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Do You Approach, Avoid, Or Go With The Flow? Take This Psychiatrist's Quiz To Find Out 

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March 10, 2021
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Think of the behavioral tendency quiz as a mindfulness personality quiz. The hope is that it can be helpful in your ordinary life. By more clearly seeing and understanding your everyday behavioral tendencies, you can learn about yourself and your habitual responses to your internal and external world. You can also learn the personality types of family members, friends, and co-workers, such that you can learn to live and work more harmoniously with them.

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Behavioral tendencies quiz.

Please rank the following in the order that is most consistent with how you generally behave (not how you think you should behave or how you might behave in a very specific situation). You should give your first and initial response without thinking about the question too much.

Place a 1 by the answer that best fits you, followed by a 2 for your second choice, and a 3 for the answer that least fits you.

If I were to plan a party...

  • I would want it to be high-energy, with lots of people.
  • I would want only certain people there.
  • It would be last-minute and free-form.
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When it comes to cleaning my room, I...

  • take pride in making things look great.
  • quickly notice problems, imperfections, or untidiness.
  • don't tend to notice or get bothered by clutter.

I prefer to make my living space...

  • beautiful.
  • organized.
  • creatively chaotic.
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When doing my job, I like to...

  • be passionate and energetic.
  • make sure everything is accurate.
  • consider future possibilities/wonder about the best way forward.

When talking to people, I might come across as...

  • affectionate.
  • realistic.
  • philosophical.
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The disadvantage of my clothing style is that it may be...

  • decadent.
  • unimaginative.
  • mismatched or uncoordinated.

In general, I carry myself...

  • buoyantly.
  • briskly.
  • aimlessly.
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My room is...

  • richly decorated.
  • neatly arranged.
  • messy.

Generally, I tend to...

  • have a strong desire for things.
  • be critical but clear-thinking.
  • be in my own world.

At school, I was known for...

  • having lots of friends.
  • being intellectual.
  • daydreaming.

I usually wear clothes in a way that is...

  • fashionable and attractive.
  • neat and orderly.
  • carefree.

I come across as...

  • affectionate.
  • thoughtful.
  • absent-minded.

When other people are enthusiastic about something, I...

  • jump on board and want to get involved.
  • tend to be skeptical of it.
  • go off on tangents.

Now add up the numbers to get a crude score for each of the top options, middle options, and bottom options. The option with the lowest score equals the greatest tendency.

Top = approach type; middle = avoid type; bottom = go-with-the-flow type. For example, if you scored an 18 for the top option, a 25 for the middle option, and a 35 for the bottom option, you have a much higher tendency for the approach type.

The benefits of understanding your behavioral tendencies.

Being more in tune with the kind of person you are will help you build on the strengths of your habitual tendencies. For example, a person displaying a predominantly approach-type might do well at marketing or sales. One might give an avoid-type an assignment requiring a high level of precision and attention to detail because such a person loves to focus on figuring things out and thrives in those situations. And a go-with-the-flow-type might be the best at coming up with creative ideas during a brainstorming session or the start of a large project.

Understanding your habitual tendencies will also help you grow as a person and avoid unnecessary heartaches. For example, if you are the approach-type, you can map out all of the habits in your life where you tend to go overboard, where wanting too much of a good thing actually makes things worse (e.g., overeating, getting jealous in friendships, etc.).

If you are the avoid-type, you can pay attention to related behaviors such as being overly judgmental (of yourself and others) or overly focusing on accuracy to the detriment of the bigger picture.

And if you are the go-with-the-flow-type, you can focus on becoming aware of situations where you might step back from making decisions and agree with others for the sake of not causing friction.

Defining the three types.

Below are general summaries for each personality type. Remember, these are tendencies, not labels. More often than not, people have a predominant tendency and, depending on the situation, may lean more heavily toward one tendency than another.

For example, my wife and I both fall heavily into the avoid bucket. This may explain why we are both academics: We love to spend our time questioning premises and theories, researching, and figuring things out. As a second tendency, we both fall more into the approach than the go-with-the-flow bucket. So if one of us is struggling or having a bad day, the other, instead of fueling the fire of judgment, tends to lean in and be optimistic and supportive.

In fact, knowing our behavioral tendencies has helped my wife and me see our habit patterns more clearly. If my wife happens to tell me about something that happened at work with a colleague, and I tend to judge that person, she can gently point out my judgment habit loop so that I can step back to see the situation more clearly.



You tend to be optimistic and affectionate and might even be popular. You are composed and quick-thinking in everyday tasks. You're more likely to be attracted to pleasant things. You put faith in what you believe, and your passionate nature makes you popular with other people. You have a confident posture (that is to say, you walk proudly). At times you might have the tendency to become a little greedy for success. You crave pleasant experiences and good company.



You tend to be clear-thinking and discerning. Your intellect allows you to see things logically and identify flaws in things. You are quick to understand concepts and tend to keep things organized and tidy while getting things done quickly. You pay attention to detail. You might even have a stiff posture (that is to say, you walk stiffly and hurriedly). At times you might notice that you are overly judgmental and critical. You may come across as a perfectionist.


Go with the flow

You tend to be easygoing and tolerant. You are able to think about the future and speculate on what might happen. You think about things deeply and philosophically. At times you get caught up in your own thoughts or fantasies. As you daydream, sometimes you might become doubtful and worried about things. At times you might notice that you find yourself going along with what others suggest, perhaps becoming too easily persuaded. You might notice that you are less organized than others and can come across as dreamy.

The takeaway.

The more you understand how your mind works, the more you will be able to work with it. The more you explore your own behavioral tendencies, the more you will be able to capitalize on your own strengths and grow and learn from the moments when your tendencies trip you up.

Adapted from Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How To Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear To Heal Your Mind by Judson Brewer, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2021 by Judson A. Brewer.