What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?

Handwriting is something so integral to our beings, but often overlooked. Growing up, it’s what we needed to do when learning how to read and write. Since then, handwriting has become so natural to us that we don’t think, we just do. That doesn’t mean that we don’t notice it in ourselves or others. You notice when somebody has beautiful, neat handwriting. You notice when you cannot read what somebody has written. But how often do you sit down and think about what that means? How often do you think about the physical process of writing and why your handwriting comes out of your hand the way it does? Like fingerprints, no two sets of handwriting are the same.

There have been actual studies done on handwriting, and how the exact angle of the dot above your “i” indicates your deepest, darkest personality traits. See the end of the article for an infographic provided by pens.com, breaking down the results.

However, I’m more interested in how people analyze their own handwriting, or handwriting process. I know this is something I’ve thought about a lot. Since I was in elementary school, my handwriting has always been better than everyone else’s. It’s small, it’s neat and I’ve been told it looks like it’s been typed. This is something I’ve prided myself on. I always felt that it made me look more put together, more enviable and more responsible. 

I can admit that it also indicates the secret side of me that’s an anxious control freak. In situations where I feel lost, such as taking notes in a class I’m not doing well in, my notes are beautiful, because my handwriting is the only thing I have control over. I want it to be perfect. I’ve read a lot of posts on social media about how messy handwriting indicates intelligence over people with neat handwriting. (Sorry your handwriting isn’t cute, but you don’t need to come after me!)

I talked to a lot of people, asking them if they had ever thought about what their handwriting might say about them. Here’s what they think it says.

Straight off the bat, some said they haven’t found a correlation:

“My handwriting is really bad. It looks like a boxy third grader handwriting, so I don't know. I feel like it doesn't correlate to my personality, but that's not necessary.” - Phillip Roquemore, Boston

A lot of people said the same things: Their handwriting is messier when they are excited about a topic or in a rush. Focused writing looks neater. 

“I was left handed...until I got to kindergarten then I had a really religious teacher that forced me to write right handed. So now I'm ambidextrous but I still write with the habits of a left handed person. I tilt my paper 90 degrees and write sideways. 

If I don’t, I write super crooked and I write in all caps but I still connect all my letters like I'm writing in cursive because I get really excited about the subject I’m writing on and my handwriting gets manic like my personality. Or I get really focused and write in really neat cursive but then my writing gets really tiny. I have manic depression and PTSD so my moods reflect the legibility and style of my writing a lot. I either write like Hunter S. Thompson or like someone with OCD. There's no in between.” - Lisa, Los Angeles

“My mind's a mess and my handwriting can show that. Sometimes I have everything together—that's when it's most legible. I don’t like being the center of attention and maybe my small writing shows that too? I don’t know. But handwriting changes in accordance with my mood. Like when I’m happy or excited, spacing within and between letters is more evident than when I’m angry or sad, which is sloppy or rushed.” - Katie Gamboa, Baltimore

I actually have different 'styles' of handwriting—a mash between print and cursive, all capital letters, italicized, cursive, etc., that I see fit for different uses on my notes/cards. I think my handwriting is versatile and adaptable and over the years, my personality has also melded into a very fluid, adaptable thing as well.” - Jenny, Los Angeles

“My handwriting really depends on what I'm doing and my motive. If I want to be clear and others are going to be reading my writing, I take my time a little more to present myself in a way that the reader will like. I guess that's like me as a person when I take time and effort to make sure people like me? Otherwise my handwriting can be quite sloppy and lazy, like myself. When I don't really intend for others to read what I write, I just write sloppily and slur my words together. I guess that's also like how I keep some parts of myself private and to myself without the intention of people really understanding. I can be quite ambiguous and secretive.” - Joanne, Los Angeles

“Throughout middle school and high school, if I handed in any worksheet without my name, teachers would say, ‘Is this anyone's? Looks like it might be a boy's based on the handwriting.’ My handwriting might be sloppy but there's so many thoughts running through, I'm just eager to put it all down in a rush, and I know I am always late and rushing to everything so there definitely could be a correlation.

I often italicize or bold my handwriting—I solely type for papers; I am always writing with paper and pen—to prioritize or organize my thoughts, because it's usually all thrown on a page. My notebook is definitely an ADD playground and an OCD's nightmare.” - Tess Adamakos, Boston

Tess’s response opened up the discussion of a larger topic: Why is it assumed that boys will have messier handwriting than girls? Do we associate a sense of put-togetherness with girls that we don’t with boys? Are boys expected to be messier because of the age-old discussion of girls maturing faster than boys? Is neat handwriting associated with maturity? 

Is this sexist, to assume that a girl’s handwriting has to be as ladylike as she is expected to be?

Handwriting is important, because it leads to so many more questions than you would have thought when you wrote a quick note to yourself this morning.

Take a look at what the professionals say about handwriting. Do you agree with it or do you find it totally off?