Relationships can be tricky. It’s hard to tell if someone is genuinely attracted to you and how compatible you are. If only there was a way to know if you and your romantic interest match on a deeper level…
Enter “The Big Five”. Many contemporary personality psychologists believe there are five broad categories of personality traits found in individuals. These are Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism, or OCEAN for short. These categories are not “black and white” but rather, a spectrum. It is believed that each of us possess a degree of each category of personality within us. The more similar standings we have on the spectrum as another person, the more complementary our personalities and hence the more compatible we are.
While a lot of other factors come into play when deciding if a potential match can be our lifelong partner, The Big Five is nonetheless an insightful and interesting way to see just how well we can get along.
Openness to Experience (vs Close-Mindedness)
People who score high on this spectrum are more “open”, in the way that they are curious, creative, and have a wide variety of interests. They are easily excitable and may hold values that are deemed unconventional. Always willing to try new things, they have a sense of adventure and enjoy a challenge. They tend to adjust better to changes than those who are close-minded, who would much rather stick with the status quo.
Conscientiousness (vs Disorganisation)
A person who is highly conscientious is efficient, organised and careful. They are self-disciplined and work hard at accomplishing their goals. They prefer routine to spontaneity and are not prone to succumbing to their own impulses, unlike those who are more disorganised. These individuals have incredible self-control and a good sense of personal direction.
Extraversion (vs Introversion)
A commonly-discusses trait in personality tests, extraversion measures how sociable and outgoing we are, and whether the presence of new experiences and abundant interaction energises us or drains us. A person who is more extraverted is often the “life of the party” and will be the centre of attention wherever they go. They are more enthusiastic and assertive, while someone who is more introverted is more withdrawn and requires some alone time after days of activity to recharge. Extraverts thrive in group settings and parties while introverts prefer one-on-one scenarios, ideally in a more peaceful environment.
Agreeableness (vs Antagonism)
Those who are agreeable get along better with others. They are forgiving and warm, which is due to their strong sense of empathy and sensitivity. They are kind and considerate, and believe in finding middle-ground so that both parties are at peace. Their antagonistic counterpart places self-interests above the interests of others, resulting in them being more uncooperative and stubborn. Antagonists are critical and more aggressive when dealing with those around them.
Neuroticism (vs Emotional Stability)
Neuroticism refers to a person’s susceptibility to negative emotions like anxiety and depression. Neurotics are more easily irritable and worry a lot as they over-think many aspects of their life. They can be very tense and moody, and do not react well to stressful situations. Meanwhile, someone who is more emotionally stable is content and confident, and less self-conscious. Unlike the previous four categories, someone who is more neurotic would be more compatible with someone more emotionally stable, as the latter can help to calm them down and keep their mind at ease.
You may try out The Big Five personality test for yourself online.