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Are You Bittersweet Or Sanguine? Take This Personality Quiz To Find Out

Susan Cain
Author:
April 5, 2022
Susan Cain
New York Times Bestselling Author
By Susan Cain
New York Times Bestselling Author
Susan Cain is a renowned speaker and New York Times Bestselling author. She was named one of the top 10 influencers in the world by LinkedIn and one of the Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.
Woman With Her Eyes Closed Meditating
Image by Cinema Tigers / Stocksy
April 5, 2022
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The purpose of the Bittersweet Quiz (and the Bittersweet book) is to help you assess whether you tend to be more sanguine or bittersweet in your orientation—and to gain insight into your way of being and into the often overlooked powers of bittersweetness.

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Bittersweetness is a tendency to states of longing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute awareness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world. It's also about the recognition that light and dark, birth and death—bitter and sweet—are forever paired.

There is no right or wrong way to be. There is only who you are at this moment in time. (Some of us become more bittersweet with age or after facing life's trials and triumphs.) Also, no matter where you fall on this scale, you are never all one thing! 

The bittersweet quiz.

To find out how bittersweet you are, ask yourself these questions and indicate your level of agreement on a scale from zero (not at all) to 10 (completely):

  1. Do you tear up easily at touching TV commercials?
  2. Are you especially moved by old photographs? 
  3. Do you react intensely to music, art, or nature? 
  4. Have others described you as an "old soul"? 
  5. Do you find comfort or inspiration in a rainy day? 
  6. Do you know what the author C.S. Lewis meant when he described joy as a "sharp, wonderful stab of longing"?
  7. Do you prefer poetry to sports (or maybe you find the poetry in sports)? 
  8. Are you moved to goosebumps several times a day? 
  9. Do you see "the tears in things"? (This phrase comes from Virgil's Aeneid.) 
  10. Do you feel elevated by sad music? 
  11. Do you tend to see the happiness and sadness in things all at once? 
  12. Do you seek out beauty in your everyday life? 
  13. Does the word poignant especially resonate with you? 
  14. When you have conversations with close friends, are you drawn to talking about their past or current troubles?
  15. And this: Do you feel the ecstatic is close at hand?
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Your score.

To score yourself on the quiz, add up your responses and divide that total by 15.

  • Between 0 and 3.8: You're a cheerfully optimistic "sanguine" type! 
  • Between 3.9 and 5.7: You're beautifully balanced, able to move easily between sanguine and bittersweet states.  
  • Between 5.8 and 10: You're a true connoisseur of bittersweetness: the place where light and dark meet. 
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Susan Cain developed this quiz, excerpted from Bittersweet, in collaboration with research scientist David Yaden and cognitive scientist Scott Barry Kaufman.

To note: While the exploratory pilot studies conducted by Yaden and Kaufman assessed preliminary aspects of the items, they didn't yet include other ways of validating them, such as focus groups, expert review, and larger sample exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. They encourage interested scholars to conduct more research on the survey items to further ascertain their psychometric properties.
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Susan Cain
Susan Cain
New York Times Bestselling Author

Named one of the top 10 influencers in the world by LinkedIn, Susan Cain is a renowned speaker and author of the award-winning books Quiet Power, Quiet Journal, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Translated into more than 40 languages, Quiet has appeared on many best-of lists, spent more than seven years on the New York Times bestseller list, and was named the No.1 best book of the year by Fast Company, which also named Cain one of its Most Creative People in Business. Her TED Talk on the power of introverts has been viewed over 40 million times.