There are 4 'Tendency Types'. Learning mine drastically improved my life.

This article was originally published in The Lonely Girls Guide newsletter. You can subscribe right  here.

I regularly refer to myself as being extremely mediocre.

It’s what I strive to be in life and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I used to aim to be extraordinary, working hard to go above and beyond in everything I do. Having this goal made me burnout quickly. 

So, I opted for the wonderful and often overlooked level of mediocrity. 

However, I soon realised that no matter what level of accomplishment I aim for, whether that be below average, overachiever or extremely mediocre, I automatically improve myself in areas where I know other people would take notice.

Of course, I only became self-aware of this trait of mine when I was scrolling through TikTok and I came across this video that talks about the four tendency types people fall into when it comes to meeting expectations.

@erica_mallett If you Google the four tendencies quiz you can find out which tendency you are 😌 #lifehack #lifetips #expectations #helpful #gretchinrubin ♬ original sound - erica_mallett

According to author Gretchen Rubin, the four tendency types are:

The Upholder who meets both outer and inner expectations.

The Obliger who meets outer expectations but resists meeting inner expectations.

The Questioner who resists meeting outer expectations but meets inner expectations. 

And The Rebel who resists meeting both inner and outer expectations.

Without even doing the quiz, I knew exactly which one I was and that was promptly confirmed after completing it.

I’m an obliger inside-out. Instead of meeting the expectations I hold for myself, I put all my energy towards meeting the expectations others have for me, even if I believe those expectations are wrong, don't have any real benefit or will waste my time. If someone expects something from me, they’re going to get it. 

After completing the quiz and confirming what I subconsciously knew about me this whole time, I realised that the reason I aim for mediocrity is because I put all my "high achiever energy" into meeting external expectations at the expense of my inner expectations, leaving me in this weird limbo area. 

After completing the quiz, I could see that my burnout came from trying to do both at a high level. Instead of minimising both my external and inner expectations to a manageable level, I just completely got rid of my inner expectations and drove up the external. 


And this is what I’ve been doing for the past three years. 

Not anymore. 

Straight after I got my results I had an urge to make some drastic changes. First, I slowed down my role as "perpetual people-pleaser". 

I began saying no to things if I knew they made little sense or weren’t beneficial. I mapped out realistic external expectations of myself and told the people holding me accountable for certain things that deadlines would be pushed, plans would be cancelled and requests would be declined or re-worked. 

Unsurprisingly, no one argued with my new expectations agenda. I think this made me realise I was actually meeting what I thought were external expectations when really the expectations that people had of me, whether that be from work or my personal life, weren’t as demanding as I was making them out to be. 

Now, it was time for the tricky part. Meeting my inner expectations. It was time for this extremely mediocre girl to hold herself accountable. 


So before you roll your eyes at the next part, just know that getting into these everyday habits were a huge deal and were actually quite difficult. Looking after yourself is WORK (which I've only just realised). 

I’ve been working on meeting my inner expectations for a few weeks now. Sticking to my brand of mediocrity, none of these will make you go "wow", in fact, if anything it'll make you go "you're 25 and you're only JUST doing these things?!" It's fine, I'm okay. So far I’m feeling great about these mediocre tasks. Here’s what I’ve taken on:

1. Hydrating.

From going full days without a single drop of water and sustaining myself on caffeine, I’ve committed to drinking at least 500ml. Yes, I know it’s not a lot, but according to my digestive system I’m doing God’s work right now.

2. Making my bed.

I'm not going to lie, doing this task makes me feel absolutely nothing. I know a lot of people say it helps them set up their day, but I’ve been doing it every day for two weeks now and all I have are sore arms from fluffing out my bedding. However, I will persist. 

3. Eating vegatbles.

Yes, I know. Super lame. Since I moved out of my parents' house a few years ago, I've been living off instant noodles, tuna and rice. 

There have been way too many times in my 20s where I’ve eaten something green and thought to myself,
"Wow, I think this is the first time I’ve eaten a vegetable in a month." 

After committing to a minimum of one veggie a day, both my inner self and my bowel movements thank me.  

So these are my three big (to me) lifestyle changes. They don’t seem like a lot or actually anything at all but holy crap my mental health has improved drastically. I have more energy in the day; I feel like I’m actually taking care of myself and my change in mood and approach to external expectations has improved as well. 

I am definitely going to continue this journey of reaching peak extremely mediocre-ness, I might even... exercise 👀.

Stay tuned!

For more rogue dating stories or 'life in your 20s' takes from Emily Vernem, subscribe to her newsletter, or follow her on Instagram  @emilyvernem.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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