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I love dividing people into categories. Marathoners and Sprinters. Abstainers and Moderators. Upholders, Questioners, Rebels, and Obligers.

A thoughtful reader and fellow lover of taxonomies, Dianne Volek, suggested a new system of categories. Let’s call the two types of people “Finishers and Openers.”

Do you get more satisfaction from…

  • Throwing away a container or bottle after using the very last drop or
  • Opening a fresh new container

I’m a Finisher; my husband is an Opener. I love to extract the last tiny bit out of a tube of toothpaste, and he loves opening the new tube. True, I do love that first squeeze, and the first dip into a new jar of peanut butter, but I also enjoy using the very last bit of the old stuff. I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I use the last egg in a carton (as I did this morning).

Perhaps this explains the weird satisfaction I feel when something breaks or is worn out. Why do I like to see the worn spots on our sofa? Why do I like getting a hole in a pair of socks? Perhaps it’s my Finisher nature, delighting in the finish.

When I visited my sister a few weeks ago, I noticed that she had about twenty bottles of hair products in her shower. I suspect she’s an Opener.

I wonder if this is related to the distinction between Simplicity Lovers and Abundance Lovers.

Do these categories ring true for you? Are you a Finisher or an Opener?


Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.

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*Photo Credit: mauren veras via Compfight cc