Or Are You an Questioner?

Post inspired by The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin.

“Questioners show a deep commitment to information, logic, and efficiency. They want to gather their own facts, decide for themselves, and act with good reason; they object to anything they consider arbitrary, ill-reasoned, ill-informed, or ineffective.” (61)

In today’s topic under The Four Tendencies, ask yourself if you think these statements apply to you:

  • “But why?”
  • You dislike the statement “it’s always been done that way”
  • Value research and learning information about why or what something is
  • May dislike others questioning your decisions because you’ve already done all the research
  • Look for more efficient and better ways to do tasks
  • Question arbitrary rules if they don’t have a reason

Again that is just a short rundown of some of the characteristics of Questioners, but I think the name of “Questioner” provides an fairly accurate description itself. Questioners are those who resist outer expectations and meet inner expectations. Rubin shares that Questioners resist the outer expectations until they are given enough information to justify and prove that expectation. When that occurs, those outer expectations often then become inner expectations. If you’ve ever gone to the doctor or the dentist where they told you to “floss every day” or “take this medicine while you eat” and you questioned these statements, chances are you may be a Questioner. The reason for questioning a doctor are part of who you are though - you do not blindly follow rules or authority figures. You want to know the “why” behind the statements, then it will be easier to meet those expectations.

No tendency is perfect though. To others, Questioners may seem like “not a team player” if their bosses have different expectations of them. A Questioner may pepper a team meeting or a boss about why something is which can seem like insubordination or lack of cooperation. Questioners can also get stuck in “analysis-paralysis”. Instead of making a quick decision, there needs to be lots of research, information, and understanding before that decision can be made…which may lead to a “paralysis” of decision making. If you’ve been putting off buying a new car because you’ve been doing research for so long, you may be a Questioner.

What do you think? Does that sound like you? Or do you know someone who falls into this category? A good way to help and work with a Questioner is by setting constraints on them. To avoid analysis-paralysis, give the Questioner a deadline or have them max out at a couple options and make them choose from those. For a new car, give them 5 options and a deadline by the end of the month. That way their research is focused but also under a time constraint. Also when dealing with a Questioner, have a “why” for your statements. Giving them “because so-and-so said so” or “because it’s always been done that way” will not satisfy a Questioner. “Why do we need to floss every night?” “Because floss helps prevents ABC which then helps your teeth with XYZ.”

Famous Questioners: Jane Eyre