What Your Handwriting Says About You

My handwriting always improves when I use my favorite pen. Does that mean I improve as well?

When my sister was born, I wasn’t particularly interested in what her eye color would be, or her height, or her future occupation; I couldn’t wait until she was old enough to hold a pencil so that I could see what her handwriting would look like. (An odd curiosity for a four-year-old, I know, but consistent with the rest of my eccentricities.)

Although I certainly didn’t know it back then, handwriting characteristics are very good indicators of the personality traits, prejudices, motivations, and emotional idiosyncrasies of the writer. The way you form letters, the spacing within and between words, the pressure applied to the paper, the slant and position of your script all reflect your unique traits. “Physiologically, handwriting is actually brain-writing,” says Alice Weiser, a world-renowned graphoanalyst. “The impulse to write begins in the cerebral cortex, travels along the nervous system to the muscles of the hand—or teeth or toes. What comes out on the paper is a snapshot of the writer’s subconscious self.”

Alice has been cultivating her talents as a graphoanalyst for nearly three decades, providing insights into potential jurors and witnesses in high-profile legal cases, helping major corporations select key executives and personnel, and serving as an expert in the analysis of criminals. We had met a couple of times before, and she knew a few things about me, but she didn’t know me. Not my motivations or my inclination toward stubbornness. Not how sensitive I am to criticism or whether I’m a good friend. Certainly not my insecurities or how likely I am to listen to—and follow—advice. But the morning I went to visit her at home, it took her all of two sentences and one minute to discover all of that and more.

Alice considers countless nuances and subtleties, and brings decades of professional experience to her analyses. But if you’re curious about what your handwriting says about you right now, try this quick exercise. Grab a pen and a blank sheet of paper, write a few sentences, then sign your name. Now check out the following six aspects of your handwriting, and learn what they may reveal about you:

  1. Notice your margins. The page represents your place in the world. The left margin is a fairly standard starting place, the position from which you enter your environment. The right side of the page represents your goals and future. Subconscious feelings about your use of space gives clues to your self-esteem, social and cultural tendencies, and how you relate to others. Does your writing run off the page? You may fear solitude and cause strong reactions in others. Is your right margin uneven? You might be prone to mood swings and impulsive behavior. Do you leave a lot of space at the top? You’re likely formal, respectful of authority and considerate of others. Even all around? You’re well-balanced, organized and responsible.
  2. Look at the size of your writing, which reflects your ego and relationship to others. The smaller your writing, the greater your attention to detail and desire for order. Small writers have extreme powers of concentration, and often have an academic mentality. The average-sized writer adheres to custom and is in balance with life. Is your writing large? You may enjoy attention and admiration, but you also may need plenty of breathing space.
  3. How are the letters spaced within each word? If they’re crowded, you may be introverted and cautious with your emotions, though you may actually desire contact with others. If you are outgoing, generous, extroverted and people-oriented, it will be reflected in average to wide spacing.
  4. Look at the space between your words. This represents the distance you maintain with society at large. Between your words, you reveal the distance you need for emotional comfort and your territorial boundaries. Narrow spaces indicate craving for contact and closeness that might be considered demanding. Large spaces suggest a need for privacy. Even, average spaces are evidence of social maturity, intelligence and inner organization.
  5. How do you dot your Is and cross your Ts? As you would imagine, if you do so meticulously, you strive for perfection. If your dot is close to the point of the I (or J), you are careful with details and have a good memory. If it hovers to the left, you’re probably a procrastinator. Do you use circles or hearts? You want to stand out in a crowd. Where you cross your T on the stem determines your goal setting, and the heaviness of the stroke indicates how clearly your purpose is defined in your mind.
  6. Your signature represents your public identity. Is it clearly legible? You are a straightforward communicator with a healthy self-concept. You don’t need to make a pretentious display because you’re comfortable with yourself. Is it an illegible mess? Maybe you’ve developed a indecipherable John Hancock because you have to sign your name frequently—or maybe you’re trying to hide your true thoughts and feelings.

Interestingly, there are three things your handwriting can’t reveal: your age, gender, or handedness. If this brief introduction whets your desire to know more about your own handwriting–or someone else’s–you can contact Alice through her website to set up a professional analysis.  Or if you’re interested in reading more about reading people, check out her book, JUDGE THE JURY.

By the way, when my sister grew up, it turned out that her handwriting looked an awfully lot like mine. It still does, in fact. Alice said, “I would imagine that the two of you are very close.” She was right again.