The Observer Personality Type

So far in our personality type series, we have explored the Perfectionist, Helper, Achiever, and Individualist temperaments. This time, we look in detail at the Observer personality, the traits Observers possess, and what these individuals should focus on to enhance their relationships.

Those with Observer personalities tend to be insightful, independent, and innovative. Often ahead of their time, they see the world in new and unique ways, concentrating with laser-like focus on complex concepts. Observers have an overwhelming desire to understand how the world works, to pursue and possess knowledge. Their greatest desire is to be capable and competent; their greatest fear is that they will not contribute anything worthwhile. 

A relentless drive for understanding why things are the way they are often pulls Observers deep inside themselves, where they become preoccupied and isolated. This can result in a detachment from the daily activities of the world, such as fulfilling the daily requirements needed to survive by getting enough sleep and healthy nutrition, or not being able to make effective human connections.

The core of the Observer is about being unusual. Observers often feel that having insights and an in-depth understanding of things may be a capability that others do not possess or have the patience to explore.  They love being considered “investigators” and feel validated by defining and mastering an esoteric area of expertise.

Yet deep down, Observers are insecure, often convinced that they are unable to properly function as others do. They have a tendency to “observe life” rather than live it.  A passionate single-mindedness to discover why things are the way they are distracts them from addressing whatever practical matters make them feel insecure, anxious, or uncomfortable. This retreat from life enables them to avoid dealing with subjects like their health, employment, household responsibilities and relationships.

Always searching for answers and asking questions, Observers do not blandly accept the opinions and insights of others, nor do they require social validation. In fact, if others agree with their ideas, Observers fear that the unique concepts they believe in may be too pedestrian.


Observers also continually tell themselves that once they “figure everything out,” they will rejoin society.

As insightful and brilliant as they are, Observers also have trouble establishing trust.  Conflict makes them uncomfortable. Also, making decisions about the simplest things can paralyze them into a state of inaction.

Those with Observer temperaments should make a concerted effort to connect with and be a part of society, to live life rather than simply exist in their own internal world of discovery.

Areas of personal growth especially important for Observers to pay attention to include:

  • Make it a point to remain connected and engaged with the world on a daily basis.
  • Notice when you escape into your thoughts as an avoidance mechanism from reality.
  • Learn to relax and de-stress in a healthy manner, instead of falling into abusive behaviors.
  • Take care of yourself and your well-being. Practice healthy eating and sleeping habits.
  •  Find a few people you trust and appreciate. Make it a point to develop friendships with them.
  • When you have difficulty making decisions, ask those you trust for help.
  • Avoid rabbit-holing into projects that don’t support your health and self-esteem.
  • Don’t withdraw from social interaction. Realize that conflict is part of all relationships.

Many famous people embody the Observer temperament, such as Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Tim Burton, Vincent Van Gogh, Georgia O’Keefe and Jodie Foster.