Certain Personality Traits Might Help Improve Your Friendships, So Maybe It's Time To Consider Cultivating Them

You know those people who are friends with everyone? They can do things as simple as go to the gas station and leave with new numbers in their cell phone. And apparently there might be a reason for that: A recent study found that there are specific personality traits that will improve your friendships and help you create new and longer-lasting bonds.

The study was conducted in 2015 but only recently written up in the Association for Psychological Science's blog, Observations. The study used the Big Five personality traits — a popular model in contemporary psychology which measures people on scales of extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience. The study involved 434 students who took a personality questionnaire, and then rated their satisfaction with their friends and life. Lastly, they had to choose six friends to rate their personality.

The study found that for starters, openness to experience had no impact on friendship satisfaction. Neuroticism, however, was linked to lower satisfaction. Now, for the good news: Having higher scores in conscientiousness, extraversion (obviously), and agreeableness was correlated with higher friendship satisfaction. Surprising? Maybe not; of course those are likable qualities in any person. Regardless, it's interesting that it's now a measured, documented relationship determiner.

It also gives people a starting place if they want to work on the friendships in their lives.


Previous studies have also looked at how people's personality affects their relationships and their satisfaction with said relationships. For example, one study found that people who have higher levels of anxiety and self-consciousness have trouble merely holding eye contact. When they are the focus of someone's attention, they become incredibly nervous. Other people, however, are ignited by the same eye contact, and likelier to initiate a friendly interaction. This research was able to demonstrate that your personality does in fact direct your brain's reaction to your relationship with another person.

So, if you're looking to improve your friendships all around, remember that it's not just about finding people you jive with. You may very well need to work on yourself a little — and there's nothing wrong with that!

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