The Freeman Personality Inventory

Taking the Freeman Personality Inventory

There are many self-administered personality quizzes out there. So I decided to make one myself. This test assesses how you act towards other people, and can reveal a source of conflict between you and the ones closest to you.

The Questions

Let’s get started: for each of the questions below, choose whichever alternative seems most appropriate to you.

1. Your husband comes home from work, at about the same time each evening, right about the time one of his favorite TV shows. Do you:

    A. Put that show on, steer him to the couch, bring him dinner, and then put on one interesting show after another until bedtime?

    B. Say nothing and let him choose his own evening activity?

    C. Suggest something and come to a decision together?

2. You see your roommate struggling with a heavy item. Do you:

    A. Take the package from him, or at least help carry it, without waiting to be asked?

    B. Do nothing until he asks for your help?

    C. Ask if he needs help?

    D. Help him, and even if he says he doesn’t want any help, say “it’s all right” and continue helping anyway?

3. It’s evening, and your wife is working on her computer. The room light is not on. It’s starting to get dark, and when you walk into that room, you have no intention of staying there yourself. Do you:

    A. Turn on the light, then walk out of the room?

    B. Leave the light alone, figuring she can turn it on herself if she wants to?

4. The two of you are at a party. Your girlfriend tries to stifle a yawn, but it escapes anyway. Do you:

    A. Figure she wants to sleep, and tell her it’s time to go?

    B. Wait until you yourself want to leave, or she tells you she wants to go, and then leave?

    C. Ask her what she wants to do?

    D. Tell her over and over again to go home and go to sleep, even if she says she doesn’t want to, because obviously she does want to sleep?

5. You’re off to a store, and your girlfriend, who’s busy and can’t come with you, asks you to pick up a small item. She says she doesn’t want any substitutes. When you get there, you find that they’re all out of that exact thing, but they have something else “that will do”. Do you:

    A. Buy the other item, because something is obviously better than nothing?

    B. Not buy the other item, because getting nothing is better than getting the wrong something?

    C. Call her and ask her?

    D. Buy the item, tell her it’s just as good as the other one, and if she questions that, demand to know what’s so important about getting the exact item?

6. Your boyfriend sees that you’re tired, and offers to wash the dishes, although you usually do that yourself. Do you:

    A. Let him, but be sure to supervise him so he can do it correctly?

    B. Thank him, then stay out of the kitchen while he does it?

    C. Wash the dishes together, but without trying to “take charge”?

    D. Start by washing the dishes together, making sure everything is set up “your way”, then when it’s too late to change the overall pattern of how it’s being done, walk away and leave him to finish?

7. You’ve given your son a household chore to do. You’ve explained how to do it, but he’s not doing it that way, although you can see he’ll probably end up with the same result. Do you:

    A. Correct him?

    B. Leave him be, making sure that when he’s done, the objective has been met?

    C. Quietly observe him, saying something only if it’s clear that what he’s doing isn’t going to work?

    D. Yell at him, telling him how stupid he is, explaining again what the “right” way is, then making him do it while you closely watch to make sure he’s doing it your way?

8. Your young daughter is old enough to read, turn on the TV, or fetch a toy from her toy box. It’s her “fun” time. Do you:

    A. Choose a TV show, toy, book, or comic book you know she likes, and give it to her (or put her in front of it)?

    B. Do and say nothing and wait for her to choose her own diversion?

    C. Make a suggestion, but let her have the final say, as long as it’s a reasonable choice?

    D. Choose something, insist she do that, and methodically make all other options unavailable?

9. You’re a secretary, and you’re given some hand-written notes to enter into a computer. But the notes don’t quite made sense — they seem to be jumbled up, out of order somehow. Do you:

    A. Enter what you think was meant, trying to make sense of them?

    B. Just type what you see, let your boss mark whatever revisions are needed, and fix it all up later?

    C. Ask her what she meant?

10. You and your young boy are at a fast-food restaurant. You’re getting him a kid’s meal, which comes with a choice of a free toy. But he’s crying because they’re out of the one he wants. Do you:

    A. Try to get him interested in a substitute?

    B. Get him no toy at all, on the grounds that if he can’t get the one he wants, at least you’re not making him take one he doesn’t want?

    C. Ask the manager if it’s possible to come back next week and get the desired toy, which may be in stock by then?

    D. Choose an alternative toy, shove it into his hands, and tell him to stop crying?

11. Which of these sentences are you more likely to use in an argument?

    A. “You’re attacking me for being nice.”

    B. “Some people will stop at nothing to help you.”

12. Your boyfriend starts abusing alcohol or drugs. Do you:

    A. Find a treatment program, and tell him about it, along with a phone number he can call right now?

    B. Tell him what he’s doing is no good for him, and urge him to do something about it?

    C. Same as B, but let him know that if he doesn’t deal with his problem, you might move out?

    D. Arrange for an intervention with all of his family and friends present and tell him that if he doesn’t NOW to go into treatment TODAY, none of you will ever have anything to do with him again?

13. You’re a young adult, working in the evening while attending college classes during the day. It’s a busy schedule, and you often come home late. You have to get up early in the in the morning, and you set your alarm. Your middle-aged mother, who lives with you, sees you are very tired. Is it right for her to:

    A. Turn off your alarm so you can get more sleep?

    B. Leave your alarm alone and say nothing?

    C. Leave your alarm alone but ask if there’s something you or she can do so you can catch up on your sleep?

14. Your roommate hasn’t filed her taxes, and you see she’s gotten a letter from the tax authorities. Do you:

    A. Place the letter where she’s sure to see it, perhaps on the dining room table?

    B. Do and say nothing at all?

    C. Suggest she open it, saying it might not be as bad as she’s thinking?

    D. Stand in front of her, open it, and read it to her?

15. You’re preparing for a barbecue, and your husband asks if the chicken has been spiced yet. Do you:

    A. Sprinkle poultry spice on the chicken.

    B. Simply answer the question.

16. Which of the following complaints are you more likely to make?

    A. If you can see I’m struggling with something, you should help me without my having to ask you.

    B. If nobody asked you to do that, you should just leave it alone.


Count up the number of A’s, B’s, and D’s. In each case:

A is caring. You know what makes the other person happy, and you see to it that they get it. You don’t wait to be asked to be nice.

B is freedom-loving. You realize that what the other person says they want is more important than “what you think they would like”. You never make assumptions.

C is neutral, somewhere between A and B. Don’t bother counting C points.

D is an extreme form of A. Add your D points to your A points, but if you have 4 or more D’s, you’re probably being domineering.


If you have a preponderance of A points, you care about other people, particularly those close to you. You want to be nice to them, and expect to be treated nice in return.

If you have more B than A points, you are freedom-loving. You want to make your own choices, not have them made for you. Any attempt to “tell you what you want” seems like an intrusion. You want the other guy to be able to make his own choices, too.

Both caring and freedom-loving are valid strategies. I’m not promoting either one over the other.

So where’s the problem?

The problem comes when you have a carer and a freedom-lover together. The carer keeps trying to do things that will make the other person happy. But the freedom-lover sees each thing done as a further limitation of his available choices. Eventually, the freedom-lover withdraws, giving the carer the one thing the freedom-lover wants most: space to do whatever he wants, without interference. The carer sees this as indifference, emotional abandonment perhaps, and resolves to be even nicer in an attempt to restore a sense of loving connection. Now the freedom-lover pulls back even MORE. Eventually, it ends up in a shouting match, with them accusing each other of being an “ingrate” or a “meddler”.

Because they’re pulling in opposite directions, they eventually end up hating each other. There are many ways to pull in opposite directions, but the caring/freedom-loving axis is the main source of this type of friction.

The problem with the Golden Rule

The Golden Rule is fundamentally flawed, because the Golden Rule says “Do unto others what you want done unto you” (emphasis mine). But what you want for yourself is not necessarily what the other guy wants.

The Platinum Rule is much better. It simply says, “Know what the other person wants and give them that”.