Skip to main content

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

Say goodbye to vague personality tests, because Gretchen Rubin has come up with four tendencies that apply to everyone.

Personality frameworks tend to cram too many elements into their categories. The Four Tendencies describes only one narrow aspect of a person's character. 



The Four Tendencies explains why we act and why we don't act. 

Gretchen Rubin claims that when you consider the Four Tendencies, you're better able to understand yourself. This can help you build a happier life. But it can also help you understand other people, which mean you can live and work more effectively within your community. 

But where do these Tendencies come from? Are they a result of upbringing or gender? Gretchen Rubin claims that they are hardwired, and don't change with our surroundings or over time. She suggests that unless we go through some catastrophic, character-reshaping experience, then our Tendencies do not change.

So what are these Tendencies and which one are you?

UPHOLDER - responds readily to outer expectations and inner expectations

QUESTIONER - questions all expectations; only meet expection if they believe it's justified, in in effect they only respond to inner expectations

OBLIGER - responds readily to outer expectations but struggles to meet inner expectations

REBEL - resists all expectations, outer and inner alike


Of course, you can take the Four Tendencies Quiz in Chapter Two of the book. 

According to The Four Tendencies, you can only fall into one category. There are no grey areas. As you would expect, each of the Tendencies are explored in detail, including how to motivate yourself, and how to deal with a member of the other tendency. I found this helpful as Gretchen Rubin outlines specific remedies for dealing with coworkers or spouses. 

I haven't explored a lot of other personality tests. This one seems overly simplified...more of a better understanding of who you are as a person. You already probably know what your tendency is (taking the quiz, verified mine). But it helps further solidify it for you and give you some actionable ideas that will help you find some calm. 

If you are a Gretchen Rubin fan, it's something you will probably enjoy. 

Comments