An Inside Look at the Obliger Tendency
The Secret to Getting More of What YOU Want in Life
The Four Tendencies is a fascinating look into how you respond to and meet expectations; for you and for others. Understanding this aspect of your personality will change your awareness of your own personality, as well as the personality of others. This awareness helps you to live and work more effectively and enables you to live a happier life.
Discover your tendency by taking the short quiz here.
- Upholder (meets all expectations)
- Questioner (meets inner and resists outer expectations)
- Obliger (meets outer and resists inner expectations)
- Rebel (resists all expectations)
Article 2 in Series of 5: This article is a follow-up article to How Unlocking Your Natural Tendency Leads to a Happier Life, an overview of the Four Tendencies.
How the Obliger Meets Outer and Resists Inner Expectations
When an expectation comes from the outside – a boss, a friend, a coach, a teacher, a family member, a client, a colleague – Obligers will respond. On the flip side, they struggle to meet expectations they have for themselves.
People that lean toward the Obliger tendency are keenly accountable to others. They eagerly meet the deadline at work, host Thanksgiving dinner for the extended family, and attend the after-hours meeting.
However, Obligers struggle to hold themselves accountable for desires and expectations they have for themselves like keeping to a committed exercise schedule, taking an online class, or eating healthier meals.
Obligers can take time for others but they can’t seem to take time for themselves.
The good news for Obligers is that they can easily remedy the struggle to meet inner expectations by creating outer accountability. Once Obligers understand that they need outer accountability to meet their own expectations, they can easily create their personal accountability structures.
For this reason, Obligers, more than any other tendency, gain the most out of learning about their tendency. It also helps people that interact with an Obliger understand how to influence them and effectively help them.
Outer Accountability: The Crucial Element
Recently I was having post yoga coffee with a friend and colleague. After we talked for a while, it became clear to me that I was sitting across from a classic Obliger. She was meeting an inner desire and expectation by meeting me for yoga and having coffee afterwards but at the same time, she was struggling with not being able to meet expectations from others during the process as noted by her texting.
If was a lovely outing and we made loose plans to meet for yoga again. Like a true Obliger, expectations from others took precedence and she cancelled. What I learned from this experience is that I can help an Obliger realize the desires they have for themselves by creating outer accountability.
Instead of loose plans, next time we’ll make concrete plans. I’ll cement these plans by following up with encouragement or a simple “looking forward to it” message to keep the commitment top of mind and to let her know I’m counting on her.
Outer accountability is the crucial element for an Obliger.
Obliger Rebellion: A Cautionary Tale
Because of the Obliger’s tendency to focus all their energy on doing things for others, over time, those expectations can become overwhelming. An Obliger meets, meets, and meets an expectation until one day they burn out and then snap and refuse to meet the expectation any longer. This is known as “Obliger Rebellion.”
Obliger rebellion can take on many forms, large and small. Walking out on jobs, ending marriages and friendships, without warning; or, purposely being late to a meeting or skipping it altogether.
Obligers, and the people around them, need to be careful that their dominate tendency to always do for others doesn’t become all too burdensome and potentially triggers Obliger rebellion.
“I’ll do anything you ask, until I won’t.” said the Obliger.
How to Create Outer Accountability
If outer accountability is the key for Obligers to get more of what they want personally, how do they create accountability? Here are a few ideas:
- Team up with an accountability partner. A work colleague, a personal trainer, a family member, a friend, or someone more formal like a personal coach are examples of accountability partners.
- Join or create an accountability group. Sometimes more is better. For some, being part of a group of like-minded people is going to keep them on track more consistently.
- Publicly commit to something so you have no choice but to come through for yourself. For example, sign up for something and tell everyone you know about it. Seriously, everyone you know. Post it on social media, email friends and family, tell the cashier at the grocery store, your neighbors, virtually anyone and everyone you encounter.
Remember, the point is to create as much outer accountability as you need to ensure that you’re able to meet your inner desire for yourself.
If you’re an Obliger and want more of what YOU want in life, go out there and create outer accountability. You got this!
For an overview of the Four Tendencies, click here for the How Unlocking Your Natural Tendency Leads to a Happier Life blog post.
Are you an Obliger? Discover your tendency by taking the short quiz here.
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