I got my handwriting analyzed by an expert, and what she could tell about my personality was surprisingly accurate
- Handwriting analysts believe that your style of writing can reveal aspects of your personality.
- I had a professional handwriting analyst look at my handwriting and tell me what she saw.
- As it turns out, much of her analysis was spot-on, although I'm not completely convinced.
Some people claim that your handwriting is a window into your personality - that every one of your loops, crosses, and dots can reveal something about yourself.
There's an entire science behind handwriting analysis, called graphology, and it's used by everyone from marriage counselors to potential employers. Supposedly, it can even reveal the vulnerable sides of some of the most powerful and successful people in the country.
Whether graphology is legit has been up for debate for years, so I wanted to put it to the test. I enlisted certified graphologist Elaine Charal, who offered to analyze my handwriting and give me a free personality report. Then, I showed the results to three people who know me well - my sister Sara, my roommate Michael, and my longtime friend Christine - and had them judge whether her assessment was accurate.
First, here's the handwriting sample I sent Charal, in all its chicken scratch glory:
One day later, Charal wrote back to me with a detailed, 11-paragraph summary of what she saw in my handwriting. Here are some of the highlights, as well as commentary from my three trusty associates:
"All of your script is vertical slanted, indicating poise, objectivity and your ability to remain (outwardly) calm under pressure … if you don't want anyone to see that you're upset, no one will see it."
Sara: I would agree with this. You are calm most of the time and so I know that if you are visibly upset or angry, it's because of something big or something important to you.
Christine: I would agree that you always try to remain calm and objective, especially if you're riled up on the inside. Unless it's about sports, or something very silly, then you are totally fine showcasing every hyperbolic note of joy and sorrow.
Michael: I have noticed (see: Eagles playoff run) that you tend to pace a bit when you are nervous/excited.
Me: My sister [Sara] would know! I keep a straight face in most situations, and when I do get animated I even surprise myself sometimes. But as Christine and Michael mentioned, when it comes to sports, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve.
"Your stick-like l's indicate you to be result-oriented."
Christine: You do love it when things are measurable and numbers-driven (like Scrabble and baseball!) but you don't live and die by results in your own life.
Sara: You've always seemed more concerned with exploration, experience, and living in the moment over the future and what the outcome will be.
Michael: I'd say so.
Mark: While this piece of analysis made me slightly self-conscious about my l's, I'm not sure it's on the mark as far as my personality goes. Christine and Sara said it best, I usually care more about the process of finding an answer than getting it right, and I try not to measure success purely by the outcome.
"A few of your t-bars are crossed in the lower portion of your t-stems, indicating you are likely capable of much more than you realize! This is a protection stroke: you may tend to unconsciously keep your aspirations modest so that you don't disappoint yourself or others."
Christine: Oh, snap... Dude, she might be right.
Sara: I'm not sure if you realize this, but I agree.
Me: I never noticed before that I seem to cross my t's halfway down the t, and sometimes even lower. The bit about my personality is fair - I do find it more practical to set low expectations and exceed them rather than come up short of a big goal. I am very curious to know whether those two elements are actually related.
"A good number of your a's resemble o's, indicating you work hard and make it look easy."
Sara: This is absolutely true.
Christine: Not only does this describe you, but it's also the mark of a true hustler.
Me: Dope! Thanks Sara and Christine.
"Your word spacing is quite wide (where you can fit two or more letters between the words), indicating you are a 'free spirit' who needs 'elbow room' and won't appreciate being restricted or told what to do."
Sara: Yes! This one is spot on. You get things done on your time and in your way and don't appreciate being pushed or instructed to do things someone else's way.
Christine: Very true, the expert has nailed that one.
Michael: Well now we're covering pretty much all of the personality types aren't we?
Me: Right again! It's very fair criticism to say that I resist when people tell me what to do - I'd much rather come up with the idea on my own or do things when I feel it's right. Although Michael's comment is valid, too. The analysis does seem to cover many different personality archetypes.
"The very wide loop in your d-stems in your signature and your printed name indicate some sensitivity to criticism. This can act as a desire for perfection."
Michael: I interpret the desire differently. I think you enjoy discussions about finding an absolute truth … and the process of searching is often more fun than the outcome for you. I don't think you care as much about being perfect to avoid criticism, but rather to reach a neat conclusion to a discussion.
Me: I'm trusting my roommate on this one. I am definitely a perfectionist in some ways, and it's interesting to think that it could be in part because of a sensitivity to criticism. But I think a bigger factor is the value I place on precision and clarity, and my desire to see things through as closely as possible to how I imagined them.
Your signature (your public self) is slightly forward slanted, while your text (your private self) is vertical slanted. This suggests that while you project emotional responsiveness, you are actually a more private person.
Sara: I think this is pretty spot on … The amount someone knows about you correlates with how close you are to them.
Michael: This is somewhat true. I think you are a very outwardly emotional person, not afraid to hide excitement or how you are feeling in any moment. You also are pretty private in some aspects of your life, but I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.
Christine: I would strongly agree with this. You are very open and gregarious while also keeping parts of yourself very private.
Me: We all seem to be in agreement here - I do tend to be a private person until I know someone better, but in the comfort of a bigger group I show a wider range of emotions.
Overall, I was impressed with Charal's analysis, especially the more specific details about my personality that wouldn't necessarily apply to just anyone. I remain a little skeptical that every single flourish of the pen can telegraph an aspect of someone's character. But if three people close to me agree can corroborate most of Charal's assessment, then there very well may be something real behind graphology, and I'd be willing to try my hand at it one more time.
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