What Your Handwriting Says About You, According To A Graphologist
Have you ever wondered what your handwriting says about you? No, we're not talking about "good" versus "bad" handwriting—we're talking about graphology, or the analysis of handwriting as it relates to psychology.
Beyond providing yet another way to categorize your personality, handwriting has even been shown to provide clues about mental health and predict one's likelihood of professional success1 in some cases.
Here's what graphology is all about, plus how to read between the lines of your own handwriting to see what it might reveal about you.
What is graphology?
According to graphologist John Beck, former chair of the British Institute of Graphologists, graphology is all about interpreting the symbols that appear in handwriting, in order to understand the psychological makeup of that person.
The concept was invented by the French, he notes, and to become a graphologist, you typically have to study for around five to seven years.
Beck has over 40 years of experience in graphology himself and says the ways in which someone deviates from the "standard" way to write (whether that be size, spacing, etc.) is what graphologists look for.
"It is the differences between what you were taught on the one hand and what you now produce, which are of vital interest to graphologists, as it is in these differences the pattern of a person's psychology is revealed," he explains.
Each and every deviation from what someone was taught "denotes something about the psychology of the writer and is interpreted accordingly," he adds. (Note: Graphology only works with scripts written in the Latin or Roman alphabet.)
Everyone has a distinct style of writing, and graphologists believe that specifics like spacing and slants all reveal something about us. Here are a few variables that graphologists look for. (Feel free to get out a sheet of paper and analyze your own writing as you go down the line!)
According to Beck, the size of your letters "has everything to do with the claim a person makes to the status they desire in life," aka, how much space you want to take up in life.
Large writers, for example, like to be noticed and lay a claim in some way to social status, Beck explains. "The small writer by contrast does not like to be noticed, takes up an analytical attitude to everything, and likes to play a low social profile," he adds.
The spacing of handwriting is all about "the writer's perception of the world" and how their intelligence or "thinking power" presents itself, Beck says. "It denotes how a person is likely to behave within the world they inhabit."
Folks who write with their letters close together or connected are thought to be intuitive and intelligent. Letters more spaced out are thought to indicate someone who's careful and logical.
You can think of your signature as your persona, outward personality, or the "image you want to give of the world of what you are," Beck says. Note that it isn't necessarily what you actually are—but what you want others to think you are.
"That is why signatures are usually different from [someone's normal handwriting]," he adds, "especially in men's writing." If someone's normal handwriting is small, for example, but their signature is huge, "this means the person puts on a big front or shop window of a larger-than-life personality yet inside is quiet, modest, and analytical," Beck says.
Or perhaps your handwriting is typically quite messy but you've got your cursive signature down to a science. This also indicates some level of performance. If your signature is no-nonsense and on the messier side, this would indicate a person who is less preoccupied with external appearances.
According to Beck, the way your letters slant can reveal a propensity toward introversion or extroversion. "A left slant in writing denotes someone of an introvert disposition—also someone who was strongly influenced by their mother," he says. And right-slanted writing, on the other hand, "denotes the extrovert, or someone who needs relationships and social life. Also, someone greatly influenced by their father," he says.
And if your handwriting is pretty evenly upright? Beck says that reveals someone whose parents had very contrasting personalities and are totally different from each other. "Upright writers are very independent," he adds.
Now, some graphologists will tell you certain letters reveal aspects of our personalities, but Beck says this represents a more old-fashioned approach. "Specific letters are not seen as important," he says. "Individual letters count for very little."
The bottom line.
Like a Myers-Briggs test or astrology reading, a handwriting analysis provides yet another peek into your personality and tendencies. While there isn't much research to back the practice up, it's still a fun way to take a step back and read yourself from a new perspective.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.