I found the Gregorc Personality Indicator test online, and you should give it a whirl if you want insight into how you and others think, and why you don't understand the way other people work.
You'll have to print it out and do it by hand, but first go here.
Follow the instructions and map out your graph. Thinking styles are broken down into four types: Concrete Sequential, Concrete Random, Abstract Sequential, and Abstract Random. You will have a score of some type in each category, but will probably lean strongly toward one or more types of thinking.
Then go here and see what it all means.
What I like about this test is that it doesn't just label you as one thing. I fell into all four categories with varying degrees of intensity. Here are my scores. Then I'll show you what they mean.
(CS) Concrete Sequential: 4
(AS) Abstract Sequential: 24
(AR) Abstract Random: 56
(CR) Concrete Random: 28
So I scored strongest in Abstract Random, then got almost equal scores in in Concrete Random and Abstract Sequential, then scored really low in Concrete Sequential.
Which means - don't expect me to solve your math problems!
And here, in order of what I'm strongest in first, is a synopsis of each type.
Abstract Randoms prefer:
Cooperative work, Assignments with room for interpretation, Balance of social activities and work, Noncompetitive atmosphere, Personalized learning, Are given personal attention and emotional support.
Concrete Randoms prefer:
Trial and error approach, Hands-on experiences, Brainstorming and open-ended activities, Produce real, but creative, products, Original and unique approaches to problem solving, Self-directed learning.
Abstract Sequentials prefer:
Lecture and reading, Follow traditional procedures, Work alone, Research, Logical explanations, Are respected for intellectual ability.
Concrete Sequentials prefer:
Order and quiet, Exact directions, Guided Practice, Know the accepted way of doing something, Can apply ideas in a practical, hands-on way, Are given approval for specific work done.
Learning style summaries
Concrete-Sequential - Organized, stable, productive, perfectionist
Abstract-Sequential - Precise, conceptual, visionary, opinionated
Concrete-Random - Curious, hands-on, impulsive, impatient
Abstract-Random - Spontaneous, adaptable, social, perceptive
AR fits me very well, I think. I love cooperative games (don't much care for super competitive ones), adapt well, and all that. But I am capable of being logical, working alone, and following traditional procedures, and having a big fat opinion in AS fashion too. And so on. I do tend to lack organization in my work, which makes sense given my low CS score, although I CAN do it if I try. It just requires more effort and isn't a high priority for me.
This sort of thing can give you insight into how you work, your strengths and weaknesses, both as a person and as a writer. I know that I need to work a little harder on my organization (as I survey the sea of paper near my desk) and on actually finishing projects.
Give it a whirl and get your loved ones to do it too so that when they get all Random (or overly Sequential) during an argument, you don't go ballistic.