Q&A: Does personality change with age?

Thank you to Tony Winyard from London (UK, not Ontario, Canada) for asking this question on facebook!

The short answer is people often (usually…hopefully?) change with age but generally speaking, their personalities stay basically the same. Ideally, however, as people mature two things happen.

The first is that people who truly grow up as they age learn to live in their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Often this is intentional. People recognize certain common struggles in personal and/or professional relationships and then make a conscious effort to choose different behavior because they want different results. (Personal example: As a Yellow I often interrupt people. I’m really working on this and hopefully some day I will grow up and have trained myself to be a better listener and a more polite friend.)

The second is that people learn to take on traits of the other personalities. Again this can be deliberate, or as a result of situations changing and people adapting accordingly. For example, the older my father-in-law got, the more relaxed he seemed to become. It wasn’t that he suddenly became a Green after years of being a Red/Blue. But as he got older, he worried less about things being a certain way and valued the time spent with family differently. (Our kids also got older and stopped doing things like bouncing golf balls on his hardwood floors and I’m sure that helped too.)

When I speak, I often talk about my grandmother. She was already in her early 90’s when I earned my CPT and got serious about studying and sharing personalities. Of course, as I studied and researched, I analyzed my friends and family members. And my grandma was pretty hard to figure out.

I mean of course she was Yellow, because she told great stories and could make people laugh and was never bothered by a house full of people. But she kept her house like a Blue, with a place for everything and everything in its place. Every dish and towel and kitchen utensil had its spot, and I’ve never seen anyone that could fold a stack of sheets as perfectly as she could. But really she was a Red. She was a working mom before most moms worked, running the family business alongside my grandpa for as long as I could remember. She raised 5 kids and many of the neighbor kids too. She could cook for a crowd on a moment’s notice and made crocheted afghans for all of her 13 grandchildren, their spouses, and 33 great grandchildren. Oh, but she was Green…people young and old were drawn to her, and everyone felt welcomed and loved in her presence. She never over-reacted, and was as good of a listener as she was a story-teller.

Does it really matter which personality traits came naturally, and which ones she worked at or developed over time? I don’t know….probably not. But I do know, that I hope to grow up to be more and more like her.

4 genrations
Look at that…3 generations of Reds with a true Green matriarch.


Let’s Get Personal: Dirty Dishes

The response to last week’s “dirty laundry” post was great, so I thought I’d share some more dirt this week. Today’s topic: dirty dishes.

As I mentioned last week, I am a strong Red. (Is there any other kind?) If you would like a definitive answer on the dishwasher issue, the answer is YES. There IS a RIGHT way to load the dishwasher. And the right way is the way that allows the most items to fit, doesn’t waste space, and lets everything come out clean.

Blues are the ones with the reputation for being picky perfectionists, but even as a Red/Yellow I like my dishes to be clean. So if you Greens think you can skip the preliminary rinse, put bowls and measuring cups in so they fill with water, load plates backwards, and block the water flow with giant pans, you are wrong. Period. That’s  inefficient, and gross.

I’ve heard it said that “housework done incorrectly is still a blessing.” I disagree. Don’t do it wrong so the Reds in your life will “fire” you from helping. It really isn’t that much harder to put glasses and dishes in correctly than to put them in wrong. You don’t like the “dishwasher lecture” I give? Then shut up and listen and do it right and I won’t give it anymore.

How do I know I’m right? Besides that I just know…I know because when I load the dishwasher, the dishes come out clean. When I empty it after you do it, I have to re-wash a bunch of stuff. And that is the part that makes Reds frustrated. You wasted your time by not bothering to do it right in the first place, and then you wasted my time because I had to re-do. Not to mention all the dish soap and water that you wasted. You Greens are probably the cause of the drought we’re in.

But thank God we’ve got you by our sides to keep us calm when a real crisis hits.dishwasher wrong

dishwasher right

Let’s Get Personal: Dirty Laundry

Most of my posts are related to personalities in various business settings. Over the holidays I posted a few things about dealing with extended family and things like that, but I think for the next month or so I am going to get really personal.  Today’s topic….dirty laundry.

As long as I can remember, being in charge of the laundry has always been my task. It could be because I’m good at it (I don’t turn white things pink, shrink shirts, or let things wrinkle). It could also have to do with my incredible lack of skills in the kitchen, but I prefer the first line of thinking.

I’m a Red. So I know that there is a right way to do laundry. And that includes matching socks. Even though I hate socks, deep down I know that they have to be right side out and properly matched. For the first 12 years of marriage I tried to help my Green husband understand this. My personality values efficiency deeply. If only he would take his socks off properly and throw them in the hamper right side out….matching and putting away the socks would be so much easier.

I tried asking. I tried explaining. I tried begging. And nothing worked. More often than not, his socks were still going into the hamper inside out. And one day I had had enough. That was it. I was done. Over it. And I knew what to do.

No more turning them right side out. Yep. You heard me. It was his turn to see what a pain it was to have his socks inside out. If he threw them in the hamper that way, I’d wash them that way. And I’d even return them that way. Yep – I was done, and he was going to find socks in his drawer inside out, and finally he would learn.

The first time I did this I just waited to see what he would say. And I waited…
And waited…

After three years of waiting I had to accept the truth. Either he didn’t notice or he didn’t care. (Or both.) It was such an anticlimactic moment. He truly doesn’t care. And there is nothing I can do to make him care. This, my friends, is the dirty truth about Reds and Greens and how we think about matching socks.