January 25, 2013 in Adventures in Re-Discovering Myself
I love seeing Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” blog updates in my email inbox. She offers wonderful suggestions of how to be happier in your life, and they are all relatively simple and filled with common sense.
She does something else that I particularly like too: she likes to categorize people in various ways. And there is nothing more fun than trying to figure out which categories my family, friends, and I fit into.
She recently posted “Four Personality Types: Which One Are You?” and it refers to how people respond to rules. These are the four types she identified:
Upholder—accepts rules, whether from outside or inside. An upholder meets deadlines, follows doctor’s order, keeps a New Year’s resolution.
Questioner—questions rules and accepts them only if they make sense. They may choose to follow rules, or not, according to their judgment.
Rebel—flouts rules, from outside or inside. They resist control. Give a rebel a rule, and the rebel will want to do the very opposite thing.
Obliger—accepts outside rules, but doesn’t like to adopt self-imposed rules.
Gretchen Rubin says she is an Upholder 100%. I’m an Upholder too. Not only am I a law-abiding citizen, but if I set a rule for myself, I will follow it. The only time I will purposely break a rule is when the safety of my kids is in peril, and when the breakage is so small is doesn’t mean anything, but these instances are fairly rare.
My oldest son is an Upholder. It’s a fabulous quality, but it does have its sticky points. For example, one night my family ordered pizza. I phoned in the order, but they didn’t ask for payment, so I assumed we’d pay when we picked it up. Another family member picked up the pizza but since they didn’t ask for payment, he assumed that I had paid over the phone. As we all sat around the kitchen table, it gradually came to light that neither one of us had paid for the pizza we were enjoying. We had a little chuckle over the mix-up, but to my oldest son, this was no laughing matter.
“You’d better call them. You have to pay for this.” He was serious. He repeated himself about five times during the course of our dinner, unwilling and unable to let this breach of following the rules lapse.
The good news is, I may not have to worry so much about him during those pesky teenage years. The downside is, there will be no free pizzas in our foreseeable future.
My middle son has the makers of a Questioner. He does what he wants to do, whether it’s allowed or not. This is not to say he is unclear of the rules: he knows exactly what they are. But whether or not he judges them worth following is another story. The other problem is that if he knows that he is breaking a rule, he’ll do it surreptitiously so as not to get caught. His teenage years are going to be a wild ride.
And my youngest son? I’m not entirely sure where he’ll end up. He is a great student, so I know he’ll accept rules from the outside of the home, making him a possible Upholder, but he’s the one that will blatantly disobey my rules directly in front of me, which makes him a possible Rebel. He’s still young, so maybe there’s a chance I can mold him a bit.
Or maybe not. Something tells me these kinds of things are ingrained.
Do you follow the rules? What kind of rules do you follow?