.

For all our witty banter, we’re thoughtful. We ponder. We know things.

I like to say my mind is a treasure trove of useless information, but when my daughter, who’s eight, asked where root beer comes from, my husband said, “Ask your mom,” and I, sure enough, knew. I can go for a long time on the impressed look on her little face.

We’re Enthusiastic.

Enthusiastic is actually the Swahili word for Leonardo. Learn something new every day, don’t you?

I know our enthusiasm can be wearing. But wouldn’t you really rather be with one of us than one of “them”? By “them” I mean, of course, the people who always have a complaint, who can never be happy about anything because it wasn’t just right, and for whom enthusiasm is a word that isn’t in their dictionary. Honestly. Who would you rather have in your life?

We’re Loving.

Leonardos are like puppies. We love everyone. Like puppies, we even sometimes continue to love people who give us reason at least not to like them.

We love wholeheartedly and energetically. We care about you more deeply than we can express, even when it’s not obvious. You’re our soul mates. We want to be with you and we wouldn’t choose anywhere else to be. We love you.

We’re Interesting.

Not much more to say about that one, so I’ll leave it out there.

Why Leonardos Are So Hard to Live With

We know we’re hard to live with, and we know why, but we’re not sure if you know why. Here are some reasons.

We’re Unpredictable.

We like this in ourselves, but Straight Liners often find it frustrating. Not only are we apt to do something no one expected us to do, at a very inconvenient time, we’re apt to make plans and forget to tell you about them until the last minute. Very frustrating and annoying, we realize, and we promise to try to not do that so much.

We’re Often Exhausting

If you’ve ever tried to keep up with a Leonardo on a mission, whether that mission is writing a book or finding the last Dora the Explorer backpack (with Boots on it) in the city before the first day of school, you know what I mean. We can be tiring. We can wear out anyone. We work very hard, and sometimes we expect everyone else to work that hard, as well.

The Rest of the Time We’re Exhausted

Leonardos run on adrenaline, until we run out. Not all Leonardos run out of steam this way, but most of us do. I’ve been told by a psychologist that there’s some chemical reason that some people run out of gas and some don’t. I’ll take her word for it. What I know is that I can work non-stop for two days, but it will take me four days to recover—and yet I can’t convince myself not to do that non-stop work. I know that’s hard for you to understand, because unless you’re a workaholic, you’re probably more in control of your work than we are.

We’re Sometimes Overwhelming

The kind of energy, creativity and spontaneity produced by one Leonardo in one week could probably fuel a local opera company for a year. I’ve been told more than once that I’m overwhelming. I’m sorry, I really am. I know it’s hard to deal with. But for me, it’s better than being underwhelming.

We’re Often Preoccupied

It’s not that we don’t love you. It’s not that we didn’t hear you. It’s not that we don’t want to do what you asked us to do. It’s that we’re on another planet. We’ll be back very soon and you can try again. We’re very regretful, but it happens, sometimes.

[This is part 1 of a series on Leonardo/Straight Liner relationships. Part 2, “The Leonardo’s Guide to Straight-Liner Friends and Family,” is technically coming next Monday, but you can read it here if you’re impatient and it’s not next Monday yet :)]