Why do we do what we do? The age-old question of psychology. While it’s certainly true that we are who we are because of our experiences and our nature, the little things matter, too. As famed American author, writer, and businessman Stephen Covey once said, “Our character is basically a composite of all our habits.”
A habit is defined as an automatic behavioral tendency to do something, and while we may not always be aware of our habits – how they form and why we have them – they play a crucial role in how we think, feel, and act on a daily basis. With that said, here are 7 little habits that reveal a lot about your personality:
1. The Way You Walk
While most of us aren’t usually conscious of the way that we walk, body language experts believe that it can actually reveal a lot about our personality. For example, people who walk forward in quick strides tend to be highly logical, self-motivated, and competitive; whereas people who walk with their chest forward, shoulders back, and head held high are often confident, sociable, charismatic, and attention-seeking. On the other hand, those who walk with light footsteps and duck their heads were usually sensitive, soft-spoken, and polite. There was even a recent study that found that convicted criminals and psychopaths often pick their potential victims simply by judging the way they walk and how vulnerable it made them seem (Kar & Kar, 2017).
2. The Way You Shake Hands
People always tell us to be mindful of our handshakes, especially during job interviews or important meetings, because it can do a lot to shape someone’s first impression of us. But did you know that there are actually published scientific studies that prove this? One particular research paper, in fact, found that people with firmer handshakes tend to be more emotionally expressive, extraverted, and optimistic; while those with looser grips were often more shy, neurotic, and insecure. Aside from that, the texture of our hands, the duration of the handshake, and whether or not we make eye contact also plays a big part in how others perceive us (Hall & Hall, 2003).
3. Your Online Etiquette
While it’s no secret that our communication styles are largely influenced by our personalities, people can also tell a lot about you just from reading a single text or email that you sent them. Your online etiquette – or “netiquette”, as some like to say – refers not only to the tone and content of your messages, but also the length, frequency, and speed at which you reply. Introverts, for example, tend to be more polite and formal; while extraverts prefer to be friendly and casual. Having a good vocabulary shows high intelligence, but the consistent absence of typos may convey perfectionism and high conscientiousness. Interestingly enough, it was also found that people who tend to send long emails are more energetic and detail-oriented, but may also be perceived by others as needier and more demanding (Hollgraves, 2011).
4. Your Eating Habits
Another thing you may not realize is saying a lot about you are your eating habits. Are you a picky eater? Or do you like to indulge yourself? Do you finish your food fast? Or talk while chewing? All of these little habits have been shown to mean something about your personality. People who are confident and level-headed tend to be slow eaters because they like to take their time to savor their food and don’t feel self-conscious about eating. Fast eaters, on the other hand, are often more ambitious, goal-oriented, and moody. It’s also been found that picky eaters have a tendency to be anxious, controlling, and detail-oriented (Goldberg & Strycker, 2002).
5. Your Spending Habits
Are you an impulsive spender? Or do you like to take the time to be sure of every purchase? What do you like to spend the most money on? And how much are you comfortable spending? While we may not put a lot of thought into our spending habits, it actually speaks volumes about who we are and what we value the most. Impulsive spenders tend to be spontaneous, hedonistic, and enjoy living in the moment; while smart spenders are often more rational, patient, and prefer to look at the bigger picture (Furnham, 1999). If you spend more money on luxurious things (like spa visits, vacations, and fancy dinners), it means you like to indulge and treat yourself well; while people who spend more on essential needs (like groceries, gas, and utilities) tend to be more practical, responsible, and down-to-earth.
6. Your Nervous Tics
Do you have any nervous tics? Maybe you have a bad habit of biting your nails or chewing your lip. Maybe you tend to pick at your skin or tap your foot when you’re feeling on edge. Whatever your nervous tic may be, every time you do it, it sends a clear message to those around you that you are feeling restless, uncomfortable, and anxious. And if you find yourself doing them more often than not, then it may mean that you have difficulty controlling your emotions, calming yourself down, or are struggling to overcome your perfectionism (Woods, Miltenberger, & Flach, 1996).
7. Your Handwriting
Last but certainly not least is your handwriting. Graphology, the scientific study and analysis of a person’s handwriting, claims that those who have big handwriting tend to be more outgoing, people-oriented, and have strong desire to be understood; whereas those with small handwriting are often focused, introverted, and neat. People whose handwriting slant to the left are introspective and reserved; while those with a right slant are more friendly, sentimental, and impulsive; and those with no slant tend to be logical and pragmatic (Srihari, Cha, Arora, & Lee, 2002).
So, do you relate to any of the things we’ve mentioned on this list? What do your little habits say about you? If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, read our other article “7 Things That Can Tell You A Lot About A Person” to find out about all the other ways you can analyze and understand someone’s personality – especially your own!
- Kar, A. K., & Kar, A. K. (2017). How to walk your talk: effective use of body language for business professionals. IUP Journal of Soft Skills, 11(1), 16.
- Hall, P. M., & Hall, D. A. S. (2003). The handshake as interaction. Semiotica, 45(3-4), 249-264.
- Holtgraves, T. (2011). Text messaging, personality, and the social context. Journal of research in personality, 45(1), 92-99.
- Goldberg, L. R., & Strycker, L. A. (2002). Personality traits and eating habits: The assessment of food preferences in a large community sample. Personality and individual differences, 32(1), 49-65.
- Furnham, A. (1999). The saving and spending habits of young people. Journal of economic Psychology, 20(6), 677-697.
- Woods, D. W., Miltenberger, R. G., & Flach, A. D. (1996). Habits, tics, and stuttering: Prevalence and relation to anxiety and somatic awareness. Behavior modification, 20(2), 216-225.
- Srihari, S. N., Cha, S. H., Arora, H., & Lee, S. (2002). Individuality of handwriting. Journal of forensic science, 47(4), 1-17.