Annoying tendencies

That I can be annoying is as much in dispute as whether Tuesday follows Monday.

But don’t take my word for it. Ask my family.

Or my friends.

Or my co-workers.

Or my wife.

You could probably also get an explanation — I have a feeling this will come up more than once — but now there’s a way to determine it via … SCIENCE!

“Thinking about why you might annoy others, and why they might be annoying you, might seem like an exercise in complaint. But I think it’s very helpful.

Conflicts and frustrations arise between the Four Tendencies because they have different approaches to the world, and by understanding the causes, we can also find new solutions, or at least, more understanding.”

— Gretchen Rubin, “Are You Annoying? (I Know I Am). How Understanding Your Tendency Can Help

Because, of course, everyone fits neatly into little boxes, Gretchen Rubin has created something called the Four Tendencies that “can help us understand why we might annoy other people.”

The tendencies are Upholder, Questioner, Obliger and Rebel, and she has provided a quiz so you can figure out the singular trait about your personality that people may find annoying.

Naturally, I took it, and I am …

… an Upholder.

Before I even took the quiz, I had a pretty good idea that I’d be an Upholder, based on her description that Upholders can be pretty rigid about making plans and sticking to them and that they can be judgmental, although I’m really trying to fight the judgmental part.

And I don’t know if it qualifies, but this article I read today spoke to me.

During the quiz, I was so convinced that I’d be an Upholder that I actually started worrying about confirmation bias … that I would start giving answers based on what I thought an Upholder would do.

Reading the analysis of my Upholder-ness, it made sense that I generally want to understand rules, that I’m a creature of habit and that I sometimes struggle when I don’t know what’s expected.

But the piece that really stood out was the one that seemingly explained one part of my personality … that I hate making promises, even to myself.

“Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations. They wake up and think: ‘What’s on the schedule and the to-do list for today?’ They want to know what’s expected of them, and to meet those expectations. They avoid making mistakes or letting people down—including themselves.

Others can rely on Upholders, and Upholders can rely on themselves. They’re self-directed and have little trouble meeting commitments, keeping resolutions, or hitting deadlines (they often finish early).”

As I say at work when people try to pin me down on when I’ll be able to do something, “I never make any promises, because if I do, and then I don’t do it, I’ve lied to you.” (Some things have to be done by a certain time, and I make those a priority, but I don’t know making guarantees beyond that.)

It’s the same reason I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, even though in all likelihood no one would care but me if I don’t keep them. No one has ever broken a promise he or she didn’t make.

I can’t imagine that being as annoying as being a blabbermouth pedant who’s obsessed with double-checking whether all the doors are locked, but you never know.

Thanks to Alison at Little Blog of Positivity for the tipoff that this quiz exists, and you should absolutely take it and include your results in the comments!

No, the picture is not the reaction of the last child to lay eyes on me (kids love me). It’s from mintchipdesigns on Pixabay.







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