Thanks to Gretchen Rubin’s vast research on the Four Tendencies (which includes me writing notes, and reviewing things over and over), I’ve been able to figure out how to deal with many of the people in my life a whole lot better.  Truly PRICELESS.  And I’ve shared the concept with SO many of my friends! If this world can be a happier place because we can all get along better, why not?!

I’m an Obliger.  We’re the largest tendency, and if you’re not an Obliger, you have friends who are!  Obligers do everything for everyone else, but we struggle when it comes to doing anything for ourselves. We will go to the ends of the earth to keep the peace, make sure everything is done, and everyone is happy.  Need something?  You can count on us!  We might be really out of shape with high blood pressure and be on the brink of a heart attack (since we’ll give up our workout, diet, and whatever else we need to sacrifice to help you make four lasagnas for your office party), but dang it…we’ll take one for the team!  We keep going back for more… Why? Doing things for others makes us feel fulfilled.

Here is a short summary of the other tendencies.

Upholders are the rule-followers.  They have no problem picking their battles between their own priorities and someone else’s.  They’ll be the ones calling 911 when an Obliger is in cardiac arrest, and you’ll find them in the hospital cafeteria when they decide they need to eat.  Obligers secretly want to be like Upholders, minus the negative self-talk.  Upholders tend to beat themselves up emotionally, which I find so very sad for the loyal go-getters that they are!  Upholders are the glue that holds society together.

Questioners are the polar opposite of the Obliger.  Questioners need to know everything about everything and they may not be so tactful when they’re asking about it.  For the Obliger, it *feels* like we’re receiving a direct insult – the questioner is questioning our professionalism, our humanity, morals, or whatever other bad scenario we could muster up. But their universe is happy when they have the answers, along with the spreadsheets that justify them. We gotta roll with it and do our best to delicately help them out as they venture into analysis paralysis. A woman at work is decidedly a Questioner. Since I made that determination, I’ve actually been able to get along with her a whole lot better!  It’s pretty incredible. Now, I realize she’s not questioning what I’m doing – she just doesn’t have all the data. Knowing that ahead of time helps me prepare how to approach her.

Rebels do what they want, when they want, how they want…if they want to do it at all. They will do things out of love and respect for you, and they’re driven, out-of-the-box thinkers. If they get in trouble for not doing whatever it is, they’ll blame everyone and/or anything else because they can’t possibly be at fault.  (Note to Obligers: You might be in that war path…) They may not ask you how your day was and genuinely want to know. They could actually be waiting for an opportunity to switch the conversation over to themselves somehow. It’s all about them.  Rebels will also change the rules on a whim. This is the smallest group of the four tendencies, yet I find myself to be surrounded by them. Huh…I seem to be the common denominator!

Obligers tend to pair with Rebels because we take care of things (and people). Rebels appear to be an “easy” target for us to try to “help” or “fix”.  (Good luck with that.)  Why am I so bold to say this? My dad was a Rebel, along with my grandma (Dad’s mother), and grandpa (Mom’s dad).  Mom and I conferred on the matter – and as a fellow Obliger, it’s all starting to make sense to her, too!  And then there’s my boss at work.  And my ex-boyfriends I don’t miss.

There is one thing you need to know about an Obliger.  We will oblige, organize, do, and plan to do it again until we get pushed past the point of no return… Mind you, this could take years and several trips to the dentist to get fitted for the new set of dentures we need from getting our teeth kicked in time and time again. That one thank you note we got back in 1996 kept us going for years. Then the sweet gift we got in appreciation in 2003 did the trick until 2010. But since then…things have been a bit iffy.  You know the feeling.  Like the Mojave during a dry spell.  I get it. I’m right there with you. Then what happens?  Obliger-Rebellion. We’ve had enough, you’re getting NO MORE, and the bridge will need to be rebuilt – starting with the architect.  We will bulldoze the entire valley if we need to.  Beware.  You’d better start saying thank you and muster up some gratitude in a big, bad hurry if you want us to stick around.

So as I sit here thinking about all the stuff I’ve done and done…and done…and no one seems to notice or care, I know you’re in the same boat if you’re an Obliger.  I’m here to tell you how awesome you are.  YOU ROCK.  THANK YOU for all you do, have done, and will keep on doing. Chin up. I love you.

And for the rest of you… Please…THANK YOUR OBLIGER.  A little goes a long way. And if you’re curious, take the quiz!

– Your Obliging Friend,