Which of the Four Tendencies are you? Take Gretchen Rubin's Quiz

Sarah Harrison Smith on October 04, 2017

Gretchen Rubin author photo credit The Girls LoungeGretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before, has spent much of her career thinking about habits and human behavior. Not long ago, she had lunch with a friend who confessed that though she'd been a diligent member of a track team in high school, in her adult life, she couldn't get herself back into running regularly. The conversation led Rubin to a breakthrough: her friend, she realized, was what she came to term an "Obliger," someone who can fulfill expectations imposed on her by others, but has trouble meeting her own expectations of herself. Soon, Rubin began to see a pattern of four "Tendencies" in everyone she knew, based on how they answered the question, “How do you respond to expectations?"
Upholders, Questioners, Obligers and Rebels: each group has its own characteristics.  Upholders respond readily to both outer expectations and inner expectations.  Questioners question all expectations; they meet an expectation only if they believe it’s justified, so in effect they respond only to inner expectations.  Obligers respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations.  Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.
Rubin (who is an Upholder) created a quiz to help readers identify their Tendency. Once you know which you are, her book can help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses and use your Tendency to create the life you want. She also suggests how to best work with colleagues, family, and patients, each according to his or her Tendency. Which are you? 
To identify your Tendency, take the quiz below or go to happiercast.com/quiz. As you take the quiz, Rubin writes, "choose the answer that seems most generally true for you; don’t search for exceptions to the rule or focus on one specific area of your life. Getting the same number of answers for two Tendencies does not mean that you’re a mix of those two Tendencies. Choose the one that more accurately describes you. You’re the best judge of yourself. If you believe that a different Tendency describes you better, trust yourself."
1. Have you kept a New Year’s resolution where you weren’t accountable to anyone — a resolution like drinking more water or keeping a journal?
a) Yes. I’m good at keeping New Year’s resolutions, even the ones that no one knows about but me.
b) I’m good at keeping resolutions, but I make them whenever the time seems right. I wouldn’t wait for the New Year; January 1 is an arbitrary date.
c) I’ve had trouble with that kind of resolution, so I’m not inclined to make one. When I’m only helping myself, I often struggle.
d) No. I hate to bind myself in any way.
2. Which statement best describes your view about your  commitments to yourself?
a) I make a commitment to myself only if I’m convinced that it really makes good sense to do it.
b) If someone else is holding me accountable for my commitments, I’ll meet them — but if no one knows except me, I struggle.
c) I bind myself as little as possible.
d) I take my commitments to myself as seriously as my commitments to other people.
3. At times, we feel frustrated by ourselves. Are you most likely to feel frustrated because...
a) My constant need for more information exhausts me.
b) As soon as I’m expected to do something, I don’t want to do it.
c) I can take time for other people, but I can’t take time for myself.
d) I can’t take a break from my usual habits, or violate the rules, even when I want to.
4. When you’ve formed a healthy habit in the past, what helped you stick to it?
a) I’ve found it pretty easy to stick to habits, even when no one else cares.
b) I did a lot of research and customization about why and how I might keep that habit.
c) I could stick to a good habit only when I was answerable to someone else.
d) Usually I don’t choose to bind myself in advance.
5. If people complain about your behavior, you’d be least surprised to hear them say . . .
a) You follow your good habits, ones that matter only to you, even when it’s inconvenient for someone else.
b) You ask too many questions.
c) You’re good at taking time when others ask you to do something, but you’re not good at taking time for yourself.
d) You only do what you want to do, when you want to do it.
6. Which description suits you best?
a) Puts others — clients, family, neighbors, coworkers — first
b) Disciplined —sometimes, even when it doesn’t make sense
c) Refuses to be bossed by others
d) Asks necessary questions
7. People get frustrated  with me, because if they ask me to do something, I’m less likely to  do it (even with a boss or client).
Tend to agree
Tend to disagree
8. I do what I think makes the most sense, according to my judgment, even if that means  ignoring the rules or other people’s expectations.
Tend to agree
Tend to disagree
9. Commitments to others should never be broken, but commitments to myself can be  broken.
Tend to agree
Tend to disagree
10. Sometimes I won’t do something I want to do, because someone wants me to do it.
Tend to agree
Tend to disagree
11.I’ve sometimes described myself as a people-pleaser.
Tend to agree
Tend to disagree
12. I don’t mind breaking rules or violating convention --I often enjoy it.
Tend to agree
Tend to disagree
13. I question the validity of the Four Tendencies framework.
Tend to agree
Tend to disagree
1. a=Upholder; b=Questioner; c=Obliger; d=Rebel
2. a=Questioner; b=Obliger; c=Rebel; d=Upholder
3. a=Questioner; b=Rebel; c=Obliger; d=Upholder
4. a=Upholder; b=Questioner; c=Obliger; d=Rebel
5. a=Upholder; b=Questioner; c=Obliger; d=Rebel
6. a=Obliger; b=Upholder; c=Rebel; d=Questioner
7. “Tend to agree” indicates Rebel
8. “Tend to agree” indicates Questioner
9. “Tend to agree” indicates Obliger
10. “Tend to agree” indicates Rebel
11. “Tend to agree” indicates Obliger
12. “Tend to agree” indicates Rebel
13. “Tend to agree” indicates Questioner
Photo Credit: The Girls Lounge 

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