a little personality test

As a girl who grew up in the 90s, I remember reading magazines in my early teens - a precious commodity, chosen carefully with my pocket money - and I had two sections that I always loved. One was the Agony Aunt bit, where the problems mentioned were usually something every young girl could relate to, and the other was the "quiz" section. Remember those state-of-the-art flow charts that would tell you what colour dress you should wear for your next disco, who is really your best friend, and what horoscope your next boyfriend would be? I don't know why, but I had a minor obsession with those flow charts.

My interest in personality quizzes and similar articles never really went away (FYI, I'm an IFNJ!), and although most of these things are just a bit of fun, I come across some that are quite intriguing, or offer a helpful and fascinating perspective. 

One of those is the Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness ProjectBetter than Before and also does one of my very favourite podcasts, Happier.

You can take the quiz here, to find out which of the Four Tendencies you are. She has created a framework that divides people into these four different categories (obviously, we all relate to these in different degrees, but as a generalisation, it works), that are described like this:

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations 
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

Now, even before I took the quiz myself, I knew immediately that I'm definitely a Questioner. I find it extremely difficult to make decisions and agonise over every little data and piece of information, before coming to a conclusion. I also resist doing things unless I know exactly why I'm going them. From my own experience, the pros and cons of being a Questioner are...

PROS
- I think about each action I take, and always try to make a decision based on rational/emotional judgement, and rarely do anything blindly
- I'm naturally curious
- I can say no to doing this for other people (though I often struggle with this) 
- At the end of the day, I know I'm responsible for all actions/conclusions

CONS
- Sometimes my judgement is wrong!
- There are some things that are just easier to do, rather than agonise over it, and over-complicating it.
- Sometimes doing (or not doing) things according what I think is right is not worth hurting other people's feelings over
- I drive people crazy with questions. Namely my family.

E on the other hand, is an Upholder. Again, I knew he would be as soon as I learnt about the tendencies, and when I made him take the quiz, we were laughing because some of the descriptions and answers were just him to the letter. As an Upholder...

PROS
- He's efficient, not prone to procrastination, and just gets things done - plain and simple.
- Other people rely on him and trust him to do what he his asked to.
- Self-discipline by the bucketful.
- Spends very little energy wondering why/how/when to get work/errands/chores done, which in turn makes him a fairly stress-free person as he's not constantly worrying about not having done this or that.

CONS
- Upholders tend to create habits easily, and become attached to those habits, making them inflexible even when they want to be.
- Sometimes he does things for himself or others because he is told (or tells himself) that it has to be done, even if there is no real reason for it - or when it should be someone else's responsibility.
- Can't understand why others struggle with meeting expectations.
- Feels uncomfortable with spontaneity.

I find this so incredibly interesting! With me and E, we both easily fit into two of the four tendencies, but I'm sure that there are lots of people who are a mixture (I think I have a bit of Obliger characteristics in me as well). When you understand where your partner/sibling/parent/friend fits in with these tendencies, it also makes it a little easier and clearer to understand their behaviour - a Questioner who bombards you with why you want them to do something, isn't always because they think you have bad judgement - they just need to know, for their own peace of mind! When I wonder why E is so strict about certain routines and habits he has for himself, I know that it's the way he functions to make sure he meets his own expectations.

Please have a go at the quiz, and maybe you'll find out something new about yourself, or someone you want to know more about. And tell me what you are - I want to make all my friends take it!