Hey, psych2goers! In this article, we will be taking a look at personality and the way it can influence your relationships. Years of research by Gordon Allport have resulted in over 18000 personality traits. Luckily, scholars have managed to boil this list down to 8. These 8 traits contain the so called big-five and the dark-triad. They are largely gene-bound as numerous twin studies have proven like the Minnesota twin studies. We will now take a look at each of these traits and analyze its effect on a relationship. At the end of the article is a test to see how you score on these 8 traits.
1 Openness to experience
Are you always trying out new things? Then you score high on this personality trait. You like to have new experiences and have a fascination with novelty. Someone who scores low on the trait however, is happy with routine and familiar situations. This personality trait will likely affect the romantic aspects of your relationship. For instance, multiple studies found that women who scored high on the trait tended to have more sex with their partner than women who scored low on the trait. If your partner scores low while you score high however, it can be quite frustrating. You will want to try new things while they are against it, this is very limiting and will lead to conflict over time.
Conscientiousness is a measure of reliability but also cleanliness. If you are very organised, you score high on this trait. Someone who scores low on contentiousness on the other hand, is very disorganised. Not only does it affect cleanliness, it also affects relationship satisfaction. This is because scoring high on contentiousness has been proven to be connected to low impulsivity and more trust. If this trait does not match, you and your partner will have different cleanliness standards and will be less satisfied with the relationship. Take a look at their room, this will tell you quite a bit about their level of conscientiousness.
This trait comes down to how well a person can thrive in a social situation. A low score on this trait generally means that someone will be more reserved, timid and quiet. While people who score high on it are social, assertive and outgoing. If you are an introvert you will probably know the struggle of being around extraverted people, it would not work well in a relationship and vice versa. Matching on this trait ensures that you enjoy each other’s company because you get what you expect from the social interactions with the other person. High extraversion has also been linked to a higher chance of cheating.
Agreeableness basically means how ready we are to agree with someone else. Low scores on the trait reflect cold, disagreeable and antagonistic personalities. In contrast, a high score reflects people who are cooperative, warm and trusting. If you partner scores low on this trait, there is bound to be a lot of conflict. It will constantly feel like your partner just does not want to agree with you whenever you are discussing something. You constantly have to convince them only to have them disagree most of the time. Overtime all these disagreements decrease your happiness.
5 Neuroticism/emotional stability
A person’s emotional stability is what is meant by neuroticism. Scoring low on it is associated with nervous and anxious people, they do not deal well with stress. Calmness, self-confidence and a sense of security are attributed to a high score on this trait, these people deal with stress better.
You could see this trait as a rating for how well someone can control their emotions. It determines your reactiveness to emotions. If it does not match it will not only feel like your partner does not understand the way you deal with emotions but, overtime you will affect your partners emotional stability. A mismatch is paired with a lot of conflicts, misunderstandings and arguments which get worse overtime.
People with this trait are pragmatic, maintain emotional distance and generally believe ends can justify means. No matter the ethics they will choose what achieves the outcome they desire. They are very manipulative, which in turn means they cannot be easily manipulated. At first these people might seem great but in the long run they reveal more and more of their true self causing you to slowly dislike them. Be warned though, these people are highly manipulative. They will try their best to control you and mess with your emotions. Avoid these people at all costs.
This trait shows a tendency of lacking guilt and remorse. They do not care about others who might be caught in the crossfire of their choices. Not having remorse or guilt of course does not work well with a relationship. Your partner could make a choice that hurts you and experience no guilt whatsoever. This means for example that literally nothing holds them back from cheating. They don’t experience remorse, so why should hurting their partner make them feel bad? Luckily These people can be avoided, ask them about some bad choices they have made. If they can talk about it without any remorse, it is a pretty good indication of them having this trait.
Having this trait means having a tendency to be arrogant, have a grandiose sense of self-worth and have a big craving for attention. Narcissists are pretty likely to cheat. They do not care about others, only themselves and yes that includes their partner. In their mind they are the center of the world. One good way to check for this trait is to see how someone behaves towards waiters and such as it is a good indication on if they care about other people.
There is a part of all these traits in us. Everyone has their own mix which makes up their own personality. In the end the most important thing is that you find someone that makes you happy. Just observe their behaviour for a day, it might save you from heartbreak.
In the description you will find two personality tests which will give you an indication of where you are on the spectrum. The results from it only give an impression, they should not be seen as proper indications. We hope you learned something useful and enjoyed this article. Let us know in the comments what you think 🙂
Interesting follow-up article:
Cheng, Y., 2019. Psychology Lecture Week 12: Personality & MBTI.
Allport, G. W. (1961). Pattern and growth in personality
Bouchard, T. J., Lykken, D. T., McGue, M., Segal, N. L., & Tellegen, A. (1990). Sources of human psychological differences: The Minnesota study of twins reared apart. Science, 250(4978), 223-228.