I recently heard Gretchen Rubin speak about her newest book, The Four Tendencies. As the bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before, Rubin drew in a big crowd at The Book Stall. Everyone wanted to hear how they fit into the Four Tendencies framework and how to best use this framework to deal with loved ones and co-workers. What I wanted to know is what the Four Tendencies would mean for happy moving. It turns out…a lot.
What are The Four Tendencies?
Gretchen Rubin created a framework for personality profiles. Specifically, Rubin addresses the question of how we meet expectations – why we act or why we don’t act. According to Rubin, we fall into one of four tendencies:
- Upholder: Meets outer expectations and meets inner expectations
- Obliger: Meets outer expectations and resists inner expectations
- Rebel: Resists outer expectations and resists inner expectations
- Questioner: Resists outer expectations and meets inner expectations
What Tendency Am I?
To figure out your tendency, check out Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies test. Otherwise, think about what statement most applies to you when it comes to your move:
- I have my Change of Address Notification Checklist and I’ll get it done.
- The Moving Checklist helps, but I need to be accountable to someone else to get it done.
- Thanks for the Moving Checklist, but I’ll do it my way.
- Why do I need this Moving Resolutions Chart? Justify why this is necessary.
In this super oversimplified one-question survey, you’re an Upholder if you chose A; an Obliger if you chose B; a Rebel if you chose C; and a Questioner if you chose D.
How Do The Four Tendencies Relate to Moving?
Moving requires a lot of work and planning. That’s why I’ve created checklists and charts to help you out. After taking Rubin’s test and reading her book, I learned that I’m an Upholder. So, checklists and deadlines are what works for me. They may not work for everyone. You may also be moving with others who lean toward a different tendency than you. That could create moving conflict unless you learn to understand one another and play off of each other’s strengths.
Understanding the Four Tendencies Can Help You Prepare for Your Move
If you’re an Upholder, you can use my free resources page to get started on everything you need for your move. When you follow the rules and perform on schedule, you will meet both your inner and outer expectations.
If you’re an Obliger, ask for someone else to hold you accountable for your actions. Gretchen Rubin says the Obliger’s motto is: “You can count on me, and I’m counting on you to count on me.” You respond best when someone is counting on you to act. For example, ask your real estate agent to set a deadline for you for decluttering, so that he can meet his sales goals. Set up accountability with your roommate or your partner that you’ll be in charge of booking the moving truck or setting up haircut appointments.
If you’re a Rebel, you don’t need my moving checklist. You can handle this move on a time frame that works for you. Moving day will arrive regardless and you’ll be on your way to your new place soon. Focus on your identity and be true to yourself. When you identify yourself as a caring mom, you’ll want to transfer school records not because you have to, but because it’s what you want to do for the sake of your child. If you identify yourself as someone who makes smart choices to give yourself freedom, knock out your moving responsibilities so you can move onto your next adventure.
If you’re a Questioner, do your research. Hopefully, I made it easy for you by putting all of the resources in one place. Check prices on truck rentals and storage pods. Get at least three in-home estimates if you are using movers to compare prices and to see which company you like best. Many of the justifications for the moving checklist come down to saving money and maintaining your sanity. The earlier you start planning your move, the cheaper and easier it will be.
Understanding the Four Tendencies Can Help Avoid Conflict When Moving With Others
Moving with an Upholder
On the plus side if you’re moving with an Upholder, she’ll crank out the moving checklist to get ready for the move. On the down side, your Upholder may be so focused on her goals that she may seem cold or selfish for not meeting your expectations. If you want a night to relax and enjoy your place before you move, put it on the Upholder’s schedule.
Moving with an Obliger
When you’re moving with an Obliger, you need to provide your Obliger with some accountability. A moving To-Do list that she creates won’t be enough. Instead, become official moving partners. Set up a time where you both work on packing up the house together every night from 8-9 P.M. Teamwork works well for the Obliger, but don’t put all of the responsibility on the Obliger by saying “I’m counting on you.” Even though she may take on the moving responsibilities on her own, this can lead to resentment.
Moving with a Rebel
When dealing with a Rebel, Gretchen Rubin uses the tagline, “You’re not the boss of me.” That’s a good thing to keep in mind when you’re in the midst of a move. You can’t force your moving partner to do things, especially when you’re moving with a Rebel. However, according to Rubin, “Rebels respond best to a sequence of information, consequences and choice” (p. 167).
So, you can tell your Rebel, “We need to move in two weeks and it will take us a week to declutter and a week to pack up our apartment. If your stuff isn’t packed, we can leave it here but the landlord won’t give us our security deposit back. Feel free to use some of my boxes if you need them.” The Rebel can choose what she wants to do, but you need to be okay with following through on the consequences. Don’t pack up the Rebel’s stuff. If she doesn’t want to pack it, that’s her choice.
Moving with a Questioner
When you’re moving with a Questioner, you’re going to get a lot of Why’s? Why do we need to do this now? Why should we use this company versus that company? The Questioner is not trying to be difficult. She’s trying to justify her actions. Instead of getting frustrated with so many questions, answer the questions to the best of your ability. Better yet, give a justification before you ask for anything to be done. Allow your Questioner to do as much research as she needs to answer her questions about the best mover or best apartment building (my free resources page should help). Instead of getting frustrated, feel lucky that someone else is doing all of the research for you while you handle some of the other tasks on your list.
Did you take the test and find out your Tendency? How did this impact the way you dealt with your move? I’d love to hear about your moving experience!
Rubin, Gretchen. The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too). New York: Harmony Books, 2017.