How Do You Respond To Expectations? “The Four Tendencies” Personality Profile

Gretchen Rubin Four Tendencies

Sometimes I spend a lot of time in my car. When I am not putting on a concert from my seat, I am tuned in to my favorite podcasts. Jay Shetty’s On Purpose, by far, is my favorite. Last week I tuned in to hear his conversation with Gretchen Rubin about her book “The Four Tendencies”. I became intrigued with Gretchen Rubin years ago when I read her book The Happiness Project. Looking back, I now realize that it was around the time that I was beginning to do some soul searching about life fulfillment.

“The Four Tendencies” is a personality profile created by Gretchen Rubin to explain how a person responds to expectations. According to Gretchen, people face two kinds of expectations:

  • outer expectations, such as meeting work deadlines or observing traffic regulations, and
  • inner expectations, such as quitting napping or keeping a New Year’s resolution.

So, by now, you are probably asking what are “The Four Tendencies”? Right? Here they are:


“I do what others expect of me—and what I expect from myself.”


“I do what I think is best, according to my judgment. If it doesn’t make sense, I won’t do it.”


“I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down.”


“I do what I want, in my own way. If you try to make me do something—even if I try to make myself do something—I’m less likely to do it.”

So, which tendency do you think applies to you? Go ahead, take a guess. If you are refusing to guess, you probably are a rebel or a questioner. If you are a rebel, you will not take a guess simply because I asked you to. If you are a questioner, you will not take a guess because I have not given you enough information to help you understand why you would need to know anything about how a person responds to expectations. Questioners, according to Gretchen Rubin, after you understand who you are, you can set up systems and environments that will allow you to harness your personality strengths, combat the weaknesses, and build better lives.

Questioners, upholders, and obligers, are you still with me?

Want to know for sure which tendency you have? Cool! There is a “Four Tendencies” quiz you can take. No worries, it only takes about 10 minutes. Once you finish, you will get a great little report giving you greater insight into your tendency category. How cool is that?

four tendencies

Would you be surprised if I told you I am an Upholder? Yup, that’s me. Which tendency do you have?

Much Love,


books by Tonza Ruffin

Published by Tonza D. Ruffin

Perfectly Imperfect but VERY PROUD WOMAN, MOM, LAWYER, and AUTHOR, but most importantly...LIFE LOVER! I laugh loud, I work hard, I play hard, I am adventurous, I am curious, I am driven, I have moments of deep insecurity, I am loving, I am vulnerable, I am explosive (not one of my finer qualities), I dance around my house alone, I am an awful perfectionist which makes my insecurity worse, I sing out loud in my car without any concern for whose watching, I have trust issues, I do not live through my children, I no longer try to force my children into the mold that I created so that I could feel validated as a mother, I am a risk-taker, I am guarded in my personal life, I am kind, I am grateful. I am so excited about the rest of my life!

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