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.


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